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How important are aesthetics?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Corn-Picker, Oct 10, 2017.

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  1. Corn-Picker

    Corn-Picker Member

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    As the title asks, where does aesthetics rank among your factors for choosing a rifle? It has become more important to me as I age, at this point I find something that fits my needs and then I tend to go with my heart. The Libertarian thinker Harry Browne talked about the "intellectual trap," that is trying to find the item that best meets your needs when simply meeting your needs is enough (and at which point you should worry about sex appeal rather than utility).

    For instance, I know that the AR-15 is superior to the mini-14 in every way, but if the mini-14 meets my needs then I'll go with it because I much prefer a traditional wood stock over plastic and a pistol grip. Likewise, when I imagine passing down a hunting rifle to my kids or grandkids, it's easy to imagine passing down a wood-stocked Model 70 or CZ 527, but hard to imagine passing down the ugly (to me) plastic TC Dimension, even though it shoots better than the other two.

    I'll probably always keep a few synthetic rifles, because sometimes it does rain for five days straight during a hunting trip, but I'm not as excited when I pull them out of the safe.
     
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  2. spawndn72

    spawndn72 Member

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    I go with aesthetics and nostalgia almost every time. For example, I decided to take up deer hunting again after a 20 year layoff. After looking at a ton of rifles in my price range, I ended up with at 40+ year old Winchester model 94 in 30-30. There are much better and accurate rifles out there, but the 30-30 gets the job done and gets it done in style. I also just bought a 61 year old Ruger single six for plinking with my son vs some newer semi-auto's I was looking at like the S&W Victory.
     
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  3. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Aesthetics are very important to me. There are lots of guns that I know are perfectly good guns but I won't buy them because they are offensively ugly. I do find certain guns attractive even with synthetic stocks and matte finish, but if the basic design is ugly it will get no love from me.

    One example of this is the Savage stealth rifle, it is just appallingly ugly to me.

    http://www.savagearms.com/firearms/model/BAStealth/

    Whereas I find the very similar ruger precision rifle to be rather nice looking

    http://www.ruger.com/products/precisionRifle/models.html

    I still won't buy a bad rifle just because it looks good, but neither will I buy a good rifle that doesn't look good.
     
  4. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    I basically have three types of Firearms i buy.

    Guns I think i need for a purpose. these will usually be the lowest cost firearms i can find that fit and function for that identified purpose.... often these leave when i decide it was a dumb idea, or i have no more use for the firearm. Aesthetics takes little precedence.
    My 6x47, .22, and highpoint ive kept and fit here. My Rar in .300aac, a couple Ar builds, my old savage, even my mini-14 and a number of others have gone away.

    Guns I think are interesting projects. These purchases are motivated, usually, by something specifically interesting. These are also often chambered for random or rare cartridges, so are difficult to sell. Aesthetics is taken into account, but usually not the motivating factor.
    Also I start every project with the knowledge that if i make a bad enough mistake on any of the work i do, i maybe scraping the gun, or parts there of, this means cost plays a major issue. My Ar, Arisakas, and STW fit here while none are ugly they arnt pretty either.

    Lastly I own a few firearms which I acquired(or modified) specifically because i like the way they look and feel.
    On these guns function follows form to a degree. While i still require reliability, accuracy and cartridge performance can be less than ideal.

    This also changes the design and cost of firearms ill buy.
    I really like pretty wood, and streamlined blued steel. My Abolt, custom Savage and Bergara fits this category, as does my browning citori. I had other "functional" rifles, and shotguns already. I purchased, traded for, or built, these because they simply appeal to my senses.
     
  5. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    It is extremely important to me and I'm pretty unapologetic about it. It's also important to a lot more folks than will admit it. Some folks are all about utility and that is fine, until they start in about "safe queens" and act as if they are more "hardcore" than anyone who cares about aesthetics, most of whom 'must' have lace on their drawers. Which is laughable at best. I look at it this way. Everyone expects a rifle to fulfill a certain function. Big deal. The fact that I also require them to attract my admiration and stir my soul in some way does not make me somehow "less". You can be a snob about anything. Just as some are snobs about high-end name brands and prestige, others are snobs about being utilitarian, cheap or poor.


    Well said!
     
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  6. z7

    z7 Member

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    it is an interesting series of thoughts. . . .ugly plastic guns do not seem a worthy heirloom.

    maybe their is room, is some cases to modify or specialize a firearm that is ugly and unworthy, but becomes worthy with lots of use and trust. can a rifle earn its way to heirloom status?

    think of an ugly AR15 that is well made and accurate. a kid grows up shooting and hunting with that rifle, maybe helps build it or replace a barrel. is it a worthy heirloom then?
     
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  7. spawndn72

    spawndn72 Member

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    As soon as they are banned all AR-15's will instantly earn heirloom status. (Not that I hope they are banned, just saying)
     
  8. 444

    444 Member

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    When I buy a gun now, aesthetics count for nothing. Zero.

    That isn't to say I don't enjoy looking at a really nice looking gun. And it isn't to say that I don't own and enjoy guns that arn't the ultimate for whatever purpose.

    But, with rifles, I want supreme accuracy (within my budget) and I don't care what the rifle looks like at all if I am currently buying one. Laminated wood is better than hardwood . Plastic is better than wood. Aluminum is better than plastic. TO ME.

    The last rifle I got is one of the ugliest rifles I have ever seen. I don't care.

    The only interesting rifles are accurate rifles.

    FWIW: I have the same feeling about vehicles. If the thing is totally reliable and has the performance I want, I couldn't care less what it looks like.
     
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  9. ttarp

    ttarp Member

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    Life is too short, and there are too many options out there, to own ugly rifles.

    A firearms design/action has to interest me, or its historical significance, for me to be interested in it. After that, aesthetics play a heavy role in my preferences.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  10. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    I bought a Henry Rifle because I was finally able to afford a lever rifle with a brass receiver and an octagon barrel which I have always wanted but being practical always got something suited more to my needs. Boy am I glad I splurged on something that I just liked the looks of. With open sights the Henry has turned out to be the most accurate rifle at 100yds or less that I own and it has functioned flawlessly.
     
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  11. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Yup. Ugly girls, ugly or inaccurate rifles, cheap whiskey, and 4 cylinder cars... Life is just too short...

    With the exception of the Mini's, a person doesn't typically have to choose between form and function - function is nearly inherent in most current production firearms, so it's easy for the buyer to demand a high form factor too.

    Nothing cheap has ever made a good heirloom, and synthetic stocked budget rifles are no exception. A well built AR-15 is not the equivalent of a synthetic stocked budget rifle, however. If you want your AR to look less "black and plastic," such can be had.
     
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  12. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I own both, but when I go hunting or shooting performance always trumps aesthetics. I do have a few pretty safe queens.

    I'm often amused at what passes for quality though. Any way you look at it lots of wood stocked guns are butt ugly and I burn wood in my fireplace by the truck load every winter that looks better than what is put on 95% of the wood stocked rifles and shotguns made today.

    Show me a decent piece of wood on a well designed rifle or shotgun and I'm impressed. But an ugly budget gun is still an ugly budget gun no matter how much lipstick you try to put on it. And a cheap stick of wood is no better looking than a piece of plastic.
     
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  13. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    Aesthetics are always in the list of priorities, but not yet have they become the sole, or highest, priority for me. I have owned a ton of functional, accurate, and often ugly, firearms over the years, but function is always battling with price, and the casualty of this war seems to be how a rifle looks. I am changing that slowly, and finally acquiring rifles that are pretty to look at AND functionally superior to the stuff I'm replacing. I do like a gun to be durable (stainless/synthetic) if it is going to live a harsh life of hunting and knocking around, like my trusty ruger redhawk, but lately I am also more willing to take nicer rifles along on these adventures due to the value they add just to be carrying something I want to look at. function has its own beauty, but sometimes you just want to enjoy a fine stock in walnut with some cool figure to the grain, or a good balance of color in contrast to a fine finish, be it blueing, stainless, or case hardening.
     
  14. rayatphonix

    rayatphonix Member

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    In my case I know that if I'm going to be sitting in a stand all morning (or afternoon), I might as well have something pretty to look at. That doesn't mean it has to be beautiful, but pleasing is a must.
     
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  15. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    I had a Marlin 336 in 35 Remington I carried on my shoulder in the woods and farm lands in the north east for 5 years about 45 years ago. The more beat up it got the more I trusted and liked it. Very find woods deer rifle. Beat up rifle that looked good to me.
     
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  16. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Cheap is not necessarily ugly to me. Nor is a gun with alot of scratches and dings. There are just some guns that have the right shape and the right lines. One of my favorite guns in my Handi Rifle. It is a bottom of the barrel cheap gun but I still think they are one of the nicest proportioned single shots out there. The many copies such as rossi and CVA don't have the same appeal to me. Despite the cheap birch stock there is just something about it I like. The metal finish on mine is even quite good. I polished and re blued the 308 barrel in this picture, but the finish on the receiver is as I bought it off the used rack.

    IMG_2557.jpg

    One of my other favorite guns is a 70's browning bps upland special. Its been through a heck of alot of bumps and scrapes even before I got it, and I've added plenty of my own, but I still think its a nice looking gun. The dings add character on that particular gun.

    One guaranteed way to ruin a gun to me is a sprayed on matte finish, and a tupperware stock. I am okay with a decently executed plastic stock, but many of them are horrendous.
     
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  17. Creature

    Creature Member

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    I see great beauty in functionality.
     
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  18. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    If aesthetics weren't important, from what I read about the reliability and prices of Hi-Points, they'd probably be a lot more popular.

    I think one way or another we all find aesthetics important, from the cars we drive, to the houses we live in, to the guns we shoot.

    I don't think I have to mention it's also important re: the significant others we live with. If all other qualities are good, good looking is just the icing on the cake. lol
     
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  19. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Aesthetics usually draw me in to examine a type of rifle further.

    Sometimes I feel more like John Wayne, other times I feel more like Bruce Wayne.

    View attachment 765102
     
  20. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    While I appreciate pretty firearms for being pretty, that takes a distant back seat to function. My guns are working guns and not pieces of art.
     
  21. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    My utility guns are my Tikka T3 lite, my browning BPS, I guess my AR, and I'm going to be building a savage model 12 with a thumbhole laminate. Since I don't have any use for more utility guns the rest have to be something I can get excited about.
     
  22. bearman49709

    bearman49709 Member

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    Aesthetics play a big role to me, that's why you wont find one blued barreled action or wood stock on any center fire rifle I own. Stainless steel and plastic stocks (good ones) look so much better I got rid of all my wood and blued guns years ago.
     
  23. MCMXI
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    MCMXI Contributing Member

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    The holy grail for me is a rifle that scores high in aesthetics, ergonomics, function and accuracy. I have more than a few like that but I've also sold a few rifles that were aesthetically pleasing but were either ergonomically or functionally challenged. The DSA SA58 PARA that I had comes to mind. I recently returned from a trip to England and spent some time at the offices of a bipod/tripod manufacturer and he had the three rifles shown below laying on a table. The "pretty" one belongs to his daughter. They use these rifles to shoot hundreds of roe and a few muntjac deer each year ... and I mean hundreds or roe deer. These rifles achieve "holy grail" status as far as I'm concerned.

    blaser_r8.jpg

    sako&blaser_r8.jpg
     
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  24. Danoobie

    Danoobie Member

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    THIS. At the same time, I like having something which is great to look at, as well as shoot. Great looking guns
    are more fun, IMO. It gets even more interesting as you seek out pistol carbine
    combos.
     
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  25. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    I firmly believe that one of the secrets to happiness and success is to adopt the attitude that form and function are the same thing. Put otherwise, that something truly beautiful is something purely functional, and the other way around, as well. I find that highly functional things tend to grow on a person aesthetically, whereas things contrived to achieve a certain aesthetic tend to cause a person to grow tired of them over time.
     
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