Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Buying a Rifle Online

I recently retired from the US Army, and to celebrate I decided to buy a new rifle. The particular rifle that I wanted, a Ruger American Predator Stainless (as in having a stainless steel action and barrel) was not available locally. I found the closest match (with a stainless barrel and a blued steel action) in a store over an hour away, but I found that same model for cheaper on budsgunshop.com. I decided that I was going to do something new and purchase a firearm online, figuring the cost of gas for a two hour drive was probably going to be more than the $25 - $35 FFL transfer fee.

Bud's Gun Shop has a handy feature where you input your zip code and it finds Federal Firearms License dealers in your area who have performed Form 4473 and National Instant Check System (NICS) background review and final transfer, with the last known fee for doing so. There were a few pawn shop/gun shops that were close, but ultimately I chose to go with the sportsman’s club on the nearest Army base since I’m a member there and the staff assured me they handle orders from Bud’s all the time.

There is a lot of “legalese” in the online purchase process that can be summed up as “If you fail the NICS then you are out X amount of money” and you have to check the box acknowledging that to proceed. Once you’ve picked the delivery FFL, you can proceed to payment; there were plenty of options, but the one I chose was “e-check” where I input the routing number and account number associated with my checking account along with the other necessary information to handle the purchase. I was happy to see Bud's Gun Shop had payment options that didn’t benefit blatantly anti-2A corporations.

Timeline from Start to Finish
  • 28 April 2024, Sunday. Initial purchase, used e-check option.
  • 29 April 2024, received email from Buds requesting 5 business days to process e-check.
  • 29 April 2024, received email from Buds, funds debited, requesting 3 additional days to process.
  • 30 April 2024, received email thanking me for purchase.
  • 3 May 2024, received email from Buds confirming all finances complete and order cleared for shipping.
  • 7 May 2024, received email from Buds with UPS tracking number.
  • 10 May 2024, UPS attempts to deliver after 1900 (7 p.m.) after store hours are closed.
  • 13 May 2024, UPS attempts to deliver at 0905 (9 a.m.) when the store is closed.
  • 14 May 2024, UPS finally gets the delivery delivered.
  • 15 May 2024, I fill out the Form 4473 at the FFL and pass my National Instant Check System (NICS) background check. I also picked up a Vortex Venom 5-25x56 optic since there is no sales tax on military bases and the price was a few bucks cheaper than Amazon.
This being my first online firearms purchase, I have no other online dealers to compare. This means my experience may not be your experience. Given my experience of exactly one purchase, however, I already plan to purchase from Buds again.

My Experience with the Rifle
  1. The barrel is a bit on the thin side for long strings of precise shots. 
  2. The $20 MCARBO trigger return spring upgrade is worth every penny. Going from a hefty 5+ lbs to a clean break at 2 lbs, it feels like an entirely different animal. 
  3. The factory stock isn’t as bad as the internet makes it out to be.  It's definitely a hunting stock and not a precision stock, but it shouldered just fine and I’d have no problem taking one hunting. 
  4. The Ruger American is the first rifle I’ve purchased that was actually designed in the current century; all of my other rifles are 20th century designs.
  5. More information on my experience with upgrading and shooting the Ruger American Predator can be found in my previous article
My Experience with Purchasing Online 
Sometimes it's just better to buy a complete package than to pay all of the additional tax plus shipping & handling fees.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.