For many people, buying a gun at auction is a scary prospect – but with a pieces of advice in mind, it is possible to bag a bargain with your paddle. Shootclay.co.uk have put together to following top tips to finding that elusive bargain.
Finding your gun
- Get yourself familiar with the list of gun auctioneers – shootclay.co.uk has compiled a small list here.
- Subscribe to their sale catalogues – truly the stuff of dreams, but also a useful tool for checking prices and previous sales – many of sales have online catalogues now.
- Remember that photographs can be presented really well, painting a favourable picture of any item in order to get a sale – but you shouldn’t assume that everyone is a crook, there are some lovely guns out there for sale.
Evaluating your gun
- Decide whether you want to check out the gun in person – all auctions have a sale preview period, which are a great chance to see some lovely firearms and mingle with the real enthusiasts. There is no alternative to handling the goods at any auction.
- If you cannot make the sale preview – try and contact the auctioneer by phone and get a condition report
Checking a shotgun (useful for ANY second hand gun purchase)
- Remove the forend and check the barrels sit tightly on the action. Look for any ‘give’ or twist between the two.
- Check the barrels for external bulging, scratches etc
- Check the barrels for internal damage (pitting, marks etc)
- Check the ribs are sound, hold the barrels by the lumps and tap the barrels – you’ll be able to tell from the sound whether the ribs are still fitting well
- Check the safety catch function
- Check the firing pin function against a small block of wood
- Check the ejectors – worth taking a pair of snap caps along for this
- Check the stock carefully for cracks, with the gun fully assembled look for play or movement between the stock and foreend
- Check for any marking from oil in the stock which can affect the wood
- Examine the chequering for any cracks or repairs
Bidding at an auction
- On arriving at the auction register your details and you should be given a paddle with a number
- Watch the patterns for other lots, watch for the other bidders in the room and see how they ‘play the game’
- When your lot comes around, have a budget and try and stick to it. Watch out for buyers commissions and VAT etc