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Where has all the bluing gone?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by osteodoc08, Jul 18, 2007.

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  1. osteodoc08

    osteodoc08 Member

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    I just returned from my local gun store looking for an affordable rifle. I am quite depressed to say the least.

    I started out looking at new rifles. I was really looking for something with good shiny bluing and a nice wooden stock. Unless I spent megabux, it just isn't going to happen. The closest to what I want was a Ruger Hawkeye in 270 it was $600 or so, but I don't like the "new" safety. I preferred the old tang safety. Even the Browning A-bolt didn't have a classic bluing on it. It was more like a bake on finish in matte black. I did like this the best out of all the 'finishes'. The bluing I did see was not the classic bluing that I'm accustomed too. I guess it is too labor intensive and expensive to produce i the range I was looking at. I also looked at Howa, Tikka, Browning, Savage, Ruger, and Remington. I didn't care for these due to one reason or another. The Remmy CDL was nice, but I can't justify spending that kind of coin. The Weatherby and Sako models were just too expensive, but boy they looked nice!!! They also had a Remmy 798 that was very nice, but I didn't like that safety, either. Oh well, my shopping continues.

    I then ventured to the used rack. A couple of nice shotguns and lever actions, but no rifles with good wood and bluing. There were a few, but they had been either bubbafied or had some rust on them.

    I guess I'm going to have to do one of a few things.
    1. Get the Ruger and accept the safety.
    2. Get the Browning A bolt and accept the finish.
    3. Wait until I have more money for a new gun.
    4. Wait and find a used gun in good condition for a reasonable price.

    Oh well, just wanted to share my (un)happy experience with everyone.
     
  2. grafsk8er

    grafsk8er Member

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    you should take a look at CZ. very nice guns. But i know what you mean about the bluing. i don't think any companies short of very high end still do a hot blue process anymore.
     
  3. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    It's not a new phenomenon.

    If you want nice wood and polished blueing, you're gonna have to pay for it.

    Smith & Wesson extracted themselves from polished blued carbon steel revolvers a while ago, moving to stainless steel for all but their custom shop offerings.

    Polishing carbon steel gunmetal, prepping it, firing up the blueing tank, and all the associated work takes time and skill. Unfortunately, that's something that is not cost effective for gunmakers these days, when they can just as easily turn out a stainless steel gun, or do a quickie matte and/or bake-on finish on a carbon steel gun.

    Woodworking is also an extra labor cost, especially compared to a synthetic stock. Some split the difference, and get laminated stock blanks from Rutland Plywood in Vermont, but they still need to inlet and finish them.

    That's not saying you can't get a nice blued steel and walnut rifle - just that you're going to have to shop a little more, and pay a little more for what you want.
     
  4. CWL

    CWL Member

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    That's the reason why classic hot bluing isn't offered much anymore. The labor costs to do the all metalwork on a hot blued firearm just costs too much. Most gun owners are not willing to pay this expense nowadays.

    It is so much easier to hide imperfections by spray&baking paint onto a gun.
     
  5. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    There are blued guns. They're not THAT expensive, but you do pay extra.

    Weatherby's Vanguard Deluxe is beautiful, especially for a gun that's way under a grand, but they sell a lot more of the lower-end versions.

    I think gunmakers found that, at the more price-conscious end of the market, shooters will sacrifice polished blue in favor of accuracy, especially in a hunting rifle.
     
  6. trbon8r

    trbon8r Member

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    I brought this topic up once and was called an elitist and a snob for wanting quality blueing and wood that is fit for more than the fireplace.

    Oh well, I agree with you 100%. ;)
     
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    It's a mixed bag.

    Weatherby's Vanguard series can be had with nice polished blueing and a nice stock, for a bit extra, but still way under a grand.

    [​IMG]

    Marlin's lever guns are still blued quite well. My Ruger 22/45 has nice blueing on it, as well. Not as shiny as my trap single, or the old BP revolver I polished myself before having it hotblued, but not bad.

    I think it's supply and demand. Also, it's getting hard to find someone to re-blue a worn gun these days.

    Stainless does have its advantages, for some applications. In hot places, it's awfully nice not to worry about sweating a bit.
     
  8. trbon8r

    trbon8r Member

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    Armed Bear,

    Where are the Weatherby's made these days? I remember them being made in Japan a few years back, but then I also recall seeing some ads in the various gun rags that they were again being made in the U.S.

    I don't know much about Weatherby's. Is there a "best quality" Weatherby in terms of where and when it was built?

    By the way, I miss California (formerly from Long Beach). I wish I was in San Diego right now. It's been hot as hell here lately. :)
     
  9. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    It's nice this year. Last year was nasty hot here, too, even at the beach.

    Weatherby Vanguards are made by Howa in Japan. I have the Vanguard Sporter (satin blue and satin finish on walnut), which I picked up for a great price because it had a superficial scratch in the stock finish. Puts bullets right on the crosshair at 100 yards. Not a light gun, though.

    Weatherby Mark V's are currently made in USA, in the midwest somewhere AFAIK. Steep, as always, but now available in standard calibers, at least some models, with the neat-o short-throw bolt.

    WRT "best quality", I'm not sure. Some people like the German ones. Some people seem to hate them in general. Seems like Howa guns, under whatever brand name, are well regarded, especially for the price. Similar to Remington action; even take the same scope bases.
     
  10. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Armed Bear, I'll let you in on a little secret...

    I love nicely polished and blued guns. I don't even know if I could get a new Browning BAR in the same deep polished blue and French Walnut as my 1969 Belgian Grade 1.

    However, when I restored my 1906 Remington Model 8, I sent it to a place not too far from you (Whitmore, CA) for one of their beautiful and deep Grade 3 Belgian Blue jobs:

    http://www.hotflashrefinishing.com

    [​IMG]

    I was so impressed with the finish on that Remington Model 8, that I had them do my Remington Model 11, too.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    I'm a product of my generation... I prefer black stocks and stainless barrels over blue and wood. Just seems like I'd have to be too careful with the weapon.

    Except in a Colt Python.
     
  12. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    ...and slap a cheap plastic stock and call it their "All Weather Special" and charge the same while phasing out the nice walnut and blueing.
     
  13. osteodoc08

    osteodoc08 Member

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    So how much are these Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe models going for these days) I've seen plenty of the regular Vanguards. It was nice, but I still wanting a decently blued gun. As of right now, I think I'm going to wait until I can save $800 or so and start shopping again or just going with either the Remmy 798, Ruger Hawkeye, or the Browning with the bake on. I passed up on a post 64 Model 70 for $750 that was exactly what I was looking for. It had the most beautiful wood stock I'd ever seen and perfect bluing. I'm still kicking myself for that one. I just didn't have the coin at the time.

    I also know what everyone means by the price of rebluing. My father has an old Browning Citori, I think from 1976, that has been through countless hours in the field all over and deserves another good dip in the ole hot bluing tank. He will give it to me if I pay to have it reblued. By the time I reblue it, time the action(although it functions fine now) and have screw in chokes added, I can almost afford another field grade Citori!!
     
  14. grafsk8er

    grafsk8er Member

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    i'm with most of you on this one. i love a gun with a blued barrel, and a nicely figured walnut stock. the aesthetics are a big part of what makes a gun a gun, imo.
     
  15. mpmarty

    mpmarty Member

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    Many years ago, around 1985 I bought a barreled action from Howa, it was a model 1500 in 7mm Rem Mag. I put it in a cheap Ramline stock, mounted a Tasco Euro Class 1.5 X 6 X 44 scope on it and took it to the range with some 160gr Noslers in front of 80 grains of H870 and Federal 215 primers. From the bench it put five in half an inch. I've still got it, pretty is as pretty does.:neener:
     
  16. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Just curious, Marty...

    Are you saying that rifles made of blued steel and walnut cannot be accurate? ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  17. ceetee

    ceetee Member

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    For everything there is a season... I enjoy the sheer purtyness of a rich wood stock holding a deeply blued barrel and action. I also enjoy the thrift of plastic and bake-on. Since thrift is more important to me these days than art, I'll take the plastic. When I have more disposable income, there'll probably be some horse-trading going on...
     
  18. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

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    The Thompson Center Icon has an MSRP of $800. It looks like a gorgeous gun. I was going to get a Weatherby Vanguard in plastic and stainless and ended up going exactly the opposite way. THis gun has great bluing and fantastic wood. It just wouldn't let me leave the store without it. I paid about twice what I would have paid for the Vanguard.

    [​IMG]

    Anyone know how to make this picture smaller? It's from Benelli's website.
     
  19. bill larry

    bill larry Member

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    Sounds like you need a surplus K-31. It will shoot as well as any 600-800 dollar rifle and look better doing it.

    3 c-notes will get you the nicest one on earth. Have fun.
     
  20. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    What about CZ's?
     
  21. grafsk8er

    grafsk8er Member

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  22. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    1970-ish remington 700 ADL. BTW, the ADL was the low grade rifle of the line;)

    [​IMG]
     
  23. TnBigBore

    TnBigBore Member

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    Marlin still has a wide selection of blued rifles with hand checkered American black walnut stocks. They are made in the USA all the way. They can be had for a decent price as well. Many will turn up their nose at leverguns, but Marlins especially can be very accurate. With the new 308 Marlin Express round, they can be considered a long range rifle as well. Unless you are strictly and ultra long range fanatic, there is not much the bolts guns can do that the Marlin leverguns cannot. I have sold all but one of my bolt rifles and use leverguns exclusively for my hunting now.
     
  24. Caimlas

    Caimlas Member

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    It's a toss up. My Tikka T3 has what appears to be a parkerized (or some sort of non-gloss bluing, I'm not sure) receiver and a blued barrel with a wood stock; it's the Hunter variant and I got it for $460 a couple years back. For $100 more in the "new" department you can get one with a really, really nicely done wood stock, too. ($700 new I think). IMO some of the best bang for your buck available...

    They each have their benefits, I s'pose. The bake-on and dull coats, (synthetic stocks) are far more utilitarian, and make a lot more sense for a field gun. But the aesthetic quality thereof is quite lacking (unless you're going for 'tacticool'). No, it's not the kind of thing you'd put in a glass-face gun cabinet, but it will do the job just as well, and possibly even better: it'll stand up to moisture and rough treatment better than blued metal and wood, and you won't care as much if the plastic stock gets damaged as you would a nice wood finish.
     
  25. Caimlas

    Caimlas Member

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    TX1911Fan - that is a NICE gun! Some of the best contours I've seen on a long gun, ever... Now I want...
     
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