CLASSIC ARMS OF THE 1930’S
I thought that a look at the Classic Arms of 1930’s era would give a little idea of the firearms manufactured before the Golden age. The golden age of classic firearms would start right after WW II. The commercial firearms of the 50’s and 60’s would become some of the greatest rifles and handguns of all time (IMHO). There was a vast difference between the 1930’s and the 1950’s in not only the firearms world, but in everything available in those years. The depression of the 1930’s would affect all areas of life. That would include firearms and accessories.
There was not a lot of money to spend on new style firearms and hunting accessories. The gun manufactures were not going to develop a new firearm and spend a lot of money setting up the manufacturing process and not have a market to sell it. People did not have the money in the 1930’s. By the end of the 1940’s the average man could now afford to spend a little money on the new firearms of the 1950’s. Vastly different times. Classic Arms were on the way.
Winchester Arms Company and the Remington Arms Company would both have Bolt action Rifles in the 1930’s. Winchester Arms would have the Winchester Model 54 until around 1935 and would start production of one of the greatest rifles of all time. Of course that would be the Winchester Model 70. This development of the Model 70 would give the Winchester Arms Company the top billing for the 1930’s. (IMHO) Not only did they introduce the Model 70 in 1936 but several other new Classic Firearms.
Remington Firearms would have the Remington Model 30 bolt action rifle. Remington would produce the Model 30 thru all of the 1930’s. Remington Arms would replace the Model 30 with the Remington model 720. These are both desirable collector firearms and are hard to find. They did make the majority of these firearms in the 30-06 cartridge. Any of the Model 30 rifles in any cartridges (25, 30, 32, 35 Remington, 257 Roberts and 7mm Mauser) are highly desirable.
The Winchester Model 54 was based on the Mauser style action. The Remington Model 30 would be based on the 1917 Enfield action. They would both be a basic military action that were utilized by Winchester and Remington. Winchester would introduce the Model 70 in 1936 that was a new design by Winchester. Remington would not bring out the new 721-722 design until 1948. The Golden age would just be getting started.
Winchester Arms would definitely be the King of the Classic Arms of 1930’s era.
Winchester Model 70
Winchester Model 71 (348 Winchester)
Winchester Model 64
Winchester Model 65
Winchester Model 61 and 62
Winchester Model 67
Winchester Model 69
Winchester Model 75
There would be other Models but these would be the most popular. Many of these models would be quite popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. In Febuary of 1933 Winchester would introduce the Model 54 in the 22 Hornet cartridge. Only in production till 1936, when the new Model 70 would be introduced. Winchester Arms would introduce the Model 64 in the new 219 Zipper cartridge in 1937. The 219 Zipper was a new cartridge from the 1930’s.
In my article about the Classic Arms of 1953, I would mention that Griffin and Howe would convert your Winchester model 54, 22 Hornet to the 222 Remington if you wanted the new Remington cartridge. You have to wonder how many of those conversions were done. Good thing to do back then. Not so good for the gun collector today.
Winchester Arms would be the king of the Classic Arms of 1930’s era.
Remington Firearms of the 1930’s
Remington 241 speedmaster
Remington would have some other 22 rifles introduced in the 1930’s
Colt Firearms would introduce the New Service “Shooting Master” revolver in 1931. They would advertise that the Colt Woodsman would win the 1932 Olympics and was the most popular 22 automatic in the world. Very true at the time. True Classic Arms of 1930’s.
Custom Rifles of the 1930’s
The 1930’s would have several Custom Rifle makers building nice classic firearms. The top custom gun maker of the 1930’s would be the Griffin & Howe gun company. You could have a custom rifle built on a Mauser action or Springfield action. In the early 30’s you could order the Griffin and Howe rifles built with the Winchester 54 action. They would also build competitive target rifles and did have one of their custom 300 H&H magnum rifles win at a Camp Perry Wimbledon match in 1935. Highly collectable Classic Arms of 1930’s era.
They would of course have a very popular scope mount that was very widely used in the 30’s 40’s and 50’s. Griffin and Howe did work very well and did give the nice touch of removing the scope quickly if the need should arise. I would be able to handle and work on several of these firearms in the 70’s and 80’s in the gunshop I worked at in those years. Very well built rifles and usually of the nice classic look that I liked in a good bolt action rifle.
Another popular Custom Rifle maker would be the Sedgley Springfield Sporter Rifles. They would advertise a Sedgley 30-06 complete for $71.00 in 1937. A good amount of money in those years. You could order one in 12 different calibers. Do not recall seeing one in all the years I would be around the firearms world. Classic Arms of 1930’s at its best.
Another Custom Rifle maker of the 1930’s would be the Pacific Gun Sight Company out of San Francisco, California. They would use a Springfield, Krag, or Enfield action to build your rifle. I did like the looks of the advertised firearms.
You could get a nice group of cartridges to choose from with those Custom rifles. The 30-06 , 270, 7 MM Mauser, 257 Roberts, 250-3000, and even a 300 H&H magnum if you wanted. Not bad for 1933. Classic Arms of 1930’s at its best.
Scopes in 1933
Interesting to see the rifle scopes that were advertised in 1933. I did not think that the rifle scope was that well developed in the 30’s. Some would look much like the scopes of the 50’s and I was a little surprised by that. Interesting stuff in the Classic Arms of 1930’s.
The Noske Rifle Scope and mount would be available for $40.00 in 1933. Really nice looking scope for the time. J.W. Fecker would advertise a 10 – Inch small game scope in 1933. Hensoldt would have a nice looking scope. And of course the Zeiss Rifle Scopes would also be advertised in 1933. They would have external adjustments and have that nice slim styling.
By the end of the 1930’s, the Weaver scope would become one of the top selling scopes in America. It was a well made scope that had a a nice look and great features at the time. The Weaver scope was priced so that the average American Hunter or Target shooter could afford one. And they sold many. Great start for Weaver in the Classic Arms of 1930’s era.
Redfield would primarily be manufacturing receiver sights in the 1930’s. They would be gearing up for the scope base and rings by the end of the 30’s. The mounts and rings would be their top selling product for many years in the 50’s. Their great Redfield scope line would come later.
One has to wonder if the scopes of that time would have issues with recoil. The rifle scope was available but not installed on many firearms. Those scopes of that time would not like the heavy recoil of the larger calibers (IMHO). The smaller cartridges would certainly fair much better. It would certainly be on the pricey side and maybe a victim of the depression era.
Winchester Arms would certainly be the leader in firearms development in the 1930’s. Even thought the depression was in full swing , they would introduce several new firearms in the 30’s. Their great name and reputation would help with sales even in the hard years of the 1930’s. They would do the exact opposite in the 1960’s and that would eventually bring Winchester Arms to her knees. (IMHO)