Buying a gun

This is not a commercial site so I am not going to be telling you from whom to buy a gun.   Also none of the guns portrayed on this site are for sale.  But these are just some thoughts on the process ….

Before you get out your credit card or cheque book, go to a few gun shows.  The biggest are the Birmingham Arms Fair, the Bisley Antique Arms Fair and the London Antique Arms Fair.  In keeping with my non-commercial stance, I am not going to give links to them.  You can use Google to find out about where and when they are.

Wander around.  Look at lots and lots of guns.  Get an idea of how much you might have to pay for the sort of gun that interests you.  Ask lots of questions.   If you go to a few fairs, you’ll get to know who are the main dealers.  If you want to buy something, always ask if they will give you a no-quibble money back guarantee if there is something wrong with the gun.  Always use a credit card if you can, as it gives you more rights if the deal turns sour.

Also check out the web pages of British gun dealers.  See what they are offering and the prices.  Do NOT buy sight unseen, or on the basis of a web site photo, especially if you are a beginner.  If you like something, make an arrangement with the dealer to view the gun in person.  You are planning to spend hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds, so spending a few pounds on a journey to see the gun is not too much to pay, is it?

If you are buying a rare American firearm, in an obsolete and rare calibre (e.g. a Colt’s Single Action Army in 44 Russian), will the dealer supply a Colt Factory Letter to authenticate the gun?  If not, walk away, even if it seems like the best deal in the world.

Cultivate friends with other collectors.  One of the best things about this hobby is the friends you make along the way.  Ask advice.  Get them to give the gun the once over.

There’s lots more I could write.  Buy me a pint sometime and I’ll tell you a lot more …..




2 thoughts on “Buying a gun

  1. schmidtrubin

    How about auctions? An absolute minefield for the uninitiated! However, well worth attending them to get a ‘feel’. Remember, the ‘hammer price’ is NOT what you pay and ….. BUYER BEWARE!!!

    1. tranter54bore Post author

      Absolutely. Auctions are a minefield for beginners and that’s who I intended the advice for. In the absence of experienced and knowledgeable friends, which most beginners won’t have, established and reputable dealers are the best way for those with little experience to start building a collection. I would advise beginners to avoid auctions. They should attend only to get the “feel”, as you say, but should resist the temptation to bid!

      Also, I don’t think that auctions are particularly good value. I have seen plenty of things go at Holts for way more than they really ought to have. I saw a middling Colt’s New Service in 455 go for nearly a £1,000 at Holts a couple of years ago. I got a much better one from a dealer last year for a good deal less.

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