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bolligerWebsites like have made it incredibly easy to buy and sell firearms of all types online. While these sites do an excellent job of monitoring and vetting users, if you’re new to online auctions and classified listings the process can be a bit daunting. The tips below can be a great help for buyers new to the online firearms world, and make sure that you aren’t caught off guard when you’ve found a used rifle that meets your needs.
Ask Questions
Many times new buyers can be bashful when it comes to asking questions for sellers. You should never feel bad about asking too many questions. Veteran sellers will have all kinds of information at their disposal for the items they’re selling, and more often than not are happy to provide whatever they can. You should also ask questions of any customer service reps that the auction or classified site my provide. If things aren’t clearly spelled out from either the seller or the website’s FAQ, ask away!
Protect Your Funds
It’s a 50/50 shot as to whether or not a given website will have a secure checkout process. Even if the site does provide a checkout service, you should strongly consider an online escrow service for any larger purchase. Online escrow works to protect you AND the seller. Buyers are protected as all funds are held with a neutral third party until there is proof that the rifle has shipped, or has even arrived at your chosen FFL holder for a final inspection. Sellers are also protected as your purchase funds are verified and held upfront, completely removing the seller’s chances of non-payment, insufficient funds, fraudulent checks and credit card charge backs.
Secure a Quality Inspection
Unless you happen to be an expert gunsmith you’ll want to line up an inspection. Companies like can schedule an inspector to visit the rifle in question and report back to you what they find. Depending on the specifications of the rifle, you may also want to build in time for you to inspect the rifle yourself once it arrives – especially if there are any custom components that the previous owner has added themselves.
Ultimately, as the buyer the onus is on you to ensure that what you’re buying is what you think it is. While any legitimate seller will do their best to work with you on price, shipping and inspections, it’s up to you as the buyer to educate yourself as thoroughly as possibly on the processes and rifle itself.
For more information about buying and selling firearms online, check out our posts on the top website to buy and sell firearms, shipping antique and collectable firearms, and shipping ammunition.

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