by Naomi K. Shapiro
In these daunting economic times, every one of us "normal folks" are looking to save money on whatever we do. This is particularly true when it comes to leisure activities, which include those of us who love the outdoors and relax by hunting or fishing. Indeed, these activities have become emotional imperatives for us. We all need to have some form of healthy "escape," and nature and the environment provide that for many.
One area that has become increasingly popular is the buying and selling of used firearms -- and in this instance, we're referring to hunting. Guide Phil Schweik, who works for a well known national outdoor retail chain, says that he has seen any number of people who have come in to purchase a hunting firearm exhibit an all-too-familiar "malady" called "sticker shock," when they see the prices on new rifles or shotguns.
According to Phil, people don't really know what a good new firearm costs in today's market. He does concede that a good portion of these costs encompass the "name brand" concept. While not specifying any particular manufacturer, name recognition and marketing costs play a major role in the cost of new hunting firearms. And, yes, you can buy "cheap," but in the long run that can become the most expensive alternative available. Something "cheap" will not last and will cause plenty of problems. Quality counts! – particularly in a firearm.
What is the solution to this? The answer is... Buy A Used Rifle!
All the major outdoor outfitters and many licensed gun shops or gunsmiths all have a ready supply of EXCELLENT used firearms – and at prices which, as compared to a new gun, will run 50 per cent or less to buy. There are many reasons for people to sell their firearms -- divorces, need for immediate cash, someone quits hunting or sport shooting or passes away... and that individual or the spouse or kids don't hunt or don't want or need the firearms -- and this goes for collections, as well. Phil Schweik says there are a lot of very decent firearms that come in this way – and the particular outfitter he works for, has, in addition to carrying used firearms on a daily basis, regular "shows" with tables full of these firearms for sale at different times during the year.
Who buys them? Collectors for sure. Phil says that collectors regularly come to these sales, or at any time for that matter to see what's in stock. They immediately pick up what they consider is a collectible firearm. There are new hunters, knowledgeable gun enthusiasts, and those of us who must save money -- it's all over the map. And there are some terrific buys out there.
We have pretty-much described what we believe are the best sources to shop for a used firearm. And we didn't mention pawn shops, or individuals (outside of personal friends/hunters), or even gun shows. Why? Because it's "caveat emptor" (buyer beware) when it comes to things like this – and that includes all of these used firearms that are advertised in magazines and the like. Now, having said all of that, we know that there are many very legitimate and recognized outlets that sell firearms on the Web, at gun shows, and privately. But remember one thing: If you go to a LOCAL licensed retail outlet, dealer or gunsmith, you're going to be able to fully "kick the tires," and get total "feel" and HISTORY of that firearm (the last thing you want is a knock on the door from an ATF agent or other law enforcement agency checking up on that used firearm you bought).
When you use a local shop, you've also got immediate recourse if things aren't right; and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, these used firearms from a local licensed seller are all checked and inspected before the sale. You may even pay a bit more; but SAFETY and legitimacy of any firearm are critical criteria to consider when buying a used firearm. You know that what you buy will be legitimate, functional, operational and safe.