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Search Tips

(last updated on 12/13/2010)

Search Tips

The search facility comes in two forms, a Quick Search that appears on our home page and at the top of our pages of listings, and our Advanced Search that you can access by clicking the search link located near the top of any page. Advanced Search gives you more control over search, letting you select how to search and allowing you to search Completed Items as well as current listings.

Using Search Effectively

Our search facility searches for a listing that contains all of the words you enter. If you enter green chevrolet into the search box, you will find all listings that contain the word green and the word chevrolet. For example, green chevrolet would match an item listed as 1980 chevrolet impala, green exterior, red interior. If you wish to search for the exact phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. The quoted phrase "green chevrolet" would not match the item in the preceding example because that item does not contain the exact phrase. Note: Quoted terms search a lot slower than non-quoted terms, so use them sparingly.

Keep in mind that humans are listing these items, and each person thinks a little differently. You may need to run more than one search to find what you are looking for. For example, some people may list their item as a 1980 chevy impala instead. You may need to think of synonyms or stand abbreviations and search in various combinations of those.

Our site and our search now break the item titles and descriptions into 'words' and index those words. Words are separated by spaces or by 'noise' characters such as \, /, *, @, ~, #, ^, and =. If wish to perform a search and your search term contains one of these noise characters you must enclose it in quotes. For example, 10/22 must be entered as "10/22" and 22/250 must be entered as "22/250".

Search is not case sensitive. Chevrolet would also match chevrolet and CHEVROLET. Search does not recognize the plural forms of words, so searching on car will return a different set of results that searching on cars.

Search matches full words, but it will not match search phrases within a word. For example green chevrolet will not find The greenest chevrolet ever made. We do this because we have found that partial match searches retrieve too much data. In a partial match situation, red would match Fred, colored, and angered.

You can use the plus '+' sign directly before a term to include terms in your search and the and minus '-' sign directly before your term to exclude a term from your search. If you do not enter a plus or minus before a term then the term is included by default. For example, +cars -ford is the same as cars -ford, and would search for all cars in the database except for ford cars. You can use the plus and minus signs before quoted terms as well, for example cars -"ford escort".

Some words are ignored when you do a search. Single character terms are ignored (I, a) as are common words like 'the', 'and', 'but', 'then', 'another', 'because', etc. Internet domain names and email addresses are ignored during search.

By default, our search facility searches the item's title only. You can check 'Search Item Titles and Descriptions' to search for your keywords in both the title and the description. Searches are slower if you search both title and description.

Quick Search Notes

Our Quick Search only searches our active item listings; active listings being those auctions that are still open for bidding. To search for auctions that have closed, you must use our Advanced Search.

If are looking for a specific item number, you can find it from any Quick Search by entering the item number into the search box.

By default, Quick Search searches all active items. If you wish to search only within a certain category, you must check 'Search Only in ...' to make it search only within that category. For example, if you browse our Pistols category, Quick Search will look for items matching your search words in both the Pistols category and all of the other categories. If you check 'Search Only in Firearms : Pistols', it will search only the items that are located in the Pistols category.

To narrow your search down to a particular category browse that category by going to the Categories located at the top of any page of this site, then click on the category you wish to narrow your search to, then use the Quick Search and select the 'Search Only in ...' checkbox. Searching on a category searches not only that category but also any subcategories that category contains.

Advanced Search Notes

Advanced Search gives you more control over what you are searching for. Using advanced search, you can specify your keywords, select what you are looking for (items, sellers, item numbers, etc), and select the date range you wish to search on.

Common Searches:

  • You can search for an item number by entering the item number in 'Search Words', then selecting 'Find a specific Item Number'.
  • You can search for all items a specific seller has listed by selecting the 'By Seller' link on the Search Form to bring up the Search Auctions by Seller portion of the Search Form. Enter the seller's GunBroker.com User Name in 'Search Words'.
  • You can search by the item's location by selecting the 'State where item is located' on the Search Form.

Finding More Items

Our search results are split into two sections: Featured Items and All Items. If the top section, Featured Items, contains no interesting items make sure to scroll down and check the All Items section.

If search is not finding what you are looking for, try broadening your search or trying alternate search terms. Keep in mind that humans are listing these items, and each person thinks a little differently. You may need to run more than one search to find what you are looking for. For example, a Smith and Wesson model 629 may be listed by the seller as a 'S&W 629' or a 'Smith&Wesson 629', or a 'Smith & Wesson 629', and so on. Try different variations of your terms, or try just searching by model number alone. Also try plural forms of your search terms like night vision scopes as well as night vision scope.

Our site and our search now break the item titles and descriptions into 'words' and index those words. Words are separated by spaces or by 'noise' characters such as \, /, *, @, ~, #, ^, and =. If wish to perform a search and your search term contains one of these noise characters you must enclose it in quotes. For example, 10/22 must be entered as "10/22" and 22/250 must be entered as "22/250".

Keep in mind that some common words (noise words) are ignored during search. Single character terms are ignored (I, a) as are common words like 'the', 'and', 'but', 'then', 'another', 'because', etc. Internet domain names and email addresses are also ignored during search.

You can do a partial match search for items by adding an asterisk * to your search terms. For instance, using 'Mar*' will return Mar, Marlin, Mark, Marked, Marshall, etc. In some situations you may find this useful.

If you do not want to specify Search Words on a search, maybe you want to search categories, look for Hot Items, items with No Reserve price, etc. then you can enter an asterisk * by itself as your Search Words.

Finding Fewer Items

Many users enter only a manufacturer name (colt, ruger, etc) and then run a search but this type of search will return more auctions than you can browse through. If you are looking for a pistol and enter ruger, you will find ruger rifles, ruger pistols, ruger mags, ruger holsters, and everything else that contains the keyword ruger. There are several techniques that can be used to narrow your search.

  • Search within a category. Each item on this site is organized into a category. For example, Modern Firearms contains Pistols which contains Revolvers. If you are looking for a ruger pistol go to the Modern Firearms : Pistols category and perform your search there (be sure to check the check the 'Search Only in ...' checkbox). If you are looking specifically for a ruger revolver, go to Modern Firearms : Pistols : Revolvers then perform your search there (again, check the 'Search Only in ...' checkbox). On the Search Form, use the 'Search in Categories' list box to select categories you are interested in when performing a search from the Search Form. The complete list of site Categories is accessible by clicking the Categories link listed at the top of any page.
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