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We initially posted the above video on its own since it really speaks for itself. But Dyspeptic Gunsmith wrote the following comment that’s worthy of note:

I keep telling people that the quality of guns that American gun buyers are receiving from the big companies is often crap, especially the guns “made to a price.” . . .

I keep telling you that your desire to get a quality gun at rock-bottom prices is going bite you one day. You people keep thinking I’m an elitist for preferring guns with price tags north of $1K. For guns above $2500, yes, I might be elitist. For guns with price tags over $1K, no, I just don’t want to have to remediate crap guns. It’s a depressing business, trying to gunsmith a piece of crap into a safe and reliable gun, and I don’t like it.

You want evidence? Here ya go.

Two other words whilst we’re on the topic: “Remington 700.”

Want to complain about the price of manufactured good that still deliver quality? Don’t talk to me. Talk to the clowns at the Federal Reserve, who have as their stated policy and goal the deliberate destruction of the buying power of the US Dollar.


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    • You’re correct. Winchester has issued a recall for select models.

      Winchester Repeating Arms has discovered that a limited number of SXP (3 ½” chamber) shotguns (also called the Super X Pump) may,
      under certain circumstances, unintentionally discharge while closing the action. Failure to return any affected shotguns for inspection
      and/or repair may create a risk of harm, including serious personal injury or death.
      If you own one of the following firearms, please immediately contact our Winchester Consumer Administrative Center to find out if your
      firearm is affected and should be returned. Please be prepared to provide the serial number of your firearm.
      If you have purchased one or more of the shotguns listed above, and have confirmed with the Winchester Consumer Administrative Center
      that it is an affected shotgun, please note that such shotguns should not, under any circumstance, be fired until they have been inspected
      and/or repaired by the Winchester Repeating Arms Service Center.
      For further information and instructions, please contact the Winchester Consumer Administrative Center:
      CALL: 1-800-945-5372
      EMAIL: [email protected]

    • TTAG will Gun Safety Tip of the Day be a regular feature? It would get my vote. Or maybe once a week if that would work better: Safety Tuesdays or whatever. This would be a good complement to the For Beginners series, and a useful reminder for non beginners.

    • +1000000
      Thank you. The only comment here about muzzle discipline.

      Whether you buy a Hi-Point or a Sphinx, it will fail.

  1. I keep telling people that the quality of guns that American gun buyers are receiving from the big companies is often crap, especially the guns “made to a price.”

    I keep telling you that your desire to get a quality gun at rock-bottom prices is going bite you one day. You people keep thinking I’m an elitist for preferring guns with price tags north of $1K. For guns above $2500, yes, I might be elitist. For guns with price tags over $1K, no, I just don’t want to have to remediate crap guns. It’s a depressing business, trying to gunsmith a piece of crap into a safe and reliable gun, and I don’t like it.

    You want evidence? Here ya go.

    Two other words whilst we’re on the topic: “Remington 700.”

    Want to complain about the price of manufactured good that still deliver quality? Don’t talk to me. Talk to the clowns at the Federal Reserve, who have as their stated policy and goal the deliberate destruction of the buying power of the US Dollar.

      • No, not because an expensive gun “never” malfunctions.

        But because you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so to speak. When corners are cut on a gun at every point since the beginning of the design, there’s few ways to fix problems in a gun’s design other than to wholesale pull out parts, throw them away and make new parts at much higher cost that will actually last. This is especially true in the lockwork, where parts have to slide/impact/etc, lots and lots of times.

        When I look at the guts of the SXP shotgun, I see cheap-ass stamped parts all over the place, and if someone really wants to fix the above type of problem on a SXP, you can either wait for someone to produce a replacement lockwork, (doubtful), or sell it and go buy a whole new gun. Those are your solutions.

        100 years from now, SXP’s will likely be in landfills. 100 years after they first started coming off the line, people are collecting Winchester Model 12’s and they’re still operating, reliably, with little to no attention or modification. Just regular maintenance.


          Inflation over 200 years. Note how flat the line is, except for bumps during war which return to the original rate after the war. Note how the first non-return to normal was after WW I (1917-1918), following the creation of the Fed in 1913. Note the continual rise after WW II.

          Anyone who thinks we “need” inflation is full of it. This country survived quite fine without it for a long long time, with banks issuing their own paper money up until the Civil War when the government banned it as a means of raising revenue, with foreign coins of every description in circulation until the government banned them as a means of raising revenue.

          If people with no communication faster than horses could handle all sorts of varying currencies, with quality and value varying by date, it’s pathetic to think we need all the financial regulation that exists today.

        • Felix, we ‘need’ inflation because inflation IS taxation and we have politicians who can’t make the hard decisions and a population that shirks it’s civil duty in the voting booths.

    • Expensive guns can do the same thing, and the overwhelming majority of guns are safe, at any price point. If you like to spend more money that is fine, but to say it’s a safety thing is just a justification, not a real reason.

      • And you’ve seen the insides of how many guns…? You’ve had how many people come to you with rock-bottom price guns, asking for miracles to be performed for a dime on the dollar, hmmm?

        • Come on Dyspeptic. Stop talking like you can’t make miracles happen within seconds. I thought you were one of those guys – You know – You send them into the wilderness with a pocket knife and a Q-tip and they build you a shopping mall.

          Surely you can take something like a Kel-tec KSG and all the associated plastic parts that exploded off of it and rebuild that thing back into something brand new and higher quality.

          Miracles man. Cheap miracles too.

        • As far as hand guns, police trade in Sigs and Glocks are pretty cheap and in my limited experience perfectly safe and reliable.

    • “Talk to the clowns at the Federal Reserve, who have as their stated policy and goal the deliberate destruction of the buying power of the US Dollar.”

      Do you have a link to that stated policy, please? Thanks in advance.

      • Unless you’ve been living under a rock for your whole life it should be obvious. The fee is evil like the sky is blue.

        • I don’t disagree, the dollar today is worth roughly $.02 in 1913 terms. I often deliberately misuse the “when a dollar was worth a dollar” line as “when a dollar was worth a dime” just to shock people into realizing how badly it has been mauled.

          However, the original statement was that it was the stated goal, so it IS fair to ask for a copy of the statement.

      • Search “federal reserve policy” on or David Stockman’s Contra Corner. The Fed doesn’t state its goal in exactly those terms, but it is nonetheless doing exactly that.

      • OK, here you go:

        I’ll quote the salient bit for those too lazy to pursue the link themselves:

        “Having at least a small level of inflation makes it less likely that the economy will experience harmful deflation if economic conditions weaken. The FOMC implements monetary policy to help maintain an inflation rate of 2 percent over the medium term. ”

        Deflation is harmful in only the minds of Keynesian economists, which is to say, most all economists. I could go on an extended rant on the subject of macro-economics and the state of same in the US (and the EU) today, but this is a gun blog, and I shan’t make a mess of Dan & Robert’s playground here.

        Suffice to say, the Federal Reserve does have a deliberate, stated and implemented policy of encouraging inflation and monetary devaluation. If you want to see how the devaluation of currencies is a goal and agenda beyond just the scope of the Fed’s policies, I encourage you to research the competitive global currency devaluations going on right now.

    • I’m sure you’re completely free from any bias influence and that your personal anecdote is worthy enough to apply to all firearms ever.

    • Sure, because there’s not plenty of decent, non dangerous, sub 700 dollar rifles? Savage would like a word with you. Hell, even Weatherby makes decent guns in the 500ish range.

      • I’m your huckleberry. The savage I have made in the 60s is great. The one I bought last year would not stay in the safe position with a good shake.

    • Looks to me like something with the firing pin.. Either just out of spec, or it isn’t being retained in the bolt as it should be, and is slipping forward and igniting the primer. Unsettling either way.

      • Agree that IF it’s a gun problem, it’s probably a firing pin problem, as he pretty clearly demonstrated that it is NOT hammer/sear-related. Firing pin may be far out-of-spec (too long), jammed in the forward position, or broken (front part jammed forward). This would be obvious it a person went looking for it, but as there is no reason to go looking for it until there is a mishap, it almost certainly wouldn’t be detected until after an unexpected firing-during-loading occurred.

        On the other hand, it could be a single box of ammo with high (not fully seated) primers. Slam the action closed to chamber the round, and the bolt jams the primer forward against a firm column of powder granules, which could compress the priming mixture enough to fire the shell from the inside (vs the normal firing pin hit on the outside of the primer). A quick visual check of the fired cases for a primer dent could eliminate this possibility.

        If it’s actually an ammo (reloads?) problem, some folks should be damn embarrassed, starting with the maker of the video…

  2. Made in Istanbul, Turkey.

    I don’t know abut you, but when I think of quality firearms, Turkey is the first name that comes to mind. Or not.

    • The Cabot occasionally declined to go ‘Bang’ when asked, that damn gun went ‘Bang” when it felt like it.

      Still un-excusable, both un-safe, one however is arguably more unsafe than the other.

    • No kidding, highly annoying.

      The recording of ‘Stupid People Tricks’ is greatly enhanced if they would just HOLD THE DAMN PHONE SIDEWAYS!

      • Yeah but when they don’t go landscape, and see the result and still refuse to learn, we’ve identified an idiot. That’s valuable information.

        • In this case, with a primarily vertical subject, I’m not sure it would make any difference at all. If they held the recording device horizontally, they would have to back-up or zoom-out to the point that the shooter would be much smaller in the video frame, so I don’t think you’d gain any detail or a larger view of the subject.

        • I was speaking on general principle, and your point is not completely wrong in this instance…the camera holder would have had to step further out to get the entire shooter in the frame. That would be really bad for a *photograph* and less bad for a you tube video where you get forced into the landscape aspect ratio anyway, In other words, the shooter ends up X pixels tall either way.

          Note the the number of closeups on the mechanism, that WOULD have been enhanced by being played back in youtube with the full screen width filled with picture. In the end, by the time you stick your video on youtube, there’s no reason to do portrait mode (the shooter will be shrunk to tiny, as tiny as he would have been in landscape mode), and plenty of places where portrait mode was a detriment.

    • You know….there really is no reason that the phones can’t sense the orientation and if the phone is in the wrong orientation them put a red border around the display and big red flashing words saying “Flip the Freeking phone on its side please”

      Some company will do that one day and they’ll be praised as genius!

  3. Kind of thought it was obvious.

    Cheap guns are just that, but they can be fun as well. Sometimes its nice having a gun you don’t care if it gets knocked around a bit.

    Guns are tools like anything else, and you get what you pay for. I would not buy a drill from Harbor Freight and wonder why it crapped out before my Hilti.

    • And to continue your analogy, some of the tools at harbor freight actually do last. I’ve bought many hand tools (they have a lifetime warranty if it breaks too, so…) and even a few power tools (nothing cordless, their batteries are crap). Haven’t had any trouble out of anything I’ve bought there, but I’m not an idiot either. I know what’s good and what’s junk and stay clear of the junk, same way I do with guns. If I can get a decently priced gun that performs well I will, but I stay away from junk that only sells because it’s cheap (cough hi point cough).

  4. @DG,

    How much remediation have you had to do on Glocks? (sub 1k, every one) Rugers? (also sub 1k, for the most part) Is there such a thing as a mossy going for over 1k? I’m just curious, anytime I see a blanket statement from someone in the gunsmith profession that appears to piss on whole categories of weapons, using an irrelevant benchmark like price.

    I’ve found that there are real turkeys out there, regardless of price – anyone recall the glamorous glistening turd that was the FIVE THOUSAND DOLLAR 1911, reviewed here a few months back? By DG’s benchmark, that bad boy should’ve improved other weapons it sat beside in the safe, merely due to the cost! 😉

    I’m an engineer by education, training, and profession. I’ve learned to evaluate things based on their performance – the video shows me a seriously malfunctioning piece of equipment, but I kinda doubt every single one of them operates the same. Are shortcuts taken to reduce costs? You betcha! Do mistakes happen? ALL the freakin’ time! Is this particular shotgun typical of the entire SXP line? Highly doubtful. (we’d have heard about all the lawsuits by this point, I’d bet, because no one is ever going to stand up and take personal responsibility – “Gee, it just went off!”

    • I’m an engineer as well. Retired.

      What I see inside of many of today’s guns is shameful. If there are engineers involved in their production, it was only to figure out ways to make them cheaper – not better. And in some cases, not even that – viz the other posting on TTAG today about the H&K G36.

      My $1K price target was referring to the context of long guns in this post (both rifles and shotguns), and I should amend the above to state that, alas, TTAG’s posting system doesn’t allow for editing after five minutes.

      $1K is about where I think you could produce a reasonable, entry-level shotgun or rifle in the United States, with US labor, with real QC, proper materials, etc. There are fixed costs in the production of a gun which are just going to have to be realized by the public: The TTAB’s taxes, the cost of materials, etc – they’re not going away and they’re not getting cheaper over time.

      Then there is labor. Labor costs money. Competent labor costs more money. When you buy guns made by third-world workers, you’re likely to get sometimes get some third-world results. This has been true for a long time. Ask any gunsmith who has sporterized Mausers about Turk Mausers. Oh, some of the bizarre things you can see there.

      If, however, you want something of quality that lasts for awhile (like, oh, the rest of your life), then be prepared to pay up. Quality costs money – but the cost is mostly up front. Cheapness costs… again, and again, and again and again. I get to hear of the injustice of these costs when people ask me whether I could fix their $200 Chi-Com shotgun for $20. When I tell them “no,” they then start telling me how simple the job should be. I respond “OK, then it sounds like you can do it. Why are you asking me to look at it? Because my rates start at $65/hour, and I’m reckoning with the time and effort I’d have to put into your gun, you could be money ahead to just buy a second model, just like this one here, and use the first one as a hangar queen for parts.”

      At that point, they start getting their noses bent out of joint. I don’t know why. It’s the truth. Why should I lie? My shop rates don’t go down just because someone is bringing in a ChiCom knock-off of an American shotgun. The insides are basically the same in number and general orientation as the American original (whether a 1897 Winchester or Remington 870). The problems, however, are greater in number, not fewer, and I can’t move through the gun faster than I could the real McCoy. But somehow, the owners think that because they brought me a cheap knock-off, my shop rate should suddenly drop to $20/hour. Sorry, no, that’s not how this works.

      People seem to have no sticker shock today at paying absurd amounts of money for a car. When I was a tyke, a new car (Ford, GM or others) could be had for, oh, $3K. Today, the average price of a new car has topped $30K. And people are paying those prices. Somehow, the gun buying public seems to accept that inflation happens when they buy salaries, houses and cars, but expects this macro-economic issue to cease when it comes to buying guns.

      re: Glocks: I’ve stated my opinion about Glocks many, many times on TTAG. I own two of them. I consider them just this side of a throw-away gun. I also consider Gaston Glock and his company to possess dubious business ethics.

      • Holy crap. Do you mean the sub-1000 dollar Mossberg 590 that reliably went bang thousands of time for me and my friends…you know those hard use combat types…was a piece of crap? Anecdotal story, we were about to be forced to transition to the more modern, over a grand, M4 shotgun. A little dirt and a little sand in the gas mechanism and fine tolerance moving parts turned it into a bayonet pole. After the CO got wind of it we kept our Mossy’s. Until today I didn’t know just how much danger we were in. (Smiles at camera) “Thanks Dispeptic Gunsmith”

        • I have a different perspective on guns than many of you do. I see the guts of guns – down to details most of you won’t ever see, because you don’t do detail strips on your guns. When I do a “disassemble, clean & inspect” for a customer, I strip a gun down to the pins, screws, springs, you name it. There is nothing left assembled on a gun. Everything is cleaned, inspected, and if inspection deems necessary, replaced. And then it goes back together.

          Since you brought up the Mossy 500’s, yes, I think they’re cheap. Reliable, but cheap, and… in internal aspects, crappy.

          Why? Because the first thing I have to do inside a 5xx of recent manufacture is take the burrs off the internal parts, especially the action bars. I finally got tired of having my fingers sliced and diced and my bleeding over the guts of a customer’s gun by the burrs that Mossberg leaves on some of their internal parts. Blood is corrosive, and my bleeding into a gun means I have to now get in there fast, to prevent leaving corrosion marks from my blood. And I have to do this as I’m trying to bandage up my fingers to stop the bleeding. Blood can even remove blueing on a gun.

          When I open up any of the commercial market guns made before WWII, even the ones that were sold at the cheap end of the market their internals are finished. They’re de-burred, edges and corners broken properly, The better guns (eg, Parkers, Foxes) have the machining marks removed – and not just on the highly finished guns. When I open up guns prior to, oh, 1960 to 1965 (depending on the make/model), now there might be machine marks left, but they’re still de-burred and edges are broken.

          When the guts of a gun cut me up because they couldn’t be bothered to take a couple of minutes with a small hand file to knock burrs off of parts… I’m unamused and less than impressed. 500’s have cut my fingers badly, more than once.

        • I guess you do. I’m worried about reliability, accuracy, and efficiency. You seem to be worried about how pretty the insides are and how comfortable it is to clean.

        • do those burrs impact functioning?

          I resent needing to do more than maybe swap grips or buttstocks out for something that I find more comfortable. If a gun has a reputation for needing a gunsmith to make it work right, I’m not buying it. I care that it works, is reasonably accurate, and will (hopefully) last a good long while. Some burrs internally? Eh.

        • Sometimes those burrs result in guns that have to be “shot into reliability.” When you hear of break-ins, some of that is actually getting metal-on-metal sliding/friction points to polish themselves into smoother action. Sometimes, if the burrs are bad enough, an action will bind or “hitch” at some point in the cycling, and you have to beat it into submission, which is effectively mashing the burr into submission.

          So there’s your answer on that topic.

  5. I like cheap guns. Really cheap guns. In fact, I’ve purchased some “broken” guns. But I like to fix them. I have a Mauser action i’m looking to recycle when I get some time and build me a nice 7mm out of it.

    I like to rescue “gun buy back” firearms and resurrect them back to life.

    I also have some really cheap guns that work great. I have a Mossberg maverick 88 I paid $180 for. Works wonderfully with no problems at all.

    I have some other super cheap Italian pistols that work wonderfully as well. So cheap gun = low quality = not safe… is not always the case.

    • Ah, but there’s an important difference in what you consider a “cheap gun.” You’re buying a gun that might have been of good quality, but was mistreated or neglected, and you’re re-hab’ing it. That’s great. I do the same thing.
      I’ve purchased some excellent quality used guns for very low prices – eg, Obendorf-made Mausers for $200. Some Bubba did a lame stock job on it, it looks like crap, but with my skills, a nice bit of polishing and stockmaking, it comes back to life as a lovely hunting rifle. The metal, however, was competently made. The action was competently designed. The price was put onto it as a result of some Bubba’s slap-dash stock work.

      I’m talking here of the above situation: A brand new gun from a big-box retailer. ie, the Walmart business model.

  6. Winchester’s website says this is the fastest-shooting pump action ever, and now, by god, I believe them.

    Seriously, have owned quite a few cheap guns, as well as expensive ones, and I don’t think reliability is price-related except at the extreme low end. I’d add for for me, being able to get into the sport cheaply made the difference in doing it at all.

    The particular shotgun in the video ranges from $400 to over $1,000 depending on the model, and therefore, the $1,000 price point rule appears completely useless in meaningful decision making here. Moreover, I am sure one can buy any number of $400 shotguns that don’t slam fire.

    Far better to slam Winchester for sloppy QC than whine about cheap guns.

  7. Maybe he didn’t clean it (ever) and some clay/dirt and or other debris has gathered in the firing pin channel and frozen it’s movement in the forward position. That is why when he closes the action, the gun discharges? Yea??

    (Just giving Winchester the benefit of the doubt here)

    • He says in the video that he bought the shotgun new the week before this video, from Gander Mountain. That’s not a lot of time for crud to build up, if the gun is made right. Which this one is not.

      • Maybe it got dirty in Turkey. Some factory dudes have been diving shotgun first into streams and brush with this “borrowed” production gun during a hunt.

        Just trying to give Winchester the benefit of the doubt here.

        • Maybe it got dirty in Turkey.

          Actually, that is possible, and not only for the reason you mentioned. I once helped RF clean out a magazine that was constantly jamming on him. It was loaded with something that I think was dry polishing grit that might be used in the factory to prep metal for bluing. How it got into the magazine I’ll never know, but there it was.

  8. Dyspeptic Gunsmith, what are your thoughts on the Savage m10 variants? The one I had seemed pretty well built, wasn’t pretty to look at and for the most part seems like that was where the skimped as opposed to the internal bits.

    • I’m not fond of their new triggers, aka “AcuTrigger.” They’re OK, they’re safe (so far as I’ve seen), adjustable… I just don’t like the feel of them. That’s wholly personal preference.

      Savage rifles are accurate for their price, actually better than you’d expect for the price, mostly because their barrels are button-rifled barrels.

      Their use of the barrel nut allows a gun owner to swap/replace barrels without involvement by a gunsmith. Just get a barrel nut wrench – a real barrel nut wrench, and you’ll not tear up the nut with a poor substitute. You’d need a headspace gage, nut wrench and learn how to strip the bolt. But that’s an issue for another time.

      The Savage stocks used to be nicer. Today, I don’t see too many of their models that have wood any more. Their wood stocks on the 110 tend to be rather plain, but at the price level, one can’t expect much. Some of their internal parts (eg, the magazine box) aren’t well deburred, which is a pet beef of mine on cheap guns (per above on the Mossy 500’s)

      The barrel nut is, to me, ugly, but it is the way that Savage gets their costs down considerably. More than one competitor has now taken up the barrel nut system to make cheap rifles. While I don’t like the barrel nut aesthetics, the barrel nut is vastly preferable to Remington’s bottom-level rifle method of attaching the barrel to the receiver – pressing it in and gluing it, as on the 770.

      • Yep that was always my feeling, the guts were solid, fine rifle from an accuracy standpoint but not pretty to look at and rough around the edges.

        I guess if you are going to cut corners it’s better there than in the parts that actually make the thing go. I bought one, hunted with it for one season and traded up for something nicer. No problems other than the cheap scope mount that came with the gun, just couldn’t make myself fall in love with it.

        I’m a huge sucker for that oily mechanical feel of a well kept Winchester model 70 with the Mauser action, CRF and claw extractor.

  9. As to the condition or position of the safety, I thought rule of thumb was RED YOU’RE DEAD? I think he says otherwise but does not matter. Racking a shell in should not cause the gun to fire. At the rate the mfrs are turning out product and the cost cutting/profit maximizing that goes on, this type of thing should be no surprise.

  10. The same kind of logic caused CZ to raise their prices. No one would buy them at $400 because they assumed a gun that inexpensive had to be crap. WRONG, but now they’re at $600 or so.

    Or, hey, as someone pointed out, you can drop ten times that much at Cabot and be assured of quality.

    To be sure, I am not claiming there is NO correlation between price and quality, but that there are occasional real bargains out there…and plenty of overpriced ripoffs.

  11. Hey, at least his fires consistently. My 870 express fires about 90% of the time. I haven’t dug into it to see what’s wrong as I bought a 590a1 to takes its place.

  12. Speaking of the price as though it is a redeeming feature makes one an elitest. I hate Glocks, but I’d take one over an HK. I sold one of my Colts and bought 2 RIAs because I trust them. I love my Deerslayer and I’ll never get rid of it, but you give me $1000 to buy a shotgun, and I’m coming home with a 1300, 500, and an 870. Well, more like 3 870’s, but still…

    • Speaking of the price as though it is a redeeming feature makes one an elitest.

      You’ve encapsulated it perfectly here. You win the internet today.

      It’s one thing to point out that there is a rough correlation between price and quality, and that there’s only so much you can get for X dollars; it’s another to judge a gun totally by its price, or buy an overpriced piece of shit and proudly flaunt it for its expense.

      • And it is a third thing to actually know what goes on in making a gun, know what US labor costs, and be able to say “OK, a gun for $X… how did they make that happen? Was it cheap-rate manufacturing methods, automation, third-world labor, cheap materials… or all of the above?”

        See, unlike you internet commandos, I actually know what cost what inside a gun. My $1K from-the-hip estimate isn’t pulled out of thin air. It is about what a long arm would cost, made inside the US, with US labor, with quality materials, and minimal finishing.

        Tell me: Are you the kind of person who takes pride in owning a Yugo for a car?

        • You read me wrong here, I think, and perhaps that’s my fault. I am complaining about people who ostentatiously brag about how much their item costs, and (want you to) assume that higher price is identically equal to higher quality (think three horizontal lines between “cost” and “quality” if you dig back to your math education), not those willing to pay a necessary price for what they hope they are getting.

          Yugos were crap. (Q: Why is there a rear window defogger on a yugo? A: To keep your hands warm while pushing it.) Best use I ever saw for one was the guy who converted the shell of one into the base of a chimney. But then, so were a lot of far more expensive vehicles. The elitist is someone who thinks those crappy more expensive vehicles are X times better than a Yugo solely on the basis of them costing X times more.

          I don’t think you were really asking, but I drive an Acura Integra, for which I paid the average price paid for a car that year. People thought I dropped big bucks on it, but Integras were pretty average priced for their day. It has done far better than the average car of that year.

          Your point about people happily plunking down thirty K for a car but bitching that guns cost more than they did twenty years ago, is a good one. I don’t deny the effect of inflation, but acknowledging it is not the same as being a price snob.

          FWIW I didn’t, and don’t, think you’re being a price snob; you’re willing to own a glock, which tells me you think they’re reliable, even if not fancy, or even downright ugly. Perhaps the VW Beetle or Toyota Tercel of guns. (Someone will now come along and explain how one or the other of those was crap…I’m honestly not a “car person” so I wouldn’t know what their reps are today. I hope you’ll take that as I intended, basic but reasonably solid.)

        • “Tell me: Are you the kind of person who takes pride in owning a Yugo for a car?”

          Late 80’s Yugos were actually rugged cars, they are frequently seen in Rally races.

          Yugos would probably still be around if NATO hadn’t bombed their factory in the 90’s.

          And yes, I’m aware a Yugo is essentially a Fiat.

  13. Valuing quality and being willing to pay for it is a good thing, without a doubt. But I’d also hesitate to endorse the sentiment that more $$$ == better quality. My own experience has been mixed, to say the least. I’ve seen some really inexpensive guns that were junk. I’ve also purchased a couple of $1000.00 + firearms that ended up getting traded because were nowhere as reliable as other guns I’d purchased for half that price.

  14. S0 a Remington 700, priced at the same point as a Ruger M-77, or any one of a number of equivalents most have no complaint with ( as most don’t with the 700) somehow infers inferiority?

    Smith and Wesson could build revolvers like it used to, and be out of the revolver biz just like Colt.

    What make bad guns get churned out is bad attitude, and bad to non-existant or inconsistent quality control. The destruction from within of Marlin by Remington is just such an example of a poor attitude. Remington DECIDED to let those rifles out on the market. The 700 trigger is something of another sort, enmeshed in years of legal wranglings. Even today, the number of AD’s attributed to it are few. Doesn’t mean R shouldn’t make it right. And it’s not a general indictment of the rifle itself.

    • The reason why Colt is out of their business is their management. They got fat and dumb with their monopoly M-16 contract. They thought they had the DOD roped into buying from only Colt, and if competitors tried to source M-16’s to the DOD, Colt had the right to charge $$$ for their “technical data package” on the M-16 weapon system.

      As a result, Colt’s management pretty much ignored the consumer market for years.

      S&W hasn’t been quite that stupid. They were stupid to give into the Clinton-era machinations, and that cost them reputation and PR, but S&W still makes money off revolvers. Ruger makes money off revolvers. In the last 10 years, semi-autos have had a run, but as more newbies become experienced shooters, people will realize that there are times, places and reasons why revolvers have an advantage over pistols.

  15. There are plenty of perfectly reliable guns south of 1k. And there’s plenty of crap guns north of 1K and higher. Correlation does not always equal causation and this is a perfect example of that. Basing a decision to purchase something based on price point alone is foolish, dangerous, and a good way to get taken advantage of.

  16. One of my experiences with tools is to never buy cheap crap if at all possible. Just because you got a tool at harbor freight that is lasting for awhile means nothing. The exception does not prove the rule. I like to buy tools (and guns) once, spend more even if it hurts a little. My own experience backs D.S. and being that he is a professional the man deserves an honest listen. In my experience cheap tools leads to accidents, cursing and lots of frustration. Cheap firearms can lead to maiming or worse. Friends don’t let friends buy cheap!

  17. If >$1000 is your personal comfort level, then that is great for you. That won’t work out for everybody.

  18. Sooooo…can I still rely on my dirt cheap chi-com pardner pump or do I have to upgrade? It’s not like I have 100’s of place for my meager$. Sorry my next handgun will most likely be a lowly Taurus. And I’ll get it to work perfectly. Just a tool to me. That is one scary video.

  19. I like Dyspeptic Gunsmith, make it a point to catch his comments, and always learn something from each. He’s probably right on this topic, but the tone is unnecessarily harsh, especially in response to others.

    My rule of thumb, across all products and services, is to aim for about the 75th percentile in pricing. Going for rock bottom bargains never works out. Even going for average is usually disatisfying and results in a higher total cost of ownership. Going far high end, however, usually means chasing fads, hype, and brands that have probably started cutting corners to cash in on their reputation.

    So I shoot for the middle-ish of the upper side of the spectrum. Whether it’s firearms, automobiles, houses, whatever, that’s where the sweet spot is. That’s where the best balance of price and quality is. Pay too little, and it’s a waste for it not even functioning well at the basic level. Pay too much and it probably will work as advertised, but at way too pretty a penny that has more to do with bragging rights than functionality. Pay around the 75th percentile and you’re getting high quality at a serious, but tenable, price.

    • Just a general comment, I have always had a tendency to learn from harsh. Even better, learn from others mistakes, don’t hurt as bad. “You really should not do that”, pales before an ass chewing for doing it to start with. I have found over the years that I don’t like people that are like me.

  20. Guilty secret. When I buy a new shotgun I gut a shell, dump everything but the primer. I do this in the garage. I cycle the action and then test fire the gun with the primer only shell. I have gotten new or used guns that were less than perfect.

    I never load a new rifle or pistol until I’m where it’s safe if a round goes downrange when it ain’t supposed too.

    These habits started early in life for me. I witnessed what could have been a very bad situation when my old man bought a brand new winchester auto loading 12 ga . Like the gun in the video it would just fire if you slammed the action shut. That was nearly 50 years ago. If fuzy memories serve I believe it was a firing pin problem. Winchester made good on it but the next time we went hunting the old man had his old model 12.

    I’ve also bought a new gun that would not fire. Always do your own safety check.

  21. Keep this in mind too…Look at how Americans have changed in fifty years. I’m not even talking about politics. Gun manufacturers know most people today are lazier and spend more time indoors than their parents and grandparents. Due to urbanization, they don’t rely on their guns during daily tasks or hunt as much either. Knowing these trends, I’m not surprised manufacturers are building junk to cut costs because they’re betting the majority of their customers shoot once in a blue moon. Don’t forget the cultural shift either. The small handful of well cared for, top-shelf possessions my dad and grandpa had no longer suffice because bratty entitlement syndrome is now an epidemic across all age groups.

    My Remington 870 is a beat to shit police trade-in from the 1970’s and it hasn’t failed me once. Meanwhile I’ve watched quite a few people become plagued with issues from their recently cobbled together, MIMmified versions at the range. Old guns were just plain built with pride, and contrary to popular belief, they’re not all expensive. If you live where it’s legal, ask around at garage and estate sales. If not, go to pawn shops. Not everyone knows what they have. At worst you’ll score a deal on something built right, and at best you’ll pick up a truly collectible gun for pennies.

  22. So a big name company made a “cheap” product. Heritage, Hi Point, Taurus all make good guns I’m happy with. Shop around.

  23. I have a SXP defender and have messed with it in all conceivable ways while loaded and never had this or any other problem. I heard this occurs only with the 3.5 inch chambers on other SXP models. Can anyone else confirm this?

  24. If someone hasn’t already made sure Dyspeptic Gunsmith and Firearms Concierge have met for dinner and drinks…

    Seriously though, with regards to DG’s general premise… I don’t think there’s anything remotely approaching a straight line relationship between price and quality, either in firearms or in cars or in anything. I think there are upper-third priced items that are higher quality right there along with those that aren’t statistically separate from other, less expensive models.

    As in all other things, the advice remains the same: Do the research and check out as much as you can before you buy. Spending 1200 on a Colt or DD AR doesn’t guarantee quality beyond spending 600 for a M&P 15.

    At the end of the day we’re talking about mechanical actuarial tables here, really. A .005% chance of failure instead of .007%. You can’t buy your way past mechanical failure, even in a best-case scenario.

  25. I agree with Dyspeptic Gunsmith on this one. if you buy good quality equipment, and take care of it, then it will take care of you. Price is not always a good indicator of quality, but good quality does come at a price. The hard part is to gain enough experience to discern the difference without wasting money.

    When I got in the game I would follow a particular manufacturer for a particular product. It might be JBL for speakers, DeWalt for power tools, or Honda for motorcycles. These companies make a quality product (or used to). The first new firearm I bought was an S&W M27 (it was 1975), and S&W (at that time) was quality. Ditto for the Remington 870 I bought in 1976. But by 2003 Remington was in the hole, and in 2007 they were acquired by Cerebrus. God alone knows what the quality of the current production is because I’m not going to pony up good money to find out! So it’s a good idea to pay attention and not follow a brand blindly.

    Just because a product is good quality does not mean that it will serve in your particular application. Example? In 1984 I bought an HK-91, and I purely loved the ugly thing. I sighted it in at a makeshift range at my dad’s place (standing!), it put meat on the table, and I had no reason to fault its accuracy or reliability. Fast forward to 2011 and I buy my son an AR-10BNF for his first deer hunt. We take the AR and the HK to the LDWF range to sight them in, and the HK is shooting 3 MOA with the occasional flier while the AR is shooting solid 1 MOA! That same day I learned that the HK-91’s trigger left something to be desired. So I sold the HK for 8 times what I bought it for, got myself an AR-10 BNMF (it does sub MOA), and pocked the extra cash. Good equipment holds its value. 🙂

    I’m not the kind of guy that throws a gun in a tool box, or lets it get dirty or beat up. If your lifestyle requires that sort of thing then all bets are off. If I were in your shoes I’d be shopping the price too.

  26. I am really disgusted that TTAG would spread the ignorance of that commenter. There are MANY affordable, safe, reliable guns on the market WAY less than $1K. A prime example would be Savage firearms. All of thier firearms have performed wonderfully for me. Now granted I’m not trying to defend the Saturday night specials, out there made of pot metal and stamped parts. You have to do your research people!! If you want to blow your money on firearms that cost as much as a used car, more power to you, there are quite a few I desire. But spreading blasphemy that anything that is affordable to us normal shooters is unsafe garbage is plain elitist ignorance.

  27. Only new gun I’ve bought yet was a 10/22, it was cheaper than any of the used ones available at the time. My Rossi M92 is of fairly recent manufacture, but everything else is 30+ years old. Quality firearms, well-furnished and functional.

  28. I’ll add a couple more thoughts here on the larger picture of firearms quality and I’m going to call this day done.

    The history of Winchester pump guns goes like this:

    First, there was the Model 1897. External hammer. A John Moses Browning design (insert a rousing chorus from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir here). Made until the 1950’s. An all-steel gun with wood furniture, available in at least a half-dozen grades, some with very nice walnut, nice checkering, engraving, etc. While robust, study as hell and dependable, it had a lot of parts in it – as was common in several of JMB’s designs. There was also a lack of a disconnector in the Model 1897, which is an advantage if you’re using a shotgun to clean a trench; hold down the trigger and just start shucking the slide. Bam, bam, bam. In sporting use… hmmm. A dubious feature.

    Winchester decided that a new pump gun design that had fewer parts would be a Good Thing. A Winchester engineer designed what became the Model 12. The Winchester Model 1912 (after 1919, I think, it became the Model 12 for the rest of time) – started production in 1912, and continued to 1964. The Model 12 was available in grades from Field up to Pigeon, and the Pigeon grades in 28 gauge today are very collectable and can cost up to $8K. In the higher grades, Winchester used very nice, high-figure walnut wood. In 12 and 16 gauges, you can find Field grade Model 12’s down as low as $400 to $450; they’ll be used, worn and be in need of some inspection and possible repair, but there’s lots to work with in a Model 12. And there were almost 2 million examples made. Parts are available. They’re a rugged gun, as well as aesthetically pleasing. 100 years ago, the entry grade of Model 12 sold for $25+. Using the BLS inflation calculator from 1913 to today, that $25 for a field grade Model 12 is a bit under $600 today.

    In 1964, Winchester was seized with their first MBA-inspired fit of stupidity. They cheapened everything in their product line. The Model 12 was discontinued, and replaced by the Model 1200. Stamped sheet metal appeared, the walnut became very plain, high-end embellishment options disappeared. The biggest strike against the 1200 was the aluminum receiver. Shotguns with aluminum receivers are OK field guns, but they will never be “nice” guns – like the Model 12 in Target or Pigeon grade. The rotary bolt system appeared on the 1200 – which isn’t a bad thing. Rotary bolt shotgun actions are a solution in search of a problem, IMO. There’s nothing wrong with “conventional” action lockups. The checkering was pressed in, the finish was reduced. The screw-in choke system was introduced.

    In the late 70’s (1978, I think) the management of Winchester thought the 1200 “too expensive” and so they cut costs yet again, and the 1300 appeared. Now things started to look very grim indeed, no more polished blue (that I’ve seen on them), and “composite” materials appear, there’s more stamped sheet metal in the guts.

    Between the Model 120/1200/1300, I think a bit over 2.5 million were made.

    Today, you can find 1300 in gun shops for as low as $150. I wouldn’t ever pay more than $275 for a 1300, unless it has some cachet or provenance that makes that one serial # remarkable. No one seems to want them. They function, but they look and feel cheap. So for all of you who want as cheap a shotgun as possible, why buy new? Go find a 1300 and call it done. You’ll save a couple hundred bucks off the price of a new, cheap gun.

    1200’s can be found as low as $275 to 300 in OK shape. So you could still buy a used, American-made gun for less than you can buy a new third-world gun.

    When FN acquired USRAC and closed the New Haven plant in 2006, the were no “Winchester” pump guns produced for at least three years. Then the SXP appears, “re-designed” (not really – it’s pretty much still a 1200 action at the core), with a chromed chamber/bore, back-boring (on a pump hunting gun? OK, I guess) and yet more cost reduction – by sending the production over to Turkey and thereby reducing the labor costs.

    And there you have the sad history of Winchester pump guns. From the Model 1897 (today a fave among cowboy action shooters), the Model 12, which is a very nice gun, down to the SXP – a gun without an option for a wood stock, cheap metal finishing, stamped steel guts.

    Now, if I’m spending $500 on a pump shotgun today, I’m going to go find a Winchester Model 12 that has some miles and wear on it, and I’d put money into refinishing it as I’m able. It is all steel, and machined/forged parts at that. It can be re-polished and re-blued. The checkering can be re-pointed, the walnut re-finished. A Model 12 in good condition is a joy to shoot – the heavier weight helps reduce your felt recoil, and it balances better than many aluminum-actioned guns, IMO. I don’t like a nose-heavy shotgun. If you really want removable chokes, they can be added to the Model 12 by a competent shotgun gunsmith, but if you’re going to go this route, you might save money by finding a Model 12 with a Cutts comp/choke on it, which no one likes today, and modify that instead of a virgin Model 12.

    • Winchester 1200/1300/SPX pump guns can be accepted most advanced design on this category, Light alloy frame is only a shell for lockwork since barrel lock creates no stress to anywhere inside. Rotary head breechbolt ensures this. Stamped steel lockwork parts are for reducing the cost of manufacture. With sufficient quality control, this process gives clean parts with exact dimensions. No other quick production methods can equal its precise. Most of internal parts of German HK are made through stamping. Winchester 1200 guns outclass all
      others as working in all holding stances. The 12 Gauge of it, in side ejecting samples, is the sole pump shotgun workable with the ejecting ports looking downwards. This is very important in tactical use in which shooter may be in rolling, sideward leaning, upside down swinging positions. Please evaluate this shotgun in a larger vision. Also, its breechbolt construction had been copied by Benelli as soon as its patent rights expired, even to its heavy extractor spring, as assigning another mission to it.

  29. You folks are lucky to have access to knowledgeable people like DG. Pay attention to what they’re saying; they have seen enough junk over the years to arrive at some valid conclusions about quality or the lack thereof in today’s production guns. If you only shoot a couple hundred rounds a year, your third world firearm may be a perfect match for your needs. However, if you are going to shoot thousands of rounds, year after year, there’s no substitute for precision tolerances, good metallurgy and quality manufacturing processes. Accordingly, the initial cost of such a firearm will be higher but in all likelihood the ultimate cost of ownership will be much less: quality always carries its own weight and pays its own way.

  30. Hi-Point Firearms is the epitome of budget-priced guns, and they don’t go bang unless you pull the trigger. And by most accounts they’re pretty reliable.

    I agree that you get what you pay for, and when you design a low-cost gun you need to sacrifice something. Accuracy, weight, balance, ergonomics, capacity, fit & finish, whatever. But that doesn’t mean that a budget-priced gun can’t be safe and reliable.

  31. Just a small observation. Back in the late ’60’s, small gunsmith shop in south MS. MOST often encountered shotgun coming in or repair – Browning A5. What shotguns were NEVER seen for repair – Winchester 1300/1400. Certainly there were many more Brownings in use, but the Winchesters just seemed to never break. Yes, an occasional Rem 1100, but then always for a gas ring only. Just an observation.


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