Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Boomsticks: Every time a gun company...

...goes toes-up, there is wailing and gnashing of teeth on the gun boards. "Oh, noes! A precious piece of our heritage is gone!" and suchlike. Does anybody stop to think that maybe some of these companies go Tango Uniform because their product sucked?

I mean, sure, Winchester (to use a f'rinstance) had a storied heritage, but they've spent the last forty years squandering it. The 94 was a shadow of its former self; no sober person purchased one over a Marlin for anything other than nostalgia reasons. The Model 70 was gutted in '64, and an attempt to revive an upmarket claw-extractor version was shivved in the liver by shoddy workmanship. The last megabuck Model 70 Classic we transferred in for someone had a stock that looked like it had been checkered with Husqvarnas by drunken orangutans.

So I've become a cynic. The last time Charter Arms flatlined, in the midst of all the hand-wringing about the loss of another gun manufacturer, my only thought was "Will someone please remember to put a stake through its heart this time?"

As the gag goes in our gunsmithing shop:

Me: "They sure don't make 'em like that anymore."

Shannon: "Yeah. There's a reason for that, too."


Anonymous said...

I'll miss Winchester as well, but the last Winchester I bought, a Classic Featherweight in 2003, needed the following to be as accurate as the cartridge's potential (6.5x55): Barrel floating due to the offcenter barrel channel, trigger job, and glass bedding. The results were worth it though. It went from a 1.5"@100 rifle to sub-MOA. Not only that, but it's quite attractive with the checkering and schnable forend. My only other Winchester was a late model 357mag Trapper. It had the nicest wood of any production M94 I've seen, but the gun just would not shoot. I traded it off for a tackdriving Contender 30-30.


Anonymous said...

"The 94 was a shadow of its former self; no sober person purchased one over a Marlin for anything other than nostalgia reasons."

Indeed the only people I know that preferred them over Marlins are older gentlemen that grew up on horse operas. To me they felt and sounded like bb guns, with equally poor quality.

El Capitan said...

Heh. Oddly enough, I kinda like my Charter Arms .38 snubbie! It's the second one I've owned, and has been trouble free. Bought both of 'em for bargain bin prices, and sold the first at a 50% profit.

I'm looking for one of their .22 revolvers for a tacklebox gun. No use putting a S&W kit gun through that kind of abuse.

cleanhead said...

"checkered by drunk orangutans
with huskvarnas"

You say that like it's a bad thing...

cleanhead said...

or nwhatever.

Anonymous said...

If anyone can explain to me the overly confoundingly complex saftey that defeats all usefulness on the last bunch of Winchester bolt action rifles I would be pleased.

Jay G said...

Well, I love my Winchester 1300. No complaints about the operation, 'specially since it only gets cleaned ~ once a year... ;)

Anonymous said...

I hope S&W goes the same way.
They deserve it.

I remember their deal with the devil. Changing corporate structure doesn't change a thing.

I don't give a rat's ass for the M&P. And the internal locks on the new revolvers?!?

It can't happen soon enough

Anonymous said...

Well since no gun company went out of business, it doesn't matter. Winchester is a division of FN Herstal, whose finances were handled by Browning in Utah, and who sourced much of their parts from Europe and Japan. All that happened is they shut down one of their plants (which had been losing money for years), and will produce the firearms somewhere else, where many already were. Those subject to union contract restrictions will be back next year after that deal expires. No reason to get excited folks.

Tam said...

Yeah, and Charter Arms is now under the protective wing of Hi-Poin... er, MKS.

Who's getting excited?

Tam said...

(Oh, to sound like a true member of the cognoscenti, you should have typed ""U.S.R.A.C." d/b/a "Winchester" is a division of...")


Anonymous said...

How long has Charter Arms been part of MKS? Neither the Charter Arms or MKS sites don't seem to mention anything about a buyout.

Tamara, do you not like ALL charter arms revolvers? I know the company went through serveral reincarnations over time. Do you have any experience with their current line (as opposed to the Charter2000 days)?

What don't you like about them? Do you just think they aren't are refined as S&Ws? Do they break frequently? etc.