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Hours: 9am-5pm EST  Mon. - Fri.
Phone: (704) 774-1102
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Gun Grading Guide - Surplus Firearms

Military surplus firearms are unique in the industry due to their widely varying conditions. These firearms arrive from all corners of the earth and exist in every shape imaginable. Because of the wide-ranging conditions of surplus firearms, a consistent grading scale is essential for folks to know exactly what they are purchasing.

Gun Grading Guide - Firearms and Surplus 

Numerous grading scales exist for sorting firearms according to their condition. Our grading scale for surplus firearms is based on the percentage of remaining finish. We primarily use the National Rifle Association (NRA) grading guide for direction.

Our condition ratings are as follows:

  • Surplus Like New applies to firearms in the absolute best condition for mechanical function and cosmetic finish. The original purchaser of these firearms often placed these firearms directly into storage after manufacture, never issuing them to military or law enforcement personnel. Surplus Like New firearms commands the highest price due to their rarity and originality. 
  • Surplus Excellent firearms may be very close to Surplus Like New but fall just short. Surplus firearms retaining 90% or more of their finish with proper mechanical function count as Surplus Excellent.
  • Surplus Very Good applies to surplus firearms that mechanically function and contain 80% or more of their finish.
  • Surplus Good firearms fall in the middle of the scale and typically have 60% or more of their finish intact with proper mechanical function.
  • Surplus Fair condition guns have at least 40% of their finish left and still function mechanically.
  • Surplus Poor firearms represent the lowest condition. While Surplus Poor rated surplus firearms are mechanically sound for function, they will have little to no external finish.

Surplus firearms should be functional and free of broken parts, regardless of grade, unless otherwise specified. Periodically, we encounter incomplete or broken surplus firearms. When we find surplus firearms in this condition, we often sell or auction them as Gunsmith Specials at reduced prices. We sell these surplus firearms with the disclaimer that they are non-functional and need gunsmith attention to return to a firing state.

Special Grades for Specific Firearms 

Some surplus firearms fall into their own categories due to special circumstances. These surplus firearms show substantial wear both mechanically and cosmetically. Some militaries carry their firearms much more than they fire them. These surplus firearms show substantial-finish wear yet are mechanically excellent. In this case, these surplus firearms might ordinarily receive a Surplus Poor rating but because they have likely never been fired are entitled to a Surplus Like New designation. These classifications typically include the situational context by designating the firearm as Good-by Swiss Standards or Good-by Enfield Standards. Buyers in the market for historic firearms are usually well-versed in these special situations. 

Arsenal Refurbished/ Refinished

Surplus firearms are sometimes externally refinished and or have worn parts replaced with new ones. The refurbishment process is a cost-effective method of extending the service life of firearms. Refurbished surplus firearms are often in superior cosmetic and functional condition. We do our best to label refurbished surplus firearms when we are aware of them. 


While there must be a standard for grading surplus firearms, the process is always subjective and involves numerous details. We always aim for fairness and accuracy in the grading process for surplus firearms because customer satisfaction is our main priority. 

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