Father Flanagan, who founded Boy’s Town, famously said that there is no such thing as a bad boy. I, who have not established anything, say that there is no such thing as a completely bad rifle. There are some awesome dogs out there, but if you look hard enough, you can usually find little merit. The following five fit the description perfectly. They were chosen by me, and my friend and gunsmith John Blauvelt from Milford, Pennsylvania, who has had the misfortune to work on some of them.
1) Winchester Model 100
This semi-automobile made its debut in 1961 when the company was reaching its level of quality control. Worn out machines and boiling work problems punished everything with a big red W on it. The Model 100 was not spared. It was a beautiful, sleek and simple rifle, but it had problems.
First on the list was the trigger. It was awful and there was no way to improve it. The second was the accuracy, the lack of. There were large wooden slabs pulled from the stock to accommodate the barrel action, and therefore there was no way to lay the rifle firmly. I have seen a Model 100 that shoots well, and I have read about others, but no one ever gives a band size, which seems very suspicious to me.
While the rifle was wearing, you had to hold the rear bed screw tight within an inch of its life (for very complex reasons to get in here), or the bolt would lock when it was almost closed. In 1990, Winchester announced a Model 100s retreat. It appeared that the firing pins would wear out over time and could block and come out of the firing pin hole, causing ignition with the bolt not fully locked. (If that happens, the subsequent seconds are very, very exciting.) The memory lasted, I believe, at least a few decades. And, finally, all the 100 Models I know of are very debatable which ammunition will work through them. The Model 100 was produced until 1973, when it was allowed to die a black death.
2) Winslow rifle
From 1963 to 1996, Winslow bolt-actions were first produced in Florida, then in South Carolina. The company used all sorts of actions, but I suspect mostly FN Mausers commercial. The Winslows all had blind magazines, Douglas Premium barrels and came in three stock styles and six classes. Winslows are the brightest firearms I have ever seen. Their blockage, which included a special cyanide strengthening bath, made the Colt Royal Blue look like Parkerizing. It was a real endless black, brilliant. Their base stock, Bushmaster, resembled a reduced Weatherby Mark V, but Plainsmaster, at its most extreme, looked like a backing from an old Buck Rogers movie.
Winslow hired a talented carpenter named Nils O. Hultgren, who made detailed carvings in basket weaving instead of squares and excellent workmanship with ivory chords over black. There were also excellent gold carvings and engravings. An Emperor Grade Winslow, at the top of the line, was glamorous. Abercrombie & Fitch, in its legendary 7thth the floor (gun), used to hold some fully decorated Winslow exhibits and seemed to emit an interior light.
Winslows are excellent rifles. They are the best work of some very talented people. They make this list because they are very heavy, strangely shaped, very shiny (On the Ungava Peninsula, years ago, I saw a rifle shining from what turned out to be miles away. A caribou could have seen it from far away.) and now, very valuable. I no longer know anyone who does this kind of work. They were more like Kentucky’s last rifles – too bold to use.
3) Ruger Model 44 Deerstalker
The Deerstalker was the idea of Bill Ruger, and debuted in 1961 just at the time when he became known as a design and marketing genius, a man with a strange sense of what the public would buy. And Deerstalker made a lot of sense. It was a semi-automotive gas-operated carbine mounted on the .44 magnum cartridge. It was short, quite light, useful, and almost perfect for white-tailed hunters.
In 1961, the Deerstalker cost $ 108, which is very close to $ 1,000 today. If you had 3 inch sets on 100 yards, that was just as good as shooting, but for a carbine 100 feet down, that was no problem. But there were problems. First, Itaca informed Ruger that it had already produced a weapon called the Deerstalker, and removed the name or otherwise. This was probably an omen.
The worst would come. If you fired bullets into a Deerstalker, the bullet would shave into the barrel and block the gas gates. In fact, if you fired at anything other than the 0.44 magnum ammunition, the weapon would not move with the cycle. Fat from the ammunition could accumulate in the tubular carcass (which could not be disassembled and was difficult to clean) and not be fed. And most importantly, the trigger group was embedded in an aluminum shelter, which would inevitably crack and could not be repaired.
Deerstalker remained in production until 1985. However, there are still fans, and if you need parts, you can get them from sources other than Ruger. You can even rebuild it into a tactical version, which would cause Bill Ruger to have a seizure.
4) Savage Model 340
This lightning action makes me boil with contradictory emotions. It was the first firearm rifle I ever bought (in 1961) and it did me a lot of good. In fact, many 340 movies shot well and worked fine. I came to my rifle because during my good college days I did more hunting for herds of wood than I studied, and I had a burning desire for a central fire with which to persecute pasture dogs. I turned to a Theta Chi which had many weapons, among which was a 340 in .222 Remington, and which already had on board a rimfire Weaver 4X range. And I could afford what he was looking for.
The great virtue of the Model 340 was its price. In 1960, a new one, which came in the .22 Hornet, .222, or .30 / 30, sold for $ 59.95. This was not a rifle that was ashamed to be cheap. Her freedom shone in every part. Everything was stamped, riveted, cleaned and mounted with indifference. The rifles were not even serially counted until 1969. This probably saved a few cents. 340 almost practically shouted, “I’m worried about cost cuts.”
The cause was a horror. The action with the barrels was held only by a barrel strip. The receiver was split at the top and required a side mount (which you can hardly see anymore). If you are not careful when removing the barrel action from the stock, the ejector and its spring will fall out. The detachable casings were thin-walled and made of metal containers. The extractors were poor and worked properly only at 0.30 / 30. And in, and in.
The Model 340 was produced until 1985, and the strange thing is that it has now become a highly desirable firearm. You can, with very little trouble, find one that costs $ 500 online, and if you really have a head full of owls, you can spend roughly $ 1000. Why? I have no idea.
5) The sporty arisaka of World War II
You have to be really old to remember this. During World War II, Japan released two bolt-on rifles as their main infantry weapons. One was the Arisaka Type 38 (first released in 1906) which was 6.5 mm and its replacement, which was first released in 1940, was a 7.7 mm named Type 99. A large number of these rifles, and their carbine versions, came to the United States as war trophies, and eventually, their owners came down from above their cloaks and went hunting with them.
Both rifles had a number of things in common. They were Mauser derivatives, very simple, very crude, but reliable for a mistake and almost unbreakable. In fact, the Type 38 and 99 are probably a lot stronger than anything produced today. How strong? In the early 1960s, a gunsmith, savage writer, and writer named PO Ackley conducted a series of tests on the stock of bolts used in World War II, including a type 38. These tests were destroyed; Ackley continued to increase pressure until the actions failed. He was able to blow everything up except type 38. As a last resort, he hit a steel rod under the barrel, stuck it in place and started a round. The pressure pulled the barrel out of action, but the action was good. At this point, Ackley gave up.
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Most of the converted Arisaks have simply sported the stock, while others have done a lot of work. Many of these weapons are quite sound, but there are problems. First, they are all pretty raw for sport rifles and remain so no matter what is done to them. Then there is the weird safety wrench with rotation on the back of the bolt. In use, you push it and give it a quarter turn clockwise; to free you do the opposite. However, if they are worn, some of these reassurances will cause the rifle to fire when you release them.
And then there are the “last” Arisakas. All of these are type 99 that were produced in the last days of World War II. They were little more than gloves for bayonets, and in their production were cuts that make them unsafe to burn. Advise, as they say in the army.