How to inspect a used gun for wear and tear

This is a discussion on How to inspect a used gun for wear and tear within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hey everyone, This question is really two-fold. We've got a pawn shop in town that claims to sell some new guns in addition to all ...

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Thread: How to inspect a used gun for wear and tear

  1. #1
    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    Question How to inspect a used gun for wear and tear

    Hey everyone,

    This question is really two-fold. We've got a pawn shop in town that claims to sell some new guns in addition to all their used ones. First, how can I trust them when the guns are on display?

    Second, let's say they hand me a gun they say is used, what should I look at? Will there be heavy scoring on the barrel or something? Is there an equivalent inspection to checking the horses teeth? Many thanks.
    On duty: Glock 21 SF (.45) w/ Safariland Cobra Tactical holster & Remington Hallow-points
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    Distinguished Member Array Diddle's Avatar
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    This should be an interesting thread. And needed too probably. My KY CCDW instructor gave us some good general information. Loose here, look for a crack there, watch out for slop here etc. Nothing really defenitive. I've found some excellent info by reading about everything I can lay my hands on but info direct from pros would be greatly appreciated.

    Craig
    Diddle
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    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    Strip it down and look it over. If it's from one of the top companies you should be able to replace most of the major parts if there is a problem very easily. If you save enough to make that worth while. If the price is very close to the price new, go new.

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    Member Array phair12's Avatar
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    if it is keltec it wouldnt matter you tell them what will need to be fixed on it,haggle price down, then call keltec and order the parts for free.

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    Ex Member Array Cold Warrior's Avatar
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    Scratched and shiny screw heads, or so I have heard and read, are a sure sign of amateur gunsmithing; buyer beware of such obvious wear and tear.

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    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    Anything to look for on the barrel itself? I think most guns are fired at the factory anyway, so there's no such thing as a "virgin" barrel at a store.
    On duty: Glock 21 SF (.45) w/ Safariland Cobra Tactical holster & Remington Hallow-points
    CCW: Glock 19 Gen 3 (9mm) w/ Crossbreed Supertuck IWB holster
    Magtech Hollow-points

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    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9mm Lassiter View Post
    Anything to look for on the barrel itself? I think most guns are fired at the factory anyway, so there's no such thing as a "virgin" barrel at a store.
    Make sure the crown of the barrel is even and without nicks or gouges, is the bore bright and without pitting, is the rifeling crisp and easily seen. Of course any bulges makes it a no go as to any cracking in the chamber area.
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

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    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    Check the frame over for cracks, pull the slide off and see it there is any gouging on the rails, even wear is ok, one side severely worn over the other is a no go. On a revolver same thing, check the frame, does the cylinder lock up tight, take the hammer back and try and rotate the cylinder should be very little movement to no movement. Check to make sure the cylinder holes line up to the barrel, every time the trigger is pulled the cylinder hole should line up to the barrel, if not part of the bullet is gonna splat on your hand.
    Finish is subjective, guns can be refinshed so holster wear is not a deal breaker, neither is very light rust. Severe pitting is to be avoided.
    Im sure I missed more than I mentioned so others can chime in on what I missed.
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

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    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    Thank you all. This is very helpful. I haven't seen articles or threads on this subject elsewhere. If people have more thoughts, keep them coming please!
    On duty: Glock 21 SF (.45) w/ Safariland Cobra Tactical holster & Remington Hallow-points
    CCW: Glock 19 Gen 3 (9mm) w/ Crossbreed Supertuck IWB holster
    Magtech Hollow-points

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    There is a way to "read" metal to determine wear. All metal surfaces (even finely polished ones) have a kind of grain pattern to them from how they were polished. It is really easy to see in a "brushed" or "burnished" finish. As the metal wears from use or damage, new wear patterns and scratches develop. That is normal.

    Get a sense of what normal wear looks like and you can tell how hard the gun has been used. A dirty or grit filled gun (think sand) will wear very quickly, but a properly cared for and cleaned gun will last generations with minor repairs.
    "a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.

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    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    Very general information

    For the first question about telling if its a new gun... check out the barrel. There should be powder residue in it from the factory. Check the finish, microscopic nicks and imperfections is normal, holster wear isn't. Also check for refinishing. Stuff like if it's suppose to be matte finish but its polished don't believe the "it's special" story. Check the magazine and under the slide for excessive brass shavings, this is a sign more then a few rounds have been through the gun. Last thing you can do is actually call the manufacturer. Some will tell you where it's been.
    Don't quote me on this but I think its actually illegal to sell a gun as "new" if it has been sold out of dealer hands.



    For the second thing. Checking for cracks and wear is general. Most things you should check is specific to the type and make of a gun.

    Revolvers you want to check the screw heads to see if they are monkeyed up. Checking the timing and bore, function of double and single action, etc. bulging in the barrel and erosion on the forcing cone. Checking the frame for "cutting". Checking the crane for damage, checking the ejector rod to see if it's bent. Checking the finish to see if it has been reblued (there are tutorials on the net to tell you how to spot).

    Auto loaders you should check for finish wear, cracks as well as barrel bulges, striker/sear engagement or hammer/sear engagement, magazine dents or damaged follower, safety checks(if applicable), modifications done, and some research with the model you are buying will go a long way.

    Lastly... if in doubt... don't buy.


    There are many more things I'm sure but the above I hope will help a little
    There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  13. #12
    Member Array JetGirl's Avatar
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    Don't know what gun you're looking for, but here's a page about buying a used 1911 with detailed inspection points (and scroll to the bottom to click on the function checks) ... Buying a used 1911

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    Distinguished Member Array Diddle's Avatar
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    Good responses. Let's see more!
    Diddle
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