How can you tell if a gun has not been shot

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by 45flint, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. 45flint

    45flint Member

    Aug 13, 2009
    I just bought an old H&R 32 long made in 1920. It seems to me to show no signs of being shot. What are the best signs of a gun being shot?
  2. ignats

    ignats Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    usually revolvers will show some residue on the face of the cylinders if they have been shot some. Depending the amount of shooting, there could be some tell tale wear around the forcing cone. I think most guns are at least test fired at the factory prior being shipped off.

  3. Zane71464

    Zane71464 Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2009
    Ohio NRA Member
    Yep, what ignats said.
    I found an older Single Six, new model at a gun shop and the man said an elderly
    man brought it in on a trade and to look, it looked like it had never been fired at
    first glance. (factory, sure) But got it home and had to look close, but on the
    cylinder face I could tell it had been fired some, very little.
  4. 45flint

    45flint Member

    Aug 13, 2009
    can't see any residue on cylinder faces, I see no bullet case marks by the fire pin?
  5. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    When I was young I bought a Ruger Blackhawk .357 in the old 3 screw version. The end of the cylinder had just slight heat rings on it. I figured it had been shot a bunch. I took it out shooting and after the first cylinder full I looked at the cylinder and the heat rings were very well distinguished. All revolvers will have a light heat ring at the end of the cylinder. But once you begin shooting it, they will become even more prominent. What I had learned from that revolver, I had a revolver that had never been shot by the owner, or at least not much. Then they pawned it and I got it. It was a 4 5/8" barrel in magnificent condition. I ended up selling it and came out ahead on it. Sometimes I wish I hadn't of done that.
  6. ignats

    ignats Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    I think you have to assume that all guns have been fired even if they are "new in the box". Condition and original is the main thing that collectors use in valuation. At best, you can say "like new condition" or "99% finish" or "has seen little or no use". An experienced collector might be able to find other signs. That takes a lot of experience by looking at many examples.
  7. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
  8. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    It also depends on the condition of the gun, it the condition is too go to be true then it probably is. Guns can be refinished and never fired so those tell tail signs that a gun has been fired are erased.
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    IMHO, factory proof/test firing is a given, and mandatory in most countries except the U.S. So the best that can be said is that a gun has not been fired outside the factory. Whether and how much it might have been fired after that, is sometimes difficult to tell. A gun fired little and cleaned by an expert will simply not show any of the normal signs of use.

    I will accept a gun as "unfired" if it show none of the signs of use (and I do know what to look for). Actually there are quite a few "unfired" guns out there. People have a tendency to buy a gun with some vague idea of home defense, but then put it in a drawer and never fire it or sometimes even load it. Small guns tend more than large ones to be kept that way. For example, .32 Colt 1903 hammerless pistols in unfired condition are fairly common. But an unfired S&W Model 19 would be a rarity. Folks who own the latter guns tend to shoot them, a lot.

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