No, I don't think it is too late, Blue.
Remember, a lot of these areas never really came out of the Great Depression until WELL after World War II, right into the 1960s when Lyndon Johnson started extending the War on Poverty into the Appalachian Aid Corporation, or whatever it was called.
There are LOTS of things that are still in common use that are collector's items, but which are in use because they're useful, they work, and they're a lot less expensive than the modern replacement.
As someone mentioned, first and foremost, these guns were viewed as every day working tools. Often such items don't become "family heirlooms" or legacies until such time as the owner has become affluent enough to buy a replacement.
Up until that point, that family heirloom is a hunting rifle.
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza
Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.