P. Marlowe, first let me Thank You for responding. To answer all your queries as to the relevance of my roles within the Firearms process, I am the end user and the procurer. That makes me the final Q/A step of the manufacturing process. Am I the only one that either elects to purchase a firearm, or not purchase a firearm? No I'm not. So I'll reference nothing more than the ULTIMATE RULE: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT! Sorry if you took offense to the price point reference, but everyone has the right to determine what qualities they expect and are willing to pay for with thier hard earned Republic Credits.
t-star, I've never held a firearm that couldn't be broken. If you like what you purchased I am happy for you. But I believe there is still a repair facility associated with Ruger Firearms? Thank You for sharing your S&W vs Ruger experience. But as I'm in search of a sub 40 ounce .44 Mag, I don't know which Model Ruger is a horse in this race?
My apologies for taking so long to respond.
As some of the people here who know me or have met me can attest, my work schedule is often a bit hectic. Sadly, I don't have the time to even read
that much here anymore, let alone contribute
as often as I would like. In fact, my last Post before reaching out to you on the 8th of March was back on the 15th of November of last year (2016). So in addition to being delayed, this will probably also be my last Post on these matters. You actually touched on a number of points in your response to me and "t-star
" and I hope I have addressed them all but as this note was written over a number of lunches and work breaks and then linked together, I am not sure. But in rereading this response before I hit the "Submit Reply" Button, I believe that at least all of the topics I wished to address are included.
I had hoped that my questioning of your slur regarding Ruger's technical abilities (and, I'm sorry, but whether or not after the fact
, you wish to defend it by calling it a "price point reference", it was obviously phrased not as an economic or financial remark but as a backhanded comment on their methods) would have led to your revealing your reasons for such a bias or at least a technically-supported explanation of it. And that, in turn, would have led to a reason or fact-based discussion of such things that would have been of benefit to us both, as well as to at least some of the people who read what we both had to say about the matter.
Instead, you referenced "Star Wars
" (or at least I think you referenced "Star Wars
"; for I really don't follow those films or the fantasy world they portray and I had to look that "Republic Credits" thing up, as most people I know would have either just said "dollars" or the perhaps the more traditional descriptive: "coin of the realm") and then you accuse me of "ranting"; something I really don't do and something I strictly avoid in Posting anything on, what I have for several years here
both seen and believed to be a civil and mannerly Forum.
I also don't fully understand your tacked-on Sidebar (in which you included that "Ranting" remark) and how it relates to firearms or perhaps, more accurately, competitive
firearms, as it appeared you were focusing on competitive golfing; something I only see in the few minutes it occasionally occupies on the late night Sunday news recaps.
I am not a golfer, so the names you bandy about mean little or nothing to me (I will look those companies and terms up when I can) but aside from the repeated anti-capitalist remarks you included regarding your apparent disdain for "profit" (something that keeps companies in business and people employed in our American society - and in our hobby as well: just look at Colt's struggle to become profitable and remain in business, an approach you seem to be calling this "Ping" firm wrong for taking), I just don't see what your example has to do with guns.
I even called a golfer friend of mine as to who "Jack" might be, and was told that it might likely be "Jack Nicklaus"; who my buddy tells me is considered to be one of the best, if not the
best, golfer of all time. I don't know if he was that or wasn't but my friend also told me that he (Mr. Nicklaus) was just amazingly well-suited (physically and psychologically; I guess maybe physiologically) to play that game.
A short time later, my friend wrote me back to send me to an online "Golf Digest" interview from 2008 where Mr. Nicklaus talks (and never "begrudgingly", for he appears to fully realize that times change, things advance, and performance increases) about how even though the game today focuses on power (through the size and stature of bigger players making more complete use of innovations in technology; technologies that have actually helped the smaller and less powerful player too, in terms of remaining competitive), it is still the skilled shotmakers (an interesting term of Mr. Nicklaus', considering our hobby) who are still the "big" winners (my term) in the long run.
He actually says in that piece that: "…talented guys who play a sort of one-dimensional power game can make a very good living on today's tour. But ultimately, to win tournaments -- and majors -- a player needs to be a shotmaker
As I said, I am not a golfer but it sounds as though Mr. Nicklaus (if that is indeed who you are talking about, for just like calling Elmer Keith merely "Elmer" as you did in your initial Post, you both imply a personal relationship or familiarity and also leave the unknowledgeable among us wondering not only about that but also who it is you are really talking about) might see more in individual ability and mindset than in technology. He then goes further elsewhere in that same article and says: "With today's balls and clubs making it easier to play power golf, it's more important to be a good athlete and have a lot of spirit and guts
"; something that would seem to be reflective of the characteristics my friend told me that he (Mr. Nicklaus, himself) possessed. Thereby making that observation (self-realization?) of his, regarding personal traits (skills and mindset) being more important than the equipment that is employed, even more significant (and relevant) than it might have been otherwise
For while he also (and I would think rightfully) talks a great deal in that interview about good teachers and learning from them, Mr. Nicklaus makes it very clear in that case too, some of more recent changes in equipment have negated this traditional advantage and equalized many players in that regard as well. So coming at it from two different directions (strictly equipment
and, separately, education
), neither the advances nor the differences in technology have made one player stand out above the other but instead, have balanced them all out so that the technology is no longer the key to success but has made individual abilities at least (if not more) important than they were before.
I met the aforementioned Elmer Keith a few times (he was a friend of a friend), but never got to know him well enough
to where I felt comfortable enough
to call him by his given name but I did get to know former World Champion and Firearms Instructor Ray Chapman (of the once-famed Chapman Academy) well enough to not only call him "Ray" but to also shoot with him occasionally on a four-man team in the Midwest.
A sometimes grumbly kind of guy (some might call him gruff and/or even stern at times), he not only taught me a LOT about shooting and fighting with a firearm but watching him shoot (even later on when he was an older man), it was obvious that he was blessed with what it took physically and mentally to shoot guns well. And that he took those skills he was born with (and that not everyone has
), and both developed and honed them to an even greater degree over the years.
My old shooting partner used to marvel (as did I) with how Ray could pick up just about any gun (including ones he had never handled or fired before) and within a couple (or, at most, several
) rounds fired for familiarization, he could (as long as the weapon was not performing erratically) shoot it to the absolute highest level of accuracy that it (not he) was capable of, as though he was shooting it out of a rest and not just out of his hand(s).
In my competitive shooting (and later instructional) days, I was lucky enough to know a number of people like that. People whose eyesight, hand-eye coordination, coordination in general (that is, in terms of what they could make their bodies do), and a task-oriented focus-of-attention far above what most people can muster, gave them great prowess with a firearm even well before they studied shooting seriously.
With those folks (like with Ray), the equipment didn't matter either, as they could all but immediately adapt to just about anything and make it work for them in ways that most people could not; thereby making the end result dependent on them
and not on the machine
they employed. Note that I am not saying that they could shoot a "possible" or "clean" a course of fire with a gun that wasn't capable of it. What I am saying is that their inherent abilities allowed them to wring out whatever could be gotten (good or bad) from the tool that they were given.
And while in their case, this approach is coming at things from an opposite (not just different) perspective, its end result isn't all that much different from the situation(s) that Mr. Nicklaus describes in that article (that of it being a matter of "the singer and not the song"; not a quote of his but a summation of his remarks using a once popular phrase) and where (just before that last actual quote of his that I included above
) he also points out that he believes that "modern equipment has a role in why America seems to lose so often in international team play. In the past (sic) our players could rely on superior technique that came from growing up in the country with the best teachers and learning facilities, but today's equipment has neutralized that advantage
A situation that also seems to relate to a third "sport", or at least certain motor sports where we have people racing tightly equalized vehicles to neutralize any technical or financed advantage not available to all.
Something which would seem to be an attempt to put the emphasis on the skill of the driver and not on the raw power or individual handling of one car (or particular device utilized within it) over another during the race.
So it looks to me like the real performer in all three of those situations
(auto racing, where equalization is imposed by the equipment they use; competitive shooting, were some people's inherent abilities simply make them more adept with any equipment; and golf where newer technologies have raised many lesser players to the heights of those more accomplished), is still the person and not the device they employ
; making me not understand your reference to the importance of "cast clubheads" vs. "forged MacGregor club heads" and your giving perhaps an unfair and and unrealistic advantage to the forged type.
For not only does that comparison not seem to be what's going on here but in that same Golf Digest piece (and maybe nowhere else for it was the only thing I had time to read but it is, after all, information said to be taken directly from the mouth - and mind - of Mr. Nicklaus
), he never singles out or even mentions how certain "clubs"
(Is that the correct term?) are fabricated
. Instead he talks about club head sizing and club face texturing (grooving actually) and how they have made the big difference in performance. And how such things (as well as "improvements" to the ball) have helped him too (and apparently in ways that the gear he used in the past when he was competing never did and, it sounds to me, never could).
Mr. Nicklaus appears to believe that today's equipment is a great equalizer and while elevating some people to previously unobtainable heights, it make's the individual player's skills more important than ever. That literally flies in the face of what you said in using him as an example.
That said, I also don't understand, in your response to me, your logic that by being the "end user and the procurer
" (your words) of "something" that it somehow also makes you "the final Q/A step of the manufacturing process
" (your words again). It really doesn't. One thing has nothing to do with the other. It makes you an owner and in your case a user. But it has nothing to do with Quality Assurance. Unless of course, we look at "t-star
's" remarks a bit more closely than you might have done previously.
Both the Model 19 (and its stainless sister gun, the Model 66) and the Model 29 (and all of its offshoots until the decades later enhanced models and the redesigned guns that I don't have the time to get into here) were created to be "carried" far more than "shot" and as such, they pushed the limits of their frame sizes, of many of their components, and of the pre-1990's manufacturing methods at Smith to the point of sadly routine failures with those guns
" was right in what he said about "timing" but there was a lot more he didn't mention.
Staying with the timing (actually, the lockwork in general; although forcing cone matters and end shake issues were a pretty big deal too) and looking to one of those inherently talented shooters I knew and mentioned above, that man finally moved away from the Smiths that he truly cherished because shooting his .44's in Metallic Silhouette Competition (with surprisingly sane loads) he found that they just didn't hold up
. Another person I know who shot the same form of competition in another part of the country (and is someone who has long respected, collected and written positively about S&W's of various kinds) told me in all seriousness one day, that the Smith shooters in that discipline in his part of the planet, normally owned at least three pretty much identical guns in order to do so. One to shoot, one to be held in reserve in case the first one "broke", and a third one that was back at the factory being fixed or redone so that it could be put back in rotation with the other two, while waiting for one of them to fail in a similar timing (lockwork) manner; thereby necessitating the same trip back to Springfield for repairs itself.
And not to belabor this point, I should add that another friend who is "in the business" and who worked for another gun company (neither Smith nor Ruger) and is considered internationally to be both an outstanding shot and instructor (Charlie Petty on this site knows him), routinely hunted with a longer-barrel Smith 629 but stopped shooting his other S&W N-Frames in Handgun Silhouette for the same reasons as above and knew that even that stainless field gun needed to go back to the factory every 1500-2000 rounds because it too would shoot itself "loose" (or worse) even though he shot it less often and with less powerful loadings than that sport required.
But let's move away from what some readers here might understandably dismiss as severe service (and only as that because in the these three cases where I knew these men personally, I know they weren't handloading to non-SAAMI pressure levels) and look to the far more common issues of K-Frame revolvers shooting loose or experiencing serious forcing cone damage and how all of that (often seen as a result of LE Agencies finally practicing more regularly and finally practicing with Duty Ammo, as well as the use of certain bullet weights and lengths and perhaps certain burning powder characteristics, which just weren't popular or maybe not available in the 1950's when the 19 came about) led to the move, not just toward
a larger frame gun (the "L" Frame), within the S&W Line for many (many
Ruger on the other hand, appears to have moved toward the L-Frame-like GP100 only for marketing reasons because it was felt that many people simply believed that the numerous issues that plagued 19's and 66's had to be affecting the Ruger too; something that due to the design and construction of the Security/Service/Speed Six Family, was not the case
This marketing-related dilemma was the same kind of thing that had caused Ruger to move away from their original pinned-in-place, all black front sights on the Security Six to the less effective red insert type that then became standard. That change happened not because it was "better" (most serious shooters are quick to point out the issues with such a color) but simply because the generally misinformed "Public" (the "Customer" you mention) wrongly thought it was
All that is a situation akin to those days in the late 1950's and early 60's when the full wheel covers (hub caps) installed on solid steel wheels found on cars from the then so-called "Big Three" (Ford, GM and Chrysler) were thought to be something more than just decoration. But while such things might have identified the model or maker. Or might have been stylish or distinctive. And might have made the owner feel better about himself or the extra money that such unnecessary-to-performance add-ons made the car cost, they didn't make the car "better" in terms of effectiveness.
And all of that points back to the matter I raised at the beginning of this section and that is your purchasing of a given product having nothing to do with you being the final step in the manufacturing process (except for perhaps noticing an obvious flaw caused by the manufacturing process, which is not the point you raised by denigrating Investment Casting like you did in your initial Post). Your acquisition merely made you an owner and, at least, a one-time customer.
And while you are certainly entitled to your opinions and points of view (something I made clear in my initial response, still believe here and will always believe important going forward), one hopes that such things are based on logical thought and detailed information (as well as the life experiences I mentioned the last time) and not just on the often illogical or even misleading marketing hype that is used to win customers over and make sales.
Such wooing and winning, as well as the gun-related examples I have given above, also relate to the rethinking of the overall and overreaching remark that "THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT" (your use of All Caps - not mine as that practice is often seen as shouting in mediums or forums like this one).
Such powerful phraseology might have been effective in its day (the late 1800's thru the early 1900's) but it is often seen as nothing more than a neat (albeit successful) marketing approach (some might call it a marketing "ploy") to lure in customers by stealing them away from supposedly less-caring competition. A techniques used, if not originated, by certain turn-of-the-century retailers
) like Marshall Field and a student of his practices, Harry Selfridge. But even before WWI, limits to that logic were already being discussed and limits to such practices were being formally put into place.
Such caveats about it today include this one that I saw in Forbes.com article some years back: "Customer expectations are not always rational
". A view, which can mean that sometimes people are simply asking for things that are wrong for them or, separately
, impractical or impossible (for them or
the manufacturer) and represent or result in decisions, which are often based on uninformed or illogical thinking.
This doesn't mean that such beliefs shouldn't be considered or dismissed out of hand
(by either them or, maybe and perhaps more importantly
, the maker) but simply that they should be investigated more fully by the potential buyer and/or the manufacturer; especially in those cases where perhaps a given maker is just not getting their own positive or important point(s) across as successfully (or even as clearly) as they should or need to.
And that's what I was trying to do here: find out the reason for your slight and then discuss its/your technical foundation (and not just your emotional reasoning) for it.
And that was because I, like a number of people on this Site, work (or have worked) in and around this industry and I had hoped that my background in manufacturing, marketing and
the using of such products for a variety of purposes might allow me to show you why I believe that your attack was unwarranted. I fully admit to being just as biased about some things as the next guy but I always try to give detailed and thoroughly illustrated reasons for my opinions (when needed or when asked), so that people can "see" why I think the way I do. And I always welcome questions about my thinking, as well as the recommendation of alternatives to the products I use, or the methods I employ and even to the experiences I've had (if those of other folks are different and/or resulted in different outcomes). And I am always willing to take another look at my beliefs, in case things have come about that warrant their being studied and perhaps modified, switched out or abandoned.
I had hoped that such an approach here would have elicited a true discussion and explanation of the Investment Casting Process to better inform the readers here on it and maybe help you to better understand that if properly applied or employed, it isn't the cheesy or lesser approach to manufacturing that your comment implied at the outset. Too bad I failed in that attempt.
I would only ask that you try to be a bit more open-minded in your thinking. For all of us are always better if we keep an open mind and never stop learning or experiencing new things. In fact, in my ongoing assumption that it was
Mr. Nicklaus to whom you were referring simply as "Jack" I will close my final comments on this matter by quoting him on that kind of thing too.
For in that same Golf Digest interview I referenced several times above, he also talked about "golfers" (his word) making the wrong choice or choices (Either by his acknowledging their incorrect decisions or by his admonishing the golfing fraternity's behavior; I couldn't tell which. Perhaps it was a little bit of both.) by saying "It's the way it is with golfers: Our egos often get in the way of what is best for our game
." A point that I believe would seem to apply to a lot more things in life than just hitting a small ball downrange
, err, down the fairway
Good luck to you sir and continue to enjoy firearms as you and the others here do. And again, I apologize for the delay in my response (sadly, because of my schedule and a few other things, most likely my final
response) on this matter.