How to Sell a Rifle

There are a lot of things you could try when figuring out how to sell a rifle, but which way do you go?

Selling a firearm is heavily regulated in some parts of the United States too so how do you know if your gun sale is legal in your area? In some places, you need a certified FFL to process your sale, and background checks may be required too, so where do you start with all the hoops you have to jump through? You also need to know the value of your gun and know how to stay away from scammers.

That’s what we are getting into in this article: best choices and ways to make your life easier in the whole process of selling a firearm.

Sell a Rifle Now
Written by:
Isaiah Miller
10 minutes read

Selling a rifle might seem challenging, especially with the legal and safety concerns involved. In this thorough guide, we'll give you clear, concise, and well-researched advice to help you through the process of how to sell a rifle.

We'll discuss topics like setting sales goals, figuring out your handgun's value, and selecting the best way to sell it. Additionally, we'll share important tips on avoiding scams and adhering to legal guidelines.

Setting Your Goals for the Sale

Before diving into the process of selling your firearm, it's crucial to establish your sales goals. Identifying your priorities will help you choose the best approach to meet your specific needs. Consider the following factors:

Icon of a thunder bolt


When it comes to your gun sale, are you looking to sell quickly and have cash in your pocket fast?

Icon of a thumb up


Do you prefer a hassle-free transaction with a simple and clear selling process?

Icon of a shopping tag


Is getting the highest possible price for your rifle your main priority?

Icon of a happy person


Consider the experience you want to get out of selling. Do you want a unique or enjoyable selling experience, like a gun show or live auction?

Icon of a check mark on a shield


How important is it for you to ensure a secure transaction and minimize potential risks?

Icon of a check mark in a circle


Make it easier to sell by removing obstacles. Look for ways to reduce the time, effort, and travel required.

By defining your sales goals early on, you can tailor your selling strategy accordingly and achieve the desired outcome.

Ultimately, most people who are selling a rifle and who sell firearms, in general, seek a reasonable price for their firearm while ensuring a convenient transaction.

In the past, gun sellers often had to decide between expediency and value: would they rather sell a handgun quickly to a pawn shop or gun store, receiving only a fraction of its actual worth, or take the time to find a buyer over several weeks or months to secure a fair price?

Fortunately, times have changed. Modern options, like our system at Cash for Arms, now provide competitive pricing and a straightforward, hassle-free process.

Once you've determined which factors are most important to you in this sale, the next step is to evaluate the value of your rifle.

Determining the Value of Your Rifle

You may be wondering, “How do you know how much your rifle is worth?” or, “How much is a good rifle worth?”. It’s important to know the actual value of your rifle. It will not be the amount you paid for it if you bought it new off the shelf. You should do some research upfront to make sure you are getting a good price for your rifle. 

To set a fair and competitive price, follow these steps:

Want to skip the hard parts?

f you'd rather save yourself some time and get a free cash offer for your handgun from Cash for Arms, click here to get started.

Get my Cash Offer

Identify your rifle

Begin by researching the make, model, and specific features of your rifle. This information is often found on the firearm itself or in the owner's manual. These numbers will be important as you start to research your rifle to compare with other sale prices.

Evaluate the rifle's condition

Rate your rifle's condition based on factors such as wear, functionality, and overall appearance. Be honest and objective in your assessment. A cleaned and functioning gun will sell for far more than a beat up dusty rifle that has firing pin problems. Sometimes it is worth putting in some work or investing to get problems resolved before trying to sell.

It's important to note that, akin to new cars, firearms lose their "brand new" status once they've been "driven off the lot," so to speak. If you've handled the rifle, loaded and unloaded it, or stored it under your bed for years, even if it remains unfired, it is no longer deemed new.

However, if you've kept it in its original box and minimally handled it with care, you might be able to market it as "Brand New."

Research comparable sales

When attempting to establish the value of a rifle, it's easy to rely on the retail price or your initial purchase cost. However, these factors may not accurately represent the true value of your rifle in the current market.

To accurately gauge your rifle's worth, it's crucial to examine recent comparable sales (comps). By studying the sale prices of similar rifles, you'll gain a clearer understanding of your rifle's current market value. Utilizing recently sold comps is essential for properly pricing your firearm.

There are several resources for researching comparable rifle sales:

Cash for Arms

Our obligation free cash offer is a great way to get a good price on your rifle. The offer you receive will be reflective of the gun's value and is regularly higher than normal actual sales prices as many of our clients have reported. If you like the price you are given you have the no pressure opportunity to accept or you can continue on and find other sale options for your rifle. 


Gunbroker listings page

One option is Gunbroker, an online auction site that lets you search for similar rifles and their selling prices. To view recently ended items, use the "Completed Listings" section of Gunbroker. Keep in mind that this section may include listings that didn't sell or received no bids. Focus on items with actual bids for a more precise idea of the selling price.


True Gun Values homepage

Another option is TrueGunValue, a website that offers gun value estimates based on make, model, and condition. Although it may be outdated and glitch-prone, it features a searchable database of sold rifles, allowing you to search by make model, and other criteria.

The Blue Book of Gun Values

Blue Book of Guns homepage

Lastly, the Blue Book of Gun Values is a reputable resource for assessing rifle values. However, it can be complex to navigate and requires a fee for access.

Overall, outside of our cash offer we recommend Gunbroker as it is free and is an easy way to find comparable sales. Search for rifles with the same make, model, and caliber as yours, and in a similar condition. If you can't find an exact match, you may need to make assumptions or adjust the value of other sold rifles up or down.

While the steps can be demanding and time-consuming, researching comparable sales will provide a more accurate and realistic expectation of your rifle's value in the open market.

Calculate selling costs

When selling your rifle, it's crucial to take into account any associated costs, such as shipping, listing fees, and other expenses related to the sale. Typically, these fees amount to about 10% of the selling price, or more, depending on the selling method you choose. However, with Cash for Arms, all selling costs, including shipping, are covered, and you get the full cash offer that you receive.

Determine Your Asking Price and Target Net Profit

To establish a reasonable asking price for your rifle, it's essential to consider both the market value and the selling costs associated with it. You should factor in all expenses, such as selling fees, transfer fees, and shipping, to set a realistic target net profit. Shipping long guns can be challenging and may require a special box designed for long guns.

By following these steps, you can determine the fair current market value of your rifle and set a realistic target sales price and net profit. It's important to keep in mind that calculating the selling costs is a vital step to understanding your gun’s true value and failing to do so may lead to unrealistic expectations or disappointments in the final selling price.

Choosing the Best Selling Method

After assessing your rifle's value, it's time to select the most suitable method for selling it. There are numerous methods to sell your rifle. Based on your primary objectives for selling, some alternatives may be more appropriate than others. In this section, we will examine the various choices accessible to you and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Consider the following options:

Icon of an alarm clock with speed lines

Fastest Ways to Sell a Rifle

If you want to sell your rifle in the quickest way possible, here are some ways to sell your rifle fast:

Cash for Arms

Sell your rifle quickly and easily with Cash for Arms. Submit your gun for a cash offer in just two minutes. Our team is ready to assist you every step of the way, and we cover all selling expenses. We pay within 24 hours of receiving your rifle, and many clients report receiving higher offers from us than local stores or online buyers. Check it out for yourself:

“I received bids from a few other places and CFA offered more than double what some of the others offered. The process was extremely easy and smooth.”

Jeff S.

“I tried two local gun shops as well as two others on line and this was the best offer I got. They made it very quick and easy.”

Dennis D.

“Compared to other options, Cash for Arms pays top dollar and waste no time in completing the transaction.”

Allen G.

Arrow icon to navigate to a new page

Local Gun Shop

Selling your rifle to a local gun shop is a quick and straightforward option. Typically, you will receive payment on the spot. However, keep in mind that you may not receive a fair offer for your firearm, and the process can be uncomfortable, especially if you're not used to dealing with gun shops. 

There's always an element of uncertainty when it comes to this option. If you do decide to try a gun shop, read their online reviews first to see how other gun sellers were treated and find what their reputation is. Additionally, go into the situation with your target sales price in mind, and hold strong. Do not get pressured into selling your rifle for a price that will leave you regretting it.

Local Pawn Shop

Selling a rifle to a pawn shop may be fast, but you will likely get even less money than you would from a gun shop. We only recommend selling a firearm to a pawn shop if you have no other options and need money today.

Selling to a Friend

If you sell a rifle privately to a friend, it can be a convenient and fast option. You and your friend will determine the selling price and agree on terms. Though selling to a friend is easy, it's still important to be aware of legal requirements in your state. You might need to fill out paperwork, even if it's a private sale to a friend.

Icon of three currency bills

Maximizing Your Profit

There are several options available to sell firearms if you're willing to wait for your payment and want to get the most money and maximize profit for your rifle. Here are the main ones:

Cash Consignment with Cash for Arms

Consignment with Cash for Arms is another option to potentially earn more for your rifle. We work hard to get you the highest price possible. If our cash offer falls short of your expectations, we can consign your rifle. We'll market it to a marketplace of over 3 million gun enthusiasts nationwide for 14 days, aiming to secure top-dollar. You'll receive 85% of the net sales price when sold, and we'll handle all selling costs and shipping, making it hassle-free for you.

We also have a minimum sale price guarantee, so you know you will minimally receive an agreed on amount.

Private sales

By selling your rifle through a private sale, you may be able to get a higher price compared to selling to gun shops or pawn shops. Here are some ways to go about it:


Gunbroker homepage

Using GunBroker can be a competitive way to sell your rifle online. However, it requires a tedious signup process and high-quality photos, listings, and transfer through an FFL. GunBroker fees are 6% on the first $350 and 4% on the rest, and additional fees may apply. Without an established reputation on the platform, it can be challenging to sell, and not accepting credit cards could pose a problem for some sellers.

Local listing websites

Armslist homepage

If you prefer selling your rifle locally, consider listing it on websites like Armslist or regional online classifieds. These platforms let you find a potential buyer in your area, which saves on shipping costs and allows you to handle transactions yourself.

To create a listing, provide a detailed post with high-quality photos, a clear description of the gun's condition, and your asking price. Be ready to negotiate, as buyers may try to bargain for a better deal. Remember to comply with gun laws, which may require transferring the gun through a local dealer (Federal Firearms License holder).

However, selling on a local listing website can be time-consuming, and there's no guarantee of a quick sale or getting your desired price.

Firearms forums

The Firing Line forum homepage
Calguns forum homepage

Another way to sell your rifle privately is through gun forums such as Calguns or The Firing Line. These forums usually have dedicated sections for buying, selling, and trading firearms. To sell on a forum, you must first become an active member and follow the guidelines for posting your rifle for sale. This may involve providing a detailed description, high-quality photos, and a price that aligns with the current market value.

Keep in mind that selling through a forum may take longer than other methods, as you'll need to build trust and credibility within the community before buyers consider purchasing from you.

Selling your rifle privately, except to a friend, usually requires more effort on your part. You'll need to list your rifle for sale, meet with strangers, deal with time-wasters, and may have to take it to an FFL for a transfer. This process can take much longer than selling to Cash for Arms, and you may end up with less money in your pocket.

Icon of two champagne glasses toasting

Enjoyable selling experiences

There are a few options available if you want to have some fun while selling your rifle. Again it depends on your goals with the sale and the experience you want. We listed some of the more common desired experiences that people enjoy.

Cash for Arms

Our team is passionate about assisting clients in selling firearms. We give you the opportunity to experience other things because your time isn't consumed with following up with tire kickers or meeting at an FFL. Furthermore, receiving payment on the same day we receive your shipment can be an exhilarating experience.

We support you throughout the entire process, providing friendly updates and prompt answers to any questions you may have. While it may not be as lively as an auction or a bustling gun show, selling to Cash for Arms has its own enjoyable aspects.

In-Person Auctions

Sell your rifle at an in-person auction event for a unique selling experience and a potentially high selling price. However, keep in mind that the process can be lengthy, and auction houses often charge commission fees. You may also have to set a reserve price for your auction, though we have found that no-reserve penny auctions command the most attention. Consider this option if you value the excitement and have time to wait.

Gun Shows

Sell your rifle at a gun show to reach a large audience and potentially get a fair price quickly. However, you must research the laws and regulations for selling firearms in your state or country. A background check or paperwork may be required. Keep in mind that competition at gun shows can be high and affect the selling price.

Steering Clear of Scams and Fraud

Now that you're aware of the various options for selling your rifle, we aim to help you avoid potential scams. Be cautious when dealing with unknown buyers or sellers, especially online. Verify the identity of your buyer and ensure the transaction is legitimate before proceeding. Always follow local laws and regulations regarding firearm sales and transfers, and consider using a reputable third-party escrow service when selling online to protect both parties involved.

When selling a firearm, it's crucial to remain vigilant against scams and deceptive buyers. Keep these preventive measures in mind:

Detecting Fake Buyers

Be cautious of buyers who appear excessively enthusiastic, offer more than your listed price, or decline to provide identification or contact details. Do not give anyone private bank account information, or other sensitive information.

Avoiding Payment Fraud

Refrain from accepting payment through easily reversible methods, such as wire transfers or cashier's checks from unknown banks. Stick to secure payment methods like cash, reputable payment platforms, a verified money order, or direct deposit (but ensure the money arrives before you hand over your gun).

Arranging Public Meetups

When selling locally, schedule a meeting in a public, well-lit area, preferably with security cameras. Many police stations offer designated zones for conducting online transactions. This will likely prevent the person you are meeting with from attempting any form of theft, and will also provide witnesses if there is an incident.

Validating Payment Before Shipment

If selling online, confirm receipt of payment before shipping your rifle. Double-check that the payment has been processed and cannot be reversed before proceeding.

Legal Considerations when Selling Your Rifle

Understanding and adhering to firearm laws and regulations are essential for a legal and hassle-free transaction. Every state will likely be a bit different, so it is important to be sharp and thorough as you figure out how to sell your firearm.

Federal Law and Guidelines

At the federal level, private sellers are not obligated to perform background checks on buyers. However, it's unlawful to knowingly sell a firearm to someone forbidden from owning one. Ensure compliance with all applicable federal laws and consult the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for advice.

State and Local Regulations

State and local laws can vary significantly and may include background check mandates, waiting periods, or specific documentation. Investigate your state's rules and comply with any local stipulations. If you are unclear on the local sales policies of your state or county it may be worth giving the local sheriff or law enforcement a call or visit. If they see you are trying to do things right they will help you and you will have great clarity going forward. It’s better to see them on the front end than have them visit you after the sale! 

Documentation and Etiquette

Maintaining accurate records and exhibiting professionalism can facilitate a smoother and more successful selling process. Additionally, having a good paper trail can safeguard you in the future if the firearm is used in an illegal operation.

Bill of Sale

Create a bill of sale that includes details about the firearm, buyer information, and transaction date. Both parties should sign this document, and receive a copy. Keeping records of your sale is essential to ensure legal compliance, provide proof of the transaction, and protect both the buyer and seller in case of disputes or future issues. For example, if a person commits a crime with the gun, you have proof that you sold it, and who you sold it to.

Verification of Identity and Background Checks

Ask to see the buyer's identification to confirm their age and residency. If your state mandates a background check, ensure it is carried out before finalizing the sale. It is a good idea to track all of this along with the bill of sale to be included in your records. 

Adhering to Shipping Regulations and Best Practices

When shipping the rifle, it's essential to follow proper procedures and comply with all applicable laws. Depending on the destination, you may need to involve a licensed firearms dealer in the shipping process. Remember, it's always against the law to ship a gun directly to an out-of-state private buyer.

Safe Storage During the Sales Process

When shipping your rifle, explore carrier-specific regulations and federal laws to guarantee compliance. Utilize a trustworthy shipping service and package your firearm securely.

Exhibit a Polite and Professional Demeanor

A positive attitude and friendly, professional communication can foster trust and increase the likelihood of a successful sale. It will make everyone more comfortable and can build you a good reputation if you decide to sell a rifle again. You never know who you may meet when selling your rifle, be confident and dignified and you shouldn’t have any issues.

By following the guidelines in this guide, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the process of selling your rifle confidently and effectively.

Wrapping Up

In summary, selling your rifle can be a smooth and enjoyable experience if you take the time to research your options, understand the value of your firearm, and choose the most suitable selling method based on your priorities. Whether you're looking for a quick sale, maximum profit, or an enjoyable selling experience, there's a method out there that will meet your needs.

We understand the process can be overwhelming, so we created Cash for Arms to help you sell your handgun easily and quickly without any stress. We can simplify, expedite, and secure the process of selling your handgun, so you can receive a fair price while minimizing hassle.

Take some time to research and prepare for a successful and rewarding experience. Always stay informed and diligent to navigate the sales process with confidence. When it comes to the legality of selling guns, we suggest using a firearms attorney to answer any questions, as laws are always changing. Happy selling!