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Why many new-model hunting rifles suck today.

GermanShepherdGermanShepherd Posts: 160 Member
edited May 16 in Hunting #1
a. most new bolt-action rifles suck on the account of the shape of the bolt handle knob: why the Mauser 98 style round ball knob is not the norm, I can't say; Winchester Model 70, Browning bolt-actions, Savage bolt-actions, Remington 700 series all have ugly and uncomfortable-looking bolt handles

b. the Ruger American series has a very cheesy low-grade gritty matte finish, a nice old-fashioned blue finish for a deer-hunting gun is the way to fly; these guns are also prone to mechanical issues as is the cheaper Savage rifles

c. if you want a nice bolt-action rifle these days with a checkered wooden stock you might need to be rich: think Mauser and Sako; the bolt handles look ugly on Tikka; Weatherby Mark V are pricey, two grand on up, but I can't speak for their fit-n-finish

d. the Swedish classics, Husqvarna/Carl Gustaf, are no longer in production; they were about the nicest and prettiest classic hunting rifles ever made

e. the Japanese-made Browning BAR/Safari are now $1,500 on up, I don't care for the fit-and-finish of virtually any Japanese-made (Browning/Vanguard/Howa) hunting long gun I've ever held in my hands; Weatherby Vanguard looks cheesy too; the Europeans and the English once made the finest guns, but only for the rich; the nicest Browning long guns ever were made in Belgium at the FN factory, think classic Browning FN High Power bolt-actions with that pretty Mauser-style ball knob, BAR and Superposed shotguns, you gotta to be rich nowadays to collect these Brownings, I saw an FN High Power listing not long ago for $7,500!! 

f. the Savage Model 1899/Model 99 lever-action is the prettiest lever-action rifle ever but it's forlorn that this gun is now over 20 years out of production; my grandfather had an older one in .300 Savage

Blue-collar-budget American hunters these days are largely stuck with ugly-plastic-looking things under $1,000. Even nicer guns from $1,000 - $1,500 tend to have ugly bolt handles.

I'm on a quest to find a really nice vintage Husqvarna or Carl Gustav hunting rifle with a pretty Mauser-style bolt handle in a caliber like .243, .270 or 6.5 Swedish. I really don't want to spend over $1,000. My grandfather had a beautiful Husqvarna in .308 that was only $200 brand new in the early 1960's. Is 6.5 Swedish ammo expensive and/or hard to find?

I'm a baby boomer and remember the 1970's when pretty wooden-stocked/blued hunting long guns were affordable.

Replies

  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,868 Senior Member
    Google is your friend...
    It is not the 70's...guns and ammo cost more now
    If you can make all of these knowledgeable statements, you can easily answer your own question.
    I am more interested in seeing a post of you actually purchasing something, and then giving us a current field and or hunting report.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,746 Senior Member
    edited May 16 #3
    A bolt action rifle is nearly impossible to wear out by the average hunter, recreational target shooter, and even semi-serious shooter.

    Browsing used rifles on line or at any available brick and mortar retailer should turn up almost anything someone could want at substantial savings over new products.

    CZ offers traditional wood and blued products of excellent quality.

    Most NIB rifles, regardless of price point or fit and finish are going to have a level of out of the box accuracy with off the shelf factory ammo that's light years ahead of yesteryears products.


  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    Pretty much the only thing I agree with you on is the Savage 99.

    personally, I like the inexpensive plastic stocked bolt guns of today. I think the Ruger American is one of the greatest things to happen to bolt guns Since the savage 10/110 got stupid expensive. 

    Embrace the guns of today.  Hell, most of my deer have been shot with AR pattern rifles.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 25,780 Senior Member
    “The world is what you make of it, Friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations.”








    Just a few examples of rifles that started factory and were turned into what I wanted. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 22,210 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    “The world is what you make of it, Friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations.”
    <snip>
    EXACTLY!!!

    I'm trying to think if ANY of my hunting rifles are still "bone stock" and to the best of my knowledge, the answer is a resounding "NO"

    Modifications could be as mild as having the barrel threaded (Wife's Ruger 308 Compact) to my Ruger 77R in 7x57. It's currently awaiting on Lilja to make a 77INT barrel and will be put in a NOS Ruger international stock. I've always thought the full stocked, light weight rifles were sexy as hell, and since my 45 year old Ruger needed a new barrel anyway, I decided to turn it into one.

    Well, I could say my 50 Beowulf upper is still "stock" but since none of my lowers are, it still becomes part of a "custom build"
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • GermanShepherdGermanShepherd Posts: 160 Member
    Zee said:
    “The world is what you make of it, Friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations.”








    Just a few examples of rifles that started factory and were turned into what I wanted. 

    you make alterations .... and maybe empty your savings account doing that too

    Meh, my best bet is to be patient and see if one of those pretty old Swedish classics (1950's-1970's) in primo shape don't show up at LGS's in my area. Many such LGS's are pawn shops. I don't care to purchase something like that over the Web either. I want to inspect the gun in my hands before plunking any money down. I've seen the CZ guns in pictures but they still don't look nearly as nice as those rifles that were formerly made in Sweden. Sweden got out of the sporting long gun business some long spell ago. Darn shame. I wish somebody like Winchester or Remington would offer bolt-action rifles pattered on these classic Swedish Mauser-action designs.  What do they all have against a smooth-finished ball-shape bolt handle knob anyway? American bolt-action rifles like the Springfield around 1900 had the same elegant bolt handle design. It looked good. It was fast operating. It could be handled comfortably with the fingers or the palm of the hand.


    I could also consider finding a primo Savage 99 but my eyes are older now and they don't look pleasing to me with a scope on them at all. These American lever classics are mainly a woods deer rifle. A Savage 99 in primo shape can be about $1,500 - $2,000. I've even seen some custom engraved ones pictured online upward of $4K. Some of those Swedish classics can be pricey too depending upon the shape they are in. I certainly don't want a rusty nicked-up beater.

  • GermanShepherdGermanShepherd Posts: 160 Member
    edited May 16 #8
    Most of these were controlled-feed with that big ol' rotating extractor claw. The actions look like Mauser style. These are real old-fashioned honest hunting rifles.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,624 Senior Member
    edited May 16 #9
    So is this rifle you're enamored with for looking at or for actually doing something with....

    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,746 Senior Member
    There's a guy in hunting forum. Lives in Finland. Got one a them new Mauser rifles. He loves it. Shoots moose, deer, handloads for it. He'd likely be posting his exploits now, but he's nursing an injury. You can get those here.
  • GermanShepherdGermanShepherd Posts: 160 Member
    Jayhawker said:
    So is this rifle you're enamored with for looking at or for actually doing something with....


    I'm enamored with this kind of rifle for both of those activities. I have a Ruger American Predator that I've never fired since getting it new last summer and have up it for sale now. Mint condition but it just finally turned me off. It's no joy to hold in my hands and I no longer fancy myself in a deer field or a shooting range with it. I have a hankering for an old-fashioned gun like grandpa had.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 25,780 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    So is this rifle you're enamored with for looking at or for actually doing something with....


    I'm enamored with this kind of rifle for both of those activities. I have a Ruger American Predator that I've never fired since getting it new last summer and have up it for sale now. Mint condition but it just finally turned me off. It's no joy to hold in my hands and I no longer fancy myself in a deer field or a shooting range with it. I have a hankering for an old-fashioned gun like grandpa had.
    Is that the one you’ve sent back to Ruger before and mentioned in your other thread?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • GermanShepherdGermanShepherd Posts: 160 Member
    edited May 16 #13
    Zee said:
    Jayhawker said:
    So is this rifle you're enamored with for looking at or for actually doing something with....


    I'm enamored with this kind of rifle for both of those activities. I have a Ruger American Predator that I've never fired since getting it new last summer and have up it for sale now. Mint condition but it just finally turned me off. It's no joy to hold in my hands and I no longer fancy myself in a deer field or a shooting range with it. I have a hankering for an old-fashioned gun like grandpa had.
    Is that the one you’ve sent back to Ruger before and mentioned in your other thread?

    No, the one I sent back to Ruger is the Ranch version with tan stock in 5.56 NATO that I purchased late last summer also. That's slated to be my gopher gun. A cheap plastic-stocked gun is OK for decimating rats if it's accurate enough. The weather in Oklahoma has just never been good enough to go out to the range shooting anyway. I've decided now I want something more elegant for something more prestigious like big game, namely deer. I got that surprise $1,400 stimulus check not long ago and now I don't mind ponying up something a bit fancier.

    Here's a guy testing one like my gopher gun out now:


  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,624 Senior Member
    You seem to have a lot of time on your hands...plenty of older rifles out there you could restore to your liking... you might actually learn something in the process and end up with something you could be proud of....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,760 Senior Member
    Hoo boy!  Let's see here. . .

    A.  I agree with you on round bolt knobs.  Don't really give a rat's ass about the look - it's just functionally a better shape for those who know to run the bolt with their knuckles and thumb rather than their palm.

    B. Blued steel and walnut. . .yes, it's pretty, and yes I like it.  But it's also antiquated.  Carbon steel rusts and bluing is a crappy way to protect it.  Wood is an organic material subject to changing shape with shifting temperature and humidity, so if you like repeatable accuracy, it's not your most reliable medium..  It can also hold moisture against your rust-prone blued steel.  Best change I ever made was to shift to stainless and synthetics or laminates for my real hunting rifles - my anxiety level has dropped and the quality of my hunting experience climbed - -simply due to the fact I can hunt in the rain and not worry about the rifle.

    E.  Say what you like about their gun-restrictive culture, but when they DO allow themselves to make guns, the Japanese do a VERY nice job of it - - their clone of the .348 Winchester model 71 being bang-on for original bore dimensions and their 1885 High Wall reproduction being the most accurate cast bullet gun I've run across.  The Howa 1500/Weatherby Vanguard is a generally nicer rifle all around than the Remington 700 - -just pull them both apart and look.

    F.  The Savage 99 unfortunately never found its mass-market niche.  It missed the era to have any "Old West" mystique attached to it, and like all lever actions (even the Marlins) it suffers from being a more mechanically complex beast to manufacture and care for than any post 1890's bolt action.

    Your quest:  www.gunbroker.com  use it and start hunting.  A simple search for "Carl Gustaf" got me 49 hits; Husqvarna - 101; Sako - 1581; FN Mauser - 223; Pre-1964 Winchester - 52; CZ 550 - 220.  Perhaps instead of complaining about the state you think the market is in, maybe you should actually look at what is on the market.

    Affordability in the 1970's. . .methinks your memory of days gone by is a tad misty.  Collectors all think Winchester died in 1964, and the reason for that is Remington drove Winchester out of their quality production methods with the cheaper processes they embraced in WWII.  That downward slide of American quality from milled steel and checkered wood to stamped sheet metal, cast aluminum, and pressed (COUGH!) "checkering" began in the late 1950's, and it began because the nice stuff WASN'T affordable - or at least the suits found a way to sell ignorant customers something they couldn't appreciate the difference of for less money.

    If you want workmanship, suck it up and prepare to pay the workman.

    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,582 Senior Member
    What you describe will probably run you more than the $1400 you were given.  Even a stock M70 with decent wood will probably run more than that without a scope right now.  What you are wanting is available, but not in the price range you expect.  You would be better off scouring used racks hoping that someone priced based off of old values or has no clue what they could be selling for right now.  Even surplus Mausers in poor condition are going for well more than what the entry level (sub $500) factory rifles sell for.
  • GermanShepherdGermanShepherd Posts: 160 Member
    I will probably just be scouring the racks for fun from hereon. I will be on the lookout for that perfect Swedish rifle and a doable price.
  • GermanShepherdGermanShepherd Posts: 160 Member
    edited May 16 #18
    Bigslug said:
    Hoo boy!  Let's see here. . .

    A.  I agree with you on round bolt knobs.  Don't really give a rat's ass about the look - it's just functionally a better shape for those who know to run the bolt with their knuckles and thumb rather than their palm.

    B. Blued steel and walnut. . .yes, it's pretty, and yes I like it.  But it's also antiquated.  Carbon steel rusts and bluing is a crappy way to protect it.  Wood is an organic material subject to changing shape with shifting temperature and humidity, so if you like repeatable accuracy, it's not your most reliable medium..  It can also hold moisture against your rust-prone blued steel.  Best change I ever made was to shift to stainless and synthetics or laminates for my real hunting rifles - my anxiety level has dropped and the quality of my hunting experience climbed - -simply due to the fact I can hunt in the rain and not worry about the rifle.

    E.  Say what you like about their gun-restrictive culture, but when they DO allow themselves to make guns, the Japanese do a VERY nice job of it - - their clone of the .348 Winchester model 71 being bang-on for original bore dimensions and their 1885 High Wall reproduction being the most accurate cast bullet gun I've run across.  The Howa 1500/Weatherby Vanguard is a generally nicer rifle all around than the Remington 700 - -just pull them both apart and look.

    F.  The Savage 99 unfortunately never found its mass-market niche.  It missed the era to have any "Old West" mystique attached to it, and like all lever actions (even the Marlins) it suffers from being a more mechanically complex beast to manufacture and care for than any post 1890's bolt action.

    Your quest:  www.gunbroker.com  use it and start hunting.  A simple search for "Carl Gustaf" got me 49 hits; Husqvarna - 101; Sako - 1581; FN Mauser - 223; Pre-1964 Winchester - 52; CZ 550 - 220.  Perhaps instead of complaining about the state you think the market is in, maybe you should actually look at what is on the market.

    Affordability in the 1970's. . .methinks your memory of days gone by is a tad misty.  Collectors all think Winchester died in 1964, and the reason for that is Remington drove Winchester out of their quality production methods with the cheaper processes they embraced in WWII.  That downward slide of American quality from milled steel and checkered wood to stamped sheet metal, cast aluminum, and pressed (COUGH!) "checkering" began in the late 1950's, and it began because the nice stuff WASN'T affordable - or at least the suits found a way to sell ignorant customers something they couldn't appreciate the difference of for less money.

    If you want workmanship, suck it up and prepare to pay the workman.


    No, during the 1970's I had a big collection of grandad's Outdoor Life magazines and they were full of print gun ads. The pretty upscale ones then were bolt-actions by Weatherby and Mauser. I think the Weatherbys might have been made in England back then. I can't speak for production methods and materials, but they sure looked nice in color photos. Common then for these rifles were: iron sights, many were drilled and tapped for scope mounting, not many back then seemed to have come sans iron sights, Monte Carlo raised-comb stocks, cheek pieces, Mauser-style bolt handles, checkering, walnut, jeweled bolts, control-feed extractor, white spacers, black grip and for-end caps and deep gloss bluing on the metal. Most of these guns did not exceed the $500 retail mark then. Sakos were also advertised then too as a premium rifle. It seemed like Remington had over/under shotguns back then too.

    I just did not like the looks of a Japan-made Vanguard I looked at last summer nor any of the Japan-made Browning Citoris I looked at in the mid-1990's. Nothing Browning Japan-made holds a candle to anything Browning FN Belgian made.

    I know my granddad's early-1960's Husqvarna in .308 Nitro (barrel so stamped) had hand checkering. There was even a tag on the gun with a man's name as having been the hand checkered. Olaf something in Scandinavian. This Husky had a non-gloss (maybe oil or hand rubbed) walnut stock which I liked. Gramps would put Old English lemon oil on it to beautify it. The Browning A-Bolt II I had in 1996 had a gloss stock that god nicked quite a bit on just one hunting trip and I was very careful handling the rifle in the field too.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,336 Senior Member
    edited May 17 #19
    Simpsons, LTD has a lot of old time rifles  (Husqvarna)  or used to.  I bought three from them but they were in 8mm, which is a fine round.  Solid guns with birch stocks, but there it is.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • ojrojr Senior Member Posts: 1,189 Senior Member
    edited May 21 #20
    Why don't you go get a couple of  the Husky 1600/1640 rifles then, they are available
    I have a couple, Both came in well under NZ800$ [ without scope]



    Mind you I also have one or two of your afore mentioned sako's, they especially this one  came in a bit more expensive.


    The flight was uneventful, which is what one wants when one is transporting an Elephant.
     Reuters, Dec 2020.
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,986 Senior Member
    Friend of mine recently had a stuck case in his brand-new Remington 700. He had renectly gone through a kidney surgery so wrestling with the bolt wasn't a good idea and friend of ours offered himself to do the job, and after some struggling he ended up with the bolt handle in his hand!

    Another buddy has hunted all his life with his family centerfire rifles. We're talking Weatherbys, FNs, sporter Mausers, pre-64 Winchester 70s and so. Looking for a new one among the little local offer he ended up buying with some remorse a .270 Ruger M77/Hawkeye (Bigger deers are white tails here, usually hunted in high, thin air at mid to relatively long distances so a flat-shooting commercial factory cartridge is useful) but after quite a few field trips he has ended up buying another 2: A light synthetic stock/stainless steel .308 for steep terrain and a .300 for expected long range shots.
    He's quite happy with the quality/price/performance ratio.

    Current production costs have indeed skyrocketed rifle prices. Shipping, insurances, wages, and other costs that didn't existed 50 years ago have drove up prices of what was average quality years ago.

    Anyway there are still a few "old school" choices to find. As Early said, CZ is a great option that lots of local hunters used to sporterized Mauser military actions pick. Older, recently dropped from their line 98 action 550 models were closer to what hunting rifles used to be but the 527 "Mini Mauser" line is still a good choice and the new 557s are still quite good from what I've seen at the range.

    Another brand that keeps using traditional materials and the well-proven (But have to say it: A tad overbuilt for a sporting rifle) Mauser 98 action at reasonable prices is the Serbian-made Zastava (Available through Zastava-USA). They're sometimes a little rough in the exterior finishing aspect but their M70 & M85 lines (And their rimfires also) are built like tanks, with the only non-steel or wood part being the buttpad (or the stock if that option is chosen). Friend of mine has a .308 and a 30-06 left handed and both of us have the full-stock .22LR models and they all are excellent shooters of 100% old school manufacturing.
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