The Quality of American Firearms...

HWL

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@ bruce

There is no offending..... we discuss opinions....

When we look at the differences between American and European firearms industry, the Americans try to keep their products cheaper and cheaper and simpler and simpler.

After decades of doing so, there is a product, that just goes bang,.. more or less, but nothing else.

The Remington rifles are a good example... Remington changes colour of stocks and length of barrel, but nothing else,... no further developement for a better product.....for more then half a century!

Winchester gave up the finest features of their rifles....not to give a better product to the customer, but to make more profit to the owner..... no developement to a better rifle.

Marlin gave up the quality controll of their products completely.... offering a piece of §hit to the hunter.

All the fine rifles Ruger offered are gone.... just some plastics are left.

I am proud owner of 6 No.1 and 2 M77Mk2, I know, what I am talking about.

Savage,... the Model 99, finest American rifle ever, gone....

Was there ever any improvement on a Weatherby (after the Germans produced it)?

All in all..... today, they make cheap rifles for undemanding people....going bankrupt doing so.

In many European companys, philosophy is completely different.

Mauser 66, 77, 03 12, 18, Heym SR 20, SR 30, Blaser SR 830, SR 850, R93, R8, Sauer 80, 90 200, 202, 404, the SteelAction, what a glory!!!, Merkel with their Helix, Steyr.... you name it.

When ever there is a new model, you can see the improvement, real improvements, not just camoflage on the stock.

Have you ever seen, that Sako, Tikka or Husqvarna offered marginal quality?

Today, the worst Italian rifle is of light years better quality than the latest Remingtons....


Just my two cents...

HWL
 
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Red Leg

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@ bruce

There is no offending..... we discuss opinions....

When we look at the differences between American and European firearms industry, the Americans try to keep their products cheaper and cheaper and simpler and simpler.

After decades of doing so, there is a product, that just goes bang,.. more or less, but nothing else.

The Remington rifles are a good example... Remington changes colour of stocks and length of barrel, but nothing else,... no further developement for a better product.....for more then half a century!

Winchester gave up the finest features of their rifles....not to give a better product to the customer, but to make more profit to the owner..... no developement to a better rifle.

Marlin gave up the quality controll of their products completely.... offering a piece of §hit to the hunter.

All the fine rifles Ruger offered are gone.... just some plastics are left.

I am proud owner of 6 No.1 and 2 M77Mk2, I know, what I am talking about.

Savage,... the Model 99, finest American rifle ever, gone....

Was there ever any improvement on a Weatherby (after the Germans produced it)?

All in all..... today, they make cheap rifles for undemanding people....going bankrupt doing so.

In many European companys, philosophy is completely different.

Mauser 66, 77, 03 12, 18, Heym SR 20, SR 30, Blaser SR 830, SR 850, R93, R8, Sauer 80, 90 200, 202, 404, the SteelAction, what a glory!!!, Merkel with their Helix, Steyr.... you name it.

When ever there is a new model, you can see the improvement, real improvements, not just camoflage on the stock.

Have you ever seen, that Sako, Tikka or Husqvarna offered marginal quality?

Today, the worst Italian rifle is of light years better quality than the latest Remingtons....


Just my two cents...

HWL
Yes and no.

It is difficult to compare products designed and built for different markets exploiting very different business cases. It is rather like comparing a Bentley to a Chevy. They are very different automobile concepts targeting completely different markets. However, they both can be very good at what they do.

The large production houses targeting the primary US market are still trying to create a rifle for "every man." Historically, in this country, the vast majority of sales were to working class and rural hunters. Back when all rifles were made much the same utilizing skilled labor, the American manufacturers differentiated themselves by mass producing a large percentage of components that were fully interchangeable among a particular model. The materials were still of first quality, and a significant amount of hand finishing went into the completed rifle. As others have noted the pre-64 model 70 and Savage 99 are examples of that high quality mass production. They were lovely, and in the best sense, nearly perfect utilitarian creations.

As we have often discussed here, that target market in this country is growing smaller every year. That, over time, has created a hyper competitive environment where price and shrinking margins have led to both bankruptcies and remarkable innovation - both good and bad - quality factory synthetics representing one end of the development spectrum and the post-64 redesign another.

The explosion of AR based rifles and components has further eaten into that market opportunity. Several manufacturers, with mixed results, have concluded that business case no longer works. Kimber, Dakota, et al have tried to target a somewhat wealthier upper middle class/ carriage trade consumer. The remainder have found themselves in a spiral of price point cutting innovation which even the European makers have attempted to imitate - the Mauser M18 is the latest example.

Fit and finish on these various products is pretty awful, and triggers and ergonomics can be hit or miss. However, most shoot better than the most handsome pre-64 Winchester ever to leave New Haven.

In Europe (and I include the UK), the market was always far smaller and generally far more elite. Hunting, particularly, and the shooting sports in general were a privilege rather right. Gunmakers never really built a "blue color" line of guns or rifles. Which is not to say Birmingham and Suhl didn't build a lot of basic guns, but many of those were targeted for export, and over time, the domestic market for basic inexpensive guns became ever smaller. In this environment, characterized by a wealthier and more select market base, gunmakers were forced to also compete in terms of fit and finish as well as function.

That too is changing. There seem to be two different business models. It is interesting that they seem best exemplified by subsidiaries of the same holding company. One is exemplified by Rigby, which has essentially adopted the pre-64 Winchester model of building high quality production rifles with fairly extensive hand finish. They are clearly targeting an upper middle class customer with a production rifle that replicates remarkably well a London or Birmingham best. The other is best exemplified by Blaser and, perhaps a lesser extent, Mauser. With respect to the former particularly, everything is about innovation. And as @HWL notes, to date, that innovation is clearly focused on quality, counting on growing international market share to drive production quantities necessary for successful margins.

The good news is that the consumer is the beneficiary. In this country it is possible for a minimum wage earner to buy a rifle off the shelf that will be both dependable and accurate. He can take it to a public hunting area and successfully take a deer. On the other hand, his manager, or the business owner with more disposable income, has a vast array of quality options that grow with each passing year.

I admire the Model 99 and the Mannlicher Schoenauer. They are still almost perfect creations for their intent - the very best craftsmen could accomplish as they sought perfect form to fit function. But we are fortunate to have so many other options today. From a functional perspective, most are pretty good.
 

HWL

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Just bought an American firearm......

Rigby4161.jpg
rigby4162.jpg



Ruger M77 Magnum MK2, .416 Rigby, Leupold Vari-X III 1,75- 6E x 32, German #4


:cool:

HWL
 

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Just bought an American firearm......

View attachment 376583View attachment 376584


Ruger M77 Magnum MK2, .416 Rigby, Leupold Vari-X III 1,75- 6E x 32, German #4


:cool:

HWL
Great choice. Ruger never made a dime on them. When they were discontinued, the cost of production was 2x retail price. They are still hugely undervalued. A friend in the industry estimates the same rifle would have a 4K production cost today.
 

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@bruce moulds i need to ask a question of you. I promise not to weaponize your answer against you. Are you a gunsmith? Have you ever built or accurized a rem 700?

I ask because they are really frustrating to work on. Easy? Yes, because there is a tool or part to do anything you can imagine because they sold a ton of them. But in actually quality, it’s a foundation built on sand. Especially compared to “in the white” actions by all the other manufacturers we’ve rattled off in this thread. The forgings are off by .003” to .008” so you can’t even get a good two piece mount on many rem700s. A problem I’ve never encountered with a commercial mauser or pre64 70, nor a mannlicher schoenauer. It’s these cut corners all along the way that make them an utter pain in the ass. Sure, I’ve built some very accurate rem 700s because I had to do so, just as I’ve built very accurate savages out of necessity too, but my goodness did I start with turds and threw hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars at things that didn’t deserve my labors. Largely, high accuracy muzzle loaders and slug rifles where that was the least expensive high accuracy solution under $5000-$8000. But I assure you, they are sitting in my cheapest gun rack where I look at them with utter contempt knowing that $300 pawn shop mauser and that $600 beat up pre64, and that 1952 MS for $800 are a thousand times the gun in their essence.
 

Ray B

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in reviewing the topic I have two questions: What is the manhour difference in the manufacture of the rifles between the European and American makers?
And, in absolute terms how do the rifles compare when there is no limit on expense (functional not decorative)?
 

bruce moulds

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good post ray.
rookhawk,
no i am not a gunsmith, but i have had rifles built by good gunsmiths, including a number of trued remingtons.
one reason as you said is parts for rems, and another thing is that they are round and therefore easier to work on.
the original rem 600s and 700s had triggers that could have another lever added too.
i have not had a pre 64 so cannot comment on that.
i must say my mk10 action shoots a lot better than expected.
what i have not mentioned yet re american actions is the latest generation of cheapies.
win, rem, and ruger, have of latter years produced cheaper designs, based purely on cost of production.
sako and tikka the same.
to me anything more than 2 lugs sacrifices extraction capability.
this trend might have started with the weatherby mk5.
recently sighting in a guys tikka, demonstrated difficulty in magazine function, and a trigger that could be misconstrued as a safety catch.
yet these guns often seem to shoot ok.
the 700 and 70 were designed more with function in mind, and so cost more.
sako now seem to use a bolt on recoil lug!!!!!!
this is why wayne at ahr and others like him eat well today.
bruce.
 

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...look at the placement of the bolt handle in hwls rifle, and the horrible butterknife shape of it.
then add the spur on the trigger guard and the way the scope is mounted.

...these are things of the past, going back to muzzle loaders and early single shot design.

...no need to use irons, as the scope will be where it needs to be in the first place.
the mannlicher really shows its pedigree of the 88.
it just never went where the m98 went.

i nanswer to brian, i have never fired a mannlicher, but i have handled them.
things such as bolts sliding shut are nice but not of importance compared to other things.
bruce.


The placement of the bolt handle has advantage in the balance of the entire cycling motion. The bolt is engaged and driven near the center of its mass and stays in alignment for silky smooth operation rather than being driven from the rear and wobbled about. Hand placement, reach, and the cycling motions are different, not worse, than those involved with a rear mounted bolt handle.

There is nothing "horrible" about a turned down, 'butterknife' handle. If one has an M1903, the bolt can be swapped out for a military bolt (Y1903) if one prefers a big, straight handled, knob.


HWL's finger hook trigger guard is not original to the MS, so that point is moot.

Bolt placement and a split bridge are "going back to muzzle loaders and early single shot guns?
Is the Schoenauer magazine single shot?

A claw mounted scope allows use of iron sights as well when installed and can be removed in an instant.

No, the MS "never went where the m98 went [sic]", it went beyond.

If you ever actually fire one, you may come to understand.
 

rookhawk

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good post ray.
rookhawk,
no i am not a gunsmith, but i have had rifles built by good gunsmiths, including a number of trued remingtons.
one reason as you said is parts for rems, and another thing is that they are round and therefore easier to work on.
the original rem 600s and 700s had triggers that could have another lever added too.
i have not had a pre 64 so cannot comment on that.
i must say my mk10 action shoots a lot better than expected.
what i have not mentioned yet re american actions is the latest generation of cheapies.
win, rem, and ruger, have of latter years produced cheaper designs, based purely on cost of production.
sako and tikka the same.
to me anything more than 2 lugs sacrifices extraction capability.
this trend might have started with the weatherby mk5.
recently sighting in a guys tikka, demonstrated difficulty in magazine function, and a trigger that could be misconstrued as a safety catch.
yet these guns often seem to shoot ok.
the 700 and 70 were designed more with function in mind, and so cost more.
sako now seem to use a bolt on recoil lug!!!!!!
this is why wayne at ahr and others like him eat well today.
bruce.

Bruce,
In light of your tastes as who am I to debate aesthetics. I won’t try to convert you to a MS guy either, but they are a Swiss Watch mechanically. That said, for the cost of trueing a 700 and getting good quality, I strongly recommend you find a pre-64 70 and build your custom dream rifle on that platform or a Mauser. You can get a fine rifle with all three. You can get a finer rifle for less money on the latter two. Once you own a custom Mauser or pre64, you’ll quickly separate from 700s and Weatherbys. They ruin you for anything less.
 

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I will agree with Bruce on a lot of things as well as others. However the bolt handle placement on the MS is an abomination (to me). It may help balance but negatively effects the cycling of the bolt. Hand has to come of the grip move forward, find the bolt, cycle bolt, come off bolt move some distance to the rear back on grip and trigger. Other rifles with what I call correct bolt handle placement as the hand comes off the grip and moves up your finger/palm of hand contacts the bolt straight away, some on closing the bolt. I even find the M98's bolt knob to be a bit far forward.

Yes I have handled several MS. Lovely rifle just that one -to me-annoying/cumbersome characteristic. It certainly is hard to find a smoother feeding magazine and bolt or one as good and they are not a dainty -read weak- firearm.
 

bruce moulds

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rookhawk, i have rifles on current m70, dakota76, and mauser 98.
i have gone there from experience with other types.
actually i had a m70 pushfeed that i did not mind either.
what i have makes me happy enough.
i also have nesika and a sleeved rem trued on target rifles, but that is a different story
bruce
 

HWL

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Great choice. Ruger never made a dime on them. When they were discontinued, the cost of production was 2x retail price. They are still hugely undervalued. A friend in the industry estimates the same rifle would have a 4K production cost today.

Price was 1650 € plus 40 € shipping... 1690 € x 1,18 ~ 2000 $ used with scope.

Quickly figured out, ......ammunition is expensiv!


HWL
 

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Generally speaking , I find American sporting arms to be quite excellent . Perhaps not quite as ornate as their English and European counterparts , but highly robust and functional .

A few pinnacles of premium American gun making ( in my personal opinion ) include ( but are not limited to ) :
- Griffin & Howe Springfield Model 1903 action sporters
- Granite Mountain Arms rifles
- Ryan Breeding rifles
- Baily Bradshaw double rifles
- Butch Searcy double rifles
- Pre 64 Winchester Model 70
- Winchester Model 21

That said ; there have been more than a few “ dark ages “ in the American sporting arms industry , over the years . The 1970s ( when I first began hunting ) was such a time .

Winchester had replaced their reliable control round feed action pre 64 Model 70 rifles with an inferior push feed action post 64 model . They replaced the sturdy steel jacket of their .458 Winchester Magnum full metal jacket factory loads , with an inferior cupronickel material ( because they had begun to use Hornady bullets during this time , who employed cupronickel jacketing on their full metal jacket bullets ) . They altered the composition of their silver tip bullet from a mixture of copper , zinc and nickel to aluminum ; thus turning an excellent soft nosed bullet into one which was prone to premature and erratic disintegration . Weatherby rifles were prone to extraction problems and the magazine base plates popping open , due to recoil . And Remington Model 700 rifles during this era , were notorious for extraction problems in the large calibres ( anything above .338 Winchester Magnum ) .

On the subject of Remington Model 700 rifles versus Mannlicher rifles , I personally consider both to be quite excellent in their own right . The Remington Model 700 is an extremely accurate rifle , but I personally do not consider it to be a good dangerous game rifle . The extractor is too small for reliably extracting large calibre cases ( such as the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum ) . There are more than a few documented cases of Remington Model 700 extractors breaking ( although this seems limited to the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum and .416 Remington Magnum variants ) . A close friend of mine ( who is an American gunsmith ) recommends that Remington Model 700 actions can only make acceptable platforms for dangerous game rifles , if they are used with M-16 extractors .

The current Steyr Mannlicher rifles are push feed actions and feature detachable plastic box magazines . I much prefer the original control round feed action Mannlicher Schoenauer rifles with the rotary steel magazines . The butterfly bolt does take a little getting used to , but nothing than a reasonably competent operator cannot get accustomed to .
 

MS 9x56

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The Schoenauer magazine was the best and smoothest magazine ever invented. Although the savage 99 was its near equal had it had the handy eject button used on the Mannlicher. Its only drawback was that it was pretty specific as to what bullets it would feed reliably. It actually brought me back to using round nose bullets in my 250-300 and my 358 win. Good shooting and hunting.
 

Rule 303

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Generally speaking , I find American sporting arms to be quite excellent . Perhaps not quite as ornate as their English and European counterparts , but highly robust and functional .

A few pinnacles of premium American gun making ( in my personal opinion ) include ( but are not limited to ) :
- Griffin & Howe Springfield Model 1903 action sporters
- Granite Mountain Arms rifles
- Ryan Breeding rifles
- Baily Bradshaw double rifles
- Butch Searcy double rifles
- Pre 64 Winchester Model 70
- Winchester Model 21

That said ; there have been more than a few “ dark ages “ in the American sporting arms industry , over the years . The 1970s ( when I first began hunting ) was such a time .

Winchester had replaced their reliable control round feed action pre 64 Model 70 rifles with an inferior push feed action post 64 model . They replaced the sturdy steel jacket of their .458 Winchester Magnum full metal jacket factory loads , with an inferior cupronickel material ( because they had begun to use Hornady bullets during this time , who employed cupronickel jacketing on their full metal jacket bullets ) . They altered the composition of their silver tip bullet from a mixture of copper , zinc and nickel to aluminum ; thus turning an excellent soft nosed bullet into one which was prone to premature and erratic disintegration . Weatherby rifles were prone to extraction problems and the magazine base plates popping open , due to recoil . And Remington Model 700 rifles during this era , were notorious for extraction problems in the large calibres ( anything above .338 Winchester Magnum ) .

On the subject of Remington Model 700 rifles versus Mannlicher rifles , I personally consider both to be quite excellent in their own right . The Remington Model 700 is an extremely accurate rifle , but I personally do not consider it to be a good dangerous game rifle . The extractor is too small for reliably extracting large calibre cases ( such as the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum ) . There are more than a few documented cases of Remington Model 700 extractors breaking ( although this seems limited to the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum and .416 Remington Magnum variants ) . A close friend of mine ( who is an American gunsmith ) recommends that Remington Model 700 actions can only make acceptable platforms for dangerous game rifles , if they are used with M-16 extractors .

The current Steyr Mannlicher rifles are push feed actions and feature detachable plastic box magazines . I much prefer the original control round feed action Mannlicher Schoenauer rifles with the rotary steel magazines . The butterfly bolt does take a little getting used to , but nothing than a reasonably competent operator cannot get accustomed to .

The Sako extractor is abiut as wide as the Rem 700 extractor. Never measured an M16 extractor, how does it compare width wise to the 700 extractor?
 

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