Well maintained handguns can hold their value very well. From rare and one-of-a-kind antique pistols to everyday workhorse revolvers, used handguns often have second, third, and fourth lives after the original owner has moved on. So if you’re in the market for an everyday revolver, what are some of the most common points you should examine if you’re unable to have the revolver examined professionally?
If the revolver you looking at has adjustable sights, take a close look at the rear sight. Is it near the center or is it shifted to the extreme on one side or the other? Adjustable sights that are to the extreme can indicate that there is an issue with accuracy. If at all possible, ask the seller for the chance to fire the handgun to ensure that the accuracy is as it should be.
After ensuring that the gun isn’t loaded, take a moment to look down the barrel in search of any bulges. You should do the same with the cylinder of any revolver. Bulges in either component is a major issue and should be brought to the attention of the seller. Bulges in the barrel or cylinder are also cause for any buyer to walk away from a purchase, no questions asked.
Once you’ve ensured that both the barrel and cylinder are free of any bulges, take a few moments to examine the overall cleanliness of the handgun. If the gun is an antique, does the patina look appropriate? Are there any scratches or dings on the muzzle? Is the inside of the barrel freshly oiled? Freshly oiled barrels can be a sign that the current owner is attempting to hide any potential imperfections as the oil reflects and inspection light.
Cylinder Gap and Firing Pin
Because of the rotation of the cylinder in revolvers, the cylinder gap is critical. Be sure to rotate the cylinder at least one time around to ensure that the cylinder is properly balanced and the spacing is appropriate – not too far, or too tight. The ideal spacing for any revolver cylinder is .006″, but should never exceed .010″. Once you’ve given the cylinder an all clear, be sure to examine the firing pin as well. The tip of the pin should be rounded and smooth, not pointed and sharp. The firing pin hole should also be free of chips or dings.
Get It Inspected
Unless you have a great deal of experience in examining firearms, your best bet is to have an expert lend their eye to any handgun you’re looking to purchase. Using an online escrow service is an excellent way to build in time for you to have any handgun examined before parting with your purchase funds, as funds should not be released without your say so. Online escrow also benefits the seller as all funds are verified and held upfront – removing all risk of nonpayment.
For more information on buying and selling firearms online see our posts about shipping firearm accessories, shipping ammunition and protecting yourself against fraudulent federal firearms licenses.