In defense of Vintage guns

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by rookhawk, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Elite

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    I just had to get this off my chest as many folks really enjoy buying new guns under the belief they are getting something better than older guns. I see comments all the time asking about new guns with no consideration to any alternative option. The facts have to be taken into account:

    New guns have gigantic and expensive advertising budgets.
    They have tremendous liability insurance.
    Manufacturing wages adjusted for inflation have never been higher.
    There is an 11% excise tax on them in the USA.
    There is a complex distribution model with at least two middle-men in between manufacturer and buyer.

    Vintage guns of high quality were usually vertically marketed. The maker was the distributor and the retailer. They passed on this savings to the customer in part and kept some in part.
    The skill of the labor was of the utmost, particularly between 1918 and 1965 when demand was soft, skills were plentiful, and only the very best tradesmen kept their jobs year over year.
    The sum of their parts is usually worth 3x-5x their present value assembled, whereas modern guns are worth less parted out.
    The raw materials are significantly more expensive. Most vintage guns have stocks that would cost $3000-$5000 to reproduce today, yet the entire gun may cost half that value.
    Vintage guns were typically well maintained and highly tuned. Issues of having them broken in are uncommon.
    Whereas new guns are really "worth" a number less than their wholesale to distribution price used, leading to horrible deflation of value upon acquisition, vintage guns at minimum hold their values and often appreciate.
    There is a demand for vintage guns due to scarcity, whereas with modern guns there is no scarcity.
    Vintage guns were made based upon the demands of real world use where form met function for a particular purpose. Modern guns are made based upon market demand that may have no particular use or maybe "focus grouped" instead of reliance upon experts to build the correct product and then create their market.

    I just had to get that off my chest as I continue to see questions on which new $1500 to $10,000 gun one should buy on this forum. A year later those guns are $500 to $5500 languishing for sale fired a couple times on the gun sale boards with few customers interested in them. It seems like there would be a better way: buy the very best used for the price of mediocre new at an equal pricepoint. Several friends of mine come by for a beer lamenting their disappointment in new purchases and how they cannot get their money out of the purchase, the bolt doesn't work right, it won't regulate, and a host of other issues related to buying a new low quality product that had 70% overhead into things other than manufacture...of course the gun you paid $1000 for that has $280 in manufacturing cost is a lame duck...and no one wants to pay you $280 for a defective gun, and they won't reimburse you for the distribution, retail, excise tax and marketing costs that made up the other $720 on the initial purchase cost.

    Consider vintage guns.
     
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  2. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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    Amen!
     
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  3. Odinsraven

    Odinsraven AH Fanatic

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    With the exception of a 8mm rem mag custom shop rifle bought at 60 percent off brand new ...

    My doubles are 1938 318 wr and 9.3x74r

    Turnbolts are usually older than I am and I am no spring chicken .......

    1910 westley richards rebored to 8x57 shoots better than an out of the box Rem Win Browning etc ........ If I ever want to sell a rifle it fetches what I paid or even a bit more ........

    Seems the sensible approach to me
     

  4. ChrisG

    ChrisG AH Fanatic

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    I can't agree more! There are precious few employees that work in modern firearms factories with 1/10 of the skill, knowledge, and standard of excellence as the masters of old. Let's face it, without power tools and cnc machines, how many "gun makers" could actually produce any semblance of a decent firearm? There are few today who still can and their work demands a premium because they are so few and far between.
     

  5. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I have to say that pride of ownership would also be more with a vintage firearm. But, it feels like a specialized market where one could pick up a lemon with no recourse. It's so much simpler to buy a new rifle and have it print well within hunting tolerances.
     
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  6. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I shake my head when I see the prices of some of the so called premium factory brands when one can get a custom, gunsmith built for approximately the same price and have a rifle that is 100% precision made and will shoot rings around them. From this chair the only advantage of the premium is cachet and or it can be bought off the rack.
     
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  7. crs

    crs AH Enthusiast

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    speaking of vintage guns .........

    Just returned from an exotic and hog hunt on YO Schreiner Ranch and here are the guns our group of three used:
    Flintlock(old and repaired) - two exotic deer
    Pre 64 M70 - two hogs
    10 MM pistol- two exotic deer

    Very little new under the sun.
     
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  8. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    My tastes run to the 1898-1901 Magazine Lee Enfield (Lee Speed style) and the 1898 Mauser. Nothing new can ever come up to these two superb actions or rifles built on them
     
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  9. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    Vintage is almost always a better deal (not to mention the history). One just needs to be patient and know what to look for (what to avoid and how to evaluate condition).
     

  10. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    The cock-on-closing Enfield is one of the best bolt actions around. They're fast and slick as snot. It may not be as strong as the Mauser but it's plenty stout for the .303 British and others of similar size and pressure.
     
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  11. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I have built around a dozen rifles on the Long Lee Enfield or more correctly known as the Magazine Lee Enfield action in 303, 375-303 and a 400 (405 win) for myself and others. Still have a 303 and the 400 in my safe and they are not going to leave my care.
    Have also done a number of builds on the 98 action with a 6.5x57 being the only one in the safe at the moment but have done a few 7x57's, a 7x61 S&H, 25-06, 30-06 and 404 Jeffery on the large and small ring 98.
    Only modern actions I have is a Rem XR100 I built my 20 VarTarg rabbit rifle on and a mini Mauser that I converted to take my 6.5 Grendel-Max for goats
     
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  12. mdwest

    mdwest AH Fanatic

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    Im a huge fan of pre-war 93 and 98 mauser actions.. I've got 3 rifles in the safe currently built on those... and plan on building at least a couple more at some point before I lay down for the final dirt nap..
     

  13. John Struewing

    John Struewing AH Senior Member

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    I too have a M98 33/40 Mauser with Venezuelan Crest. Everything has matching numbers, the bore is pristine. Doubt that it was ever put into service. My uncle paid $50 from a guy who had a store full of military rifles. My uncle really didn't think of the "real" value and he had a guy knock the military sight off and install a Williams. Unfortunately the guy was an alcoholic he started one hole repositioned and started again. This time he finished but it was about 10° off center to the left. No reason why I shouldn't have it drilled and tapped and change the stock. Have to try the 7X57 barrel for accuracy.
     
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  14. Clayton

    Clayton AH Fanatic

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    The man presents a compelling argument. For a serious Bolt Action Rifle the M98 is still an ideal platform. From that comes the Pre-64 Win M70. Yes I know, I'm an addict when it comes to them. Sure one gun or another may need a little attention, but in good condition they're worth it. Just my inflated $0.02 worth.
     

  15. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    There's a lot of good bolt action rifles based upon the M98. Changes having been made to decrease cost, though, while some are nearly as good, none are better (moving the ejector slot to outside of the left lug is often cited as having been done to make for a stronger bolt...in theory this is true but in practice the benefit is largely academic).
     
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  16. John A Flaws

    John A Flaws AH Senior Member

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    I love vintage rifles from the British gun trade and have found the quality to be exceptional. I have been fortunate to acquired a few vintage rifles, and I have never been disappointed. They shoot very well and I have found them to be some of the smoothest bolt guns I have ever handled. The feed and function is far better than most firearms made today. I handload for these old guns and never have failed to develop a good hunting load. This includes two doubles as well as more than a half dozen bolt guns.

    I read African Rifles and Cartridges as teenager and I recall looking at the wonderful cartridge illustrations dreaming of owning one of those classics one day. I have been blessed to have this dream come true and I have had many memorable hunts using classic rifles. Knowing these rifles may have been carried on the Dark Continent or India during the Golden Years of the British Empire makes you wish they could speak. So whether you want a fine hunting rifle or have the nostalgic desire to own a piece history these vintage guns will not disappoint.

    I am a terrible photographer but here is a few photos. IMG_1950.JPG IMG_1649.JPG IMG_1858.JPG thumbnail_179.jpg IMG_1888.JPG 16440024.jpg IMG_1873.JPG 475 pig.jpg
     
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  17. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Elite

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    I love the pictures of your guns! They are all very beautiful pieces of "functional art". I've had many fine guns over the years (a helluva collection when I was a bachelor) and even some nice watches which is a great parallel example. People would ask me "Q: why do you wear a rolex? A: Because I could never afford to own a seiko." Challenges come to life at unanticipated times and I hate owning disposable, depreciating, or worthless items. If it weren't for me owning good guns and a few good watches, I wouldn't have been able to say "you know, my kid is sick, I'm going to cut my work hours to 15-20 a week for a year to focus on mom and daughter's health, and I'll sell some of my toys for break even or profit to make up all the difference". I've never been rich enough to afford a disposable, throw your money away, type of item. I don't judge a man that can afford to buy a Remington 700 or a Tikka, I just can't afford to buy something that costs $1200 that will get me $150 at a pawn shop if troubles ever come my way and I need liquidity without tapping into hard savings. A Rigby, Purdey, Boss, Lancaster, Churchill, Gibbs...sure I can afford to "lease" one of those, knowing there is always a fair market there for me. Not only are they beautiful to own and shoot, but they are appreciating assets that allow a bit of portfolio diversification. There won't be a yard sale for my heirs someday where everything is marked $0.50 on the lawn. Either it's an inheritable heirloom or its a semester of tuition, either way, I didn't rob my kids of anything, I just held their inheritance in a variety of asset classes. In the meantime, I love hunting with that piece of the portfolio.
     
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  18. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Elite

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    @John A Flaws tell us more about your guns. I see a nice removable stock small caliber gun in the mix, a great dangerous game magazine rifle, and a nice double rifle. Would love to hear each of their stories.
     
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  19. John A Flaws

    John A Flaws AH Senior Member

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    Rookhawk,

    This is a pre-war Westley Richards 318. It is a bit unique in that it has a full length rib and double set triggers. It was originally a take down but the firearm was restocked prior to purchasing the rifle so it no longer functions as a take down. The rifle had been drilled and tapped and a make shift mount had been fixed to the rifle. I sent it to J.J. Peroduau with Champlin Firearms to have some work done on the rifle. He mounted EAW quick detached mounts and rings along with with a Swarovski scope. He also re-blacked the metal and case colored the floor plate and steel butt plate. IMG_6313.JPG IMG_6311.JPG

    IMG_6301.JPG IMG_6302.JPG IMG_6303.JPG WR 318-1.jpg
    EAW-1.jpg
     

  20. John A Flaws

    John A Flaws AH Senior Member

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    This is a August Schuler chambered in a 500 Schuler. IMG_6285.JPG IMG_1868.JPG IMG_1869.JPG IMG_1872.JPG IMG_1870.JPG IMG_1866.JPG
     
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