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Before anyone can render a judgment, some information from the gun owner should be supplied. Then a more accurate evaluation can be made (subject always to a visual inspection.) Digital or photo pictures are very helpful take at least 3 -- (1) side of the action (2) top of the action including some of the barrel and the tang (3) buttstock and buttplate (4) action, opened, if possible. Use natural light if at all possible, or fluorescent light, and avoid taking a picture of the glare.
Then, examine the firearm and describe the following:
1. Action does the firearm function as it should as made by the manufacturer? How does it cock? How is the opening and closing of the action? If there is an external hammer, with two hands, pull the trigger while holding the hammer, does it let off with a modest amount of pull? If you don't post pictures what type of action is it -- bolt action, lever action, pump?
2. Inside of the barrel (clean it out first if you can) if a rifle or pistol, are the lands and grooves sharp and clean? Is there pitting in the barrel, rust, or erosion pits or rings Shotgun smooth and shiny? NOTE: On older guns like early Marlins, it is perfectly OK to have a barrel that has been relined -- as long as the relining was done well by factory or competent gunsmith. (Stevens used to advertise that customers should send their "shot-out" .22 barrels back, to be rebored and rifled to the next larger caliber.)
3. Manufacturers markings, list the exact language stamped on the firearm (sometimes this is very important) including symbols and other markings like patent dates and of course the model name and number and the caliber, if there is this information. If there are multiple serial numbers, do they match?
4. Serial numbers, List the serial numbers, but only list the last one or two digits as an X, for example, 1234XX (this protects you and your gun) --However, look for more than one serial number, because sometimes a barrel has been replaced and is different than the frame & some times they were sent from the factory with different serial numbers such as on my Marlin 1881, so not necessarily bad but good information to know. You can usually find serial numbers on the tang, on the bottom of the receiver near the barrel, on the barrel, they can often be found on the side of the tang but you need to remove the butt to expose the side of tang and some even have it burned inside the stock. Be aware there are firearms that do not have serial numbers such as some 22s prior to 1968.
5. Metal finish, usually most firearms were blued or case colored although some frames such as Stevens were plated with nickel, etc. Test the frame with a magnet to see if it is made of brass or iron. Describe the quality and amount of the finish (for example, old blue turning brown, with light rust splotches� or about 75% bright blue with worn spots on action or action was color-case hardened with some left showing (CCH is the pretty mottled coloring found on some receivers and parts) Are there any dents or abrasions on the barrel? Has the firearm been re-blued, and if so, is it an expert job with numbers and letters and edges sharp and clear?
6. Repairs to the metal and wood, has the gun been repaired, with obvious changed parts, bad screws, broken stocks with screws or pins, describe them.
7. Wood - - does the wood finish appear original, even if worn? How much is left, describe as a % percent? Has the wood been refinished (look for varnish on metal parts, etc)
8. Sights, describe the sights as best you can, and especially, whether or not they look original, and if they are missing any parts or have homemade� parts, is there a tang sight, if so what brand if marked?
9. Accessories, Take down, extra barrel, engraving, checkering on the wood, describe what and where?
10. Provenance, where did the firearm come from, how long ago was it used, how was it stored (makes a difference on rusting, etc) is the firearm an old family possession?
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