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  1. My son and I were looking at a used Ruger Security Six on a private seller’s table at a gun show. I opened the cylinder and found one .38 SPL cartridge still in the cylinder, even though the hammer was strapped with a wire tie per show rules. The seller was surprised, and told us he had loaded the revolver the night before at his hotel for a nightstand gun, thought he had unloaded it in the morning. This can easily happen on a revolver if the unfired rounds are dumped out without using the ejector rod. One chamber may be a little tighter and hold the round in, or the round may hit the frame and bounce back in rather than fall out. I’ve seen this happen on my own revolvers a couple times. As Pat says, always check and recheck to be certain the firearm is unloaded!

  2. Buying a used gun is like buying a used car, you never know for sure what that gun has been through! If you know the person that you are buying it from, and how they treat their firearms, then you should be OK! Always assume that a firearm is loaded and point it in a safe direction! Never point a gun at anyone unless you plan on shooting them!!!!!!!!

  3. I have a couple of Q-tips on me, when I go to gun shows. Any time I consider a gun purchase, new or used, I pull a Q-tip, and wipe around near the trigger or chamber to see if there’s carbon or too much grease on it. I never buy a dirty gun, or one with too much grease on it. Every barrel gets closely inspected, and having my phone with me allows me to check on what people have said about the model.

  4. I have recently purchased a used Kimber Micro nine, according to the seals and inspection tags, the said firearm was made and shipped in April of 17. It doesn’t appear to have been fired very much , but that being said, it will be headed to the local gun shop for a check up ( hopefully I won’t be getting loving out of it, like I did with a bersa .380 )

  5. I bought a Taurus 66, .357 Magnum 7-shot revolver, used at a gun shop run by a friend. The lock-up was bad, the slots in the cylinder were too wide and uneven. Knowing it had a lifetime warrany, I had the gun shop send it back to Taurus. It took some time, but eventually they called and asked the proprietor/gunsmith why it was back. He explained the poor lock-up, and they fixed it. It’s like a custom fitted gun now (I guess it is) and was a wonderful inexpensive acquisition. It’s my “bear country” hiking gun now, 7 rounds of 200 gr. hard cast lead bullets.

  6. I had a good friend that was a gun dealer. He was selling an estate collection for a lady he knew…Many nice guns were in that collection as well as a box of pistols that had been stored in the garage. Well, the rats had a party in the drawer they were stored in. Needless to say they were less than pristine!

    I have a fondness for old S&W’s, and a couple of early 5 screws in 38spl caught my eye. Not only were the rusted, but they were quite pitted, sticky, and smelled bad!!! The inside of the barrel and cylinders were perfect, so I took a chance, and picked them up for $100 a piece…Seems pricey for rust buckets, but the grips were worth half that.

    Long story short… After clean up, the internals were perfect. All the nasty was external. A quick re-blue and I now have 2 fully functional Smiths. Yea, the are still pitted but they work as though new.

    I use them as loaners and trainers, and lovingly refer to them as my RAT PIStols… Worth a hundred…Yea, cause beauty is only skin deep, it’s what’s inside that counts!

  7. At gun shows, and gun shops, I have a jeweler’s eye loupe in my pocket, an LED headlamp and a 2.5 gallon ziplock plastic bag, specifically for use on used guns. If the gun passes intial inspection and I’m still interested, I’ll hand-hold the headlamp and take a very close look at the key places I’ve seen wear or damage on that type of firearm. If it passes that, and I’m still interested, I’ll tell the seller I’m seriously interested and request permission to field strip the gun (if the seller wants to do the field stripping, that’s OK with me, as long as I get my hands on all the parts to check fit between parts individually). Sometimes spring pressure from recoil springs will hide a fitment issue with the barrel/slide interface, and removing the slide allows closer inspection of the innards, which is where the eye loupe and headlamp come in. I put the gun in the plastic bag to contain springs because I want to see fitment both unpsrung and under spring tension.

    You’ll find one of three things: a gun in good enough condition to be worth the purchase price, one in poor enough condition to not be worth it, or one is good but needs some form of repair or parts replacement, which offers an opportunity to bargain with the seller.

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