In this Wholesale Hunter Blog Craig Boddington discusses older rifles and compares the quality and value of older rifle Vs newer ones.
Modern factory rifles are amazing, complete, reliable, and more accurate than ever before. In today’s dollars, basic bolt-actions, are more inexpensive than ever before. There are dozens of good models under $600, and some excellent new bolt-actions available for little more than half that. Almost invariably, most basic bolt-actions wear synthetic stocks, free-floated barrels, rust-resistant metal, and push-feed actions. No problem, they work and shoot well. And, of course, I shoot them, hunt with them, and write about them.
However, my personal
tastes run much more to good old walnut, mated and carefully fitted to blued
steel. These features are available in new rifles of all action types. But
you’ll pay more for them. It comes down to manufacturing costs. Synthetic is
less costly than wood…and requires less hand-fitting and final finishing. Other
action types, whether lever, semiauto, etc., are generally more expensive than
basic bolt-actions; and controlled-round-feed (Mauser-type) bolt-actions are
costlier than push-feed actions. Again, manufacturing costs: Number of parts,
raw materials, and both machining and assembly time. Just the way it is!
Today’s factory rifles are, on average, more accurate than I thought possible when I started shooting. American hunters and rifle shooters have long been obsessed with raw rifle accuracy, probably more today than ever before because of the growing fascination with long-range shooting. How much accuracy is really needed depends entirely on what you intend to do. Bench-rest and thousand-yard competitors need all they can get, and so do varmint hunters. Most big-game hunters probably have more accuracy than is truly necessary—but it’s a wonderful confidence builder to know that your rifle is capable of producing teeny, tiny groups!
That’s a valid reason to demand extreme accuracy—and it’s amazing how many of today’s basic, inexpensive factory rifles deliver. I think this is because, with modern manufacturing, factory tolerances are tighter than ever, with more consistent barrels. When I was a kid, we figured a factory bolt-action that produced 1.5-inch 100-yard groups was pretty darned good. Rifles shooting one inch and better were cause for bragging. Today it’s amazing how many factory bolt guns retailing for less than $500 will consistently produce one-inch 100-yard groups.