Moden guns overpriced

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When the government bought the 1792 contract rifles $12 was paid for each. Take a look at this.


Adjusted for inflation a $12 rifle should now cost $323.13. The contract rifles were the most basic Lancaster style rifles then available. Where today can you get the most basic of muzzleloaders for that price?

A fancy Lancaster carved and inlayed would have cost in 1792 upwards of $35. Adjusted for inflation the fancy rifle should cost $942. What person today, making rifles one at a time by hand, would make you an embellished rifle for that kind of money?

Looking at the inflation figures i have to conclude today's muzzleloader makers are ripping us off. Aren't they?
 
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Eterry

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When the government bought the 1792 contract rifles $12 was paid for each. Take a look at this.


Adjusted for inflation a $12 rifle should now cost $323.13. The contract rifles were the most basic Lancaster style rifles then available. Where today can you get the most basic of muzzleloaders for that price?

A fancy Lancaster carved and inlayed would have cost in 1792 upwards of $35. Adjusted for inflation the fancy rifle should cost $942. What person today, making rifles one at a time by hand, would make you an embellished rifle for that kind of money?

Looking at the inflation figures i have to conclude today's muzzleloader makers are ripping us off. Aren't they?
My dad always said...No one said life was fair...
 

Davey Boy

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The government inflation calculator couldn't possibly be incorrect.

A return on a soda pop bottle was 3 cents on the little ones and 5 cents on a quart bottle in1961. Twenty cents to go to the movies, a good movie!

Soda pop return on containers is still 5 cents

I stopped going to the movies when cell phones were being used inside the theater by rude people, then it was about $8.50 a show

I think we are going to need a different method to adjust for inflation.
 

Zonie

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I've had pretty believeable results with the web inflation calculator I use.


But, it's limited to dates earlier than 1912. As a reference, it says $12 in 1912 would be equal to $318.65 today. Notice that value is about the same as the one shown in the OP's post.

With all that has happened since 1792, I don't know how a inflation calculator could possibly be able to figure out what $12 in 1792 would equal today.

If I was a guessing man, I would guess that $12 would be equal to close to $1000 today.
 
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It’s such a niche hobby that there isn’t but a few dozen really respectable builders out there still alive.

The time and work to make one, much less the skill required, is not cheap.
 

JB67

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There are too many variables to simply compare cost of goods then and now. Compare cost to wage. In the late 1700s, skilled laborers could be paid $0.50-$1.00 per day, depending on trade and demand. Using the lower end, let's say $0.60 per day, a $12 rifle would have cost close to a month's wages (20 days.) Today, the same laborer might earn $15-$20/hr, or $120-$160/day, or roughly $2400-$3000/month.

The cost of firearms today suddenly doesn't seem so bad, but there are also a lot more demands on our money. Various taxes alone take 30-40%. That $2400 is now about $1500.

At the end of the day, prices really aren't all that different. If anything, they're a bit cheaper.

Wages in the late 1700s
 

Ponderosaman

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When the government bought the 1792 contract rifles $12 was paid for each. Take a look at this.


Adjusted for inflation a $12 rifle should now cost $323.13. The contract rifles were the most basic Lancaster style rifles then available. Where today can you get the most basic of muzzleloaders for that price?

A fancy Lancaster carved and inlayed would have cost in 1792 upwards of $35. Adjusted for inflation the fancy rifle should cost $942. What person today, making rifles one at a time by hand, would make you an embellished rifle for that kind of money?

Looking at the inflation figures i have to conclude today's muzzleloader makers are ripping us off. Aren't they?
Their calculator is broken
 

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smo

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What was the $1.00 worth in 1929-30...?
 

dave_person

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Hi KV,
These kinds of comparisons are almost always bogus because estimating modern value by a fixed inflation scalar doesn't work because of long periods (at least 3 maybe 4 periods) of deflation mixed in with those average rates and because prices are not determined the same today as back then. For example, $12 in 1790 was a lot when typical farming household incomes ranged between $100-$200 per year. If you estimate similar household incomes today the range might be $40,000-$80,000. Thus, if a gun remained priced at the same proportion of income it should cost $4,800 today.

dave
 

Sam squanch

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All I know is dad told me “ yes, a new Winchester only cost $50 when I was young, but working for a quarter a day gave you no chance to buy one!”
 

Ponderosaman

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My dad's first rifle cost him $7.00, brand new off the shelf in 1944. It was a 22 and he was 7.
I still contend a quality weapon cost a grownup about a month's salary, then and now.
Was it a crackshot? I have my grandfather’s that I was able to get shooting again. The firing pin was broken, the extractor was broken and a pin had been replaced with an old bolt. I got the parts off the internet. Got to shoot it with my Pop at my iron target. What a cool gun.
 

TFoley

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My dad's first rifle cost him $7.00, brand new off the shelf in 1944. It was a 22 and he was 7. I still contend a quality weapon cost a grownup about a month's salary, then and now.
That's some 'quality weapon, then. My last monthly pay check from a grateful government [grateful to be finally paying me off] back in 2000 was just over $8000.

That would buy a fine custom-built muzzleloader, for sure. :)
 

Eterry

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Was it a crackshot? I have my grandfather’s that I was able to get shooting again. The firing pin was broken, the extractor was broken and a pin had been replaced with an old bolt. I got the parts off the internet. Got to shoot it with my Pop at my iron target. What a cool gun.
No, it was a single shot bolt gun. I sent you a PM about it.
 

Peregrine

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Back in the day, how much of their rifle manufacturing labor force was low paid apprentices or unpaid indentured servants? Many more people touch the materials at every step of the process today from the lumberman to the machinist. I don't think we can fairly compare the past with a modern day piece of art created by an artist. We need to compare apples to apples.
 
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