Buying a Second-hand Shotgun: 2 Things You Must Do

Posted on: 1 November 2017

Shooting is becoming an increasingly popular sporting activity, and the success of Australian shooters at the Rio 2016 Olympics has helped to boost the profile of the sport even further. If you have decided to take up shooting, you may be looking for a second-hand shotgun. Buying a second-hand shotgun is a great way of starting out in the sport without having to spend a lot of money as second-hand shotguns are typically much cheaper than brand-new weapons. However, there are a couple of things you need to do when buying secondhand firearms to ensure you get the gun you want.

Visit the seller and view the gun in person

When buying a secondhand firearm, you should never make a purchase without first seeing and holding the weapon. While many online sellers now post high definition photographs of their weapons which can give you a pretty good idea of the condition of the weapon, this is no substitute for seeing and feeling the shotgun with your own eyes and hands.

The first thing you should do is break the barrel. This will allow you to assess how well the mechanism is working. If it feels stiff, this is a sign that the gun needs repair work or hasn't been well maintained. Once you have broken the barrel, you should look through the open breach and down the barrel while holding it up towards a light source. Doing so will allow you to see if the internal parts of the barrel are damaged. Finally, you should check that the safety catch is in good working order.

Ask to see the sellers registration documents and check the serial number

Under Australian law, gun owners must register their weapons with the government. Failure to do so is a criminal offence. Although the vast majority of firearms are properly registered, it is possible that the secondhand weapon you are planning to buy is not. When viewing the weapon, you should also ask to see a copy of the registration documents. The serial number on the document should match the serial number which is engrained on the barrel of the shotgun. If it does not, or if the serial number is missing from the weapon, you should not complete the purchase. 

If you would like to find out more about buying a second-hand shotgun, you should contact a firearms specialist for further information and advice.