Back in the old days . . . (grit alert)

Discussion in 'The Club House' started by txpossum, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    I'm posting this here, because, despite the fact we have umpteen different folders in this forum, there is no "General Firearms Talk" forum. Since this thread concerns all types of firearms, and not specifically rifles, pistols, or shotguns (or .22's or auto rifles or revolvers or semi-autos or concealed carry or . . . ) I can't find a "firearms" folder to stick it in.

    But enough of my preliminary gripe. My larger old grit rant here is: Doesn't it seem to you that they made guns better in the "old days" than they do now? Don't get me wrong -- there are still some top quality weapons out there (if you want to pay an arm and a leg) but generally the fit, finish, and performance of guns these days is not up to what it was in, say the 40's through early 60's.

    I think the earlier bluing was better; the woods used for stocks was nicer; the actions seemed smoother. They had a better "feel".

    This may be one reason why the older Smith and Colt revolvers are priced outrageously nowdays.

    As I've stated before, most of the guns I buy these days are "vintage". New one's just don't have the same appeal to me.

    So . . . do you agree that they don't make 'um like they used to, or is this thought another symptom of my lapsing into cootism.
     
  2. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    In a lot of cases, they make them better than they used to.

    Changes in metals, advancements in plastics, CNC machining.

    But that still does not give the characteristic of the old master's hands.
     

  3. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    What are these "plastics" you speak of?
     
  4. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    Its a ghost gun lol they didn't make that back in the old days

    EZ
     
  5. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    This reply isn't directly on point, since it concerns a rare type of firearm, but the other evening a cigar shop buddy brought in a gun to show me. It was a double rifle that his great (or great-great) uncle had brought back from German after WWII. It was shorter than I expected, but it could have been the best balanced rifle I've ever handled, and everything was hand fitted. Definitely the nicest firearm I think I've ever handled, with very fine hand checkering and hand engraving.

    He recently decided to sell it. In the past he's been offered $20K for it, but declined, but how he's finally realized that he could use the money more than the gun. If I won the lottery tomorrow, that would be about the first thing I'd buy.

    It was a really, REALLY nice gun.
     
  6. TLuker

    TLuker Active Member

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    I agree they made them better in the old days, at least some of them. The new guns are cheaper not just in quality but also price, and that's what the market wanted. Of course priorities have changed also. There's no use spending an arm and a leg on something to take to the range occasionally. Guns used to be a serious survival tool and it was worth the extra to get a quality gun that would last a life time with serious use. Today the cheap guns will last a life time and then some but they aren't used like the old ones were. Not to mention you used to get one gun and not 20 like many today do. Quality guns are still available and they do cost an arm and a leg but they are worth it if you are only going to get one or two guns and you are going to get some serious use out of them. :)
     
  7. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

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    I would have to say firearms were better made in the old days. Today the firearms industry has a very high rate of defective weapons. Union workers who have been in the industry for over 20 years are laid off. Hell it's hard to find a bolt action rifle with iron sights on it.

    You can't expect an industry who's only goal is to generate a profit to produce anything as well as an industry who made a profit because they produced the best products bar none.
     
  8. eatmydust

    eatmydust New Member

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    My only real basis for comparison is my S&W revolvers. The fit and finish of my older guns is superior to the newer models I've seen.
     
  9. 303tom

    303tom Well-Known Member

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    Only time will tell by how many of the ones made today are still around & shooting a 100 years from now !.............
     
  10. 303tom

    303tom Well-Known Member

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    And they shoot 30 30 round clips in under a sec..............
     
  11. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    IMO, only the good guns from the past have lasted, or been kept as well as they have.

    Certainly there were Jiminez and Bersa types around back then. They all just blew up,

    rusted out, or were melted down.


    I have to agree that alloys and tech has improved these days.

    But, as of old, you pay top tier prices for that top tier gun.

    As a buying public, we are our own worst enemy, and when we

    buy into cheap POS name brands and gun products, we prove it.
     
  12. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    I have to agree with you. Not only were they made better, they were more practical. Who ever heard of a smooth faced target trigger? They had Honest to God wood stocks instead of this plastic crap back then. Rifles had sights. Pistols didn't rattle when you shook them.

    You know the biggest freaking joke to me? Rubber grips on a J frame .357 that leave the back of the frame exposed. That's almost as stupid as an 11 ounce .357. Scandium should be a country in Europe. Give me American made steel, polish it, blue it, and call it a Smith. </rant>
     
  13. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    Looking at 1911s specifically, you can see a shift in manufacturing methods. The 1911 was really started as a design around 1906 and evolved over the next 6 years. It was designed when labor was plentiful and less expensive than some of the tooling. Final hand fitting of parts that were made in a specification RANGE was the norm. Just fitting parts to the point of reliable function was a learned skill over time. Now with CNC parts can be made within a tighter range where parts can be assembled and be within functional range, with littel to no fitting. Designs evolved, the Browning Hi-powe eliminated the barrel bushing and swinging link of the 1911. And other guns have evolved to reduce the number of parts, manufacturing processes, etc. Which has probably enhanced overall reliability of many newer designs. I remember when a person who would buy a 1911 would expect and figure in the cost of having reliability and accuracy improved by a gunsmith right after purchase. It was almost a given that slide to frame fit could be improved, barrel bushings could be fitted to tighter specs, triggers could be improved and any gun that was going to run lead or hollow points was going to get a throat and ramp job. Problems with some guns were just accepted. A 1911 that was worked by an expert became a well regarded pistol, and the experts were a bit more plentiful back then, and competition kept prices for the labor a bit lower. Now we face a time where there are fewer of these craftsmen available in the aftermarket, and many manufacturers have stepped up their game. A well crafted 1911 still requires handwork, and the prices reflect it. Many low cost 1911s work well, but use MIM parts, Extruded slides, and cast frames, instead of all forged parts. They work, but may not have the same feel that a hand fitted forged gun has. It's subtle, but someone who has handled several 1911s from old GI models, to old factory Colts, to Hand fitted custom guns and new mass produced foreign copies, will begin to notice differences that add up.

    Someone else cited Smith and Wesson revolvers. My old model 29 that was made in the 1960s had some of teh highest polish, and deepest blueing I've ever seen. The little things like a pinned barrel and chamfered chamber openings were the nice touches that spoke of quality and attention to detail. Grip woods were hand selected for grain qualities.

    You see the smae sort of thing with other industries as well. Guitars are an example, where a certain Luthier in a major company gets known for how he puts together a guitar and he ends up in their custom shop. My fendeer Stratocaster is on the low end of the American made Strats and cost around $800. But if I wanted a select grade, thet had the neck, and body hand picked by one of the expers for tone and grain with well grained ash in the body and curly flame maple on teh neck, and then having pick-ups hand wound and tuned, then all of the finish hand applied, I'd be paying closer to $3000. Same on the Gibson, Less Paul front.

    I't no ttha tthe quality isn't available still, but society isn't demanding it as much. The craftsmen are being replaced by "good enough". The craftsmen are becoming fewer and further between.
     
  14. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    SSGN_Doc - Next time you're looking for a guitar, take a look at Carvin. I have a Bolt I put together, and a Bolt they put together. Both are excellent guitars, but their finish beats mine. Both way under $1000 US. In my opinion Fenders sustain can't touch the Carvin. Look through the link below and see how many options you have ordering one. If you do get one that isn't a kit I would be willing to bet that no matter where you are, it will arrive in tune.

    http://www.carvinguitars.com/