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January 29, 2008

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On Cheap Rifles, Part II

"Cheap" refers not only to price. A great many pre-64 Model 70 Winchesters were cheaply made but still carried hefty price tags. It was so pervasive that in the mid-1960s the Gun Digest ran an article by Bob Hagel entitled "How to Fix Your Model 70 and Learn Ballroom Dancing at Home." The triggers were lamentable, the inletting appeared to have been done with an adze, and the checking was executed with a rooster claw.

Remington used to build the Model 788 bolt-action, which was cheap but not a bad gun at all. It was so simple that there was not much opportunity to screw it up. It had a rear-lugged bolt, an uncheckered stock, and a pretty fair trigger. The 788s that I got my hands on shot very well.

The Tikka T3 at $700 is not cheap at all, but considering the fit and finish and accuracy, it is cheap. T3s are very, very nicely put together, and for what you get for your money, it is a cheap gun.

But the best cheap guns of all are used guns. Lunatics like me sell wonderful firearms for all sorts of inane reasons, and you can profit from our folly. I recently put a rifle on the market for $500 which would cost nearly $3,000 if you bought it new today. It's 20 years old and has had serious usage, but it's still a $3,000 rifle for one-sixth the price. And, oh yes, it's been sold.


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Sean Reeves

Remington 788 Redfield scope base mystery is solved at last!!! I contacted Redfield and their technical adviser provided the model number that fits my rifle correctly after I provided serial numbers and date of manufacture along with Caliber. I ordered it through Brownells. My good friend Cameron Fraser visited our local gunshop and talked to Bob Gilman and he said the Remington 788 had several different screw patterns for the scope bases. I would like to know why Remingtom would be so inconsistent in such an important aspect of making the rifle. Oh Well, Live and Learn. Get the measurements of the screw spacing before your buy! I now have three for sale coming soon on E-bay or Craigs list. I can't wait to get the real deal and go shooting.

Russell Creppel

I am thinking of purchasing a H&R 45-70 buffalo classic rifle. It has a cheap price and it is rather light. How do you rate the accuracy and the recoil? Since it has a long barrel you would think the recoil would be minimal.

Del in KS

Russell Creppel,

A long barrel won't have much effect on recoil except for the extra weight it adds. A light 45-70 will likely have substantial recoil. But what can you handle? My Sharps weighs just under 12lb and feels about like shooting a 12 ga trap gun.

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E. Plonske

Where can I obtain/purchase a "takeoff" stock (not a newer "replacement" type) for a Marlin Model 336A vintage 1950?

Lee Palmer

Can you please tell me what has happened to the Marlin XL7 25-06 that I was told would be out before years end (2008)? I have tried for three days in a row now to contact Marlin, but all I get is a busy singnal. Thanks, Lee Palmer

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