Buying and Selling Guns Online: Avoid the Pitfalls of Online Gun Buying

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While they’re a sort of boogie man to some of the anti-gun crowd, Chinese semiautomatic AK-47 clones from the pre-ban era are very valuable. This mint, unfired specimen, with box and instructions, went for several thousand dollars, in early 2012.

 

 

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Here’s a Sneak Peek Inside Your Free Guide to Buying and Selling Guns:

 

Just as with gun shows and live auctions, a key rule to self-protection as a buyer or seller online is very simple. Call it Rule No. 3, or knowing that “avoiding the ‘valid’ literature of the items that interest you is always going to benefit you.”

This is the old “knowledge is power” cliché come home to roost. The first corollary of this rule should be obvious: The stuff one hears casually, whether online, in bars, from winos sleeping in gutters, or phony baloney “experts” at gun shows, is worth a great deal less than what is paid for it. The only way to know what’s real and what’s not is if the genuine experts verify that snippet you think you know.

Second, of course, and especially if you’re selling expensive items, remember to admit you actually don’t know that of which you are not sure.

A case in point. Recently, I had a very nice L.C. Smith 10-gauge (circa 1890), consigned to me by a retired friend. It was a Number 3 engraved. It took months of snooping and digging to verify the engraving pattern. During that time, I got several e-mails from “experts” telling me it was misidentified. They were wrong.

From several of the country’s leading Smith collectors, I had verified the engraving pattern, basic features, markings, and so on. Only 90 of these guns were ever made, but the barrel was an odd length. The experts saw the photos and were about evenly divided.

Two said they were “pretty sure,” based upon several detailed muzzle shots, that it was a custom-length gun. Two said that, while it didn’t seem to have been cut by an amateur, it was most likely not a factory job, either.

I included all the photos, sold it on Auction Arms (now called GunAuction.com), and, basically, stated flatly that the buyer should draw his own conclusions about the barrel length, because I didn’t know.

The best literature in my research of this gun proved to be an e-mailed scanned copy of an 1890 catalog, very kindly sent to me by a collector who did so out of pure magnanimity. It listed the standard lengths, then said, at the bottom, that a customer could order “any desired length” in the Number Three.


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