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A short gripe about rifle cosmetics

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by theriflespeaks1863, Oct 21, 2013.

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  1. theriflespeaks1863

    theriflespeaks1863 Member

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    Well, the title says it all- in short, I want to hear what you all think about the following:

    A lot of modern rifles have no cosmetic appeal. None. Specifically I am thinking of bolt rifles.

    I was exploring options for a general-purpose, iron-sighted bolt gun that I am referring to as the Modern Bolt Battle Rifle, which is inspired by the likes of the 03A3, the Gewehr 98/ K98k, and the Mosin Nagant- a full-length, iron-sights rifle firing a full-power cartridge such as the .30-06, that is durable, easy to use and easy to maintain. But, as I perused the gun racks of the various sporting goods stores, I noticed something about the various bolt-action rifles that I encountered:

    Irrespective of price, a lot of these guns had chunky, bizzare stock shapes and contours that simply looked awful. Now, this is coming from the guy who thinks that the Mosin and the A-10 Warthog are appealing pieces of equipment, so I think this must mean something when even I can say that some of these rifles are UGLY. :barf:

    So much extra meat around the magazine well/internal box, fat forends, ridiculous trigger guard contours, and so on. In fact, it appeared that many of these guns were wearing stocks that were simply too large for the barreled actions they were attached to.

    Now, for my rifle concept, I would ideally like a rifle with a trim stock that doesn't add any excessive weight or bulk- but this has no bearing on my cosmetic criticisms. In fact, the polymer stock on the Ruger American- despite the slight 'cheap' feel I got from it, rather impressed me in terms of contour. It's just that some of these rifles look just plain terrible.:(

    What say you? Is it just me?

    -Chris
     
  2. cat_IT_guy

    cat_IT_guy Member

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    I agree. Lots of less than gorgeous stocks out there, but I think the main reason for that is cost. A rifle is a luxury to many/most people today and as such only limited funds available to purchase them. If you can get a great rifle with a less-than-attractive plastic stock for $500 or the same great rifle with a pretty/classic-looking wood stock for $800, there is a large portion of the market that doesnt see the value of the wood or simply cant afford it and will opt for the cheaper option. Thats my guess, anyway.
     
  3. HexHead

    HexHead Member

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    It's just you.
    That said, perhaps you should be looking at rifles with wood stocks instead of synthetic ones. They tend to be more traditional looking. Now, finding a bolt gun with iron sights is going to be the challenge. I believe CZ will be in the ball park for you.
     
  4. Geno
    • Contributing Member

    Geno Member

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    Take a look at the Winchester M70 Featherweight in say .30-06 Sprg. Take it and have a set of aftermarket sights added, say some of those manufactured by Williams Gunsight. It is possible that due to the Featherweight barrel, that you will have to opt for a banded front sight. I do know that I have seen some old-school Featherweights with iron sights, and they were quite attractive. I don't know for sure about the front sight, banded or drilled and tapped, because I am not a gunsmith. However, if you want an attractive, well-balanced, bolt-action, in .30-06 Sprg, that comes up naturally to the shoulder, and just feels good in the hands, you will have to look long, far and spend a lot more cash to beat a Featherweight. JMHO.

    Geno
     
  5. gun addict

    gun addict Member

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    It's just you, the old wood and blued steel may be "appealing" to some people, but tell me the contour of a Mosin stock is better than that of a Mcmillan M40a5 stock? I personlly find the old world craftsmenship of Mausers and high end Finnish Mosins appealing, but still lets not confuse aesthetic to real world application
     
  6. Nighteyes

    Nighteyes Member

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    Meaning no disrespect to anyone, but when this topic comes up -- and it comes up surprisingly often -- it always causes me to grin. I think it all comes down to one's primary motivation for owning a rifle -- do you want one that shoots well, or one that looks great? (And yes, I know that the answer frequently incorporates some of both.)

    To my way of thinking, beauty is as beauty does. Back when I could still tolerate the recoil, and at ranges up to about 800 yards, I would have pitted (and sometimes did pit) my older, pre-Accutrigger Savage 10FP against the "pretty rifles." By most accounts that Savage was butt-ugly, but I didn't care. As long as I did my part, it would consistently put a 168- or 172-grain BTHP projectile precisely where I wanted it to go.

    To me, that's beauty.

    -- Nighteyes
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  7. Mike1234567

    Mike1234567 member

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    I don't need safe queen firearms. I buy utilitarian tools... stainless steel and synthetic. That stated, I do appreciate craftsmanship and refined beauty... but I'll reserve those qualities for my other needs. The latter can take care of my need for rubbed hard wood.:evil:
     
  8. PJSprog

    PJSprog Member

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    I agree with the OP. While I appreciate the utilitarian aspects of synthetic stocks, I just don't find them aesthetically appealing. Good wood doesn't need to be a "safe queen," either. The wear and dings in old stocks tell some great stories.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  9. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

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    I wouldn't care what they looked like or what they'd be made of. For me, I'd like receiver sights like on the Ruger GSR. I'd like at least some to have sight options that were as friendly as an AR15. If I good get that, I wouldn/t care what they looked like.
     
  10. Geno
    • Contributing Member

    Geno Member

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    Of my many rifles, only my M70 Super Grade has a wood stock. It shoots wonderfully accurate, but I obviously have to be concerned about the stock warping thus effecting accuracy. Two of my rifles have laminated stocks, while "wood", they are more resilient.

    All of my other rifles have Bell & Carlson Medalist, HS Precision or MacMillian stocks. To me, the synthetics actually are more appealing for how I shoot. Once I go out, come literally rain or shine, I stay out until sunset. That goes a very long way to explain why I prefer synthetics. Then again, I seriously prefer a 26", heavy-contour barrel.

    That stated, I do like my couple of wood, and "wood" stocks for appearance. Any of you ever see the former M70 Featherweight with a black, synthetic stock?! Dang those were beautiful, and I wish they would be produced again. I would like an M70 Featherweight, perhaps in .243, .308, .270 or .30-06, but I can't justify it because it would not extend what I currently can hunt with the rifles I already own.

    But I get where the OP is coming from. Something warm and fuzzy about a beautiful wood stock.

    Geno
     
  11. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    I think your local shops lack selection.

    Edit: Disclaimer - none of the images below are mine. They're just some examples I found online of rifles I've seen before in good shops. The images belong to their respective owners via the hotlinks.


    [​IMG]
    Model 70 Featherweight, as already mentioned.



    [​IMG] Remington Model Seven Custom MS



    [​IMG]
    CZ 550 FS



    [​IMG]
    Steyr - Mannlicher, Mannlicher Classic



    [​IMG]
    Dakota Rifles Model 76 Mannlicher
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  12. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Me too. All the rifles ugaarguy posted, plus many others from the likes of Kimber, Cooper, Browning, Etc.

    I personally have always favored the look of the 700 BDL with its glossy Monte Carlo stock, or its satin finished CDL counterpart. That said, I really like the Kimber Super America stocks.
     
  13. unit91

    unit91 Member

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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, polymer furniture looks much nicer than wood.
     
  14. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Well, there are people who think the Prius is a nice looking car, too. Takes all kinds :neener:
     
  15. aka108

    aka108 Member

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    I
    I'm old school. I really like blue or parkerized steel and wood. Have several firearms with polymer stocks and have no gripes about them. What I do think is fugly are the new polymer handguns and some of the AR's seem to get overdressed with a lot of accessories.
     
  16. another pake

    another pake Member

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    I've mentioned this gun before, and while it's not lightweight I think the new Model 70 Alaskan is pretty good looking, especially with laminate stock and stainless barrel, and it comes with iron sights if that's your thing. Of course it's also tapped and scope ready as well.
     
  17. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I think a quality firearm can be so much more than just a utilitarian tool. There is a certain pride of ownership in owning something that is also aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.

    To me, that means wood. And please hold the pressed in checkering, if you're not going to do it right, don't bother. Same for the shiny, slathered on poly finish. I think Weatherby did us all a disservice by equating a shiny finish with upscale. I feel it's really just the opposite. A nice flat oiled finish, ala high end British firearms, is understated elegance in my book.

    Unfortunately, we live in an era where price is everything. Manufacturers do it in the least expensive place, regardless of which country, or with what unskilled labor that might be. Same for fit and finish. The retail buyer is expected to be the final inspector, some work, some don't. I'm tired of hearing "oh, it'll work better after 500 rounds or so." Stocks being an 1/8" proud of the metal is considered fine, just stamp 'em out.

    Even cheap American guns used to have decent walnut stocks. Who knows what tropical wood or stained whatever you're getting anymore. :uhoh:
     
  18. Jcinnb

    Jcinnb Member

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    Wood and blue. You boys can keep your plastic.

    Having said that, at the range yesterday I saw the first synthetic stock that might have passed muster...at Winchester 70 in 30-06.

    I have mostly WWII Mauser's, rechambered. I just like their look and feel.
     
  19. Mike1234567

    Mike1234567 member

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    Well, I can use mine without baby-ing them and I won't cry if actually using them puts a few dings in them. Mine are tools. This is why I chose ugly rust-proof... tools. If I want art then I'll hang it on my walls at home. When I need to use one of my hammers I bash the heck out of them without ever worrying about dinging one.:D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2013
  20. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Weatherby started the trend back in the 1960's with their stock style. Remington followed with their BDL design. Winchester followed the pack for a while.

    Bill Ruger gets credit for bringing back a classic styled stock with the 77 when introduced in the late 60's. Some have followed his lead, others continue to go for the outlandish bawdy look.

    I think many of the current stocks look quite nice. I like all of the Rugers, the Remington Mt. Rifle is a nice looking stock. The Winchester Featherweight is about as good as it gets. The Sako's are nice too.

    Don't care for any of the Weatherby's the Winchester Sporter and Super grade are chunky.

    I can appreciate quality walnut. I'd 10X rather have a cheap synthetic than a cheap wood stock though. If I'm buying to use it will have a quality synthetic. Many very well designed.
     
  21. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Back around 1970 I bought a Weatherby MarkV in .30-'06. #2 profile barrel, 26". Sub-MOA after minor tweaking. I still think it's a good-looking rifle, and it's done well on Bambi.

    Same year, I bought a little Sako Forester carbine in .243; 19" barrel. It had definite teething pains, but I tweaked it into a sub-MOA critter. Also good on Bambi. Still a neat-looking rifle, IMO.

    Same for my Ruger 77 MkII light sporter in .223. And, I like the overall package that is my 700 Ti in 7mm08, for all that I don't particularly care for black/stainless. But the lines are good.

    No great problem in working a good-looking rifle into being a sub-MOA critter. Maybe that's why I generally don't bother with ugly guns. :D (Even though I do have an AR.)
     
  22. Coop45

    Coop45 Member

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    Off topic, but Ruger's No1 International and the bolt gun version of the International are awfully nice.
     
  23. WVRJ

    WVRJ Member

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    I love the look and lines of my 700VTR with a B&C Medalist varmint/tactical stock,bipod on the front ant the target turrets of a Leupold scope sitting tall and proud.And I also love the lines of my sidelock muzzle loader.Different guns and styling theories,but beautiful nonetheless.They all have their little things that make them stand out.
     
  24. gdcpony

    gdcpony Member

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    My preference is Boyds laminated wood. I use their thumbhole on my bolt and single shot weapons.

    My daughter though thinks that is ruining them. Her preference is pretty clear in action (despite being a lefty shooter) and stock and even make.
    [​IMG]
     
  25. DRYHUMOR

    DRYHUMOR Member

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    While some of mine are heavy and/or synthetics, I like a wood stock. Here's a few of mine.

    M70 XTR 30-06.

    [​IMG]

    Heavy Sporter .260 BDL

    [​IMG]

    Who knew Tikka made beautiful stocks.... .280 Remington

    i-XNxmMmG-L.jpg
     
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