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Old July 16, 2013, 10:13 AM   #51
buck460XVR
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Whether or not guns are as good as nowadays as they were in the past is highly subjective. Reasons is folks all have a different perception of what is "better". To some reliability, accuracy and durability are foremost. To some, it is a beautiful deep blued finish and wood that melts perfectly with the surrounding metal....and to some it is just traditional styling. I thought it informative that the last issue of "Handgunner" magazine had a article about the history of the .357 magnum revolver. In two places in that article, they made mention that in the early 50s, S&W determined that many folks were more interested in shooting than paying for an exquisite finish. This tells me that even 60 years ago there was a difference of opinions amongst shooters over what a made a "quality" firearm. The more things change, the more they stay the same.......
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Old July 16, 2013, 11:00 AM   #52
coldbeer
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Say what what will about current Marlin lever guns my mid 12' 1895 is a shooter. I can't find anything to complain about with it. I'm just glad I don't pay attention to all the whiners because if I did I wouldn't own any guns. Just be sure to look them over before you take them home that's all.
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Old July 16, 2013, 11:08 AM   #53
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There was a real reason for being hand-fitted - because they could not replicate the same parts over and over and over again.
I guess you never heard of Eli Whitney and his introduction of mass production relative to firearms. Oh, oh! Someone slept through History Class. Mass production (replication of same parts) has been here a long, long time.
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Last edited by dahermit; July 16, 2013 at 11:14 AM.
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Old July 16, 2013, 11:11 AM   #54
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folks all have a different perception of what is "better".
My idea of "better" is one that works when I take it out of the box. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Old July 16, 2013, 11:32 AM   #55
James K
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The older guns were "better" in some respects. For one thing, manufacturers fired a proof load for each chamber; today, many American makers don't fire any proof load (the U.S. has no proof law). And they fired one cylinder or magazine for function. That costs money and today many companies skip it, figuring that if the gun doesn't work the customer will return it and THEN they will fix it. (That approach was taken by some auto companies; no one worries if the customer is too dead to complain.)

As one part of that, guns almost always (99.99999999%) worked out of the box. Sure there were goofs (like the Colt I mentioned), but "out of the box" reliability was taken for granted.

So were the guns better? I still don't think they were, but quality control was better. Did the factories goof? Sure, but the mistakes were caught by factory workers or inspectors, not by the customer.

Jim
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Old July 16, 2013, 02:02 PM   #56
BigD_in_FL
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I guess you never heard of Eli Whitney and his introduction of mass production relative to firearms. Oh, oh! Someone slept through History Class. Mass production (replication of same parts) has been here a long, long time.
Speak for yourself, Eli didn't invent it - but the firearm makers couldn't make it work at the time - which is where my comment came from - try again with the insults, though

Quote:
The Terracotta Army commissioned by the first Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi is a collection of about 8000 life-sized ceramic soldiers and horses buried with the emperor, who died in 210 BCE. The figures had their separate body-parts manufactured by different workshops that were later assembled to completion. Notably, each workshop inscribed its name on the part they manufactured to add traceability for quality construction.

At the peak of its efficiency in the early 16th century, the Venetian Arsenal employed some 16,000 people who could apparently produce nearly one ship each day, and could fit out, arm, and provision a newly built galley with standardized parts on an assembly-line basis not seen again until the Industrial Revolution.
Quote:
Probably the earliest example of a linear and continuous assembly process in post-Renaissance times is the Portsmouth Block Mills, built between 1801 and 1803. Marc Isambard Brunel (father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel), with the help of Henry Maudslay and others, designed 22 types of machine tools to make the parts for the rigging blocks used by the Royal Navy. This factory was so successful that it remained in use until the 1960s, with the workshop still visible at HM Dockyard in Portsmouth, and still containing some of the original machinery.
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Eli Whitney is sometimes credited[by whom?] with developing the armory system of manufacturing in 1801, using the ideas of division of labor, engineering tolerance, and interchangeable parts to create assemblies from parts in a repeatable manner. But Whitney's contribution was mostly as a popularizer rather than inventor of repeatability. He was inspired by several others, likely including Honoré Blanc,
If you're going to insult someone, at least have your facts correct.......

Have a great day.....

ADDED to keep it gun related:
Quote:
The manufacture of firearms at Springfield helped usher in the age of mass production. An ingenious inventor named Thomas Blanchard, who worked for the Springfield Armory for five years, created a special lathe for the production of wooden gun stocks.
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Old July 16, 2013, 04:15 PM   #57
40-82
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How about this small study to compare the new to the old. I have an S&W 629-1 with a 4" barrel that I am very proud of. It has seen me through some very ugly country. A couple days ago I decided to put it through its paces in close range double action work with a very light 44 special load. When I bought the Smith in the early 80's its action was rough. The state of its lockwork today represents the best work I can do. After I finished I decided to try a New Service 45 with a 4" barrel made in 1924 at the same distance and same speed to see how much worse I would do with the Colt. The load I used in the 44 Smith was significantly lighter, the sights on the Smith were modern adjustable compared to old fixed sights on the Colt, and not even the best fixed sights. Colt improved their New Service fixed sights in 1932. The Smith is several ounces heavier and with a slightly lighter double action pull. I was stunned. I was much faster and more accurate with the old New Service.

My test proved nothing. It certainly doesn't prove anything comparing Colt to Smith & Wesson or old vs. new. It did prove to me that my best action work does not equal the work of some unknown gunsmith whose name I'll never know.

The very best work is hand fit. There are people today capable of turning out magnificent work, but fewer of them are involved in turning out production items.
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Old July 16, 2013, 04:31 PM   #58
dahermit
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There was a real reason for being hand-fitted - because they could not replicate the same parts over and over and over again.
Nonsense! The modern machine tool had already been invented way before 1900.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_tool
If they had not been, the Colt 1911 and P-08 would have been hammered out and draw-filled by gunsmiths as were Kentucky/Pennsylvania rifles. With machine tools, they could replicate the same parts over and over again...despite who actually was credited with or adapted the concept of mass production to the process of gun making.
Quote:
I guess you never heard of Eli Whitney and his introduction of mass production relative to firearms.
Notice I never said anything about terracotta soldiers or ships.Back to your search engine.
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Sometimes you get what you pay for, sometimes you only pay more for what you get.
Three shots are not a "group"...they are a "few".

If the Bible is the literal, infallible, unerring word of God...where are all those witches I am supposed to kill?
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Old July 16, 2013, 08:16 PM   #59
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Quote:
With machine tools, they could replicate the same parts over and over again
So if they could replicate the same parts over and over again, why were all the older S&W's and Colt's hand fit? Why not just replicate a part that fit?
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Old July 16, 2013, 08:49 PM   #60
BigD_in_FL
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Quote:
I guess you never heard of Eli Whitney and his introduction of mass production relative to firearms.
Missed the other parts too, eh? Oh well. I am not going to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed person

Try again............................

Quote:
Mass production (replication of same parts) has been here a long, long time.
YOUR quote

Exactly, long before Eli.........

Gun parts were developed for mass production long before, the process of mass production - regardless of the industry was developed long before - your refusing to believe does not make it untrue

So try to keep your attacks to a minimum and the thread on topic to avoid closure
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Old July 17, 2013, 07:09 PM   #61
James K
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Hi, Dahermit,

"I guess you never heard of Eli Whitney and his introduction of mass production relative to firearms."

Yes, we have, but the fact is that there was still a lot of hand fitting involved in production. The most usual system was what was called "selective fitting." The factory made parts, say sears, which were put in a bin. The assembler took a part and tried it in the gun he was working on; if it didn't fit, he tried another one until one was found to fit properly. A skilled assembler could often tell by feel if a part was "right" even without trying it. Critical points, called "pads", were often made slightly oversize so they could be filed or stoned for the best fit. Examples are the cylinder stop on S&W's and the rebound lever cam on Colt DA's.

That basic system was used not only for small parts, but for major parts as well. The "assembly numbers" on S&W revolvers were put on before the crane was fitted to the frame and ensured that the fitted parts would be put back together after finishing. Grips were often polished down with the frame for a close fit and then also removed for final finishing; for that reason, grips were also numbered. (If an S&W of that era is examined, it will be seen that the grips are a just a bit larger than the frame; there is a tiny but distinct "edge" because the frame was given its final polish and blue after the grips were fitted.)

Winchester, in the 1960's, had a skilled worker, called the "receiver fitter/filer", whose job was making sure the receiver of the Model 70 was shaped properly and fit the stock and the magazine; he also fitted the trigger guard and the floorplate. The cost and time involved in such work was the major reason for the 1964 design changes by Winchester.

So, yes, Whitney and others did make guns with interchangeable parts in terms of the rather crude locks of the early nineteenth century. But there was still quite a bit of hand fitting required for the more precise guns of later years.

Jim
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Old July 18, 2013, 02:48 PM   #62
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I Think They Are Better

Maybe the finish isn't as finely done, but I think that modern firearms are much more reliable for the price point today than they have ever been.
You can make an argument that the buying panic has seen quality control suffer some but all in all things are better now.
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Old July 20, 2013, 07:47 PM   #63
orionengnr
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Well, I don't qualify as an expert on the level of the Old Fuff or Jim K...I'm not a young whipper-snapper, but my experience only goes back 50 years or so. And my enthusiastic participation only goes back 30 or so.

But of all the S&W revolvers I have owned, (probably 25 or so, pretty equally divided between 1970-1982 and 1996-present) there is no contest. I have divested myself of all the new ones but for one...and recently added a second.

So, as Bob Wright said...I'm thinking.
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