I’ve bought and traded few guns via arms list...only screaming deals and always ftf after lengthy phone conversations with the seller. I’ll say that it would be at the bottom of my list of ways to sell due to the reasons described in Cozmo‘s post: just a ton of trash out there. I don’t sell many guns but when I do my first pitch is to friends and family, if no bites then I look to the local FFL...if I feel I’m not getting the value I want for the items offered I move on to option 3, my Dad who is also an FFL and has a shop about 3hrs away. Bottom line, getting every cent of what your gun is worth is actually not a super easy undertaking these days even given the prevalence of online selling options...so just keep ‘em and buy a bigger safe!
I`ve bought a couple off armslist without any problems. Just make sure of your surroundings (people walking around, good lighting if at night). I`ve always went to a wal-mart parking lot in the daylight hours with no problems.
I've sold on Armslist and it's not terrible. A few rules to follow:
1) never hold anything for more than a day or so
2) meet as close to your home as possible, make it a requirement of the sale so you don't travel far and then get a no show
3) make sure the person you are meeting knows the price is firm, take it or leave it as many will meet and then make a low offer...unless of course you are willing to take a lower price.
4) send good photos, it helps reduce the low offers
5) I only meet at a gun shop for guns (transfers are required here in CO) and in video recorded parking lots, such as a Target or Walmart.
6) know that you will get odd comments and requests, tell them no unless it makes sense to you/for you. Avoid meeting at night or after dark or too early.
7) note no shipping in your ad
8) I suggest a bill of sale and tell people up front you will need a signed bill of sale and will need to see a photo ID if you want that.
9) Like many situations on the internet know that Armslist is made up of people that are on a site of anonymity, they can and will say or do odd things. Ignore it and move on.
10) know the laws and make sure you follow them.
11) I never say no trades in the ad because I've been offered some great trades. I always say cash preferred but trades considered. You will end up with trade requests for TV's, 30 year old RV's and other weird things, it might be worth saying gun trades only if that is your preference.
12) if you are taking a large amount of cash get a $20 pen at the office supply store that will help verify the bill are real, I'd also suggest taking someone with you for the meeting. It's never been a problem but I think it''s prudent regardless of who you are meeting.
I've been selling and buying on Armslist from nearly the beginning of the site and really have run into very few problems but some fantastic deals. Never a safety concern but some odd requests. Just the other day a guy wanted a $10 item held for three weeks and one guy that bought a glock from my son expected the "warranty" to exceed the new factory warranty and was relentless in his partial refund requests. Just know that you are not dealing with knowledgeable people like you have here, many Armslisters have limited knowledge, limited funds and what I would call limited attention spans. If someone says they want something don't delay, meet as soon as you can as the longer you wait the more likely the deal goes away.
Don't give them your main email address or phone number and they can't harass you. I hate the current generation's buyer mentality. Try before you buy, try after you buy, try to get price refunds after you reconsider your buy....on and on. With private sales none of this should be happening. But they look at any seller as a "business", and therefore, they should enjoy all the benefits of retail: warranty, 30 day full refund, layaway plan. It's insane.
I consider private sales the same as old flea markets and gun shows were handled. The way humans have traded for thousands of years. You make your value assessment then and there. The price is cheaper than in a retail store, so there are risks. You better know what you are looking at and possible issues those types may have (missing parts, refinished, etc). You are an expert and buy what you know is good, and accept the risk of if it has problems you discover when you get home. In 45 years of going to gun shows and flea markets I never heard of our saw any buyer come back hours later demanding a partial refund. Online - happens almost every time.
If you are a rube, and trade your cow for some magic beans, you lose.
Dealt with Armslist twice, both times as a buyer. The first time went fine. The second time, I asked a seller if he still had the gun in question, he said he did and that was the last I heard from him. I finally sent an email asking if he had sold the gun and he didn't even have the courtesy to reply to that. Probably just as well. I think I would have paid too much for the gun anyway.
At 76, I've decided to be a cowboy when I grow up, leaning toward lever, single actions & some single shots, coach guns, etc. Thus, I've decided to slowly separate myself from some double actions & semi-autos. Enter Armslist & Fl. Gun Trader. These sites should be a brotherhood of like-minded people, living by "do unto others as...." You get the idea. NOT SO! You can be a registered user on Armslist for over 7 years, offering "face to face" transactions (I require a Fl. CWP) & still receive a "scam" flag because you turned down some social mis-fit's low-ball offer. He gets on a vendetta to flag you. You complain to site admin who re-instate your listing only to be flagged again & again. Site admin says they can't do anything about it. I suspect they don't want to. This does not happen on Florida Gun Trader as they actually ban the IP address of bad actors. Sometimes they re-surface with a new user ID but your listing stays up. With Armslist, it appears that you are on your own at the mercy of malcontents. Gun shows are more fun anyhow. I see & visit with guys I've known for 50 years.