Stop Worrying About Whether Your Gun Is “Viable” – Accepting Obsolescence in Your Arsenal

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As we ride the shockwaves outward from the epicenter of the explosion which began in 2004 with the expiry of the Assault Weapons Ban, our community of gun owners has rapidly mutated from the set that characterized our parents and grandparent’s generations. Many good things have come out of this, including better gun safety practices, wider acceptance of different shooting styles and disciplines, and such a ubiquitous access to reliable information that shooters even a couple decades ago would weep with envy. However, at the same time I’ve seen one change that I’d rather go without: Along with acceptance of the new and different (which is good), it seems many of today’s gun owners have also adopted an insistence on the most and the best.

Today, we see civilians clad in military web gear with multi-thousand-dollar rifle setups when the closest they’ll get to needing that gear is in their neighborhood watch. We see deer hunters with “scout rifles” designed to fight UN blue helmets at 600 meters, when Bambi hardly ever strays more than half a football field away. We see an endless worrying on forums and comments sections about “what’s the best?”, when ‘the best’ would make no difference to the person asking.

All this sounds very condemnatory, but don’t get me wrong: I think it is wonderful that gun owners by and large have the option to do what they want, buy what they want, protect themselves how they want, and hunt Bambi with whatever they want. Far from wanting to take away from that, I want to add to it: I want to throw in the concept of “good enough”. The idea that if you don’t want to use the latest and greatest for whatever it is you’re doing, well that’s just fine, too.

Given the fact that the “gun community” is actually a great number of people with different kinds of behavior and thoughts and likes and dislikes, what I’m saying is a huge generalization that needs quite a bit of clarification. Since the mid/late 19th Century, most new firearms have been breechloading cartridge firing types, which are able to be quickly reloaded. A skilled shooter can reload and fire even a single shot rifle quite quickly, and the (at least theoretical) speed of a trained gunman with a six-shooter has been established since the 1870s. In fact, in 1928 – almost 40 years after the invention of the automatic pistol – gunwriter and experimenter Elmer Keith was still suggesting a single action revolver as the “ideal” general purpose handgun. However much better modern firearms are compared to these early cartridge-firing types (and they are much, much better), the older weapons are still very deadly, and quick-firing in absolute terms.

I know hunters who will insist on “nothing less” than magnum rifle rounds for hunting whitetail deer, even though some members of their grandparents’ generation would have thought a .32-20 WCF with less than a tenth the power was adequate for that game. This doesn’t mean that .32-20 is the ideal deer round any more than it means that one must use a .300 Winchester Magnum on that 8-point, but I think it illustrates how gun owners have not only evolved, but co-evolved with the marketing that sells them their guns. This isn’t a bad thing at all; blogger and product tester Andrew Tuohy once said that we reached “peak handgun” with the Glock 19, and today we have equally excellent handguns made by companies like Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Walther, H&K, and others, keeping each other honest and competitive. We’re seeing a wonderful thing here, and one that not only coexists happily with marketing, but is made possible by it. Following this, though, is some portion of the shooting world that takes marketing at face value, that accepts the hype as gospel, and as a result… Goes out and buys a .300 Remington Ultra Mag to hunt deer for the first time. This side-effect of capitalism has created – or probably more accurately fed into – a kind of gun owner who won’t settle for less than the best, regardless of how irrelevant “the best” is to him or her.

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The Glock handgun is an excellent weapon that spawned an entire generation of equally excellent new pistols to compete with it.

 

Many of these people are vocal, taking to aforementioned social media outlets like forums and comments sections to spread the word of whatever their interpretation of “the best” is, which can in higher concentrations stifle or crowd out those who don’t think the same way. As a natural consequence, we’ve seen a reaction to this “only the best” cadre, which has manifested as defensiveness on the part of those who favor those older weapons. A recent video about the host’s dislike of lever-actions by TFBTV put this defensiveness on display: Legions of lever action fans took to the comments to prove that the type was still not only relevant, but in fact the best choice for some tasks. These arguments – however valid they were – all seemed to accept the premise that these rifles needed to be the best to still do their jobs (which they have been doing for a century and a half!); an assumption that when spoken aloud seems as though it can only originate from marketing pamphlets and gunrag advertisements. Why on Earth should it matter if a certain kind of gun is “the best” at what it does to any enthusiast of the type? What is the purpose for internalizing this attitude of “the best or bust”, especially when one finds their greatest affinity in old, storied artifacts that have been steeped in a hundred or more years of history and culture?

One of the words that comes up regularly in this extended conversation about the levergun and other older kinds of firearm is “viable”, a word that has since the rise of the besters become a talking point for virtually any old firearm that still has utility. “Leverguns are still viable!” the lever fan shouts, metaphorically beating his fists against the chests of the bester mafia goon he imagines standing there, ready to take his Winchester ’94 and replace it with a cold, dark lump of aluminum and polymer that reads “BCM” on the side. “Viable” used this way is a sort of weasel word, originating from who knows what gunrag article that proclaimed the “viability” of whatever Trapdoor replica whose maker had paid for the ad space that month. Literally, the word “viable” means “feasible” or “capable of living”; in the medical field the word is used to describe a patient who is expected to survive, and in that context it doesn’t seem like the most flattering adjective to apply to a firearm. Yet, in the gun world, “viable” is used as a soft stand-in for “competitive” in conversations where the speaker feels he must prove the worth of a weapon that has existed and been used for close to or often over a century!

The answer to the question “is [insert gun here] viable?” is of course “yes”; these seasoned designs are the most time tested and proven weapons that exist today! Just because a newer weapon is – naturally – improved, doesn’t make the older weapon any less deadly than it was on the day it was invented. These questions and the thumping answers that follow them don’t seem like real statements about the weapons they concern, but rather shields against the inevitable torrent of molle-wearing, WSM-shooting besters whom many fear will show up to purge the heretics and burn anything with a wood stock in a pyre to the gods of polymer and black. But, this whole war of words is false; neither is the latest and greatest rifle “too much” for decent men, nor are the weapons of our grandfathers any less capable than they were in their day. In the march forward, we’ve made such awesome progress, but in some ways we’ve also left behind what our fathers knew: That “good enough” is more than enough. Let’s hear, just a little bit, the words of the snaplock-armed Mongolian hunter:

Our fathers and grandfathers did not know caplock guns, but they shot more game than we ever could; thus, it would not be appropriate to acquire what we are not accustomed to, and what we are not good enough for.

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Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Don Ward

    Rather than “viable” I would argue that there are niches where certain guns can still perform.

    On the whole I agree with most of the column.

  • Kevin Harron

    Many people overlook the basic fact that a gun is a tool for applying force at long range. Many tools will do that job, to a greater or lesser degree. Some tools are more efficient at the job at a given point in space and time. Or to summarize, if you need a gun, then the gun you have and can lay hands on is better than a newest and greatest gun that you cannot get or afford. So if you have to hunt for the pot, and all you have is a black powder rifle, then you use what is available. Any gun is better than no gun. And a bow and arrow is better than nothing. Barring that a spear… etc.

    • Don Ward

      Indeed. And with firearms, there are so many variables as to what niches it will serve. And this is offset by the cost of a weapon. Sure you can spend two or three grand on the latest SCAR but if you only have $200 perhaps that used Winchester 94 Ranger 30-30 in the bargain barrel is a more rational choice.

      • Paul White

        If you find a functional 200 dollar Winchester 94, CALL ME!

        • Bob

          Yes, me too.

        • Don Ward

          Winchester Model 94 Rangers aren’t that much money. Key word is the “Ranger”. These are the 1980s deals that you saw at Big 5 and other retailers. I know, it’s my first rifle. I’m not talking pre-64 stuff here guys.

          • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Ranger for sale that was under $400.

    • Mark K

      Well said. Material or design improvements are noteworthy. Does a polimer stock work better than a laminated or wood stock? It will wear less, it will affect the hadlindling of the firearm to a degree, and may be taken over longer distances with less fatigue to the user. Can a good gunsmith bed a wood rifle to be as accurate – sure can.

      The Mauser 98 action is a high-water mark. A Merkel straight pull bolt action, in the right hands, however, might bag more boars in a given time all other things being equal. The 98 was both viable as a military and sporting action of the last century.

      Did the MG34’s design not help the cause of the Wehrmacht? Yet, it was replaced by the MG42/MG3…things evolve. The MG34 was too costly – no longer “viable”. Same goes for the Thompson and M3 submachine-guns.

      Intended purpose at a given point in time – you can make that determination all by yourself.

      • Kivaari

        The 34 was made through the end of the war. Like the Soviets and M1895 revolvers.

        • Mark K

          The MG34 was not made after 1943 by top tier manufacturers; Waffenwerke Brünn kept production going, yes.

  • iksnilol

    Yeah, I’ll stick with the best and most efficent.

    Now where’d I leave that Krag?

    • Iggy

      What!?!? And risk all those moving parts?

      • iksnilol

        I was being serious y’know, the Krag is probably the best balance of all factors… if you’re using a Scandiavian Krag, American Krags can… they can go to a not very nice place.

        • Iggy

          I don’t actually know enough about Krags to comment, but I’ll take your word for it.
          Also I can’t comment on practical firearms, I’m still hoping someone’ll do a modern reproduction of a Martini-Henry in a readily available cartridge. I feel like that would have a niche, for what I don’t know though.

          • iksnilol

            It’s the pinnacle of firearms development. I mean, fires rapidly, yet not so rapidly so as to overheat the barrel. Is simple, accurate, well balanced. Low pressure cartridge makes reloading nice.

            Basically, screw AKs and M4s, go with a 6.5mm Krag.

            Martini-Henry has been made in .303 British, so getting one of those and rebarreling to 7.62x54mmR shouldn’t be too hard.

          • Iggy

            Yeah but I don’t want an original, because I kinda want to try stuff like put a scope mount on it, and that would simply feel dirty with a classic.

          • iksnilol

            Find one that’s been bubbaed. Shouldn’t be too hard, especially with all the ones converted to shotguns.

          • marathag

            Use a long brass tube scope for that ‘acceptable’ steampunk look.

          • LG

            The Swiss and some Bavarian specialty shops fabricated Martini type action for free style competition shooting into the 1930s. Many times the Swiss with these whipped our American butts and heavily modified 1903 Springfields in international free style competition.

          • iksnilol

            That’s what you get for using a magazine weapon in free style competition.

        • David B

          I always understood that all krags (American and Scandinavian) were considered good rifles. The only real difference between them that I had heard was that since the American used a rimmed cartridge it could jam if not loaded correctly. But that is all just what I’ve heard, since I’ve never owned either I’m sure there’s something I don’t know about them.

          • iksnilol

            Also the American Krag has less durable mechanism. It doesn’t have the safety lug that the original ones have.

          • David B

            Well, there’s something I didn’t know. For the Scandinavian Krags, is the action as strong as a m96 mauser? Since they are both shooting the same 6.5×55.

          • iksnilol

            That I can’t answer entirely. Some say yay, some say nay.

            Safest bet is to shoot modern ammo in neither.

          • David B

            Seems reasonable

          • iksnilol

            Especially if you use the modern 6.5 SCAN loadings. I wouldn’t feel safe with them in an old gun. Something modern like a Sauer or Sako should handle them just fine.

          • gusto

            NORMA still does their load developments with m96 actions
            they don’t sell a load that isn’t safe in a m96

            sure you can handload something too hot, but such a loading would probably blow up any modern rifle to

          • iksnilol

            Eh, I’d still be wary of going with a full blood load in a 100 year old rifle.

          • ostiariusalpha

            No, Norma and Lapua specifically recommend not using 6.5 SKAN in either Krags or old Mausers. The SKAN is dimensionally similar to 6.5×55 Mauser, but they’re are not the same, and definitely shouldn’t be treated the same. I would compare them to .38 Special and .357 Magnum.

          • gusto

            and that contradicts my statement how?

            NORMA one of the two ammomakers in my and iksnilols neck of the woods does not sell SKAN, their loads are fine even for m96s and krags

          • ostiariusalpha

            If you want to shoot Diamond Line Fält out of your Mauser, that’s up to you. Don’t go crying to anyone when your lugs crack.

          • iksnilol

            I dunno, the loading data of my club specifies “6.5mm SCAN” from Norma.

          • AK

            A 96 Mauser in good condition is entirely capable of withstanding any CIP loading available on the market. They are really strong actions. I would be more worried (but not much) with a Ljungman, for example.

          • LG

            No. All the Krags have only one main locking lug. The Scandanavian ones have a “safety” lug that the U.S. Krag did not. No Krag action is as strong as a Mauser 93 or 96.

        • LG

          I agree. The Krag has the smoothest bolt ever fabricated. The magazine can be topped off at any time with the weapon still in firing battery. The rifles are long but the carbines are great. The 30 US Army, 30-40 Krag to you young folks, is a splendid mild cartridge that hand loads very easily with cast slugs. The early barrels may not be up to specs in bore diameter, so slug it before reloading. The trigger can be improved with the insertion of a ground piece oh hacksaw blade to limit travel.

          • iksnilol

            That’s nice and all, but try to get an original one. The American ones are simply unsafe in my eyes (only one locking lug? WTF?)

          • LG

            They are very safe if in good shape and loaded within reason. They are sweet cast bullet shooters. If you do not shoot a good one, especially the carbine, you are missing out on a lot of shooting pleasure.

          • iksnilol

            I’d like to try one, though I do feel the Americans did handicap the rifle what with deleting a locking lug and going with .30-40.

            Still, would be fun to try. Can’t though, I doubt there’s any of them in Norway.

          • LG

            Yes, the Mauser would have been a much better choice. But hidebound Army Ordnance insisted upon a magazine cut off and a rimed cartridge. With those limitations the Krag wins by default.

          • iksnilol

            Scandiavian Krags have two lugs. You have the lug itself, and then you have the guide rib. On American Krags there is supposed to be clearance between the receiver and guide rib.

            The bolt handle itself is a safety lug in addition.

          • LG

            The guide rib is not really a primary locking lug. It really does not come into play until the primary lug fails or is set back with deformation.

          • roguetechie

            Lol one of the reasons you listed is why I’d love to see a couple models of improved Johnson rifles built.

            With the helical magazine you could top them off while the gun is in battery.

            I could easily see it making a very good single gun solution for people that hunt a variety of game in a variety of locales with a variety of magazine capacity and caliber restrictions.

            A few relatively minor improvements and tweaks could actually make it a pretty fantastic gun that when made with modern materials and technologies could really be quite competitive.

          • LG

            The Johnson’s major shortcoming is that too much of the fire control group is supported by the wooden stock. This could be easily corrected.

          • roguetechie

            Well to be fair it already was… See daisy Mae the third aka the Johnson auto carbine. Which BTW daisy Mae and possibly a few others were loaned to US soldiers who took them into battle during WW2.

            like you said though, even a traditional stocked variant fitted in a modern alloy and polymer chassis could be made. Or you could just slightly alter the design.

            Also with modern materials and some design tweaking the design could actually have quite a bit of weight cut while actually helping with underlying reliability issues.

          • iksnilol

            Just make a box around the trigger to make a trigger pack? Or use a synthetic stock

      • marathag

        But note wearing of armor.
        Handy when those 1st gen, hammer welded iron tubes exploded on firing.

      • Major Tom

        Why are risking that much self-harm? Bow and arrow my friend. A compact recurve should handle most of what you’d ever shoot at.

        And it’s quieter than any suppressor.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Bah, bowstrings can snap and scraping the inside of your forearm all to hell is a frequent occurrence for newbies. Better to just stick with the ol’ spearthrower, you get all the reliability of throwing a sharp stick with your hand, but with more force and distance; plus if you run out of spears, an atlatl makes a fine war club.

          • Major Tom

            So therefore just stick to throwing rocks? I mean it’s not like you can run out of rocks.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Yes, you can be in a spot where there are no useable rocks; most places are like that, actually. But if all you can find are rocks, then you can certainly use a spearthrower to chuck them by attaching a leather strap to it and turning it into a sling. This also gives you a the bonus of a larger selection of rocks that can be used as effective projectiles.

          • Bill

            Ive embarrassed myself severely with both bows and atlatls. It looks so easy on TV.

    • oldman

      Try looking behind the bedroom door.

    • 40mmCattleDog

      The first bolt gun action i ever cycled was my uncles 1894 norwegian Krag when i was 14. Maybe it was just the uncontainable excitment to shoot a full powered rifle for the first time, but i swear i have NEVER felt a smoother or more buttery action than that rifle. Literally one of those moments that gets etched in your mind forever. I guess i was spoiled on bolt guns from the get go, but nothing feels as good as that gun did to me.

      • iksnilol

        The Krag’s secret is, yes, it is really that good.

        • 40mmCattleDog

          Yes i definitely had a moment with that gun, I think ill try to buy it off of him in a year or two, he is getting up there in age and has teased me with selling it one day. Unfortunately, try going from that to your next bolt gun fired being a wartime 1943 91/30. I literally wanted to throw the mosin at the target. Glad I skipped the whole “MOSIN IS BEST” phase and didn’t waste my money when i finally had enough to buy my first rifle.

          • iksnilol

            true, Mosin isn’t best.

            Though a solid contender for the title. 😉

  • gusto

    Fail, the whole article tries to quash a beef by claiming to be the reasonable part but lacks alot.

    “Just because a newer weapon is – naturally – better”
    nothing to back that up, over generalization/simplification

    Accuracy wise you still cannot build a rifle more accurate than a bolt, it is mechanically impossible
    moneywise a 400dollar new boltgun outshoots a 400dollar semi to a stupid extent

    craftmanshipswise we see it all the time, people talk about pre 64 win70s, pre-remlin marlins etc etc. companies cutting costs to make a buck equals lesser guns.
    and some of the cheaper ones are great, and shoot great, but not go to war or go hunt waterbuffalo great

    calibre wise the author might be correct, there are harder shooting, flatter shooting guns out today that they could only dream of 100 years ago, (if we don’t count 6,5×55 the perfect round)

    but construction wise? if you want the ultimate repeater-rifle today you still build a mauser 98

    • Thomas Lawrence

      To a degree, I agree. But take that 98 to a fight in the hallway of an apartment building? See what I mean? “My classic 67 Camaro makes your hot rod GMC truck look like sh*t” “Well, it didn*t look like sh*t when you called me needing help hauling your mom’s refrigerator”
      They are all tools. Fun tools, but tools nonetheless. A hammer is not very effective at loosening bolts. A rifle is not as effective as a concealed carried Charter Bulldog, when the guy in front of you at the grocery store decides to rob it. The Bulldog is not very effective when you see a 10 point buck at 115yds.

      • Paul White

        I can be a tool, and I’m pretty effective at a lot of task…

      • DataMatters

        Charter Bulldog. Just…no.

    • Who said that “newer weapon” couldn’t mean a modern bolt action?

      • gusto

        and yet to come close to the same quality as a mauser 98 or a close derivitive you gotta pay…

        a newly made mauser98 from mauser is what ? 20gs?

        Many modern rifles are worse, just look how people search for pre 64 win70s…

        they didn’t change boltactions to make them better, just cheaper to produce in most cases

        some new features are nifty but do complicate rifles more

        sure if you let a gunsmith today build a rifle and use x-amount of hours and did the same back in 1920, no expenses withheld, todays would probably shot better

        But firms like H&H still build rifles today to the standards of a hundred years ago, not better and not worse, they had reached perfection because the demands were the same. some of those “tools” are still in use, you hardly find a 30 year old car in everyday use today…

        • Yeah, but you can get a gun that shoots twice as good as an old Mauser today for just a few hundred dollars brand new. So it sounds to me like modern bolt actions are hugely more cost effective than older models (if maybe lacking in class). Sounds like an “improvement” to me.

        • Goody

          Modern, high quality control round feed actions abound. Montana, Winchester, Ruger among others.

  • John L.

    It’s much simpler to simply do a little research, make your choice, and simply *not* *care* what keyboard commandos and range-day Rambos think of your selection.

    They didn’t buy it, they don’t need to use it, you did and do. The same goes in reverse; if someone wants the latest chrome-fiber polysteel trigger pins with titanium sights, and can afford it, well, that’s the lovely thing about living in a capitalist republic – they can have it if they can afford it, whether you think it’s silly or lustworthy.

    This whole discussion really brings me back to grade school when we argued whether the Batman or NASA lunchbox was better.

  • Wolfgar

    The WW1, WW2 and Korean war era generations used what worked and what was available. The Winchester 94 was a light weight, fast handling deer rifle for it’s intended range. To claim it sucks shows the ignorance of how it was and is still used. Getting game with every shot was the goal. Like today, people had their preference in firearms but results talked and tended to end debates on the subject. Ammo was an expensive commodity and wasting ammo was a big taboo. Shooting 50 to 100,000 rounds per year for a sport would have been considered insane. Filling the freezer and canning jars was the goal of most gun owners back in the day and paying thousands of dollars for a trophy head hunt would have been considered foolish except for the uber rich. Self defense, survivalist, and Practical shooting are new endeavors which have created the evolution of thinking in today’s gun buying mentality. Watching young men on You tube decked out in the latest tact cool gear and weapons in their parents basement says it all. Great article Nathaniel and very true.

    • DataMatters

      I still think most people waste ammunition. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen guys just blasting away into dirt without any targets set up, without any training plan, or any idea about what they are doing. I always say fireworks would have been a cheaper option. I own AR-15s, a FAL, and other military type rifles. I can count on one hand the number of times I completely filled a 20rnd mag at the range. I know, I’m lame. And I’m not advocating for mag bans, far from it. It’s just that after 15 rounds or so, it is quite boring to keep firing away. It serves no purpose. You should be able to buy whatever you want. I just don’t get the “blasting away” behavior. It’s mouth-breather territory. The whole point is shooting with precision because pretty much nobody is going to need suppressive fire outside of a full-on civil war.

      I think what the gun owning community needs the most is not more guns and ammo but more brains.

      • iksnilol

        Um, talk for yourself, I need more ammo.

  • PK

    This reminds me of my go-to deer rifle… 1871 receiver and most parts, with the barrel being replaced in 1874 and magazine added in 1888.

    • iksnilol

      What rifle is it?

      • PK

        M1871 Beaumont with the 1888 Vitali magazine added.

        • iksnilol

          Ho boy, now that’s an interesting albeit ancient piece.

          • PK

            It works, and hits about like a .45-70. Can’t really complain about that, and it’s not considered a firearm Federally in the USA due to age so it’s easy to bring where I need, even restricted states.

          • FarmerB

            Yeah, but is it viable?

          • bobfairlane

            As long as you can get ammo for it, and eventually, parts.

          • PK

            Ammo is something I load, I made a mold ages ago that drops a 335gr bullet, and it’s black powder or a very gentle pressure curve smokeless load I worked up, but usually black powder.

            Parts… no. If I need it, I need to make it. Luckily it’s all dead-simple stuff. The mainspring is a giant leaf spring hidden inside the two-part bolt body, it comes apart like a Madsen SMG. Really odd construction but it works.

          • Ondřej Tůma

            Wouldn’t it be possible to devise high-reloading-endurance brass with thicker walls? It might save a lot of money in the long term.

            I know about a guy who makes pistol-caliber brass by shortening rifle brass on a rifle; couldn’t remember which calibers to which, but thanks to the vastly different design pressures, he says the ex-rifle brass could be reloaded several dozen times without any changes to the dimensions.

            Alternatively, maybe you could order thick-walled brass made from scratch and still save in the long term…?

          • Kivaari

            Necks fail and they can’t be made thicker. Head separation is also an issue in many of these old rimmed rounds.

          • Ondřej Tůma

            Well, since the owner is already casting his bullets, it would be possible to strengthen the neck and modify the die accordingly, although I agree that it would mean going to great lengths to achieve all this.

          • PK

            Exactly, and frankly, I haven’t found it worthwhile. I have yet to have more than one piece of brass fail past reuse, and I had loaded it perhaps a hundred times at that point. With such low pressure rounds and brass used in only one rifle, reloading is a snap.

          • Only if he used a heeled bullet design. But that makes for wonky performance.

          • PK

            That changes internal capacity, thus, internal ballistics. Not a good idea to mess with that in older guns due to strength issues.

          • Ondřej Tůma

            The author said he’s already using carefully selected nitrocellulose powders instead of black powder; hence I believe he has the skills to safely use brass with different internal volume

          • PK

            “The author” is me. It’s not safe.

          • iksnilol

            Hmm, something like .45 super made from .308 or .30-06 brass?

          • Bindun.

          • iksnilol

            It works? Could I go a step further and make .45 ACP brass as well? I mean, .45 super is basically the same just higher pressure.

          • I recall seeing some, but I have no idea how well it worked or where the thread would be. However, I could link to a thread of 45ACP shotshels formed from 308 win brass. Also some of those are extra long because you can get away with the length in 45ACP revolvers.

          • Kivaari

            It is how the .451 Detonics brass was made. You could buy factory brass or create your own from .308. The heavy web allowed higher pressures without the blow outs so common on over charged .45 acp. It was shortened and reamed. leaving thin case walls but a thick web.

          • iksnilol

            Is it worth it if I just intend to use .45 ACP? I mean the effort expended to make the brass (cut down, then ream).

          • Kivaari

            Not at all. If you shoot recommended loads there is no need to make the heavy duty brass. .45 ACP at normal pressures will last for a very long time. This HD brass is for people trying to turn a M1911 into some kind of magnum.

          • iksnilol

            Figures, was just thinking that it could make .45 acp somewhat economical. Get the heavy duty brass from free .30-06 cases, load for a long while due to low pressures.

          • Kivaari

            It would last forever – but so does regular .45 brass. Moderate loads in the .45 gives years of use with very few failures. Eventually there will be some neck splits, but that happens to everything. Making the .45 into a magnum is a bad idea.

          • iksnilol

            a .45 magnum is a bad idea?

            huh

            You’re a pretty sane guy, you know that?

          • Kivaari

            The specialty dies needed for converting .30-06 or .308 brass into HD .45 costs a great deal. For the cost of dies and reamers you could buy thousands of pieces of factory brass.

          • Swarf

            That’s all really good stuff, PK. Got any more pictures?

          • PK

            I only have inventory-style pictures handy other than that joke one, but here you go: it’s a loooooong rifle, but remarkably handy and light as far as it feels. About 10lbs loaded, but the weight is all seemingly between the hands and it points very well.

            For reference, it’s pictured next to one of my M1869/71 Vetterli rifles.

          • PK

            Oh no, I haven’t stopped to worry about viability!

  • Martin Grønsdal

    no 11th Sept post on this sad day?

    • Sgt. Stedenko

      The only thing sad is our government continues to lie and hide the truth.

      • DrewN

        About what exactly, except getting played like a whole village of rubes at the carnival?

        • Bob

          Is there anything they don’t lie about in some way or another?

    • Sgt. Stedenko

      Keep drinking the kool aid

    • Paul White

      honestly? Hell withh that. I will never forget that day; I don’t need a mid level firearm blog trying to remind me of it.

      • somethingclever

        It’s not a mid-level firearm blog, sir. It’s a “viable” firearm blog.

  • marathag

    Does your weapon fire cartridges you can buy at Walmart?

    It’s not obsolete.

    • Major Tom

      Wal-Mart has extremely poor selection and availability of ammunition. They have a spot marked for 7.62x54R ammunition, but there’s never any there. (Meanwhile they have like 15 spots for .223 and……there’s still never any there.)

      • Porty1119

        You must have a bad Walmart. Unless it’s obscure, .22LR, or .22MAG, mine has it consistently.

        • Major Tom

          It’s Colorado. Ever since that diarrhea for brains did up Aurora, the Wal-Marts here have been extremely negligent and uncaring about their firearms (and outdoors in general) department. About the only stuff they consistently have in stock is some 9mm Luger, .45 ACP, and every now and then some Tula Ammo 7.62 Soviet for AK and SKS pattern rifles.

          Meanwhile all the dedicated gun and sporting goods shops and Big R (farming, ranching and various rural supply) have all been keeping on top of things extremely well. Always stocked, many have great variety, and in the case of Big R, if they don’t carry it they can find it and order it for ya.

          • Porty1119

            That sucks. We even get .300 Blackout on shelves, lots of Hornady premium defensive ammo, a vast variety of hunting ammunition in everything from .30-30 to .300WM, and more shotshells than you can shake a stick at.

            Just no .22. Haven’t seen any for months; they finally took down all the labelled spots for it. .17HMR is a different story, but it doesn’t sell.

          • DataMatters

            These mass shootings are the only crimes in the US where the entirety of the public is blamed for the acts of a single deranged killer. They don’t blame all car owners when someone runs over people.

  • derfelcadarn

    I keep a number of blunt trauma weapons available around the house,along with more modern means of defense. Are these weapons primitive ? Yes. Are they viable ? Extremely ! Never allow the mind set that you are vulnerable manifest in you, it is a guarantee of losing the fight.

  • Elvis

    AK owners, take note.

  • Sgt. Stedenko

    Yeah,
    I’ll keep my Colt, SIG and STI 1911’s for now.
    They hold their value and each can be traded for several plastic guns if needed.
    Let me know how those plastic pistols hold their value 100 years after purchase.

  • Isaac Newton

    I think the “which is better debate” is inevitable. Firearms are unlike other products; new firearm designs don’t necessarily phase out the old. I can’t imagine buying a new car that uses a design from 1911, but I can a firearm. Add to this the cultural role these simple machines (firearms) play and how long the actual machines remain functional if properly maintained.

    • Bill

      Yeah, sort of. New cars still carry old design elements, like steering wheels. And that pistol from 1911 has been through design refreshes and tweaks over the years.

      • Isaac Newton

        If you break all compound machines down to their simple machines (elements) you cold argue there are no new machines. I think Browning would recognize his design in a gun store today, Ford would have a hard time.

        • Bill

          Maybe, but it’s still 4 wheels and typically an engine up front; there are still Model As and Ts running around. But you’re right, there aren’t many new machines, short of a Hadron Collider

      • Sgt. Stedenko

        Lemme know when the tweaks and refreshes causes the slide to fall off inadvertently.

        • Bill

          In all fairness, the collet barrel bushing wasnt so hot.

    • Cymond

      Additionally, most firearm purchases are significantly expensive and spent with discretionary income, so people agonize over every detail.

      Simply put, they want to maximize the bang for their buck.

  • Bill

    What’s obsolete mean? I did far more HSLD stuff in my younger years with a 686 nearly identical to the one pictured than I do now when I carry a polymer .40, and I wouldn’t hesitate to switch back.

    • Tassiebush

      What does HSLD stand for?

      • Swarf

        High Speed, Low Drag.

        Operatorgasm speak.

      • Bill

        High Speed Low Drag: it’s an Americanism for ninja/swat/special operator shenanigans. I used a 6-inch 686 when serving warrants and kicking down doors, something I now leave to the younger pups.

        • Tassiebush

          Thanks for that. I had heard the terms but was flummoxed by it in acronym form. That sounds like a nerve wracking task! I’d imagine a huge part is having the element of surprise to reduce the risk or is a warrant served first?

  • Doubling down on the anti-lever article…
    Hilarious.

    • somethingclever

      Especially considering that many of the posters who used the word “viable” used it in the very sense he mentions. That is, in a world of whizbangs, the lever action is still feasible. That is the opposite of a weasel word. If someone said, “could you win a gunfight with a lever action” and I said “it’s feasible”, I would be giving a full and honest answer to the question.

      • Paul White

        The funny part is that the reason so many of us took some umbrage at the lever action video is that it totally neglected all the points made here.

        Is it the *best* at much? Hell no, not anymore. Is it more than good enough for 99% of us? Uh, yes.

        If my 1892 with 12 rounds of 357 isn’t enough to get me out of a nasty situation I’m not sure an AR would make that much different ya know? Although it’d be way far down for hunting around here in the high plains, due to rang elimitations

  • TC

    Are you getting paid by the word now?

    • PK

      What a jerky thing to say.

  • Will

    It’s not so much WHAT you shoot but how WELL you shoot what you have.
    Practice, train, practice, train……….

  • DIR911911 .

    if it gets the job done , then obsolete is just a word. with that in mind I can gladly dispose of any obsolete firearms anyone feels they don’t need laying around 🙂

  • Gary Foster

    Well said. I’m buying a S&W revolver this fall and not an AR15. It makes sense to me. There is too much “tactical” this and “tactical” that with people who could not run one block. We lost a lot when this happened. I’m not knocking AR15’s at all. If you want one get one. Guns are fun for me. I intend to keep it that way. Oh yes, I’m prepared well enough for the SHTF if and when it comes.

  • Sean

    Love it! I’m a big fan of wheel guns and I get so sick of the tacticool crowd insisting they’re worthless in the modern era. It only seems to go one way, with hardcore tactical enthusiasts mocking revolver carriers as old-fashioned and basically unarmed.

    You’re free to carry whatever you want but revolvers are totally reliable, have crazy low maintenance, powerful rounds, multiple calibers per gun (.38/.357, .44 sp/.44 mag), can be fired point blank without jamming, and are safety free but totally safe. That sounds pretty useful to me. I’ll use an “inferior” gun all day if it does what I want it to do: it’s more than viable for most people.

  • schizuki

    Just picked up a .357 Ruger Service Six. I feel quite secure with it.

  • Bub

    Well said. I wear cargo pants and polo shirts on a daily bases. Awhile back I went to a training class wearing what I do daily and was the most underdressed dude there. If you got it shot it.

  • Spencerhut

    Any gun will do, if you will.

  • Thomas Lawrence

    Absolutely agreed! Folks who visit my mancave immediately zoom in on the interceptor vests, MSR and AK items, and say, I know where I am coming if SHTF! They neglect to note the ones I actually shoot the most, The levers, the revolvers, the 1911s, the 22s. Why? because they are fun. Why drive a 58 chevy lowrider truck with a tricked out carbuerated v8? Why talk on a HAM radio when a smart phone is in my pocket? Cuz it’s fun. Cuz it’s cool. And why do I have to explain my hobbies anyway?

    • Goody

      If SHTF, 22lr is all you need.

  • Thomas Lawrence

    Just read Isaac Newton’s post below, and this touches on the underlying issues that drive the “best” thought process. But also consider that the driving force of so many gun pundits, is not necessarily a quest for the best. For many of them, it is a job. Thus, when they get handed the latest greatest bolt action, a design that is anything but new, they are forced to wax poetically over the virtues of a 62 degree lift over a 74 degree lift of the bolt that last year’s otherwise identical model had. If they do not, they will not be handed next years model with plastic stocks and a 58 degree bolt lift. Worst of all, they may find themselves covering high school football for a local paper (if that is not already their 9-5 job). They are forced to take other pundits to task, or they fade away to the ranks of the “also rans”. Does that mean they loathe and disdain that pundit, or the manufacturer’s products that compete with the product he is testing and making a living and or reputation writing about? If you believe that, you likely are an avid reader of the Enquirer, and shame on you!

  • ORCON

    BUT YOU CANT CHRIS KYLE WITH A WHEEL GUNAAA! I CHRIS KYLED WITH MY SUPPRRRR SNIPERZZZZ RIFFLEZ. SO SNIPERR! I GOT 511 CLOTHES FOR MAKING ME SOOOOO SNIPPPEEERZ. I BUY VARGET AND SMK FOR MAKING ME SNIPPEERRZ ON THE RANGE! SOOOOO SNIPER!

    -sayeth the tactard

    I’m glad that there’s a huge interest in all things firearms nowadays but this hollywood tacticool nonsense needs to GTFO. And to answer every “bester” question out there: the best what ever you want it to be, what ever you are most comfortable and proficient with.

  • Swarf

    I don’t hunt (although I’d like to learn) so all my guns are “viable” for what they where bought for: targets, clays, home defense, self defense, or some combination of the those.

    • Swarf

      Subset: some of them look cool/are cool, some of them look like fascinating machines and are, some of them look like purpose-built tools and are.

      Or some combination of those, too.

  • Sid Collins

    I plan to purchase a pair of Walker Colts when I get back to the US. A pair because that is what Josey Wales carried. Even though he killed CPT Redlegs with a saber. Any who, a friend has begun black powder shooting and I have really enjoyed shooting with him.

  • The_Champ

    Meh, to each their own. Most of my long guns date to WWI and WWII because their designs and history interest me and they are fun to shoot.

    The few “modern” long guns I own really aren’t that new. How many years old is the AR design now? As old or older than my “modern” Remington 870 I think.

    My newest rifle design is a Steyr Pro Hunter I suppose, but really as lovely a rifle as it is, it doesn’t do much that a nice Mauser 98 wouldn’t do.

    If the tacticool crowd want to gear up with the latest and greatest all the power to them, I hope they have fun, and I will laugh at their silliness when appropriate 😊

    • DataMatters

      What most people fail to realize is how old all current rifle and pistol technology is. Yes, polymer and aluminum are recent innovations, but there’s barely anything that is revolutionary or new since John Browning. Would be gun banners should know that semi-automatic is a 100 year old technology! They would have us think that these new baby killer death assault weapons of war just hit the scene. But it’s just another one of their many lies.

  • Roy G Bunting

    The design purpose of the “scout rifle” is to be the general purpose rifle you seem to talking about in this article. Its specifically not a magnum combat long range specialized gun, it’s supposed to be the only center-fire rifle you need for any reasonable task in North America (the chambering isn’t quite up to the task of dangerous game hunting in Africa). I think the gun the Author may have been thinking of in regards to “shooting blue helmets at 600 yards”, would be things like the Ruger precision rifle and the various 338 tactical rifles that are on the market.

    As for the rest, rule one is “have a gun”. If you prefer lever guns, single shots, shotguns, revolvers or the latest tactical craze, you’ll probably be alright if you don’t kill yourself with it. People playing dress up with the latest MOLLE stuff are fine until they start taking there Fallujah-ready gear to the streets and Walmarts of the country or go around pointing guns at cops because some jerk doesn’t want to pay grazing fees.

    Fact is guns are durable goods. Almost all gun sales go to people who already have a gun. If we only loved the guns we have, the gun industry would go bankrupt in a year, leaving Glock and Smith and Wesson selling guns to the police and Remington selling the occasional rifle and shotgun. Instead our fear of bans and confiscation drive sales of more and more improbable guns and accessories, marketing has is chasing the latest Loudenboomer cartridge and brands like Tactical Taylor and Blackhawk have gone from selling to a niche of soldiers to being pillars of the gear community.

    And I’m no different. I’ve got a safe full of rifles that are pretty much the same and a list of several I’d like to add, a pile of pistols and yet I was just window shopping for a CZ, because it’s cool. I’ve got a closet full of MOLLE that might see the paintball or airsoft field, but is pretty useless otherwise.

    Buy what you like, love the guns you love, don’t be a jerk and make the rest of us look like we’re going to be our own military. And remember that our gun culture is a facade to keep the gun and accessories industry running.

  • disqus_sgMcKYCZZ3

    I think this applies to other related hobbies as well. The tactical folder vs a traditional folder. Does the average guy need a knife thats *overbuilt* to the point of being a sharpened prybar in a steel he cant maintain the edge on that costs $200+? If you want it cause its cool, go for it. But, be honest with yourself about it. Yes, Id love a carbine, but my 870 20 inch barrel is gonna work just as well for what I really need a long gun for. It gets worse with CCW when I got guys telling me what to carry and how much ammo.

    • Paul White

      I mean if you aren’t carrying a full sized 15+1 or better and 2 spare mag sand *at least* one back up gun then YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!

      • roguetechie

        Pffft ONE backup?

        God gave you two ankles for a reason man f*** joint mobility they make boot holsters for Taurus judge’s I’m sure!!!

        • Paul White

          don’t forget under the shoulder. and one in each pants pocket. If you don’t have *at least* a half dozen pistols on you at all times you’re just asking for ISIS to invade your city!

          • George

            …and two or three full sized Uzi submachineguns.

            When I was much younger I was once the demonstration dummy for a CC class to LE. Loaded to the clinking limit…

          • roguetechie

            That’s the spirit but why go halfway? Why not a .458 socom or .338 whisper SBR with 8 inch barrel and a qd solid inconel 7 inch can dummied up as a can of rock star with dummy thread protector and muzzle caps designed to look like the top and bottom pieces of the rock star can, a shorty 3 inch buffer tube with custom Ak under folder stock….

            Of course under your tasteful and TOTALLY normal looking 96 pocket concealment jacket.

            P.S: you forget the $600 throwing tomahawk

            P.p.s: honestly I really do kinda want that integrally suppressed short buffer 300 blackout AR with custom under folding stock that made the rounds awhile back… That thing is awesome

  • Paul White

    I’d argue what rankled a lot of folks about your lever action video was that it entirely missed the point you argued for here; they may not be *ideal* but they are more than adequate for most stuff

    • I thought the point of that video was that Alex doesn’t like them, which doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me. I don’t like most lever actions, either.

      • Porty1119

        I could fill a very large gun safe with things Alex doesn’t like.

        • Sure, but then you’d have a safe full of nothing but Tauruses, Ring of Fire guns, H. Schmidt revolvers, All-American 2000s, S&W 61s, new Remington R51s, probably an ARAK-21 or two, and oh yeah, I guess maybe a couple of Rossi leverguns…

          • roguetechie

            Can I have one of the all American 2000’s?

            Please?

            Alex has lots of guns, he won’t miss just one…

            On a serious note I’d love to have a Colt OWS pistol too because I’m kind of obsessed with the whole rotating barrel locking mechanism.

            If I could I’d gather up as many of the various rotating barrel pistols I could including the ones from China and Russia.

          • somethingclever

            You forgot the CZ Scorpion.

          • Oh yeah, good point.

          • jamezb

            Hot dog, I could make a fortune off all that crap!

      • Don Ward

        The point of Alex’s video is he said that lever actions “really, really suck”. Which they don’t.

  • Cymond

    Your headline is misleading and somewhat counter to the article. The headline implies that our guns do not need to be viable. I was originally going to point out that even obsolete guns are still viable, still “good enough”.

  • John

    Is it reliable and accurate? Does it have the capacity and firepower to accomplish what I need done?

    If the answer is yes to both, it’s fine for me, regardless of its age.

    My favorite piece is from 1989 and I wouldn’t change a thing on it.

  • EyemNotFree

    We need more gun control. Deluded psychopaths hallucinating angels and ghosts need to have their arsenals confiscated.

    • somethingclever

      Troll: 0/10

    • Bob

      OK. Given how many actually do that, I say I agree with you, though I suspect you are implying that most here fall into that category.

  • Paladin

    I think the root of the conflict is people becoming emotionally invested in their tools, on both sides, and then trying to “prove” the objective value of their subjective decision.

    There are, to my mind, two aspects of gun ownership. The first owns a firearm as a tool, there is a specific task or set of tasks in mind, and the tool should be selected to best complete those tasks within the given constraints such as size, weight, cost, legality, and ergonomics. The second is, for lack of a better term, infatuated with the firearm itself, or what it represents.

    I should note here that I am neither promoting nor condemning on either side, merely noting the contrast. Both have their time and place, but should be recognized for what they are.

    The problem arises when people select a firearm based on their own subjective criteria, then try to rationalize the decision, in essence trying to find evidence to support their desired conclusion, rather than reaching the conclusion through the evidence.

    There’s nothing wrong with buying a gun just because you like it. Guns don’t always have to be practical. “Fun” is a perfectly valid reason to choose one firearm over another, but choosing a firearm for such subjective merits should be done in full recognizance of the fact that by doing so you may be sacrificing performance in some areas, and that so long as the firearm can still adequately fulfill it’s desired role that that’s okay.

    It should also, however, be noted that certain roles (particularly defensive roles) are critical, and failure of a firearm to perform in these roles can be quite literally a life and death matter. It would be unwise to select a firearm for such a role based on anything other than rational performance based criteria.

  • Porty1119

    Let’s be realistic: 99% of firearms-related needs can be tackled with a .38 revolver and a pump shotgun, maybe tacking on a centerfire rifle in some circumstances. Anything on top of that is great to have, but probably won’t make the difference between life and death. Practice and the ability to use what you’ve got make that difference.

    • DataMatters

      I think we have been subject to over-marketing. This is especially true for police agencies.

  • Hoplopfheil

    What you’re saying is that the only reason to buy something other than a GLOCK 19 is for emotional reasons?

    I think I get that. 🙂

  • EgregiousCharles

    Good article. Good enough is good enough.

  • st4

    Phased plasma rifle > da Uzi 9 milla-meetuh

  • All of the above

    It wasn’t the point of view we dislike, we just want to see Alex c kicked off of TFB

    • Keep dreaming, I guess.

      • somethingclever

        Is he the best? No. But he’s viable.

        • Bob

          Heheh. In all honesty I like Alex’s videos. I like older guns. I like people talking about them. I like seeing them in action. His videos check off all of those.

          • somethingclever

            Me too. I’m actually a big fan of Alex C. And Nathaniel F, for that matter.

          • Wolfgar

            I enjoy Alex’s video’s very much and Nathaniel’s articles. It doesn’t mean I agree with every opinion or conclusion. They are very talented gun writers with a lot of skill especially for their youth and inexperience. 🙂

          • You can always count on me, I’ve got inexperience to spare!

          • Wolfgar

            Perfect reply. Touche!

    • Porty1119

      I wouldn’t go quite that far, but he’d be well served to learn some humbleness.

    • Kevin Harron

      Alex C and Nathaniel F are pretty much most of the content I really like on TFB lately.

      • Swarf

        You must have missed the review of the new 60 round 5.56 mag and the thread that followed it.

  • Black Dots

    We have so many great gun options now, I think people feel compelled to nitpick every damn thing to death. A lot of shooters also have this nagging feeling that if they pick the wrong gear, it’ll get them killed. Now, if you are climbing a mountain and pick the wrong rope you might be right. If you buy an XD instead of a Glock, you’re probably going to be fine.

  • Sasquatch

    Nathaniel F. I appreciate the reading materials on Sunday My good man keep up the hard work.

    • Thanks for the kind words. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

    • Tassiebush

      It’s Monday afternoon at work here! Sigh!

  • missourisam

    For several years I lived in the Southwestern desert. Three hundred+ yard shots were very common. I sold my .300 Winchester when I moved east, but recently I started hunting an area with two hundred+ yard shots, and bought a .33 WSM. It is a very accurate rifle, but no more so than the .308 I was using. In fact the .300 has proven to be less potent as a one shot kill gun than the .308. I have killed many deer with the .308, and all were one shot kills where the deer dropped where it was shot. The .300 has, for me provided kills, but given the same shot placement results in deer that run anywhere from twenty five to forty yards before dropping, and all were through shots. The .308 expends all its energy in the deer, and seems to kill a deer more cleanly than the .300. Field dressing also tells the story. A shot with the .308 shows more internal damage compared to the .300 which seems to punch through so fast that it does not inflict as much shock value to the animal. That being said, if I were going on an elk hunt in open country I would take the .300. For deer sized animals at normal distances I will stick with my .308, which is a Winchester Model 88 lever action.

  • El Duderino

    Amateurs talk gear, experts talk tactics.

    Results are the only thing that matters. Most rifles are far more accurate than their users.

  • billyoblivion

    > gunwriter and experimenter Elmer Keith was still suggesting a single action revolver as the “ideal” general purpose handgun.

    Yeah, and Ursan Bolt suggests that you sell your car and buy a good pair of running shoes because you can go faster that way.

    • El Duderino

      What, in 1955? C’mon dude, it’s 2016. Back then, that argument had a lot more merit. Now we have stupid reliable semis and 8 shot .357 revolvers with moon clips that can be shot almost as fast as an auto.

      And who the heck is “Ursan Bolt?”

      • billyoblivion

        I realize there’s a “no politics” rule here, but I’m starting to think that there’s a “no humor” rule as well.

        Ursan Bolt is how you spell Ursain Bolt right before stagger upstairs to go to bed. If you don’t know who Ursain Bolt is, he’s the fastest person alive at the 100 and 200 meter sprint. Picking a sprinter probably wasn’t the best example, but he’s a (relatively) well known guy for being fast on his feet. I would have had to google the name of a fast Marathon runner, and then neither of us would know who I meant.

        Elmer Keith was, somewhat like Jerry Miculek, a talented and gifted shooter who also worked *very* hard on his skill set.

        I have no doubt that either of them could run brace of cap and ball single action revolvers about as fast as I do a modern semi-auto.

        Much like Ursain Bolt could beat me like a drum in the 100 yard sprint with his left arm and right leg tied behind his back.

        It was an attempt to make the point that often what is “good” or “practical” for experts is often times not what is optimal for the average bloke. Greg Lemond could probably have run errands on his bike as fast or faster than I could do most of them in my truck. Doesn’t mean a bicycle is a good choice for me.

        A professional photographer is at home with F-Stops, ISO, focal length, depth of view and other terms that *most* people are confused by. Thus most people are happy at the camera on their phone. Is a Fujifilm X-E2S or a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV “The ‘ideal’ general purpose camera”?

        To the rest of your statement.

        I don’t think Revolvers are “obsolete”, I think their role is more limited than 50-60 years ago. Yes, Miculek can run a revolver with speed loaders or moon clips as fast as, but most of us…can’t. We don’t get paid to “play” with guns 40+ hours a week, and when we aren’t working we have other things in our lives.

        • iksnilol

          Um, there’s no Ursain Bolt, you mean Usain Bolt.

          • billyoblivion

            You’re right. My bain has that stuck in there, and it WILL NOT COME LOOSE.

  • Cal S.

    But, but my SKS is totes a modern war rifle hidden under that wood! I just gotta liberate it through plastic and abominations! It will then be as expensive as an AK-47 but with half the functionality!

  • Jim_Macklin

    I want 79¢ .22LR ammo, but the government has destroyed 96% of the value of the dollar since 1964. So $8 to $10 for a box of 50 rds is $0.79 adjusted.
    I want a Jeep that can be left outside with the top down without any harm being done.
    I want every gun that I have owned since I was sixteen and stupidly traded away or sold for cash needed to move to where there was a job.
    I want my $79.95 Marlin 39A Mountie and 336 44 Magnum. I also want my M1 Garand NM rifle back and the set of Remington 40XB target rifles in .22 LR single shot HB and the 308 Lt and Hvy barrel repeaters.
    I’d like to keep my wife and kids and still have the girl I dated just before I met my wife. I also want, no, need to win both the Powerball and the Megamillion [combined odds 47,000 trillion to one.
    Be happy with what you’ve got. Vote for TRUMP because right now, he’s all we’ve got, every other option is a disaster. Trump can be controlled by Congress.
    I also want the Remington 40XB Sporter .22 LR repeaters that I talked Mike Walker into building. They built five guns, $250 back in 1969. I was newly married and couldn’t buy one. The store where I worked bought all five. I saw one on-line, asking price was $10,000.00.

  • Oldtrader3

    BTW, I still use and just gave my oldest son my Model 94 Win, .32 Win Special which I paid $200. for in 1970. I still used this rifle for hunting up until recently when old age and declining heath ended my hunting career. It still kills deer as well as it did in 1947, when it was made.

  • Jim

    Good enough is good enough. Pull trigger, bang, hole in target, stop threat or put meat on the table. Good enough for me.

  • AK

    I disagree with this pervasive myth of progress illustrated in this sentence: “Because a newer weapon is – naturally – improved, doesn’t make the older weapon any less deadly than it was on the day it was invented.”
    Humanity does not have only one way to “progress”. To give an example, most guns made prior to 1975 or so were made with milled steel parts that last forever. The wood available for gunstocks was superior, especially considering the price. Quality ammunition was more affordable to the average person. Things were made well, and made to last.
    “Progress” is not some automation, with every day being better than yesterday. Things go downhill too, and they tend to go there faster than uphill.

    • I didn’t say anything contrary to this. Rather, I made a statement of “given these assumptions, Y does not follow X.” A newer weapon may indeed be inferior to an older one, that happens all the time – as I well know being someone who purchased a Gen 3 Glock 19 after the Gen 4’s release. 🙂

  • Captain Obvious

    I think “I’m okay, my gun is okay” is second only in the number of articles written to “is your gun viable?”. It is a recurring theme throughout the history of gun magazines and now gun blogs.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    The aforementioned article about the obsolescence of lever guns a couple weeks ago got me thinking. Right now if some unlikely situation arose which would require me to employ a “life and liberty” gun, my go to choice would be my Marlin 336 in .30-30. Is it the ideal tool for the job? Absolutely not, but its what I have. I have a stripped lower that is waiting to be finished, but until I have the extra funds to finish it the Marlin will have to do, and I dont feel uncomfortable at all being in that situation. I have concluded that while an AR15 is superior in that role, the margin by which the AR15 is superior to the Marlin is negligible compared to the margin by which the Marlin is better than a knife or sharp stick.

  • nick

    Great article!

    it would be a pretty boring shooting community if we all used the same guns ! It would be like everyone driving the same car.
    My family have “tools” and “collectables”
    tools, are the criter defense, truck and guide guns my wife and I use for our northern guide work
    Collectables are the hobby guns (me, long range self built black powder rifles, her old lever actions, as used by her native ancestors)
    then, there are the military grade firearms at my “day job” here at the museum
    all, very different, all with their own personalities, and al just as effective …

  • ozzallos .

    Unless it’s a lever gun. Then you can’t shoot prone and should immediately trade it in for a mauser.

    • Tassiebush

      I can’t get past the irony of the inrange mud tests that an 1895 Winchester passed but an Mauser 98 failed.

  • Rifleman

    I still use a Revolver for CCW, HD and hunting. While working armed security, many people thought because they carried a Glock “just like the police”, they were invincible and Tacticool at the same time. I had a .357 Magnum six gun, I drew 12 times over eight years and never did the people that were on the end of front sight doubt the “viability” of my weapon. I had supervisors asking me what would I do if twenty guys rushed me at the same time. I said “I’d see that six of them had holes in them.” and then “You have a twenty round mag for your Glock can I see it???!!!!!” Many of my brethren worked on pulling the trigger fast, than shooting for accuracy, at requals every year. People said my bolt action, rifle is insufficient for defending my house, yet it’ll put a Moose in the freezer, with the right load and shooting straight. I’m not going overseas to the Middle East for combat, and it drives many of the gun store commandos nuts, that I’m not really excited on getting a AR….. But as obsolete as my collection is, it still delivers the goods, when the chips are down,. F#@& Fashion, you’ll never keep up with the Jones’s if you spend your money on every little thing that comes along……..

  • ozzallos .

    On a side note, obsolesce divided by utility times need. Is my lever action rifle obsolete? Probably, kinda maybe sort of. But it’s a 9 round 45-70. Very few modern arms will approach that sort of power in an easily portable package while maintaining a decent rate of fire, and even a .458 SOCOM won’t be able to handle the true potential of the round.

    Sorry, but obsolescence isn’t as easy as saying “I can’t lever gun from a prone position.”

  • Frank Stratton

    I am a ludite. Go to guns Savage 99, m1 carbine, marlin 1894, 1928 Thompson. Have MANY others but these long guns will do the job. Don’t have a problem carrying my Colt .38spl. Peacemaker or my Ruger .41mag, Colt detective, S&W mdl10, 1911, BHP as a personal defense gun. Many others that were made before 1960. They have stood I don’t the test of time and combat. Don’t expect to repel the charging holds of zombies or the M1 Abrams coming down my street.
    Work as a full time gunsmith. Won’t carry a plastic gun.
    BTW have used many of these SIG,HK,GLOCKetc. OK TOOLS.

  • Tassiebush

    So many of the most important aspects of modern firearms are common to most guns to such an extent that skills matter far more than the edge one type has over another.

  • NormB

    This is why I stick with John Moses Browning’s peak of perfection for home defense and concealed carry: the venerable M1911 platform. Can’t argue with 105 years of success.

    • 33Charlemagne

      If I decide to get a semi-auto pistol, a flat easy to conceal gun,with two external safeties, a light crisp trigger and a proven record of durability, sounds good to me!

  • zipper

    Good article. Having been in the trade, I concur. I’ve seen the “besters” who just gotta have a Desert Eagle in .50AE for a concealed carry gun in tropical S. Florida. Also the guys that want a .338Lapua to go after whitetails.
    Meanwhile, a Marlin 1895 in .45-70Gvt will take anything in North America(with proper loads). And a good ol’ .38Spl revolver will still drop an attacker like a stone.

    That said, does anybody out there have an old, “unviable” 1930 Duesenberg Model J they want to unload in exchange for a modern, 21st-century minivan?

  • Smitty

    Well said

  • buzzman1

    Loved your second paragraph because its so true.
    And you are right about the 32-20. Years ago I shot a deer with one and had to put 3 more into it at close range to kill it. And it was a spike.

  • Matt proffitt

    If it goes bang and makes things dead it’s viable. When it comes down 2 it I’ve never met a gun I didn’t want 2 shoot all firearms are cool from historical cowboy lever action or ww1 bolt guns single shot shot guns. They all had there place and there all bad ass. Next time you see an old single 12g pick it up and think how many times the original owner probably fed his family with it. Nothing in the world cooler than feeding your kids. Nothing manlier than providing and with that old single you didn’t often get a second shot off. Bottom line under the right conditions a BB gun could save your life by feeding you and more things in this world been killed with 22. Than anything else I’d almost lay money on it.

  • AirborneSoldier

    My neighbor still uses his grandfathers WWI Colt revolver for nightand duty, cc, fence checking, etc.

  • richard kluesek

    Old obsolete arms will do always what they have done, millions have been wounded and killed by them, sometimes tactics terrain determination trumps technology, like Afgan resistance fighters shooting WW1 bolt action rifles downhill onto AK armed Soviets out of range guess who had the upper hand ?.

  • maodeedee

    I’ve had the privilege in my lifetime of seeing Bill Jordan (when I was a teenager in the 1960’s) as well as Bob Munden and Jerry Miculek preform incredible feats of speed and accuracy with “obsolete” revolvers.

    There are no obsolete firearms. There are only people who know how to use ANY firearm effectively, and people who don’t.

    And what I find to be the prevailing mindset these days is, as long as you have the BEST hardware, that’s all you need, hence the never-ending discussions surrounding which is the BEST rifle/pistol/shotgun and which is the BEST ammo and how anything less than the BEST is obsolete. That just isn’t either a very mature or intelligent way of seeing things in my opinion but unfortunately we’re living in an age where Barack Insane Obama was elected twice.

    • Bob

      “BEST” is only as good as the man behind the gun !
      I once shot with an 86 year old gentleman who was a 1951 Olympic contender and he was shooting 6.5 x 55 Swede rifle. (This was 1999 time frame)

      In the KNEELING position (I can’t do that and I was half his age) he would consistently score between 96 to 100 out of 100 on a 300 meter international target.
      The really amazing thing is, another shooter brought along his bore scope one day and we found out that Bob’s 6.5 had the first 10 inches of barrel as a SMOOTH BORE with NO rifling left in it.
      He could still BEAT 95 percent of the shooters present.
      Those were good days. It was a pleasure and honor to shoot with “old Sandy”
      Bob S

  • 33Charlemagne

    I wouldn’t call a technology obsolescent if it has substantial rational advantages over the newer “more advanced” technology.As it stands there are a lot of good reasons to choose to carry a good double action revolver instead of a semi-auto. Likewise a 45-70 lever gun like the Marlin 1895 SBL has a number of advantages over an AR in .458 Socom or .50 Beowulf. That’s not to say that the semi-auto guns don’t have their own advantages. But It’s merely a choice between which advantages are most important to the individual rather than which is clearly superior.

  • Doom

    a few of my guns are literally 50+ years old

    most are 70+ years old
    1 is over 100 years old.
    then there is Kalash, glock, and evil assault rifle 15(joke).
    I love them all, I only choose the newer ones for defense for their higher capacity and semi auto capabilities, My garand is just as good as my AK outside of magazine capacity, that and my Model 10 I can shoot bulls eyes all day, I would not feel under gunned at all.

  • P.B.

    Just what was the point of this article ? I gained nothing.