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Thread: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun

  1. #1

    What should one look for when buying a used shotgun

    The first thing that you should do is count the don`t want to be short changed !

    Remove the fore-end and close the gun. Hold the gun firmly at the wrist with one hand and about half way along where the fore-end would have been with the other and firmly try to move the barrels relative to the action - up, down and sideways. There should be no movement. If there is the gun will shoot "off the face" and will need "rejointing". This isn't a hugely expensive process but needs doing properly. A loose barrel/action joint however is an indicator of a very worn gun.

    Make sure the barrels aren`t pitted or, if there is any pitting. it should be very light and shallow.

    Refit the fore-end and check that is is held positively. The latch should work positively but smoothly.

    Check that the top lever works positively and smoothly with very little stray movement. Be very suspicious of a lever that has free play. The top lever should centre - approximately - when the gun is closed. New Italian guns often have the top lever offset to one side when new - they will centre with use.

    Examine the forward parts of the action very closely - look for hammer or vice marks which are likely indicators that the action has been tightened by crimping.

    The action should open and close positively and smoothly. There should be no grinding or unpleasant noises.

    Drop in a couple of snap caps and make sure that the safety works properly and cannot be over-ridden by knocking the gun about. Pull the front trigger ( if a double trigger gun ) and then open the gun to check that the ejector/extractor is working properly. Close the gun and pull the rear trigger and then check for positive ejection/extraction again. Close the gun and pull each trigger one after the other and check again.

    If the gun has a single trigger with the second barrel operated by recoil inertia it will not set after the first barrel has been `fired` with snap caps fitted. Hold the gun around the fore-end firmly and give the butt a hefty whack with the heel of the other hand - this should set the trigger for the second shot. Some guns require rather more `thump` than others to set the trigger so might have to be checked with actual cartridges.

    Make sure the triggers operate smoothly and positively.

    Check the rib to make sure that it is not loose - loose ribs, especially those that have been loose for some time are bad news as they allow for the ingress of damp which can perforate the barrels.

    Check the overall condition of the gun. Make sure that the engraving is crisp. Worn engraving indicates a very well used and invariably worn gun.

    If an old gun has very black barrels and colour on the action be particularly vigilent in all the above checks - there are a lot of very worn guns that have been re-blacked and re-coloured. You can`t expect barrel blacking and colour case hardening to stay bright - `grey` barrels are not an indication of a worn-out gun.

    Check the action - face and flats - and look for hammer marks. Light pitting on the face around the strikers is acceptable. Make sure that the strikers have nicely rounded ends - chips indicate that they will need replacing - not an expensive job but should be taken into account in the purchase price. Check the barrel flats and the ejector rods to make sure all is as it should be.

    At this stage I measure the bores and wall thicknesses. This will probably mean that you will have to take the gun to a gunsmith. Any less than 20 thou wall thickness 9" forward of the breech is an overly worn gun.

    Finally take the gun somewhere that it can be shot and put a box of cartridges though it. If the action has been tightened by bodging this should shoot it loose again. I`m not going to explain the process of effecting a temporary bodge to tighten a gun that is shooting off the face for obvious reasons.

    Hope this is of some assistance.

  2. #2
    Member Emeritus Enigmatic Desires's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Thanks a lot sir. I was thinking of purchasing a dbbl. I will keep these points in mind.
    "Keep a complete control over your Temper and Anger because I never found anything more beneficial at the end and producing more good results then such a control" Hazrat Ali (A.S)

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