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% figures that determine a guns condition.......

JackRussellTerrierJackRussellTerrier Member Posts: 14 ✭✭
edited January 2003 in Ask the Experts
Are there very specific guidelines for determining the condition of a gun? If so where can I find a listing or explanation on this subject?

For instance, if an SP-89 is listed for sale and described as being in 98.5%, what exactly does that mean and how was the figure 98.5% realized?

Thanks in advance.


  • nelchrisnelchris Member Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hey,Most use the National Rifle Association Standards of Condition of Modern Firearms
  • nmyersnmyers Member Posts: 16,846 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Each issue of Fjestad's Blue Book of Gun Values has many high quality photos of guns at the front of the book. He rates them by % of finish, and explains the basis for the rating. While not an exact science, experience helps us to become more precise.

    This is far more objective way to describe a gun than "fine", "very good", etc. It's also why I always ask sellers, "If the gun is not as you described, will you refund the purchase price plus shipping both ways?" Anyone confident of his description should be willing to do this.

  • TennisproTennispro Member Posts: 16 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    What would the NRA standards be, and where could I find them. I am new to this so sorry for simple question!
  • D@DD@D Member Posts: 4,407
    edited November -1
    If you can get your hands on the Blue Book of Gun Values the definitions are in thier.

    nmyers you beat me to the punch.
  • ATFATF Member Posts: 11,683 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    FACTORY NEW: All original parts; 100% original finish; in perfect condition in every respect, inside and out.
    EXCELLENT: All original parts; over 80% original finish; sharp lettering, numerals, and design on metal and wood; unmarred wood; fine bore.
    FINE: All original parts; over 30% original finish; sharp lettering, numerals, and design on metal and wood; minor marks in wood; good bore.
    VERY GOOD: All original parts; none to 30% original finish; original metal surfaces smooth with all edges sharp; clear lettering, numerals and design on metal; wood slightly scratched or bruised; bore disregarded for collectors firearms.
    GOOD: Some minor replacement parts; metal smoothly rusted or lightly pitted in places, cleaned or reblued; principal lettering, numerals, and design on metal legible; wood refinished, scratched, bruised, or minor cracks repaired; in good working order.
    FAIR: Some major parts replaced; minor replacement parts may be required; metal rusted, may be lightly pitted all over, vigorously cleaned or reblued; rounded edges on metal and wood; principal lettering, numerals, and design on metal partly obliterated; wood scratched, bruised, cracked, or repaired where broken; in fair working order or can be easily repaired and placed in working order.


  •[email protected] Member Posts: 582 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have sold few guns on the auctions. I always describe the gun to the best of my ability, never had a complaint. However I must disagree with nmyers, I would never agree to paying for the shipping both ways if not satisfied. You will always find someone who will take advantage of this in trying to bargain a better deal. If someone is truely not happy I will do what it take to make the deal good. However to agree in advance to what nmyers suggested I feel you are setting your self up. Plus not being a dealer you are going to shipping plus what it would take for your dealer to receive the gun for you. So you are talking about $40.00. I suggest if you are going to sell guns here just be honest! I bought a couple gun as well from the auction and I feel the gun were as discribed. So I feel most people try to be honest with discripetions. If you are looking at selling guns remember, treat people as you want to be treated.
  • rballirballi Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have always wondered the same thing. I have the blue book and others describing condition % and the diff between NIB, fine, excellent, etc. But the eye is in the beholder. I'm sure the seller always rates high and the buyer always rates low. What what exactly determines %98.5? What causes a %1.5 deduction from %100? For example lets say we have a used gun, a revolver, that has been shot, there are powder rings in front of the cylinder and a dragline around the cylinder, the rest of the blueing has no visible signs of wear or rust, the wood grips are perfect with no nicks or dings; is that a %95, %98, %92 gun? OK, same gun with nicks on wood? Same gun unfired, but dragline from playing with it? OK how about a 1911 style semi-auto perfect blue, but scratch in wood grips and wear around the grip safety? Same gun with scratch on frame from putting in the slide stop in a hurry? One freckle of rust that can be taken off with steel wool & oil? One pit of rust under the grips?

    Does the maker of the gun also dictate forgiveness in rating? Would you rate a Colt Gold Cup better than a Llama 45 with the same wear? Would you rate a Python or S&W 19 better than an RG or Taurus with the same wear?

    Then comes stainless & polymyer guns that are harder to judge because they don't show wear the same as blued guns unless they are really abused.

    OK, enough ranting, any other comments?
  • nmyersnmyers Member Posts: 16,846 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Not ranting, just a good description of the variables that anyone is likely to see when describing a gun.

    The answer is, a gun's description should be complete, concise, and accurate; it should be so precise that the other person can picture it in his mind and know EXACTLY how it will look. The make, model, & options should be noted. The originality of all parts should be stated. The percent of finish (original or refinished) should be stated, & it shouldn't be more than 1 or 2% off. All damage, alterations, & additions should be noted. Accessories that go with the gun should be noted.

    My observation of auction listings leads me to believe that many guns, especially US military guns which I collect, are not described accurately. I have been stung too often by the sharpies who have made "honest" mistakes. I've sold/traded dozens of guns over the years, and I always offer to refund shipping both ways if the buyer thinks that it is not as described. Guess what? NO ONE has ever returned a gun. That's because I always describe them accurately. Anyone who is afraid to offer the same kind of guaranty needs to find a new hobby/business.

  • rhmc24rhmc24 Member Posts: 1,984 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The NRA, the percentage and other 'package' descriptions are at best only a general guide for anything less than perfect or factory new. Language can give a pretty good description of one uses enough of it, enough words that is. Even that breaks down because everyone has his/her own set of meanings that words convey. Photography is a great help if it is done well enough. Nothing compares with one's one eyeball exam of the piece. As others have said, a guarantee of total satisfaction or total refund is the only way to deal.
  • He DogHe Dog Member Posts: 50,696 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    That is more cynical than is usual for you Saxon. I have bought items I thought were described as a higher percentage than I would have given, but I also bought a rifle described as 98% and thought that was pretty accurate. Could I distinguish between 94% and 98%? Nope, and I doubt anyone else could either, pretty subjective. I took 98% to mean "pretty darned close to like new," and it was.
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