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Gun auctions: the do’s and don’ts

You can pick up something very special but you need to obey the rules

gun auctions

Gun auctions are an interesting day out, so take your time when you plan to visit one.

(Read more tips on buying a gun at auction here.)

Gun auctions

Buying a gun at auction

Take along an experienced friend if you are new to shooting

You should

  • Definitely attend the viewing or send along a friend who knows about guns. There’s nothing like handling the gun to get a proper feel of what you are buying. You’ll also need to know that it fits you.
  • Take a knowledgeable friend with you if you can. Definitely if you are a novice shooter.
  • The look of the gun will tell you a lot about it. If it has scratches and visible wear, then it’s seen hard action.
  • Condition is everything when you are buying second-hand. (Read more on buying second-hand guns here.)
  • Give yourself a budget and don’t budge from it, no matter how much you are tempted.
  • Take a gun slip with you to the auction to take your gun home.
  • Take your shotgun or firearms certificate with you. Make sure it is up to date and you have the necessary permission. (Read more on how to get a shotgun or firearm certificate.)
  • Make sure you have room in your gun cabinet for your new gun or that you have a gun cabinet installed already. (Read more on gun cabinets here.)


  • Bid for a gun that you haven’t looked seen in the viewing.
  • Lose your head in a bidding competition. You could spend more than the gun is worth.
  • Forget your shotgun or firearms certificate.
  • Bid for a gun that doesn’t fit you.
  • Buy your first gun at an auction.

Do you have to tell the police when you send a gun to auction?

Six points for a gun check

  1. Examine the woodwork. It should be free from cracks and not softened by oil.
  2. No dents, bulges or pitting on the barrels.
  3. Ribs should not be loose.
  4. The ejectors should work properly on both barrels
  5. Listen for a tight closing and positive locking sound
  6. The ideal clearance between the barrels and the breech face when the gun is closed is zero.