February 25, 2024
Quackenbush Safety rifle, top was advertised at 4 1/2 lbs, with the 18-inch barrel. It is quickly disassembled into a 20 1/2-inch long package.  Rossi RB22 Compact. Quickly disassembled to a 22 1/2 inch package. Measured at 3 lbs, 5 ounces. Takes Phillips head screwdriver to disassemble.

The Quackenbush .22 rifle was popular a hundred and 20 years ago. Advertisements for the rifles are easily found. They were mostly sold mail order.

The prices for the rifles seem modest. A rifle with a wood stock and an 18-inch barrel cost about six dollars. The price of gold was fixed at $20 a Troy ounce. A day laborer might be paid $1 (and fed) for a 12-hour workday. It was the beginning of the petroleum age. While people were far more productive than they had been a hundred years earlier, the industrial age with power machinery, cheap steel, cheap transport, and cheap food was just getting into full swing.

The Quackenbush was a good single-shot rifle, by all accounts. It was developed before smokeless powder and non-corrosive priming became the norm. Today, the norm is the semi-automatic rifle. Manually operated repeaters are still popular. They have an advantage as training arms and with silencers/suppressors, as the sound of the action is more easily controlled.

Quackenbush .22 Rifle Advertisements
Quackenbush .22 Rifle Advertisements

The Rossi RB22 Compact is a modern equivalent of the Quackenbush.

The Rossi RB22 is very light, very compact, and inexpensive. The Quackenbush commonly had an 18″ barrel, The RB22 Compact has a 16.5″ barrel. The Quackenbush weighed 4 1/2 pounds. The RB22 Compact weighs 3 lbs, 5 ounces. The cost of Quackenbush model, most comparable to the RB22 Compact, was $6.00 in 1906.

There are several ways to compare prices from 1906 to today. Measuringworth is an excellent website that explains how prices can be compared and supplies calculators to do comparisons in several ways.  Six dollars in 1906 would be worth between $767 and $367 in 2023.

The $165 for the RB22 Compact would be about $1-$2 in 1906.

Quackenbush charged an additional 62 cents for globe and peep sights, about $25-$45 today. For the same price, you can equip the Rossi Rifle with an 8-ounce 4x scope, far superior to any rifle scope in 1906. With the Rossi’s threaded barrel, you can add a suppressor for six more ounces. The Rossi with a scope and suppressor weighs a couple of ounces less than the Quackenbush.  Today, a person can have a scope sighted, bolt action, 10-shot suppressed repeater for about what it cost in equivalent dollars in 1906. Taken down, the Rossi is only two inches longer than the Quackenbush when taken down, and the whole package, with scope and suppressor weighs slightly less.

The vintage Quackenbush rifle was 33 inches long and 20.5 inches disassembled. The Rossi is 32.25 inches long, assembled (5 inches more with suppressor), and 22.5 inches long disassembled.

A SilencerCo Sparrow .22 suppressor is $300, with an additional $200 tax in the USA.

Rossi RB22 Compact $165  + $43 scope + $500 for suppressor and tax = $708 in 2023.

Modern machinery, cheap energy, and digital computing power have combined to create extreme productivity far greater than has ever existed in human history. Ammunition is much cheaper today than it was in 1906 equivalent dollars. You can purchase good quality .22 ammunition, in quantity, at 7 cents a cartridge (CCI Standard Velocity), and the ammunition is non-corrosive. It is more reliable and just as accurate as the ammunition was in 1906.

A round  of .22 LR in 1909 cost about $1 in 2023 money.


Prices would be less without the high regulatory burden on firearms. The $200 tax on silencers is absurd. The ban on purchasing rifles and shotguns through the mail is silly.

Inflation and Bidenomics are raising prices and reducing purchasing power. Now is a good time to stock up.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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