The term “inside out” can be taken literally or applied as a phrase to describe the thoroughness with which an idea is understood. In this month’s issue, we hope to illustrate that the latter especially is used as a guiding principle to keep the American firearm industry at the top of its game. We also suggest a third application that is appropriate for every shooter.
Our first two stories make it clear that some of the country’s foremost names in gunmaking are not too proud to revisit classic designs from the past as a means of forging their own futures. In “Marlins With The Ruger Touch: The Model 336 And 1894 Classics” (p. 36), Field Editor Jeremiah Knupp explains how “the letters ‘JM’ inside a small oval stamped into the barrel of a Marlin firearm holds a special place in the heart of the brand’s aficionados,” but that the newest Marlins, built in Mayodan, N.C., are marked with an “RM” prefix to indicate they are Ruger-made. It’s a story we first covered last year when Ruger heavily invested in and resurrected the brand with its re-engineered 1895-based models, and it illustrates how truly classic firearm designs simply refuse to die.
In a similar example, “Savage Takes On The M1911,” Field Editor B. Gil Horman explains that the company best known for its rifles has opted to enter the marketplace with a “factory-custom” iteration of John Browning’s classic. It appears to have been a choice well-made, as it allows Savage to offer “upgrades and a level of refinement that are usually unavailable in budget-priced pistols while keeping these new guns fiscally obtainable for those M1911 fans who prefer more feature-rich options.”
On the more analytical side of firearms, small-arms engineer George Kontis teaches us that “Guns Can Talk,” and that the improvements applied to today’s advanced firearms are informed by “listening” to them function. The author explains that Knight’s Armament has developed the means to analyze sounds emitted from firearm mechanisms during their cycles of operation and that understanding those sounds is one way designers keep American military small arms at the pinnacle of readiness.
In “150 Years Of The ‘Trapdoor Springfield,’” Field Editor Bruce N. Canfield recounts the significance of the post-Civil War realization that breechloading arms were the way forward and how Springfield Armory master armorer Erskine S. Allin devised an ingenious solution for adapting earlier designs. “His method was to convert the obsolete muzzleloading muskets into breechloaders by milling away a portion of the top rear of the barrel and attaching a hinged breechblock containing a firing pin and an extractor/ejector mechanism.” That literal “inside-out” design was soon given the descriptive nickname “Trapdoor Springfield.”
And as to that other application of the phrase “inside out” mentioned before, consider this: Arms designers and firearm manufacturers bring to bear tremendous effort in the development of new guns—whether they be models from yesteryear or those newly conceived or improved through modern testing methods. In either case, today’s firearms are safe, reliable, accurate and durable—but they are, ultimately, tools designed to be used.
So, gather your classics or recent acquisitions, and take them from the “inside out” today. Sure, the collectibles can remain at home, but most guns are made to be shot—at least recreationally if not out of necessity for hunting and, of course, for training in self-defense—whether at indoor ranges or in the great outdoors.
In either case, shooting is one of the most rewarding and necessary pastimes in American history.