Gun buying guide We’ve covered all aspects of purchase in our gun buying guide here with many articles on the subject. You could be new to shooting and looking for a first gun. Or maybe you’re in the market for a second-hand bargain.

Our experts have tried and tested both and second-hand guns in our extensive gun reviews which cover rifles, shotguns, air rifles, semi-autos and pump-action shotguns.

You’ll get an informed opinion and you can search by manufacturer,  price or type.

Perhaps you’re considering buying a rifle for stalking or upgrading your favourite over-and-under. Or maybe you need an air rifle for pest control.

second-hand guns Should you buy new or second-hand?

Whichever route you go down you’ll have the excitement of taking out your gun on its first shoot.

Many British-made shotguns are more affordable now than they have been for years but most guns purchased are imports.

Buying new means you have certain statutory rights and a guarantee which usually covers parts and labour for a certain period.

But if your budget is limited you could think about buying a second-hand model of the gun you really want. You’ll stay within your budget and avoid depreciation.

inspecting a shotgun Buy the best you can afford 

This holds true whether you are buying a new gun or second-hand.

Makes that are affordable include Bettinsoli and Sabatti, along with anglicised versions such as the Lincoln range of over-and-unders. Turkish brands such as Yildiz, Huglu and Khan, some with stunning walnut, are really the sort of gun to consider buying new.

If you’re buying second-hand, our gun buying guide is always to buy a gun that’s in the best condition. Rizzini and Caesar Guerini are the sorts of gun with nicely styled stockwork and good handling where buying second- hand can make savings. As for the two stalwarts, Beretta and Browning, from the point of view of a second-hand purchase, sometimes, if you are lucky, savings can be made, but generally they hold their price well, which is one of the attractions of ownership.

Buying privately

Q: I would like to get a shotgun and, with a limited budget, I have decided to buy one second-hand. I have seen a private advert for a model that I like the sound of and the seller sounds reputable (he is known to several of my shooting friends). Is there anything I should be aware of before going ahead with a private purchase?

A: Bill Harriman, Chief Firearms Officer at BASC advises: ” I always think it is a good idea to buy a gun from a dealer rather than from a friend or private person’s advert. Admittedly you will be paying for the dealer’s profit, but this does at least give you the security of buying a gun whose state has been properly assessed and described. Also, if anything does go wrong, it is generally more effective to sue a dealer who will be protective of his reputation and vulnerable to the attentions of the police.”

Shotguns | Rifles | Over-and-Under | Side-by-Side | Air rifles | Buying a gun second-hand | Budget guns

What is the best shotgun for wildfowling?

Wildfowlers are a loose collection of tribes and mystics. While the tribes jostle for imaginary points over which is the best gun or calibre to use, the mystics are the ghosts of the foreshore, confident in their choice of both. They are most often seen at the club’s annual AGM,…

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What to look for when buying a gun

It always amazes me how people will buy a gun based on its looks, even before they’ve looked at how well it’s built and how it handles. Perhaps some manufacturers do that deliberately; if they can churn out well-figured stocks and laser up some pretty engraving, then for some customers it…

buying a second-hand air rifle

Buying a second-hand air rifle: here’s how to do it

You can save a wad of your hard-earned cash by buying a second-hand air rifle. But if you don’t know what to look out for, you could also end up with something worthless. Here’s my step-by-step guide to buying a second-hand air rifle so you make the right decision. (You…

air rifle pest control

How to choose an air rifle that’s right for you

Before you choose an air rifle you need to think about what you want to use your air rifle for? A bit of backyard plinking? Target practice? Pest control? Set a budget and stick to it. (Read our guide to the best air rifles under £500). Go to air gun…

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Shotgun moderators: a few discreet options to be considering

Sound moderators are now part of the British shooting fabric and an almost must-have item for rifle shooters. For shotgunners, however, shotgun moderators are still a specialised item. You have a choice of fully suppressed shotguns with in-built silencing – the original Hushpower moderated shotguns from the Saddlery and Gunroom…


Top 10 guns for game

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Best lightweight rifles – we test a selection

I was two-thirds the way up ‘the Ben’ and puffing some when my companion started. “You should get a lightweight rifle, like mine,” he said. At that moment any rifle would have been too heavy, but I refrained from replying that maybe the 40-year difference in our ages ought to…

shotguns for under £1000

20 of the best shotguns for under £1000

Finding a gun at the right price can be tough. We’ve listed 20 shotguns for under £1000 here that we think are well worth a look, both new and second-hand. It’s also worth reading our advice on buying a shotgun second-hand where you might pick up a real bargain. If…

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15 of the best shotguns for clay pigeon shooting

1. Kofs Sceptre from £450 This made the list of best shotguns for clay pigeon shooting because it’s a great beginner’s gun for those on a budget. Good quality for a low price. Kofs come in 28, 20 and 12 gauge, with various barrel lengths and upgrades available.    …

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What’s my best gun for shooting clays and game?

Can you use a clay gun on a pheasant shoot? Yes. A lot of the differences between a clay and a game gun are subtle. Ventilated and wider ribs, manual safety and slightly different woodwork won’t really stand out on a game day. Most of the day the gun will…


Why there should be no snobbery about semi-automatics

Semi-automatics are enduringly popular with the gun-buying public. For people coming into the sport of shooting, they tick many boxes. Advantages of semi-automatics They are relatively cheap, so first-time buyers are immediately drawn to the attractive price tag. Also, it should not be overlooked that the option of a third…

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Is the side-by-side shotgun history?

“Snobbery and inheritance are the only reasons why people use a side-by-side.” So said one keen Shot, once described as the best of his generation. “But I’m not that bothered. I just like to shoot straight.” So is a side-by-side old fashioned? Turn up for a day’s shooting in some neighbourhoods…

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What you need to know about adjustable shotguns

Would having an adjustable shotgun improve matters? The shotgun is evolving. Most shotgun manufacturers are developing new designs, models or features for their guns. We are the other part of the equation in that we probably believe that if we have the latest gun we will shoot better. We are…

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Are adjustable gunstocks a worthwhile investment?

Adjustable gunstocks – definitely not worth it Robin Scott says: Most guns with adjustable stocks can only be altered for length, drop and cast. These are important, but they are but a part of the bigger gunfit picture. For instance, adjustable gunstocks don’t let us make minor changes to such…

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Getting a first air rifle

My parents bought me a second-hand Diana Model 23 .177 air rifle in 1984 as my first air rifle. The bluing was well on its way out and the cheap beech woodwork bore the marks of a life of hard graft. A series of hatches were etched into the stock,…


How to pick the right gun for you

Whether you’re looking to buy a brand new gun or second-hand, what should you be considering? Visiting any gunshop you are faced with racks and racks of guns, so how do you pick the right gun for you? The one that is going to enable you to shoot to the…