Monday, February 23, 2015

Firearm Forum Question: Explaining Firearm Categories or Status

Ask A Firearms Question:
Please explain the differences between Rare, Antique, Like New, and Custom Fitted in buying and selling a firearm.
Thank you Kevin and Laurna McDoogle from Glasgow Scotland. Now living in the USA.

Blog Administrator -
These terms can be somewhat confusing even to experienced gun owners.
Below is a list of Terms often associated with the Sale of Firearms, Firearm Accessories, and Firearm Upgrades  ....

New: The Firearm or Accessory is Brand NEW straight from the manufacturer, in the box or package, un-opened and usually under warranty.

Like New: The Firearm or Accessory is USED but the seller contends it has little or no actual hands on use. This is an on faith by the buyer. It is very hard to tell what has been done to something once owned and used if there is no apparent wear or tear.
Sellers will often describe a firearm as ... Like New, only a few rounds ever shot or less than 100 rounds through this weapon, etc.

Used: Exactly what it says. The Firearm or Accessory is used. It may have had numerous owners depending on how old it is. Always examine the item thoroughly. If it's a firearm, check the action, look at the breach and barrel for wear and tear. Also is the firearm clean and well oiled. This tells whether or not the owner has maintained the weapon. Has the firearm been altered in anyway. Check the exterior screws to see if they have any wearing, often times an inexperienced person uses the wrong tool and mars the screw head.

Rare: This is an over used and stated term that sellers advertise for a firearm. Almost NO firearm is rare that you find in the common market place such as gun sites and gun shows. The term literally means uncommon. In firearms it implies there are a few in existence generally making them very valuable. Sellers often confuse this term with a firearm that is old, say made in the 50's through 70's. Or, it is just a marketing tool to get you interested and make you think you are getting something for the value, seller's asking price. Often times the opposite is true. Just because it was made 30 to 50 years ago doesn't make it rare or valuable.

Collectible: Another term overused. Most firearms do not meet the collectible status. A collectible, however, is what it implies. If for say a person collects World War II, M1 Garand 30-06 Rifles these are a collectible to that person. On the other hand, if this same M1 Garand Rifle was made by Harrington and Richardson (H&R) the production was limited, so the number still in existence is less than the main supplier of the M1, which was Springfield Armory. H&R M1s generally sell for more. Condition is always a factor in value in any purchase. In dealing with a collectible the lower the serial number generally the higher the value. Also to be a collectible it MUST be in the original condition, no after market products or upgrades.

Antique: Another seriously overused term. In Firearms to be an Antique the weapon had to be made prior to January 1, 1898 and cannot use conventional ammunition. This is defined by the ATF.
Condition and repair or upgrades determine the value. To be a true Antique it must be an original manufactured issue.
Caution - Many people will take a replica of one of these firearms and age them, then try and sell the firearm as 'Antique.'

Limited Edition: These firearms are created by manufacturers frankly as a gimmick to sell you something. Example: The John Wayne Collection. If you are not a John Wayne fan this firearm means nothing to you. They are generally painted, numbered, come with an authentication certificate. My recommendation is don't waste your money on any of these, new or used.

Limited Production Run: There re two types - 1) See Limited Edition above; 2) The number manufactured, such as the H&R M1 Garand 30-06 quantities number a lot less than the number manufactured by Springfield Armory.

Sought After: A marketing phrase. Who says the firearm is sought after? It may or may not be, but don't fall for the propaganda. Do your homework before buying.

Hard to Find: Another nebulous term. When everyone thought Obama was going to ban Assault Rifles, they became hard to find and manufactures couldn't keep up with the demand. So the old adage of Supply and Demand entered the market place driving the selling price up. As usual though the marketplace settled down to routine, supply caught up with demand and the price is realistic. People who got stuck with these are still trying to sell them for the inflated price they paid for them. Don't be duped into buying a used firearm at at high cost. Find out what that same firearm is selling for new.

Highly Desirable: Is it? Who knows? And to whom is it Highly Desirable to? Again, another sales pitch marketing tool to get you, the buyer, interested and hopefully a sale occurs.

Custom Fitted: Generally this implies the weapon was specially ordered from the manufacturer with some extra or an upgrade such as a barrel. Some manufacturers such as Colt and Remington have a specialty group that build a firearm to the buyers specifications from a list of components.

Clone: This means that the manufacturer has created and made a weapon from another manufacturer's patent rights. Example: Many of the Uberti Cowboy Revolvers are copied from Colt Cowboy Single Action Revolvers. They do not have the value or standing that the original manufacturer has. So some handgun owners may advertise their Uberti Cowboy gun as a Colt Clone.

Upgraded, Lots of Accessories: Common lingo terminology associated with assault rifles. It can mean almost anything - upgraded barrel, stock, picatinny rail, sights, optics, sling, magazines, etc. With handguns it may refer to grips or an extended threaded barrel, etc.

Action Job Performed: Generally associated with Cowboy Action Six Shooter Revolvers, however, now becoming common in many styles of handguns. Simply means the action of the firearm has been modified. In semi auto handguns this usually refers to the trigger mechanism or the barrel, sometimes the slide. In cowboy action revolvers it means porting, boring, and honing the cylinder, free spinning cylinder, and trigger job.

Sales Value: Most weapons are like cars. When you buy them they lose value in the fact they are now used. Some argue that through a private sale you are not paying the sales tax. This does not make the sales value the same as a NEW firearm. At minimum the value of the firearm should be at least 10 percent less than a brand new same model from a licensed firearms dealer (FFL). The sales tax is a moot point.

NIB: New in Box. This just means the owner still has the original box the firearm came in. Some buyers think this is important, frankly, I prefer the cost factor.

Extras: See, Upgraded, Lots of Accessories above.

Original Box: This generally refers to the box the firearm came in. More associated with handguns.

Interchangeable Cylinders: This is something Ruger is famous for. Many years ago Ruger started expanding there cowboy style singe action revolvers to handle more than one cylinder. You could order them from Ruger: 38/357 with 9mm Extra Cylinder; 45LC with 45 ACP Extra Cylinder; 22LR with 22 Magnum Extra Cylinder.

Component AR15: This generally implies the assault rifle was assembled from various components to meet the buyers needs. They could have all come from the same manufacturer such as DPMS, or each component came from a different manufacturer. The Rifle component is the item controlled by the ATF and must contain a serial number to be legally sold in the United States. The buyer then assemblies the rifle or has it done by a gunsmith. Some after market companies do this for you and you end up with a complete AR platform with the components made by different suppliers or manufacturers.

Modified: This implies the firearm has been altered or changed from it's original intended design.
Caution - Weapons that have been modified, especially cut down (shortened) are strictly controlled by the ATF.

Pre Ban: This refers to a firearm or ammo that was imported prior to the Clinton 1994 Firearms ban. Clinton banned some manufactures altogether from importing weapons and ammo such as Norinco. Chinese ammunition is banned altogether. Soviet and former Soviet Bloc countries are only allowed to be assembled in the USA and must contain a certain percentage of American made components. Therefore, anything before the Ban (Pre Ban) means the Weapon or Ammo was most likely 100 percent made in another country.

NA or NLA: Not Available, or No Longer Available. This refers to a firearm manufacturer no longer in business, or who's products are banned from import altogether. Example: Norinco is a major arms manufacturer in China but there weapons and components are banned from import to the United States. This makes some Norinco products a Collectible.

Out Sourced: Means a manufacturer such as Beretta was contracted to manufacturer a firearm at it's plant for another company who then distributes that firearm. Prior to the Clinton 1994 Firearms Law this got companies around the import and licensing sale of firearms in the United States.

Marketed by: See Out Sourced above. This was a common practice is the 60's when companies such as Sears & Roebuck, Montgomery Wards, and others sold firearms under there name but had American companies such as Remington, H&R, and Winchester make the firearm for them. These firearms are not valued as the original gun manufacturer, so don't pay a high price for these.

NVSN: No Visible Serial Number. The Gun Control Act of 1968 required ALL firearms to have a serial number. Prior to 1968 some major firearms manufacturers were not required to put serial numbers on there guns. Yes, it is legal to own, sell, and buy these firearms. They are listed by an FFL as - NVSN.

Gougers: These are people who buy up Ammo and resell if for an inflated profit. Back when ammo was in short supply, these reseller / gaugers would double or triple the price of a box or brick of ammo, especially 22 LR. Tell these bozos to take a hike. There is no longer a shortage of the most popular calibers of ammo.

After Market: This refers to third party manufactures who make accessories for firearms. Example: LoneWolf Barrels, makes threaded extended barrels primarily for Glock handguns.

BUYERS Beware - Do your homework. Price a NEW firearm to the old one advertised. Also use several sources for comparing used firearm prices such as GunBroker; Armslist, GunsAmerica; and Backpage. If you cannot find anything, Google the firearm and see what others are paying for it. Older firearms do NOT necessary warrant higher prices.
Remember the value of something comes down to what you are willing to pay for it, and the seller is willing to part with it.
Important - Check to see if any of the Firearms or Ammo being sold is on a RECALL or Product Warning List.

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  1. Dear Sir,
    Appreciate the clarification and help.
    We moved from Scotland and have our Green Card.
    The UK makes it very difficult to obtain and own a firearm.
    We love going to the range together.
    America better not ever lose her rights for private citizens to own firearms.
    Kevin and Laurna McDoogle

  2. Damn never looked at the purchase of a firearm in such detail, you have woken me up. Thank you.

  3. Quite quite interesting never really looked at it in this context before.

  4. People should read this and stop believing what's in a sales add for a used firearm.

  5. This has also been very helpful, thank you.

  6. This is very well explained.
    100 % concur.

  7. I found this to be very useful.
    Thank you.

  8. Once again so much that I didn't understand, thank you, great read.

  9. I have made a copy of this for when I want to buy a used firearm.

  10. Great information and collective data for future use.

  11. Anyone planning to purchase a firearm should take note of this post.

  12. A valuable thread people should save this and take note.

  13. In my file storage called a brain


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