High prices of gun parts

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Buckskinn

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It's fair market value and is dictated by demand, so if there wasn't demand prices would probably be lower. Although we wouldn't have guys like Jim Kibler putting money into CNC'ing stock and locks either, which would be a shame. From what I hear his new locks are outstanding.

It's no different than other hobby interests. You can still get low end flint kits for about the same price as a low end pump shotgun or bolt rifle and you can spend +$1,000 on a kit or parts for a high end flinter with gorgeous wood and +$5,000 for a high end overunder shotgun. Or $10 walmart fishing rod vs $200 high modulus graphite jigging rod.

I believe this niche sport is thriving, not dying.
 

Rifleman1776

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Hi,
High prices, really? Do you expect the lock and barrel makers to work for indentured servant wages? Their prices are as low as they can go and still be viable. Of course, you can always buy from India.

dave
Dave, absolutely on point. I once was able to spend a day with Lynton MacKenzie, a masters-master ml restorer/ builder. She showed me many lock and parts from times long gone by. The workmanship was incredible. I wondered at the man hours put into those items and how much it would cost to have one made these days. And, we must keep in mind, the traditional (style) ml market today is quite small compared with almost any other product sold in the U.S. To stay in business a manufacturer must charge for his product.
 
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Using Dave Persons as an example(there are many others also) just look at Whats involved in producing something so magnificent with hundreds of hours put into it.
It goes beyond the Parts. it the refining of everything included in producing a Rifle that will be around for a couple of lifetimes.
That is something worth paying for.
SM
 

billraby

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I used to build at least a couple of guns a year
Was never a highly skilled builder but they always functioned and where pleasing to the eye
The high cost of parts has pretty much stopped me from building
When u can't buy parts for less the $600 or $ 700
Not counting the hours it takes to assemble one
Now have decided to go back to the preflint era
Can make my own lock and furniture out of bar stock steel
Only thing I need to buy is the barrel and a stock blank
If anything is going to ruin our great sport and traditions it's going to be the outragious prices for parts
Imho
I got a deal for you. I will send you all of the parts to make a gun and you can build one for me. Since you hate outrageous prices so much I am sure that you be happy to be paid $100 for the service. I want exceptional quality and I am a very picky customer. Of course for that $100 I will expect it to be fully carved and engraved.

Are you willing to work for pretty much nothing? If not then why would you expect others to?

I can build a lock from bar stock. You don't have to get very far into it before realizing that $200 for a lock is a very low price.
 

tenngun

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Back in 1975 a rifle could be built for less than 300 dollars, but good wages was 5 bucks an hour, mostly 2 to 3 bucks an hour.
I built my first build about 1978. An L&R lock for $65, a barrel about the same from Green River rifle works, stock blank was $15, about the same for milling barrel channel and ramrod hole, I had dove tails milled and they were around $15 each. Triggers from Long were pretty cheap, I don’t recall what all the furniture ran. .... but I made a buck sixty five an hour and saved for eight months.
 

Commodore Swab

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You can buy parts to build a gun for under $300 today. That is not off the shelf good new parts but scrounging. Either you will get really lucky or have a very cheap gun.

I saw a barrel at alafia (non specific) for $50 no breech plug. A lock can be purchased and assembled for under $200, or an india lock for 100+, basic plain walnut $50, the rest of the hardware (and breech) %50. Of course starting with a plain piece of wood and doing lockwork is much more than what most consider a "kit" but doing homework it IS doable just not desirable.
 

tallpine

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If you are unfortunately afflicted with the gun building addiction this is not a cheap hobby but it's still a lot cheaper than a bass boat, a Harley Davidson or a beach house. I just finished a SMR. I bought the lock, barrel and a piece of wood and made everything else, I got about $400 in it.
 

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Loyalist Dave

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It’s certainly true that you can build an AR for $400 but not much of one and most AR parts are just punched out sheet metal. A great AR will probably cost 4 or 5X that.
Actually you're quite mistaken.

forgive the comparison to modern stuff but this is to answer the premise, of the cost of the parts by comparison...

I have AR rifles that shoot under 1 moa and they cost slightly more that $400. IF you're spending $1600-$2000 and your not including the price of high end optics, you're paying for name brand or extremely high, battlefield durability (so if you're not going "into combat"..???)

THE REASON ladies and gentlemen; boys and girls, that one can buy a modern rifle barrel, having a LOT more machining done upon it, made of steel that takes much higher pressures that we can apply to our barrels, compared to a good quality muzzleloader barrel... is volume.

There are probably more AR owners in Texas and Arizona combined than are owners and users of flintlock rifles. Heck if you only looked at the AR's owned by police agencies, you've probably got more of them in use than all of the traditional muzzleloader users...and when I write "users" I'm not talking about the guy who bought and built the CVA kit 40 years ago and it's been sitting in his closet for the past 37 years. You can buy good quality AR barrels for less than HALF of a good quality longrifle barrel.

So when they manufacture sooo many more of one product, and there are a bunch of companies that make an item, so they compete for prices, and they compete to develop ways to make more, at the same quality, but at less cost.

I dare say that one of us or several of us forming a company, could go to Miroku, hand them a single size and style of lock to copy, and a single length and caliber and style of barrel with breech installed to copy..., and order 10,000 of each...we could probably get them at such a low price that we could retail sell them together for $200 to make enough profit to pay the company costs and ourselves.

Of course that's a $2,000,00.00 investment....and are there enough rifle builders out there who would be able to consume those parts in say five years? Just buy them and store them...for later builds?

LD
 

sawyer04

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If you are unfortunately afflicted with the gun building addiction this is not a cheap hobby but it's still a lot cheaper than a bass boat, a Harley Davidson or a beach house. I just finished a SMR. I bought the lock, barrel and a piece of wood and made everything else, I got about $400 in it.
May I add, a fine looking hunting rifle
 

Cory Joe Stewart

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Keep in mind many suppliers (at least the ones I work with) are small family operations. Mass production is what makes items cheaper the price of labor has little to do with that.

I have been building just under a decade. The price of a lock has gone up about 20 bucks in that time and the same is true for the price of barrels.

What is frustrating to me is the price I can get for a rifle has not gone up. Buyers are savvy to this, I get a lot more requests for plain or "poor boy" rifles to cut costs from the buyers.

The other issue I see is more and more people can't see the difference in what a custom builder offers and what they can purchase mass produced. I have honestly had people ask for me to build a rifle and they offer a price that would not cover the price of the barrel.

Cory Joe Stewart
 

Rifleman1776

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"
sawyer04 said:
Back in 1975 a rifle could be built for less than 300 dollars, but good wages was 5 bucks an hour, mostly 2 to 3 bucks an hour."

When I lived in Indiana and owned my stores I paid my employees about $5.00 an hour. Annual raises were very tiny, I couldn't afford more and stay in business. They were like 5 cents per hour. I moved to Arkansas in 1976 and found few jobs here paid as much as $5.00 per hour. In some cases employees were paid as little as $3.00 PER DAY. Local circumstance, economy and tradition factor heavily into wages paid.
 

Col. Batguano

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Labor is a commodity like anything else. If you look at the manufacture of almost any item, the manufacturers seek to minimize the amount of time a person actually touches the item. The process is pretty much the same to cast a tree full of parts as it is to cast one.

There's just about as much metal and raw materials in a $400 Investarms (that sells to the retailer for half that) as there is in a $1000 TotW parts set. The difference is that there may be $40 in labor in the Investarms vs $300 in the TotW set.

Watch a few of the "How It's Made" episodes to get a good feel for how the manufacture of things has gotten more efficient Computers and CAD/CAM are the only way these things can be made and sold as cheaply as they are. Just think about glass bottles. How expensive do you think they would be if they all had to be blown by hand these days?

Moral to the story is that computer-driven electrons are cheaper than people.
 

okawbow

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It’s not that hard to make a rifle for $350.00. Lock and barrel are all you really need to buy. I make the rest of the parts from scrap metal. The stock blank can be bought at a local sawmill for under $50.00. I made a nice matchlock for less than $100.00 in purchased steel for the barrel. I traded my help in the sawmill for the wood and made all the other parts.

when I started making muzzleloaders almost 50 years ago, we made as many parts as we could.
 

vintovka

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It’s not that hard to make a rifle for $350.00. Lock and barrel are all you really need to buy. I make the rest of the parts from scrap metal. The stock blank can be bought at a local sawmill for under $50.00. I made a nice matchlock for less than $100.00 in purchased steel for the barrel. I traded my help in the sawmill for the wood and made all the other parts.

when I started making muzzleloaders almost 50 years ago, we made as many parts as we could.
Stopped making MLs about 7 years ago. Put away a lot of parts and pieces before that. I swear prices went nuts since then. I don't even hardly look at parts or factory guns anymore cause of the price.
 

Vaino

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Back in 1975 a rifle could be built for less than 300 dollars, but good wages was 5 bucks an hour, mostly 2 to 3 bucks an hour.
I started building MLers in 1975 and thought the prices for parts were reasonable and finished up my last build in 2019 and thought the prices of parts were again reasonable...I've sold all my builds except my personal hunting guns and the prices I get for my sold guns now is 3 times higher than in 1975.

I make many of the parts because I just enjoy doing it, but also some of the parts aren't available from suppliers.

I think Kibler kits are a genuine bargain and if one just wants a MLer, that's the way to go. Chambers' parts sets are also a bargain and if one wants to learn how to build MLers along w/ acquiring a nice LR that's the way to go......Fred
 

TNBandit

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It’s certainly true that you can build an AR for $400 but not much of one and most AR parts are just punched out sheet metal. A great AR will probably cost 4 or 5X that. You can also buy an inexpensive Traditions kit for under $400.
You must be thinking of AK47 type rifles. I can't think of a single part of an AR15 that's punched out sheet metal with the exception of the magazine. I believe the real issue is supply & demand. An AR15 barrel can be had for 50 bucks if you shop around and don't care about who made it but they make 10,000 at a time.
 

lyman54

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I never made a rifle, but speaking of gun parts. I have to order most anything I need from the U.S. and it kills me. Canadian Peso is low and everything is made south of the border. BP guns here are inline's, little interest in BP revolvers also. But it's my hobby so I'll keep going. I do envy you guys though.
 
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