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Thread: Pretty rifles

  1. #1
    Member dwhunter's Avatar
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    Default Pretty rifles

    I though about this one first and did not think it would spark much controversy

    Years ago I got over the babying of my rifles and concluded that I would feel much better not worrying about them as much if I treated them as the tools that they are, granted they are still worth a considerable amount (if only to me) with the custom things I have done to all of them etc but I do not worry about them like I used to. I know I can count on each and every one of them with the utmost confidence in hopefully any situation and ding whatever so what, character mark.

    How many of you are into the aesthetic value or more into the rugged seasoned tool look of your rifles.

    Doug

  2. #2
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I like a nice looking rifle, but I am hard on my gear and won't keep a gun that is "too pretty to use" as that translates to useless IMHO. I have a few wood stocked rifles, and find that wood properly sealed is very stable in the wettest environment. A little rust can be taken care of with WD40 and steel wool after the fact.

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    I have lots of buddies that have large collections of guns and while I appreciate handling, shooting and looking at all of them....It's not my bag to obsess over the aesthetics. I ensure that my bores stay bright and my actions work smooth....and that it always goes BOOM, but other than that I could give a rat's....

    I won a Henry Goldenboy at a DU raffle two years ago....I babied it or a few months as it was the only shiny gun that I owned and probably ever would....but it is made to be a smooth, accurate, shoot all day kind of gun and this past season decided that I bought the thing because I've wanted once since I was ten and now that I had one (21 years later) I would not just look at it on the shelf. So, in the gunboot on the snowmachine/boat it goes....been havin a blast. But I must admit, I am much more mindful of cleaning it after wet and dirty conditions....as pretty as it is, it's the way it shoots and handles that I treasure.

    But, to each their own.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I am split on that.

    I have working firearms for field use. And I have some range firearms.
    AND, I have some that are just examples of machining and wood working art. Maybe just for historical purposes. But they are classic examples of workmanship in my eyes.
    You show a fancy version Winchester 1873 rifle to somebody..... and even somebody who does like guns much, will marvel at the workmanship and how it lasted 130 plus years.
    Then take that person out to the range on a nice sunny day and let them shoot that piece of art a few times....An old Winchester, A sharps or a Colt SAA...
    The next thing you know, one of them becomes one of US...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  5. #5
    Member bigswede358's Avatar
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    Default Gotta be rugged

    I like the look of a nice walnut stock but I am really hard on equipment so years ago I made the switch to synthetic stocks. You can abuse them all day long and they still lool the same.

  6. #6
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default eye of beholder

    Float Pilot,
    At least there are a few of US out there! Clean lines and mechanical simplicity of an early Win 70 or hand fit & aged patina of old Win lever gun or an old custom FN Mauser. I can go to the range with one of the iron-sighted originals in top condition with good bore and good ammo. There may be several other shooters there with all manner of new ss synthetic whiz bang latest model shiny or camo or matte dinomags. All the rifles will be behind the line in the racks, shooters waiting for the "fire in the hole" call. During the lull, shooters will be glancing at each other's guns but most all the attention and questions will be focused on the classic oldies in the rack. The best part is the trip downrange to inspect the targets. Again most everyone is glancing at the other shooter's targets. The reactions to a nice, small, circular cluster group from an oldie is worth the price of admission Would I beat the crap out of a 100+ year old top condition Winchester?- not a chance. I do shoot 'em though. I hunt with and beat up one of two or three of the boring, newer bolt guns.
    Last edited by George; 03-22-2007 at 16:09.

  7. #7
    Member smwwoody's Avatar
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    Default Old 94

    George,

    As I was reading your post I was glancing up on the wall at my grandfathers 30-30 that he gave me when I was 4 years old. He bought it new in the 40's and hunted hard with it all that time before he gave it to me in 1972. He passed away less than a year after he gave it to me the only thing he ever did to it is keep it clean and well oiled. you can see his hand print on the bottom of the receiver and there are also some nicks and dings on it. I hunted with it a few times but now I just take it out on nice sunny days and shoot a few rounds a year through it. If I didn't live in SE Alaska where it rains 366 days a year I still may hunt with it once in a while. This is IMO a beautiful rifle.

    Woody

  8. #8
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    I like a nicely figured walnut stock and blued (or matte black) finish. I hunt with them, and don't worry much about scratching 'em up. I know how to use steam, sandpaper, steel wool and oil, so I can get 'em lookin decent again if I happen to mark 'em a little. I don't like the look of synthetics, nor do I like the really shiny (Remington BDL/Browning) polyurethane stocks. A flat or satin oil-finished AAA Claro walnut and black teflon on the metal is the way I like my huntin rifles. Unfortunately, I only have one like that, and one that's close...but all my hunting rifles are wood stocked.

  9. #9
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    Default Honorable Scars

    In my mind, I have to use/shoot all my rifles to justify owning them.

    I don't mind a few honorable scars, like dings, scratches, or worn bluing, as long as the rifle doesn't have rust. Rust gives the impression that it has been abused. I recognize that it is difficult, and sometimes maybe impossible, to completely prevent some minor rust. Even a SS rifle can get some rust, and it needs to be taken off.

    I have a Weatherby Mk V, Stainless, Plastic Stock, in 7mm Weatherby. I like the rifle, and I like the cartridge. I call it my Utility Weatherby.

    I'm glad it is so durable, but if I could have afforded one back in the 60s, it would have been one with a pretty wood stock, and shiny bluing. I would have hunted with it anyway. It would have had lots of honorable scars by now, just like the rifle I used back then. The important thing to me is that I have something that I like and consider to be quality to begin with. I don't mind it it looks like it is used, it is still pretty.
    Smitty of the North

  10. #10
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm notoriusly rough on gear.The guys at the first shop I guided for would have me field test stuff for them. They figured if it lasted a season with me it would last average Joe a lifetime. I got to field test the first loop fly fishing reel, blew it up in less than a week. So it did'nt get ordered for the shop until the manufactuer thoughened it up considerably. Luckily as I've aged I've gotten less distructive too my stuff and my huntting and fishing style has changed dramatically. I look at each new ding or scratch the same way I look at my own scars, they add character and each one holds a memory or story. Like you said Doug they are tools and well loved, well used tools develop a personality of there own as we work with them. In the same way a palm gauge starts to reflect your carving style a gun starts to reflect the way and places you hunt. I keep all my tools in tip top working order but most of them aint exactly pertty, unless like the japanese you appreciate the quality of sabi in them, that is a well worn object has a beauty of its own polished through years of skilled use.

    Having said that though I think you'd have to be dead to not appreciate the beauty of a Purdey and sons firearm, or a Kreighoff, Merkel, Boss and co. ect.... But to me these are more artwork than "working" or "feild" guns.

  11. #11
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    I think a beautiful firearm with character gained from years of use in the field is made more beautiful. Blueing worn at the edges, a few brush marks, maybe a gouge from that fall on the loose rocks -- each brings to mind memories of hunts gone by. Those memories are the best part of hunting and are the real beauty of hunting guns.

    jim

  12. #12
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    Default

    My hunting rifles are stainless w/ sythetic stocks. My favorite iis a Weatherby ultra lightweight in 270 Win. That's a sexy gun but I use it without reservation.

    On the other hand, when my father-in-law passed away we happened upon a rusty old rifle in his closet. I cleaned it up and had Wild West re-blue it. They did a spectacular job. I refurbished the unfinished walnut stock, leaving it uncheckered. I hand rubbed Seafin oil in it until it retained the luster I wanted. It's beautiful. This old gun is a Remington 721 that was originally a 300 H&H. Somewhere along the way it was rechambered to 300 Weatherby. I could never bring myself to take that gun out into the woods and have kept it hidden for many years. It'll be handed down to my kid. Grandpa would have liked that. Whether it ever gets used or it just gets admired will be up to her. It sure is pretty.

  13. #13
    Member dwhunter's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    In my mind, I have to use/shoot all my rifles to justify owning them.

    I don't mind a few honorable scars, like dings, scratches, or worn bluing, as long as the rifle doesn't have rust. Rust gives the impression that it has been abused. I recognize that it is difficult, and sometimes maybe impossible, to completely prevent some minor rust. Even a SS rifle can get some rust, and it needs to be taken off.

    I have a Weatherby Mk V, Stainless, Plastic Stock, in 7mm Weatherby. I like the rifle, and I like the cartridge. I call it my Utility Weatherby.

    I'm glad it is so durable, but if I could have afforded one back in the 60s, it would have been one with a pretty wood stock, and shiny bluing. I would have hunted with it anyway. It would have had lots of honorable scars by now, just like the rifle I used back then. The important thing to me is that I have something that I like and consider to be quality to begin with. I don't mind it it looks like it is used, it is still pretty.
    Smitty of the North
    Smitty,

    I agree with you for the most part except the justification part. The only jutstification I need are my kids and grandkids.

    Appx 1/2 my rifles are wood and the other syn and each one has a purpose or specific species I would hunt with it or group of animals in relation to animal size etc. Wood/syn does not matter to me although the last few years I have really begun to lean to the Syn side of the house, no particular reason really just a preference. The one Rem wood stocked I have I have stripped off the HIGH GLOSS finish and taken it down to oil finish as that is what I like, the gun has been completely coated, Timney trigger, hand lapped, squared etc. It may not be the most beautiful rifle to some but it certainly is to me and it is certainly my favorite but the other guns don't know that-shhhh. I have them all worked up to the way I like them not anyone else and again they are beautiful in my eyes. I get little things done as I can afford to and slowly develop them to my use and liking.

    Doug

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    Justification is easy. I had a Centennial limited edition appraised today for 1500.00. I bought it 10 years ago for 700.00. Its a very pretty rifle and has only been shot 4 times. The math is easy. The right "Pretty" rifle is worth the investment.

  15. #15
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    theres art and then theirs guns...i have guns.

    To me a guns no different than a pair of binos, spotting scope, backpack, truck or a good knife, when you like one you hate to loose it, regardless of the price tag. My guns are tool, i'll stake out my tent with one, dig holes in the snow, club small animals with it,its a crutchk a walking stick and a paddle, i paid for a tool, not art. wood stocks don't mean anything to me,there are other pretty things i'd rather look it, like a bear skull, set of antlers, or a pair of horns, that using that gun as a tool got me.

    my guns may be ugly, but man i feel like i'm home when i've got one with me....
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  16. #16
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default real purdee

    See if this pic attaches. This is the buttstock of a Winchester 1885 manufactured in 1888. Seems very attractive to my eye. Would I beat the crud out of this gun?...no. Does it shoot well?...extremely. Is it fun to shoot?...absolutely. It's in 40-70 Sharps. Hardest part is finding decent brass. The checkering isn't too shabby either.
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  17. #17
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default just a tool

    Here's the buttstock of a SS Win 70 CRF manufactured 1992-4. Re-built to 338-06 with synthethic Kevlar reinf. alum. pillar bedded stock, Shilen Select barrel, 4X fixed Leupold. Don't know if it's pretty or not. Is it functional, reliable, tough?... yes. Is it accurate?... extremely. Would I feel bad if it gets beat up?... no. Is it fun to shoot?... eh, it's a tool.
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    Last edited by George; 03-24-2007 at 21:21.

  18. #18

    Default

    The way I solved this problem was to pick up aHS Precision and a McMillan stocks on sale. Save the nice wood and have a better shooting gun that I don't have to worry about weather, rocks, scrapes, bumps, glass bedding, free floating etc. I just need to clean and wipe down to prevent rust. When the time comes to sell or trade I have a pristine piece of wood.

  19. #19
    Member Bear Buster's Avatar
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    Thumbs up the hunter's tool

    I think the way an individual takes care of his tools, weather it be a machanic or a hunters says alot about the outfit your dealing with,
    and how well they'll take care of the meat or car they're working on.
    I have banged my rifle around over the years but I am fussy about taking care not to bang it around and keeping it clean and in good working order.

  20. #20
    Member BigHorn Hunter's Avatar
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    Default

    I have some pretty guns and then the ones I use. The usin' guns look like fence posts after a year or so. I prefer a gun with "character" in the hands of a hunter, makes feel like he may have actually used it before.

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