Buying Or Selling A Gun Online?
Buying Or Selling A Gun Online? Here's What To Expect
December 1, 2023
Most of the time if I want to trade a gun in on a new one I just take it to Legendary Guns and those guys are great – I'm always happy with the trade and it's just plain fun to chew the fat with those guys. But recently I was in the market for a side-by-side shotgun – a kind of once in a lifetime purchase, and I wanted to trade in some other shotguns for it. Since Legendary didn't have the gun I wanted, I decided to see if I could do the deal online. Here's what happened.
Trading Or Selling A Gun Online
There are a lot of websites that will take your unneeded or unwanted guns off your hands and either credit your bank account or let you trade for a gun they have in stock. The first thing you need to do before even thinking about this is to check out the online store thoroughly by reading reviews from independent sources, checking better business bureau, and checking websites that keep track of scammers and just plain crooks.
In my case, I chose an online site that I know has been around for years and years and I've done business with before with no problems. There are actually a couple of such sites, so I chose my favorite one. There was a prominent button right on the main webpage that said "Sell Your Gun", so I clicked on that.
That took me to a page where I filled out all the info about the guns I wanted to trade in, including the condition, if the original packaging was included, any accessories included, the serial number, and photo of the gun right side and left side. After filling that out, it was a couple of days before I received a response with an offer to buy.
By then, I had decided to take two of the shotguns to Legendary and trade them in on a couple of pistols. I came away super happy with that that trade, and that left me with just one over and under to trade in online.
The site that offered to buy the shotgun offered me a good deal, so I agreed to it.
Shipping The Gun To The Buyer
Now came the fun part. The shotgun I was selling (the site I used didn't do trades – they paid me for my gun) had a case that was rectangular instead of long since OU's break apart. The offer from the website said they'd send a pre-paid shipping label, and if I wanted them to send packaging too, they'd deduct $30 from my quote.
Margie and I decided that they would probably send packaging for a long gun, so we decided we'd package it ourselves. They sent the label to print and instructions. The instructions said that the package had to pass the "shake test" – in other words, nothing should move in the box or make any noise when the box was shaken. Hmm.
We ended up wrapping the choke tubes in paper towels before putting them in the canisters, and using old gun socks on the two parts of the shotgun. We wrapped the choke wrench in paper towels as well. That meant that the case was solid and nothing rattled. All good. I repeat: Now came the fun part.
Packing The Gun
We needed a box that was around 32x11x4 inches. We looked everywhere! The only ones that even came close can only be purchased in packs of 20 and were cost prohibitive. So we went to the local UPS store and bought a couple of 1616x4 boxes ($20). Of course, even though the dimensions were correct, the orientation of them was not, so we had to undo them and sort of rig them together to make one long box 16x4x32.
Because it was rigged that way we had to go to Staples and buy a BIG cardboard box – big enough to cut two pieces 32x16, plus packing tape, plus packing peanuts. Another $28. We finally got it packaged and used a ton of tape on it, and that sucker was sturdy as all get-out. Put the label on and headed to UPS with it.
On the way we discussed our concerns with UPS's tendency to ask you what's in the box you're sending. We were reluctant to tell them it was a gun, but we definitely wanted to insure that bad boy. But the guy at the counter never asked. I did ask him about insuring the package, but he said that was all on the label. So, almost $50 bucks later, the package was finally on its way. That was November 9.
On November 14 I received an email saying that they had received the firearm and to give them some time while they process it. Since today is only the 15th I haven't heard back from them yet.
Buying A Gun Online
The side-by-side that I want is a beautiful upland gun with quail on it. I found it at a pretty good price online, checked out the site, and it was legit. So we ordered and paid for it. The next day we got an email saying they are really sorry but they don't have that gun and they don't know how it got on their website. They said they'd credit my card.
Two days later there are two charges for the gun and no credit. I called them and got the guy at home while he was eating dinner. He said, "That shouldn't happen!" and told us he'd take care of it the next day. Crickets. Called the bank and they said they could do a disputed charge once the two charged were final. We're not talking peanuts here – a nice side-by-side is pricey!
I got my secretary Margie to call the gun company again and this time she got hold of the guy who does the charges and credits and he said that for some reason the bank often lists two charges – one pending and one real. Never heard of that. Anyway, finally the next day there was just one charge, and the day after that there was a credit. This all took 5 days, and I still didn't have my new gun!
However, the place that was buying my OU did have the side by side, but of course, for a higher price. I bought it anyway and had it shipped to Legendary Guns.
Getting A Gun Shipped To You
First of all, they won't ship a gun to you. They'll ship it to a dealer and you pay for an FFL. Call around. I called my favorite gun stores and got quotes from $25 to $50. When the gun comes in, you go to the gun shop, pay for the FFL, fill out the usual paperwork for the Feds, and take your gun home.
My Advice For Buying And Selling Online
1. Don't be in a hurry. Check out the dealer THOROUGHLY.
2. If they offer to send you packaging, take them up on it. It's crazy to try to pack one yourself.
3. Prepare to wait for quite a while when you are selling a gun online. I haven't gotten paid yet, so I'm not even sure they'll give me the amount they quoted. They should, because the gun is in perfect condition, but nothing is sure but death and taxes.
4. Call around and find out how much your local gun stores charge you to have a gun shipped there. In fact, go to your local shop first and if they don't have what you want, ask if they'll order it for you. Then you don't pay until it's there!
5. Before you sell a gun online, check local shops and see if they buy guns. Many times they'll only take trades, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Compare the offers you get, but remember to be scrupulously honest about the condition of the gun if you're selling it online because once they have it and check it out, their offer will go down if it isn't what you said it was. They might even charge you to send it back to you!
Sometimes the firearm you really want is not to be found locally. Buying a gun online is WAY easier than selling a gun online, just because of the whole packing and shipping hassle. Hopefully you can learn from my experience!