Firearm aesthetics

Kevin Peacocke

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I'm with the classical idea of beauty: all in the proportions. This is true of anything we look at--a building, a woman, a rifle, you name it. Long ago, the Greeks realized that there are measurable (and amazingly constant!) ratios that make something more or less pleasant to the senses: 1:1--symmetry, and the unison in music; 2:1--nice if a little blocky, and the octave interval in music; 3:2--perfect and interesting, and the fifth interval in music; 5:4--sensual and beautiful, and the third interval in music, etc...

Look at the ideal proportions of the human body, and these ratios appear. Ditto for the Fibonacci series (0 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34....) whose curve follow the "universal" rule of harmony.

Classic rifles are beautiful because, for the most part, they follow these proportions. Look at a classic British double--the barrels (3/3rds) will have 2/3rds of length protruding past the forend, while the distance buttpad to tip of the forend will roughly equal the length of the barrels (1:1 ratio).

This is why, while undoubtedly nice touches, engraving and wood-grain take the back-seat to proportions in what make a rifle beautiful. A nicely engraved rifle with its elements out of proportion would look like a well-dressed woman with shoulders too wide or too short a neck. While a plainly-finished rifle with perfect proportions will look like... well, you can complete your own analogy ;-)
You are so correct Tom. This is why I keep raving on about the Heym 89b: Chris Sell's details the ten years of changes made to the form even minor things here and there. The other day I laid out an 89 and it's donor the 88 next to it and spent half an hour comparing. In every single detail the changes, even subtle, take the 89 to aesthetic perfection and although I didn't get out the tape measure I am certain the ratios are all just about bang on. I have a knife that is pretty 'correct' too, it is all in the proportion.
Does everyone see this? You know, I think they do, but some choose in the name of individuality or whatever to buck it. I have a pet theory that ideal proportion extends into the human mind and behaviour, but you only go there after a Scotch or too!
 

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I have appreciated being able to pick up a few nicely made firearms and immediately noticed the perfect feel that they have. For me, the ideal of aesthetics is more in the tactile senses and less so in the bedazzling patterns on wood and metal. Few rifles feel perfect in my hands.
The ornate tapestry of walnut is not lost on me, but I’m too pragmatic to want to hunt with that beautiful of wood and engraving.
I suspect I’m not the only one here who would buy a synthetic stock double rifle that had a perfect fit and balance.

I’ve appreciated when the barrel on a rifle gets so much use that it develops a polished shine on the edges.
 

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I’ve never understood the attraction to the high grade wood stocks and classic European rifle manufacturers. I can’t think of a rifle more aesthetically pleasing than a well used wood stocked and blued Winchester model 70 with a possible story behind it.
 

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I'm not sure exactly what constitutes the perfect form, but this ISN'T it....
1632856219586.png
 

Tom Leoni

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I also have to put it out there and I know my opinion is not going to be popular, especially with you Kevin, I really can't warm to the Ruger No1. To me it just just plain fugly.
Not a criticism of anyone who uses them or loves them, just my personal opinion, I just can't see what a lot of others do as I'm sure many won't see what I do in my choices of a nice looking rifle.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Ruger No. 1 and I own one in .450-400. But I too have a bit of a beef with its aesthetics. Specifically, I find that the forend is too long and clunky in relation to the barrel. I prefer the altered version by R. J. Renner that has been popping up on Gunsinternational. I find this rifle close to aesthetically perfect.

1638636760825.png


Of course, the original falling/sliding blocks have nothing to envy any modern rifle:

1638637169646.png


Often copied, never equaled (*grin*).

P.S.: @K-man, you forgot to add a bulky suppressor at the end of that monster's barrel!
 

degoins

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That was from this morning. I didn't even see his antlers. I thought it was a doe. Fun just the same.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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That was from this morning. I didn't even see his antlers. I thought it was a doe. Fun just the same.
Very pretty rifle. Remember these guys worked off pencil drawings, and you interpreted that into steel with callipers, hacksaws and files. Truly amazing feats.
 

Tom Leoni

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That was from this morning. I didn't even see his antlers. I thought it was a doe. Fun just the same.
What caliber/load?
 

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.450 bpe, nitro for black, 48 grains of IMR4198, 13 grains of dacron over the powder and a large rifle primer.
 

fourfive8

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You are so correct Tom. This is why I keep raving on about the Heym 89b: Chris Sell's details the ten years of changes made to the form even minor things here and there. The other day I laid out an 89 and it's donor the 88 next to it and spent half an hour comparing. In every single detail the changes, even subtle, take the 89 to aesthetic perfection and although I didn't get out the tape measure I am certain the ratios are all just about bang on. I have a knife that is pretty 'correct' too, it is all in the proportion.
Does everyone see this? You know, I think they do, but some choose in the name of individuality or whatever to buck it. I have a pet theory that ideal proportion extends into the human mind and behaviour, but you only go there after a Scotch or too!
Absolutely true! Been known if not understood or quantified for a long time. It can be seen in the work of the masters of art, design, architecture and sculpture. May or may not have been recognized during creation of an individual work... simply innate in the artist, designer or creator of the work. Commonly, the type of thing where, "you'll know it when you see it". The decimal form is 1.618... Can be seen in may forms- curved, linear 3D cubic, etc. Also known as the golden mean, golden ratio, divine proportion, etc.

Example
06972f44-148a-4969-8127-f69f68fda84b_152869679136.jpg
 

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Divine proportion. Yes!
 

Rare Breed

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The sorts of things that come to mind when I think of German aesthetics.

Double rifle drilling in 9,3x74R.
Pre-war German Double Rifle Drilling in 9.3x74R


Double rifle in 9.3x74R
9.3x74R Double Rifle


9.3x74R Double Rifle


Heym's Interpretation of the Ruger No 1 with octagon barrel and magnificent wood.
Heym Ruger No. 1


Or even an American interpretation of the Germanic style in 7x57 by master gunmaker Al Lind.
7x57 Mauser Rifle
Beautiful! I know I am not the norm but I love and don’t mind paying for engraving. I am never afraid to hunt with them given scratches just add character
 

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