May 18th, 2013

Tips for Buying and Selling Gun Stuff Online

online sales auctionsThese days, online gun auctions are busier than ever. Many folks are purchasing arms for the first time, and sellers are enjoying good prices for their wares based on increased demand. Some people even think that guns may be a safer investment than real estate or bonds at this time. That’s questionable, but this Editor finds it ironic that most of his guns have held their value while the price of gold has dropped over 25% in the past couple of years. For those with extensive collections (and gun safes bursting at the seams), this may be an opportune time to “thin out” your holding and sell off little-used (or less favored) rifles and pistols.

To assist our readers with the gun buying and selling process, we’ve prepared a guide to Selling Your Stuff Online. This quick guide surveys the major online sales and auction sites, comparing their fees and features. The costs are NOT all the same. Did you know that charges sellers 5% of the first $25.00, plus 2.5% of the value from $25.00 – $1000.00, plus 1.5% of the remaining value ($1000+). For a $3000.00 gun that’s over $50.00 in sales commissions! That’s why many sellers prefer to list their rifles on for just $3.00, or right here on for FREE!

CLICK HERE for article about online Classifieds and Auction Sites.

SIX TIPS for Selling Your Gear Online

1. Include Good, Sharp Photos: A custom rifle or expensive optic will sell two to three times as quickly, at a higher price, if you include good sharp photos. We can’t over-emphasize the importance of good photos. For all products, show multiple angles, and include the original boxes if you still have them. For a rifle, include detail shots as well as a photo of the complete gun.

2. Resize Your Photos Before Posting: Remember that many readers have monitors that only display 800-1000 pixels in screen width. We recommend you size your photos down to 600×480 pixels, or 800×600 at the most.

3. Be Fair and Complete in Your Description: Buyers appreciate honesty and thoroughness in product descriptions. Potential buyers want details. For a rifle, list the gunsmith, barrel-maker, round count, and provide the specifications. If the rifle has a winning competition history, say so. Always highlight the positives in your description, but you should disclose significant flaws. A buyer will be more willing to purchase if he thinks the seller is 100% honest.

4. Don’t Forget Contact Info: We’re amazed by how many adverts omit key contact info. In a forum classified ad, include your phone number, and email address in your listing. Include a first name, e.g. “Ask for Dan.” We also suggest you list your residence city and state. Some buyers will prefer to buy from a seller in their home state.

5. Make the Price Attractive: Buyers, everywhere, are looking for good deals. If you want your item to move quickly, set the price accordingly and don’t expect top dollar. Check comparable listings and then discount by 10-15% if you want the item to move fast.

6. Include a Call to Action: Advertisements can be twice as effective if they include a “Call to Action”, i.e. a statement that directly inspires the potential buyer to respond. Sample calls to action are: “Free Shipping — today only.” Or, you can use a time limit: “Special Sale Price good ’til the end of the month. Act soon”.

Classified Advert vs. Auctions
For benchrest, F-Class, Silhouette, Tactical or High Power rifles, you may get the best results posting a For Sale ad on a Forum that caters to the right discipline. You want your ad to reach the right audience. On the other hand, a auction will have tens of thousands of potential buyers. Realistically, however, if you price your rig attractively, it should sell quickly in a Forum Classified Advert. Plus with conventional Classifieds, you can sell immediately — you don’t have to wait for the auction to end. For scopes and reloading equipment (but not firearms, actions, barrels etc.), also consider eBay, which still allows many gun-related items.