Break the gun down into component parts so you don't miss anything

Don’t be afraid to ask the seller to break the gun down into component parts, so you don’t miss anything

If you’re looking to buy a second-hand gun and want to know how to go about it, then you’re in the right place.

Our gun experts have come up with some key tips so you get the best available gun for your money and don’t make an expensive mistake. 

If there’s a particular model you have in mind, browse through our gun reviews to see what our reviewer thought of it.

Different prices, different models

We also have round-ups on the best second-hand guns in different price ranges, best second-hand all-rounders and clayshooting guns. Or how about a prestigious English gun? 

Like a used car, there are some excellent used guns out there and some that are definitely not a bargain.

Where to buy

Should you buy a gun from a friend? A registered firearms dealer? What’s best?

The important thing is to do your homework first – so browse through these articles which tell you what you need to know.

Quick checklist

  • Don’t be afraid to ask the seller to have the gun stripped and shown fully
  • Check the gun is not off the face
  • Look for pitting in the barrel
  • Make sure there are no cracks or oil soak in the stock
  • If possible, fire the gun
best air rifles under £500

Six popular air rifles for under £500

One of the greatest appeals of airgun shooting is its affordability. For a few hundred pounds — and sometimes significantly less — you can pick up an air rifle that should give years of reliable service. With Christmas looming large 
on the horizon, it is likely more than a few…

Lots from Holt's auctioneers

How about a hammer gun for the coming season?

A sealed bid auction ending this Thursday 5th July provides a unique platform for buyers to pick up a wide variety of sporting guns, rifles, antiques and associated (and sometimes completely unassociated) accessories and ephemera. Highest bid wins at full value Utilising the ‘sealed bid’ format, clients have a set…

shotguns for under £1000

20 best shotguns for under £1000

Lincoln Vogue Game 
20-bore Country of origin: Italy Price: £925 new The elegance of this gun suggests that it should cost more than £1,000. The action is neatly blacked to match the barrels, and the inlaid gold-coloured game birds form a neat contrast with the trigger. Even the internal workings…

second-hand guns

A gunsmith’s guide to buying guns second-hand

What’s the best way to go about buying guns second-hand  though? What do you look for and what are the potential pitfalls? To find out more I visited The Country Sports Shop in Devon to speak to the experts. I met shop manager Chris Lamb, himself a keen shooting man…

Pair of Purdey guns

Can I buy a Purdey or Holland & Holland on a budget?

Is it possible to buy a Purdey or Holland & Holland side-by-side on a budget of between £2,000 to £3,000? If so, would it be reliable for gameshooting all the time and not just for special occasions?

The wild rabbit

Which .22 rifle should I choose for rabbit shooting?

Rabbit shooting: I have been shooting air rifles and shotguns since I was 10 and now have my first firearms certificate after getting permission to shoot on a large farm with a rabbit problem.

Browning B525 Game shotgun

Secondhand Browning – three of the best for an all-rounder

Max price: £1,250 Type: O/U game or Sporter Main purpose: clays, pigeons and game Preferred make: Browning Mike George’s buying advice for choosing the best used Browning for an all-rounder When John Moses Browning’s famous B25 model first appeared in the gun shops in 1926, the makers boasted that it…

Break the gun down into component parts so you don't miss anything

What you need to know about buying a gun second-hand

Last year I was on the BASC stand at the Game Fair at Hatfield House. A young chap came up to me and said that he had been given my name by one of the clay coaches who thought I might be able to help him buying a gun second-hand.…

Beretta A400 28-bore semi-auto

Second-hand small-bore shotguns – what to buy?

A second-hand 28-bore or a .410? With more than £1,000 to spend on a small-bore shotgun, either a 28-bore or a .410, our reader has plenty of scope. In fact, he could buy a new gun if he so wished, particularly if he looked at the Turkish market. If he…

bargain second-hand semi-auto

The best second-hand semi-autos for under £850

“I wish to buy a semi-auto, mainly for clays but also for a little pigeon shooting. I don’t really want to spend more than £850, and I want one made by one of the major, well-established manufacturers.” Finding a bargain second-hand semi-auto Did you know up to 75 per cent…

proof marks

Proof marks and re-proofing a gun

(Q) I read that a sportsman had to have his gun re-proofed. However, I always thought that unless a gun was being repaired or was very old, this was not necessary. What are the conditions and requirements that demand a gun should be re-proofed? C. WILD By email

clayshooting grounds

Three of the best second-hand clayshooting guns for beginners

Buyer’s brief:  “I have been shooting clays for the past six months with guns hired from the shooting ground. Most of these have been various versions of Beretta Silver Pigeons, which I do like, though I have no experience of other guns. I have a budget of £1,000 to £1,500,…

Rizzini RB EM 16-bore

“I’m looking for an elegant second-hand boxlock – please help”

Buyer’s brief: “I am a clay and walked-up game shooter, and I am looking for a really elegant gun to replace my ageing Browning B125. I could spend a little more than £5,000, but I would rather pay out less and use the surplus cash on lessons with a coach…

Beretta 687 EELL

Three of the classiest boxlocks around

“I would dearly love to be able to afford a sidelock O/U from a prestigious maker, but I can’t afford one. Instead, I am going to have to settle for a side-plated boxlock. I have a budget in mind, but I will happily exceed it to get the right gun.”…

What’s a good second-hand rifle for deer stalking?

Q:  I want my son to come out stalking with me; he is keen and a good shot. Can you recommend 
a good-value second-hand rifle? Will any brand be OK providing the rifle meets the right specifications, and 
if so what specifications should I be looking for? A: It is…

Northern Shooting Show

20 popular second-hand all-rounders

If your budget is £750 and under Baikal This is one of my top 10 guns built in the last half century and it’s cheap, reliable with the Baikal reputation for toughness. On most over-and-unders the ejectors can be turned off, and firing the top barrel first is selected by…

woman with shotgun in field

A look at three second-hand, low recoil guns

It surprises me that sensitivity to recoil seems to have little to do with physical build. I’ve met guys built like Jack who find recoil painful, and also skinny guys like me who don’t seem to suffer at all. It’s not that I don’t bruise when shooting heavy loads, but…

game gun

Three popular game guns to buy second-hand

Mike George’s buying advice for game guns When people ask for multi-use, most experienced shooters recommend a sporter. Sporters are built to tackle our domestic sporting disciplines and similar targets under the international FITASC rules, all of which try to simulate targets encountered in field shooting. Most sporters weigh within…