Monday, September 14, 2009

Clinging to the past - from firearms forum The Firing Line

"Senior person" Jart posted this in response to a question about MIM parts, a widely despised, newish method of forming firearm parts by pouring molten metal into molds. I'll put explanations in quotes, if it seems appropriate. This is astonishingly well written and presented, especially for a forum of this sort, wherein many posters cannot be bothered with punctuation, spelling or grammar.

Here's Jart (he's from Grand Prairie TX):

I'm usually circumspect regarding stereotypes but I make an exception for many firearm enthusiasts, most especially revolver aficionados, who can lean dramatically in the direction of hidebound reactionaries. [Seinfeld]Not that there's anything wrong with that.[/Seinfeld]

This subset of revolver folks, if they were fishermen or golfers, would still be using bamboo and persimmon respectively. Fooey on carbon fiber and they would probably boycott Ruger if they learned Ruger was casting titanium heads for Callaway.

These are the folks you remember that griped and moaned at family reunions about the bean counters taking over when transistor radios started showing up in the '50s - they sounded tinny and were made by furr in oars. Clearly, vacuum tubes were superior to transistors and would remain so for for millennia.

Their great-great-grandparents stroked out when Eli Whitney started using black heart iron in firearms. Their grandfathers quit their jobs at Rolls-Royce when the automaker went from hand-cut to machine made bolts, stating that the auto was "no longer fit for a gentleman to drive."

They state emphatically that every single, solitary, change, without exception, that Smith&Wesson instituted since the Wright brothers flew at Kittyhawk was mandated by accountants in an effort to cheapen the product and intentionally reduce quality - partially to pad the bottom line but partially simply to irritate the speaker.

Any new material or process introduced in the 20th century was an indication of shoddy workmanship, the decline of civilization and the harbinger of poor personal hygiene on the part of our youth.

Worst of all, we have lost contact with the extraterrestrials that taught us how to erect the pyramids, render navigational aids in the form of pictures of chickens discernible only in flight, (space aliens are restricted to VFR) and taught us the mysteries of metallurgy - not since the first half of the 20th century have we even possessed the ability to forge metal with nobility, keeping it both tougher than Tonya Harding and harder than a thrice-divorced diamond.

I'm taking my yew bow, my hand-tooled boots, my 1958 Winchester, a life expectancy of 53 years and susceptibility to polio and going to catch the train. If I hurry, I'll get there before they transition to diesel.

Back to me now: I don't know what he means by VFR. I added nothing to the above after all, only changed S&W to Smith&Wesson; I'm sure Jart wouldn't mind. When we behave as Jart describes revolver nuts especially (and I'm among 'em) as behaving, are we rushing to catch the train before they transition from steam to diesel? And worrying about polio...? And furr in oars?


Anonymous said...

Have no clue about "passionate gun love"(I think VFR means visual flight rules)but the writer makes no distinction between genuine improvement and marketing baloney. Everyone can think of a consumer product they've owned that was more-or-less perfect and when they went to buy another one found the newer version was made from inferior materials or in a inferior way --so the profit margin could be increased without raising the retail price. THAT is a lot different than a steam locomotive vs a jet airliner. Newer is not always better and "improvements" are not always progress.

Anonymous said...

It also depends on what kind of object or technology we're looking at. The bicycle, for example, is somewhat unique in that on one level, it was already superseded by advancing technology a long, long time ago. That technology was the motorized vehicle.

Those who stuck to the bicycle and continue to do so today are not operating on the same philosophy in life as the people who will quickly move on to what they perceive as a more efficient or practical mode of locomotion, ie. one that is automatic, so to speak, compared to the bicycle which relies on the person's own legs.

Given that the bicycle already has a built-in appeal to technology resisters, there's nothing particularly attractive about having to accept certain "improvements", such as frame material, which are of marginal or no consequence to the use of a bicycle outside of competition. It's for the same reason that we aren't all driving our kids to soccer practice in a Formula 1 racing car.

Not being a gun person, or a fishing person, or a skiing person, etc., I can't speak for those sports, but I'm pretty sure that new things find resistance for the same reason as they do in cycling. Just because someone or some corporation wants to foist an inferior product on us for the sake of making more money does not obligate us to accept it without question. The corporations own the means of production, and all we have to defend ourselves with is our own estimation of what is important in terms of intrinsic value.

David S said...

Man, I enjoyed reading Jart's sharp witted writing.
Funny, walking home today, before reading this post, I had this simple thought in my head.
"I would rather ride 10spd 105 than 9spd Dura-Ace."
The functional performance of the lowest priced current item far exceeds that of the previous highest priced one.
I appreciate things that work really well, and hate things that don't. I ride 10spd components on a 25 year old steel frame. It's a nice combo.
But I do have a new steel frame coming, made with modern steel tubing developed by the same people who made the tubing 25 years ago. It's lighter, stiffer and, based on riding a similar bike recently, makes my riding experience even more enjoyable. More of the energy I expend goes into moving me forward. I like that.
I like shooting. I prefer a revolver but I'm not sure why. I recently saw a review on a Versus channel gun show for a new Ruger revolver. Looked really nice. I think it's something about the aesthetic of a revolver that appeals to me.
If I did more shooting I would probably have that figured out.
That said, I also like shooting with a pistol.
If I owned a gun, I would want it to work well.
If this years budget model out-performs last years top of the line, I would seriously consider the newest technology for that reason alone.
Thank goodness the transistor resistors fell to the wayside so I could write a response to your Google hosted blog using the 64bit operating system on my Intel core2 duo laptop.

David S said...

I've got it!
1984 Masi/2010 Trek Madone
I like both.

And what's with the anonymous posts?

Anonymous said...

"And what's with the anonymous posts?"

Not everybody likes the idea of being kept track of on the internet.

David S said...

oh yes, of course.

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