Are Manually Operated Firearms Outdated?
Kevin Felts 12.29.17
As the title asks, are manually operated firearms outdated? Of course, a lot of people are going to say, “No!”
For the sake of discussion, I am going to play advocatus diaboli (devil’s advocate) and attempt to change your mind.
Let’s define ‘manually operated’ as anything that has to be operated by hand between rounds. Fire a round, operate by hand, fire another round, and repeat.
Now, let’s talk about why just about everything other than semi-automatic, specifically the AR platform, is obsolete.
When the U.S. military started looking for a new handgun, the Beretta M9 was labeled as “outdated.” However, if someone dared label the Glock outdated, people would reply, “The Glock is perfect, so it cannot be outdated.” In that case, what makes the Beretta outdated but not the Glock? Both are excellent and reliable handguns.
If we take that same philosophy and apply it to rifles, then all lever and bolt action rifles, save the very high powered calibers, are outdated.
There are newer and better platforms that have been developed in the past 50 years. So why use an action that was developed more than 100 years ago?
The AR platform has evolved to a point where most hunting and target shooting applications can be solved by one of the many calibers the platform is chambered in.
Predator hunting – use a 223 / 5.56mm upper.
Deer hunting – 300 Blackout or 308 Winchester.
Then there are the number of modifications made for the AR plaform
Buy a bolt or lever action, what is there to change out? The stock and add an optic to it.
The AR platform keeps getting cheaper and cheaper. Competition has driven AR prices down to levels never seen before. The S&W M&P Sport II sells for around $500, and has very good reviews. The Colt 6920 used to sell for around $1,000, but can now be had for around $800 or less.
What are prices of lever and bolt action rifles doing? They are staying around the same.
For example, the Marlin model 336 is around the same price that it was five years ago. If anything, it has gone up in price. So why should I buy a rifle that has barely changed in decades, when the AR platform continues to evolve?
Readers are going to say, “Kevin, nothing will replace bolt and lever action rifles.” It is not a matter of replacing. The AR platform has evolved to a point where other actions and calibers are obsolete.
Will I buy another bolt or lever action? Of course I will. The last rifle I bought was an older Marlin 336 that was made in 1976. There is something about those older firearms that new ones can not touch.