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Make your best case why todays firearms are better...

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Rembrandt, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Well-Known Member

    Many things I appreciate about today's technology, materials, and machining methods. But haven't gone gaga over the current firearm offerings being served up. With the current economic stress, I'm starting to think manufactures are more fixated about meeting a price point than giving gun buyers quality products.

    After looking over much of what's on the market, I'm more convinced than ever to buy the quality of yesteryear....where fit and finish were something to be proud of.

    Exhibit "A"......This is not a significant collectible, it's a Ortgies 7.65mm (32 ACP) pocket pistol. Gave about $100 for it some years ago. Upon closer inspection the tolerances are far better than my Gold Cup and other firearms that have a reputation for quality. Sure you can find quality today at the higher end of the market.....but this used to be standard fare for run of the mill guns.

    Note the fit between the slide and frame, gotta be less than .001"....yet this was achieved on what may have been belt driven machinery from the 1920's. Clearance between the trigger and frame are tighter than most modern mass produced pistols today. Magazine is a nice snug fit, (I know, I know, we want them to drop free for faster reloading today) yet this is remarkable fitting for parts made nearly 100 years ago. Note how the front and rear sights are machined as part of the slide....no solder or staked on later to reduce costs.

    Wish everyone seeing this could physically inspect this gun to see what we are missing today.....instead here's a few pics to make the point.







  2. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    The generalization, "older is better" is not so much a generalization as everyone likes to believe.

    I wont be caught dead buying a Smith from after 2000. Usually it is from before 1980 even. New stuff really is useless. The evidence is overwhelming.
  3. speedway

    speedway Well-Known Member

    No case to be made. Older is usually better in my book (when it comes to quality firearms).

    That said, my daily carry is a G26, but I prefer to collect, and fire older handguns.
  4. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Well-Known Member

    A couple problems with your statement.

    1. Define "new stuff".

    2. Modern guns are hardly "useless". Hundreds of thousands of people use modern-design firearms every day for fun, work, defense and more. Therefore by definition this bit of your statement is nonsense.

    I'd love to see some of this overwhelming evidence as well.
  5. nwilliams

    nwilliams Well-Known Member

    The old phrase "they don't make 'em like they used to" is often the case in regards to firearms, although this is not always the case.

    Some gun today are better than guns of the past and some guns of the past are better than some guns of today, it really depends on the gun in question and how it compares to similar guns today.

    I still think that there are plenty of gun companies out there today that are making firearms of fine quality and easily as good as anything of the past. I still think (in no particular order) that S&W, Colt, HK, FN, Springfield Armory, Ruger, Remington and Beretta make very high quality products and every company has had it's ups and downs over the years. What's also true is that some companies still make certain types of guns as good as they ever did in the past, Colt AR's haven't gone down in quality, Ruger and S&W revolvers are still extremely well made, Beretta still makes top quality handguns and shotguns, FN gives us civilian versions of their military weapons that are basically identical with exception of barrel length and being semi-auto, HK may be expensive and I might suck and they may hate mate but they still make firearms of outstanding quality.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  6. menacingsquirrel

    menacingsquirrel Well-Known Member

    I wonder when we (myself included) talk about older firearms versus modern, that we're not comparing apples to oranges. With the affordability of modern firearms, I think sometimes we compare today's lower end to yesteryear's better quality. If we crunched the numbers, would a Remington 700 today cost the same relative to one back in the day? Most would agree the fit and finish on an older Remington surpasses a new one today. We can still get quality, we just have to pay for it.
  7. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    Yeah yeah, I know they are not "useless"(unless you are talking resale value) but quit taking everything so literally.

    Take a Model 38 and a new model 638 side by side and tell me what you think.

    Take all of the old model K frames and compare them to the pathetically few new model K frames which is by and large on of the most loved revolver platforms ever. Good job S&W on axing nearly ALL of them and putting lock on them to boot.

    Even Taurus revolvers from the eighties had the feel of a real gun in your hand unlike today how the things are rattle traps at best. Well them and S&Ws.

    I see Colt still makes firearms.....barely.

    The only company still making real guns is Ruger and they have their own skeletons they are still paying for. They also like ripping off designs like the P3AT.

    Sure Glocks are great but they came on the scene way too short of a time ago.

    There HAVE been recent advances in pocketguns lately. I am happy for all those who care.

    New 1911s are great. Just fork out 2000 or more bones.

    Remington is my favorite.......I dont need to go into that. Lets just say I have a Wingmaster from 1971 and have no plans on "upgrading" to a new one.

    Mmmmmm, I sure love synthetic stocks. You better because you sure dont get wood anymore.

    Nice matte finish. Perfect for collecting rust. I bet shiny bluing would be better at corrosion resistance.

    For some MIM parts are the second coming of Satan. Im indifferent on their qualities as a material.

    What the heck is that finish on new non stainless Smith revolvers anyway?

    Would you like that part forged, sir? No thank you, I will take pot metal.

    Sorry I did not answer your question Rembrandt. Perhaps the fellow who refuted my statement would like to.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  8. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

    And there's a reason for that.

    Much like the auctioneer's proclamation; "They don't make these anymore". There's a reason for that also.
  9. belercous

    belercous Well-Known Member

    My Para .45 1911 shoots 2" groups at 25 yds. with factory (not match) ammo. It cost me less, today, than an equivalent 1911 did in 1975.

    There is a very good reason they don't make guns like they used to, and I'm glad they don't. Same with cars. A 1975 ford would be worn out after 120,000 miles. A 2010 Ford with 180,000 miles is worth repairng. And newer cars require far less maintenance than older ones.

    Modern machining techniques (CNC) permit closer tolerances than before, thus reducing the need for hand-fitting, which commensurately lowers the price while keeping (and often improving) the longevity of the manufactured article.

    One can still purchase fine hand crafted guns, but the price tends to keep many out of the game. And I don't care as much about craftsmanship as function.
  10. JohnBiltz

    JohnBiltz Well-Known Member

    I think memories get pretty selective. How many automatic handguns out of the box in the 50s or 60s could fire a thousand JHPs with out jamming? 1911s couldn't. There are reasons cops stuck to wheel guns back then.

    Gun finishes get brought up. Today's finishes are better. At least better at protecting against rust which is what finishes are supposed to do. People complain loudly if they see rust on a gun nowadays. I've never seen rust on a Glock.

    Pot metal got brought up. It used to be a Colt 1911 hammer was case hardened because that was the best way to make them now the whole thing is machined out of modern steel.

    I remember when stocks were made out of wood and then the new artificial stocks came out and the gun magazines loved them. No longer did you have to worry about them swelling due to moisture and they were lighter.

    I've said it before I'll say it again, We live in a golden age of firearms. Never before have we had such a wide selection of really great affordable firearms.
  11. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

    Without a doubt the quality of handmade items was better in the past. However, the improvements in metalurgy and ergonics, and the sheer affordability make todays guns better.

    For instance, a Glock may not be the prettiest girl at the ball, but a Glock is predicted outlast - in durability and reliability, any historic handgun (given the same variables/treatment, etc).

    I suspect that historically guns were so expensive and the offerings so non-diverse that one might own only a few varieties. However, now, there is such a diverse variety and they are so affordable, it's not difficult for the average person to own say 20-50 guns.

    While nostalgic, few guns of yesteryear meet the criteria for reliability and durability that they are selected over todays guns for similar roles. I tip my hat to a few noteworthy designs and models that still are called upon for duty. Of course the 1911 and lever guns for carry and hunting respectively; the Makarovs, CZ82s, Radoms, etc. are commonly carried; etc.

    I have a pure appreciation for, and collect, C&Rs, but by and large, my vote goes for modern...
  12. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    I think there is just going to have to be a lot of agreeing to disagree in this thread.

    My bias is obvious. I have been very impressed with the older guns and not so impressed with much of anything new.

    Older automatics were not designed to fire hollow point ammunition because HPs are a fairly recent development in terms of overall firearms history.

    It would be nice if some examples were made as well. In my previous post my examples were vague but they were still examples of how the newer products leave a lot to be desired.

    If we wanted to hash out 1911s specifically or S&W revolvers or some other more specific comparison between today and yesterday you will get various levels of "better here, better there" but the question pertains to the level of quality of guns in general.
  13. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Well-Known Member

    One thing that rarely gets mentioned is the thermal variances in materials.....polymers tend to grow and shrink with temperature changes as well as some light weight alloys, which explains greater tolerances.

    Granted the two part catalyzed paints are superior to paint of the past, but a nice paint job on a gun doesn't say quality like a plated or blued finish does.
  14. PercyShelley

    PercyShelley Well-Known Member

    If you shoot for accuracy there's simply no comparison. There are firearms today that can shoot more accurately than was possible several decades ago and there are firearms for off the shelf prices that can shoot just as accurately as custom rifles from a few decades ago.

    If you shoot in volume there's simply no comparison. I did a cost comparison of rifles from about a century ago, and my conclusion was that adjusted for inflation rifles today aren't dramatically more or less expensive than they were a century ago when adjusted for inflation. The ammo, however, is drastically less expensive and is made to much better standards. There are stories about WWI fighter pilots individually measuring all their ammunition with micrometers to make sure it wouldn't cause stoppages during combat. Today? Just not something you worry about as much.

    If you like pieces that show craftsmanship and the human touch, well, there's no comparison. Outside of custom jobs it's just too expensive to make firearms really pretty given early 21st century skilled labor costs.
  15. bigalexe

    bigalexe Well-Known Member

    I see the same thing in reference to tools and it is usually phrased something like 'Darn new craftsman crap from china!'

    Here's the deal:
    Some of the newer stuff is going to be manufactured overseas and moved to cheaper facilities because it can be. However the thing is that today we see AR-15's machined with CNC Mills to very exacting tolerances that were not possible some decades ago, and they are done so En Masse.

    Also another complaint is increased use of Polymers (Plastics). Most people including myself seem to hold this belief that if you want something done right, do it in metal. The fact is that even though I like metal, I did learn in my Engineering materials courses that Polymers today can be made to have the same durable qualities as metals and in some manners are superior, heck if you have a polymer barrel (no they don't exist yet) then the barrel would never burn your hand because polymer is an insulator and wouldn't heat up! Oh and polymer won't rust.

    Alot of things appear cheaper, but the fact is that if you look in the right places. Things are always moving forward.
  16. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    I do think memory is very selective. People complained 30 years ago about Smiths and Colts and they talked about how good the old ones are or were. Ruger... I wouldn't even consider buying one then. Now... according to some, they are the greatest thing since apple pie. I don't see it personally. Ruger's .... they work most of the time..... yep. Being functional isn't enough. Ruger needs to spend just a bit more time on their fit and finish to make me happy. In particular, I would eliminate most of the sharp edges.

    I find the currently made revolvers from Smith & Wesson far from "useless". I would not hesitate to buy one if it met my intended purpose.
  17. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

    All nonsense.
    Your Ortgies is a cheap pocket pistol. It is large and heavy given the caliber, the man-stopping .32ACP. The steel in it is far inferior to what is used today. The finish you see is largely the result of much softer material that is easier to work with.
    That is across the board the case. Today's Smith revolvers have much better actions than the guns of the 1970s. Today's Colt 1911s will actually feed a magazine of hardball without stopping, unlike the 1970s versions.
    Materials are longer-lasting, stronger, and cheaper. Compare a Walther P38 to a Glock 17. Which one would you rather carry for defense?
    And they are more affordable. I have a new CZ75B in the shop tagged at under $500. It is in every way comparable to a Hi Power, except being easier to use. The comparable Hi Power is over $800.
    There were no pistols chambered for 10mm, .40S&W, 454Casul or .357SIG prior to 1960. Nor could there be.
    Older guns are art objects, collectibles, curios and objects of sentimentality. They are not working tools.
  18. Zanad

    Zanad Well-Known Member

    a lot of people say that older was better but I would wonder how many people would actually buy a newly made, (with the the quality and precise tolerances) and pay $3000 for something that might be inferior in function compared to today's guns. With inflation and and average pay, that the K-smith "back in the day" would be a hard swallow financially for most of the people complaining about today's quality.

    never in the history of man has there ever been a time when consistency was better.

    how often in the fifty's was a rifle guaranteed/expected to shoot under 2" groups @ 100 yards and only pay less than a weeks pay?

    In my opinion, it is because of surviving "relics" we see today in the internet age that a lot of pistols of old gain almost supernatural fame(colt python anyone?). The bad examples of the "golden years" are neigh to be found unless you look in lots of parts bins.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  19. Sky

    Sky Well-Known Member

    Better anti rust finish, less weight, and in many cases better metalurgey. Generalized statement of course
  20. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    When huge quantities of cheap modern imports started making inroads here due to only their price, US companies had to respond - they did that by making guns as inexpensively as they could in order to compete. Many folks here and on similar forums are after one thing only - the cheapest "buy" price they can find.

    I prefer to follow my sig line whenever possible with ANY product I am buying - it is cheaper to but once and cry once, then to buy cheap over and over

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