Having recorders shipped to you so that you can try them before you decide to buy anything depends on where you live. If you’re in the USA, give Lazar or Von Huene a call and discuss your needs with them. You give them a credit card number so they can charge the postage. You’re responsible for the return postage of any/all that you send back after the trial period. Don’t be thrown off by websites that seem to indicate that you buy before you try–that’s how so many websites are designed these days.
An alternate suggestion, particularly if you don’t live in the same country as your chosen shop, is to call them and ask if they would be willing to take a few minutes and play a few over the phone and critique them for you. Be prepared to ask for a few specific tests like a) are the octaves in tune, b) do the high notes play easily, c) do any of the lowest notes “burble” or “wolf” or otherwise break up, and d) is the lowest register as strong as the mid-range. Granted it is hard to tell much over the phone, but an honest sales person will give you honest answers and help you decide on the one that you will purchase sight unseen as it were.
I have done the bulk of my recorder purchases (quite a few to date) with the first of the aforementioned shops. Recently, since I often tend to buy a recorder during the month of January, and since I don’t like to have recorders shipped back and forth needlessly during the dead of winter (I do live in the USA by the way), I have taken to calling the shop and asking the nice person on the phone to play a few for me–paying attention to my test criteria. I have always been extremely pleased with the results (as I imagine they also have since they haven’t had to tie up several of their instruments with shipping and trial time). They have graciously sent the chosen recorder to me as if it were on trial and only charged my card (other than for shipping) when I called/emailed them to confirm that I was buying it.
Either way, it works like a champ. And one of these ways will no doubt work for you.