Just how stupid are rifle manufacturers?


December 6, 2006, 10:49 PM
I am honestly baffled. We live in the age of computer controlled machining. The difference between manufacturing a left handed rifle and a right handed rifle is a few clicks on a computer screen.

I went to the fall Tulsa gun show. 3700 tables. I got through the majority of them. In two days, I saw less than thirty left handed bolt actions, most of them four figure custom rifles, and most of them in idiotic overheated barrel burner chamberings.

Hello... McFly!

Ten percent of the population is left handed. Many more like me have eye dominance and correction issues.

If I want to buy a left handed centerfire sporter short action in some sort of a normal chambering, I can buy a Savage, or I can buy a Savage.

Not to say that there's anything wrong with that, but still...

I'm just saying that at some point, a guy like me who shoots left handed might want to buy a new rifle in something besides a long action .30-06 in some godawful 1950s styled stock.

If you enjoyed reading about "Just how stupid are rifle manufacturers?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
December 6, 2006, 10:56 PM
It's not profitable. If it was, they would.

cracked butt
December 6, 2006, 11:17 PM
I'm guessing that there is a lot less 'turnover' with left handed shooters. A right handed shooter can buy and sell anything they want on a whim, but a left handed shooter would have to to through a more lengthy process to find the right model and to even locate an example of what they want. I figure that a left hander is much less likely to sell an item made for them because they have more time invested in it. Just a theory though......

December 6, 2006, 11:25 PM
They killed the dream


December 6, 2006, 11:29 PM
They can make product for ninety percent of the population, or for ten percent of the situation.

HM! I wonder which any sane business owner would choose?

December 6, 2006, 11:32 PM
Pretty damned stupid in my book too, but for other reasons. I have killed 2 dozen or so deer in 40 years of hunting here in the woods and swamps of Michigan and only ONE has been beyond 100 yards. I can't think of one also where a quick second shot would have been of any damned use given both the amount of cover I hunt in and my "poor" skills at hitting running targets. I want a rifle that is light and quick handleing in a round that is sufficient to kill a deer at this distance. Tired of all the eight pound monsters that I see being produced; never saw any rifle other the commie militarys that I wouldn't have to take a saw to the stock and whack off an inch or two to get them to fit and handle in my thick cold weather hunting clothes and I weigh over two hundred pounds! When I say light I mean five pounds or under for my still hunting rifle in a round such as the 7.62x39 or 357 Remington Maximum.

December 6, 2006, 11:37 PM
I'm left handed -- I shoot rifles right handed, swing a golf club (the few times I've tried) right handed, use right handed scissors... I think that enough lefties adapt to a right handed world, that the remaining portion of the 10% just don't justify retooling. I do shoot handguns left handed, and have found a few frustrations with holster manufacturers only making right-handed versions of some holsters, but that's just the way it is.

December 7, 2006, 12:17 AM
Cosmoline, that is hilarious.

Jubjub, I'm sure any of the manufacturers will be glad to sell you a large run of left-handed rifles at wholesale prices, if you think there's a big commercial opportunity here. Let us know how it works out :)

Hoot, have you considered a single shot?

December 7, 2006, 01:44 AM
of the company balance sheet. There is not enough demand to make it profitable. And, as also pointed out, enough left-handers adapt by shooting right-handed or...not shooting a bolt action. I am right-handed and have a left-dominant eye and a lazy right eye. So, I do everything right-handed except shooting. So, I own no bolt rifles. I own lever-action and autoloaders. I will say I own no centerfire rifles. My point, what is wrong with simply using a lever action, a single-shot, or autoloader???

December 7, 2006, 06:24 AM
Get a muzzleloader, a lot of them are available in a lefthand model:neener:

December 7, 2006, 08:48 AM
The difference between manufacturing a left handed rifle and a right handed rifle is a few clicks on a computer screen

You seem to be quite an expert on rifle manufacturing. I'd be curious to see any evidence you might have for such a claim.

El Tejon
December 7, 2006, 08:54 AM
To answer your question, very stupid.

December 7, 2006, 09:19 AM
Well sir, that depends. A sample of the results of a quick Goolge search puts the percentage of the population that are left handed between 10 and 13. Now I ask you is it more profitable for you to make a rifle for 87 to 90 percent of the population, or 10 to 13 percent? Sure, they will throw you guys a small bone and offer the most popular rifles in only the most popular calibers, and this will satisfy the majority of lefties.
I do agree that they are dumb for not offering more as specialty runs for those who are willing to wait.

Double Naught Spy
December 7, 2006, 09:23 AM
I have to agree with El Tejon, but not because of the lefty issue. No doubt, that is a financial deal and for profit companies have to make financial decisions that work for them. That is part of the reason they don't do more specialty items. Sure, there may be a niche market for such things, but not enough to make the profits (if any) to make it worthwhile.

If I want to buy a left handed centerfire sporter short action in some sort of a normal chambering, I can buy a Savage, or I can buy a Savage.

If you are not in combat with a bolt gun, or rather, if you are doing precision shooting, rested, etc., opposite hand guns really are better. As a righty shooting a bolt gun from a rested position, I would much rather NOT remove my firing grip to work the bolt. I would rather my weak hand do the work and it is able to be accomplished with an opposite side gun, or in my case, a lefty gun.

If I was a lefty and wanting to shoot bolt guns from rested positions, assuming that is what you want, I would be in heaven ... having all those supposedly right-handed guns to choose from.

December 7, 2006, 09:26 AM
start using your right hand?

December 7, 2006, 09:35 AM
I entered kindergarden as a lefty. My teacher made certain that I didn't leave there a lefty. The rationale that she gave my parents was that we live in a right-handed world, and unless they wanted me to suffer for life, that they had better back her. I was somewhat resistant to the change. :)

Unless you are hung-up with bolt-action rifles, I would suggest a nice Browning, specifically the BLR in .308 or in .30-06, or some other equally powerful lever action such as a Marlin in .444 or .450 Marlin. Having used these calibers on boar using an Encore single-shot pistol, I can say that these calibers drop game with authority.


December 7, 2006, 09:45 AM
I recall reading in the Shotgun News that there is a company out there making left-handed AR-15's.

December 7, 2006, 09:57 AM
most gun parts are not produced on computer controlled mills. Many, many parts are made on dies on machines that are designed to do one thing, over and over. These MIGHT be able to be set up easily for left hand and they might not. It is not as simple as waving a magic wand and poof, the machine is set up for left hand receivers.

For most companies, it makes no sense to completely retool and set up for a run of 2 guns for a left handed rifle in some oddball barn burner caliber and then have to find the 2 guys who really want that.

It really is a pure business decision. Oh, and I happen to be left handed as well, but I have shot right handed all my life.

It is Stag arms that makes the left handed ARs

December 7, 2006, 10:06 AM
As mentioned there are many of us with eye dominance issues as well. And it was never a question of gee should we make right handed OR left handed bolt actions, it was why not make both? As mentioned, the actual design changes would be not that big a deal if they are already done by computer.

The actual tooling however I think is a different story.

Companies have and do make left hand actions. It's just that not all do. Lefties can pretty much find what they need unless it's a short action Mauser style action.

CZ, are you listening? Cmon now.

December 7, 2006, 11:43 AM

Hell, you can even get a cheap 870 Express in leftie. You just have to order it. Shops don't keep them on display shelves, usually.

Several Remington rifles are also available leftie, including target, varmint and sporting models.

Weatherby's Mark V is also available in Leftie. Not the less-pricey Vanguard, however.

Browning's A Bolt, also quite available in Southpaw.

Savage rifles, lots of Left-Hand models.

Stag Arms, a complete line of Leftie AR's.

You may not have as many choices, or find the guns in the Bargain Bin, but with some effort, you can get a left-handed rifle (and a pump or semiauto shotgun, too).

December 7, 2006, 11:52 AM
Cooper will make a left-handed rifle for a mere $150 more and they offer a wide variety of calibers.


December 7, 2006, 12:07 PM
I try to learn to shoot anything/everything on either side (naturally a southpaw). Can't quite get the hang of it with shotguns though.

December 7, 2006, 12:18 PM
Dravur hit the nail on the head, but it may go even deeper than that, especially in a large company.

In the new ISO900X world of business process excellence, the requirements to maintain the certification and status drive lots of other costs into the design and manufacture of the item.

For instance, a few mouse clicks will give a nice computer model of the rifle.
But then you need new drawings and part numbers for all those parts.
Then you need new assembly drawings. While these are kind of easy, they still cost money.
Then you have to prove to management, laywers and auditors that merely mirroring the model does not change the way the rifle works or alter it's safe use in any way.

Then as Dravur alluded to, you need 2X the tooling you had before.

So by the time all is said and done, the cost of the bueacracy of the company is more than any additional sales they may see from it, unless they jack up the price three to four X over the righties to cover the overhead.

Now for some of the smaller shops is might make sense because their overhead and process is much more directed and less about CYA.

December 7, 2006, 12:23 PM
Don't forget the number of us Southpaws who are right eye dominant, and who would never purchase a left handed rifle or shotgun.

December 7, 2006, 12:27 PM
Actually, the cost comes in when parts are cast, MIMed or extruded. The cost of molds can run $50-60K EACH. If a receiver is cast as a lift hand and you must recoup the cost of tooling, amotized over the amount of guns sold, the profit margin will be much slimmer, or nonexistant for a left hand model because of fewer gun sold.
Don't forget that the bolt, ejector, extractor, stock, etc may also have to be made from a different mold or need new gages for inspection.


December 7, 2006, 12:28 PM
Well, Stag certainly rocks the left handed world. And by the way, I am having a Christmas sale on them. :D (shameless plug)

December 7, 2006, 01:53 PM
How many different choices do you want or need before you don't feel slighted any more!?

Stag Arms

December 7, 2006, 04:10 PM
Bowfin you've got the right attitude (no pun intended).

If you really want to attack manufacturer stupidity consider that Ruger wouldn't put a laminate stock on a blued action nor would they sell a plastic stocked rifle that way. They still don't make bolt actions with removable magazines and the Ranch rifle has sucked since it came out. They offer exactly one lever action which has been catalogued for a long time and it's a .44 magnum! Add to that the horrid Zytel stocks and the imposing price for this bit of crap and stupidity is my only conclusion!

What I would consider a step in the right direction is for NEW gun designs to be usefull to both righties and lefties. A prime example that comes to mind is the new FN 2000S which has an ejection trough that sends the brass forward out the front where it neither batters the gun nor the shooter, nor the shooter alonside. The old Ithaca shotguns with bottom eject are another example of simple designs that work for everyone.

December 7, 2006, 04:19 PM
. The old Ithaca shotguns with bottom eject are another example of simple designs that work for everyone.

Reminton now has a bottom-eject semiauto, and it's really nice.

Thumbing through my Ruger catalog, I can find several examples of blue/synthetic rifles and one blue/laminate rifle. The lever action comes in 3 calibers, not that I have any interest in one. The Ranch Rifle has been completely retooled.

I'll agree, though, that there aren't enough examples of the above improvements -- why not just offer a feature menu and let people order the gun the way they want it?

December 7, 2006, 04:30 PM
I look for things to change at Ruger with the departure of Bill Ruger's son and a new CEO in place. The Rugers seemed to have had an attitude that if they didn't like it, they weren't going to build it, and if they did, it was built, customers be damned. This included their suicidal policy on large capacity magazines for the Mini-14s.

Already Ruger has a new bolt action in .358, which I thought was a no brainer for any manufacturer for the last ten years. Also a rifle in .330 Federal, a new .375 Ruger cartridge, a new Mini-14, and some other models.

December 7, 2006, 04:32 PM
It only takes me two clicks on my CAD program to make a mirror image of a house plan. However, to get the carpenters and other tradesmen to get it right is a nightmare.

December 7, 2006, 04:55 PM
I am right handed, but shoot a bow and rifle left, cause I am left eye dominant. Thats why I like straight bolt mil surps, easy to reach over the top.

December 7, 2006, 05:33 PM
Don't forget NEF, H&R, and Thomson Centers also Ruger #1.

highlander 5
December 7, 2006, 06:26 PM
Sharps rifles can be had with a lefty stock I know as I have one.

December 8, 2006, 04:31 AM
I think their perceived problem revolves around market forecast; how many copies of any one particular rifle to roll out - and perhaps they see it as more difficult to predict how many left-bolts will sell. I would have thought it simply a matter of general population survey - what percentage of lefthanded folk are out there.



December 8, 2006, 06:27 AM
There's another component that I don't believe has been mentioned. And, I'm not 100% sure there's any truth in it, but...

Left-handed people are supposedly more right brained (something like that), which supposedly means that they're more inclined towards emotional and artistic personality traits being more strongly manifested.

That seems to me to be another likely reason few left-handed rifles are made: lefties are pre-dispositioned to be moonbats.

December 8, 2006, 11:03 AM
and you will see that they are doing a survey and want your input regarding potential manufacture of left-handed rifles, perhaps others. The question they pose the public is something like this, "What model rifle would you most like to see Savage make in a left-handed model?" So, now is your chance to get some feedback to the company.

December 8, 2006, 11:33 AM
Well, i grew up thoroughly confused...because I was ambidextrous...I "wanted" to do some things left handed (like shoot a bow or gun), others I did left handed (intricate, or very dextrous operations).

But, I even succumbed to the masses, and learned to shot both a bow and a gun right handed, simply because you could find many, many more choices that way.

So for 35 years, I've shot right handed. And I'm left eye dominant (I think) as well, so I close my left eye when I shoot (knowing that that's not really proper, but it works).

My best shooting buddy if a "true" lefty, and while it causes some problems, but he addapts pretty well, and can shoot my guns pretty accurate.

In short, I think left handed gunas are a bit scarce, because so many people have learned to adapt, not because they are a significant # of "lefties" out there. While the #age may be 10+% many, if not most, have adapted, lowering the demand even further.

December 8, 2006, 11:35 AM
Sometimes you can't get one even if the manufacturer has the tooling et al. I tried to get a ball rolling for a LH version of the Baikal Biathlon Basic to be imported with no luck whatever. Baikal makes (and EAA would import on special order) a LH version of the full-goose competition rifle, but EAA wouldn't commission them for a "basic" because the factory's minimum order for a special run was more than they wanted to handle. If I could've motivated even a third of that number of lefties to actually fire-off an e-mail asking for it, it might've happened.

The silence was deafening.

December 8, 2006, 12:02 PM
You might also look at a Blaser R93; right- or left-convertible just by changing bolts.

December 8, 2006, 12:10 PM
Left-handed people are supposedly more right brained (something like that), which supposedly means that they're more inclined towards emotional and artistic personality traits being more strongly manifested.

That seems to me to be another likely reason few left-handed rifles are made: lefties are pre-dispositioned to be moonbats.

Oh, really. Well. From a professional marketing graphics designer who spends their days doing creative stuff, and also enjoys shooting, I say you're so full of it that it's laughable. I'll get another laugh out of this nonsense next time I finish a magazine ad and go to clean my AK.

What, all artists are leftist peaceniks, and all gun enthusiasts are what...boring, beige-wearing monotone-speaking accountants? Are you boring and think only in numbers, being supposedly left-brain dominant?

What orifice did you pull this theory from?

December 8, 2006, 01:43 PM
We live in the age of computer controlled machining. The difference between manufacturing a left handed rifle and a right handed rifle is a few clicks on a computer screen.

um, no. It's not that simple.

December 8, 2006, 01:55 PM
appears to have some scientific basis behind that statement as written in the scientific literature over the years. However, this might be a tendency, not a definite personality trait or talent in each and every left or right handed person. And, Caimlas said, "supposedly" and I did not see him making any flat statements. What this theory stems from is that, based on a lot of scientific research, according to what I learned in college, is that right-handed people are considered to be "left hemisphere of the brain dominant" and left-handed people are more "right hemisphere of the brain dominant." Each hemisphere of the brain has differences and some of these relate to the tendency to be more artistic and intuitive and some more logical, linear-thinking, and mathamatically minded. Of course all people have two hemispheres of the brain and with 6 billion people in the world there is quite a variety of individual traits. Science has not gotten this concept down to anywhere near being able to predict a person's talents and abilities. Have a nice day everyone. :) I will as soon as I get the house cleaned. (I am retired and my spouse is not so I do the housecleaning.):)

December 8, 2006, 03:45 PM
It only takes me two clicks on my CAD program to make a mirror image of a house plan. However, to get the carpenters and other tradesmen to get it right is a nightmare.

I am not sure that you can completely mirror a house without causing headaches for the carpenters and tradesmen. Most door knobs on the outside of a door are on the righthand side. Does your two mouse clicks keep them that way, or switch it to the left, meaning they need lefthand doors? How about the water faucets? Usually cold is on the right, hot is on the left, what does your two mouse clicks do for those? How about window latches?

Before I would get too down on a carpenter or tradesman, I think it might be best to go help build a completely mirrored house, and see how many nightmares your two mouse clicks create in the real world.

I have been the victim of CAD/CAM induced bad dreams myself more than a few times out on the shop floor, such as turning a huge punch press 180 degrees. and down the aisle. It seems that on the CAD program, that press didn't hit the roof or girders when the mouse clicked to make it magically disappear at Point A and then reappear at Point B. We showed the punch press and the girders where the Chief Engineer signed off on it, saying it was doable, but all the inanimate objects were unimpressed, and remained solid.

December 9, 2006, 11:26 AM
What Owen and ARperson said; it ain't anywhere near that simple. While a couple of mouse clicks might get you "mirrored" drawings, CNC machines are not "self-programming" and that's where the comparison breaks down.

In the architectural model, skilled tradesmen read those plans and figure out what's needed to translate them into reality. Machines do not. They must be given parameters for everything from tool selection and cutting speeds to spatial co-ordinates for dimensional references. As they have no capacity to rationalize, process action sequences must be defined for them every step of the way. Contingencies have to be provided for and alternative actions defined.

While some of this can be "short cutted" to an extent with the proper specialized machining program, it still requires a bunch more than just telling it to "translate all operations 180 degrees" to make it happen. A new program must be created, tested, and de-bugged by engineers of several sorts, and that is not a quick or inexpensive process. To get a finished receiver, for instance, this may require that two or more machining centers be changed-over, each with a different task set. Multiply this by the number of subassemblies and ancillary parts which need to be changed to build the finished product and what machinery must be dedicated to making them.

Even then it's not quite as simple as just plugging in the new program and filling the parts trays. Fixtures and jigs must be designed and set-up for every sequence of operations. The initial set-up takes the most time, but even with an established procedure there will be some amount of potentially productive time lost while it is being done. Good manufacturing process engineering can help minimize it, but it can't be eliminated entirely.

All of it costs large money, especially the initial work. Unless they see the potential for timely return of that investment, plus profit, it obviously ain't gonna happen.

If you enjoyed reading about "Just how stupid are rifle manufacturers?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!