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Thread: Used rifle pitfalls

  1. #1

    Used rifle pitfalls

    Hi all,
    Looking around I've seen that used rifles by the likes of Parker Hale, BSA and BRNO can be had for as little as 100 even in shops, not just privately. Question is, how cheap does a rifle have to be before it's probably not worth buying? What can be wrong, and how hard/costly are these things to put right? How does the untrained eye like mine look at a rifle and make an assessment (obviously I'd try and take an experienced eye with me, but before I drag somebody out if I want to make an initial decision).
    In short, when I see a rifle advertised at 100-150, how do I tell if it's too good to be true?
    Please use simple language, I don't know the terminology!
    Thanks folks!
    See my blog for - My kindly sponsored DSC1 course and chart my progress from deer virgin to stalking veteran
    AND my new puppy progress DIARY

  2. #2
    You can't judge how good a rifle is simply on price Simon. The three rifle makes that you mention are good solid designs, it just depends on the condition and wear. Two of the makes ceased production many years ago so any rifle will be at least 20 years old.

    I have seen absolute dogs of rifles being sold by some RFDs and individuals at vastly inflated asking prices and I have also seen almost mint condition rifles being sold for a pittance purely because they are no longer fashionable. You admit to knowing little about rifles and how to assess their condition so no need at all to feel embarrassed about taking someone knowledgeable along to look at any rifle you would be interested in.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  3. #3
    Best bet would be to shoot it
    Regards pete

  4. #4
    Unless the BSA has been totaly abused it will shoot, until recently I shot a 1950's BSA 270 that would shoot 1/2" groups.
    Look down the barrel with the bolt out and if you can see the rifling and the bore is bright and shiney, I bet you it will shoot ok.
    Look at the end of the bolt and make sure it has no pit marks.

    The reason these rifles are so cheap is that no one wants them, not that they are no good, everyone seems to want something bright and shiney and the latest thing.

    If you are on a tight budget or not worried about having the latest tools both of these rifle makes are ideal.

    The guy who taught me stalking was a contract stalker who shot with a Parker Hale 30-06 when I asked him why he used such an old rifle his answer was ( will a new one shoot better ).
    Last edited by sikadog; 10-11-2014 at 08:25.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Ronin's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    Lancs / Cumbria Border
    There is a lot of merit in buying an old rifle thats "not in fashion"

    However, you need (and I can't stress this enough) to be aware that it might be shot out, the trigger sear could be rusted or gummed up..

    So a thorough examination with a borescope and take off the stock before you buy is in order.

    I would also try and get a few shots fired to see how it may be shooting...

    As always, this applies to any rifle, nit just classics such as the BSA and PH ranges from the 50's / 60's

  6. #6
    I don't have a great deal of experience in this, but one thing that I have picked up is that RFDs take a lot of firearms in PX, so that a customer can clear a slot on their FAC when buying newer/posher rifles. This means that they neither need nor expect to make a lot of money on rifles at this end of the market, indeed I have had the impression they are simply happy to get stuff off their books.

    I paid 2/3 of the advertised price for my first rifle, and the staff fitted a scope I already had before I left the shop.

    So look at everything, you may very well talk a rifle that is out of your budget into it.

  7. #7
    I have:

    BSA Majestic .270 (3/4-1" groups with 130gr Interlocks)
    J Dickson PH .270 (1/2" groups with 130gr SST)
    BRNO Md 2 .222 (<1/2" groups with 52gr AMax)
    Midland .243 (TBC!)

    have also had
    PH 1100 .243 (1/2" with 100gr Interlocks)

    none of them cost more than the figures you quote
    granted I took the opportunity to completely restore three of them including rebluing but none of them needed it in order to work extremely well.
    The groups above with the exception of the .243 were all shot before any work was done.
    The only one that had an issue that surfaced was the BSA when used with a bipod (lightweight stock twisted touching barrel), this took a bit of trial and error to identify!

    The one that truly amazes me is the BRNO .222, it was an absolute dog when I bought it.
    rust spots on the outside. about 20ml of red grease in the bolt and action channels, wood dinged and scuffed
    The barrel has a section of pitting about 5" in from the muzzle that is so bad it is visible even when dirty!!
    I knew this when I bought it as even rebarelled it was basically a free action

    it shoots touching holes

    The upside to this range of brands is the ancillary parts are pennies to buy and replace
    I new PH trigger group is anywhere from 5-40 depending on style
    you can buy M98 bolts shrouds, springs, cocking pieces, and any other part that comes off the barrelled action on eBay for pennies

  8. #8
    Ed - you've bought a new .243? I thought you'd sworn them off?

    One thing I would say about these older rifles is that they can have very problematic triggers - but this is easily fixed.

  9. #9
    The older stuff is still the best by far, built to last, no corners cut in manufacture! Far better than the Guuci gear that's doing the rounds now, funny thing is they all kill the same way.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Mungo View Post
    Ed - you've bought a new .243? I thought you'd sworn them off?

    One thing I would say about these older rifles is that they can have very problematic triggers - but this is easily fixed.
    same old tomato stake resurrection in progress!
    just not finished!

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