1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Turn of the century engineering

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by ID_shooting, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Well-Known Member

    I just picked up a 1898 Krag parade rifle, as I was reassembling it last night after a detailed strip and clean, I became extreemly impressed with the detail of engineering that went into this rifle. Per the SA museum folks, this rifle was built in 1901, 104 years old, still functions and looks absolutely sweet.

    I got to thinking about my 94 Winchester and other period guns, and realized, man, they sure don't makes guns like this anymore. Putting them side-by-side with a modern M70, 10/22 or 870 and I think, yuck, what happened to the good guns. These "new and improved" designs, as good as they are, are all crap by comparison.

    Anyone else think this way?
  2. WT

    WT Well-Known Member

    Absolutely! Back then engineers were really educated and talented.
  3. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Well-Known Member

    And human labor was cheap. At the turn of the century, a company could afford to pay artisans to hand finish guns. Can't do it anymore now that large chunks of revenue are going to lawyer fees.

  4. mbs357

    mbs357 Well-Known Member

    It's a shame.
    Here's a question: Why are new Colt SAAs thousands of dollars?
    As for old guns: Love lever actions.
    Haven't had much experience with actual old guns though, sadly. =(
  5. trapperjohn

    trapperjohn Well-Known Member

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    It isnt that the engineering has gotten worse, it is that the cost of labor has skyrocketed. Things that used to be made by hand are now made by machine.
    the actual engineering and materials that can go into a gun are much better these days, the guns just dont have the careful attention to detail in assembly that they used to have
  6. Zeke Menuar

    Zeke Menuar Well-Known Member

    I have several old timey guns. A M97 Winchester, Savage M99, M1917 Enfield, several Mausers a couple of SMLE's. The fit, finish and overall quality of the old guns puts the stamped, cast, MIM's guns made today to shame.

  7. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Contrary to common belief, there was not a lot of hand fitting (as usually thought of) done or needed on guns made in the 1900 era. Manufacture required a lot skilled machinists, but their machines carved steel in intricate patterns that are almost unbelievable today. I don't think even S&W could make their revolvers as they do if they had not amortized the machinery decades ago.

    Some hand fitting (selective fitting) was done by most factories (and still is), and polishing and rust bluing was largely a hand operation, but I have never seen any evidence of hand filing on an original Krag or anything else from Springfield Armory, even back to the Civil War era. It just wasn't needed.


Share This Page