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Old January 9, 2012, 07:49 PM   #1
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when buying a used gun

Are there any tricks to use to tell how much a used gun was shot?
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Old January 9, 2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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A bore light will show wear on barrel rifling, as well as copper fouling in the barrel (how well it was cleaned properly). The looseness of action could possibility of extreme wear and or hot loads then magazine wear loosely in position, inspection of bolt of wear and or ejection issues. Are some things I look at. Good Luck
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Old January 9, 2012, 09:59 PM   #3
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Yeah, but it really depends on the firearm. Lots of 1911-type pistols were manufactured to deliberately loose tolerances. Shake them and they sound like a dozen marbles in a tin can, but they likely function perfectly and could be as accurate as you want.

Ideally, when buying a used firearm you are familiar with that model (or, at least, the type), so you know which parts are most subject to wear and abuse and can examine them knowledgeably.
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Old January 9, 2012, 10:07 PM   #4
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Check for and frame rail wear and as others said bring a bore light. Certain guns like Sigs usually have very stiff slide locks at first and then loosen up with use, there is another thing you can check for.
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Old January 9, 2012, 10:07 PM   #5
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Could you be a bit more specific? If you can give us the make and model, as well as the seller's price, we might be of some tangible help.
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Old January 9, 2012, 10:30 PM   #6
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The bore light idea is a good one, and in the absence of that-keep in mind that gun dealers (in many cases) respond with, "probably a few hundred rounds." They seem to repeat that phrase like it's against the law to guess otherwise.

1. Check the wear around the corners, and trigger guard. The problem is that the wear may be more about holster wear than actual firing of rounds.
2. With semiautos, they are often checked (for wear) by exercising the slide, and other parts that move-without dissasembly. They will get more loose/sloppy with greater use. It takes time to understand the difference between light and moderate use if a pistol is really cared for, and not showing age on the stainless, or bluing.

Note 1: A dealer does not want to remove a slide in some cases-unless you are interested in buying 'that' pistol. However, I've found some sales guys that do it, like they're bored, and like to show how familiar they are with the guns for sale. YMMV.
Note 2: If you press the slide release (empty), and let the slide "ker-chunk" forward in the store, you might be shown the door. Think of it this way, at the range, you release the slide and a bullet is chambered. The parts are not working too much in that instance. However, in the store, with it pistol empty of bullets, you putting unnecessary wear on the slide/frame by letting it slam forward-empty. Don't! If you haven't learned to put your other hand above the slide and help it forward without letting go, take a lesson from the salesman. This lets 'you' move it through the paces without fully releasing the slide, and it will prevent upsetting the guy behind the counter, or his boss!

Have fun evaluating pistols, and be SURE to share more about your purchase-when it happens.
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Last edited by hikingman; January 9, 2012 at 10:43 PM.
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Old January 9, 2012, 10:34 PM   #7
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Yea check the shot counter normally found under the barrel and above the trigger and make sure to look for signs that nobody has rolled it back..... Sorry I couldn't resist.
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Old January 9, 2012, 10:36 PM   #8
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Its a ruger p95 the numbers I ran on ryger site it qas manufactured in 2004 it doesn't have a rail. There are no marks on the barrel and the slide to frame is very tight. I traded a sigma 9 ve for it. I was just curious.
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Old January 9, 2012, 11:08 PM   #9
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The good news is, the vast majority of people buy a handgun, shoot it a bit, store it a while, and decide they want something else. Most used handguns have a low round count.

If it is a fairly new gun, the odds of this being applicable are probably 90%+.
If it is an older gun, the chances are still 70% or so.
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Old January 10, 2012, 12:25 AM   #10
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If you'll spend some time looking closely at several of the used models next to new ones, you'll get an idea. Used sa's will wear on several portions of the barrel and bushing. One blued models, you can see where the blueing has worn away (not a bad thing). And on stainless, you can see where the finish, or grain, has changed due to contact with the slide. Also, you can somewhat sorta judge by natural wear on a metal mainspring guide rod if the model you're looking at has one. This is a gradual thing, so you probably wont ever be able to nail it down to closer than 1k rnds. Next time you're in a well stocked store, pick out the one that looks the roughest to you, then a new one, and then scan the one's in between.

The above does not tell you anything about how well the firearm was cared for or if it was tinkered with by an overnite gunsmith wannabe. But look at enough of them and you'll get a personal feel for how much use/wear you're personally willing to tolerate.
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Old January 10, 2012, 01:13 AM   #11
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Target sights are usually a givaway.

Always run your fingers down the barrel to check for a bulge, you can't always see it.
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Old January 10, 2012, 04:10 PM   #12
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I usually ask a lot of questions and check for hesitations or inconsistencies in what they are saying.

Usually I find people are pretty honest about what the gun has been through.
I'd rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it.

"If gun owners are as violent as anti-gunners said we are, there wouldn't be any anti's left"

Last edited by rem44m; January 10, 2012 at 04:12 PM. Reason: There was glitch and none of the text I wrote shows up.
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