Dealing With Scopes

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A used rifle that comes with a scope might seem like a sweet deal, but unless you’re familiar with the seller, you should regard the scope with a good helping of suspicion. Believe it or not, it’s not unknown for gun dealers to “salt” rifles they have for sale by tricking them out with scopes. And would you believe me if I said that such scopes might be of low quality or even unworkable? There are a couple of ways to handle dealers who try this trick.

PRICE IT NAKED: One is simply to ask the seller to price the rifle without the scope. This should give you a clearer idea of how much the dealer values just the rifle (and the scope).

FORGET THE SCOPE: If the dealer insists that you take the rifle with the scope, negotiate on the value of the rifle only, as if there’s no scope involved.

DIVIDE BY TWO: If the rifle is topped with a good-quality brand-name scope that you’d like to own, a good rule of thumb is to figure the scope’s worth at about half its retail new price, with the mounts thrown in free.