Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

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Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby bpacman on Wed May 17, 2017 7:07 pm

After reaching the ripe age of half a century, I thought I was experienced in the ways of gun buying. I did my own research, price comparisons and gun inspection whenever I considered buying a used gun. I must tell you, this isn’t an easy task living up here in Minnesota. A lot of people around here think they should get what they paid or near retail price for their used equipment. This is mostly because they are used to paying high sales tax on everything, but that is a different matter.

Last month, a friend showed me a Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I that he was selling. The thing was true mint condition. I looked this thing over and could not find a rub, scratch or wear mark anywhere. Word of mouth and personal experience has shown that Beretta makes a fine Over/Under shotgun that holds their value and he was asking $100 under normal price based on the major sources (gunbroker.com, gunwatcher.com, bluebookofgunvalues.com). I had been searching for a birthday present for my wife and thought this would be ideal. Serial number of the gun revealed it was a 2004 manufacture date and my friend told me it had no more than 600 rounds through it. So, cash in hand, the gun was bought and waiting for the birthday presentation.

It took a week or so to get her to the trap range, but off we went to try out her new “pretty gun” as she called it. After the first round of trap, we walked to the gun rack and as she closed the action to place it in the rack, I see a piece of wood fall off the gun. When I pick up the piece of wood, I look to her gun to see the exposed receiver with hammer and springs that you normally don’t see in an Over/Under unless you are comfortable with disassembling an over/under. You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something bad just happened? Yeah, that’s what I felt. Everyone standing around was amazed and said they never saw something like that before. Knowing that Beretta is an established gun maker, we were fairly confident they would repair something that was obviously a poorly fitted stock.

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Anyway, I let my friend know and asked him to give me the complete history of the gun. It was purchased in 2004 and due to the fact, the forearm had a knot in the wood it was sent back to Beretta who replaced it with the Silver Pigeon II stock in 2005. He shot 600 rounds through the gun and decided he didn’t like the auto safety feature or the feel of the gun, so it went in the safe and wasn’t shot for many years, until he decided to sell it.

I called Beretta customer service and relayed my problem to them. The representative told me that they only warranty their guns for one year to the original purchaser. Even though the person admitted that the problem was due to a poorly fitted stock and they did have a record of replacing the stock, they would not pay for the repairs.

Most of my recent gun purchases have been Sig Sauer and Browning. These are two companies who basically say that if there is something wrong with their gun, send it in and they will fix it if the problem was their fault. I have since learned this is not true with Beretta. Beretta’s warranty is probably the worst one out there and basically puts the burden on the initial owner to properly test their product within a year or else they would be without recourse for poor/faulty materials or workmanship.

I am a frequent participant in several gun forums and a quick google search will confirm that Beretta has a very bad customer service record. Some speculation is this is due to the company being privately owned and foreign. They do not respond to communications and their turnaround time can be measured by seasons and not days or weeks.
So, when buying an expensive used gun, consider the manufacture’s warranty and reputation. Just because it looks like it just came off the assembly line, doesn’t mean it will hold its value when the company that manufactured the gun does not stand behind its product. No warranty coverage should incur a substantial resale value reduction.
I figure this is one of those “sucks to be me” situations. Paying more than “new” price for a gun just because you had to have it fixed, really takes away the “investment” justification for spending big money on “pretty guns.”
Good Judgement comes from Experience....Unfortunately a lot of that comes from Bad Judgement.
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Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby LumberZach on Wed May 17, 2017 7:18 pm

Smith and Wesson has a similar warranty. 1 year to the original purchaser. However their customer service is pretty decent. Sorry this happened to you. I really want a 686 like that, but I may rethink now. Hope you can get it sorted out somehow.


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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby mmcnx2 on Wed May 17, 2017 7:38 pm

Just to put things in perspective. You purchased a 13 year old second hand gun that the manufacturer has no idea what was actually done to it or how it was treated since they saw it 12 years ago and you think they should take care of it.

So if you bought a one owner 2004 Corvette that had the recall work done on it in 2005, you think GM would cover anything under warranty today?

You are going to be very disappointed life if that is the level of service you expect on things.

I get it sucks, heck you thought you saved a whole $100.
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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby Ghost on Wed May 17, 2017 7:57 pm

How much did they say they'd fix it for?
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Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby curteric on Thu May 18, 2017 7:29 am

Although I would not be happy that it broke. I have been trying for years to get my wife to Wenig and have a woman's stock custom fitted. So if this had happened to her I know what we would do.


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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby Squib Joe on Thu May 18, 2017 7:54 am

LumberZach wrote:Smith and Wesson has a similar warranty. 1 year to the original purchaser. However their customer service is pretty decent. Sorry this happened to you. I really want a 686 like that, but I may rethink now. Hope you can get it sorted out somehow.


S&W has a lifetime "service commitment" on their handguns

https://www.smith-wesson.com/customer-s ... commitment
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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby Squib Joe on Thu May 18, 2017 8:00 am

In my experience, when dealing with a possible warranty situation it is best to first get the firearm to the factory if you can, and then (and only when asked) provide the details of how you acquired the firearm and how it failed.

Customer service loves shooting down warranty requests before they start. The warranty repair department wants to get the firearm off of their shelf, and in many cases the easiest way to do that is to just fix it.
"The weight is a sign of reliability. I always go for reliability." - Boris "The Blade" Yurinov
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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby Randygmn on Thu May 18, 2017 9:42 am

As an active member on the beretta forum, (same screen name), I am a bit surprised by your customer service experience. My most recent customer service interaction with Beretta was about 2 years ago. I bought a very expensive Cheetah 380 in nickel for $600 which was several hundred dollars below value. The gun was in immaculate condition. I bought it from a local gun shop and they had no idea on value. The first trip to the range was a failure to extract bonanza. I boxed it up and sent it to Beretta. Inside I left a note explaining the history (newly acquired second hand) and the problem malfunctions. I never got a call or any correspondence. 2 weeks later the gun shows up at my door. Completely fixed. No mention of what they did, nor any charge. Oh, and the gun was 5 years old at the time.

Perhaps you should pay the Beretta forum a visit. Make a post asking for advice. Folks there will just tell you to send in, although I'm not sure if they'll tell you to send it to Maryland or the new facility in Tennessee.
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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby bpacman on Fri May 19, 2017 5:42 am

Thank you for the words of wisdom. I mostly made this post to share my experience and let people know that even though guns are a good investment, you may get stung like I did when you buy a gun that was kept in a gun safe and not properly tested. I have a couple of safe queens that I only shot a box of shells through and tucked away to preserve their value. Beretta said I could send it in and they would let me know how much it would cost to repair. No offer to do it for cost of the parts. I would have to pay shipping and decide if their quote was acceptable. I have decided to use Laib Gunsmithing for this and will be dropping it off later this month.

Hope you all have a great day.

Bp
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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby LarryFlew on Fri May 19, 2017 10:33 am

For certain not to get an offer to fix for free or less. I would error in favor of giving the big B a shot at it rather than knowing you will pay big time.
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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby greenfarmer on Wed May 31, 2017 7:06 am

Since we are talking "safe queens" here, I have a good question.

In 2014, I won a benelli montefeltro silver, the Ducks Unlimited edition. With all of the engraving, and gold inlay on it. It probably isn't a true safe queen. But to me, it's just to pretty to shoot. So I obviously put it in the back corner of the safe, and haven't even put a shell in it yet. If I would someday decide to shoot it, would that hurt the value? Or isn't there much value to this exact gun? Or will it be worth more if I just never shoot it? It hasn't been that hard to not shoot it, so leaving it in the back corner and never shooting it doesn't bother me. After all, it is just a montefeltro, and I have a 20ga ethos that I love for bird hunting.

Not every gun I own has to be, or needs to be used. I won a browning A-bolt medallion in a 270, and a weatherby vanguard 300wby magnum in wood, and neither of them have been shot either. Haven't even purchased optics for them, so no sense in throwing a round in. Plus, I have enough other rifles I like for certain hunting purposes that I just haven't gotten tired of the other guns.
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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby Randygmn on Wed May 31, 2017 9:21 am

greenfarmer wrote:Since we are talking "safe queens" here, I have a good question.

In 2014, I won a benelli montefeltro silver, the Ducks Unlimited edition. With all of the engraving, and gold inlay on it. It probably isn't a true safe queen. But to me, it's just to pretty to shoot. So I obviously put it in the back corner of the safe, and haven't even put a shell in it yet. If I would someday decide to shoot it, would that hurt the value? Or isn't there much value to this exact gun? Or will it be worth more if I just never shoot it? It hasn't been that hard to not shoot it, so leaving it in the back corner and never shooting it doesn't bother me. After all, it is just a montefeltro, and I have a 20ga ethos that I love for bird hunting.

Not every gun I own has to be, or needs to be used. I won a browning A-bolt medallion in a 270, and a weatherby vanguard 300wby magnum in wood, and neither of them have been shot either. Haven't even purchased optics for them, so no sense in throwing a round in. Plus, I have enough other rifles I like for certain hunting purposes that I just haven't gotten tired of the other guns.


Whatever the value is today, or may be tmrw, it will be significantly less if fired. Period. If you decide to keep it as is for awhile, get a sock for it. No one likes scratches.
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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby Rmfcasey on Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:06 am

I really don't think it is reasonable to expect a company to fix a 13 year old product for free.. I would consider a gun with 600 round through it to be broken in. As a carpenter I can tell you wood can crack split and warp in unpredictable ways.
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Re: Things to Consider When You Buy a “Safe Queen”

Postby 2in2out on Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:44 am

Seems like a good opportunity to get a stock perfectly sized to the shooter. I would do exactly what bpacman is doing in that situation.

It seems reasonable to expect the manufacturer to at least look it over and provide an estimate for repairs. But, given the circumstances, I think I would rather have the right stock than to potentially forfeit a free stock (and it seems unlikely that it would be free or even something less than full retail value).
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