5 Safety Tips For Checking Used Guns
Do you ever shoot your gun? Do you ever let your spouse and kids fire it, too? Ever bought, or were thinking of buying a used gun?
Did you ever see a firearms-related accident? How do you make certain the condition of the weapon is 100% perfect? There's no erosion or fouling, micro-cracks, manufacturing defects inside?
First thing you need to know, is how many rounds have been fired through the weapon, what type of ammo has been used, as well as the conditions of its operation. The less rounds fired, the better the condition of the gun.
For smooth-bore weapons, especially pump-action shotguns, large numbers of rounds will not be as critical as for semi-automatic rifles. For example, 20,000 shots for a Mossberg 590 or Remington 870 is still far from their limit, whilst the Benelli Supernova shotgun will require replacing individual units.
Semi-automatic weapon is unlikely to survive so many shots without significant negative consequences for its operability or reliability. For rifled weapons, these numbers are even more important, since each shot results in the wear of the rifling in the barrel. For old carbines like Mauser Kar-98 or Mosin rifle, 5,000 shots will mean almost complete absence of rifling in the barrel. And even the more modern barrels are still quite sensitive to four-digit round counts.
A physical inspection is the best way to confirm the state of the weapon!
We have interviewed numerous experts and gunsmiths, and summarized their recommendations into these 5 easy-to-remember things you need to inspect
1. CONDITION OF THE MUZZLE
It should not be chipped or otherwise damaged, which adversely affects the accuracy of shooting.
2. EXTERNAL GEOMETRY OF THE BARREL
The barrel exterior must not have any visible defects or deformation.
3. ACTUAL CALIBER OF THE WEAPON
The caliber of the weapon can be determined with the help of special measuring tools; The bigger the actual caliber from what it should be - the more worn out is the barrel.
4. STATUS OF THE BOLT FACE
It should be smooth and not have mechanical damage.
Damage of the bolt face:
5. INTERNAL SURFACE OF THE BORE
There should be no damage, fouling, erosion or cracks. To check the condition of the barrel, use a special device - a borescope.
Erosion of the bore (image from a borescope inspection):
Rust in the bore:
More Borescope "horror movies":
In fact, most experts agree, that the #1 safety tool for every serious gun owner, is a borescope. It’s guaranteed to help you detect problems described above and keep you safe, or prevent you from buying a defective piece.
The really good thing about your borescope is that it will show you the source of barrel problems and also potential problems before they ruin your scores
I lent mine to a good friend who after rebarreling his 6BR norma rifle, with a very spendy custom tube, was eeing groups significantly worse tha his old barrel was delivering. A look with the scope revealed that the barrel had gone out without being lapped at all -- this from a company that touts the benefits of their precision hand lapped match barrels. Without the scope he never would have been able to make his case for a new (free) barrel. Apparently this was a barrel made on the day before a 3 day weekend or something.
I've also personally inspected barrels that the owners claimed were clean as could be (they looked in them using bore light) usin wonder brushless chemicals and/or nylon brushes. A quick peek with the scope revealed a lot of copper fouling still in the grooves of the rifling. This a real problem in ARs since the gas port tends to strip copper like mad. A bore light just reflected the shine back to the eye without revealing what metal in the bore was shining. A bore light only shows up themost egregious pitting and/or lands fouling anyway."
The great thing is, this technology used to be very expensive, in the range of hundreds of dollars, but now, thanks to the proliferation of smartfones, you can have it for a few bucks. Which is why we're so excited about this new EndoSnake borescope for smartphones that's just been released. Now you can buy your own, inexpensive, version, plug it into your smartphone and do your own inspection. You'd have the ability to see the smallest of faults and detect early signs of anything unsafe with the push of a button.
This safety device is not just for experts. Even a child can operate a smartphone borescope! No wonder, people are talking: