Guns of old compared to today

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Guns of old compared to today

Postby On the X » Sat Jun 07, 2014 6:57 pm

My 1st shotgun was a new 20 gauge Sears Ted Williams auto my dad surprised me with back in the mid 70's. My dad owned a Winchester 1400 he bought new a couple years prior. My Dad was a rifle and pistol man, so he only owned at the time one other shotgun which was an 870 from about the time they were 1st introduced. But as good as that old 870 was and still is (my brother has it now) this thread is about the autoloaders. The Winchester 1400 and Ted Williams 300 mentioned were never known as great shotguns, yet I never new either of them to jam or not function while needing to be "broke in". I remember the Rem 1100 being the most popular auto of the day. I Also remember not stripping guns down to thoroughly clean but just a shot of WD40 every once in a while.
Now for guns of today, It sure seems like cheap or expensive, Turkish or Italian made, they all require breaking in and all the new models that come out just to be recalled or needs 2 years worth of lemons to get the kinks worked out. I could be wrong, have forgotten or just plain don't remember but it sure seems like the guns of old were just down right more reliable than the modern ones.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby mudpack » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:20 am

I've owned five new autoloaders in the last decade. Breaking in was never required. Take 'em out of the box, clean 'em, shoot 'em.

The good old days were always better than today. :biggrin:

I remember a 20ga Ted Williams pump gun MY dad gave me in 1963 that was the biggest POS I've ever shot. Sorry, spud, but the old days had their share....and more....of crotchety, unreliable guns. Research will show that the only autoloader that was even semi-reliable way back when was the Auto-5. Everything else was pretty much as unreliable as a cat. That's how the Auto-5 got it reputation; not that it was so good, but that its competition was so bad. It was the best there was at the time. Compared to modern autoloaders (starting with the 1100), even the Auto-5 has been surpassed in functioning and reliability. That's my opinion.
Last edited by mudpack on Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby shoveler_shooter » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:25 am

mudpack wrote:I've owned five new autoloaders in the last decade. Breaking in was never required. Take 'em out of the box, clean 'em, shoot 'em.

Same except I haven't owned that many.

And as far as lemons go, I don't think manufacturers were coming out with new designs every 5 years back then.

Also never stripping a gun down to clean is bad protocol whether it's old or new.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby z51 » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:47 am

The Winchester 1400 was the WORST shotgun I ever owned and I have owned scores of them. It was a jamomatic with most loads. I finally gave up on it when the barrel ring weld broke completely loose from the barrel and the stock split.
It took less than two seasons for it to fall apart. :rolleyes:

The 1400 was put out buy Winchester to try and compete price wise with the 1100. I bought one because it was one of the first autos with choke tubes. Big mistake.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby cootlover » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:07 am

I got my SBE in sept 1995 I never read no owners manual until I got home that night. First time I shot it was with some 1 1/8 dove loads out of two boxes I had 3-4 jams I was pissed until I read to shoot 2 boxes of heavy loads after I did that it ran like a champ of the first ten years shooting it I has 2/3 jams and one click .I put it away for sometime took it out it was a stove pipe omatic put some new springs in her good as new. Speaking of old guns it's hard to beat a old #37 Ithaca smooth as butter :thumbsup:
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby shoveler_shooter » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:11 am

cootlover wrote:I got my SBE in sept 1995 I never read no owners manual until I got home that night. First time I shot it was with some 1 1/8 dove loads out of two boxes I had 3-4 jams I was pissed until I read to shoot 2 boxes of heavy loads after I did that it ran like a champ of the first ten years shooting it I has 2/3 jams and one click .I put it away for sometime took it out it was a stove pipe omatic put some new springs in her good as new. Speaking of old guns it's hard to beat a old #37 Ithaca smooth as butter :thumbsup:

The older pump guns might've been equal or a bit better as far as reliability goes, but disassembly and reassembly has definitely been made easier on newer models.
As far as autos go I think it's pretty safe to say they've been improved in all aspects.
Last edited by shoveler_shooter on Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby copterdoc » Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:08 am

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby KRB » Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:17 am

shoveler_shooter wrote:
cootlover wrote:I got my SBE in sept 1995 I never read no owners manual until I got home that night. First time I shot it was with some 1 1/8 dove loads out of two boxes I had 3-4 jams I was pissed until I read to shoot 2 boxes of heavy loads after I did that it ran like a champ of the first ten years shooting it I has 2/3 jams and one click .I put it away for sometime took it out it was a stove pipe omatic put some new springs in her good as new. Speaking of old guns it's hard to beat a old #37 Ithaca smooth as butter :thumbsup:

The older pump guns might've been equal or a bit better as far as reliability goes, but assembly and reassembly has definitely been made easier on newer models.
As far as autos go I think it's pretty safe to say they've been improved in all aspects.

I agree.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby On the X » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:04 am

[quote="shoveler_shooter"]

And as far as lemons go, I don't think manufacturers were coming out with new designs every 5 years back then.
[/quote
This sums it up pretty good IMO. And as far as whether the 1400 was good or a POS, no I never ran 1000s and 1000s of rounds thru my dads or the Ted Williams 20, they fired and fed everytime and neither were ever disassembled and properly cleaned until I got older and wanted to explore what made a gun work. I do agree with Mudpack on the over all quality of the 2 but they worked regardless of the fact and his comments about the A5 as well. Later, in my teens as I started to hunt with others, younger and older I never remembered anyone tearing down a gun for a complete cleaning. A swab down the barrel and a dose of oil in the chamber. All you have to do is look at the forum and see all the complaints no matter the costs or brand stamp and the guilt is the same. Guns that don't function out of the box as they were bought to do.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby copterdoc » Sun Jun 08, 2014 11:00 am

On the X wrote:......no I never ran 1000s and 1000s of rounds thru my dads or the Ted Williams 20, they fired and fed everytime and neither were ever disassembled and properly cleaned until I got older and wanted to explore what made a gun work.....
Today's auto-loaders can easily go over 1,000 rounds before they are dirty enough to cause operational malfunctions.
In fact, I don't see how a modern shotgun can be proclaimed to be reliable UNTIL it has over 1,000 rounds through it, without the interruption of a malfunction.

And they will then go over 10,000 rounds beyond that, before suffering serious mechanical failure.

Yesterday's shotguns were built by craftsmen that were skilled enough to make even a poor design reliably function.
Today's shotguns are designed well enough to reliably function, even when built by poor craftsmen.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby On the X » Sun Jun 08, 2014 11:47 am

copterdoc wrote:
On the X wrote:......no I never ran 1000s and 1000s of rounds thru my dads or the Ted Williams 20, they fired and fed everytime and neither were ever disassembled and properly cleaned until I got older and wanted to explore what made a gun work.....
Today's auto-loaders can easily go over 1,000 rounds before they are dirty enough to cause operational malfunctions.
In fact, I don't see how a modern shotgun can be proclaimed to be reliable UNTIL it has over 1,000 rounds through it, without the interruption of a malfunction.

And they will then go over 10,000 rounds beyond that, before suffering serious mechanical failure.

Yesterday's shotguns were built by craftsmen that were skilled enough to make even a poor design reliably function.
Today's shotguns are designed well enough to reliably function, even when built by poor craftsmen.

Every gun buyer doesn't shoot clays 2 -3 times a week to get 1000+ rounds thru his new gun in a short amount of time. But they have all the right of the ones who do to expect their purchased product to function. How many miles on a new vehicle should we expect to drive before your new car/truck stops breaking down? I agree with you above about old guns being made better even when designs of the time was lacking which is the point of this thread I started. But no way will I agree with you that someone should spend 1000+ dollars and not be able to get what they pay for til when ever they can afford the time and ammo to shoot 3 full cases of shells.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby California Sprig » Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:01 pm

I have a model 12 winchester 16 gauge pump that was my fathers. It's about 80 years old. It's a great pheasant gun and has had a lot of use over the years and there has never been a problem with it. I still use that great gun for pheasant occasionally. I think most of the old pumps are work horses, well made(even though sometimes cheaply) with few problems
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby copterdoc » Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:31 pm

On the X wrote:.......Every gun buyer doesn't shoot clays 2 -3 times a week to get 1000+ rounds thru his new gun in a short amount of time. But they have all the right of the ones who do to expect their purchased product to function.....
I think that you believe the "need to break it in" internet experts a little too much.

If you pick a shotgun with a proven track record, clean it thoroughly, and tune it to match the loads that you want it to shoot, it WILL perform reliably right out of the box.

They don't need to be broken in.
Breaking a shotgun in, is just the initial stage of wearing it out.

They should gobble up and spit out the first 1,000 rounds without so much as a hiccup. Including the "break in" ones.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby Fsbirdhouse » Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:09 pm

mudpack wrote:I've owned five new autoloaders in the last decade. Breaking in was never required. Take 'em out of the box, clean 'em, shoot 'em.

The good old days were always better than today. :biggrin:

I remember a 20ga Ted Williams pump gun MY dad gave me in 1963 that was the biggest POS I've ever shot. Sorry, spud, but the old days had their share....and more....of crotchety, unreliable guns. Research will show that the only autoloader that was even semi-reliable way back when was the Auto-5. Everything else was pretty much as unreliable as a cat. That's how the Auto-5 got it reputation; not that it was so good, but that its competition was so bad. It was the best there was at the time. Compared to modern autoloaders (starting with the 1100), even the Auto-5 has been surpassed in functioning and reliability. That's my opinion.

I would disagree with Mudpack on the A5 being the only reliable auto of the day. (tho it was a much older design, and a truly worthy gun)
The model 50 Winchester was a fabulous gun of the time. Owned two in the '60s, and did most of my shooting over salt water, and can never remember any problems with either, and other than the old WD40 shot, can't remember cleaning either more than two or three times during the season. Maybe that was enough?
I usually shot the 'Duck and Pheasant' loads that were the cheapest they were putting out then.
Sometimes as little as $2 a box. I'm sure some of the other "oldsters" here can remember those?
Not until I bought the A400 have I found as sweet a shooting gun as the model 50.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby clampdaddy » Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:40 pm

Fsbirdhouse wrote:
mudpack wrote:I've owned five new autoloaders in the last decade. Breaking in was never required. Take 'em out of the box, clean 'em, shoot 'em.

The good old days were always better than today. :biggrin:

I remember a 20ga Ted Williams pump gun MY dad gave me in 1963 that was the biggest POS I've ever shot. Sorry, spud, but the old days had their share....and more....of crotchety, unreliable guns. Research will show that the only autoloader that was even semi-reliable way back when was the Auto-5. Everything else was pretty much as unreliable as a cat. That's how the Auto-5 got it reputation; not that it was so good, but that its competition was so bad. It was the best there was at the time. Compared to modern autoloaders (starting with the 1100), even the Auto-5 has been surpassed in functioning and reliability. That's my opinion.

I would disagree with Mudpack on the A5 being the only reliable auto of the day. (tho it was a much older design, and a truly worthy gun)
The model 50 Winchester was a fabulous gun of the time. Owned two in the '60s, and did most of my shooting over salt water, and can never remember any problems with either, and other than the old WD40 shot, can't remember cleaning either more than two or three times during the season. Maybe that was enough?
I usually shot the 'Duck and Pheasant' loads that were the cheapest they were putting out then.
Sometimes as little as $2 a box. I'm sure some of the other "oldsters" here can remember those?
Not until I bought the A400 have I found as sweet a shooting gun as the model 50.

I absolutely love my model 50. They can give you fits if you fully disassemble them and don't get the timing set juuuust right though.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby 3200 man » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:59 pm

With you 2 fellas bringing Winchester into this discussion , I'll have to say , my Mod 12's have served me well !
Shooting everything from the cheapest 2 3/4" 7/8 oz to some 3" hot handloads Buffered in 1 3/8 oz of shot .
They are still working today with some shooting over 300,000 rounds through them sooo , what can I say ?
And they have nice looking wood-sets and Bradley beads , not made of plastic with a glow in the dark thing on the barrel !

But , time will tell if todays guns can compare to ones made 75 years ago ?
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby cluckmeister » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:11 pm

z51 wrote:The Winchester 1400 was the WORST shotgun I ever owned and I have owned scores of them. It was a jamomatic with most loads. I finally gave up on it when the barrel ring weld broke completely loose from the barrel and the stock split.
It took less than two seasons for it to fall apart. :rolleyes:

The 1400 was put out buy Winchester to try and compete price wise with the 1100. I bought one because it was one of the first autos with choke tubes. Big mistake.



I believe the Winchester Super x Model 1 was the Auto Loader that Winchester initially had to compete with the Model 1100, however due to all the machined parts on inside of the gun, the Remingtons were mostly stamped, it was actually costing Winchester money to sell it. That's when they came out with the 1400. The 1400s were decent guns, but as with anything manufactured they had their share of lemons. Today a gun with the quality and machined parts that the Super X Model1 had probably would be in the 2000 price range.

Today there is sort of cult following with the Super X1 very similar to that of the Model 12
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby On the X » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:26 pm

z51 wrote:The Winchester 1400 was the WORST shotgun I ever owned and I have owned scores of them. It was a jamomatic with most loads. I finally gave up on it when the barrel ring weld broke completely loose from the barrel and the stock split.
It took less than two seasons for it to fall apart. :rolleyes:

The 1400 was put out buy Winchester to try and compete price wise with the 1100. I bought one because it was one of the first autos with choke tubes. Big mistake.

Why did you keep buying them then? You just said you owned scores....the word scores as you used it means a lot. I take this as you were a glutton for punishment or the worst shotgun you ever owned still wasn't that bad......as you continued to buy them.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby BurninPowder » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:10 pm

cluckmeister wrote:Today there is sort of cult following with the Super X1 very similar to that of the Model 12

As much of a Remington fan as I am, I almost fall into this category as well. I own a 78 SX1 that belonged to my father. This gun along with being near and dear to me for sentimental reasons, has served me well over the last 25 years.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby z51 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:47 am

On the X wrote:
z51 wrote:The Winchester 1400 was the WORST shotgun I ever owned and I have owned scores of them. It was a jamomatic with most loads. I finally gave up on it when the barrel ring weld broke completely loose from the barrel and the stock split.
It took less than two seasons for it to fall apart. :rolleyes:

The 1400 was put out buy Winchester to try and compete price wise with the 1100. I bought one because it was one of the first autos with choke tubes. Big mistake.

Why did you keep buying them then? You just said you owned scores....the word scores as you used it means a lot. I take this as you were a glutton for punishment or the worst shotgun you ever owned still wasn't that bad......as you continued to buy them.


Were you absent the day they covered diagramming sentences.

No, one 1400 was quite enough.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby z51 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:57 am

BurninPowder wrote:
cluckmeister wrote:Today there is sort of cult following with the Super X1 very similar to that of the Model 12

As much of a Remington fan as I am, I almost fall into this category as well. I own a 78 SX1 that belonged to my father. This gun along with being near and dear to me for sentimental reasons, has served me well over the last 25 years.


I bought a SX1 New in 1978, great gun, still shoot it. After the debacle of the 1400 I had thin wall TruChokes put in a field barrel. I shot steel in it for several years. The SX2 is also a very good gun. Still shoot it with 3 1/2" on geese. I have nothing against Win. just guns that are poorly made.
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby cluckmeister » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:13 am

z51 wrote:
BurninPowder wrote:
cluckmeister wrote:Today there is sort of cult following with the Super X1 very similar to that of the Model 12

As much of a Remington fan as I am, I almost fall into this category as well. I own a 78 SX1 that belonged to my father. This gun along with being near and dear to me for sentimental reasons, has served me well over the last 25 years.


I bought a SX1 New in 1978, great gun, still shoot it. After the debacle of the 1400 I had thin wall TruChokes put in a field barrel. I shot steel in it for several years. The SX2 is also a very good gun. Still shoot it with 3 1/2" on geese. I have nothing against Win. just guns that are poorly made.


I also shoot my Super X1 on a regular basis and know a fellow that's has NIB 28inch mod gun for sale. Hes asking 800 for it, Ive been thinking about buying it and giving it to myself for my 65th birthday present
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby BurninPowder » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:50 pm

cluckmeister wrote:
z51 wrote:
BurninPowder wrote:
cluckmeister wrote:Today there is sort of cult following with the Super X1 very similar to that of the Model 12

As much of a Remington fan as I am, I almost fall into this category as well. I own a 78 SX1 that belonged to my father. This gun along with being near and dear to me for sentimental reasons, has served me well over the last 25 years.


I bought a SX1 New in 1978, great gun, still shoot it. After the debacle of the 1400 I had thin wall TruChokes put in a field barrel. I shot steel in it for several years. The SX2 is also a very good gun. Still shoot it with 3 1/2" on geese. I have nothing against Win. just guns that are poorly made.


I also shoot my Super X1 on a regular basis and know a fellow that's has NIB 28inch mod gun for sale. Hes asking 800 for it, Ive been thinking about buying it and giving it to myself for my 65th birthday present

Go ahead and treat yourself cluck! There's no doubt you'll enjoy it and I don't see the value of the SX1 deminishing anytime soon, especially one in nice condition. Mine has been USED! My father believed in using his firearms and in my younger days I was rather neglectful of my firearms. Still going strong though...
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby cluckmeister » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:24 pm

BurninPowder, I may have to do that. As for the value I agree the Super x1 will only go up in value. As for the one I have, I traded a guy a nice 870 pump for it. He said it wouldn't cycle light loads and his son hated it. It sat in my safe for about 4 years before I decided to do a after season project. His son had not taken care of the gun although the blueing was about 90% with out to many wear marks the wood was all scratched up with dings. Before starting the project I did a bunch of research and found out that about the only thing that wears out on them was the plastic bolt buffer, I ordered one and while waiting for it to come I carefully stripped the finish off . I then proceeded to sand and sweat out the dings, using a soldering iron and wet paper towel. After the stock was all sanded and dings removed, I stained and filled the wood and finished it with 12 coats of hand rubbed Tru Oil. I replaced the bolt buffer, put it back together and its gorgeous. The buffer was the problem, it now cycles everything I put thru it. I showed it to him last fall and he couldn't believe it was the same gun.

Ive looked at a ton of shotguns over the last several years and haven't found anything in auto loaders that come close to having as smooth an action and that includes all the B guns everyone raves about.

Are the guns of old better than the new, as far as quality, Id say so
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Re: Guns of old compared to today

Postby BurninPowder » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:45 pm

That sounds like an enjoyable project cluck. Sure wish I had the time for a project like that but my lifestyle won't permit it. I too have replaced one bolt buffer and a couple of o-rings. A small price to pay for almost 25 years and thousands of rounds of reliable service. BTW have never had a failure in the field. Caught all these issues while servicing the gun.
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