Do you see an icon, or a weapon made of systems?


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Tirod
November 10, 2010, 11:38 AM
There are a lot of rifle owners who see their firearm in a rosy tint, as the One that can do All - or at least better than most others. I used to do that, too, and had my favorite.

Then I changed my mind, and got another, then another.

What I discovered is that some rifles do some things very well, and completely fall down in other areas. Even at that, some focus too much on a perceived deficiency, and make it the sole reason the avoid the entire gun.

The AK comes to mind: ingenious bolt design, nearly flawless magazine feed, but operator controls less than first class. Or the AR: ingenious gas piston design IN the bolt, user friendly fire controls, mediocre charging handle, and a magazine and mag well design that creates most of the reliability problems.

Civilian arms like the Winchester 94 are wonderfully light and handy, the manual lever action easy to use, but what about that tubular magazine? It really diminishes the kind of ammo you can shoot. A spiral feed would allow loading 6.8SPC, and that concept seems doomed now that it's an imported collector grade gun.

Got your favorite gun, and really looked at it? Does it contain all the best features for it's type that you think should be there? OR, like some many of us still learning about guns, do we even know what could be better?

Do you even study up on different stuff, or just light candles in front of the gun rack and bask in the glow of what Marlin/Remington/Winchester/Saiga/Olympic/whatever produces that is so utterly perfect? Can you step back and see what isn't so great about what you have?

There is no perfect gun, and making excuses about it won't make it so. It's like the Army said about my deployment station, it was the least worst place. Do you pick a gun with the least worst features, knowing what you can tolerate as second best in the design?

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courtgreene
November 10, 2010, 11:49 AM
good perspective, but if I were to look at them like that I would just be buying more. Not everyone can afford that perspective.

BrocLuno
November 10, 2010, 11:58 AM
To me, each is an icon. I used weapon systems in the Army. I don't do that in the civilian world. My heavy barreled 22-250 is not supposed to do the same thing as my 94 Lever. That's why I have a safe and stuff in it. They each do their jobs. What the 22s or shotguns do, is not the same as what the 308 or 06's do.

Mr_Pale_Horse
November 10, 2010, 11:58 AM
I study exploded views and machinist drawings of all the firearms I considered before buying my first gun.

Since my intended use was hunting, I ended up with a commercial 98 mauser sporter. Had I the same choice to make today, the current production Model 70 Winchester would win on paper.

CraigC
November 10, 2010, 12:04 PM
Nothing and no one is perfect. No firearm is perfect for all situations. After personal tastes and preferences, it's a matter of what we can work with, what physical deficiencies we can overcome with skill. Just like with women, I was never looking for perfect, perfect is boring, I'm just looking for something I can spend the rest of my life with. Perfect.....for me.

`Course, that line of thought is only relevant if you view firearms as works of art, time machines and the focus of your passions. Not just a tool.

GunTech
November 10, 2010, 12:25 PM
Almost every gun I buy ends up with some sort of customization. There is no universal perfect design and never will be. Everyone has different ideas about design, utility and even ergonomics. Every mass produced firearm is a compromise catered to the lowest common denominator of the masses.

The classic question is 'if you could have only one (rifle, pistol, shotgun), which would it be?'

Which is inevitably followed by 'what is my use? Hunting, target practice, SHTF?'

Which clearly indicated there is no one solution in the minds of most people.

MTMilitiaman
November 10, 2010, 02:10 PM
I'll admit that I have a favorite. Nothing gets me going like my M1A. I've been known to smile before, but man, that thing does it to me every time like nothing else...not the .50 cal, not the AK or the AR, not any handgun existent, even my Glock 20 and those hot handloads that are so much fun, nothing. I just really like my M1A. In terms of shooting experience, personally, there is nothing like it. The rifle is solid and comfortable. It has excellent sights and a good trigger. The controls and ergonomics suit me, and I grew up hearing my grandpa talk about "real" rifles like the Garand and BAR, so I appreciate the history and nostalgia of the design, and find the recoil comforting--it's enough to let you know you're firing a "man's" cartridge while still be pleasant enough to shoot all day. With money being tight and ammunition being so prohibitively expensive these days, if I have money for ammo, I feed my M1A.

From a practical standpoint, the rifle is accurate enough, powerful enough, and possess the reliability and durability to do a lot of things. I hunt with it. It can be used for defense, and ruled the competition scene for decades.

Yeah, I love my M1A. But that doesn't mean I don't see its faults. I don't like requiring tools to disassemble it for normal cleaning or maintenance. While more quality options exist now than ever before, I don't like how difficult it is to scope--good things the iron sights are among the finest ever put on a rifle. It's heavy, esp when you start stacking loaded 20 rounders on with it. But more than that, it's loooong. That 22 inch barrel is awesome when you're banging steel at 300+ yards, but sucks for a lot of stuff much closer. In hindsight, I wish I had gone with the Scout model, but even that wouldn't be considered ideal for some stuff, like anything indoors (most self defense applications). The design is expensive to produce, and gets even more so quickly when you want to change anything on it--if you want to add rail-estate for optics, lights, grips, or a bipods, if you want a pistol grip, or an adjustable stock--you basically need to invest the $600 in one of the chassis systems available.

So any more I view my M1A as merely my favorite component in a system that includes several other options. For the close and intermediate distance stuff, I like to keep a usable degree of proficiency with my AK. Equipped with a red dot or reflex sight, this rifle has proven to have adequate accuracy to 200+ yards, is reliable, and much lighter and easier to carry than the M1A. I don't share the "feelings" with it that I have for my M1A though. My AK and my 12 gauge, my hunting rifle and my Glock, and all the others are just tools for specific applications. The M1A is the only one for whatever reason that I have really deemed deserving of my affection. It's the only thing I own I'd run into a burning building to save.

WardenWolf
November 10, 2010, 02:33 PM
If I had to pick a favorite all-around rifle, it'd be my Romanian PSL. It's lightweight, low-recoil, accurate, and works well with both scopes and iron sights. It feeds both FMJ and soft points perfectly. Overall it's a good rifle for hunting or SHTF, and passable for self-defense.

That said, commercial light ball ammo is not always readily available, requiring me to stock up when it is. Still, commercial 7.62x54R is a lot cheaper than most .308 or .30-06 options. It's also very long, and a poor choice for maneuvering in buildings. The barrel is thin and isn't really suited to a lot of shots in a short period of time. Still, though, it's a good, inexpensive battle rifle.

gunnutery
November 10, 2010, 03:15 PM
Good post Tirod, I do look upon the deficiencies and how we can improve them, or work through them faster than the other guy (competitor or bad guy). But at the same time, I've had to be happy with the purchase choices I made when I didn't know better. For quite some time I've been looking forward to getting the M1A Socom 16 (and then adding on stuff to make it better). But ever since I've wanted one, I couldn't afford it and it's looking like I'll have to wait for quite some time now. I still want the Socom 16, but I think I've gotten over the "jonsing" for one because I can improve what I already have.
[/soapbox]

M-Cameron
November 10, 2010, 03:16 PM
i view firearms like i view cars.....

you've got your daily drivers, your fine tuned sports cars,your antiques, your beaters, ect.

you wouldnt enter a model T into the daytona 500........just the same as you wouldnt shoot Olympic events with a mosin nagant.

all my guns do one thing well......they put holes in paper like no other.....

they are too weak and heavy to hunt with......and are also to weak and slow for SD......however the ergonomics and accuracy are literally perfect....

mljdeckard
November 10, 2010, 03:33 PM
As I get older, I find the engineering itself iconic.

Uncle Mike
November 10, 2010, 03:45 PM
There is no universal perfect design and never will be. Everyone has different ideas about design, utility and even ergonomics. Every mass produced firearm is a compromise catered to the lowest common denominator of the masses.

I don't know, the more I have to do with the European built rifles, the more I think the good U.S.of A is falling behind, in the arms race! lol

Most eruo. manufactured rifles will include at least one model that utilizes, what is possibly the very best method of action, or bolt lock, the floating, rotating bolt head that locks into the barrel extension, not into the receiver recesses.

Collet locking bolt heads, such as the system used on 'Blaser' brand rifles,the slickest system I have had the pleasure to work with, also lock into the barrel extension, and not the receiver abutments, and allow for a 'straight pull' bolt operation that is lightning fast!

Want to swap calibers, no sweat, spin off two nuts, the barrel comes out of the stock, put your desired caliber barrel into the stock, swap bolt heads if needed, a 10 second job, and your up and running again, no setting headspace, nothing!

And let's not forget the various eruo. style safeties that actually 'cock' the rifle upon taking the safety off, and 'De-cocks' the rifle when the safety is put into the on position.

If I was forced to pick, what I would call the best, bolt action rifle, it may just be one of the euro built Sauer, Mauser or Blaser manufactured rifles...probably the Blaser.

1858
November 10, 2010, 04:03 PM
Got your favorite gun, and really looked at it? Does it contain all the best features for it's type that you think should be there? OR, like some many of us still learning about guns, do we even know what could be better?

I have to wonder what John Moses Browning would do today with the engineering tools available. Given that he was so far ahead of everyone else 100 years ago, one can only imagine what he would come up with today. I don't feel that there are many, if any, truly innovative people working in the firearms industry. Most seem intent on "tweaking" which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

EVERYTHING in life is a compromise ... there are no exceptions. I think it was Robert Heinlein that said "specialization is for insects". One of the reasons that so many of us have numerous handguns and rifles chambered for different cartridges is we soon realize that there is no "one size fits all" solution. There is a system that is made up of a number of parts. In the real world, we have to make do and select what we feel is the best option. Anyone that carries a handgun every day is well aware of this. Weight, size, printing, cartridge, accuracy, capacity, reliability ... these are all variables that need to considered. Rifles are much the same with the obvious exception of printing ... though maybe that's a consideration for someone out there.

So, does the perfect rifle exist? A jack-of-all-trades, but master-of-none perhaps. Looking at the rifles that I have, bolt actions, lever actions and semi-autos, none of them are perfect and none of them fill every role. If I had to choose just one it would be tough. However, I know one criterion that wouldn't enter into that decision ... home defense ... it's the least important variable to me when choosing a rifle since I feel that a handgun or shotgun is superior in that role.

:)

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