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Thread: What is it with modern stalking rifles ???

  1. #1

    What is it with modern stalking rifles ???

    What the hell is it with hunting rifles these days and when did they get so crappy? I’ve been looking at possible replacements for a vacant slot on my ticket and the whole experience has left a sour taste in my mouth.
    Now i don’t consider myself old at 38 but i grew up with what i consider real guns; guns that are solid built with robust materials and a decent wooden stock. A stock which is both robust and rigid. My first rifle, a Parker Hale Safari in 308 could never be considered a fine gun but it was definitely a capable stalker’s gun. The receiver milled from solid stock, a rigid wooden stock with real chequering which was there to improve grip and handling rather than just for decoration and completely devoid of bloody plastic.
    Bloody plastic. Just when exactly did we allow manufacturers to delude us into thinking that using plastic components was a good thing? Over the last few weeks i’ve handled injection moulded, tupperware type plastic stocks lacking any strength or resistance to flexing, thin plastic trigger guards and flimsy magazines. Another thing – when did it become standard for stalking rifles to have detachable magazines?
    I’ve handled some truly awful guns lately that quite frankly i wouldn’t want to be behind and pull the trigger: Remington 710 & 700, Mossberg ATR, etc but also supposedly ‘better’ rifles that just don’t impress. One dealer pulled out a laminated magazine review which couldn’t be more complimentary of the Tikka T3 light that i held in my hands. The review bore no resemblance to the rifle i had – didn’t the reviewer note how poor the stock was, how its forend flexed and hit the barrel when tapped from below, didn’t he notice the thin trigger guard and laughable chequering? What exactly is a ‘lightweight’ rifle anyway? To me it seems the term gives the manufacturer licence to bolt together a whip thin barrel which will open up dramatically after only a few rounds but saves them on material, a nasty stock guaranteed to flex and move, drastic plastic magazines which lack strength and are likely to drop out during a stalk and an assortment of plastic components which seem more for decoration than use; trigger guards, etc.
    Dealers were desperate to mention the guaranteed accuracy of these rifles. An inch at 100yds – i’ve heard that claim repeatedly but they soon clam up when i ask if that was in perfect conditions and from a bench. No dealer was keen to guarantee that same accuracy claim when shot from a bipod (with that same flexing stock). God forbid i asked for a guarantee concerning quality of manufacture and resistance to general wear and tear.
    It would be easy to claim that the demise is due to the cost of materials or due to us demanding more for less money. But if so, then why do some manufacturers seem to hold closer to the traditional build qualities and for the same price?

  2. #2
    Why not just look for a decent second hand Sako?
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

  3. #3
    I think that modern rifles follow the throw away trend of many other things in modern life.
    How many of todays rifles will we buy and think they will be nice to leave to future generations. Its not just rifles, but in my opinioni think Ziess scopes are pandering more and more to a cheaper market.
    I bought a mauser M03 because its all steel. Much as i like a nice bit of walnut i bought the plastic stock. I can't see any flexing in the mauser stock .

  4. #4
    Get a CZ or a BRNO, considered by many to be a bit workman like but to my mind the emphasis is on work. I have three CZ's and two BRUNO's but my BSA from the 60's is probably the pick of the bunch.

    A clever man knows his strengths, a wise man knows his weaknesses

  5. #5
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    What the hell is it with hunting rifles these days and when did they get so crappy?
    About the same time that cars go so much better!

    When manual labour became expensive. Cars became better the LESS they were "touched by human hands" and the MORE they were "robotised".

    Unfortunately the essentially 19th century desugn of some guns guns didn't lend themselves so well to that process. And as the labour cost went up I suppose that savings were made in the parts that required hand fitting.

    Yet the irony is that fully computer controlled modern designed pistols such as the CZ range are good.

  6. #6
    Look at a Howa, old style Sako copy, all steel no plastic, uses a floor plate, just find a blued wood one, the stock might not have much figure to it though.



  7. #7
    I'd second the Howa - the barrel is very good, and yes, I can shoot sub 1" groups with factory ammo, off the bipod (although on a bench - haven't tried it prone or off sticks as my range doesn't really allow for that unless it's very quiet and I have more room). I wasn't sure I'd take to the moulded Hogue stock, but in fact I've found it very comfortable, tactile and easy to clean. You could always have a wooden stock fitted though. As Thar says, hinged floor plate, not magazine fed, and the action is good. Trigger is factory set about 4lb, but easy enough to adjust, and although others have replaced it I found it was fine once I let it down to about 2.75lb.

    Good luck in your search!

  8. #8
    I can only agree with you the nicest rifle I have is pre 1973 BSA

  9. #9

    You're missing the point. Compare the Tikka T3 to the older M65. Proportionally the same price yet they just don't compare. The T3 may benefit from modern CAD/CAM precesses but that bolt is constructed from multiple parts purely for cost saving reasons - many quickly produced inexpensive parts is much cheaper than the labour intensive and more lengthy machining time required for the older bolt.
    That flimsy tupperware stock isn't there because of modern practices or because it's better than a traditional one, it's there purely because it's cheap and it feels bloody cheap to! No doubt most will be replaced with more robust composites. If you do opt for a timber stock, then take a look at the chequering. Notice that the chequering is a few small areas rather than the extensive chequering of older rifles. That's for no other reason than the few little areas is cheaper to produce than traditional chequering.
    What i'm saying is that the rifles aren't substantially cheaper but the materials, componets and build quality certainly are. I'm all for modern manufacturing processes - i even studied aeronautical engineering at Uni, but in the case of firearms we as buyers and users are being swayed by works like 'lightweight' when what they actually mean is insubstantial and flimsy. When the rest of the modern manufactured products are improving and benefitting from modern practices, our rifles are not.

  10. #10
    SG: At one point we (the Public) got sold on the idea that a plastic stock was more stable and durable then wood. In fact, this might be true in some cases, but the truth is that they are infinitely much cheaper to produce than wood stocks. Far less labor intensive and with the kind of accuracy that injection molding has, require little fitting. The advent of factory bedding blocks makes it even easier: A CNC machine zaps out an aluminum block which is inset to the Injection molding process and we get charged $$$ extra for it. Do these arrangement make for better accuracy? It should but as you observed, some of the stocks are tupperware anyhow so it doesn't matter. I could go on and on....

    I shoot some rifles that would not be considered "fine" rifles but they are accurate and reliable and I can efficiently kill God's creatures with them at will. They sport well fit and bedded wooden stocks that somehow, despite being subjected to rain, snow, desert heat and sub arctic cold, have never warped. Give me a workman like rifle any day. ~Muir

    PS: Haveing written for the shooting media, I can tell you that in 99% of the cases, the writer is paid directly by the company he is writing a review for. If he wants to continue to work in the business he will find it necessary to glaze over some rough spots in whatever he is reviewing. Don't believe any of that drivel for a second. I was reading "Shooting Times" here in the US and they showed a picture of a "1 inch group" for five shots. Sure: measued vertically it was 1 inch, but horizontally, it was closer to 2.5 inches. Caveat Emptor!!

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