Firearms back when vs now, designs

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Dudedog, Jan 27, 2015.

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  1. grter

    grter Member

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    I think the internet "whine-fest" is a good thing.

    If you reverse it around and make modern machining 99% with 1% hand fitting (or more or less? you get the picture) my hypothesis is you can get the best of both worlds.

    I don't belive the machine is perfect enough to eliminate the human touch. How much of the human touch is taken care of by the machine I don't know but I am not so quick to dismiss the claims of a lot of people who can tell the difference.
     
  2. marv

    marv Member

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    C. S. is the new Q. C.
     
  3. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    Sam has it exactly right. If those old guns were so great how come my Raven P-25 is such a POS? And I've seen worse, much worse going back to the 50's and before. How many derringers do you see around now? There's a reason they're gone. They were JUNK for the most part but I used to see lots of thing including some ridiculous designs that would almost certainly get someone hurt eventually. We saw lots of Topper shotguns in those days too. Not exactly top of the line stuff there and there were imitators of the Topper that were much worse. No we don't see them around now and there's a reason for that. They were junked a long time ago.

    And let's talk about the great 1911. It's been around for 100 years and is the top of the food chain in the eyes of many. At one time you couldn't give one away where I lived. Many of them had terrible QC especially the government issued models. People wouldn't carry them because they had no reliability at all. The company that changed the image of the semi-auto (and people are gonna hate me for saying this) was GLOCK! They came out with a light weight, fairly inexpensive pistol that worked. Most didn't. Look at some of the early Ruger target pistols. The second generation became known as the MkII but the first really didn't have a name. And they wouldn't hit the broad side of a barn either. And I've seen Berettas that were absolute junk from those days. It was the "cheap Japanese quality" level gun (no they weren't Japanese but anything made in Japan in those days was the worst you could find so people lumped all junk in with the Japanese stuff). I remember seeing Beretta .25's that were worse than my Raven. If you think that's funny get this - Raven was actually seen as making good pistols at one time. Seriously.

    We all tend to think that everything was Winchester or Remington and people forget even that Remington was blasted as being cheap junk at the time too. They said the fit and finish was nothing like the good old days blah blah blah.

    Here's a peach of an example of a handgun a person might have seen back in those days. I saw a lot of guns there were similar to this in quality.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a Beretta like I described before:

    [​IMG]

    Does anyone really think this looks like a gun with a great finish?

    It's true that rifles were better than handguns during the time but mainly we saw older designs still being sold like Winchester lever guns. We really didn't see that many rifles of any kind. If we saw someone that could shoot really well the chances are they were using the gun they learned to shoot in WWII, a Garrand.

    But there were some cheap guns around like I showed in these photos. I know the gun mags like to promoted the idea that the old days were better but with gun mags you really need to follow the money. We don't see many ads for foreign rifles. Those gun mags have a vested interest in selling people on Remington and Ruger products because that's who pays their bills.

    Look at these handguns and tell me that all guns in the good old days were better than they are now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  4. GAMEOVER44

    GAMEOVER44 Member

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    64 Winchesters and around there were some of the best ever made.
     
  5. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    Really? Best in what way? Looks? Function? Accuracy? Have you ever shot a Sako? This one is real high grade walnut. It will shoot with pretty much any rifle ever made IMO or at least every Sako I've ever seen in action was "very" accurate). And it functions as well as any rifle can function. Those pre-64 Winchesters are certainly nice but they have nothing over Sako rifles IMO.

    [​IMG]

    And there are other rifles being made that are extremely nice. Have you looked at Cooper rifles? The thing is those rifles are all very expensive - just like those Winchester 70's. My only point is that great rifles are still being made. People just don't want to pay for them. At least the average gun owner doesn't. Times change. People change. What was very important back then isn't the same as now. But the technology hasn't died. It is actually better. Barrels can be made now that were never dreamed of back then. Technology has improved, not gone backwards. I like those early Winchesters too but if I had one I'd have to keep it in my safe because I'd be scared of losing a few a bunch of money by scratching it. I'd rather use a rifle that looks ok and won't break the bank if it gets broken. Mainly I care if it hits what I aim at and it works every time and there are lots of rifles around that will do that.

    There are more beautiful rifles around than Sako makes too. Lots of things can be done to make a rifle look better depending on your taste. I picked this Sako because of it's classic looks. Again looks is something that can actually detract from a rifle for someone who can't afford to beat up a rifle that costs as much as that Sako does. The one in the photo runs about $2800. That's what it takes to get the kind of classic looks the 70's had. Those rifles weren't cheap either. People look at what they sold for back then and think they were but they forget that a stamp cost a nickel and gas was 15 cents a gallon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  6. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    1964 is the year that some big changes were incorporated which made for cost savings and simplifications. That's why the market for used Winchesters splits between "Pre-'64" and "Post-64" guns, with the older ones being more desirable.

    Some folks have pointed out that this was a more gradual process than the hard date suggests, and a 1963 Winchester isn't necessarily a whole lot better than a 1965 one. Nor that a 1975 one is necessarily a bad gun.
     
  7. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    The very first rifle I was allowed to shoot was a Marlin 39A that my Grandfather bought when he was a young man. The very first center-fire rifle was a "92" Winchester than my great grandfather bought when he was a young man. After a hundred years of quality service to our family that rifle is still accurate enough to hit a target @ 200 meters.

    My first "high powered" and still favorite rifle is the Lee Enfield MK2 that my uncle bought used on the Standing Rock reservation sometime in the 1970's.

    Hubby has an AR-15 that he is fond of. I have operated it on occasion but find it has too many moving parts for my taste. He claims that rifle will outshoot my "antiques" anytime. I simply smile at him and invite him to the 600 meter range.
     
  8. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    Some AR's will do quite well at 600 yards but they are generally purpose built by someone. I don't see many coming off the rack that shoot that well. But I have a Savage that I'd take down to that 600 meter range with you to see what was what. :) Enfields could hold their own in their time but many rifles today are better. And just hitting a target at 200 meters isn't saying a lot by today's standards. My Marlin 60SS will do that all day and it's a rimfire of course. It depends on the size of the target of course but it will ding a pop can consistently at that distance.
     
  9. jim243

    jim243 Member

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    Ahh, the good old days (LOL). What made them good is that we no longer have to be living in those days anymore. Yes, we were younger then, had more energy, did more things and had raging hormones. Approximately 30% of all firearms back then were called "Saturday Night Specials" and we all owned at least one or two of them, some even more. Their quality was poor but they were plentiful and occasionally worked. Purchase cost was the driving factor and the better quality guns were hand made and quite expensive for those days. So you could only own one or two of the better guns, but they all rusted if not kept oiled.

    The quality of steel those days was a lot poorer than what we have today, machining marks from hand operated laths required many hours of polishing to be buffed out. There was no computers so the craftsmanship of the gunsmiths was the only thing you had to insure consistent parts and frames from one gun to another. Parts had to be fitted and filed by hand to insure the gun would work.

    Today we can rely on mass produced firearms because of CNC improvements and better quality parts and metals.

    If I had a choice (which I do) I prefer today's firearms over all of the ones made in the past, with the exception of the "Collectible" ones that were made with special care and cost at that time an arm and a leg. But those are still VERY expensive even in today's dollars.

    I do not live in the past, and a time machine is out of the question. So I am very happy with what is being produced today even if some need slight fixes.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  10. The_Next_Generation

    The_Next_Generation Member

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    I feel like this topic has been discussed several times over the past few weeks, with the conversation ending the same way every time. Modern CNC & metallurgy allows manufacturers to produce better "cheap" guns for folks that need a tool. Inflation should also be considered. $125 in '65 is the same as $940 today. My money would be on the modern ~$1k rifle outperforming one of similar value from the bygone era.

    There are some exceptions to this general conclusion. My CZ550 is a darn nice rifle for the $410 I paid for it second hand.
     
  11. sirgilligan

    sirgilligan Member

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    I think that this question applies better to some particular model that has been produced for several years and the model has experienced changes.

    For instance, you will hear that certain S&W revolvers are better because they had ___________ (pinned barrel, recessed cylinder, etc.)

    I have often heard that the older SIG P210 is better than the new one made in Germany, and that in the P22x line the West German built ones are better than the Exeter versions.

    I have read that the Browning Hi-Power improved, the thing that comes to mind is the humped feed ramp changes.

    Then you have all of the incarnations of the model 1911. People ask things like MIM questions, series 70 or 80, etc.

    There have to be many examples when a manufacturer tried something to lower costs that ended up being the wrong decision.

    The ability to manufacture a consistent product with amazing tolerance adherence should be higher than ever known before, yet it does seem true, the new quality control system is customer service. That is sad.
     
  12. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    They are better now.

    If you pay as much now as you did back in the day, adjusted for inflation, you can still purchase that old craftsmanship and hands-on quality control. You may just have to shell out a lot of money for it, just like you did back in the day.

    A lot of people forget that two or three hundred dollars decades ago may be the equivalent of two or three thousand dollars today. How much did a super grade Winchester Model 70 cost in the early 1960s, and how much of an average month's wage in 1960 was that equivalent to?
     
  13. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    I've got to agree I'd put a Korth, Baer or Freedom arms up against any from 1900-1970 for fit and finish and they'll have better accuracy.
    A Colt or Winchester back in the day would cost a Cowboy a month or twos wages.
     
  14. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    And even then, there is illusion in these statements. A pin through the barrel threads or recessed cylinders don't make one revolver any single tiny bit better than any other. No one ever shot better because of that pin or lived to fight another day because his cylinders were recessed to accept the cartridge heads. (Antique balloon-head .45 Colt cases notwithstanding.)

    These things are just easily visible indicators of a general date range during which folks feel the guns were made better. And some were NOT.
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    You are correct in saying that in-and-of-themselves, Smith & Wesson's pinned barrels and recessed case heads (only used on Magnum and rimfire revolvers) offer no practical value now. However they are indicative as to the time period the revolver was made, and may reflect on other cost-cutting issues.

    When the pinned barrel was dropped S&W went to a crushed thread arrangement that wouldn't matter unless you unscrewed the barrel for whatever reason. When you screwed it back it might not come up tight at its original position, and because of this might require a returned to the factory. Pinned barrels - for reasons unrelated to the pin - didn't have this problem.
     
  16. toivo

    toivo Member

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    So much of what we're talking about here has to do with marketing decisions rather than actual technology. The technology is better -- that's beyond dispute. The issue is what the manufacturers decide to do with the technology.

    I have a Winchester 9422 made in 1976 and one made in 2004. The fit and finish on the '76 is head and shoulders above the '04. Most likely they were made on the same machines. Why are they so different?
     
  17. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    Now.
     
  18. longknife12

    longknife12 Member

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    Made my mind up years back, I have stuck with the 50's Winchesters....
    just like them and never have had to repair one!
    JMO
    Dan
    :cool:
     
  19. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    There were certainly great guns of all types way back when. But they were expensive. They were more expensive relative to the time than an equivalent quality gun is now. You could buy great quality and craftsmanship then and you can still do it. I like great guns from all eras. But this idea that so many seem to have that somehow we have lost the ability to make great firearms just doesn't hold up. We made some great stuff then. We make some great stuff now. And we can buy a very accurate weapon for a lot less money now than we could then. Yes they cut corners on stocks, on finishing and sometimes even on fitting. That doesn't change the fact you can buy a $300 rifle that will shoot MOA at 100 yards. That was unthinkable back in the day.

    Yes some rifles shot great back then. Some were fairly cheap. But guess what. They cut corners too. Instead of high grade walnut you might see birch or even beech stocks. Walnut costs money especially if it's quality walnut. It always cost money back then and now but it has very little to do with how a rifle shoots. It has a lot to do with how a rifle looks. I've said it several times now. Remington beat Winchester out by cutting corners on their rifles. The great 700 rifles we all know were considered cheap rifles back then. Compared to a Winchester 70 they were cheap. But they certainly worked well. And the same was true with their shotguns. Maybe more so.

    The 870 became the working man's shotgun for a reason. Let's look at those Wingmasters for a minute here. They had decent stocks from the start. And those Wingmaster 870's have great stocks now. But compare them to an Express. They don't shoot better than the Express. They just look better. There's maybe 3 parts in an Express that makes them inferior to a Wingmaster. They can be replaced with the Wingmaster level parts for about $35.

    Now here's where it really gets down to the nub. You can buy a Norinco knock off of an 870 for about $170. And they are great guns. They have some features that are better than the Express for example. They have a better finish. And the parts all exchange except for the barrels. The only reason those barrels won't fit is the lug is in a different place. They had to do something to keep from being sued by Remington. Remington was so scared by those cheap knock offs that they bought the company that makes them. Now they are marketed as NEF shotguns which as we all know is part of the Freedom Group.

    Guns can be made to work very well for not much money if you cut enough corners. Have slaves do the work in China and you can sell one mighty cheap. That doesn't mean it won't work. They do work. They NEF shotguns look like crap next to a Wingmaster. But the function is almost identical.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  20. gbran

    gbran Member

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    Almost all of the really good firearms of yesteryear are remanufactured better today.

    I've always been kinda partial to the M-14.
     
  21. Oldschool shooter

    Oldschool shooter Member

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    I have been programming CNC machines for 25 years, the machining is much more consistent from part to part, making assembly easier and faster, but the lack of even a modicum of hand polishing for fit and finish is what makes the newer guns less desirable to me. Look at the machining and polishing on a Swedish Mauser or a Krag, even an 03-A3, very few bolt guns put out today can match their smoothness, and their lack of machining marks, and this was on military issue weapons! Yes, I know what this would cost today, and overall, today's guns are of pretty good quality, just sad to see there is no longer pride of craftsmanship, and no need for skilled hands anymore.
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    But there is and you can have it, if you want to pay for it.
     
  23. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    Sako.
     
  24. Oldschool shooter

    Oldschool shooter Member

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    CeeZee, I have not handled a newer Sako, by all accounts still an awesome rifle, I have handled my uncle's 70's vintage FinnBear, hands down the smoothest bolt gun I have ever experienced. I wonder if any hand polishing is done on these rifles today?
     
  25. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    I looked at a Sako in a used rack at Cabellas not long ago. I was amazed at the way it was built in every way. The rifle I looked at wasn't that old so I'd say they are still building them like that FinnBear. A friend of mine used a Quad in our gun club rimfire competitions when it was stock rifles only. No one could touch what he did with that rifle. That's been a few years ago now I guess but I have been super impressed with them since. Everything I read about them is positive. Even the lower production value Tikka rifles are amazingly good from nearly every review I've ever read. I know how the look. I know how they shoot. There's nothing not to like about a Sako.
     
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