online gun sales coronavirus
Courtesy Palmetto State Armory
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Online gun sales coronavirus
Courtesy Palmetto State Armory

One of the ways that Americans who haven’t been able to find the firearms they want right now locally have been coping with the current gun buying surge is to order online. While their inventories have been hit hard too, online sellers like Brownells, Cabela’s, Palmetto State Armory, Rainier Arms, Faxon Firearms, Aero Precision and dozens more have also been selling guns like hotcakes.

But we’ve talked to a variety of retailers in different parts of the nation who tell us that because of the crush of local business that they’re struggling to take care of, they’ve stopped doing transfers for incoming guns from online sellers.

This is not a matter of dollars. They are so busy with the rush that it’s all they can do to take care of their local walk-in business. They simply don’t have the employees or the bandwidth to process transfers for online sales, too.

I asked one large midwest gun retailer if there was any price — $100, $200, $300 — at which he’d do a transfer for an online gun purchase. He said no. It’s not about money. He doesn’t have enough time or manpower to get those additional transactions done.

Most told me that if they receive a shipment of guns ordered online that they aren’t expecting, they’re refusing receipt. That means the firearm you’ve ordered from, say, Davidson’s, will to right back onto the big brown truck and back to the seller.

All of the retailers we talked to had this advice if you’re buying online: BEFORE you order anything, contact your local retailer (assuming you can reach them…by email, phone, whatever.) Make SURE they are willing to process transfers for online purchases BEFORE you press the ‘buy’ button on the online seller’s site.

And just so you’re not surprised, ask them what they’re charging now if, by chance, they’re still doing transfers.

Good luck.



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  1. So thankful that my FFL is a kitchen table FFL who lives around the corner. Not that I am in the market; I am well supplied aalready, but the emergency orders are killing my business and I may have to take a staycation.

  2. Hold on.

    Does this mean I can’t get a gun online more easily than I can borrow a book at the library?

    WTH? Right-wing, white supremicists do it all the time.

    • What total moron uttered those words, oh yeah the smartest man in the world, former pResident Obowelmovement.

    • In Chicago you can get one on-street, not on-line. It is really easier than that library book, because the libraries are closed. Just make sure to pick the right neighborhood. You may be in competition with the local sellers….especially since they’re opening the jail doors for non-violent guys.

      • “In Chicago you can get one on-street,…”

        Already checked their inventory; they don’t have what I want. Wah. Not fair.

      • “You sir, win teh internets for the week!”

        Thanx, but I thought Victoria Illinois already won, this morning.

  3. If you’re truly that desperate for a gun, order a black powder cap and ball revolver. They can ship everything right to your house, no problem. They will kill people dead quite well and while reloading is a pain it’s doable.

    • And the thick cloud of black powder smoke will help sterilize any surfaces that the miscreant may have coughed up before you lit him up.

      On topic – my closest FFL has never processed transfers on any gun that he didn’t sell himself, since long before the current unpleasantness. He’ll do Gallery of Guns transfers if you bought from him, but nothing off GunBroker or other venues. One of the reasons I don’t frequent his establishment.

      • We are lucky here, the local gun store charges $40 for a transfer, but if a person is a veteran or enforcement the fee is $20. Also, veterans and enforcement enjoy a 10% discount on anything in the store including guns and ammo. A vet needs only to show a
        V A id card or 214 and enforcement either come in in uniform or have proper id.

        • We have to pay $30 for a permit to acquire, but the vendor will transfer for free and dealers at my range will also transfer firearms for free as well for club members.

        • Not where I lie. The brick and mortar stores will charge you $25 for a transfer of a gun they sell, $75 to $100 for one you got off the internet, even if it is not one they sell or can get. The there is the California DROS (was $25, just went up to $31 and change the first of the year) and sales tax. The obvious intent is to discourage anyone from buying on line guns, since any savings are lost on the transfer fee.

  4. any ammo left out there for sale? i had some queued up at lunchtime and it vanished in the time it took me to type in my address. specifically looking for 300BLK

  5. Yesterday I checked ammo prices (specifically 9mm) yesterday on Gun Broker. Prices have doubled, or tripled from a week ago. Used to get 15 cents (approx.) per round, now as much as 70 cents. Not sure yet why everyone is panicking. It could be that with millions being laid off and no clarity for an end to this pandemic, some of them may resort to theft out of desperation – I don’t know and hope that this is not going to happen. It suggests that too many people have been watching too many “living dead” movies and that the zombie apocalypse is near.

    • They’re thinning out the prison population by letting people out early. Supposedly to minimize the chance of contagion inside.

      This is a bad idea. The communist lung rot will be brought in by the guards, who will catch it from their families, and there will be an outbreak at the prison anyways.

      In the meantime, we get to deal with a bunch of minor offenders who expect that so long as they only commit minor offenses, they won’t go back inside.

    • I found some 9MM on sale last at Big R in Colorado for 9.99 box. And .223 for 5.99/box. They were limiting folks to 2 boxes each caliber so they had a good stock left. That is the cheapest I have seen for a while. I usually pay around .20 cents or so. They also had .22LR on sale for 1.99 box no limit. Weird thing is here in Colorado every store I have popped my head has .22LR. Even Walmart, all by me have 0 guns of any kind left but plenty of .22 I am sure that will change soon as people will start buying whatever they can.

  6. I am sure my local FFL will still do transfers, there hasn’t been any big surge of gun sales here ( us country folks/red necks already had ours). but if they were to refuse, they know they would be out of business very soon, they know if they turned their back on us, we would return the favor.

    • This is a good reason to support your local businesses. You would hope that they would support you(or hold back something for you if asked). There is a reason you deal locally – saving $5-15 on a firearm shopping online will just put him out of business. Doing FFL transfers only will not keep the bills paid. Many cities, counties, and states do not like kitchen table FFLs, so they have to have a store front. These same cities, counties and states also do not like a store front that has another product and/or service.

      • Huh, the LGS I go to accepts and process transfers (or, they did, I haven’t been there in the last 2 weeks). For normal business they are happy to process the $25 transfers as they make more on that than the mark-up for most guns they keep on inventory.

        And this is a brick and mortar shop where they stock ammo, magazines, reloading supplies, optics, parts, holsters, and yes their own inventory of guns. The works.

        I’ve asked in the past about the impact of ordering things into their store as they (and their distribution network) don’t carry everything I’m interested. They said no problem whatsoever that they make money on the transfer side of things. However they’ve structured their business it seems they’ve taken on-line FFL transfers into account and are making it work.

        FWIW, this is one of the shops that packed up and moved out of Seattle when the city instituted its ammo tax a few years ago. Their business went up after the move and funny enough they now sell more guns to Seattle residents than they did before the ammo tax. But that’s another story.

  7. Walmart has plenty of .270, .303 and other hunting ammo. They also have plenty of .22 ammo. For now at least. I got some this afternoon.

    • Walmart is dead to me.

      You know, if Dick’s is still selling ammo they probably have full shelves.

    • 150g or 180g 303 soft points will make a nasty mess of a home invading miscreant. Ideal for the Jungle Carbine, but a SMLE or No4 has the added reach for the bayonet.

  8. I’d have to run out of alot of ammo before I picked up my .270 Winchester for home defense, but if I did, I’d kinda pity anyone hit by it. Dropped an American Pronghorn at 170 yds with it. Thing ran 20 feet and just dropped. Sadly, he’s all eaten now. But he was quite tasty.

    • Silentbrick,

      Well, the advantage of .270 Winchester with respect to human attackers within 50 feet distance is that you only have to shoot your human attacker once to immediately stop him/her (assuming a center of torso or head shot).

      Thus, even if your .270 Winchester rifle is only a bolt-action rifle, it will do the trick quite nicely against a single human attacker.

      • More likely, at that close range, it’ll do nicely against at least a couple of attackers if lined up properly. Just make sure anything else the bullet sees beyond that is also more attackers.

        • Yes but at the moment my main Home Defense weapons outside of my carry pistol are an AR-9 I have 1000+ rounds for, and my M-1 Garand with good American made korean war M2 ball ammo. And if I do have to make it go *PING*, I still remember enough bayonet drill to use it offensively.

  9. Good way to lose a potential or current customer. While I understand their position, they feel they lost the gun sale so no big deal, but will all know few people just buy one gun. Six months from now these rejected transfers will be remembered by the purchaser. They might have bought online because they couldn’t find what they needed local. Those people most likely will never step foot in those LGS’s again. Their 2nd, 3rd and future purchases will most likely be made someplace other than the store that rejected the transfer. And yes the online buyer has some ownership of him not getting his gun. Did he call store in advance to get approval? Does he have a CCW/LTC so no NICS check required? He could have made it easier on the FFL also.

  10. This is what pawn shops are for. I would never transfer a gun to say Cabela’s or Bass Pro.

    My local pawn shop does transfers for $20. Now they sell guns, but he said he does make good living doing transfers.

  11. I was thinking that , although it is a pain for the dealer, the 2-A people need all the support we can get from the newbie’s, (not that I feel sorry for them waiting so long to get on the band wagon), I say put them on notice that it might take awhile but still take the order. But that’s just me, I don’t know what the FFL’s are dealing with. Just saying that we need a lot of support to keep the Libs in their place.

  12. Speaking of online transfers, a Rookie Question of the Week:

    I’ve been thinking about ordering one of the surplus Type 56/Chinese SKS Classic Firearms is selling for $299 right now. I’d like to have one, but I’m still inexperienced with rifles in general. I’m also a little daunted by the process of getting rid of all the cosmoline these things these things come packed in.

    Worth buying, or maybe wait for something a little more noob-friendly once the panic passes? I’m good on guns and ammo, including a shotgun, but I don’t have a centerfire rifle. Thoughts?


      • “buy a henry.”

        That company cracks me up. Their bravado is, “Made In America, Or Not Made At All”. Bought a coffee mug from Henry. When it arrived, flipped it over, and there, printed clearly in English: “Made In China”.

        • I recently bought a Buck knife online during the Christmas sale season. Buck is located in northern Idaho, which is about as American as you can get, right next to Kansas. Received it in the mail, opened it up, and right there engraved on the blade were the words, “Made in China”.

          I’ll never buy Buck again.

        • Haz. I bought a buck folder at a local store. Got home and found the made in china stamp in a discrete location and shit canned it. The only Bucks I buy now are at used shops.

    • Rookie. 1 way to learn about your rifle is by doing. Take your sks down to its small parts. Soak them in hot water and simple green. Clean the stock the same way. Use a power drill with a brass bore brush chucked in to get the chamber real good.

      Back when Mosin Nagents were practically free I hosted cosmo be gone parties in my garage. Propane camp stove to provide hot water and those one use throw a way foil turkey pans from the grocery store to soak the parts in.

      I had an arsenal refurb Russian sks that I traded off. Big damn mistake.

    • The SKS is still the low price leader for center fire rifles and a great value. A couple suggestions.

      1. Don’t try to put a scope on it. Most of the mounts on the market are junk.
      2. The new Archangel 35 round magazines are great.
      3. The Tapco 20 round magazines are good after having been lubricated internally with a teflon dry lube.
      4. Get the Tapco extended magazine release if you are going to use detachable magazines.
      5. The biggest factor limiting accuracy within the effective range of the round is the lay out of the sights. The rear leaf sight on the gas block can be replaced with a Williams Peep sight or even better a Tech Sight on the rear of the receiver that will give you a longer sight plane.
      6. The drop free bolt modification is cheap and easy to do but do not rush it.
      7. Do not try to turn it into a 1200 yard tack driver or an AK and squander enough money to cover half the cost of your next gun.

      • Be aware of the law.

        Modifying an SKS means BATFE says you are “building” a rifle identical to an imported rifle, but not in the importable configuration.

        And you have to use less than 10 of the listed parts, meaning you have to replace the rest of the list with US made replacements.

        27 CFR § 478.39 – Assembly of semiautomatic rifles or shotguns.
        prev | next
        § 478.39 Assembly of semiautomatic rifles or shotguns.
        (a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.
        (b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
        (1) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or
        (2) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Director under the provisions of § 478.151; or
        (3) The repair of any rifle or shotgun which had been imported into or assembled in the United States prior to November 30, 1990, or the replacement of any part of such firearm.
        (c) For purposes of this section, the term imported parts are:
        (1) Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings or stampings
        (2) Barrels
        (3) Barrel extensions
        (4) Mounting blocks (trunions)
        (5) Muzzle attachments
        (6) Bolts
        (7) Bolt carriers
        (8) Operating rods
        (9) Gas pistons
        (10) Trigger housings
        (11) Triggers
        (12) Hammers
        (13) Sears
        (14) Disconnectors
        (15) Buttstocks
        (16) Pistol grips
        (17) Forearms, handguards
        (18) Magazine bodies
        (19) Followers
        (20) Floorplates
        [T.D. ATF-346, 58 FR 40589, July 29, 1993]

  13. My crew all got the SKS(s) when they first started coming in 2 or 3 decades or so ago. Cosmo takes a little while but only got rid of mine because stock so short I never shot it. I am 6’ 5” with gorilla arms.
    All of were more accurate than our than our AK variants I ended up with a Norinco Hunter that fit me, but the SKS still a bit tighter groups. Traded the SKS for a 1911 that I later blew up with a too reload. Wish I had kept the SKS

  14. I wonder what the market will look like in 60 days. I think it will mostly calm down by then but who knows, no crystal ball here.

    • “I think most of this will blow over in 30 days, we will see.”

      Can’t get over the irony: the Soviet Union spent itself into dissolution trying to defeat the US during the Cold War. Today, the US economy is crumbling because of germs from Fledermäuse* in China.

      *German: flying mice)

  15. I’m still doing transfers and still charging only $10 per firearm! I refuse to take advantage of this situation like some other businesses have done in my area and charge $50 to $75 for a transfer… !! I believe in KARMA and I can tell you that once the dust settles, there are going to be a lot of businesses that will be hurting for a while because they decided that making a buck was more important than supporting there customers!

    • I’m doubting you’re anywhere near ILLinois. Too bad because you sound like a good guy. Been in business 25 years(antiques) and happy repeat customer’s are EVERYTHING!

      • Middle Ga. area in Houston County… RC Gunworks LLC 478-213-4622 Been helping gun owners save money for going on 7 years now from home. I’ve never regretted setting my transfer fee so low ($10). It’s truly not that big of a deal most of the time. Now I do have some busy days which means I’ve gotta push some of my folks along quicker than normal BUT, I still love doing it! I also get to handle some pretty cool firearms =).

  16. Let’s see…Starting with bill clintoon on 1994 this is about the 4th or 5th time there has been a run on guns, etc. Perhaps this time will make it the last time. This is a Constitutional Right and it should be supported by periodically coughing up a few dollars for supplies, etc. And if you own a firearm and you are not a member of a gun rights org. then you are a slacker riding in the wagon while others pull…Capice?

  17. I’m an FFL (Home Dealer) /Gunsmith in Palm Bay, FL. I do transfers all the time. I charge $25 (includes background check). “That Gun Guy 321-412-6609. I’m on the Space Coast of Florida (Brevard County).

  18. I’m currently in the Colorado Springs area and local shops won’t do private party transfers either. I was interested in a firearm on Armslist and was flat told no. They claim it can’t be done because the background checks are taking too long and they can’t keep the firearm over night.

  19. Still waiting on Target Sports USA to ship my order from 10 (technically, 11 when it was ordered, but on Sunday) days ago. Concerned because some was labeled out of stock by Tuesday, and now the rest is as well. Really only worried about the Fed High Density hog hammer 00, as it was discontinued a fair while ago.

    Discouraging, because it’s likely all been sold out from under me. We’ll see, I guess…

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