Selling Guns and Gear Online
In today’s world, the Internet provides the easiest, most economical means to sell precision firearms, high-end optics, and specialized reloading tools. On our AccurateShooter Forum, we have a very active Marketplace with FREE Classifieds for registered Forum members. If an item is priced attractively, even a big-ticket item, there’s a good chance it may sell within 48 hours or even sooner. One Forum member told us: “Stuff sells fast on your Forum. I had a take-off barrel on the Savage Forum for a couple weeks with no takers. I put it up on the AccurateShooter Forum and it sold the same day.”
The Benchrest Classifieds operated by Benchrest Central is also a good place to sell benchrest guns (both centerfire and rimfire), actions, scopes, rests, and reloading tools. Benchrest Classifieds listings aren’t free, but the $3.00 basic charge is nominal.
Gunbroker and Auction Arms
The mainstream gun auction sites such as Gunbroker.com and Auction Arms have large audiences. These sites are good choices for selling factory rifles, shotguns, or pistols. Gunbroker.com is a bigger site than Auction Arms, with much more traffic. That means more potential buyers, but it also means you’ll be competing with many more sellers. Both sites allow you to set reserve prices, and offer “Buy It Now” (fixed price) options.
How Much Will It Cost?
Listing fees and policies for the important gun classifieds and online auctions are listed below. Check the pricing structure carefully. Gunbroker.com and Auction Arms have sliding-scale fees based on a complicated formula. But basically, the higher the auction price, the more you pay. For a rifle with a $1000.00 high bid, the fee is roughly $26.00 at close of auction. For a $2000.00 sale, the fee would be about $41.00. For a gun sold at auction for $3500.00, the fee would be $63.50. GunsAmerica has tiered fees due on sale–$10 minimum plus another $10 each time you pass a $1K mark. For example, the fee for a $1001-$2000 sale is $20, while the fee for a $2001-$3000 sale is $30.00. That makes a FREE listing on AccurateShooter.com or a $3.00/mo listing on Benchrest Classifieds look very attractive.
Classified Advert vs. Auction
For a precision benchrest, F-Class, Silhouette, Tactical or High Power rifle, you’ll 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 “niche” audience. On the other hand, a GunBroker.com 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. Many gun-related items are still allowed on eBay and it does have a huge audience.
|Online Sales Options — Classifieds & Auction Sites|
|Service||Sale, WTB, or Trade||Sale, WTB, or Trade||Auction +
Buy It Now
Buy It Now
|Sale or Auction|
No Fee on Sale.
No Fee on Sale.
Free for items under $25 price.
On Sale: $1.25 plus 2.5% of $25-$1000 plus 1.5% of $1000+
|$4 signup. Free Insert.
On Sale: $1.25 plus 2.5% over $25 to $1000. Over $1000 is $26 + 1.5% of price over $1000.
$10 up to $1K
$20 up to $2K
$30 up to $3K
2% of price,
|Up to 3 photos, 300 pixels max
|10 per item
|10 per item
|One Image Free. $2 for
2-5 more images.
|Text Limit||No limit||1000 words||No limit||No limit||n/a|
|Time Limit||No Limit||30-day terms||30-day Auction||30-day Auction||7 days or 60 days|
|Comment||Good deals sell fast! Very easy to use. But, old ads don’t self-delete.||Good deals sell fast. Logical categories. Small photos. Listing process somewhat difficult.||Too many commercial sellers. Bad customer service. Must have Credit Card on File.||Not many precision rifle buyers. Server can be slow.||Small photos, hard to navigate, many outdated ads. Complex upgrade options.|
|Active Moderator. E-mails answered promptly.||Webmaster answers E-Mail promptly.||Hopeless.
No Phone #. Confusing FAQs. Emails not answered.
|Support person responds to phone and email.||No phone #. Extensive FAQs. E-mail sometimes answered after 2-3 days.|
|Yes. 15 newest ads appear at top level.||None||Yes. $5 extra fee for Showcase.||Yes. Java feed of closing auctions||Yes. New and Featured Listings (extra fee).|
|n/a||#1 Online Auction*||55,000+
|* While these major auction sites have lots of traffic, their traffic is distributed over many thousands of auctions. It’s easy to get lost on the big sites. AccurateShooter.com and Benchrest.com offer a much higher ratio of visits per listing.|
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. Try using a tarp or blanket to provide a clean background. If you take photos indoors, use flash or set the color balance on your camera so your photos don’t have an ugly greenish or yellow tint.
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. We explain How to Resize Photos below.
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. Include your day and evening phone numbers, 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, make the price very attractive. Check comparable listings and then discount by 10-15% if you want the item to move fast.
6. Include a Call to Action: Research has shown that sale advertisements are up to 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: “Priced to Sell. Call now before this beauty is taken.” Or, you can use a time limit: “Special Sale Price good ’til the end of the month. Act soon”. Or you can include a special promotion: “Free Gun Case offered to ‘Buy It Now’ bidder.”
eBAY is NOT a gun-friendly enterprise, but it is still possible to sell a variety of shooting accessories on the #1 internet auction site. However, in 2007, eBay instituted a policy banning “listings of any firearm part that is required for the firing of a gun. This includes items like bullet tips [sic], brass casings and shells, barrels, slides, cylinders, magazines, firing pins, trigger assemblies, etc.”.
Allowed by eBay: gun cases, rifle scopes, spotting scopes, laser rangefinders, gun stocks, safes, storage cabinets, holsters, reloading dies, reloading tools.
Prohibited by eBay: ALL firearms, barrels, magazines, cartridge brass, bullets, powder, primers, actions or receivers, AR uppers or lowers, triggers, cylinders, slides, fire control assemblies (including firing pins and springs), magazines and ammo clips.
Read eBay’s Firearms, Weapons and Knives Policy for more details — you should know the rules BEFORE you list a questionable item.
Bottom Line: Given its vast audience, eBay is still a good place to sell scopes, gun stocks, and reloading tools. But with premium scopes, such as NightForce and Leupold competition series optics, you may find you get a better price selling through a precision shooting website such as AccurateShooter.com or Benchrest Central Classifieds.
Most digital cameras create very large image sizes by default, as many as 3000 pixels wide. A good size for a Forum post or classified ad is 600×480 pixels. So, you may need to “down-size” your photos before posting them online. 800×600 pixels is the largest size you should try to post.
You should resize your pictures BEFORE you post. It’s easy to re-size your photos. Just open them in an image display program with sizing controls.
MAC users can do this easily with I-Photo. For PC Users, we recommend you download the FREE Irfanview image-editing software. Then simply open the image with Irfanview, select “Image > Resize/Resample” and choose 600×480 or 800×600. Then “Save As” the photo with a new file name. It is very important to CHANGE the FILE NAME or you may alter your hi-rez original!
If you don’t have a digital camera yet… well it’s time to get one. If you’re looking for a high-grade camera at a bargain basement price, we recommend a Canon A-Series, in particular the new Canon A590 IS. Priced under $160.00, it takes razor-sharp photos with great colors. If offers image stabilization and can focus super close for detail shots. While it’s ultra-easy to use, it boasts many advanced features, and very sophisticated auto color balancing–so your images won’t appear mottled or greenish when photographed indoors. The A590 IS also shoots decent video, and can even hook up to a printer without needing a computer.
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