As in all forms of collecting, whether pocket knives, cars or guns, there are many lessons to be learned over the years before the novice becomes an expert. If you’re a beginner in acquiring guns, you might be shocked at the various levels of junk out there that awaited the unwary buyer.
Believe it or not, there are some guns that were so poorly designed and cheaply built that they didn’t work even when brand new and age hasn’t helped them at all. Unlike fine violins and old Colt single actions that become better with age, some firearms only rust, break and fall apart. Here are some bad guns you should never buy, no matter how low the offering price.
Rohm / RG marked .22 revolvers
Rohm or RG marked .22 revolvers are at the head of the list. Don’t let the German name fool you, there is no quality here. These imports were poorly constructed and are just about worthless. The metal used in building these guns is quite soft, thus important things like cylinder stops and triggers wear out rapidly. I’ve ran into many of these revolvers that wouldn’t fire a full cylinder load without misfires, even when they looked new. You’ll often see these at gun shows on the bargain tables. Don’t bother picking up an RG revolver, you might break it, so just walk on by knowing you don’t look like an amateur who buys trash.
.22 rifles by Squires, Bingham Manufacturing Co.
Squires, Bingham Manufacturing Co. .22 rifles were built in the Philippines. This company marketed a .22 semi-auto rifle made to resemble the silhouette of a Colt AR 15. Internal parts were fragile and tended to break frequently. You’ll see these at gun shows being offered as what appears to be a like new gun, missing only the magazine. The trick is, the magazine is very expensive to replace, even if you can still find one available. Then, if you’re able to find a magazine, you wind up with a .22 rifle that jams and breaks easily. Definitely not a bargain, this junker should be avoided.
Damascus steel shotguns
“Antique” shotguns are usually overpriced, but Damascus steel double barrel shotguns are a huge ripoff. Some individuals make good money buying these junk guns. They clean them, polishing and refinishing the barrels to disguise the telltale spiral marks that show they were made by wrapping wire around a mandrell and welding it to form a tube. Imagine making a shotgun barrel out of coat hangers wrapped and welded around a broomstick and you get the idea. If you like wall hangers, it’s your money, but don’t buy one of these old shotguns with the intention of shooting it. The blackpowder loads these guns used produced less pressure than modern shotshells. The barrels can bulge or burst on these old guns. You may get by with firing them for a while, but I prefer not to gamble with body parts I can’t replace.
Antique .22 rifles
“Antique” .22 rifles that are missing parts are no bargain. Often older .22 rifles, especially single shot models, had a short manufacturing life, being discontinued as newer guns were introduced. As the old guns wore out, replacement parts became difficult to find. Some gun owners would strip their old gun of parts and sell them when profit overcame sentimental concerns. Often you can no longer obtain parts like bolts and triggers for these “bargain” guns so you wind up with a project gun you can never complete without the help of a highly paid machinist or gunsmith.
Raven .25 ACP Pistols
Don’t buy Raven .25 ACP pistols. The chrome finish sparkles on these guns and the fake pearl grips add to the perceived style, but the firing pins break easily and the extractors on some versions tend to become unpinned and fly away during firing. That’s not what you want from a self defense pistol.
There are a good number of other guns out there worthy of the “Do Not Buy” designation. These are just a few that have been on the market more visibly lately. Be wary, or you’ll be able to write your own bad gun list from experience.
Doing your own extensive research can prevent you from purchasing a terrible gun model and ultimately wasting your money. Exile Machine and some other trusted gun sites can guide you in your quest to buying the best gun for you. It wouldn’t hurt to join forums of gun hobbyists and enthusiasts as well, where you can exchange information and ideas from experts and newbies alike.