Selling a rifle


Well-Known Member
I have written this tome, which is my opinion only, in response to a private message from a member enquiring "What's it worth"? I post it here in the hope that it is of some help to give people a general idea of what it really is worth.

I see this quite clearly from both sides of the business. For total disclosure - I am an RFD - but that in itself is a misnomer - Registered Firearms Dealer. I am nothing of the sort, I build quality rifles, I very, very rarely sell a gun but this might have to change sometime as I am not getting younger (anyone with tips on how to achieve this please feel free to contact me:)).

I build rifles that go BANG no matter what and the bullet will get within an inch or so of where the shooter points it. It will go exactly where the shooter points it - but standing? That is a big ask of most casual shooters. Hitting a saucer size target at 100 yards is a result with most.
My rifles though, you can drop them in the slop, bang them about in the back of the Landy, take the bolt out and stir your tea with it - it will still go bang at the required moment. They are reliable above all else. And reasonable in the wallet department. I pay a great amount of attention to detail, close enough is good enough just doesn't happen.

So for this I need actions, I have a barrel supplier and I build stocks. Actions come in two flavours - Brand new Super Duper Swarovski encrusted made of Unobtainium, or second hand. I prefer the latter. Most of the work has been done for me - all the sharp edges are worn off with use and the faults are easy to find. Bedding the lugs is a half hour job.

But how much are they worth? Well, a small ring mauser action is around 20-35 pounds, a 98 action is around 25-50 pounds, very much condition dependent, I paid 40 pounds last week for an action off a 527 CZ. This was in the trade though where the seller could see that the barrel was shagged and the stock would be best used warming the workshop.
A Private Seller sells a "rifle". Quite often he cannot see past the fact that if you put a round in it it would actually shoot, so it HAS to be worth more - right?

Well for me, no actually. I now have the hassle of disposing of the stock - not easy to do simply and discreetly in this day and age. And now get the barrel out of the action. Okay, old barrels make GREAT handles on action wrenches, but how many do you want? The upside of it though is you get an action with a number and it is pretty plain sailing from then on in.

So is the old rifle that you never take out because it is: unreliable/clunky/old fashioned or you simply know the barrel is shot REALLY worth £350? No, not at all. I see people coming into shooting buy rifles that quite simply do not justify the price tag but the seller is delighted because he has gotten himself out from under something that nobody wanted, at any price, and he actually got his money back.
A rifle is for many a tool, would you pay new money for a second hand hammer?
I am not forgetting those who buy expensive rifles and really cherish them. I have a couple myself and I would be greatly insulted if somebody offered me fifty quid - "for the action". But that guy would, quite simply, be taking the Pi** and his approach would be met with the contempt it deserves.

Then there are the "in-betweeners", these are guns that are neither shot out or household names (you know what I mean). They represent excellent value for money and I see them come up once in a while, I am tempted to buy them myself on occasion as they are classics that deserve to be given a bit of a freshen up and be used. I refrain as I do have a finite amount of storage (building an armoury has occurred to me more than once) and have limited time for shooting nowadays.

So - how much is your rifle really worth? It is worth about a half of what you think it is worth - You have seen them for sale, in similar condition for £400, right?
So any dealer is going to offer you £200 - IF you are lucky. Why? Because he quite simply has to make a profit and the second you walk out of the door he is £200 lighter, has less rack space and if it is a middle-of-the-road gun it will sit on his shelf until someone walks in his door and buys it, that could be the next day or the next year. Yes, of course, some guns will walk out but they are in demand and will price accordingly. But that isn't most guns.

Or you can sell them here on forums and get something close to the retail, second hand value, much better than a trade sale. But do not forget, the trade dealer, with a brick and mortar store/premises will undoubtedly give you some sort of warranty - I stand behind all my products/work - and that can be a variable with a private purchase. I am not saying Private sellers are crooks, far from it - I am one myself occasionally, (a seller that is NOT a crook:))but I am trying to demonstrate the differences different people put on values.

Well that was all a bit much for a Friday morning! Anyhow, I am sure someone will be along shortly with a "yesbutt" argument but actually, I need to go get my dogs!
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Well-Known Member
Very insightfull Northwest.

On the other hand, in a similar to works of art etc. a rifle is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it!

The Mona Lisa may be worth millions to someone, but as far as I'm concerned, it's not even worth the change in my pocket :)

(Speaking as a tight Yorkshireman of course!)