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1975 Montgomery Ward Catalog

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by jamesinalaska, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. jamesinalaska

    jamesinalaska Member

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    I stumbled across the 1975 Montgomery Wards Fall & Winter Catalog. Oh my! bell bottoms, polyester knits, wide collars, checkered pants, striped shirts and platform shoes. It's like watching a Brady Bunch nightmare. But on page 891 Mr. Ward starts advertising the rifles.

    Wards mod. 550 12ga. pump, fancy $150
    Wards mod. 550 12ga. pump, economy $95.
    (These shotguns were, I think, Winchester mod. 1200's merely stamped with Wards name and logo. And if you adjust for inflation to year 2019 dollars, 476%, those guns would be $714 and $452, respectively. Which, honestly, is about what one would pay for the equivalent gun today.)

    Some more examples from the catalog:

    Ithica, 12ga., mod. 37 delux, $185. ($880 in 2019 dollars).

    Remington, 20ga., mod., 870 Wingmaster, $175 ($833 today).

    Remington, 12ga., mod. 1100 "automatic" shotgun $230 ($1095 today's money).

    Richland, mod. 711, 10ga., double barrel duck and goose gun with Spanish walnut, extractors, triple locks, and hand checkering $255. ($1214 at 2019 dollars)

    Western Field, mod. 72, 30-30 deer rifle. -Which is really an economy grade Marlin mod. 336 engraved with the Western Field name to sell through the catalog- $125. ($595 today's money).

    Browning, Grade 1, gas-operated, 7mm Mag., hand checkered French walnut $480 ($2285). Only the 7mm mag. and 30-06 calibers are offered.

    Mauser, mod. 98, 8mm, carbine, full stock $77 ($367).

    Ruger, mod.77, 270 Winchester, tang safety, hand checkered walnut, $199 for the rifle only, or $256 in a package deal with 3x9 scope and rings ($947 or $1218, respectively).

    Ruger, mod. 10/22, .22lr, 1 rotary magazine, $70 ($333).

    On the whole, I think the good people in 1975 were actually paying a bit more for their rifles and shotguns than we are paying now. I think that can be a hard thing to judge too, because the equivalent rifles of today just don't equal the quality of the the 1975 offerings in many cases. For example, the ruger m77 rifles of today aren't as good a quality of the older "tang safety" model 77's. But then again, we use stainless steel now quite a bit when stainless was rare 45 years ago. Nor would I pay $2250 for a grade 1 Browning. Not at any time. (Beautiful rifle though.)

    What do you think? Like me that rifles today are generally less expensive but not as great, or differently?
     
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  2. tercel89

    tercel89 Member

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    I have my Grandfathers 12 guage bolt-action shotgun that is magazine fed. Detachable 2 rd magazine. I think it was sold at Montgomery Wards also. It is a Kessler Westchester "Buffalo Bill Cody" edition So old that is doesn't have a serial number. I still shoot it today.
     
  3. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    There were some really good bargains to be had on the used market with some of those store branded guns. Western Field, Revelation, Ted Williams, JC Higgins...
     
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  4. film495

    film495 Member

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    how lucky we are there are so many good new, and good older firearms available ..
     
  5. il.bill

    il.bill Member

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    Thanks for sharing, jamesinalaska.

    We got married in June, 1975 and by Fall our first son was a "bun in the oven", as they say. No money for new guns, but I do fondly remember perusing lots of mail order catalogs back then, mostly focused on guns/hunting/fishing, homesteading(!), and hot rods.

    James - did the catalog mention the cost to ship something to Alaska? :)
     
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  6. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    I can recall those days. But thanks for doing the inflation adjustments. Even though I can also recall what kind of money I was making circa 1975.
     
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  7. e rex

    e rex Member

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    I'm old enough to remember the old Sears and Wards catalogues from the late 40's and early 50's. What great memories! In the early 50's Dad ordered a .22 J.C. Higgins bolt action rifle from Sears and the mail man tied it to our country mail box for us to get. Nobody worried about thieves. In the late 50's or early 60's I ordered a 1917 Enfield from Klein's in Chicago, it came through the mail and I wish I still had it.
    Thanks for the memories.
    Rex
     
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  8. OneFreeTexan

    OneFreeTexan Member

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    I have been picking up ‘store brand’ used guns when I find them,,, Usually at better prices too.
     
  9. bearman49709

    bearman49709 Member

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    In 1975 I was making $2.00hr. Got married to the first wife March 31 1978.
     
  10. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    I wish gun prices were like that now but with a modern salary.
     
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  11. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    My first rifle was an Ithaca .22 LR lever-action down-scaled copy of a Model 94 ... bought for me by my dad at our local Montgomery Wards in about 1968 ...

    Those Ithaca 37s were awesome shotguns, and the Western Field line of rifles were all worthy.

    The t.p. in my granddad's cabin's outhouse was the previous year's Montgomery Wards and Sears and Roebuck catalogs, by the way. We'd pull off a page and wrinkle it up to make it feel a bit softer ...
     
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  12. jamesinalaska

    jamesinalaska Member

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    I looked briefly for a list of shipping charges but the order forms were apparently used.
     
  13. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    We can work fewer hours to pay for better quality firearms and ammo than at any other time in history.

    I strongly disagree, guns are much better today. Ruger purchased barrels from the lowest bidder until 1992 when they started making their own. Accuracy prior to the 1990's was not good as a whole and they used a funky action that sorta looked like a CRF action, but it was not CRF until 1992. And even then it wasn't until they made several improvements in 2006 making their rifles as accurate as most anything else.

    The only thing different is that they used cheap wood on many of the older guns. Today that has been replaced with cheap plastic. I can appreciate a nice stick of wood on a firearm as much as anyone, but given the option of the ugly cheap firewood they used to use I'll take plastic. All of the manufacturers make guns with nice wood and polished metal and if that is important to someone the option is still there. But we can't blame the gun manufacturers because consumers tend to leave those guns sitting on the shelves and are opting to buy the budget guns. And that is no different today than in 1975. The cheap budget guns then outsold the top of the line versions.
     
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  14. Virginia Jim

    Virginia Jim Member

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    “Ruger, mod.77, 270 Winchester, tang safety, hand checkered walnut, $199 for the rifle only, or $256 in a package deal with 3x9 scope and rings ($947 or $1218, respectively).”
    I paid $300 for the same in 1988.
    Newly married in 1975, I paid $212 for a Winchester Model 70. I saved a long time for that gun. My in-laws thought I should have bought a washing machine.
    I was making $2.42/hr. as a green electrician.
    Funny how I can remember that and can’t remember what I paid for a Glock 31 five years ago.
     
  15. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Will be after 1975, but I remember seeing Ruger Mini-14 in the Wards catalog for $149.95
    Call that, oh, 1982, that would be $408 in 2019 dollars.
    Or, still more than I'd spend on a Mini 14 [:)]
     
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  16. jamesinalaska

    jamesinalaska Member

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    You have a point, jmr40. The manufacturing philosophies of total quality control, zero imperfections, and the necessity of innovation that started in the Japanese car industry after WWII did trickle down to other production industries - including firearms.
     
  17. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    Those 1975 Ruger rifles were 2 moa rifles...if you were lucky. To say they were better than today's rifles is ignoring reality.

    If it's wood and polished metal you want then it's available. It's not going to shoot any better than that $300 Savage though.
     
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  18. JONWILL

    JONWILL Member

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    There was a time in the late 1970’s when I walked into a Woolworth. I was 15. In the sporting goods department there was an end cap filled with Krag rifles for $35 each. They were covered in cosmoline
    I begged my parents to let me get one. To no avail
    I had the money from cutting lawns. That is one opportunity I will never forget
     
  19. Plan2Live

    Plan2Live Member

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    Did they have a tactical section?
     
  20. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    i remember in the late 50/s i missed a good buy because i had no money at all. just money from fur bearers i shot with my .22 long rifle. that was enough for ammo and a burger. the big sporting goods store in fargo n.dak had1875 winchesters( hope i got the right year) and rem rolling blocks, dozens of them, for sale. all in working order. cheap. even cheap is too much when your with out any money.
     
  21. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    $333 (adjusted) for a 10/22? Ouch.

    Edited: How about that... they cost nearly $300 today. I guess my head's still in the 80s (now that was an interesting decade).
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  22. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    $222 at Walmart.
     
  23. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    I thought I saw them well under $300 recently. Thanks for the confirmation.
     
  24. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    Loved reading through all the big catalog stores wish books. Guns, ammo, ligerie, fishing, boating, intimates, mini bikes, go carts..... Lots of cool stuff befor the net. Your lying if you didn't check out the models.:D
     
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