Smith & Wesson's $833 Model 610 10mm/.40 S&W is a slick shooter, but the $1000 Colt Anaconda in .44 Special/.44 Magnum is better than ever, in our estimation.
We hate to admit it, but we've been had. All this time we thought that the revolvers from Magnum Research in the May issue were in fact the true BFRs — Biggest Finest Revolvers. These guns weighed in at 76 ounces and measured nearly 16 inches in length. But along comes two BFRs that are more than 2 inches longer and weigh almost a full pound more. Now we suppose that when it comes to the .45-70 and .450 Marlin guns reviewed last month, the "B" in BFR merely stands for bigger, not biggest.
But this month we step up to two rifle cartridges chambered in our test guns, the .30-30 Winchester and .444 Marlin. Besides being a well-known rifle cartridge, .30-30 ammunition is cheap and plentiful. If we numb our hands and wrists while shooting, at least we won't stun our wallets. In the .444 Marlin revolver, we wondered how gun, and shooter, would stand up to this big, straight-walled cartridge.
We got our guns from the Magnum Research Custom Shop, so there were variations in what we tested and what's available in factory production. The .444 Marlin BFR offered by Magnum research has a round, non-fluted cylinder. Our test .444 had fluting, but was otherwise a production model. The .30-30 Win. BFR (available from Magnum Research Custom Shop, Contract Mfg. Inc., 1594 College Rd., Baxter, MN 56425, telephone  824-0080) is a custom chambering which costs $1,400. The Custom Shop has developed a number of custom calibers that are not available in production revolvers, such as the .218 Bee, .45/90 Win., .38-55 Win., and .375 Win. They are all $1,400. The guns are built to order with special caliber engraving on the frame. "Magnum's Custom Shop is newly created and seeks to fill a niche for shooters who want something other than the standard BFRs," said Jim Tertin of Contract Mfg. Inc.
We pit Taurus's small but weighty .45 ACP against S&W's bigger but lighter .44 Special and find two carryable revolvers with plenty of stopping power but surprisingly mild manners.
Faced with deciding which is the best handgun caliber or action design for self-defense, the traditional answer was once to carry the biggest gun you could handle. Then, in the age of concealed-carry permits, the answer increasingly has become carry the biggest gun you can conceal. Now enter downsizing. The conventional carry wisdom now reads the best gun is the one you have with you.
However, to take advantage of the latest philosophy, your carry gun needs to be wearable, and bearable at that. Reducing the weight of guns to make continuous carry livable is the reason ultra-light titanium has been adapted to handgun construction. Wheel guns built wholly or in part with titanium are now av...
[IMGCAP(1)] At Gun Tests we constantly seek ways to follow up on the service life of the guns we test. When possible, we track the very pistols and long guns that appear on these pages by keeping in touch with their owners, which in some cases are our testers but more often are readers who have bought actual test guns. Another way of tracking the reliability and satisfaction that a firearm can bring is to contact gunsmiths, retail outlets or the operators of public shooting ranges who add them to range rental-gun fleets.
We recently had occasion to test several revolvers previously reviewed and recommended in these pages with an eye toward gathering data about their longevity, a topic GT...
The .44 Magnum's baby brother round doesn't get a lot of attention, but the .44 Special has a lot to recommend it. We see how it performs in the Taurus 445ULT, Smith & Wesson 396, and Charter 2000's Bulldog revolvers