What does the future hold for American gun companies?


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Got_Lead?
July 19, 2011, 04:17 AM
It upsets me to read of the recent posts about Marlin shutting down its New Haven facility. And I'm not sure what to think about them being bought by Remington, and moving any remaining products to be made in Ilon. But it does concern me that I'm reading about lower quality, and poor customer service since the acquisition. Maybe this is just part of the learning curve, but somehow, I think it goes much deeper.

I'm not sure what's happening to America. It used to be in this country, that people and companies took pride in making a quality product, and making it available for an affordable price. Sure, a company had to make a profit to stay in business, but that profit was based on a reasonable percentage, not "what the market would bear". But the name of the game today seems to be only to maximize profits. This was perhaps the death knell of the old world craftsmen, the men who fitted, polished, and took such pride in producing the finest firearms this world has ever seen.

Sure, all the latest utility guns are very functional and inovative. But, if you've ever handled an old Colt, or Smith, there's a pleasure and satisfaction to be had just appreciating the craftsmanship that went into such a fine weapon. These are all pretty much things of a bygone era in this country, and it makes me a little sad.

Call me a dismalist, but there sure seems to be a trend of gun companies closing their doors, and the ones remaining open having to fight the good fight, not only of economic woes, but of litigation, over and over, until they too seccumb.

What will become of American gun companies?

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forestdavegump
July 19, 2011, 04:20 AM
Yes it saddens us all :(

Lonerider357
July 19, 2011, 05:08 AM
Yep, The new Remarlins are CRAP!!
Heard of at least 3 that had to be returned for money back because even the best gunsmith couldn't make them work right!

kwelz
July 19, 2011, 06:41 AM
Nostalgia has it's place. But that doesn't mean it is always right. The quality guns from today are every bit as good as these "fitted and polished weapons" It is kind of like saying that Cars today are inferior because they are not made by hand like the very early models.

Now I won't disagree with you that some companies are taking the easy way out. Cerberus has really done a number on Marlin, Remington, and many of the other companies. They bought some good companies like Remington and some not so good companies like DPMS. Instead of bringing the bad companies up to the standards of the others they have brought the good companies down to the the bad level.

El Tejon
July 19, 2011, 09:00 AM
Gun sales are at record levels. Gun manufacturers have never been healthier financially.

Inflation is commiting mayhem on all of the economy. If gun quality does not decline, then prices must rise. If prices rise, THR will be overwhelmed with threads such as "They sure is proud of them guns!" "I won't pay that rip off prices!"

Sure, a company had to make a profit to stay in business, but that profit was based on a reasonable percentage, not "what the market would bear".

So, someone is to determine what is reasonable? The Obama Administration or the gun buying customers?

A CEO has a duty to his shareholders to maximize profits.

This was perhaps the death knell of the old world craftsmen, the men who fitted, polished, and took such pride in producing the finest firearms this world has ever seen.

If you want a custom or semi-custom production firearm then you have many, many choices. Bring your checkbook.

"Old world" so you want to buy European guns? There are plenty available. Bring money.

But, if you've ever handled an old Colt, or Smith, there's a pleasure and satisfaction to be had just appreciating the craftsmanship that went into such a fine weapon. These are all pretty much things of a bygone era in this country, and it makes me a little sad.

You cannot get the labor costs of then either. Would you work for those wages and no benefits?

You cannot get something for nothing. You pay for this craftsmanship or you find a way to make firearms with lower overhead via technology.

Call me a dismalist, but there sure seems to be a trend of gun companies closing their doors, and the ones remaining open having to fight the good fight, not only of economic woes, but of litigation, over and over, until they too seccumb.


Companies, guns or restaurants, open and close every day. If there is a trend in the good business it is a positive one.

Sebastian the Ibis
July 19, 2011, 09:30 AM
It's evolution nothing more. Novesky, LMT, POF, Spikes, BCM etc. make a better AR-15 than Bushmaster, DPMS & Remington. Colt & FN have the large contracts so DPbushington is stuck in the impecunious middle.

DPbushington rested on it's marketing & cost-cutting and did not innovate, like GM and Chrysler did, assuming everyone would buy their products based on history - but they didn't. Cerberus has more government contacts than Dick Cheney, but when the DOD went looking for a DMR/replacement for the Remington M24 they selected Knights Armament over a Cerberus offering. The Brits went with LMT. Most of the members on this site looking for a new AR pay the same or $100 more for a Spikes or BCM because the quality is better. Or pay the same or less for a Del-ton/Stag which offer at least the same quality for less- but without the marketing.

BluegrassDan
July 19, 2011, 09:35 AM
I'm not sure what's happening to America. It used to be in this country, that people and companies took pride in making a quality product, and making it available for an affordable price.

It used to be in this country, post WWII, that we didn't have competition from the global market and everyone was buying from us. They had to buy from us because we were the strongest country financially. Europe and Japan were decimated by the war and we walked away on top. We could set the price.

"It used to be in this country..."

The older I get the more disenchanted I am with romanticizing the "good ole days of the 1950s," so to speak. It used to be in this country that things were just peachy if you were a white male. What if you were black and were not allowed to attend a school or sit in a restaurant because of your skin color? What if you were a woman and "expected" to serve your husband rather than become educated and have a voice?

(I know my response is more like soapbox talk, but your original thread is littered with "romantic" imagery. E.g., "fight the good fight," "death knoll of the old world craftsman," etc.

How many MOA guarantees did American companies have 25 years ago?

There has always been, and always be, crappy products made in America or anywhere else for that matter. While I love my pre-64 Winchester 94, the craftsmanship is not that of the newer Miroku-made Winchester lever guns. On the other hand, I wouldn't trade my new American-made sub-MOA-shooting Kimber rifle for some "old" 2" group 1950s American-made collector's bolt gun.

Marlin and Remington will get it together. If not, they'll end up like Winchester did a few years ago.

Enough ranting. Time for me to go to work.

Sebastian the Ibis
July 19, 2011, 09:38 AM
What does the future hold for American gun companies?

Snarky Answer: International business is booming. Apparently, Mexican's are purchasing these products, made in America, as fast as they can!

Sam1911
July 19, 2011, 09:47 AM
I'm not sure what's happening to America. It used to be in this country, that people and companies took pride in making a quality product, and making it available for an affordable price.
There is more sentimentality in that than fact. Manufacturers always have and always will -- and MUST -- make a product that is good enough for the market price point at which they are aiming, and/or good enough to compete with other similar products at that price point, but not a whole lot better. No manufacturer ever, who was destined to stay in business long, can work under a business model that their product will be the very best they could produce, AND that they will hold some perceived "affordable" price point. (Though the advertisers have always -- and will always -- tell you different.)

In "the old days" manufacturing methods often required guns to be made out of more metal, and with a lot more hand-fitting, than is required by the better engineering and higher-precision machinery of today. Plastics were either non-existent, or were very inferior once they became available, so good old-fashioned wood was used for stocks and grips. Not because it was elegant or high quality -- because that's what we had to work with.

Two other points to consider:

1) There were indeed plenty of low-cost guns. Tons of them. Single-shot 12 ga. break-actions and pot metal revolvers, and plenty more that we tend to forget when we wax nostalgic.

2) Guns cost A LOT of money back then. While the "average" shooter or gun-guy today feels like his collection is pretty modest if he's only got 10 or a dozen assorted firearms, most families back in the good old days made due with one gun (probably a cheap, break-action single shot 12 ga.) or maybe two (toss in a .22 rifle) for decades. Those beautiful S&W Registered Magnums, Colt Pythons, and other great guns of yesterday were just as -- or even more -- expensive then than they are now.

Sure, a company had to make a profit to stay in business, but that profit was based on a reasonable percentage, not "what the market would bear". But the name of the game today seems to be only to maximize profits.
I don't think you have a realistic view of the manufacturing world. Makers are cutting each other's throats to try and undersell each other. In today's climate, "whatever the market will bear" is pathetically close to the dead minimum manufacturers have to bring in to break even, with salaries, material price fluctuations, overhead, fuel & power costs, taxes, insurance, any R&D they can do to design the next new rifle you might want to buy, legal retainers to keep the lawsuits at bay, etc., etc.

The reason companies consolidate and take products off the market and move to plastic parts instead of metal isn't because they're bloodthirsty capitalists. It's because those companies will go out of business if they don't. They aren't making enough on each gun sold to keep the lights on and they have to find ways to reduce total costs. Their competition is fighting the same battles and whoever can sell something just a bit cheaper will sell more units ... and maybe survive another year.

This was perhaps the death knell of the old world craftsmen, the men who fitted, polished, and took such pride in producing the finest firearms this world has ever seen. Which old-world craftsmen? Pietro Beretta's guys back in the 16th century?

You do know that precision work -- even precision hand-work -- is still available, right? But you're going to pay for it. They aren't giving it away just because a gun should feel or look a certain way. Modern guns are generally MORE precise and BETTER fit than the average old gun. They just look and feel different because of modern designs, materials, and engineering developments that let us do more with less.

These are all pretty much things of a bygone era in this country, and it makes me a little sad.
Yup. Nostalgia exists for a great many things. I'm a history guy. Historic work is how I make my living. I live with the fact that those things we think of as the greatest examples of the builder's art are NOT universally representative of how it was for the masses, and both are now, and were then, ENORMOUS investments for the people who undertook them.

We live in a time of great appreciation of "surplus" and "used" items that we cherish for both their quality and their bargain value. Value always costs. Laying down a day's pay for something wonderful from a bygone era gives you a false sense of appreciation for the original owner who probably parted with a week's, or a month's, pay for that item when it was new.

there sure seems to be a trend of gun companies closing their doors, and the ones remaining open having to fight the good fight, not only of economic woes, but of litigation, over and over, until they too succumb.

What will become of American gun companies?
Naaah. Competition is good. Tough times toughen and strengthen those who can persevere. What will happen is that firearms technology will continue to develop and companies will make even better products even cheaper. 50 years from now we'll be waxing nostalgic over the good 'ol days when you could buy a Glock -- made from old fashioned solid polymer! -- for only $500.

bigedp51
July 19, 2011, 10:13 AM
Companies, guns or restaurants, open and close every day. If there is a trend in the good business it is a positive one.

Prior to the Irish potato famine starting in the mid 1800s the British Linen and clothing factories were located in Ireland. Rather than help the starving Irish the Linen industry was moved to India to make more profits.

The profits from the Linen industry were used to buy opium which was traded to the Chinese for china dining ware to sell world wide. All this for the benefit of the share holders and the owners of the company.

Below is a Remington 700 bolt, and this is not the same quality from the past. This Remington bolt had only one bolt lug touching and the bolt face looks like a beaver chewed the bolt recess out of the bolt face.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o254/bigedp51/IMGP7461.jpg

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o254/bigedp51/IMGP7463.jpg

Remington is importing Mauser rifles from Serbia (Mitchells Mausers with a fancy stock) 25% of Remington DuPont IMR powder is made in Canada by General Dynamics weapons division. The other 75% of IMR powder is made in Australia by a French owned company. And Remington and Winchester no longer produce ammunition at the Lake City Army ammunition facility.

All this in the name of shareholder profits and bonuses paid to upper level management. These shareholders care as much for you firearms owners as they did for the starving Irish.

Government deregulation, lowering taxes for the wealthy and with the people at the bottom paying for it all.

If there is a trend in the good business it is a positive one.

What flippin' planet do you live on.....................

(don't bother calling me with your answer, you will just get my answering service in India and you won't understand a frigging word that they are saying) :rolleyes:

Yo Mama
July 19, 2011, 10:32 AM
Call me a dismalist, but there sure seems to be a trend of gun companies closing their doors, and the ones remaining open having to fight the good fight, not only of economic woes, but of litigation, over and over, until they too seccumb.


Not just gun companies. All business is suffering in this economy. Hmmm....maybe that's what our King wants?;)

Horsemany
July 19, 2011, 10:32 AM
Economics. In the 50's guns were more widely accepted by society. People were willing to spend more(factoring inflation) for a gun. Therefore the guns were higher quality. No offense to anyone but shooting/hunting is mostly a middle class sport and we all know how well the middle class is doing in America right now. Therefore you're getting cheaply made guns for the masses who don't want to pay much. Some foreign manufacturers are not going through that right now and the difference in quality shows.

oneounceload
July 19, 2011, 10:47 AM
I'm not sure what's happening to America. It used to be in this country, that people and companies took pride in making a quality product, and making it available for an affordable price. Sure, a company had to make a profit to stay in business, but that profit was based on a reasonable percentage, not "what the market would bear"

Incorrect - they charged what the market would bear in contrast to their competitors - who were all American companies for the most part. Since now everyone thinks places like wally world have a good value, imports made to cheap price points have forced US companies to compete in the cheapest price category - because gun consumers won't pay for quality and what quality costs - all you have to do is read the numerous

All this in the name of shareholder profits and bonuses paid to upper level management. These shareholders care as much for you firearms owners as they did for the starving Irish.

Government deregulation, lowering taxes for the wealthy and with the people at the bottom paying for it all.

Really?? Yet another person who didn't make money in life crying the wealth-envy tune. If you want socialism so bad, move to a country where it is in full swing (although we are certainly tying to get there now)

25% of Remington DuPont IMR powder is made in Canada by General Dynamics weapons division

Remington hasn't been part of DuPont for decades. DuPont got rid of IMR a long time ago as well.............ignorance is bliss I guess

Sam1911
July 19, 2011, 11:55 AM
[MOD TALK: This is getting dangerously close to ending early because of political arguments we won't host here. Want to talk about guns? Fine. Want to talk about "-isms" and or "our King" -- take it somewhere else.]

wingman
July 19, 2011, 11:59 AM
The older I get the more disenchanted I am with romanticizing the "good ole days of the 1950s," so to speak. It used to be in this country that things were just peachy if you were a white male. What if you were black and were not allowed to attend a school or sit in a restaurant because of your skin color? What if you were a woman and "expected" to serve your husband rather than become educated and have a voice?


Ah yes the race/gender card, with all due respect I was born and raised in the40/50's women by and large were treated with much more respect then today, women, society, families have lost along with morals, standards, values. I've seen more racism in past few years coming from all races then I did in the past. No gains here of course the press would like to believe otherwise we simply created a more angry society with political correctness.

Like it or not quality of work has declined in America past 40 years, I never had to send a rifle back for repair until the 90's in past 15 I have returned 4 one so bad it was dangerous and it was destroyed.

You can cited modern manufacturing, competition, economics 101, whatever but in the end we are building buying a huge amount of junk products. We have improved in medical, electronic and communication equipment but in other areas we are failing, this is not trying to romanticizing an era it's simply fact.

Large pay outs do not guarantee good products or work. You buy, you take your chance but no longer sure of the end results.

I see no teaching work/craftsman skills, most people feel its beneath there children to take shop/car repair/air conditioning, etc. what you end up with is a society looking for hand outs.

America may come out of it if we become proud of the country once again stop purchasing China junk and teach skills again but I wont hold my breath.

Sorry for the anger, but we can't continue to stick our head in the sand and expect it to get better.

HOWARD J
July 19, 2011, 12:14 PM
Some of the GOOD OLD DAYS I would rather not go back to:
Take battery of 37 Plymouth in to basement on very cold nites so car will start.
Burn coal in fireplace during WW2 because oil not available, ration books & food cupons--
meat once a week or not at all, gasoline ration card, etc, etc.

Most of the good old days were for the birds
In the 1950's the average guy was making around $3000 a year & guns were expensive compared to today.
Have fun---you got it made. --------------:)

bigedp51
July 19, 2011, 12:38 PM
Remington hasn't been part of DuPont for decades. DuPont got rid of IMR a long time ago as well.............ignorance is bliss I guess

We are talking about how things once were and the quality of firearms, at one time Remington and DuPont were linked and it has NOTHING to do with ignorance. I think the word that is being used here should be nostalgia of American quality and products in the past. (Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Remington, etc.)

My first Remington 700 had a DuPont ™ Zytel finish and my 1978 reloading guide is not "ignorance"............

it was a time of quality and bliss. ;)

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o254/bigedp51/dupont.jpg

If you want socialism so bad, move to a country where it is in full swing (although we are certainly tying to get there now)

Social Security and Medicare are forms of socialism. ;)

During the 1970s at a Washington DC gala party event a American reporter attending this party asked the Russian ambassador what he thought the differences were between Communism and Capitalism.

The Russian ambassador replied:
"the difference is under Capitalism man exploits man, and under Communism it was just the other way around. :eek:

ignorance is bliss I guess

You guessed wrong based on a incorrect assumption and what governs a quality product.
(AK-47s were made under socialism and they are more reliable than the M16 mouse gun)
and Mikhail Kalashnikov didn't get a $20,000,000.00 dollar yearly bonus, all he got was a bigger apartment comrade. :rolleyes:

El Tejon
July 19, 2011, 01:28 PM
Rather than help the starving Irish the Linen industry was moved to India to make more profits.


Yes, reducing overhead is key to operating a profitable business, including gun manufacturing.

Since the Irish did not want to work harder, they had their jobs taken away from them. They "starved" or relocated to become corrupt politicians in Chicago.

Below is a Remington 700 bolt, and this is not the same quality from the past. This Remington bolt had only one bolt lug touching and the bolt face looks like a beaver chewed the bolt recess out of the bolt face.


Because to machine it right would take too much overhead. Reduce quality so you do not have to raise prices which would create angry threads on THR.

All this in the name of shareholder profits and bonuses paid to upper level management. These shareholders care as much for you firearms owners as they did for the starving Irish.


Who cares if Remington imports Serbians guns? As long as it makes Remington money.

Why should shareholders care about anyone, let along the Irish? Shareholders should only care about maximizing profits. If increasing the quality of guns does that, then do that. However, if you raise the price you decrease sales so gun companies are forced to keep quality down. If you want a quality firearm there are plenty makers making them (and it is NOT Marlin or Remington), you just have to pay, as always.

Government deregulation, lowering taxes for the wealthy and with the people at the bottom paying for it all.


What does any of that have to do with the gun industry?

Government deregulation? In the gun industry? I'm all for it but has not happened.

Lowering taxes for the wealthy? So they can reinvest their profits in Ruger, Les Baer or the like. I'm all for it.

People on the bottom? They don't pay taxes so you think they have more money for guns? Is your point to eliminate taxes altogether and choke the government's life blood out of them? If so, I'm with ya.

Social Security and Medicare are forms of socialism.

Yes and these sordid Ponzi schemes have want to do with the gun industry?

You want to abolish them so gun makers have more money to reinvest in their businesses? If so, I'm with ya.

bigedp51
July 19, 2011, 02:06 PM
Who cares if Remington imports Serbians guns? As long as it makes Remington money.

I care if Remington firearms are made in China or India in the name of company profits. Profits that these companies pay little to no taxes on and then donate a small fraction of these huge profits to Politicians to get reelected. Who in turn pass deregulation laws and allow off shore banking and investment and screwing the average American.

You can sure tell who watches the "conservative" Fox News that belongs to Rupert Murdock (an ultra conservative Australian with American citizenship) and who is testifying before Parliament about his company's criminal activities and bribing government officials.

What does this have to do with firearms, well money talks and corruption walks. :rolleyes:

P.S. My ancestors were Scottish and Irish and didn't live in Chicago. :neener: (and they fought for freedom)

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o254/bigedp51/fight-1.jpg

(this means they are not as "windy" as you are) :D

WinThePennant
July 19, 2011, 02:48 PM
Yes, it is VERY important that America maintain its manufacturing base, especially when it comes to firearms.

For that reason, my next gun platform will certainly be American. I am partial to Sigs and Glocks, but to be honest with you nether company is producing the quality handguns they once did. I can't believe some of the stories I am hearing now about Glocks and Sigs. Twenty years ago, I would have never dreamed of hearing about entire product lines of Glocks and Sigs making it out the door with high operational failure rates.

More and more people are buying S&W M&Ps. To be honest, that will probably be my next purchase.

hq
July 19, 2011, 03:15 PM
Economics. In the 50's guns were more widely accepted by society. People were willing to spend more(factoring inflation) for a gun. Therefore the guns were higher quality.

Usually I lean towards buying something that lasts when I'm in market for a new gun. More and more often that has ment that I've bought second hand guns, in as good condition as I've been able to. Pride of ownership of fine firearms is a state of mind. Even though I'm not american, I ofter prefer guns manufactured in the US.

Nowadays when even two finnish icons, Sako and Tikka, have been merged and bought off by Beretta, that has watered down a good part of the product line. No more hand-lapped barrels, for example, and Tikkas are little more than entry-level versions of Sako rifles. I really hated to see what some regard as the "ultimate AK", M92S, discontinued a few years ago when they lost the military contract to Norinco.

Additionally, you can buy virtually any of these rifles for 20-40% less in the US than you can in Finland - and I live about 50 miles from the factory. Thanks, Beretta, for interesting marketing policies. :cuss:

El Tejon
July 19, 2011, 03:48 PM
I care if Remington firearms are made in China or India in the name of company profits.

Remington firearms are not made in China or India but if they were there would be nothing wrong with them. American consumers scarfed up hundreds of thousands of Chinese firearms. In fact many of the Chinese firearms (Polytech Type 56s, Norinco 1911s, M14 clones) are highly regarded today.

What is wrong with competition? If the bloated gun makers of American cannot get their act together why should they not die off?

Profits that these companies pay little to no taxes on and then donate a small fraction of these huge profits to Politicians to get reelected.

Have you looked at the corporate tax rates in the USA compared to the rest of the world? We tax corporations heavily to the point of stupidity.

We should abolish corporate taxes and eliminate the unemployment crisis and help gun companies reinvest in their companies to allow higher quality arms.

What does this have to do with firearms, well money talks and corruption walks.

What corruption in the firearms industry do you complain of?

If you seek to eliminate economic rent seeking by corporations in general, should not we reduce the size and scope of the government?


P.S. My ancestors were Scottish and Irish and didn't live in Chicago. (and they fought for freedom)

So, fighting for self interest is permissible as long as you are not a businessman?

Why should not the Scots or Irish submit themselves to the greater good?

Justin
July 19, 2011, 04:17 PM
In this thread, I find the fundamental ignorance of even the most basic economic principles so utterly astounding that I'm completely unable to form a coherent response.

Mike1234567
July 19, 2011, 04:25 PM
In this thread, I find the fundamental ignorance of even the most basic economic principles so utterly astounding that I'm completely unable to form a coherent response.
Here, I'll help. How does, "W-T-F?!?", grab you?

oneounceload
July 19, 2011, 04:28 PM
In this thread, I find the fundamental ignorance of even the most basic economic principles so utterly astounding that I'm completely unable to form a coherent response.

+100

Zundfolge
July 19, 2011, 04:33 PM
On this forum, I find the fundamental ignorance of even the most basic economic principles so utterly astounding that I'm completely unable to form a coherent response.

There ... fixed it for you.

bigedp51
July 19, 2011, 04:52 PM
In this thread, I find the fundamental ignorance of even the most basic economic principles so utterly astounding that I'm completely unable to form a coherent response.

Lets see a coherent response on basic economic principles, yes I see now, you mean like the Japanese putting fantastic import taxes on American cars and dumping their cars and steel in the U.S. at cut rate prices. You mean the American stockholder not wanting to spend money upgrading American car plants in the name of stock dividends, and then having the U.S. Government bail out the car companies.

You "arm chair economists" don't know the difference between greed and making a quality product.

Lets see, why are the competitive shooters buying Lapua cartridge cases made in Finland? Thats right its just basic economic principles, if you make a crappy product in the U.S. people wont buy it.

Now I think we were talking about the good old days when people bought quality Remington 700 rifles and Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs. :rolleyes:

Mike1234567
July 19, 2011, 04:55 PM
^^^ The rules of world ecomomics are in constant flux. Sadly, the "good old days" got up and went long ago. We can no longer compete in the world market due to many factors only one of which is labor costs. We've been gut-shot and are bleeding out quickly while greedy corporations and corrupt politicians salt the wound.

MODS... if this post is inappropriate I'll delete it.

WinThePennant
July 19, 2011, 05:01 PM
Lets see a coherent response on basic economic principles, yes I see now, you mean like the Japanese putting fantastic import taxes on American cars and dumping their cars and steel in the U.S. at cut rate prices. You mean the American stockholder not wanting to spend money upgrading American car plants in the name of stock dividends, and then having the U.S. Government bail out the car companies.

You "arm chair economists" don't know the difference between greed and making a quality product.

Lets see, why are the competitive shooters buying Lapua cartridge cases made in Finland? Thats right its just basic economic principles, if you make a crappy product in the U.S. people wont buy it.

Now I think we were talking about the good old days when people bought quality Remington 700 rifles and Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs. :rolleyes:
+1,000,000,000

These are the same folks who never figure into the equation the fact that Asian manufacturers practice currency manipulation, erect trade barriers, and finance cut-throat price dumping in order to capture industrial markets.

Hey, I guess everything will be great when China manufactures every piece of hardware needed by the US Armed Forces???

Sam1911
July 19, 2011, 05:13 PM
Lets see, why are the competitive shooters buying Lapua cartridge cases made in Finland? Thats right its just basic economic principles, if you make a crappy product in the U.S. people wont buy it.

So Lapua makes a slightly better cartridge case, in relatively small lots, and at a relatively quite high price point.

And a very (VERY) small number of American shooting consumers (a decent-sized portion of the relatively tiny part of the shooting population who participate at the upper end of one or two very exclusive and expensive competitive games) choose to buy them exclusively in their attempt to reach ultimate perfection.

What, exactly, does that prove? An American niche maker could do the same, and for enough dollars per case, could do better than Lapua. But even the very best of competitive bench-rest shooters probably couldn't tell a performance difference.

And the honest truth is that -- as it is already -- 99.98% of shooters and reloaders neither need nor want to pay for, a case as good as Lapua makes.

So what in the world is the point of Remington, Winchester, (or whomever's cases you wish to buy) spending the hundreds of thousands of dollars to tool up to make a high-precision cartridge case that millions of American shooters neither need, nor could appreciate, nor would be willing to pay for?

As always, the market eventually learns to provide exactly the product that the consumer will buy at each given price range. They make it no better than it has to be, because better costs more. If it costs more, fewer people will buy it, unless the manufacturer wants to jump to the next price point/range AND convince buyers that there is a useful quality improvement to offset that higher price.

Look, if you (and several hundred thousand of your friends...every year) would be willing to pay $975 for a new Winchester 94, the plant in CT would still be open.

If you (and several hundred thousand of your friends...every year) would be willing to pay $1,500 for a new Colt Python, the folks in Hartford would be utterly beside themselves with joy, rushing them into your hands.

But, when we as a consuming public realize that our money is hard to come by, and that a $500 gun with a plastic frame puts every bullet just where we told it to, just as fast as we can tell it to go -- and keeps on doing it for 50,000 or 100,000 rds or more -- then "quality" starts to take on a different meaning. And the old manufacturers are left standing at the gun counter saying, "But, but, but ... isn't our old fashioned version $1,000 prettier?"

BryanDavis
July 19, 2011, 05:15 PM
There has been some concern on my part as I have watched certain things happen, such as gun companies being sued into non-existance, or a company that makes gun locks buying up Smith and Wesson.

But there have been bright spots. Concealed carry is everywhere now. Back in the 40s and 50s some states had it, some didn't, I wouldn't know for sure as I'm not old enough to tell.

But one thing I think is missing from the firearms industry. Where are all the advertisements?

Everywhere I see "Got Milk?" ads, ads promoting beer or cigarettes but the only place you can find ads promoting shooting is on the Sportman's channel.

How exactly would one go about promoting the idea of industry-wide advertisements placed on regular channels promoting the idea of shooting in general?

Write the manufacturers perhaps?

I know talking about it on an internet forum is a start since I'm not that concerned about getting credit for this idea, but the only gun ad I've seen on normal channels was a Nosler bullet ad. Not really cutting it.

azmjs
July 19, 2011, 05:36 PM
Profits, more profits, and more profits after those.

bigedp51
July 19, 2011, 06:05 PM
Oh I see you mean the basic economic principles where greedy Wall Street and the Banking Industry cause a global economic crisis by loaning 18 dollars of funny money for every one dollar they actually have in their bank. (thats called deregulation)

You mean the basic economic principles where the American tax payers bail out these same people on Wall Street and the greedy Banking Industry.

You mean the basic economic principles of a Wall Street Holding Company owning Remington Arms and sacrificing quality for company profits.

Or do you mean the basic economic principles of our government giving the Palestinians twenty billion dollars a year and then talk about cutting Social Security and Medicare.

Or do you mean the basic economic principles of China owning the United States while that giant sucking sound you hear is this country going down the drain while the rich get richer.

Did you ever think in the United States that Remington Arms would produce a bolt action rifle that looked like this.................

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o254/bigedp51/IMGP7463.jpg

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o254/bigedp51/IMGP7461.jpg

There is a difference between greed and producing a quality product.

230therapy
July 19, 2011, 06:34 PM
In this thread, I find the fundamental ignorance of even the most basic economic principles so utterly astounding that I'm completely unable to form a coherent response.

Adam Smith's book is a long and difficult read. Most don't have the patience for it.

bigedp51
July 19, 2011, 07:38 PM
Adam Smith's book is a long and difficult read. Most don't have the patience for it.

And the British born Cecil Rhodes an ardent believer in colonialism and imperialism, who plundered South Africa once said he would start another war with America if he could exploit our natural resources.
(basic economic principles) :rolleyes: This principle is called greed at the expense of others. :eek:

EddieNFL
July 19, 2011, 07:54 PM
What will become of American gun companies?

Any that survive will be nationalized and eventually placed under UN control.

oneounceload
July 19, 2011, 08:11 PM
Profits, more profits, and more profits after those.

SO?

you mean like the Japanese putting fantastic import taxes on American cars and dumping their cars and steel in the U.S. at cut rate prices.

Really? How about them Hondas that have been made for decades, and the other "imports" that are made here, made better, made cheaper than the "US" made cars that are actually made in Mexico and Canada?

huntsman
July 19, 2011, 08:11 PM
But, if you've ever handled an old Colt, or Smith, there's a pleasure and satisfaction to be had just appreciating the craftsmanship that went into such a fine weapon. These are all pretty much things of a bygone era in this country, and it makes me a little sad.


I blame kids, video games, Injection molding (both metal and plastic) and movies and the guy who invented the M16, sunspots, gun collectors and .gov, if my dog was still alive I’d blame him also for ruining the US gun market.

For us old guys keep the old stuff, scorn the new and make them bury you with all those old classics and someday these kids will learn you don't know what you had till it’s gone.

Cosmoline
July 19, 2011, 08:39 PM
There's no question at all that the quality of workmanship has diminished or vanished. Workmanship adds costs to manufacturing and companies want to reduce those costs. So designs are changed and manufacturing streamlined to eliminate the need for hand-fitting. In some ways this is good, since it lowers the costs and can make a more reliable product. Much of the need for hand-fitting and tuning was because the designs were full of slop. Take vintage Colt DA's for example. They have Rube Goldberg workings in them and require care and patience to fit together.

But there's no question we lose something in the process, too. Firearms are more fungible now, rather than being the product of master craftsmen. And since the workers have less invested in the process, they're more prone to take short cuts.

But then again you know what? You can still buy yourself a totally hand-made firearm, or build one yourself. Just be prepared to pay.

VintovkaMosin
July 20, 2011, 11:31 AM
I think some American gun companies have and will continue to look to the Military sector more, at a price to be paid to the civilians. I've noticed in the last decade that Colt seems to care less about the civilian market as it does the Military. I buy milsurp mostly and European where I don't so I could seriously care less about the majority of the companies, except for the 'jobs' factor.

youngda9
July 20, 2011, 12:09 PM
I don't think most people have a clue how much their 401Ks and other retirement funds are tied up in the "Big Buisness" that they like to slam so much...the profits of these companies determines the growth rate of their retirement funds.

Read the following to understand exactly WHO owns "Big Oil"
http://energytomorrow.org/issues/economy/do-you-own-an-oil-company/
"Contrary to popular belief, and what some politicians might say, America’s oil companies aren’t owned by just a small group of insiders. Only 1.5 percent of industry shares are owned by corporate management. The rest is owned by tens of millions of Americans, many of them middle class, such as teachers, police and firefighters."

http://energytomorrow.org/assets/images/media/resources/r_4784.jpg

P.S. Businesses don't pay taxes, they just pass them onto the customer in the form of increased prices. So any vote for increasing taxes on businesses is a vote for increased government, will decrease company sales resulting in less hiring and less company profits(which your retirement funds are tied up on).

Sam1911
July 20, 2011, 12:09 PM
Actually, with Colt's contract ending, it's more like they're waking up after 20 years to remember that the private sector exists.

Mike1234567
July 20, 2011, 12:34 PM
It's Henry Ford's fault!! :evil:

Kendal Black
July 20, 2011, 02:09 PM
Lessee... it's a heavily taxed and highly regulated industry with shifting demand, functioning in a time of economic uncertainty. Yeah, what's the matter with those bozos, anyway !? ;)

WinThePennant
July 20, 2011, 02:32 PM
I don't think most people have a clue how much their 401Ks and other retirement funds are tied up in the "Big Buisness" that they like to slam so much...the profits of these companies determines the growth rate of their retirement funds.

Read the following to understand exactly WHO owns "Big Oil"
http://energytomorrow.org/issues/economy/do-you-own-an-oil-company/
"Contrary to popular belief, and what some politicians might say, America’s oil companies aren’t owned by just a small group of insiders. Only 1.5 percent of industry shares are owned by corporate management. The rest is owned by tens of millions of Americans, many of them middle class, such as teachers, police and firefighters."

http://energytomorrow.org/assets/images/media/resources/r_4784.jpg

P.S. Businesses don't pay taxes, they just pass them onto the customer in the form of increased prices. So any vote for increasing taxes on businesses is a vote for increased government, will decrease company sales resulting in less hiring and less company profits(which your retirement funds are tied up on).
As wealth aggregates at the top, of course more of it is going to be tied up in "big business."

Mike OTDP
July 20, 2011, 02:46 PM
I think another factor is less knowledgable customers.

Today, a pistol that shoots a 6-inch group at 25 yards is considered to have "acceptable combat accuracy". Fifty years ago, it would have been considered junk. But when so many shooters lack the skill to shoot a 12-inch group with ANY pistol - even using two hands - the accuracy doesn't matter. Cost does.

As other people have pointed out, the quality goods are out there. But they don't come cheap.

Sam1911
July 20, 2011, 03:41 PM
I think another factor is less knowledgable customers.I actually believe the complete opposite is true.

There are MANY more shooters now than there were in bygone days (just raw numbers of guns sold will tell you that), and a relatively larger number of them actually do practice and compete with their firearms. (Not the "I own a gun so I'm a shooter" type, but the guys who burn several thousand rounds a month.)

Roll back to the '50s, '60s or '70s and you'd have had to travel a long way and really know some people who knew some people to meet the guys who were developing the best techniques for using a gun effectively. (McGivern, Jordan, Bryce, Applegate, Cooper, Chapman, Weaver, etc...)

Now anyone with an hours solid research under their belts can watch teaching videos on-line showing guys like Sevigny, Laethem, Jarret, Miculek, etc. showing and explaining how they do the amazing things they do. (And, by the way, what they can do with their modern guns is pretty well above what most of the "Greats" could accomplish with their wonderful old wheel guns and 1911s.) And they can hit local matches by the hundreds to try their hand at whatever shooting discipline appeals to them, attend training, and even meet and shoot with the guys on the cutting edge -- easily.

For an ever-increasing number of shooters, showing up at the range and plinking a box of 50 in the general direction of a target just isn't good enough any more.

Further, while a run-of-the-mill Model 70 or 700 was just wonderful for the average rifleman, today shooters are convinced that a rifle is worthless if it can't put a box of rounds into a 1" group at 100 yds -- and the manufacturers of even cheap guns are giving shooters guarantees that their guns will do that or better! Try to ask Winchester for a "Sub-MOA Guarantee" in 1960 and they'd have looked at you like you were a loon!

Today, a pistol that shoots a 6-inch group at 25 yards is considered to have "acceptable combat accuracy".Not really. And, you'd be VERY hard-pressed to find a box-stock Glock that couldn't do better than that. (Or M&P, or xD, or... you name it.)

But when so many shooters lack the skill to shoot a 12-inch group with ANY pistol - even using two hands - the accuracy doesn't matter. Cost does.Sure, a lot of new shooters haven't been trained. But good instruction is a whole lot easier to get these days. In the 50s, relatively few shooters even owned or wanted a handgun. And their choices were pretty limited.

However, if you put 100 shooters on the line with 1950 Colt 1911s straight from the factory and 100 more on the line with 2011 factory new Glocks or M&Ps, by the end of the day's shooting I promise you more of the modern guns would still be working without a failure and the targets would not back up your beliefs. We are not regressing -- either as marksmen nor as manufacturers.

As other people have pointed out, the quality goods are out there. But they don't come cheap.Some do, some don't. It depends on what kind of qualities you're looking for. You can buy accuracy at lots of different price points. You can buy reliability pretty darned inexpensively. Yes, a lot of hand-fitting and custom touches will still cost a lot of money -- just like they did way back when. And if you define "quality" by the depth of a relatively fragile blued finish and an easily scratched high polish, yes, that costs a lot, too. But as a society, some of our beliefs about what "quality" IS have changed.

Heck, I think "quality" is really shown in the form and detail of a real wire-spoke car wheel. (Or even better, WOOD spokes!) A modern stamped or forged & machined wheel just looks cheap in comparison. It is a shame that manufacturers just won't give us "quality" like that any more. They're just looking out for their bottom line. If they had any pride and cared about the product, they'd still make wood spoked wheels just like Henry Ford did back when life was good.

huntsman
July 20, 2011, 04:32 PM
Further, while a run-of-the-mill Model 70 or 700 was just wonderful for the average rifleman, today shooters are convinced that a rifle is worthless if it can't put a box of rounds into a 1" group at 100 yds -- and the manufacturers of even cheap guns are giving shooters guarantees that their guns will do that or better! Try to ask Winchester for a "Sub-MOA Guarantee" in 1960 and they'd have looked at you like you were a loon!


yeah most rifle guys were hunters and it took 10 years to shoot 100 rounds ;)

It all comes down to two factors; manufacturing costs and buying trends, give the customer what they want at a price they can afford. The kids want Tupperware that’s what gets sold.

youngda9
July 20, 2011, 04:40 PM
As wealth aggregates at the top, of course more of it is going to be tied up in "big business."
I think you missed the point...it's YOUR wealth. Not some mytical "top" or "big Bizness"...it's owned by US the shareholders.

WinThePennant
July 20, 2011, 04:57 PM
I think you missed the point...it's YOUR wealth. Not some mytical "top" or "big Bizness"...it's owned by US the shareholders.
And, who are those shareholders? The top 1% own 42% of the financial wealth in the USA. That number grows every year. The bottom 80% own 7% of the financial wealth in the USA. That number falls every year.

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

Justin
July 20, 2011, 05:04 PM
And the British born Cecil Rhodes an ardent believer in colonialism and imperialism, who plundered South Africa once said he would start another war with America if he could exploit our natural resources.
(basic economic principles) This principle is called greed at the expense of others.

By confounding colonialism and imperialism with free markets and business you only serve to reinforce my original point.

Likewise, much of our current economic crisis can be directly linked to governmental meddling in the housing market, and a government willing to prop up companies with public money because they're "too big to fail." Claiming that such is a free market is the height of silliness.

sellmarkguy
July 20, 2011, 05:49 PM
This is an interesting thread.
"Regarding 'Imperialism / Colonialism / Free Market"

Do you notice that the free market starts of fine, then over time, it usually 'morphs' into a state-controlled market? The Free Market is the American Ideal; but truth be told, Government controlled businesses win out over the little guy.
Look at Cecil Rhoades and Rockefeller both. Rockefeller coerced (blackmailed) the little guys into selling him their oil businesses. Many refused to sell, but lost out. Cecil Rhoades did the same with the diamond industry. The men with the large dollars have the ability to pay off (or... buy off) any politician to vote to make their business / corporation State protected.

I think that was the point that was made in an earlier post, but perhaps misunderstood.

Mike1234567
July 20, 2011, 06:20 PM
All great civilizations eventually fall... every single one. And their demise are essential identical.

Nico Testosteros
July 20, 2011, 06:35 PM
Heck, someday the sun will either explode or implode.

Ryanxia
July 20, 2011, 06:36 PM
As a young guy even I see that just about every product today is crap. What happened to the well crafted items that would last a few decades +? That's why I TRY to buy quality items when I can. Just look at Walmart, almost everything is plastic.

I can't really comment regarding firearms but I do see some cutting corners going on.

Zundfolge
July 20, 2011, 06:42 PM
As a young guy even I see that just about every product today is crap. What happened to the well crafted items that would last a few decades +? That's why I TRY to buy quality items when I can. Just look at Walmart, almost everything is plastic.

I can't really comment regarding firearms but I do see some cutting corners going on.
As the Federal Reserve continues its almost century of debasing our currency we see that money is worth less and less all the time. Thus quality products cost more and more. The market sees this and fills the void with cheaper crap because the quality items of the past would be just too expensive to produce with today's less valuable dollars.

Add things like over-regulation by government and labor union extortion and you end up with a situation where products made by human hands are even MORE expensive (most costing more than anyone is willing to pay for them).

If Colt wanted to bring back the Python and make them as well as they made them in the 50s-60s they would cost $6000-$8000.

Shear_stress
July 20, 2011, 10:34 PM
Likewise, much of our current economic crisis can be directly linked to governmental meddling in the housing market, and a government willing to prop up companies with public money because they're "too big to fail." Claiming that such is a free market is the height of silliness.

There's plenty of blame to go around for the current crisis. I'm not the biggest fan of government meddling and regulation, but as much or more of the economic crisis was due to a free-for-all atmosphere on Wall Street: the comically indescriminate lending practices of mortage firms, the rating firms paid by the very companies putting together investment vehicles being rated, and over-leveraged securities firms betting the housing market would never fail, all during a decade of nearly non-existant SEC enforcement.

FannieMae (which, by the way, is a publicly traded company with all the obligations pursuant to maximizing shareholder value) did securitize a lot of crappy mortgages, but they were by no means alone. Firms that should've known better were blatently willing to ignore the quality of the securities they dealt with as long as they could buy and sell the risk willy-nilly. Blaming government alone is like blaming the dealer for selling you the cocaine you're addicted to.

As for the bailouts, I also opposed them, but they began in 2008 (with Bear Stearns) and therefore couldn't precipitate a recession that officially began in 2007.

I guess we can agree that what we have is certainly not a free market. However, when it comes to our current economic problems we are damned to repeat history when our viewpoints permit only selective blame for those responsible.

Back to guns . . .

I'm still a believer in markets. The gun industry is not forcing cheaper, uglier guns down our throats. We are buying them.

Those who lament the quality of current guns need to open their eyes. There are plenty of companies making handguns, rifles, and shotguns the "old-fashioned" way. And they don't make many of them. And they aren't cheap. Finely finished guns never were.

If you expect a manufacturer to hand-build their guns but somehow sell them in high volumes for less (in real dollars) what they would've charged you fifty years ago, you're dreaming.

tbutera2112
July 20, 2011, 10:41 PM
i only buy american cars ....but i dont buy american guns!

PolymathPioneer
July 20, 2011, 10:44 PM
Remember when you could never lose in real estate? Same thing here, you can't predict the future by what happens in the past. Just because things one way just now doesn't mean it will happen or stay the same in the future. Look at Winchester, closed the doors and now producing some pretty good model 70 guns with pre-64 actions, notwithstanding the MOA triggers. On big bore guns like the 375 H&H the MOA trigger is just right and if you don't like them on smaller rifles Timney will probably have a replacement after market soon, i.e. where there is a market demand a product appears. The USA is not turning into a bunch of antis, only the left shilling politicians want you to believe that, i.e. just because a politician says something it means nothing until the vote comes in. Even then anti-gun legislation is not permanent, i.e. remember the "assault rifle ban" NOT, even with left leaning theatrics. There are still great guns (with wooden stocks for example), you just have to look on the Internet, i.e. you may not like Art Alphin but he makes great rifles and there are many others too.

Sam1911
July 21, 2011, 08:16 AM
[MOD TALK: Once more, please stick to firearms. Leave real estate, bailouts, imperialism, pension plans, the decline and fall of western civilization, AND politics out of this, or it will be closed.]

Kendal Black
July 21, 2011, 09:58 AM
Current conditions (leaving aside their causes) are leading to innovation. Some innovations will be seen, in hindsight, as progress in manufacturing; some will go by the wayside as mere cheapness. Increased use of plastics, stampings, MIM, castings and nontraditional finishes are signs of the times. These trends were in place before the present malaise but are on the rise.

The fine old idea that things ought to be forged, machined and blued is increasingly challenged by competing technologies, though CNC machining does a lot to keep the old way competitive by reducing the most costly aspects, the machinist's time per unit and the amount of fiddly fitting needed at assembly time .

We are very far from the sci fi situation where parts can be grown in one piece, but that is where we are headed eventually. I will, though, put on my seer hat and say that the polished blue finish will be thought of, in in the not too distant future, as an old impractical way of doing things, something seen only on custom guns and antiques.

sellmarkguy
July 21, 2011, 10:14 AM
As a young guy even I see that just about every product today is crap.
Hey, at least the PRC makes good iPhones! :)
Their Norinco M14s are OK, so I've been told.

CTPhil
July 21, 2011, 10:20 AM
I'm still a believer in markets. The gun industry is not forcing cheaper, uglier guns down our throats. We are buying them.

Those who lament the quality of current guns need to open their eyes. There are plenty of companies making handguns, rifles, and shotguns the "old-fashioned" way. And they don't make many of them. And they aren't cheap. Finely finished guns never were.

If you expect a manufacturer to hand-build their guns but somehow sell them in high volumes for less (in real dollars) what they would've charged you fifty years ago, you're dreaming.
This is the bottom line I believe. We've been conditioned to expect everything to be dirt cheap. I for one am amazed that I can go to a gun store and buy a brand new rimfire rifle that works great and will be passed down to future generations for what I would spend treating the family to dinner in a restaurant. We've in many ways been living in a dream world, expecting Cadillac quality at Vega prices. I'm saddened to see an icon leave my state, heck, I still haven't gotten over Winchester. But we have met the enemy and he is us.

alsaqr
July 21, 2011, 10:40 AM
This is the bottom line I believe. We've been conditioned to expect everything to be dirt cheap. I for one am amazed that I can go to a gun store and buy a brand new rimfire rifle that works great and will be passed down to future generations for what I would spend treating the family to dinner in a restaurant. We've in many ways been living in a dream world, expecting Cadillac quality at Vega prices.

+1
Excellent post. Remington and other gun makers started making those black coated guns years ago because of the strong demand for "sniper rifles" and "tactical" shotguns. The coating is very thick and it covers up the unpolished and sometimes roughly machined metal parts; drastically reducing costs. Then Remington saw fit to make bolts from injected molded cores or castings.

The Remington bolt shown on this thread is comparable to that from a last ditch Arisaka from WWII.

Sam1911
July 21, 2011, 11:07 AM
We keep saying how disappointing this modern progress is, how much we lament gun manufacturers conceding to offer lowest-cost firearms without the (perceived) niceties of older weapons, and debating who is to blame for the way things are in modern times -- whether this is forced by the machinations of the greedy capitalist pig-dogs or if maybe "we've met the enemy and he is us."

I don't see our current situation in this light at all.

Time was, a gun HAD to be made a certain way. There HAD to be lots of steel. Materials science wasn't advanced enough to allow lighter, more efficient designs using less mass. It HAD to be blued. There weren't stainless steels and modern coatings that could hold up better. It HAD to have a wood stock, hand-shaped to fit the metal. Plastics and composites didn't exist which could be molded to fit without adjustment. The lock work and parts fit HAD to be hand-tuned. Machines were not developed yet which could hold to tight tolerances.

What did that all mean? A gun HAD to cost quite a lot (relatively speaking). People had to pay a lot of money for a good firearm -- quite possibly a BETTER firearm than they really needed -- because their choices were limited by what could be made. *

Now, guns are being made at all kinds of price points, and they are generally BETTER than the guns of old -- considering their relative cost to the consumer. Maybe they aren't as pretty to some folks' taste, but they are more consistent, generally more accurate, far more reliable, and more serviceable.

Part of the reason we don't see a lot of mirror blue finishes these days is that that work is more expensive than a Melonite finish, or the cost of stainless material. But another BIG part of the reason is that few people really WANT the responsibility of caring for that fragile finish on a gun they'll use hard. How many wonderful old wheel-guns do we see pictured here with nasty pitting and finish damage -- just from improper storage? How many Glocks still look and work just fine after decades of WORSE care?

The same point applies to a gorgeous walnut stock. Sometimes when we say "quality" we're almost arguing against practicality.

So the general state of the gun world is changing away from certain old standards which are no longer optimal for the majority of shooters.

But think about this. Today, in 2011, I can buy almost any gun I could ever want. All I have to do is save up enough money and I can purchase a brand new gun; either a new design, a current model, or a replica of most of the GOOD gun designs ever made. I can commission a custom builder to make or adapt almost any gun at any quality level I could want. I can buy a new gun and send it off to any of hundreds of highly acclaimed gunsmiths who will give it even more impressive accuracy, better fit and finish, any custom touches I'd like, engraving to rival that of the old masters ... pretty much anything I could dream of. In fact, it is unquestionably true that I could have the gun I want in a BETTER, more precise, more accurate form than I could have bought under any circumstances even a few decades ago. A world of possibility exists that never EVER existed before, and yet we complain about how lousy things are now. So what if a modern manufacturer puts out a lemon now and then? (That has always happened -- we just conveniently forget about the thousands of guns made in days of old that weren't so good.) We get fixated on a few bad apples that slipped through QC, and ignore the fact that we have an astronomically better range and availability of firearms than ever has existed for any group of people in history.

Nowadays there are more guns for more people. That means that there are more inexpensive guns out there, but those guns are generally pretty darned good. If we pout that guns should be a certain way, we're basically saying that fewer inexpensive guns should exist and people should HAVE to pay more for a gun. That means fewer guns and fewer gun owners. I don't see that as a good thing at all.

I agree there are things out there that I don't consider worth buying. So... I don't buy them. But if enough other people want them, fine. I'll save my pennies for something more excellent -- just like I would have had to do at any other point in history. But we have plenty of options and plenty of competing products to choose from, and that's a very good thing!

---


[* - Let's not forget that there WERE tons of very cheap and very badly made guns out there. We like to pretend that poorly fit and inaccurate weapons, made of low-quality material are a new phenomenon. They AREN'T. In fact, there are fewer really BAD ones around these days than there were back in the day. We just haven't held onto and venerated the pot-metal European revolvers of the early part of last century, the cheap no-name single-shot shotguns, and other such bottom tier junk that our great-grandfathers tossed in the creek when it stopped working. No, what we remember so fondly are the GREAT old guns -- the ones that kept working and were passed down, the ones that earned their keep. The ones that someone socked away a piece of their paycheck for a year or more to be able to buy. Those are what we're waxing nostalgic over. And we compare those gems to a modern gun we might pay a couple day's wages for and cry that we've fallen so far.]

hq
July 21, 2011, 12:34 PM
Nowadays there are more guns for more people. That means that there are more inexpensive guns out there, but those guns are generally pretty darned good. If we pout that guns should be a certain way, we're basically saying that fewer inexpensive guns should exist and people should HAVE to pay more for a gun. That means fewer guns and fewer gun owners. I don't see that as a good thing at all.

A good, detailed analysis of the situation. However, if I understood correctly, the point the original poster made was that an increasing number of traditional guns we've regarded as quality firearms are now being made to a price point, to compete with cheaper - albeit more modern - designs.

I have absolutely no problem with entry-level plinkers or guns that are more tools than showcases of craftmanship. I have quite a few cheap guns myself. But, when I'm on market - for example - for a decent, traditional (machined steel, wood) hunting rifle, I hate to see my options getting fewer and fewer. There's an abundance of "price point" rifles as well as factory customs and a good gunsmith can build virtually anything for you if your pockets are deep enough; anything in between seems like a dying breed.

The market has changed a lot during last 20-30 years. Maybe there isn't that much demand for certain types of guns anymore.

Ben86
July 21, 2011, 12:44 PM
We've still got several great American gun companies.

Modern technology has resulted in the best examples of mass produced firearms in history due to highly controlled specs and tolerances. A gun working perfectly out of the box is nearly the norm now.

Consumer demand for new and better guns is stronger than ever, so it will steer the market in the right direction. And the embrace of the right to not only keep but carry firearms in more locales will further drive gun ownership into the mainstream culture, increasing the demand for quality, innovative firearms.

The way I see it the gun world has never looked so bright.

Jonah71
July 21, 2011, 12:49 PM
Kinda hard to keep quality manufacturing of any kind going with excessive taxation, govt. regulations and unions driving employers out of business or out of the country.

Sam1911
July 21, 2011, 01:11 PM
A good, detailed analysis of the situation. However, if I understood correctly, the point the original poster made was that an increasing number of traditional guns we've regarded as quality firearms are now being made to a price point, to compete with cheaper - albeit more modern - designs.


That's possibly true, though I read the OP, and many of the responses as quite a bit more damning of an entire industry or even of the shooting public in general, for building and accepting guns that weren't as ... whatever ... as grand-dad's was.

If we want to keep to very specific examples, I probably wouldn't disagree, or nearly as vehemently. Maybe a Remington 700 made today isn't as good as one made 20 years ago. Then we'll have to vote with our wallets (and tell the manufacturers WHY) and buy someone else's product that does meet our personal standards. Cost cutting isn't the only pressure on gun manufacturers. They have to maintain their market position as well. That means that only so many complaints are acceptable. Only so many guns returned for being lemons. If sales suffer they'll do what it takes to bring them back up. Maybe that's an even lower price. Maybe that is a product a bit closer to the ideal.

Or maybe they fail and someone else fills their niche. Oh well. That's part of business and part of life.

Ben86
July 21, 2011, 11:52 PM
Or maybe they fail and someone else fills their niche. Oh well. That's part of business and part of life.

So true. Left alone, the market takes care of itself. It changes shape and direction as needed as long as failures fail and winners win.

towboat_er
July 22, 2011, 12:26 AM
Unless the Gov keeps bailing them out at taxpayer expense.

Sam1911
July 22, 2011, 12:29 AM
Unless the Gov keeps bailing them out at taxpayer expense.

When that happens for civilian gun companies, well, as the old saying goes... Satan will be skating to work. ;)

MAKster
July 22, 2011, 09:24 AM
I think all this nostalgia for the "good old days" when guns were supposedly made to a higher quality is really a myth. There were plenty of poor quality guns made then as well. You only see the higher quality older guns now because the poor quality guns went to the scrap heap long ago. (It's known as survivorship bias) For example, Iver Johnson was one of the leading manufacturers of handguns for decades and they were poor quality.

zfk55
July 22, 2011, 10:12 AM
This is in our latest edition of the Flathead Beacon.
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, speaks during a Montana Firearms Institute breakfast in Whitefish. - Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon

By Dan Testa, 07-20-11
WHITEFISH – Gordona is a small mountain village in northern Italy on the Swiss border. Despite its diminutive size, the village is home to a community of highly skilled gun makers – wood carvers, engravers, barrel makers – who work together as, in the words of Ron Duplessis, “a complete conglomeration of journeymen and trade artists,” supplying some of the top Italian firearms manufacturers, like Beretta and Perazzi, located in the northern region of the country.

Duplessis, the president of the Kalispell-based American Gun Company, believes a new organization in the Flathead Valley could move Northwestern Montana’s small firearms firms in that direction by, “bringing together some cottage industries and making us like Gordona.” ...

...Removed Copyrighted Material...

[ETA: Let me try this the right way. :D I'm pretty proud of our state legislators on this one. http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/fertile_ground_for_gun_makers/23943/]

oneounceload
July 22, 2011, 10:25 AM
Unless the Gov keeps bailing them out at taxpayer expense.
When that happens for civilian gun companies, well, as the old saying goes... Satan will be skating to work.

Pretty much what the Feds did with Colt for the few decades it seems.....

Got_Lead?
July 23, 2011, 02:18 AM
I have always been a Remington fan, they have always been known for their accuracy, which I can attest to as well. I think I have 8 or 10 of them in both rifle and shotgun varieties. But I'm worried about what people are writing about their recent downfall in quality. I would be hesitant to purchase a new one today because of quality issues. Poor reputation has to hurt sales, and in today's economic cliamate, no sales = closed doors. One more bites the dust.

22-rimfire
July 23, 2011, 12:52 PM
I disliked moving Marlin manufacture to NY. I suspect the folks in that area are happy however from a job point of view. But my main concern is quality. I regularly recommend the Marlin 39A and now I'm reading of more problems and question whether or not I want to recommend them any more. Problems with the M39A, why not problems with the M60 and other 22's? That should be devastating to Remington or Marlin.

I am also a fan of Remington and I still have not gotten to the point of questioning their overall quality. I do not buy parkerized or similar shotguns or rifles. They are simply not on my viewing screen unless there is no other choice. With Remington, I am pretty much a M700 BDL and M870 guy. Also I am quite fond of the M547 which is relatively newly manufactured.

Colt hopefully will start realizing that the civilian market is very important. I see good things in their future in that regard.

I think the future is brighter than it has been for gun companies assuming that the politicians keep their hands off the regulatory button. There is considerable variety overall available. I like that.

It is most important that the US economy turn the corner on this recession and start adding significant job growth. It is a double edged sword... no jobs = no money to buy things and a bleaker outlook on life. Can't add jobs if the consumer is not spending money as the US economy is driven by consumer buying. If you are optimisitic about the future, you spend money because you feel that you will have a job and continue to support your household.

Hugo
July 23, 2011, 01:50 PM
F.Y.I. for any firearms company executives or any executive or employee of any company that makes something (firearms, ammunition, hardware, software, etc... it doesn't matter)

If you ignore quality or slack off on it, after a few years, your company is in trouble. After a few more years, your company is doomed. Competition will wreck you if you don't compete well. That is all.

TexasBill
July 23, 2011, 03:21 PM
Kinda hard to keep quality manufacturing of any kind going with excessive taxation, govt. regulations and unions driving employers out of business or out of the country.

Yes, the tax rate is higher than some other advanced nations, however, the taxes actually paid are not. With tax credits for every occasion, tax abatements and even this new law in Illinois that lets companies hold onto the state income taxes they withhold from worker pay for as much as ten years, only the truly brain-dead businessman pays the going rate.

Regulations come about for a variety of reasons; many times they are to address issues of safety or to rein in abuse. Sometimes they are definitely the result of some bureaucrat with too much power and to much time on their hands. But don't tell me that there aren't a bunch of looney company policies running around.

Unions? Them evil old unions? Smith & Wesson doesn't have unions; Ruger doesn't have unions. In fact, I am not sure how many American firearms companies have unions. But they don't seem to be a major factor.

It is hard to keep quality manufacturing around when all that's considered is the cost of labor. Skilled and experienced workers used to be considered an asset; now they're a costly liability. That's not the government; it's the MBAs.

To be honest, I have found the new firearms I have bought to be quite good. This includes Smith & Wesson revolvers with the MIM parts and polymer pistols with great features like decocking levers and ambidextrous safeties. I like the look of a good blued finish, but I've never had much luck keeping it pristine, so I like the modern finishes and materials.

As far as Remington and Marlin are concerned, I look at what Cerberus did to Chrysler and I am not surprised.

goon
July 23, 2011, 05:09 PM
There are still companies turning out good products and that have good customer service. They are the ones I will be buying from in the future. Those that don't get on board with that can go out of business for all the more I care.

whalerman
July 24, 2011, 02:31 AM
Great conversation. I'm enjoying it. But please, no more disagreement with the moderator. That can get us in trouble.

The biggest area of fall off I see from today's manufacturing and that of years past is in customer service. I amazes me that even simple problems cannot be addressed, even in this era of internet communications. The companies don't seem to value the importance of it anymore. They simply sell stuff and rush you out the door. Repeat business does not seem to be a goal.

TexasBill
July 24, 2011, 08:02 AM
Great conversation. I'm enjoying it. But please, no more disagreement with the moderator. That can get us in trouble.

The biggest area of fall off I see from today's manufacturing and that of years past is in customer service. I amazes me that even simple problems cannot be addressed, even in this era of internet communications. The companies don't seem to value the importance of it anymore. They simply sell stuff and rush you out the door. Repeat business does not seem to be a goal.

"Customer service," like "military intelligence," is a contradiction in terms.

Customer service is considered a necessary evil by many companies, which is why they look for the cheapest, and most evil, way possible to supply it, whether it's automated ("If you would like this company to eat dirt and die, please press '1.' If not, press '2.'" "Si usted desea para esta empresa a comer mierda y morir, por favor presione el número uno, si no de prensa, el número dos") , understaffed ("Your call is very important to us. Our customer service representative is currently busy with another customer; please hold and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received. Current wait time is 36 hours and 12 minutes") or located in a country where the accents are almost unintelligible (Someone who sounds like Apu from The Simpsons answers the phone: "Hello, my name is Suramongkol Thanasukolwit and it is I who will be happy to helping you today"). These ploys are all designed to ensure you would prefer to amputate your leg with a butter knife rather than call customer support.

In addition, the companies are fond of failing to give customer service people any authority that would enable them to provide an actual solution to the customer's problem or commit the company to anything whatsoever. This is based on the sound business principle that if if a company lets its people help the customers, they will, thus costing the company money.

Come on, guys, get with it! These companies didn't move their "headquarters" to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Leichtenstein and Monaco because they wanted a nice place to vacation, they did it to avoid paying any taxes. Do you really think they're going to spend money on frivolities like customer service when they know they don't have to?

Sav .250
July 24, 2011, 09:12 AM
Quality........Customer service... With out that, they will go the way of the Buffalo.

Sam1911
July 24, 2011, 10:29 AM
The biggest area of fall off I see from today's manufacturing and that of years past is in customer service. I amazes me that even simple problems cannot be addressed, even in this era of internet communications.

I wonder if some of this problem isn't a function of "too much access." Not (AT ALL) that I think having access is a bad thing. For the consumer, it is very good.

What I mean is that companies have always put out a few lemons (maybe let's say 0.1-0.5%), and maybe 10 times that many that just weren't quite right (call it one in a hundred that needed a little more QC). But from the days of the stage coach right up through the dawn of the internet a couple of things were true: 1)gun owners only really talked guns with the relatively few, very local, folks they knew personally; and, 2)dealing with the manufacturer on a repair issue meant weeks if not months in shipping, hand-written letters passing back and forth, and quite a bit more hassle than we're used to dealing with these days; and, 3)folks were very self-sufficient and were used to dealing with issues on their own.

The effect of those two aspects would be several: In the case of the former, folks had very limited knowledge of the gun industry in general. They would see examples of a few guns down at the local hardware store, they would know whether their cousin or father or neighbor was happy with his rifle or shotgun from a certain manufacturer. They would not hear from thousands of folks all over the country (or world!) who'd had a problem or had seen a problem with someone else's gun. As most guns were shot relatively little (compared to the use most of us put at least a few of ours through these days), minor problems probably were overlooked or not often discovered. Rumors of this manufacturing defect or that 1-in-10,000 failure issue would not spread to every corner of the gun-buying public. If uncle Eddie got a nice buck every year for 20 years with his Winchester -- firing one whole box of shells in that time, that was a good gun. Uncle Eddie wasn't bench-resting it for groups at 500 yds. and posting photos of the groups on the internet. He wasn't putting it through 20,000 rd. torture tests and reporting the failures to his blog. He wasn't doing a detail strip with the camera rolling and showing machining marks he found inside the receiver for his YouTube channel. :) "We" had less knowledge of our subject and were generally less critical customers.

Point 2: When sending a gun back for repairs is going to involve letters written out long-hand and mailed, and then guns boxed up and shipped -- by wagon, by train, by the mail system -- and then months of waiting is to be expected to hear any reply, there's a stifling effect on defect reporting and resolution. When the company has no web site to instantly divulge contact information, and when phones did come along, probably had a phone number like "Smithville 3-2147" that it would take all day for you to connect to through a series of long-distance operators, the hassle of calling in to check up on your repair status would have made it pretty unlikely. The manufacturer would have gotten relatively fewer returned products, period, and certainly could have taken their own sweet time in getting back to anyone. It's not like they had to worry that there would be a "Poor Winchester Customer (DIS-)Service !!11!1!" thread cross-posted to 20 firearms forums the next day. :)

Point 3: Folks had somewhat lower expectations of perfection, and were completely used to fixing and perfecting things on their own. Sending a gun back to the manufacturer would probably have been a last-ditch effort after your local gunsmith (or handy-man) took his best shot at smoothing out a rough action, or fixing a crooked sight, or repairing a stock blemish, or whatever. I believe that folks had a much greater appreciation for the vagaries of natural materials and the rougher tolerances of early machinery. They would have not been surprised that a manufactured good needed some final tweaking by the owner to get it just right, and would have exhausted their local options before going to the trouble, cost, and time of dealing with the far-distant manufacturer.

Now, these are just my opinions based on historical reading I've done and things I've come to see through my own career in historic work. And, they don't excuse failures of modern Customer Service at all. But I believe that at least some manufacturers have not updated their CS procedures nearly enough to accommodate the "modern" gun-buying public's expectations and to deal adequately with the level of instant-access we have and use to such effect. They not only have to be better, but have to be exponentially better, because if customers don't receive the level of resolution they feel is proper -- and receive it as close to instantly as is (in-)humanly possible -- there's going to be an angry report that will do 100x the damage that a really GOOD report could repair.

And that's not a bad thing. It, like competition from many vectors, will drive companies to be better. At this point it would be safe to say that a gun manufacturer has to put out a product that is perfect 99.99% of the time, or they will get a reputation for being sub-standard, cheap, worthless, unsafe, inaccurate, and so forth. That's great for the consumer -- the harder the manufacturers try, the better products are in our hands. It's awful tough on the manufacturer, though, as an exemplary product AND super-human customer service must be the goal just to keep the consumer contented

... but don't raise the price! :D

goon
July 24, 2011, 03:09 PM
Sam1911 - you raise valid points, but I think that some warranties themselves discourage buyers from trying to do their own repairs.
I often do minor tweeking on used guns to get them to work if need be. I've reshaped the slide stop on a few semi-autos to correct the slide locking back with rounds still in the magazine, drilled out gas ports on FAL's, things like that. I can often make things work if I figure out where the problem is.
But on a new gun I'm hesitant to try my own repairs for fear of voiding the warranty.
I ignored that possibility and replaced a bad extractor on my then new 10/22 with one from VQ to repair FTE's on a new gun. Shouldn't have had to, but the $17 for the part and few minutes of labor was easier on me than screwing around with customer service (although I've found Ruger's to be among the best I've dealt with). I wasn't too worried because it was a straight swap that could easily be undone if I had to get real help from Ruger. I also had a problem with a new DSA FAL with the charging handle binding. A call to them got me a replacement shipped out immediately (I requested this in preference to returning the to the factory and was advised that it wouldn't affect my warranty) and I installed it myself, which corrected my problem. But unless I have some kind of permission from the maker, which still requires some kind of customer service on their end, I usually don't mess around with trying to fix a new gun due to concerns of creating a situation where I really am on my own.

And FWIW, they can go ahead and raise the price if they have to. I'll pay another $50 to make sure my gun works right the first time, every time. But don't raise price AND sell me something that doesn't work. And especially, don't make it an inconvenience to get my new gun working properly if it doesn't run right to begin with. If a company does that, it deserves to go out of business.

jimmyraythomason
July 24, 2011, 03:31 PM
I bought my first commercial rifle new in 1972 at a cost of $154. It was a Remington Model 700 ADL in 30.06. With Marlin 4x scope(Japanese made) and mounts (Weaver) and leather sling (military loop style) total OTD cost was $212 or the equivalent of 3 weeks pay. I really wanted a BDL model but they cost WAY too much! The good old days sure were expensive!

Sam1911
July 24, 2011, 10:07 PM
goon, you certainly are correct, there. I can certainly understand why the manufacturers would rather get the chance to put a gun back in-spec their way than try to fix it once Jimmy with a hacksaw tried to get it running. But I do think that's a bit of a change from the old ways.

jimmyraythomason
July 25, 2011, 08:25 AM
once Jimmy with a hacksaw tried to get it running. HEY!:p BTW,I have never sent a gun back to the manufacturer for repairs in the 40 years I've been buying guns. I have always fixed them myself. One semi-exception was a Maverick 88 I bought from Wal-Mart in the early '80s. It would not feed properly and since I disliked it after I'd tried it out,I returned it for a refund.

Zak Smith
July 25, 2011, 12:42 PM
Come on, guys, get with it! These companies didn't move their "headquarters" to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Leichtenstein and Monaco because they wanted a nice place to vacation, they did it to avoid paying any taxes. Do you really think they're going to spend money on frivolities like customer service when they know they don't have to?
The reasoning that because companies want to avoid confiscation of created wealth (taxes) that they should thus avoid paying for customer service does not follow. Customer service is an area that is interrelated with brand, strategy, and the value the customer perceives-- in other words, it can be a way to make people choose to buy your product and brand instead of someone else's.

Now ranting aside, the customer service people regularly receive in the gun industry far far exceeds that of the majority of consumer products, even those that cost much more than the gun product. You can buy a $5000 TV and if it fails in 6 months you're 100% out of luck. The Dillon 650 I bought a half dozen years ago is still under warranty.

Sam1911
July 25, 2011, 02:14 PM
HEY:neener: LOL! Ok... so "Jethro with a hacksaw..."

TexasBill
July 25, 2011, 06:28 PM
The reasoning that because companies want to avoid confiscation of created wealth (taxes) that they should thus avoid paying for customer service does not follow. Customer service is an area that is interrelated with brand, strategy, and the value the customer perceives-- in other words, it can be a way to make people choose to buy your product and brand instead of someone else's.

Sure, it can be. It just isn't. I have seen this over and over, especially in the high-tech industry. First, you outsource your help desk or call center to shed direct employees, then you offshore your call center to cut the cost of contract labor. One of the side benefits of this is that the call center in East Punjab has no direct contact with the company, meaning if the fix isn't in one of the scripts, they (and you) are out of luck.

BTW: I don't buy the "confiscation of created wealth" argument. How many of these companies want to get American taxpayer dollars by getting government business? I can think of several right offhand. If you want to do business in Bermuda, fine. Move everybody there and pitch your wares to the Bermudans.

Now ranting aside, the customer service people regularly receive in the gun industry far far exceeds that of the majority of consumer products, even those that cost much more than the gun product. You can buy a $5000 TV and if it fails in 6 months you're 100% out of luck. The Dillon 650 I bought a half dozen years ago is still under warranty.

I'll agree with you there. The support from Smith & Wesson (and, by extension, Walther) has always been great.

Zak Smith
July 25, 2011, 07:07 PM
BTW: I don't buy the "confiscation of created wealth" argument. How many of these companies want to get American taxpayer dollars by getting government business? I can think of several right offhand. If you want to do business in Bermuda, fine. Move everybody there and pitch your wares to the Bermudans.
It wasn't an argument. I simply pointed out that your argument was a non sequitur.

I'll also point out that the argument that an entity (company) has to pay taxes (due to some moral or legal principle) to a particular political sub-division for that political sub-division to buy its products also does not follow.

Sure, it can be. It just isn't. I have seen this over and over, especially in the high-tech industry. First, you outsource your help desk or call center to shed direct employees, then you offshore your call center to cut the cost of contract labor. One of the side benefits of this is that the call center in East Punjab has no direct contact with the company, meaning if the fix isn't in one of the scripts, they (and you) are out of luck.
Whether or not it's the best business strategy to do that, or to offer the best customer service money can buy, is a question of business strategy and execution, and would be much more on topic at a business forum than on THR.

But within the realm of gun companies, we have it much better for customer service than the market for consumer goods as a whole, and many of the newer gun companies have put customer service and relationships at the top of their priorities.

As for the general topic, the ecosystem of American gun companies has exploded in the last ten years. For companies with the right set of people and product, there are numerous success stories. It's easy to name companies that nearly dominate market segments today, or at least are wildly successful, that didn't even exist (in a recognizable form) ten years ago: Noveske, LaRue, DTA, BCM, Premier (didn't make scopes until a few years ago), Vortex, Rohrbaugh, SilencerCo, TBAC, Shark, etc.

The expiration of the AWB was a big shot in the arm for general purchasing. In the competition arena, 3-Gun and other "practical" sports like long-range field shooting, have taken off in a huge way (ex. 3-Gun Nation), and this has drawn a lot of people in who have spent a lot of money on equipment, and many companies have sprouted up to fulfill that demand. Interest in personal protection has also grown dramatically in this same period, and around that you not only have the pistols themselves, but all the supporting training operations, holster makers, etc.

PolymathPioneer
July 30, 2011, 06:18 PM
I agree with the moderator and what he says applies to hunting rifles too. Look at the new Winchester model 70s if you haven't. Again for some based upon their hunting requirements the trigger is a disappointment (not for me since I only own the safari 70s and a 3-3.5 pound trigger is great here). I believe this creates a demand and the new box trigger is very modular and I bet Timney will produce an aftermarket that will be used by those that want more control over trigger pull weight. Recently someone came out with a different spring for the new MOA trigger that lightens pull.

Enco
July 30, 2011, 07:03 PM
They will all end up overseas or owned by some overseas company. Look at GM they advertise " American" but did you know that the "NEW" Camaro the flagship car next to the Corvette is totally manufactured and built in Canada, including the stamping of all the sheet metal.
Our tax dollars to save a company and their latest and newest factory is in Canada.
Enco

oneounceload
July 31, 2011, 12:17 AM
they did it to avoid paying any taxes.

Corporations do not pay taxes - never have, never will and all the Left's cries about Big Oil or whatever industry is smoke - corporations merely collect the taxes from you in the form of higher prices

That has nothing to do with customer service; if more companies had listened to Deming,shoddy products would, IMO, be minimalized to statistically irrelevant amounts

Nushif
August 1, 2011, 01:30 PM
[...] and all the Left's cries about Big Oil or whatever industry is smoke [...]

Wait. The left is now "crying" about corporations being overtaxed? I thought this mystical "right" is the ones wanting a brok- pennile- minimized government.

In any case, here's my take on the American gun companies.

I think the local gun companies here have it miles better than the rest of the world and it shows.
In countries where private ownership of weapons is limited the market is a lot more limited and oddly enough usually only to the very, very wealthy.
This will produce very high quality but limited run guns, such as german drillinge, zwillinge or even superb Italian shotguns. But the price on these is out of reach for the "average" consumer, who also can't afford the ownership of the gun in the first place.
Here in the US with civilian weapons ownership being more widespread there is much more of a focus on weapons that are affordable and usable by the public. Ruger does not create masterpieces like a Krieghoff, but it does produce things like the Bearcat, the Vaquero and the SP-101. American gun companies and arms manufacturing, as well as the entire American market can't be compared to the other gun makers or markets because of this alone. H&K does not have nearly the same testing bed as for instance S&W or Ruger. Why? Because H&K can't come out with a new gun, market it well and sell it to millions of Germans. Ruger, S&W and all the other American makers can!
The US will most likely be a leader in gun innovation for as long as the consumer is willing to embrace new technology, continue the fight to maintain civilian weapons ownership as well as be willing to serve as a (dare I say) test bed. And that's not always a bad thing.
For as much as we sit here and cry about progress and about how the older weapons were simply better, the willingness of a large part of the gunners population to be early adopters has paved the way for us and the american companies to continue evolving the gun.
Can you imagine if the early military trials for the 1911 were run by the very same caliber fud we so often harbor? Yeah. We wouldn't be drooling over them now. Fuds aside, the openness and sheer quantity of the American gun owner is a blessing for the companies and ultimately the quality and progress of the gun.

VT Deer Hunter
August 2, 2011, 05:30 PM
All these what where American companies send things to be made in foreign places and China.

VT Deer Hunter
August 2, 2011, 05:32 PM
They will all end up overseas or owned by some overseas company. Look at GM they advertise " American" but did you know that the "NEW" Camaro the flagship car next to the Corvette is totally manufactured and built in Canada, including the stamping of all the sheet metal.
Our tax dollars to save a company and their latest and newest factory is in Canada.
Enco
Enco, at least its not made in some county that is not next to the USA. Mexico built cars --?

searcher451
August 4, 2011, 05:30 PM
A great deal will depend on our willingness to buy firearms that are produced here because they are produced here ... and to what ends we'll do that in the face of declining quality control, both here and abroad. When I compare an S&W-made PPK/S, for example, and one made by the Germans, or by the French, or even at the Interarms/Ranger plant in Alabama a couple of decades ago, there's no question which three of the four I would buy -- again and again.

cacoltguy
August 4, 2011, 07:44 PM
The more time that passes after an event, the more fondly it is remembered regardless of reality. American products of the past may have more soul, and human craftsmanship, but better quality? That's a huge blanket statement. Try getting 100,000+ trouble-free miles out of a 1950's or 60's era American automobile. Just because something has more pounds of metal in it doesn't automatically make it better. I'd love to have a 1960's muscle car in my garage but there's no way it compares to the reliability, fuel economy or performance (believe it or not) of a modern Mustang or Camaro. Same goes for guns. Good luck finding a sub-moa rifle for a reasonable price decades ago. There will always be lemons. Remington has been producing some crap lately, same for Kimber and their recent 1911s. Nevertheless I would never in a 100 years trade our modern choice of firearms for that of 40-50 years ago.

WinThePennant
August 4, 2011, 10:03 PM
Good luck finding a sub-moa rifle for a reasonable price decades ago.

My understanding is that Springfield 1903s were quite capable of that.

Sam1911
August 4, 2011, 10:43 PM
My understanding is that Springfield 1903s were quite capable of that. SUB-M.O.A. accuracy? "Quite" capable? From an issue grade 1903? I'd be curious to see some citations to establish that.

Ole Humpback
August 4, 2011, 10:57 PM
Sure, a company had to make a profit to stay in business, but that profit was based on a reasonable percentage, not "what the market would bear".

In my Ag Econ class in college we had the owner & founder of Beck's Hybrids, Sonny Beck, come and talk to us one day and he touched on this, not in a ton of depth but enough for us to understand why companies no longer charge what they need to make a profit. It has to do with the market maturing and what that market ultimately becomes at the end of its maturation.

In the 1980, Beck's was just another mid-sized seed company selling seed to farmers. In 1985, the seed market began to mature and the seed companies were going out of business unless they either joined an R&D ag division/company (Dow Elanco/Elanco, Eli Lilly, DuPont, ect.) or become a marketing firm (Beck's, Pioneer, ect.). The seed market ultimately became a marketing market with the actual seed production becoming an agricultural biotech & genetic engineering market. Beck's was making a killing as a seed producer & seller, but they did more selling & less producing so they became a marketing firm. They were well below the market average for price, but at the rate the market was maturing they had to charge what the market would bear otherwise they were going to be left behind and in the end collapse.

Maple_City_Woodsman
August 4, 2011, 11:13 PM
In general, to most of us who have grown up with firearms, a gun represents a set of ideals and personal pride. To companies and 'convenience' gun owners, a firearms is just a commodity.

BUT...

Lest we think any of this is new, Lets look back to the late 1800's. Companies like Iver Johnson and Hopkins & Allen each produced their guns at varying price points under nearly a dozen different brands, which were both outsourced and/or acquired through purchase of competing firms.

Sounds a lot like Remington and the other gun conglomerates today doesn't it? ;)

Ole Humpback
August 4, 2011, 11:24 PM
And Remington and Winchester no longer produce ammunition at the Lake City Army ammunition facility.

And Federal Cartridge had to retool that plant in 2003 to handle producing over 20 million rounds of 5.56 NATO per day. I used to shoot at the Lake City Ordnance Facility DNR Range when I lived in Kansas City. Federal spent something like $30 million retooling the plant so they could meet military demands for 5.56 & 7.62 NATO rounds. When I left in 2005, that single plant was producing over 7 million rounds of 5.56 NATO per 8hr shift with 3 shifts per day just for military contracts. Thats excluding production of Civilian ammunition or large ordnance for heavy weapons and armored vehicle munitions. Remington had to open a new plant in KC because Federal was using so much of the Lake City plant to produce military ammo.

mec
August 9, 2011, 10:51 AM
The biggest area of fall off I see from today's manufacturing and that of years past is in customer service....

So much to do, so little time! There's the Summer Vacations, then the Thanksgiving through-New Year, then the SHOT then all of the other January-April trade shows with a week or so off in between to rest up. There's only so much you can get done with a four and a half day work week and all those backed-up voice-mail messages.

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