The Quality of American Firearms...

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by FairChase, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. FairChase

    FairChase AH Senior Member

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    ** Disclaimer - I work in the Firearms/Hunting Industry **

    About 18 years ago, I sold a Remington BDL 30-06 rifle and two shotguns; a Mossburg pump and a Remington semi-auto shotgun. The 30-06 was an okay rifle at first, but got to the point where it couldn't keep a grouping under 2" at 50 yards. It seems it was a bedding issue that could not be resolved. The Mossburg was just old and the Remington shotgun had ejection issues.

    After having a conversation with a friend of my brother's (an FFL) about guns and hunting, he convinced me to use the $$ from the three gun sales and buy a Steyr Mannlicher rifle. I did. I have not personally owned another brand of bolt action hunting rifles since then, though I have shot many, many other rifles.

    As stated in the disclaimer, I am in the firearms business and have an FFL. The guy that convinced me to buy a Steyr also helped me to start a side-line firearms business. It was to be my project for my retirement years just as he had planned for himself.

    As stated above, I have shot many rifles in the last 10+ years and since then have formed opinions on each manufacturer based on my experience selling them and supporting my clients after the sell; warranty issues, returns, repairs, etc. That stated, here are a few questions:

    #1) As amazing as they are, why are Steyr Mannlicher rifles not more popular in the US? For me to sell one, it's a "hand sell" every time. But once sold, I have never heard of any quality-related issues. Other FFL's that I meet through the Firearms Transfer process and at the SHOT Show share the same experiences.

    #2) Why do so many Americans prefer to buy the standard American made hunting rifle (my brother calls them "RemChesterby's") when there are clearly better made rifles available? e.g., Steyr, CZ and a number of smaller American manufacturers like Montana Rifle Co.? (Yes, they had issues early on...)


    #3) For Oufitters and PH's; what rifle do you see having the most issues when you are in the field with your clients?

    Thanks in advance for your input...
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015

  2. CDorroh

    CDorroh AH Senior Member

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    1.) I think the answer to this is 2 fold. I had never seen a Steyr Mannlicher in person until a new friend of mine just acquired his most recent one in 9.3x62. It appears to be extremely well made, and I have not seen a more accurate factory rifle in person. With almost boring predictability, it will print groups like this at 100 yards with Nosler Safari Ammunition, factory loaded with partitions that internet experts swear are not accurate :rolleyes:.

    IMG_1178.jpg

    I believe that part of the reason they are not more popular is lack of exposure. I suspect that many Americans, like myself, have never had much exposure to Steyr rifles and simply aren't familiar with them and the quality they offer.

    The rest of the answer to this first question is also the answer to question number 2.

    2.) $$$$. Quite simply, I think that most buyers either don't have or don't want to spend the money needed for a "premium" rifle. And, to be fair, most of your "run of the mill" Remingtons, Winchesters, Rugers, Savages, etc. are going to accomplish the same job 99% of the time at a much lower price point. A rifle that shoots 1.5 or even 2 moa will effectively kill game at the ranges most hunters are actually capable of shooting accurately. A premium rifle really is a luxury item for most hunters - something that is very nice to have, but not absolutely necessary. The critter receiving the bullet isn't going to know the difference.

    Having said all of that, I do appreciate what premium rifles have to offer. I'm finally reaching a point in my life where I can afford to buy things like that, so I suspect that more of my future purchases will be in that category.
     
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  3. FairChase

    FairChase AH Senior Member

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    Thanx for the feedback, CDorroh.

    I agree with you on point #2 that many are not willing to spend the $$ on a single rifle purchase. However, I am rather surprised to hear guys telling me they have a cabinet/safe full of marginal guns they rarely use. Part of my solution was to sell enough to upgrade to a better rifle, but I hunt more than most.

    Also, when I ask guys that buy lower end rifles why they made that particular choice, many times they tell me its because they only hunt whitetail deer and their season is short, so why invest a lot of $$ in it. I accepted this until a customer with a different perspective gave me this response; "I hunt whitetail and our rifle season in Missouri is only 10-12 days. So, in order to give myself the best chances of success, I have to have not only better skills, but the best and most reliable equipment". He went on to tell me that there are many more hunters in the field and competition for the better bucks has gotten tougher.


    BTW... nice grouping!
     

  4. FairChase

    FairChase AH Senior Member

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  5. CDorroh

    CDorroh AH Senior Member

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    Joseph Stalin is reported to have said "Quantity has a quality all its own." I don't necessarily agree with that logic, but I think that's the mentality of some people with the safe full of marginal guns, many of which they never use. These people would say "Why would I spend that much money on one rifle, when for the same price I could buy a rifle and 2 shotguns?" Many of the guns in the safe may also be family heirlooms.

    Familiarity I think plays a big factor. Everyone knows somebody or has a relative that shoots a Remington/Winchester/etc they swear is the most accurate rifle on earth. People are more likely to buy a gun that they know someone else has and approves of, or have had good experiences with themselves. My grandfather liked Browning and Remington, so for years that is all my family had, mostly in autoloaders because he felt a bolt action was inferior, which I think is a product of world events of his generation.

    There is also a lot of misinformation out there. My grandfather taught me how to shoot, and I remember him telling me that if I held steady enough, my rifle would put the bullets through the same hole at 100 yards. You can imagine my frustration at never being able to accomplish this, until I later learned that it wasn't just my shooting. There are probably a lot of people who think that a mid or entry level rifle will shoot just as well as a premium and can't see the justification for the price. I've overheard people at my local gun store walking down the premium aisle say things like "Why would anyone buy one of those? I guarantee you my _________ will shoot just as well as one of those at less than half the price." A few of them might actually be able to do that, but most probably won't. These are also the same people that also don't appreciate the higher quality fit and finish of the premiums, or how smooth the action is.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015

  6. Scott Slough

    Scott Slough AH Fanatic

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    I would like to ask, what do you think that your Steyr rifle will do that my Remington won't do?
     
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  7. SHOEDOG

    SHOEDOG AH Senior Member

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    I will second Scott Slough's question.
    I own six Remington 700s and every one of them will print groups like that .I have never had a issue with any of them.Two of my favorites are the 50th anniversary model with figured walnut and beautiful checkering a very handsome rifle.It shoots stupid small groups.Also a 308 which uses the m24 barrel and 5r rifling absolute tack driver, comes standard with HS Precision stock.Both wonderful products at a fair price.
    I haven't shot any, but Savage makes inexpensive but very accurate rifles from what I understand.
    It also gives me a good patriotic feeling to shoot an American made firearm.A sentiment I am not in the least embarrassed to relate.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
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  8. SHOEDOG

    SHOEDOG AH Senior Member

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
     

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  9. FairChase

    FairChase AH Senior Member

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    Well, first let me state what it WON'T do; accidentally discharge like Remington.
    See link to Class Action Settlement: http://remingtonfirearmsclassactionsettlement.com/

    What it will do, because of its design (and IMHO, better craftsmanship), is it will allow the shooter to recycle the bolt for a follow-up shot while the rifle remains in place and therefore, does not need to re-acquire the target. Many Americans have become accustomed to dropping the rifle to their waist in order to re-cycle the bolt and then are then forced to re-acquire the target. Perhaps this is due to the excessive play in the receiver/bolt assembly. The difference becomes more noticeable when shooting while standing or kneeling which is often the case on a stalk. The second option a Steyr has over Remington is the inclusion of a Single Set Trigger. You may not miss this feature until you have used it successfully and are now shooting a rifle without it.


    There are other differences, but these are the more noticeable.
     
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  10. CDorroh

    CDorroh AH Senior Member

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    I personally don't own a Steyr. That grouping I posted is from my friend's Steyr. What impressed me most about it was that it shot groups like that straight out of the box with the first box of factory ammo he tried in it, which is by no means match grade target ammunition. I've owned and shot several Remingtons. As a matter of fact, I'm going hunting with one tomorrow. The only Remington I own that will shoot that well or better is my 40-X custom shop rifle. The rest of mine won't. I also know a guy with a mil spec 5R that is a tack driver as well - those are an excellent value IMO. So what will that Steyr do that a Remington won't? In a hunting situation, most likely nothing, IMO.
     
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  11. SHOEDOG

    SHOEDOG AH Senior Member

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    [​IMG]Here is a Model 7 that I own with a Mannlicher stock in 308.Out of Remington Custom shop.A Rem with a European flair.
     

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  12. FairChase

    FairChase AH Senior Member

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    Your Remington's sound like Custom Shop guns and should, for the price, shoot better than typical "off the rack" rifles. Steyr does have a Custom Shop, but it is primarily for aesthetic additions such as engraving. I would agree with you on the Savage rifles. They have done a great job of improving on their products and at a very competitive price. I appreciate your patriotism as well...
     
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  13. SHOEDOG

    SHOEDOG AH Senior Member

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    Remington has made 5 million 700s.I wonder how many other manufactures could make that many copies and never had a problem.
    Didn't Blaser have some issue with their rifles?
    I know it's not a Steyr ............
     
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  14. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    In the same vein, haven't we seen some issues on this forum with Montana Rifle Company?
     

  15. SHOEDOG

    SHOEDOG AH Senior Member

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    The only custom is the Model 7 Mannlicher.The rest are right off the rack..........................
    That checkering really wows me every time I handle it.I like it so well I purchased another stock for when I pass it on to my son. In my opinion a lot of rifle for around a grand.
     

  16. FairChase

    FairChase AH Senior Member

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    How would you compare the cost of that custom Remington to the non-custom Steyr?
     

  17. FairChase

    FairChase AH Senior Member

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    Yes, Montana Rifle Co. has had their share of issues, but that was early on. From talking with Brian and Jeff Sipe, the owners, I believe those issues have been resolved.
     

  18. SHOEDOG

    SHOEDOG AH Senior Member

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    My model 7 is currently $2400.Available in a nice variety of calibers,a friend had one made in 257 Roberts.
    I bought mine used with a VX3 for $1000.It had less than a box down the barrel.It likes Hornady ammo.
     

  19. FairChase

    FairChase AH Senior Member

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    Interesting... you bought a $2,400 rifle for $1,000 and it included a scope. Am I understanding you correctly?
    If so, why would someone want to sell it at such a low cost?
     

  20. Scott Slough

    Scott Slough AH Fanatic

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    I think that the reason that you have a hard time convincing many to give up their "standard" U.S. gun, is we don't have any complaints with the guns that we own and shoot.

    I have about 50 one shot kills on white-tailed deer, hogs, and the occasional stray predator and exactly two that went less than 50 yards that required a follow-up shot with my current off-the-shelf Remington (~$600). When I miss a shot that is the Remington's fault, I will consider looking at a "better" gun.
     
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