Please enjoy these sample firearms articles from Gun Tests. From handguns to rifles....revolvers to shotguns, you'll make the right choices with GUN TESTS:
When it comes to selecting firearms, serious shooters turn to GUN TESTS first. For over a decade, GUN TESTS has delivered unbiased and on-target evaluations of today's most-wanted production handguns, rifles, shotguns and shooting accessories.
|Dangerous-Game Rifles: When Only the Best Firearm Will Do - October 2008 |
Those who choose to hunt the worlds most dangerous game in the old way, relying on their own rifle and their own shooting (however you may be able to do that), must have reliable rifles. It matters not that your rifle can put all its shots into a single hole at a thousand yards ifonly onceit ever fails to work. Failure generally comes when youre tackling something that can kill you. One of our staff had that happen in Africa. The cocking piece came loose when he chambered a round in a custom rifle that had fired a thousand rounds with zero problems. It never happened before, nor since. Of course, most people never hunt dangerous game without a guide along. But what about the guides rifle? The finest rifles for hunting dangerous game are those that can reliably shoot time and again with no problems, and of all rifles, the fine English-made double rifle has the reputation of having no peer in this field. In this test we were privileged to have the loan of just such a rifle, a Churchill double 470 that is currently for sale at $40,000. But do you really need a rifle that costly? Cant you do just as well with a good 458 bolt-action rifle, especially a custom one that might cost more than, say, a Remington or Ruger, but has the advantages of custom fitting and best-quality setup? To evaluate custom 458s we acquired the loan of two custom rifles. One is based on a Czech VZ-24 action, and is valued at $1500. The other is based on a Springfield 1903, and is a more serious endeavor. It seemed to have it all, custom fitting, engraving, extensive action work, rust bluing, etc. It is valued at $15,000. We evaluated them first as dangerous-game rifles, but we also took a look at what else they offer the sportsman in search of a versatile big rifle.
|Glock 22 Our Pick Over Five Other .40 S&W Defense Pistols - December 1998 |
Because of its popularity and wide acceptance, the .40 S&W is destined to become one of the great cartridges. For the most part, anything a 9mm can do, a .40 S&W can do better. If a manufacturer has a 9mm handgun in its product line, it is very likely that there is a .40 S&W counterpart. Many police departments, who switched from the .38/.357 double-action revolver to the 9mm pistol, are now rearming with the .40 pistol. Six full-size .40 S&W pistols in the $600 to $800 range are the subjects of this test. They are the Smith & Wesson 4006, the Glock 22, the Walther P99, the Beretta Model 96, the Heckler & Koch USP40 and the Sig Sauer P229. Concealed carry aside, full-size models do everything better than their smaller counterparts. They have full-length grips that provide a larger gripping surface and easier control. Their longer barrels give better bullet performance. Their longer sighting radius affords better accuracy.
|High-End Rimfires: We Narrowly Pick Anschutz Over Kimber - July 2006 |
The majority of rimfire rifles on the market today are priced well below $500, so we wondered if a rifle that costs three times that amount would be worth it. Heres what we found. A well-made rimfire rifle will make other shooters at the range stop, stare, and sometimes drool. Some people might buy them simply to admire their beauty or impress onlookers, but we believe that no matter how good a gun looks, if it doesnt perform, it isnt worth our consideration. We recently tested two models that fit, or perhaps define, the high-end rimfire sporter market: The Anschutz 1710 D KL Monte Carlo No. 220.2030, $1413; and the $1877 Kimber SuperAmerica. When other shooters saw these rifles at the range, they usually stopped and asked, "What kind of rifles are thooose!"
|Small-Gauge Inserts: Briley, Seminole Products Save Money
- October 2004 |
Mixing two gauges of shells in the same shooting pouch is a recipe for disaster in most bird hunting or target busting situations. As any safety conscious shooter is aware, a 20-gauge shell dropped into the chamber of a 12-gauge shotgun will lodge just far enough down the barrel to allow the loading of a 12-gauge shell. Serious damage and possible injury can result if the 12-gauge shell is fired with the 20-gauge shell stuck in the barrel. However, there is a safe way to fire small-gauge ammunition in 12-gauge shotguns, courtesy of smaller-gauge inserts that fit in the chambers of most break-open firearms.
|Budget .45 Colt Cowboy Guns: Heritage Comes Up Shooting - February 2006 |
According to a number of online dictionaries, there is no definition listed for the term, cowboy gun. Nevertheless, the popularity of revolvers descending from the Colt Single Action Army has brought new meaning to these words. Since 1999 we have tested at least 18 different handguns that fit what we define as a cowboy gun, and now there are two more entering the market. The Taurus Gaucho No. SA45B, $499, and the Heritage Manufacturing Big Bore Rough Rider No. RR45B5, $379, are six-shot single-action revolvers each with 5.5-inch barrels and chambered for 45 Colt. Some refer to this 1.6-inch-long straight-walled case with a 0.454-inch diameter bullet as .45 Long Colt, but in either case this caliber did not actually exist in the 19th Century. What is important is that these guns are for pleasure first, and they do not come with big price tags. But their budget prices dont mean were going to let them off the hook should they prove wanting in one area or another. Physically, the Gaucho and the Rough Rider could not be closer. Indeed, since they are replica guns, any variation from form, whether a positive innovation or not, would more than likely spoil their appeal. Both guns are dark-blued steel. Both guns have a tall front sight and a rear sighting notch exposed when the hammer is pulled back. Sight radius was equal. Each gun cylinder rotated clockwise, and with the loading gate open, the cylinders clicked with the indexing of each chamber. Ejector-rod movement was approximately 2.7 inches for each gun. The hammers on each gun lacked firing pins, using instead a transfer-bar system for greater safety. The Gaucho featured a plastic grip, but the grip on the Rough Rider was wood. The shape of the bell-shaped grips each started with a wide base that tapered to a 4.1-inch neck. Their weight, size, front strap and back strap height were nearly identical.
|.50-Caliber Muzzleloaders: The T/C Hawken Beats Lymans GP - June 2006 |
Nearly every state in the union has a special blackpowder hunting season. Such seasons, some of which are exclusive bp-only hunting periods, entice a lot of hunters to try their hand at muzzle loading. Some states specify that the rifles used must be side locks and shoot round balls. Other states allow in-line rifles that shoot sabots and often come with scopes. Each hunter has to decide for himself how he wants to limit himself. A round-ball shooter is limited to 100-yard shots, but a sabot shooter can reach out to 200 or even 250 yards. Also, a round-ball shooter, also known as a traditional-style shooter, carries a rifle similar to those our forefathers carried more than two centuries ago. Carrying a rifle like that lets the modern-day hunter relive history, and actually taking game with such a rifle is a real test of his hunting skills. The two leading traditional-style rifles being sold today are the Lyman Great Plains, $435, and the Thompson Center Hawken, $550. Designed after rifles of the late 1800s, these .50-caliber rifles are well made, accurate, and would both perform well in the woods on a deer hunt or a fun day at the range. But we wondered if one model would be a better buy than the other, so we put them through a head-to-head evaluation at a private range outside of Lampasas, Texas.
|Self-Defense Shotguns: FN's Police Handily Beats Armscor - March 2006 |
We search the marketplace to find the best values for our readers, and in looking around, we came across CDNN Sports based in Abilene, Texas. CDNN is a gun distributor that specializes in closeouts. The public can order non-gun items directly from them, but you will need to get your local gun dealer to receive and transfer the firearms for you (usually for a $25 to $50 fee). We logged on to CDNNs website, , and downloaded a sizable PDF catalog. In the CDNN catalog, we found three similar 12-gauge pumps listed, but one of them (a Hawk) was sold out and would not be re-stocked, so we purchased the two models that were left. The first was an an Armscor 6+1 12-gauge pump No. M30R6, $120; and the second gun was an FN Police Shotgun 12 gauge pump No. 17674 that came with an extra stock for $270. We asked a four-person test team to run through these guns and to see if these pumps could stand up to the rigors of a Gun Tests evaluation. All in, we fired about 300 rounds of shotshells and slugs through each gun, some of them on the range but most in magazine-clearing speed shooting, the better to stress the operator and product and find out any flaws in the guns performance. Heres what we found: The FN Police Tactical shotgun came with two stocks. This shotgun was made by U.S. Repeating Arms in New Haven, CT, for FN Herstal. (Unfortunately, the New Haven plant is closing; see Shorts Shots later in this issue.) FNUSA lists two versions of the gun on its website, the 7+1 gun we tested (No. 17674) and a 4+1 gun (No. 17675). Two other police-marked pump shotguns FNUSA lists are the FN Tactical Police Shotgun and the FN Tactical Police Shotgun Fixed Stock. For our test gun, a 14-inch-barrel is sold to law enforcement on special order. Elsewhere on our FN Police, we noticed it came with a post front sight and elevation adjustable tangent rear sight. Both sights were dovetailed in. The receiver was also drilled and tapped for mounting a scope or other sight. We liked the matte manganese phosphate finish. It did not reflect light like the blued Armscor did.
|.22LR Bolt-Actions: How Much Quality Can You Buy For $300? - April 2000 |
Looking for a bargain in firearms is usually a bad place to start, because, over the years weve found that in most cases, you get what you pay for. But on rare occasions, Gun Tests has found well-made, accurate, easy-to-shoot inexpensive firearms in all categories. Perhaps one of the deepest segments in which to find a bargain is in .22 LR bolt actions, depending, of course, on your definition of bargain. What we wanted to find in this test was a step up from plinker-grade guns that usually retail for $100 to $150, something that didnt break the bank, yet shot accurately and had a good list of featuresdecent trigger, good stock, and wide application. That course led us to a trio of heavy-barreled products from CZ and Marlin, along with the H&R CM12 training rifle, available through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). Of the three, the H&R CM12 has the most interesting story. The CMP has been making the H&R CM12 training rifle available to the public through its website and traditional mail resources. For shooters who can document any level of competition shooting activity (and the standards are very low as to what qualifies), the CM12 smallbore can be purchased for $300 by an adult, or only $250 for a junior competitive shooter. From traditional retail sources, we chose the two other bolt-action rifles in this price range. The CZ 452-2E ZKM and Marlins 880SQ have sporter stocks, but otherwise are built with accuracy in mind, just like the CM12. Also, weve seen street prices on both guns just a shade under $300. The most important part of this test would be how accurate the guns were, plus their application across a range of smallbore uses. The winner would shoot the smallest groups and play in the most gameseverything from popping cans to drilling holes in paper.
|Hide-and-Seek CCW Style: Concealment Holsters Tested - August 1999 |
Of main concern to the holder of a state-issued license to carry a concealed handgun is for that gun to remain concealed. That said, it is unwise to use a holster not specifically designed for your gun, because you must be able to put it into action. Furthermore, the gun/holster combination must fit your body style and your environment. Cross-draw holsters, for example, are making a comeback. This is because cross-draw works well for those who spend a great deal of time driving or sitting at a desk, two particularly vulnerable positions. To investigate some of the variations found to be effective modes of carry, Gun Tests has assembled a number of holsters that offer solutions to the problems faced by those who choose to carry a handgun day in and day out. We tried more than a dozen on for size, and learned that the least expensive product in the testa $10.95 pocket sleeve from Uncle Mikeswas also one of the best at concealing a gun, while still allowing the handgun to be retrieved and fired. The full lineup of test products included the aforementioned pocket holster from Uncle Mikes along with that companys ankle model ($35.95). We also examined five Galco models, the $59.95 Speedmaster, an $89.95 leather Crossdraw item, and the Executive ($156), Miami Classic ($139.95), and Jackass ($99.95) shoulder rigs. We worked out five Hoffners leather products, the Backpacker ($50), the ITP ($35), the ITP Shirt Tucker ($45), and the Camera Bag ($45) as well. Rounding out the test holsters was Michaels of Oregon Old Worlds 3-slot model, $35.99.
|Semi-Auto Shotguns: Browning Gold Sporting Beats Benelli - August 2006 |
As the average age of clay-target shooters continues to inch higher, many veterans are turning to less expensive, lighter, softer-shooting semiautomatics as substitutes for their over-unders. The common objective is to find a firearm that doesnt strain the pocketbook; is easy on the arm muscles; and doesnt send the shooter into shoulder shock from recoil. However, because the single-barrel shotguns are lighter and quicker to get on a target, all of them require a little more finesse if a shooter is intent on being competitive or filling a game bag. This means there is more need for a little extra push or pull by the shooter, rather than relying on the glide of a heavier stackbarrel. The Browning Gold Sporting Semiautomatic 12 gauge, $1105, has earned a good reputation as a moderately priced shooting tool at clay target courses across the country, despite some travails. The initial burst of enthusiasm for the shotgun when it first entered the market was slightly deflated by problems with broken firing pins and other mechanical failures with early models. However, those failures seem to have subsided with the more recent production runs. Following the pattern of the legendary Remington 1100 semiautomatic that once dominated the skeet shooting community (and also suffered some early mechanical problems); the Browning Gold Sporting has become one of those shotguns that nearly everyone gives the old college try. But there are plenty of challengers out there vying for the Brownings sporting-clays spot, one of which is the other semi-auto in our test, the Benelli SuperSport. The model we tested is the latest version of another veteran line that has been favored by both bird and clay target shooters. With its space-age looks and feel, the Benelli SuperSport Semiautomatic 12 gauge, $1735, is one of those love it or hate it shotguns.