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Thread: Best Years For Rifles

  1. #1
    Regular Poster Robb's Avatar
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    Best Years For Rifles

    By getting totally disenchanted with the build quality of things these days was there ever a period when the quality of Rifles was at its peak ? Being new(ish) to the world of Centre Fire guns I keep getting drawn to the older type rifles where they seem to be more like - GUNS if that makes any sense ? I pick up an older Sako for example and it just feels different, wether it was better made is another thing, I don't know, were they ? I cut my teeth when I was young on Air Rifles, I picked up an newish Weihrauch the other day and compared it with one from the 1980's, Well there was no comparison, Was the 80's a good year for Rifles in general or is it better now than its ever been ?
    I am genuinely interested.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Robb View Post
    By getting totally disenchanted with the build quality of things these days was there ever a period when the quality of Rifles was at its peak ? Being new(ish) to the world of Centre Fire guns I keep getting drawn to the older type rifles where they seem to be more like - GUNS if that makes any sense ? I pick up an older Sako for example and it just feels different, wether it was better made is another thing, I don't know, were they ? I cut my teeth when I was young on Air Rifles, I picked up an newish Weihrauch the other day and compared it with one from the 1980's, Well there was no comparison, Was the 80's a good year for Rifles in general or is it better now than its ever been ?
    I am genuinely interested.
    I think you are probably comparing "over-engineering" with economical engineering. The same is with most things, the better the software, design, engineers and quality control then the lighter and "cheaper" items feel.

    Old "stuff" was heavier and stronger built because they had no idea how light they could get away with

  3. #3
    A good many people would actually say 1898 (Mauser and Mannlicher) and the next twenty odd years. Others would probably mention other periods depending on their fondness for various makes and models.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  4. #4
    Regular Poster Robb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PointBlank View Post
    I think you are probably comparing "over-engineering" with economical engineering. The same is with most things, the better the software, design, engineers and quality control then the lighter and "cheaper" items feel.

    Old "stuff" was heavier and stronger built because they had no idea how light they could get away with
    Yes maybe your right, and in a way I hope you are, I have seen the quality of Blueing on some new guns and it is shameful compared with some old Rifles, the same goes for the quality of wooden stocks, although saying that I have seen some lovely pieces of walnut on new CZ's, maybe its horses for courses as they say, Plastic Trigger components is another one - Good or Bad ? A lot of people hanker after Older Actions for custom guns - Why ? Better Quality ? I would still pay more for a older well kept gun than a newer model for the same money - Maybe its just me and I've got it wrong ? I really don't know.

  5. #5
    Its hard to say really , its down to personal taste, for me when i saw a real difference when tikka 595s and 695s were discontinued and t3 took its place, materials and quality defo looked as if it all went down hill but they shoot as good as any rifle ive had or seen

  6. #6
    I'd say that accuracy improved greatly through the 20th Century but workmanship declined slowly, so the crossover point would probably be around 1990 IMHO. I've settled on a Sako L691 which has reasonable wood, good blueing, an excellent trigger and shoots as well as anything since. Probably the best workmanship would be a pre-1972 old-style Mannlicher Schoenauer but scope mounting is difficult and I haven't persuaded mine to shoot groups yet, although it's terribly elegant. The other factor is cost, those well-finished solidly built rifles from the 1980s are less than half the price of the new ones.

  7. #7

  8. #8
    I have a Tika M65 shoots better than most new rifles and build quality is top, bluing show no signs of wear either a real quality gun with nice wood built by craftsmen not machines.
    LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE & PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!

  9. #9
    In my lifetime the 70's if talking about the luster of factory blueing and timber quality:



    K

  10. #10
    ​Couple of points, and I have owned quite a few popular makes of rifles, several Remingtons (including from the 80's), several Sako's (original Foresters, Finnbears, 75's and 85's), Krico, Mannlicher (90's) and Tikka 695...

    I think to some degree we equate the weight or movement (action) of a product (objects specifically designed to save weight aside) with quality. If you handle something that feels solid you feel like you are getting strength, build quality, even the amount of material to make it worth it. I agree that a few years ago some of the factory rifles came with stunning wood, but I managed to crack a stock on a new Sako 75 when it really should have absorbed the relatively minor impact. I was told by a dealer that there had been a few issues with the timber as apparently the high demand for that line of rifles was causing stocks to be fitted with less than perfect wood with regards to seasoning or whatever. I don't know if that was true or not but they replaced mine regardless.

    As for accuracy, I have never owned an inaccurate factory rifle, old or current model. In fact the last Sako 85 I bought in .308 mad a mockery really of going to the expense of a custom built rifle.

    I think the comments above regarding development in machining techniques, materials etc are right meaning that rifles can be churned out quicker with CNC, they arejust as accurate to shoot as older models but to the owner there is something perhaps missing? Just that feel of quality maybe but with no lessening of usability or accuracy...

    For me a rifle is a tool first and foremost. I no longer care for a nicely figured stock or deep bluing. I want it to be comfortable to shoot, impervious to the weather, reliable and accurate. With the availability of Cerakote and similar nowadays, fibreglass stocks, stainless barrels and actions and so on, rifles IMO are better in that respect than they were 25 years ago...
    Last edited by jamross65; 15-08-2013 at 12:16.

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