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Old August 18, 2011, 10:20 PM   #1
checkmyswag
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What makes guns so expensive?

Are they so expensive because of their relatively small scale of manufacture?
Because the materials and processes involved are expensive?
Due to legal concerns?
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Old August 18, 2011, 11:05 PM   #2
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Recycled plastic apparently isnt cheap...
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Old August 19, 2011, 06:55 AM   #3
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Materials cost has risen over the years.
Those that keep their factories here have to pay higher wages than across the border.
Shipping costs have gone through the roof. Look at the UPS/FedEx policy they put out a few years ago regarding shipping a handgun for instance.
Insurance rates/legal fees have skyrocketed due to frivolous lawsuits against manufacturers.
Supply is high.
R&D for new gun designs/improvements.
The lost value of the dollar.

These are to name a few. Just the way it is. I've seen some gun prices to be very stable as well. Look no further than Glocks.
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Old August 19, 2011, 08:18 AM   #4
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I'd bet on very high insurance rates.
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Old August 19, 2011, 08:20 AM   #5
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What else can you spend only $600 on, is mechanical, that you can hold in your hand, contains a powerful explosive blast and will last multiple lifetimes?

If you think a decent handgun is expensive, then try this little experiment: Take a Rolex Watch, tape several M80 fire crackers to it, light them, and repeat 3000 times. Let us know how your $6,000 Rolex watch holds up.
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Old August 19, 2011, 08:27 AM   #6
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Because we put up with it...
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Old August 19, 2011, 08:41 AM   #7
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ummmm....because you can not keep skilled workers for minumum wage
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Old August 19, 2011, 08:45 AM   #8
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Bingo, roashooter. And that's why I put up with it...
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Old August 19, 2011, 09:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifleman1776
I'd bet on very high insurance rates
I agree with Rifleman.
We live in a litigious nation.
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Old August 19, 2011, 09:05 AM   #10
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Guns, at least good ones, are made with precision and quality, need to last about 100 years, and have to have a fair amount of accountability before they are sold. It's not surprising they are expensive. Compare them to a big micrometer or torque wrench and the prices seem reasonable.
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Old August 19, 2011, 09:10 AM   #11
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I dont really think of guns as being expensive. I mean there are a few guns out there, relative to other guns that i find expensive (like hk), or of course when you get into uber-top end guns or collectibles.
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Old August 19, 2011, 09:27 AM   #12
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Expensive is relative to your own personal finances.

Supply and demand, cost of materials and labor, marketing, insurance, utilities, TAXES on everything, including the 11% excise tax, and on and on.

If someone is willing to pay the price asked, then the gun is not overpriced.

Example - here in Florida, a gallon of spring water is VERY cheap as the sources here supply millions of gallons a day. Take that same jug to sub-Saharan Africa, and its value skyrockets to a price equaling gold.

Why do some guns cost more in certain parts of the country? Supply and demand, coupled with local taxes and other costs dictate the price
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Old August 19, 2011, 09:39 AM   #13
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I once counted the pages of a handgun manual .HALF of the pages were of the WARNING , DO NOT, NEVER, etc type. Yes we pay huge amounts for the liability lawsuits on everything we buy .
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Old August 19, 2011, 11:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Are they so expensive because of their relatively small scale of manufacture?
Because the materials and processes involved are expensive?
Due to legal concerns?
Because the materials and processes are expensive.

Specifically the process control needed to make parts to fit in tight tolerance zones, like fire control parts, barrels, and sight components. Often it's impossible to bin the parts for a selective assembly process because there are so many features in their designs, so the manufacturer will have to have machines and tooling that are more expensive to lease or buy and more expensive to maintain, and that have lower uptime, but are the only ones capable of producing the parts he wants at a marginally acceptable per-part cost.
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Old August 19, 2011, 12:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Are they so expensive because of their relatively small scale of manufacture?
Because the materials and processes involved are expensive?
Due to legal concerns?
There is a tax on firearms and ammo, that's been in place for many years, to support conservation. I forget what it's called.

Many small companies, making specialty products with a long, long lifespan (and thus don't need to be replaced regularly).

It's interesting to me that domestically produced firearms (think Ruger and S&W) are comparable in price to imported ones.
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Old August 19, 2011, 12:30 PM   #16
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It's because we put up with it. If we all banded up and didn't buy gun related stuff for one month, ohh those prices would come way down. Paranoid mall ninjas keep the prices up by paying too much to make sure they get it and beat you to it.
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Old August 19, 2011, 12:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward429451
Paranoid mall ninjas keep the prices up by paying too much to make sure they get it and beat you to it.
So, by your statement I'm led to believe that you think anyone who jumps on the newest or rarest product and is willing to pay a premium to be first in line is a "paranoid mall ninja"?

My, my, my....
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Old August 19, 2011, 12:42 PM   #18
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If we all banded up and didn't buy gun related stuff for one month,
There would be a lot of bankrupt and out-of-business companies that make and sell guns and gun stuff. We all need to wise up to the fact that part of the reason we still have the right to own firearms is because the gun business is still healthy.

Ever wonder why that machine gun ban is never going to get repealed?
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Old August 19, 2011, 12:46 PM   #19
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ummmm....because you can not keep skilled workers for minumum wage
This depends on what type/ brand of firearm specificly is being made. If you're hand making/fitting parts, then this definatly applies. However, with the advent of modern manufacturing processes, the need for truely skilled labor is greatly reduced. Most mass produced firearms don't require large labor forces of highly skilled gunsmiths and machineists. If automated equipment produces all the parts to spec, a monkey can be trained to assemble the parts.
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Old August 19, 2011, 01:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneounceload
Expensive is relative to your own personal finances.

Supply and demand, cost of materials and labor, marketing, insurance, utilities, TAXES on everything, including the 11% excise tax, and on and on.

If someone is willing to pay the price asked, then the gun is not overpriced.
Yes, and a lot of what one pays for are "intangibles" like perceived quality (which may or may not correspond to actual quality), aesthetics, etc.

Before making blanket statements like "guns are expensive," one needs to ask "Compared to what?" It's instructive, for instance, to look at the ways that gun prices have and haven't changed over time. Adjusted for inflation, the prices of some guns, mostly those with lower price points, have come down; others have stayed about the same -- in the case of the Rem. 700 and Win. M70, remarkably so. And others... well....

Some examples (prices for base models, msrp's no older than 2007*):

Remington 870
1950: $70.00
Equivalent price in today's dollars: $656.20
Actual msrp: $399.00

Savage 110:
1966: $102.50
In today's dollars: $714.72
Actual msrp: $564.00

Remington 700
1966: $129.95
In today's dollars: $906.13
Actual msrp: $900.00

Win 70
1966: 149.95
In todays dollars: 1045.59
Actual msrp: $999.00

Remington Rolling Block No. 1
1878: 30.00
Today's dollars: $669.64
Actual msrp: $2665.00

On one hand, improvements in manufacturing technology, along with some changes in materials, allow "economy" guns -- which perform just as well as many pricier ones -- to be sold for quite a bit less than they were 50-60 years ago. So if you look at these as "entry-level" guns, it's easier to become a gun owner than it used to be. (Of course, real wages have fallen during the same period, but we won't go there.)

On the other hand, relative to its original cost, Remington charges a freakin' arm and a leg for that rolling block model. I suppose some of that is because it's labor-intensive to make, some of it is that they're not making very many of them...

But I suspect a lot of it is the market they're appealing to -- the cost of a good original is even higher. In other words: they price it that way because they can.
......
*Some are from manufacturers' websites, some are from other published sources, such as this article by Massad Ayoob)
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Last edited by Vanya; August 19, 2011 at 02:19 PM. Reason: cleanup and clarification.
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:11 PM   #21
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I know labor can be a large component of product cost especially when you look at not just wages, but also benefits. Does anyone know what the average pay is at some of the larger US gun manufacturers?
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:18 PM   #22
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There is a tax on firearms and ammo, that's been in place for many years, to support conservation. I forget what it's called.
Its the Pittman-Roberts (or Roberston, I no longer remember exactly) act, and it is an 11% excise tax, figured on the wholesale price IIRC. Its been around since the 1920s or 30s (again, my memory fails). Later it was amended to include fishing and archery gear. At the time it was passed, sportsmen were all for it, or so the story goes. And, it is a good thing. The money does not go to a the general fund where our politicians can use it for their own pet projects.


As to firearms cost, leaving out the collector market, generally in terms of percentage of wages earned/time spent earning the money, they are actually either about the same as they always were, or even cheaper.

Look at the value of our dollar today. Compared to the past, it sucks! And it has gotten worse lately! In 1880, a $20 gold piece would buy you a brand new Colt revolver. In 1980, that same $20 gold piece was still worth enough to buy a brand new Colt revolver, but a $20 Federal Reserve note (paper bill) would barely buy you a box of shells! Today? I don't know, but it still might be true, IF you could find a brand new Colt revolver!

Also, consider this, firearms contain a 20,000-50,000psi explosion just inches from your face, each and every time you pull the trigger! For something that does that, I don't want it made as cheaply as possible!
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:20 PM   #23
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Along with everything thats been said it takes to make a quality firearm

(parts, machining, materials, etc etc)

it also takes time and money for these new firearms to be developed. If a company sets out to make a new firearm. Whether it be completely designed from scratch or use core components and parts from other weapons it costs money to pay the designers/engineers. If it takes a year for 4 engineers to design a new weapon and they all make $100,000 a year...then that new firearm has to be set at a price to pay for all the design time, resources, testing, etc etc etc. Also the company has to make a profit

the true question is....how much are you willing to pay for the piece of mind that your weapon will fire when you need it. If you don't care then by all means go cheaper....but my weapon goes bang
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Old August 19, 2011, 02:39 PM   #24
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Economics!!
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Old August 19, 2011, 07:33 PM   #25
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lots of things.

the biggest issue with machining is that it costs MONEY to buy the machines. and when you have the machines you have upkeep. When you spend 1.1 million for a cnc lathe system, you spend money to keep it tip top and prevent major problems in the future.

then you have industrial certfications. for an average plant to get is0 9000 certified, it costs around 1-1.5 mil to do the initial bid and paperwork, and get the certificate. then its around 250,000 a year to keep it legal.


somethings need manpower. about 90-95 percent of the cost of your colt marked peacemaker you buy today is all from the assembly and finishing part.
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