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Old 08-28-2009, 05:52 PM   #1
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Tips on Buying a used Revolver

This should be second-nature to most of you but we always have Newbies and lurkers so, this is for you. You go to your local gunstore and you're eyeballing the handguns under the glass when something catches your eye. For the sake of clarity we'll say it's a nice-looking Model 28-2 Smith&Wesson. Do you know how to check it out realistically? Here's a short list to keep you from getting burned.

1.) Ask for a small-tipped screwdriver, all gunstores usually have one near the register. Now, take the grips off. I've found that this is a good indicator of how the gun's been maintained. If it's clean and well-blued under the grips you're on your way. But, if you find alot of gunk or worse, rust, start checking with a critical eye.

2.) Turn the gun upside-down and with the butt away from you look at the line between the yoke and the frame. All you should see is a thin line where the two meet. If there's a gap then the yoke is bent,pass on it.

3.) Tilt the gun a little more towards you and check the muzzle. You're looking for two things; a nice smooth crown and crisp rifling at the end of the bore. If there are some nicks that don't touch the rifling this is no biggie but, if they go into the rifling the barrel needs a recrown. This will affect accuracy. Pass on it.

4.) Open the Cylinder. First, the Cylinder Latch should be tight(Doesn't wiggle around) Next, spin the Cylinder a little and look at the the Ejection Rod. It should be straight and the cylinder should spin with little effort. Now, close it. It should open and close smoothly.

5.) Thumb back the Hammer and hold it there with your thumb. Now, look down on the Hammer at the firing pin. It should be straight(perpendicular to the hammerface). Ease it forward and slowly cock it again. You should hear two clicks ,one halfway through and one when it sets.Guide it back down.

6.) Try move the Cylinder back and forth. It will have a very slight side to side movement but, it should not have any front to back movement. That's called end-shake and it requires a bushing the repair.Next, with the Cylinder open, look at where the barrel where it stops and look at the bottom of the topstrap, if there's alot of cutting there, pass on itThere will be some, the .357magnum is a high-intensity round. But, it shouldn't be deep into the topstrap.

7.) Finish; Most used guns will have some wear, usually on the cylinder and the sides of the barrel at the bore. This is holster wear and is normal.Abnormal wear in places like the bottom of the triggerguard or on the gripframe indicate heavy use. Now, this is for blued guns, SS or coated guns(Nickle, or hard chrome usually won't evidence much in the way of wear).

If it passes all these tests, it's in decent shape, mechanically and finish-wise.
Dave
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Old 08-28-2009, 06:16 PM   #2
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Re: Tips on Buying a used Revolver

Very good list. And with a little practice and experience, you can run this test (except for removing the grips) in less than one minute.
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