How to Sell a Shotgun

So you want to sell a shotgun?

It’s time to get that gun off the rack and into the hands of someone that values it and is willing to make the investment that you need for it to be worthwhile to sell. Where do you even start?

Selling any firearm can be highly regulated depending on the state you live in. Sometimes licenses, background checks, and transfer fees are required to make a lawful sale even to someone you know. That's why it’s so important to look into this topic thoroughly before marketing your gun and starting the sale process. 

Sell a Shotgun
Written by:
Isaiah Miller
9 minutes read

Selling a shotgun can be a hassle-free experience if you're familiar with the necessary steps and mindful of the legal obligations involved.

This guide is completely dedicated to helping you know how to sell your shotgun. We'll guide you through the complete process, from establishing your sales objectives and finding the right buyer to grasping the legal considerations. Our goal is to equip you with the expertise and assurance to ensure a smooth and lucrative transaction while steering clear of potential scams and obstacles.

Determine Your Sales Goals

Before you begin the process of selling your shotgun, it's essential to establish your objectives for the sale. Knowing what you want to achieve will help guide your decision-making and ultimately lead to a more successful transaction.

Consider the following goals when planning your sale and determine which one is the most important to you:

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If your priority is selling your shotgun quickly, you may choose methods that offer a faster turnaround time, such as selling to a local gun shop or a friend.

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If you value a hassle-free experience, you might opt for more straightforward sales channels, like selling to Cash for Arms or consigning your shotgun with a reputable dealer.

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To get the best price for your shotgun, you could explore various sales methods, such as listing on an auction platform or selling privately through local listing websites or forums.

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Some sellers enjoy the excitement of participating in gun shows, in-person auctions, or other interactive sales events.

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Ensuring a secure and legally compliant transaction is a priority for many sellers. Familiarizing yourself with federal and local laws and guidelines will be essential.

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Choosing a sales method that requires minimal effort on your part, such as selling to a local pawn shop or using a consignment service, can make the process more convenient and less time-consuming.

By identifying your primary goals, you can tailor your approach to selling your shotgun and select the most suitable sales method to achieve the desired outcome.

Evaluating Your Shotgun's Value

You need to know what you have. If you don't know the value of your shotgun and someone acts like they do, you could end up out of a good chunk of money. If you have any additional details that would add to the value of your firearm you should include that in your pricing consideration. 

Identify the type of shotgun you have

Before setting a price, it's crucial to know exactly what kind of shotgun you're selling. Take note of the make, model, gauge, and any other distinguishing features that will help you assess its value. Limited edition models or models that were only produced for a short amount of time can have high values.

Assess your shotgun's condition

The condition of your shotgun plays a significant role in determining its value. Carefully examine your firearm for any signs of wear, damage, or modifications, as these factors can impact its desirability and worth.

Bear in mind that, just like new automobiles, firearms experience a shift in their "new" status once they've been "taken off the lot," metaphorically speaking. If you've handled the shotgun, loaded and unloaded it, or had it stashed under your bed for an extended period, even without firing it, it can no longer be classified as new.

On the other hand, if it has been stored in its box and carefully handled on rare occasions, you may be able to sell it as "Brand New."

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.

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Research comparable sales

In determining the value of a shotgun, it might be tempting to base your evaluation on the original retail price or your purchase amount. However, these factors don't always reflect the actual value of your shotgun in today's market.

To obtain a precise estimate of your shotgun's worth, it's essential to review recent comparable sales (comps). By analyzing the sale prices of similar shotguns, you can better comprehend the current market value of your firearm. Employing recently sold comps is a valuable tool for accurately pricing your shotgun.

Several options are available for researching comparable shotgun sales:

Cash for Arms

Yeah, actually we make a no-obligation offer that will help you know how much your gun is worth. There is no obligation, so you can continue to research and get more pricing numbers, but the offer is still there if you decide you want to sell. Additionally, we regularly hear from our clients that our offers are more than other prices they are seeing or have been offered.


Gunbroker listings page

One choice is Gunbroker, an online auction site that enables you to search for similar shotguns and their sale prices. To view recently concluded items, use the "Completed Listings" section of Gunbroker. However, note that this area may contain listings that failed to sell or attracted no bids. Examine items that actually received bids for a more reliable idea of the selling price.


True Gun Values homepage

Another alternative is TrueGunValue, a website that presents gun value estimates based on make, model, and condition. While it may be outdated and glitchy, it boasts a searchable database of sold shotguns, permitting you to search by make, model, and other factors.

The Blue Book of Gun Values

Blue Book of Guns homepage

Finally, the Blue Book of Gun Values is a trustworthy guide for determining shotgun values. However, it can be intricate to use and requires a fee for access. It is a recognizable name so the numbers you see come with some social proof and authority if you were going to negotiate a sale based on their price recommendation.

Outside of our easy cash offer, in general, we suggest Gunbroker. It is free and is the most user-friendly way to find comparable sales. Look for shotguns of the same make, model, and caliber as yours, and in a similar condition. If an exact match is unavailable, you might need to make assumptions or adjust the value of other sold shotguns up or down. Again, make sure you are looking at sale prices not just listing prices.

Although the process can be arduous and time-intensive, taking the time to research comparable sales will yield an accurate and reasonable expectation of your shotgun's worth in the open market. By diligently investigating recently sold comps, you'll be better equipped to price your shotgun appropriately, maximizing your chances of a successful sale.

Calculating selling expenses

When selling your shotgun, it's crucial to account for any related costs such as shipping, listing fees, and additional expenses associated with the sale. Generally, these fees can make up about 10% of the selling price, depending on the method you select for selling. With Cash for Arms, all selling costs, including shipping, are taken care of, ensuring that you receive the cash offer presented to you.

Establish your desired price and target net profit

In order to set a fair asking price for your shotgun, it's important to consider both the market value and the selling costs associated with it. You should take into account all expenses, such as selling fees, transfer fees, and shipping, to establish a realistic target net profit. Shipping long guns can be challenging and may require a special box designed for such firearms.

By following these steps, you can assess the current market value of your shotgun fairly and establish a practical target sales price and net profit. Keep in mind that calculating the selling costs is a vital step in the process, and neglecting to do so may lead to unrealistic expectations or disappointment in the final selling price.

Selecting the Most Suitable Selling Method

Once you've evaluated your shotgun's value, it's time to choose the most appropriate method for selling it. There are numerous methods to sell your shotgun, and depending on your main objectives for selling, some options may be more fitting than others. In this section, we will explore the various choices available and discuss the pros and cons of each.

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Fastest Ways to Sell a Shotgun

If your goal is to sell your shotgun as quickly as possible, here are some options to expedite the sale:

Selling to Cash for Arms

“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.

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Sell your shotgun swiftly and effortlessly with Cash for Arms. Submit your firearm for a cash offer in just two minutes. Our team is prepared to assist you throughout the process, and we cover all selling expenses. We pay within 24 hours of receiving your shotgun, and many customers report getting higher offers from us than local stores or online buyers. See for yourself how fast and hassle free it is to get your obligation free cash offer.

Selling to Local Gun Shop

Selling your shotgun to a local gun store is a fast and simple option. Typically, you will receive payment on the spot. However, be aware that you might not get a fair offer for your firearm, and the process can be uncomfortable, especially if you're not accustomed to dealing with how gun stores work. Uncertainty can be a factor when choosing this option. If you decide to try a gun store, read their online reviews first. Also, be firm on your target sales price and don't let yourself be pressured into selling your shotgun for a price you'll regret later.

Selling to Local Pawn Shop

Selling a shotgun to a pawn shop might be quick, but you'll likely receive less money than you would from a gun store. We recommend selling a firearm to a pawn shop only if you have no other options and need cash immediately.

Selling to a Friend

A private sale to a friend can be a convenient and fast option. You and your friend will agree on the selling price and terms. While selling to a friend is easy, it's still crucial to be aware of legal requirements in your state. Paperwork might be necessary, even for a private sale to a friend.

If speed is a priority, consider these quick sales methods that typically involve minimal negotiation and faster transaction times.

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Maximizing Your Profit

If you're willing to wait for your payment and want to get the most money and maximize profit for your shotgun, here are the primary options:

Selling or Consigning Your Shotgun with Cash for Arms

Consignment with Cash for Arms is another option to potentially earn more for your shotgun. We strive to obtain the highest possible price for you. If our cash offer doesn't meet your expectations, we can consign your shotgun. 

We'll strategically place it in 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 guarantee an agreed on price and regularly deliver more.

Selling Your Shotgun Privately

Selling your shotgun through a private sale can potentially yield a higher price compared to selling to gun stores or pawn shops. Here are some methods to consider:


Gunbroker homepage

Using GunBroker can be a competitive way to sell your shotgun online. However, it requires a time-consuming signup process and high-quality photos, listings, and transfer through an FFL. GunBroker fees are 6% on the first $350 and 4% on the remaining amount, and additional fees may apply. Without an established reputation on the platform, selling can be difficult, and not accepting credit cards could be an issue for some sellers.

Local listing websites

Armslist homepage

If you prefer selling your shotgun locally, consider listing it on websites like Armslist or regional online classifieds. These platforms allow you to target potential buyers in your area, saving on shipping costs and enabling 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 prepared to negotiate, as buyers may attempt 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 achieving your desired price.

Firearms forums

The Firing Line forum homepage
Calguns forum homepage

Another way to sell your shotgun 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 shotgun 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 shotgun privately, except to a friend, typically requires more effort on your part. 

You'll need to list your firearm 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 you would anticipate or want and you may end up with less money in your pocket.

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How to Have the Most Fun Selling Your Shotguns

There are a few options available if you want to have some fun while selling your shotgun, such as the following:

Cash for Arms

Wait, Really? Again? Yep. Our team is passionate about assisting clients in selling firearms. Furthermore, receiving payment on the same day we receive your shipment can be an exhilarating experience. The process eliminates stress.

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 shotgun 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. Depending on your audience, you may want to set a reserve price for your auction. Consider this option if you value the excitement and have time to wait.

Gun shows

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

Avoiding Scams and Ensuring Safety

Now that you're aware of the various options for selling your shotgun, we aim to help you avoid potential scams. It's essential to stay vigilant and aware of common red flags when selling your firearm. Here are some tips to protect yourself.

Recognize Fake or Fraudulent Buyers

Be cautious of buyers who appear excessively enthusiastic, offer more than your listed price, or decline to provide identification or contact details. If they are local but do not want to meet in person that is a tell tale sign of a potential problem. Do not give anyone private bank account information, or other sensitive information.

Exercise Caution With Payment Schemes

Verify the authenticity of any payments you receive by examining the method, ensuring checks or money orders are cleared before releasing the shotgun, and steering clear of wire transfer services that are prone to scams. Use reliable payment methods, like cash, a money order that you've verified, or direct deposit (make sure you receive the funds before handing over your merchandise).

Choose a Public Location for Meetings

When arranging in-person meetings with prospective buyers, select a brightly lit, public area to improve your safety and decrease the likelihood of scams. This does a number of things but mostly it will discourage attempts that someone may make without any witnesses. Additionally, if something does happen, it is likely that a store may have parking lot footage of what happened.

Confirm Payment Before Shipping Your Shotguns

If you choose to ship your shotguns, always make sure the full payment has been received before sending the item to the purchaser. This precaution will safeguard you from potential losses due to scams or non-payment. If you are selling your shotgun through us, all of this will be taken care of and you will receive full payment through our cash offer or our consignment program. 

Recordkeeping and Generally Accepted Etiquette

Maintaining accurate records and exhibiting professionalism can facilitate a smoother and more successful selling process. It’s helpful for you to maintain a paper trail in case the firearm somehow ends up in an altercation at some point in the future. This is not something you will want to skimp on.

Draft a Bill of Sale

A Bill of Sale serves as a legal document detailing the transaction and safeguards both the purchaser and the seller. It should contain information such as the shotgun's make, model, and serial number, as well as the contact details of the buyer and seller.

Authenticate Buyer's ID

Verify your buyer's identity by examining their government-issued ID, ensuring they are of legal age to acquire a firearm and meet any other eligibility criteria.

Follow Appropriate Shipping Procedures

If you need to ship your shotgun, adhere to all federal and carrier-specific guidelines for packaging, labeling, and shipping firearms. This will help guarantee that your shotgun is delivered safely and lawfully to its intended recipient.

Secure Storage

While your shotgun is waiting to be sold, securely store it in a locked container or safe to prevent unauthorized access and potential theft.

Maintain a Polite and Professional Attitude

We have found gun owners to be very friendly. Throughout the sales process, be respectful, prompt, and professional with potential buyers. This will help establish trust and promote a smooth and successful transaction. Overall it will take the stress out of the situation and will promote a good experience for both you and the buyer.

In Conclusion

By following the steps and alternatives outlined in this in-depth guide, you can confidently navigate the process of selling your shotgun. Identify your goals for the sale, make sure you know what you are selling, identify your shotgun’s real value, and determine the method of sale you want to use.

Keep in mind the importance of legal compliance and safety while concentrating on your sales objectives and preferred sales method. With adequate preparation and knowledge, you can achieve a seamless and profitable sale while avoiding potential scams and setbacks. Good luck with your shotgun sale, and don’t forget, we can always give you an no obligation cash offer!