Category Archives: Industry

Five Tips for Gun Shop Staff

Rather than rave about what we see people doing wrong, here’s some “do” bullet points for you.

5. Listen three-quarters of the time.

Your customers are not in the shop for what interests you, but for what interests them. Talking about what interests them is a good way for you to sell them products and services that you can provide. It’s also a good way to establish yourself as an excellent listener, a personality type that is never in oversupply.

4. Know your products and inventory.

We really, really hate to go into your store and be the know-it-all, and we’ll never do it just to kill your sale. But if you’re recommending something entirely wrong, especially to a newbie, we’ll probably set you straight — tactfully, if you let us.

3. Be careful with assumptions about your customers.

The ancient Greeks used to believe that the gods periodically took on human form, often the form of an inconsequential character. The gods would then reward the decent folks who had been kind to what they thought was a fellow human, and punish the folks who had abused them. We’ve never heard of a gunstore encounter with Apollo or Hera, but we’d just like to remind you that among the people who go to gun stores are people who really are experts on some aspect of your inventory.

2. Greet everybody who comes in your store.

No exceptions. Nothing you are doing is more important that a customer who just walked in, especially a new customer. It is the customers that enable everything else; it is the new customers that may need all kinds of nice, high-margin accessories.

1. Always tell the truth.

And stop when you run out of truth. If you don’t know the truth, don’t try to bullshit. Just say you don’t know, and offer to find out. The customer may know more than you do, for one thing.

 

Auction Action

Tomorrow, the Rock Island Auctions regional auction is underway. We’ll be bidding on a few items. Some of the bids are for things we really want, and we bid appropriately. Others, we’d kind of like to have, and so we lowballed. Here’s one we’d like to win:

CZ 36 L

It’s a rare CZ 36, which was made from 1936 to 1945; it’s a compact, DA pistol in 6.35mm/.25 ACP, and that one’s in superb condition. It was replaced by the CZ 45, which is rare in the USA, but not worldwide — it was produced continuously from 1946 to 1970, when it was replaced by a new version, and in 1992, a newer version still; these latter-day versions have never been legally imported to the USA, under the “sporting test” that the Gun Control Act of 1968 borrowed from Nazi gun law.

A lot of the things are auctions for multi-gun lots where we only want one or two guns. If that’s the case, we’ll be selling the extras and thinning out the safe a little. We’re going to keep our own bid amounts secret for now, but here’s what we’re bidding on (we may mention a couple lots we considered bidding on but didn’t).

All the bids and some more photos in a table after the jump. (We may add more photos tomorrow).

Continue reading

The 3D Printing Revolution is Over, and other Developments

We’ve had a few interesting developments in home and small office firearms prototyping lately.

The 3D Printing Revolution is Over, Part I

red_flagIn a way, the 3DP revolution is over. The revolutionaries won. Every firm in the industry that we have personal knowledge of, from the great (exchange-listed Ruger) to the small (single-digit prototype shops) is using 3D printing in prototype development or even in manufacturing. For example, Ruger’s investment-casting shop, which also casts for competitors and other third parties, Pine Tree Castings, is directly printing lost-wax patterns on two industrial printers; time, energy, and recycling effort are all signally reduced.

The firms that are not using this technology are very small, practically one-man shops, and even they are often using 3D computer design tools and CNC. For the same reason that even the starving writer in his garret is hammering on computer keys and not his granddad’s Underwood: new tools have produced an explosion in individual productivity.

Productivity and Computer Technology

Computers directly enable productivity. For example, imagine this blog in the pre-computer (or even, pre-Internet) era. The “posts” or items would be typed on paper, then reproduced into a newsletter, and mailed to subscribers. It would lose immediacy and volume for sure; it would take us much more work to produce much less.

Computers also indirectly enable productivity by increasing information flow, both in terms of volume and rate. (An ironic by-product of that is that a whole new application for computers became necessary: tools to search, sort and amplify what is to any particular user his desired signal amidst all the noise (some of which is pure noise, but most of which is someone else’s desired signal). Economists have had great success in recent decades by describing economic activity in terms of flows, not of 18th-Century concepts like capital and labor, but of information. Freeing the flow of information from unnatural restrictions generally benefits the society and the individual. It usually scares the pants of some people, especially the ones who used to be able to control the flows.

Computers moved much more slowly into actual production of tangible products, but they’re there now, and making a similarly revolutionary change on the factory floor that Steve Jobs promised to “knowledge workers” in 1983-5 when he introduced the Apple Lisa and, later, the Macintosh Office. Some of those ideas misfired in their first implementation (early Lisas and Macs are collectors’ items today), but the marketplace iterated rapidly and effectively and still does.

Today’s computer manufacturing technology is still relatively primitive, when compared to its potential; we’re about where Steve’s “Macintosh Office” was 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC & Around the World

Just as manufacturing of products becomes disintermediated and dissociated from large integrating manufacturing/marketing/distribution organizations, we have our version of a Luddite spectacle. A bunch of politicians, most of them captive of the economic and political concepts of prior centuries, are making a childish display of themselves, and demanding restrictions on production and ownership of a product, firearms. But they are asking the impossible: guns can be produced under the most precarious of conditions by the most primitive of shops. They do this because they want to redirect anger and retribution away from the actual generator of the recent outrage, Wahhabi/Salafi Islam, and towards targets whose destruction they would find more personally gratifying.

The guy who last changed your brake pads and wiper blades probably has everything in his shop necessary to produce automatic weapons. In fact, another terrorist outrage you may not have heard about recently occurred in Israel where two assclowns inspired by Islam attacked a restaurant with submachine guns.

Back in February, more homebrew SMGs were used in attacks on Israeli cops.

Damascus Gate SMG 1

The SMGs, made under embargo conditions in clandestine workshops in the lawless Palestinian territories, were improvised weapons. (One of which did fail during the attack. Testing is an aspect of manufacturing that technology can’t replace).

You certainly heard about the murder of left-leaning British politician Jo Cox, in the land of no handguns, Great Britain. Cox was killed with a crude improvised pistol based on an ancient US Army improvised guns manual.

Non-factory guns can be very sophisticated

Don’t take our word for it, just peruse the Impro Guns blog. Here’s a Thai pepperbox in .22LR.

revolvingweaponthailand

This next picture is not a TEC-9. Take a good look! It’s a clandestine-shop knock-off open-bolt SMG, seized by cops in Canada last year. Restrict all guns and “prohibit” the scary ones, as Canadian laws do, and this is what anyone who wants a gun might as well build. He’s as well hung for a sheep as a lamb, eh?

Canada-firearmsoffences-submachinegun

Here’s a shot of Browning-style pistols produced in a one-house clandestine factory in Talcher, Odisha, India that was seized by police in the summer of 2015.

Indian Impro 2015

And here’s video of a (US, legal) home-built .25 pistol.

Here’s the build of the same (18 minutes). Tools used include a drill press, welding equipment and circular and saber saws. He does use some well-chosen cutting tools, like end mills and reamers, and uses a rifling machine of his own manufacture. ses At one point he improvises an end mill from a drill bit (per the plans he is using). He uses the name “Clinton Westwood” which we’re sure is what his mother named him; his YouTube Channel, Clinton’s Cheap Workshop, is full of must-watch TV.

Clinton’s new adventure is making a larger, 1911-styled .380 blowback pistol. He just started in April and has made good progress, so go to the YouTube channel, click Videos, and enjoy.

You might want to archive the videos, in case YouTube (which is owned by Google, which is either owned by or owns the Clinton — Hillary, not Westwood — campaign) disappears them and unpersons Westwood in the future.

The 3D Printing Revolution is Over, Part II

In another way, the 3DP revolution is over. Many of the revolutionaries of the first wave have gone much more quiet, perhaps because they’re involved in other things, or perhaps for some other reason. Maybe they’re under pressure from a lawless DOJ determined to find terrorists everywhere except among Islamic terrorists!

Cody Wilson? Tied up in a lawsuit, his new book, and the GhostGunner project. Now, the project isn’t idle. Here’s a new video posted this week on the GG2:

And the company released a new manual for the GG1 and GG2, and new software, on 1 June, including the first MacOS version of DDCut.

James R. Patrick? Website gone, although his .STLs have made it into the distribution. Have Blue? Hasn’t tweeted since December. Is he a Norwegian Have Blue, pining for the fjords? ArmaDelite? Not since April 7. Ma Deuce? Showing a heartbeat, at least. He posted a YouTube video in his channel about two months ago, for the first time in a year.

But RollaTroll is still with us (even if his last tweet was a Weaponsman link a couple weeks ago).

And the thing is, it doesn’t matter if some of the original founders of the 3D printed arms movement 3+ years ago have gone silent, gone Hollywood, gone to ground, or gone underground: a new generation is supplementing, and where necessary, replacing them. And the new generation is larger, and the generation they energize will be exponentially larger still.

The genie’s out, and anybody waving a bottle and muttering get-back-in incantations at this point just looks ridiculous.

New Silencer Venture Makes Progress

Business end of typical Maxim silencer. (file photo). Can Brittingham's team top what they did at SIG (which topped what they did at AAC)?

Business end of typical Maxim silencer. (file photo). Silencers have come a long way in over a century. Can Brittingham’s team top what they did at SIG (which topped what they did at AAC)?

Kevin Brittingham, founder of AAC and former employee of Cerberus/Remington Outdoor and founding executive of SIG’s silencer division, has formed a new company with a handful of trusted employees. Q, LLC, will be exclusively a design and prototyping shop. Any manufacturing will be done by partners. It’s right up the road in Big City. (Yes, the one that has entertained us from time to time with its Mayberry-like police blotter).

This court ruling tells a condensed story of how he came to leave AAC, which he sold to Cerberus/Remington. (He sued when they tried to cheat him out of payment. He won).

Brittingham_Remington_Judgment.pdf

During his year with SIG, he was responsible for some excellent suppressor designs.

Q, LLC is not quite up and running yet, because they need some local permits, but the venture was front page news, above the fold, in the local fishwrap today.

Jessica Gauvin, vice president of business development of Q, LLC, the company wishing to operate the business at 933 Route 1 Bypass, is asking the board for a variance to operate the light industrial business in a B-business zone, according to documents filed in City Hall. The company will be focused on “research and development” to design and engineer firearms, Gauvin said.

The use variance the company is requesting is needed for the company to get its federal firearm license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Gauvin said.

The ATF has already sent an agent to the Q’s proposed facility on the bypass and Q was “found to be in compliance with what we propose to do,” she said.

She contended in the paperwork that the variance will not be contrary to the public’s interest because it will be “conducted in accordance with all federal and state laws.”

We made an effort to visit the building today to see if anyone was in, but we went about it the wrong way — by bicycle — and the new venture is on (or perhaps, past) a section of Route 1 Bypass that is closed to human-powered vehicles.  We have some information to share with them before tomorrow night’s hearing on their request.

Maybe after tomorrow’s AM pain session in the new strength-oriented gym. Old man needs that.

CZ Scorpion Evo S3 Carbines Ship

The pistols came through first, long enough ago that some people have them SBR’d already, but the promised 16″ non-NFA carbine is arriving in shops in two models, one a conventional carbine and one a mock-MP5SD competitor with a fake silencer. Both versions have been posted to Reddit (conventional carbine / fake-can carbine) and IMGUR (same / same) already . (the “SD” a month ago).

CZ Skorp Evo Carbine 05The owner of the conventional carbine wrote:

I had almost forgotten that I ordered it a couple months back. I’m still waiting on my urban grey P-09 as it’s back ordered, but this should keep me entertained. I haven’t seen one posted on here, so I hope you all enjoy the unboxing photos.

CZ Skorp Evo Carbine 01

This is CZ’s new Scorpion Evo 3 S1 carbine. I got the model that has a muzzle brake, which may or may not come off when my Optimus gets out of ATF jail. The pleasant surprise I got when I opened the box was finding 2 magazines inside. I assumed it only came with one. It shipped with 20 round magazines, which was the highest capacity I saw available with the rifle. I also ordered several 30 round magazines for maximum PewPew.

CZ Skorp Evo Carbine 04

Can’t wait to get this to the range and do a range report. Any questions just fire away!

The owner of the “SD” version posted a capsule review — 200 rounds’ worth —  of his $991 purchase, which we’ll excerpt:

CZ Skorp Evo Carbine 07

Balance and Feel:
Decent, it’s not heavy at around 6lbs. It doesn’t really even feel like 6lbs. I thought that faux suppressor up front would add weight and make it front heavy, it doesn’t seem to.
The new handguard feels [bleep]ing guuuuureat. Love it. great change. The safety still eats dicks, and eats in to your trigger finger. The pistol grip is ok. I’ll probably replace it at some point.
The stock is wonderful. Simple, easy, feels great. Can’t compliment it enough. If you have a Scorpion pistol and haven’t SBR’d it to get this stock holy [bleep] are you missing out.
The folding mechanism is ok. It doesn’t really stick, but eh.
Trigger:
Same as the pistol I believe. No change, not awful, not great. Kind of battle-rifley.
Recoil:
What recoil? It’s 9mm to begin with and it’s 6lbs of 9mm. This is fun as hell and makes follow up shots a joke. I’m honestly not sure how much the faux suppressor is doing, if it’s compensating at all or what.

CZ Skorp Evo Carbine 08

His only complaint was that the stock mags are 20-rounders, and one has to pay extra for 30-round magazines.

Yes, the Czech Pistols book does mention the Scorpion and Bren pistols! And it explains why CZ chose to lead the market with pistols before carbines or factory NFA SBRs.

We, for one, Welcome Our New Polymer Overlords

Let’s have another one from Guy in a Garage. In this case, he’s test-firing a James R Patrick Songbird .22.

You see some of the limitations of the 3D printed plastic firearm here.

But you also see some potential.

Barrels were never going to be the best test case for fused filament fabrication type 3D printing, for the same reason that even commercial manufacturers deeply committed to polymer firearms parts have never produced polymer barrels.

Polymer receivers go back almost 60 years to the Remington Nylon 66 (1959) and its derivatives, which had unitary receivers and stocks of DuPont Nylon 6/6, a polyamide that was then one of the toughest injection-moldable plastics available. Polymer handguns go back nearly almost 40 years — to 1979-82 and the development and launch of the Glock 17. Millions and millions of polymer frames have been made, but zero commercial polymer barrels.

There have been experimental barrels that were made of wound fiberglass, or fiberglass around a metallic rifled liner, such as the ones that Armalite of Hollywood, California experimented with for shotguns and some early AR-10 prototypes.

AR-10 barrel blowout Image 12590-SA Springfield

These early experiments left some of the Springfield greybeards wondering if Armalite was sourcing parts from Acme…

Springfield-AR-10-blowup-close-up

177913-1…and having them installed by graduates of the Wile E. Coyote School of Gunsmithing.

Modern composite technology such as carbon fiber filament and tow, and filament winding machinery, has finally brought the technology into line with Armalite’s vision. Carbon fiber (lined, of course) barrels have also been adapted to modern rimfire arms as well.

What does this mean for the future of polymers? Well, it’s a fact that after all these years, good old Nylon 6/6 is still a competitive material for high impact uses. What has happened in the injection molding industry over that span of time is increasing use of inserts and overmolding to make molded parts out of multiple materials.

This is almost certainly the wave of the future — or one wave of the future — in 3D printed firearms parts. Many printers now have the capability to print in multiple materials or to pause for the insertion of an insert (such as a threaded socket for a screw; you’ve probably seen molded plastic parts with inserts like these).

We can still expect 3D printing to be used for convenience, short runs & micromanufacturing, customization and personalization, prototyping, making jigs and fixtures, and making molds and patterns for traditional manufacturing processes.

But if you really want to, you can make a gun out of it.

Another Way to Use 3D Printing

Chuck of GunLab and his friend Orin have a dream: to wit, bringing a rare and “dead” single-shot design, the Remington Hepburn, back to life. To do this, Chuck got a scrapyard special Remington Hepburn and reverse-engineered the rusty, pitted action into SolidWorks. Then he passed the solid model to Orin, who tested it by 3D printing a model.

First print success!

Now, we’re not sure what plastic he used here. If he were to do it in PLA, he could have it lost-PLA cast. It would take a professional foundry to do it in steel or iron, but it might be strong enough (and very beautiful) if done in silicon bronze. (Of course, many modern foundries doing investment casting can now work direct from an STL file, printing in wax using a specialty printer).

They followed up with a Phase II: Orin designing a cutaway receiver and the various internal parts:

GunLab pre printed partsAnd then printed them:

GunLab Orin printed partsThis way he can check (and observe) the fit and the quality of his reverse engineering.

These are all good (and soon to be standard) uses of 3D printing technology as a resource extender, time saver, and general force multiplier for design, engineering and manufacturing.

Chuck, for one, is sold. He just took delivery of his first 3D printer… he got a great deal on a discontinued model… and has been machining the aluminum alloy parts it needs to replace its brittle, failing plastic ones.

What Did a Luger Cost? (Updated)

This Commercial Mauser Luger was made very close to these cost figures -- in 1939. From the Sturgess collection, now for sale by Jackson Armory.

This Commercial Mauser Luger was made very close to these cost figures — in 1939. From the Sturgess collection, now for sale by Jackson Armory. ($3,450!)

Well, that depends. There’s a lot of different ways to look at this question. But what we’re going to do, is look at what it cost to manufacture a Luger. As it happens, the great book Mauser Pistolen has a table of Luger production costs in 19401. From there we can calculate would it cost in 1940 dollars, and from there it’s possible to make an estimate of its production cost in 2016, in today’s dollars. Let’s start by transcribing the original document, from the collection of Mauser Pistolen co-author Jon Speed. We’ll apply our MBA-fu and a little search online to translate the quaint old German accounting terms.

Table 1: P.08 with Haenel Magazine — Full Cost Accounting

Item Item (English) Cost, 1940 RM
Werkstoff Material 1.82
2 Haenel – Mag. 2 Haenel Magazines 5.32
Summe SubTotal 7.14
Fertigungslohn Direct Labor 10.21
Werkstoffgemeinkosten @6.8% Material Overhead @6.8% 0.49
Betriebsgemeinkosten @182.7% Factory (Business) Overhead @182.7% 18.65
SubTotal SubTotal 36.49
Kostenabweichung @7.6% Cost Variance @7.6% 0.78
Summe SubTotal 37.27
Zuschlag für Ausschuss @2.2% Surcharge for Spoilage (waste/scrap) @2.2% 0.82
Herstellkosten Manufacturing Costs 38.09
Verwaltungs- u. Vertriebsgemeinkosten @3.8% Administration & Sales Costs @3.8% 1.45
Umsatzsteueuer aus RM47.10 beziehungsweise RM 47.50 @2.0% Sales tax on basis of RM 47.10 or 47.50 @2.0% 0.94
Selbstkosten per Stück Our costs per unit 40.48
Private sale cost 47.50

OK, now  convert to period dollars. UCSB Historian Harold Marcuse has posted a useful table of exchange rates here. (He also, to digress for a moment, spent a portion of last year embroiled (with some allies, like Prof. Atina Grossman of Cooper Union) in a battle of wits with the relatively unarmed Erich Lichtblau of the New York Times over fabrications and exaggerations in Lichtblau’s America-bashing “history” of the postwar area as published in a book and the Times — something that will not surprise anyone who’s read Lichtblau in any form). So what did it cost Mauser to make a Luger in 1940, converted to 1940 dollars? Marcuse’s set of tables includes two tables that cover 1940, but they agree: RM2.5 = US $1 for that year. So let’s add a  column, and see what that adds up to.

Table 2: Full Cost Accounting, RM and $US, 1940.

Item Item (English) Cost, 1940 RM Cost, 1940, USD
Werkstoff Material 1.82 0.73
2 Haenel – Mag. 2 Haenel Magazines 5.32 2.13
Summe SubTotal 7.14 2.86
Fertigungslohn Direct Labor 10.21 4.08
Werkstoffgemeinkosten @6.8% Material Overhead @6.8% 0.49 0.2
Betriebsgemeinkosten @182.7% Factory (Business) Overhead @182.7% 18.65 7.46
Summe SubTotal 36.49 14.6
Kostenabweichung @7.6% Cost Variance @7.6% 0.78 0.31
Summe SubTotal 37.27 14.91
Zuschlag für Ausschuss @2.2% Surcharge for Spoilage (waste/scrap) @2.2% 0.82 0.33
Herstellkosten Manufacturing Costs 38.09 15.24
Verwaltungs- u. Vertriebsgemeinkosten @3.8% Administration & Sales Costs @3.8% 1.45 0.58
Umsatzsteueuer aus RM47.10 beziehungsweise RM 47.50 @2.0% Sales tax on basis of RM 47.10 or 47.50 @2.0% 0.94 0.38
Selbstkosten per Stück Our costs per unit 40.48 16.19
Private sale cost 47.50 19.00

While what Mauser got from the HeeresWaffenAmt (Army Ordnance Office) for each Luger is not immediately apparent (it’s probably somewhere else in that excellent book), we know what they charged a German military or police officer seeking to privately purchase a Luger: RM 47.50 (that’s in another of Speed’s period documents on that same page). In American, $19.

These costs were reduced about one Reichsmark per unit from the previous year, but Mauser’s costs in 1936-37 were lower and highly variable over time, suggesting that the ~5% difference might just be normal variance over time. It’s surprising that you don’t see cost reductions considering that Mauser produced the Luger for about ten years, beginning in the early ’30s when they took over production from then-corporate sibling DWM in Berlin (drawings, parts, and one engineer, August Weiss, were sent to Oberndorf). Other evidence in the book suggests that Mauser had quite modern management for its day.

Well, there’s the outrageously-expensive Luger for you — compare that to the US cost for the 1911A1, about $14-15 in 1940. Adds up if you’re making hundreds of thousands of them (Mauser and DWM together produced about 2 million Lugers, according to Weiss).

Another image of that same Luger at Jackson Armory.

Another image of that same Luger at Jackson County Armory.

There are several different ways to calculate what a 1940 dollar is worth today (which was news to us, MBA and history degree and all). Marcuse also recommends the site measuringworth.com, which has this interesting discussion of which value comparison indicator is “right”. (The answer, it turns out, is “it depends.” Isn’t it always?)

Using Measuring Worth’s seven-index calculator, we get values for a 1940 dollar varying wildly from $13.40 (using the GDP deflator methodology) to $169 (using relative share of GDP).

one_1940_dollarAs it turns out, GDP deflator is a good measure of “how much it cost compared to the present cost of materials or labor”, but so are worker wages, which as you can see (for an unskilled worker) is double the CPI (reflecting a rising standard of living in the last 3/4 of a century); and relative share of GDP is a good measure of the national weight assigned to such a project.

The common Consumer Price Index which we’ve used for previous longitudinal price comparisons is close to the low end, at $16.90. A perfect methodology does not exist, but it might require us to use different metrics for different components of the Luger’s cost structure. Instead, we’ll just use the GDP Deflator and the Relative Share of GDP to get the min-max:

Table 3: Full Cost Accounting, RM and $US, 1940 and 2014

Item Item (English) Cost, 1940 RM Cost, 1940, USD Value, 2016 by GDP Deflator Value, 2016, Relative Share of GDP
Werkstoff Material 1.82 0.73 9.78 123.37
2 Haenel – Mag. 2 Haenel Magazines 5.32 2.13 28.54 359.97
Summe SubTotal 7.14 2.86 38.32 483.34
Fertigungslohn Direct Labor 10.21 4.08 54.67 689.52
Werkstoffgemeinkosten @6.8% Material Overhead @6.8% 0.49 0.2 2.68 33.80
Betriebsgemeinkosten @182.7% Factory (Business) Overhead @182.7% 18.65 7.46 99.96 1260.74
Summe SubTotal 36.49 14.6 195.64 2467.4
Kostenabweichung @7.6% Cost Variance @7.6% 0.78 0.31 4.15 52.39
Summe SubTotal 37.27 14.91 199.79 2519.79
Zuschlag für Ausschuss @2.2% Surcharge for Spoilage (waste/scrap) @2.2% 0.82 0.33 4.42 55.77
Herstellkosten Manufacturing Costs 38.09 15.24 204.22 2575.56
Verwaltungs- u. Vertriebsgemeinkosten @3.8% Administration & Sales Costs @3.8% 1.45 0.58 7.77 98.02
Umsatzsteueuer aus RM47.10 beziehungsweise RM 47.50 @2.0% Sales tax on basis of RM 47.10 or 47.50 @2.0% 0.94 0.38 5.09 64.22
Selbstkosten per Stück Our costs per unit 40.48 16.19 216.95 2736.11
Private sale cost 47.50 19.00 254.60 3211.00

We’d be very pleased to be pointed to any such cost accounting details from other nations/periods/firearms.

Updates

This post has been updated. Total Luger production has been added, and the paragraph noting that earlier costs were higher has also been inserted (Mauser Pistolen contains another, earlier cost breakdown table on p. 226 that shows these costs for the years 1936-38, with 1937 costs broken down by quarter. Plenty of data in that book for anyone interested in a deeper dive than this.

Sources

Weaver, W. Darrin, Speed, Jon, and Schmid, Walter. Mauser Pistolen. Cobourg, Ontario: Collector Grade, 2008.

Williamson, Samuel H.  Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to present. Measuring Worth, n.d. Retrieved from: https://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/

Williamson, Samuel H. Choosing the Best Indicator to Measure Relative Worth. Measuring Worth, n.d.. Retrieved from: https://www.measuringworth.com/indicator.php

The Greatest Gun Salesman in History! Infographic

We’ve covered the growth of the market in many posts with fairly dry statistics and some freeze-dried bar and line charts. But the guys at ammo.com made it all into a slick infographic.

It’s nice to know that, if he isn’t comforted enough by all the racial healing he brought to a benighted and undeserving nation, he still has earned one superlative that no one can take away from him.

Well, except the next President. If we’re unlucky.

Click to activate the fullsizenator.

Print

Via: Ammo.com

Of course they would appreciate it if you rewarded their hard work by going to their site and signing up for their ammo-deal email, or, better yet, buying some ammo.

We notice they have bulk ammo in some of the odd pistol calibers we use, like .25 and .32.

Retro Rejoice: Colt to Reissue “Collector’s Edition” M16, XM177E2

Retro heads, rejoice: You have nothing to lose but your slavish obsession with parts gathering. Because Colt, the original maker of historic firearms like the M16A1 (Colt Model 603) and XM177E2 (Model 639), has something new in the works: the Model 603. The 639. The 602. Maybe even the 601, the 605, the 608, and all those other rarities. Here’s the first two of what is promised to be a line:

colt_retro_guns

We learned this in an excited email from Shawn of LooseRounds.com this weekend, as he shared what Colt spokesmen have told him. (And the photo, a detail of which you see above). He has two posts:

Taken together, they cover most of what Colt has let out about the new vintage reissues. Here’s our distillation of it:

  1. The showing at the NRA Annual Meeting was just a tease, the “real” product intro will come at next January’s SHOT Show.
  2. Colt will make a short run, maybe as few as 1,000 pieces, of two models of these rifles every year for the next 10 years.
  3. Colt will make every effort to accurately produce the weapons as they were produced, except,
  4. They’re all going to be Title 1 firearms — no NFA weapons.
  5. The first two up are believed to be the M16A1 and XM177E2, the two key weapons of the Vietnam War.

Personally, we think this is brilliant. Guitar makers have done it for decades — we believe the first to get on the Vintage craze was Rickenbacker, whose use by the Vietnam War’s contemporaries like the Beatles and the Byrds made them a natural for vintage reissues (but it might have been Fender). Naturally other makers like Gibson and acoustic-guitar specialist Martin joined in. Soon the drum brands followed suit, and the amplifier makers, and by the time the Beatles Anthology was released in the mid-90s, a Ringo, John, Paul, or George wannabe could equip himself with everything but the talent by swiping his credit card at Manny’s or George Gruhn’s. For the guitar makers, this opened up an entire new market — aged-out rockers who had never given up their desire to sound like, say, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, could at least buy a ringer for his 12-string. Unlike today’s starving musician, the aged out former-starving-musician-of-the-70s now has the disposable income to buy the guitar he couldn’t in his Ramen Noodles days.

Your humble blogger may resemble that fictional aged-out rocker, with vintage reissues from Fender, Gibson, and Gibson’s budget brand Epiphone sharing guitar racks with real vintage instruments. (Some of which were merely “old” when put away, but emerged from storage “vintage,” like Schrödinger’s Guitar or something).

It’s not hard to conceive Colt’s marketing move as a parallel to what the guitar makers are doing. Yes, they’re still trying to reach today’s guy but they also want the dollars of the guy inspired by yesterday’s heroes. Colt, like Rickenbacker, ought to be able to survive as a nostalgia, vintage brand, but they are hoping, perhaps, to be more like Gibson — something for everybody, including the free-spending nostalgia buff.

Colt’s representatives promise attention to detail. Another photo Shawn has shows a rep holding an unfinished aluminum buttstock, as all Vietnam “submachine guns” bore (albeit coated by being dipped in vinyl acetate — it will be interesting to see how Colt handles this).  Colt has done something very similar, already, with the Colt 1903 pocket pistol; Colt also, now, stocks parts for the pistol that work in the new reissue and the originals.

We don’t know what this new Colt line is going to be called: Historic, Vintage, Reissue, Retro, or some combination, or maybe something with the model year (M16A1 Vintage ’66?) or a famous fight or hero (“Dick Meadows CAR-15”?). And that shows other paths that open up for Colt now:

  1. They can constantly tweak and reissue the reissues (Fender does this with guitars); or,
  2. They can support a two-tiered market with a standard mass-produced vintage reissue on the entry tier and perfect replicas of a specific firearm at higher tiers. But wait! They can also:
  3. Use the parts engineered for the retro clones to make new and interesting takes on modern AR15s. They could even support mass customization / personalization. The sky’s the limit.

If we have a squawk with Colt’s plans it’s the low production numbers they envision — perhaps as few as 1000 rifles of each model. That more or less ensures that they go direct to the kind of collectors that will keep them new in the box in a climate controlled vault in a salt mine somewhere deep beneath the lair of Dr. Evil.

Because we’re totally going to buy one. Of each.

Do go to Loose Rounds and read Shawn’s two posts if you’re interested in these guns.