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Are there any well known methods to avoid scammers


GunsCarsPlanes
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Hello,

I'm not new to firearms, just new to the world of full auto.  I'm going to be purchasing in 1-3 months and I'm quite nervous with all the scammers out there and these guns being big money.  Is there a sticky thread that will give me some advice on how to safely make a NFA full auto purchase?  I know it's common sense but are there some basic things I can ask for which have been previously discussed like:

1.) ask for FFL # and verify on ATF website

2.) ask for paperwork x, y and z

3.) on paperwork x look for this one specific detail because it's more difficult to fake

4.) ask for a video clip of the gun

etc etc ...

I am going to try and visit the seller in person if they are not that far away.  I'm just not sure how to make sure I avoid the really obvious scams.

Thanks.

P.S. I feel like if I get that wigged out I can just spend the premium w/Ruben or something, that is why he charges the extra I would assume.

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Scammers, the more skilled ones, will have paperwork due to requesting this information from people they scam. 

Some are skilled enough to edit product photographs with modified info, but that is a bit rare. They normally just use photos they find online or scam from sellers. IMHO Sellers who want you to contact them for photos are possibly helping the scammers since it can't be confirmed that the photo is being used from a different ad.

If you're dealing with an FFL, yes confirm the info (address), but only ship a check or money order to that address.. otherwise Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, credit cards, etc doesn't care about where a person is located.

Ask for a photo of the item in a strange location. Asking for holding paper next to something can be faked. Kind of a weird request but if you explain why, they typically would do it if it is a expensive sale. Or at least I would do it.

Of course through all of this you could still get a bad experience but you can only do what you can do.
For me I've had 3 issues from sellers, but none of them were due to them scamming me.
One had a bad bolt on a M48 due to someone filing one of the lugs on the bolt. The deal was good so I think they probably knew of the issue but they didn't say anything. I fixed it pretty easily so I never bother to complain.
One told me what the item was.. Lafette for MG34 but it ended up being a Yugo MG3 lafette, but they were honest and compensated me with ammo and other MG34 stuff I wanted.
One I had an issue with the SMG being a runaway. Possibly the seller didn't know about the issue because it didn't look like it was used that much. Seller offered to help, but never followed through so I ended up fixing it myself. Never complained about it, and it was a good deal even with the issue.

Likely you'll run eventually run into issues like this.

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3 hours ago, Schmeisser Guy said:

You replied to your own question. If you are that nervous, don't be a cheap goat and spend the extra money with Vito, Ruben or Frank. You will get what you pay for.

Yeesh...

Well I know of Ruben but who is Vito and Frank?  I have some stores bookmarked but maybe I'm missing some good dealer options?

Ruben
This website
Western Firearms Company
Gunsinternational.com (looks like private sellers in addition to dealers)
Indiana local forum
Machine Gun Brothers

Are any of those sources sketchy or they're all pretty reliable?  All in all I'm just trying to determine if I'm missing some good sources out there.

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3 hours ago, Ryo said:

...

Thank you.  It seems like a heavy dose of common sense with some basic checks and if possible going to see stuff in person and have it inspected at a dealer is going to be the best way to approach the private sales if I end up going that route.  The more I get back into the scene the less likely I think there will be a difference in price between a dealer & private seller and if the price is the same I might as well just go through the dealer.

I need to pay attention to current offerings to observe what comes up for sale more often than not to better recognize what I should jump on.

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Realistically anymore sturmgewehr and gunspot are the only 2 spots.  Most dealers who have any machineguns to sell will post here or there.  I remember in 1994 when I bought my first MG.  Found in shotgun news and mailed $2000 for a NIB AC556k.  It never occurred to me I could get scammed and I got my gun.  Would I do that now probably not.  

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I was hoping you would say the Gun Spot was a good location.  I noticed Ruben advertises here so if these two sources are the bulk of whats out there it's going to make my life a whole lot easier.

Remember the stories of Sears & Roebuck, oh man you'd have to wait so long for stuff to arrive.

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6 hours ago, GunsCarsPlanes said:

Thank you.  It seems like a heavy dose of common sense with some basic checks and if possible going to see stuff in person and have it inspected at a dealer is going to be the best way to approach the private sales if I end up going that route.  The more I get back into the scene the less likely I think there will be a difference in price between a dealer & private seller and if the price is the same I might as well just go through the dealer.

I need to pay attention to current offerings to observe what comes up for sale more often than not to better recognize what I should jump on.

I see the difference all the time. Ruben increases the prices above what normally what I see. There's a reason why you pay premium with them. Once in a while you might see a good deal with them but every time I contact them about it, it has been sold. 

Also don't lump regular dealer with well known dealers. 

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pretty sure machine gun brothers is a scam.

"Vito" is "Only the best" (OTB) and a long time dealer.

the first thing I do is call the person on the phone.  Google their phone number and see what comes up.  If they don't have a phone #, absolute scam.

Do a facetime or whatsapp video and see the seller and the gun live.  

ask for references and then check them. (or look at their reputation/history on here or Gunbroker or other websites)

GunSpot is run by Midwest Tactical (a very large dealer) - that website has their own items, plus items that can be listed by anyone. Many of the sellers there are well known dealers, but not all.

 

 

 

 

Edited by shiklg
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Your facetime suggestion is so obvious but I didn't think of it.  Does OTB Vito have a website or list his stuff on this website under a specific username?

I'm moving to Indiana and I think I'm being very unrealistic in thinking I'm going to find people in real life.  I wish I could just fast-forward this house purchase and transfer my driver's license to Indiana so I could make a purchase.  90 more days at most is what I'm telling myself haha

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One method that seems to scatter scammers faster than turning the light on roaches is as follows:

well into the discussions, once you have them tell where the gun is, mention that (a) your brother just happens to live nearby and will inspect the guns, (b) you will be there on business and want to see the gun...

If you REALLY  want them to get lost, tell them that, since it is alot of money, a machine gun blah blah blah, you have made arrangements with the local popo/sherriff/etc to meets him there. You know, a safe place.!:D

 

Watch them run!

HTH

Okrana

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Those are really good ideas I will def use them.  Speaking of such, I didn't believe it until I saw the sign myself but my local police department has a section of their parking lot called "internet safe zone".  The idea is you tell your seller that you want to meet at the local police department and there are cameras aimed directly at you along with a sign saying you're being recorded.  The cops even encourage you to give them a heads up of when you're swinging by and they'll poke in on the camera and make sure you're not being held upside down by your ankles for the loose change in your pockets by some dude wearing a Zorro mask.

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5 hours ago, GunsCarsPlanes said:

Your facetime suggestion is so obvious but I didn't think of it.  Does OTB Vito have a website or list his stuff on this website under a specific username?

I'm moving to Indiana and I think I'm being very unrealistic in thinking I'm going to find people in real life.  I wish I could just fast-forward this house purchase and transfer my driver's license to Indiana so I could make a purchase.  90 more days at most is what I'm telling myself haha

Hopefully, you are not coming from Illinois. If you are, we are full!!! Haha

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15 minutes ago, Schmeisser Guy said:

Hopefully, you are not coming from Illinois. If you are, we are full!!! Haha

Oh wow are you from Indiana?  Yeah it's true I'm coming from IL going to IN but I'm normal I swear.  Truth be told Illinois was just a layover I'm not from Illinois, if I was I would probably just be so used to the property taxes I wouldn't feel like I need to leave the state.

I'm not from IL, I never got used to IL and I want to move before there is a chance I do get used to the way things are done here in this state.

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Another option I have not seen mentioned is to buy locally and have an SOT in your area assist with the transaction for a fee. Make friends with your local dealer because if they have been around for a while, they know who has what and maybe a sense of what is coming up for sale, out of estates etc. Obviously if you want something super rare that isn’t always possible, but I was in the market for an M11/9 and was able to look at 3 of them in person in less than 2 months before selecting one and didn’t have to drive more than 20 minutes for a detained I person inspection. In the end, I paid $8,000 out the door (not counting prints, photos and the stamp) in August 2021 for a new (without box) M11/9. Locally also cuts down on the wait times and cost because there is no associated shipping.

Lee

Edited by RevolverJockey
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Lee,

I like the way you think.  Even outside of the purchase I'm here in the midwest and I don't know anyone, I was really hoping to meet a social group of people who share the same interests and just have someone to shoot the breeze with.  It's always alot more fun to share your interests with others, god bless the wife's heart she's getting into guns and full auto and all the details and history because she knows I'm into it hahaha

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It's always good when your spouse supports your hobby.  My wife didn't know what to think when I got my FFL/SOT.  Then I took her to Knob Creek machine gun shoot.  Now she thinks they are the coolest things ever.

Edited by shiklg
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11 minutes ago, shiklg said:

It's always good when your spouse supports your hobby.  My wife didn't know what to think when I got my FFL/SOT.  Then I took her to Knob Creek machine gun shoot.  Now she thinks they are the coolest things ever.

Knob creek is on my list of things to do and we both think the world of KY & TN.  We would be purchasing there if it wasn't for 2 people in the wife's side of family we want to stay close to.  I see myself moving yet again to TN probably within the next 10 years, there is no question I will be in TN when I retire I'd just like to make it sooner than that.

The wife is just happy I found something I enjoy that I'd be willing to spend money on.  I really hate spending money even on stuff I need like food and other basics so to like something enough where I'd spend 10k, 20k and be open to spending 30k I suppose just kinda surprises her.

I didn't know a person could get their FFL/SOT I thought you had to be more professional, have a store front building and had to show you were trying to do business on a commercial scale and not just some dude trying to find a way to buy pre samples.  That is true about the pre samples right, regular civilians can't buy them which is why they're a bit cheaper.

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Well you shouldn't get a FFL just to find a way to get presamples. You need to run a business, not for just personal gain of a bigger firearm collection. You need to get a EIN, business license, and your place of "business" needs to be zone correctly to allow the business.

Just note that as a FFL, I find that it is a bit cut throat business vs the online retailers. Their prices are so cheap that you make a 1%-2% profit margin which is ridiculous. They automate the system and drop ship from the distributor. They are selling for volume and since it is automated they don't mind taking a cut in the profit margin. Few times I found I buy as a customer for a lower price than as dealer from the distributor. They are not following MAP pricing.. Crazy.  Of course this depends on the product and current market conditions.

Good example is I use to be a Tier 1 distributor for Geissele for many years. I would get a box of chocolates for Christmas. :)  However once RSR Group got their contract with them.. my profits dropped drastically, making it not worth doing it anymore.

 

Also as Dean said about Knob Creek.. last year was the last.  Sadly :(  
I hope someone starts up one or one of the current ones still alive gets bigger.

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You didn't mention what sort of machine gun you are looking to purchase but if you like old stuff, consider getting your Curio & Relic FFL.  You can get C&R machineguns transferred directly to you on that license and you're not running a business, you're just collecting.  Years ago I got a Jap 99 LMG that came from Wisconsin to me in NC with no middle man.  "Wow, this box is heavy" said the Fedex driver.  "What's in it?"  "Flowers" was my response.  BTW, I think there is a reputable seller in Seymour but the name escapes me at the moment.  Good luck and keep us informed.

Kevin in NC

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12 hours ago, Kevin Bartlett said:

You didn't mention what sort of machine gun you are looking to purchase

Hi Kevin.

I plan on starting with a MAC machine gun, there is a package available on the forum right now that I would buy but I need to finish purchasing a home first.  Ideally, I would be able to get a MAC package that includes a Lage upper and some misc. bits and pieces.  I like the flexibility of the MAC and it can be turned into quite the modular toy.

I saw a belt-fed MG and it was around 25k, something is off because I thought anything belt-fed would be 75k or more.  As it stands right now I'm willing to spend up to 20k when I make the purchase but I can't really find anything that would justify that kind of money.  I like the MACs and they seem to fetch 10k bare or 12k suppressed and that's fine but after that I like the AR platform and MP5 variants which are 30k-50k.  I don't know what's out there around 20k that I would enjoy...........maybe the AC556???

I've never been more excited to be moving and buying another house but good lord I wish it was already done so I could just hurry up and buy something.

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