Things to look for in used rifle?

So I almost bought a used 10/22 today. The seller told me that it has just been sitting on the shelf at a gun shop for a long time (I’m weary of guns that have been sitting for a long time). It was a really cool set up. It had a pistol grip and a stock that held two spare mags that come with the rifle. The receiver looked in good shape. There was some ware on the stock. I could tell it was an after market stock. There was rust on the sling mounts. I wasn’t sure if their was rust on parts I couldn’t see like in the barrel.

I really liked it, but I backed out because my gut told me too. What do y’all look for in a used rifle?


I’m not an expert ok. I would not be afraid of rust being on the sling mounts. Your outside rust is usually do to touching it without wiping it off with oil.

When I’m looking at a used rifle. First thing I do is rack the chamber a few times and listen and feel for grinding. Look at the Inside parts you can see. Are they oil wet (shinny like oil has-been there)? Or are the metal dry (dull looking as in dry)? If it is dull looking, then be cautious. Rust could have built-up if oil wasn’t applied before the years of it sitting on a shelf.

Also take a whiff inside the chamber. If it smells musty or like mildew then walk away. Can almost guaranteed rust at that point.

I put my Marlin model 60 away in a gun cabinet 10 years. I oiled it before doing so. When I finally got it back out, there was still a shinny look to it. So I put some oil in it and started shooting. Everything was all good.

This is just my opinion and how I decide if I should buy a used rifle or not.


I agree with you, there was just something about it that made me unconformable. There was a rubber part on the pistol grip starting to fall off. My assumption is that the internals are probably close to perfect, but the stock is what’s questionable. It was a really cool stock, but I’d rather just buy a standard rugar and upgrade it myself. It will probably be a good shooter for someone though, and it seemed like a good deal with the bonus 2 mags.

I had originally gone to the shop to see if they had a new Rugar that was there the other day (it had the American flag finish and would be a fun toy to have and eventually pull out when my kids are older). With that I’d at least get the Rugar Warranty.

I just don’t want to spend $300 on a used gun and then be disappointed. Thanks for the tip about sniffing the chamber, I will use that in the future.


Truth be told, I wouldn’t pay 300 for a used 10/22. Unless it was in perfect condition. And I mean perfect condition.

This is my 10/22 with original Woodstock. It’s about 30 years old. Of course you see the 110 round mag laying there.


Used guns are a lot like used cars “It was owned by a little old lady that took it to church and the store” “It has been sitting in a safe for years and the owner just wanted to pass it on”. Let your eyes and your fingers be the arbiter of condition. A smooth action and a bore full of dust bunnies might be a pristine tube in need of cleaning.

Know the particulars of the critter you are looking at, if it is a collector piece (or collectable) you should know more than the seller. I do military rifles and I have notes in my phone (I used to keep them in my wallet) of basic things to look for in various platforms to include serial number ranges and markings etc.

For modern guns I want to SEE the gun and for rifles that means out of the stock. If they won’t let you pop the stock then you don’t need the stick. For pistols I generally already have it apart before they can complain. I have also done it with rifles. I had an M1 Garand stripped down before the kid behind the counter knew what happened. When he told me to stop I said “OK, fine, you put it back together.” The terror in his eyes was priceless. I didn’t buy the rifle as it was miss matched but I did give the kid a lesson on how to assemble and re assemble one, that accually drew a crowd.




That is awesome! :joy::joy: I would like to own a Garand one day.