Buying Guns on Internet Auctions

If you are a collector looking for that unique piece or a shooter seeking a deal on a gun that has not been made in 50 years, the Internet auction is replacing the gun show as the place to satisfy your desire.

As a dealer, I sell most of my collectible and used firearms via Internet auction. I use both GunBroker and AuctionArms. Both are fine sites that advertise here in the Gun Digest.

I did not list eBay here because they do not allow complete firearms of any kind. Some gun parts are allowed but I don’t recommend using eBay for any firearm related stuff because they do not want our firearm business. Why put money in the pockets of an anti-gun business?

I have found after a decade of selling firearms on Internet auctions that I can usually sell them quicker and for a better price than locally or at a gun show. There are some risks involved that I will try to address in this column.

Is Internet buying for you? The answer can depend on what you are looking for and how much risk are you willing to accept in pursuit or your goal. A bit of money helps, too.

Why buy on the ‘net when I have a great gun shop locally? The answer to this depends on the item you are interested in purchasing.

If it is a current production firearm then a local, well-stocked shop is probably your best bet. However, retail shops do not stock every product. Some are even reluctant to order an unfamiliar product instead of selling you something they carry in stock.

If you are a collector or just want a specific item, few retail shops will have a large selection of used guns. They just get what comes in the door. So if you want a used .30-06 hunting rifle but live in a shotgun only state, few rifles will get traded in. Some shops might not even want to take used firearms in trade at all.

They don’t want to stand behind an item they cannot get serviced or replaced easily. Many retailers of new merchandise are afraid to take in collectible guns like an old Winchester or Colt Single Action because they are not well informed of the collectible market, and they fear getting stuck with an expensive gun that is hard to sell locally. I can’t fault them for their caution in buying high priced collectibles.

I have bought collectible guns thinking I was getting a good deal only to find out that it had the wrong barrel length, non original rear sight, replaced stock, was reblued, or any of a dozen other problems that reduced its value and collectibility. It pays to know what you are buying.

One thought on “Buying Guns on Internet Auctions

  1. jgaffney

    I’ve trolled Gunbroker and AuctionArms a lot, but I haven’t been successful yet. As a resident of the great state of California, I’m not allowed to buy an out-of-state, off-list handgun.

    Watch out for a Buyer’s Premium. Some auction sites, Like ProxiBid will add 10% to 20% on the bid as a fee to the auctioneer. This is in addition to any shipping. Make sure you figure that in when placing your bid.

    Get on good terms with your local FFL. He has to make a living, too. Don’t be afraid to question him about his transfer fees.