Notes on the Purchase of Second-Hand Shotguns
The purchase of a second- hand shotgun involves somewhat similar risks to those incurred in buying a second- hand motor car, or an expensive second-hand watch. Each to a degree is the product of skilled craftsmen and in none is it a simple matter for the layman to detect every defect or weakness. When contemplating the purchase or sale of a used gun, cheek must he made that the proof marks remain valid. Proof Marks indicate the soundness of the gun when it was last proved, but the gun may have been so altered that it is unproved at law although the proof marks remain. It is suggested that the gun be submitted to a reputable gunmaker for a report on its condition prior to completion of the deal.
Where difficulty is experienced in obtaining such a report, a request may be made to one of the Proof Houses for a Proof Status Report advising whether the gun is or is not in a fully proved condition. A report of this nature may be invaluable because a gun may have a number of faults not apparent to the inexpert eye.
It is strongly reccommended that overseas purchasers consider requesting that their prospective purchase be sent to one of the Proof Houses before they complete their deal.
The Proof Houses should not be expected to advise as to the mecahnical condition, quality, or value; but the report should determine:-
1. Whether the gun has been nitro proved, bears the relative proof marks and is suitable for use with modern cartridges.
2. Whether the bores have been enlarged since the barrels were last proved.
3. Whether the barrels are in good condition generally: that is, ftee from rust, pitting, dents and bulges.
4. Whether the chambers have been altered to accept a longer case since the gun was last proved.
5. Whether the action is “off the face” from the barrels, or otherwise loose.
6. Whether the action is Structurally Sound.
It is regrettably true that there are guns offered for sale by irresponsible persons, which would not pass examination satisfactorily on any one of the several points listed above. Closer co-operation between the shooting public, gun-makers, and the Proof Authorities must result in a reduction of the risks involved in the purchase of second-hand guns from chance acquaintance, unscrupulous dealers, or misinformed friends.