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Quality control
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May 1, 2023 - 7:36 pm
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Can anyone advise if quality control started to dip or become an issue for guns made in the 50s? I’ve viewed a couple model 64 deer rifles deluxe in the past few weeks made mid 50s, and I noticed a couple of them had gaps between the back of the receiver and the front of the butt stock. There was no concerns whether they were original but I wondered how close to pre-64 if quality control and fitting was an issue from time to time.  

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May 1, 2023 - 7:50 pm
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RickC said
Can anyone advise if quality control started to dip or become an issue for guns made in the 50s? I’ve viewed a couple model 64 deer rifles deluxe in the past few weeks made mid 50s, and I noticed a couple of them had gaps between the back of the receiver and the front of the forestock. There was no concerns whether they were original but I wondered how close to pre-64 if quality control and fitting was an issue from time to time. 

When the decline began would be hard to say, because it probably varied from model to model, but by the early ’60s it was hard to ignore.  Even in the pre-war years there were inexplicable lapses in quality control, as the discussion of Super Grade floor-plates illustrated. 

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May 1, 2023 - 7:55 pm
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Thanks Clarence. I edited my post after you had already replied, and I revised forestock to buttstock, but I guess you knew what I meant. It wasn’t a 1/8 inch gap or anything drastic but it was just more than any of my pre-war Winchesters.

 RickC 

   

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May 1, 2023 - 8:19 pm
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The decline in the fit & finish of most Winchester models began in the immediate post-WW II production period.  There is a very noticeable difference between the fit & finish work on the pre-WW II versus post-WW II Model 94/64 production Carbines and Rifles.

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May 1, 2023 - 8:22 pm
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RickC said
It wasn’t a 1/8 inch gap or anything drastic but it was just more than any of my pre-war Winchesters.

Even if it was, the majority of customers probably wouldn’t notice it.

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May 1, 2023 - 8:24 pm
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Bert H. said
The decline in the fit & finish of most Winchester models began in the immediate post-WW II production period.  There is a very noticeable difference between the fit & finish work on the pre-WW II versus post-WW II Model 94/64 production Carbines and Rifles.

Bert

  

Thanks Bert. I hadn’t really noticed before. I will probably be looking for it more now with post war guns. 

 RickC 

   

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May 1, 2023 - 8:29 pm
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The decline in the fit & finish of most Winchester models began in the immediate post-WW II production period.  Bert H. said

 

Happens after every major war–production protocols are disrupted, skilled workers lost, etc.  WWI virtually killed Stevens, when the owners took on a huge war production/profiteering contract; the post-war Stevens Co. was a shadow of the former entity.

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May 2, 2023 - 2:03 am
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My theory is that a number of processes were mechanized or streamlined as a result of lessons learned during wartime production, as a result meticulous hand-fitting and polishing of internal and external parts were casualties of war. As I’m beginning to notice more examples I’m slowly joining the collectors who prefer pre-war guns.

 

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May 2, 2023 - 9:43 am
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TXGunNut said
My theory is that a number of processes were mechanized or streamlined as a result of lessons learned during wartime production, as a result meticulous hand-fitting and polishing of internal and external parts were casualties of war. As I’m beginning to notice more examples I’m slowly joining the collectors who prefer pre-war guns.

 

Mike

  

Makes sense Mike. Never really thought of that. 

 RickC 

   

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May 2, 2023 - 12:17 pm
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  Perhaps when Winchester began phasing out assembly numbers, case colored trim, and rust blue one could say quality or maybe beauty of the guns suffered. T/R 

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May 4, 2023 - 3:42 am
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TR said
  Perhaps when Winchester began phasing out assembly numbers, case colored trim, and rust blue one could say quality or maybe beauty of the guns suffered. T/R 

  

I agree with this 100%

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May 5, 2023 - 12:00 am
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 Winchester Repeating Arms Company went into receivership in 1931, and was bought at bankruptcy auction by the Olin family’s Western Cartridge Company on December 22 of that year.

I’d argue that the start of the decline occurred after this date. Perhaps over the next decade the employees with the know how and skill slowly started to fade into retirement and after WWII the personnel turn over was substantial. Likely a drastic phase down in the workforce occurred once the government contracts dried up. Essentially after 1931 Winchester was no longer the same as it once was. But likely there is no clear one thing that points to the decline in quality. Other than the obvious demands by ownership to reduce overhead and save on cost.

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May 5, 2023 - 2:57 am
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I hate to jump in here with semantics but as part of my engineering and inspection duties I am a quality control auditor for fabricators around the world.  In actuality, it has been my experience that “quality control” improved somewhat over the years with Winchester.  Quality Control (defined as a system of inspection and testing to insure a product meets or exceeds a given specification) was being constantly improved at Winchester/Olin right up until the final days.

What is being discussed here is the actual fit and finish of the product, aka it’s overall perceived “quality”.  If the intended desire is to reduce the quality of the fit and/or finish and they meet the new (lowered) requirements then the “Quality Control” is maintained.  To put it in laymen’s terms if you design and specify a crappy product and your Quality Control Inspector says “yep, it is crappy” your Quality Control inspector is doing their job and the “quality” (however low) is being maintained.  That is the “control” part of the name. 

Yes, I agree that the perceived “quality” or “standard” fit and finish was reduced post-war (and in incremental steps prior to that) but that has nothing to do with “Quality Control”, it was in fact controlled and deliberately manufactured as a lesser product.

Many of you referred to it as “the decline of fit and finish” which is a correct phrase and I agree with, the term Quality Control” is not what is really being discussed here.

Again, sorry for the semantics but since I deal with these issues every day I had to attempt to set everyone straight.

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May 5, 2023 - 10:27 am
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JWA said
I hate to jump in here with semantics but as part of my engineering and inspection duties I am a quality control auditor for fabricators around the world.  In actuality, it has been my experience that “quality control” improved somewhat over the years with Winchester.  Quality Control (defined as a system of inspection and testing to insure a product meets or exceeds a given specification) was being constantly improved at Winchester/Olin right up until the final days.

What is being discussed here is the actual fit and finish of the product, aka it’s overall perceived “quality”.  If the intended desire is to reduce the quality of the fit and/or finish and they meet the new (lowered) requirements then the “Quality Control” is maintained.  To put it in laymen’s terms if you design and specify a crappy product and your Quality Control Inspector says “yep, it is crappy” your Quality Control inspector is doing their job and the “quality” (however low) is being maintained.  That is the “control” part of the name. 

Yes, I agree that the perceived “quality” or “standard” fit and finish was reduced post-war (and in incremental steps prior to that) but that has nothing to do with “Quality Control”, it was in fact controlled and deliberately manufactured as lesser product.

Many of you referred to it as “the decline of fit and finish” which is correct and I agree with, the term Quality Control” is not what is really being discussed here.

Again, sorry for the semantics but since I deal with these issues every day I had to attempt to set everyone straight.

Best Regards,

  

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May 5, 2023 - 11:48 am
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Yes I agree JWA and stand corrected. Fit & Finish would’ve been a more appropriate title for this thread. I come from a law enforcement background and not manufacturing. 

 RickC 

   

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May 5, 2023 - 12:30 pm
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RickC said
Yes I agree JWA and stand corrected. Fit & Finish would’ve been a more appropriate title for this thread. I come from a law enforcement background and not manufacturing.   

No worries Rick, 

We all knew what you meant, I am just a geek for correct terminology.

It is a good discussion, thanks for posting the question.

Best Regards,

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May 5, 2023 - 12:39 pm
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  The early 1873’s were targeted and entered on the ledger. When you look at some of the numbers, it wasn’t good. The 1 of 1000 was to be more accurate and I’m sure it was.

 I have shot every 73 I’ve owned regardless of condition. The accuracy was not just a function of bore condition, several poor bores shot amazingly accurate including an old shot out 1 of 1000 barrel I owned. I would think targeting new guns was the first step in determining “Quality Control” yet it was soon dropped for marketing reasons. Maybe they did not want to imply some of their guns weren’t as good as others. T/R

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May 5, 2023 - 3:48 pm
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73’s had targets that varied from 1 1/2″ to 9″

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May 6, 2023 - 3:30 am
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TR said
  The early 1873’s were targeted and entered on the ledger. When you look at some of the numbers, it wasn’t good. The 1 of 1000 was to be more accurate and I’m sure it was.

 I have shot every 73 I’ve owned regardless of condition. The accuracy was not just a function of bore condition, several poor bores shot amazingly accurate including an old shot out 1 of 1000 barrel I owned. I would think targeting new guns was the first step in determining “Quality Control” yet it was soon dropped for marketing reasons. Maybe they did not want to imply some of their guns weren’t as good as others. T/R

I tend to agree with George Madis on the 1of1000s. They were nothing more than a marketing ploy and ploy that didn’t really make much sense. Nothing was actually special about the 1of1000 barrel verses the standard production barrel. They certainly didn’t pick 1 out of every 1000 barrels produced and set them apart for making up the guns. If that were so there would be less 1of1000s made and way more 1of100s when the exact opposite occurred.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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May 6, 2023 - 3:52 am
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Maverick said I tend to agree with George Madis on the 1of1000s. They were nothing more than a marketing ploy and ploy that didn’t really make much sense. Nothing was actually special about the 1of1000 barrel verses the standard production barrel. They certainly didn’t pick 1 out of every 1000 barrels produced and set them apart for making up the guns.

Wouldn’t be necessary to do anything “special” in the way the brl was rifled, but IF every ’73 was being test fired for accuracy (that is, recording a measured group of 10 shots), it would have been possible to set aside those producing the best groups  & turn them into “1 of 1000s.”  If the factory was not doing something like that, the special designation wasn’t merely a marketing ploy, it was something like fraud.

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