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Compact 44 Rem. Mag. Rifles: Rossi and Ruger Shoot It Out

The 44 Remington Magnum has been a favorite hunting cartridge for some of our test team members who live in states where straight-wall cartridges are legal for deer hunting, but where short sight line conditions keep ranges way down. Chambered in short, carbine-length rifles, the 44 Rem. Mag. can be quick to shoulder, fast to shoot, and offer plenty of power. As one of our 44 Rem. Mag. hunters said: "They make big holes and leave a nice blood trail." These rifles are lightweight and make for easy carry. In brush-choked terrain when pushing deer, sitting in tree stand for a black bear, or waiting on pigs to wallow, these carbines offer power, and in lever-action models, super-fast follow-up shots. They can also make a good truck gun.

While lever-action 44 Rem. Mag. carbines are common, we wanted to look at something different and assembled three candidates. To serve as a baseline, we chose the Rossi R92, a clone of the iconic Winchester Model 1892 and a good example of a typical lever-action 44 Mag. carbine with exposed hammer, iron sights and tubular magazine that's loaded via a loading port. The Ruger 77/44 is quite different. It is a bolt-action rifle and comes with scope mounts and detachable rotary magazine. The Ruger 96/77 is a lever-action carbine similar to the Savage Model 99. The hammer is enclosed in the receiver, it has a scope mount built into the receiver, and uses a detachable magazine. The 96/77 was produced from 1996 through 2004 and our test sample was lightly used. The R92 and 77/44 are both current production guns and easily obtained; used 96/44 models are also fairly easy to find, especially on online gun-auction websites.

American Tactical’s AR-15 Replacement Trigger

Hi everybody, this is Jamie with American Tactical. We're here at Range Day 2019. We are introducing the new Saf-T First trigger. This is an AR-15 trigger that will charge on safe. Your red trigger is your original trigger. This is what you are operating with now. You can fire it, but you cannot go to safe while it is open.

Springfield Armory’s Socom 16 CQB Keeps Pace at the Range

In 1974, Springfield Armory of Geneseo, Illinois began offering a civilian-legal semi-automatic rifle based on the M14, which it christened the M1A. Since then, Springfield Armory has offered several versions of the rifle, including a number of carbines utilizing a 16.25-inch-long barrel. In the September 2014 issue of Gun Tests, we evaluated the Springfield Armory Socom 16, which added a scout-style scope mount positioned forward of the ejection port. This was a simplification of the Socom II we covered in 2012 that featured a multi-rail forend made by Vltor Weapons Systems. The subject of this evaluation is the newest carbine, the $2442 Socom 16 CQB. The CQB uses the same barreled action as previous carbines but sheds the traditional stock in favor of a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer stock by Archangel featuring a 5-position adjustable-length buttstock.

April 2019 Short Shots: New Rifles for 2019

For 2019, Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. has introduced magnum models of the Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle and a new BX-15 Magnum magazine that accept 17 HMR and 22 WMR cartridges. Like its 22 LR predecessor, these new magnum offerings maintain the same ergonomics, trigger, and manual of arms as the larger centerfire Ruger Precision Rifle. The Ruger Precision Rimfire has a molded, one-piece chassis and adjustable buttstock assembly manufactured of glass-filled nylon.

9mm Rifles from Beretta, Just Right Carbines, and Ruger

Manufacturers have easily transformed the AR-15 platform to be compatible with 9mm ammo, and we have tested a few of these carbines back in 2015. Since then, there has been an uptick in new 9mm carbine models, so we decided to take a look at these short semi-autos that share ammo with your pistol. What separates these newer 9mm carbines from some AR-15 carbines is their ability to use handgun magazines. Not only do these carbines share the same ammunition, they also share the same magazine in your pistol. That's versatility in our book.

The three rifles we procured were the Beretta CX4 Storm, Just Right Carbines' Takedown Model, and Ruger's PC Carbine. These carbines offer mild recoil, good accuracy, fast follow-up shots, light weight, and maneuverability. Some, like the Ruger, offer all the bells and whistles and propel the 9mm carbine category from a pipsqueak pistol-caliber carbine to a versatile home defense and survival tool. In the past five or six years, 9mm ammunition has also evolved, and there are a slew of viable loads that make these carbines more versatile than 9mm carbines years ago.

Less recoil means better accuracy and faster follow-up shots, and we all know bullet placement is very important in disabling a bad actor. We'll take making the first well-placed shot any day. In our opinion, any of these carbines would made a good choice for home defense, for transport in a vehicle, as survival/prepper choice, small game hunting, and an all-round fun plinker. These also make a great transitional gun for shooters graduating from a rimfire round to a centerfire round. All of these carbines also offered an adjustable length of pull so smaller-stature shooters are not at a disadvantage.

All three of these carbines feed from handgun magazines and use a simple blowback mechanism. You can feel the bolt sliding back and forth in the receiver as the carbine cycles and that adds to the perceived recoil. These carbines are also light and perceived recoil is always higher in a lightweight rifle. In our opinion, the Beretta does the best job of making the mechanism feel smooth, and that's because the CX4 is more like and oversized pistol than it is a carbine chambered in a pistol caliber. The Ruger and JRC have added flexibility since they are takedown models. Plus the Ruger does a whole lot more. The Ruger PC Carbine is packed with features that actually make the carbine more flexible, adaptable, and useful. Some of our more jaded testers kept going back to the PC Carbine for another try, which says a lot.

Hunting Rifles in 7mm Mag From Mossberg, Howa, Savage

Rifles chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum are popular hunting setups for whitetail deer up to elk. We looked at three hunting rifles in 7mm Rem. Mag. in a price range to suit nearly any budget. At the low end is the Mossberg Patriot ($542), a traditionally styled hunting rifle with a walnut stock and matte-blued metal. A midrange-cost firearm is the Savage 110 Storm ($849) with a matte-stainless barreled action and synthetic AccuStock. This was the most modern looking rifle of the trio. At the high end is the Howa M1500 HS Precision ($1119). This rifle features an HS Precision laminated stock and a sub-MOA guarantee. The other rifles did not offer an accuracy guarantee. All rifles use a push-feed bolt-action design with two locking lugs, which means the bolt lift on all three is 90 degrees. They also have a cocking indicator that protrudes from the rear of the bolt to tell the user the rifle is cocked. You can see the cocking indicator and feel it. All featured a free-floated barrel and fairly good trigger. What separated the Savage from the Howa and Mossberg was the customizable stock.

We equipped the trio with variable-power scopes. In the middle is a Simmons AETEC 2.8-10x44mm, and at the bottom end of cost is a Simmons Whitetail Classic 3-9x40mm scope. At the high end was a Vortex Crossfire II 4-16x50mm. All three were well constructed, used a second-focal-plane reticle, and featured capped turrets. We thought the Simmons Whitetail Classic was a great deal, and it performed well even with its plain Truplex reticle. The Simmons AETEC scope was light weight and short, so it didn't add a lot of weight to the rifle. It also uses aspherical lenses, which gives the user a flat, distortion-free image. The AETEC also used a Truplex reticle and had the best clarity and contrast between the Simmons scopes. The Vortex Crossfire II also had good clarity/contrast and a Dead-Hold BDC reticle, which we felt offered better aiming. There are numerous hold marks on the vertical and horizontal crosshairs that allow the shooter to be more accurate if he understands his reticle. The simplicity of the Truplex reticle requires the shooter to guesstimate holdover and wind compensation. The Vortex scope was the longest and did provide more eye-relief adjustment in the rings, which also made it easier to mount. Smaller scopes on long-action rifles can be tight to fit, with less room to adjust eye relief. We used Weaver rings with all the scopes and found the 7-M-M did not rattle them loose.

For a spotter we used a Styrka S7 15-45x65mm spotting scope. This spotter features an angled eyepiece and comes with a carry case that protects the spotter yet unzips so you can mount it to a tripod and still protect the spotter. Not that we weren't careful, but we did drop the spotter on the cement deck from bench height and it survived the fall. It has a rubber-armor skin. A sunshade is built in, and the magnification ring rotates smoothly and easily, which we like especially when the magnification is high and the field of view is small. It could be adjusted without losing the target. It also has coarse- and fine-focus knobs and a rotating tripod mount that allows the user to adjust the eyepiece for more comfortable viewing. We used it during the day and in the setting glare of the North Carolina sun, and we easily could pick our hits on paper.

We used a variety of hunting ammo in bullets weights that included 150-, 162-, 165-, and 175-grain projectiles from Federal Premium and Hornady. We used low-cost Federal Fusion soft points ($31.53) and Federal Vital-Shok with Sierra GameKing BTSP bullets ($37.09), as well as more expensive Hornady Precision Hunters loaded with ELD-X bullets ($40.50) and Federal Vital-Shok loaded with Bear Claw bullets. We were able to get a sub-MOA group out of all the rifles, but the Howa and Savage continually surprised us with some excellent groups.

38 Special Problem in 357 Mags

I enjoyed the article on 38 Special lever-action rifles, but I think you missed a very important warning. The 38 Special and 357 Magnum are not interchangeable, for reasons other than the strength of the action. I have a Marlin lever action in 357 caliber. I decided to sight it in with 38 Special rounds and then change to 357 and adjust the sights. After about 20 or 30 rounds of 38 Special, I switched to 357. When I tried to rack in the second round, it wouldn't seat. The problem was that the 38 Special rounds carboned up the chamber, and when the 357 round was extracted, only about half of the cartridge came out. I had to have a gunsmith remove the front half of the casing. I only shoot 357 rounds in my rifle and revolver since then. I have never seen this in any article which discusses using 38 Special ammo in a 357 chamber.

38 Special Problem in 357 Mags

I enjoyed the article on 38 Special lever-action rifles, but I think you missed a very important warning. The 38 Special and 357 Magnum are not interchangeable, for reasons other than the strength of the action. I have a Marlin lever action in 357 caliber. I decided to sight it in with 38 Special rounds and then change to 357 and adjust the sights. After about 20 or 30 rounds of 38 Special, I switched to 357. When I tried to rack in the second round, it wouldn't seat. The problem was that the 38 Special rounds carboned up the chamber, and when the 357 round was extracted, only about half of the cartridge came out. I had to have a gunsmith remove the front half of the casing. I only shoot 357 rounds in my rifle and revolver since then. I have never seen this in any article which discusses using 38 Special ammo in a 357 chamber.

2018 Guns & Gear Top Picks: Firearms

Toward the end of each year, I survey the work R.K. Campbell, Roger Eckstine, Austin Miller, Robert Sadowski, David Tannahill, Tracey Taylor, John Taylor, and Ralph Winingham have done in Gun Tests, with an eye toward selecting guns, accessories, and ammunition the magazine's testers have endorsed. From these evaluations I pick the best from a full year's worth of tests and distill recommendations for readers, who often use them as shopping guides. These choices are a mixture of our original tests and other information I've compiled during the year. After we roll high-rated test products into long-term testing, I keep tabs on how those guns do, and if the firearms and accessories continue performing well, then I have confidence including them in this wrap-up.

Which 308 Bolt-Action Rifles Would We Take to the Woods?

The 308 Winchester is one of our more popular and most versatile cartridges. Accurate, powerful enough for most anything in North America save the largest bears, and affordable, the 308 Win. has a lot going for it. Among the most popular firearms chamberings for this cartridge is the bolt-action rifle, and we recently tested four examples to see which one might make a timely Christmas present for yourself or someone else who would like something long and skinny under the tree.

In some ways, this report was a continuation of the test we ran in the October 2017 issue, which used the Savage Axis, Remington SLP, Remington Varmint rifle, and Browning BAR, all in 308 Winchester. This time, we included a rifle that would be a match for the Remington Varmint rifle previously tested — the Savage Model 12 with bull barrel was the heaviest rifle this round. In the previous feature, the editor noted that none of the rifles seemed to excite the testers. He was correct. This time around was different. This time we got excited and found the rifles are interesting and appropriate to the job at hand.

We really liked one rifle and felt that it was a Best Buy and a great all-round choice. Also, a more-recent version of an existing model was well worth its modest price. Because we are always looking for a low-cost gem, we added a bargain-basement used gun whose specific model we hadn't previously tested in the magazine. The Mossberg Trophy Hunter rifle line (there is also a Savage Trophy Hunter, so don't be confused) has been replaced by the Mossberg Patriot series.

The Savage Model 12FV was the most accurate rifle in the test and received high marks for its smooth action and three-position safety. The only question was, would you be willing to lug this rifle around the woods or bring it to the stand?

Which 308 Bolt-Action Rifles Would We Take to the Woods?

The 308 Winchester is one of our more popular and most versatile cartridges. Accurate, powerful enough for most anything in North America save the largest bears, and affordable, the 308 Win. has a lot going for it. Among the most popular firearms chamberings for this cartridge is the bolt-action rifle, and we recently tested four examples to see which one might make a timely Christmas present for yourself or someone else who would like something long and skinny under the tree.

In some ways, this report was a continuation of the test we ran in the October 2017 issue, which used the Savage Axis, Remington SLP, Remington Varmint rifle, and Browning BAR, all in 308 Winchester. This time, we included a rifle that would be a match for the Remington Varmint rifle previously tested — the Savage Model 12 with bull barrel was the heaviest rifle this round. In the previous feature, the editor noted that none of the rifles seemed to excite the testers. He was correct. This time around was different. This time we got excited and found the rifles are interesting and appropriate to the job at hand.

We really liked one rifle and felt that it was a Best Buy and a great all-round choice. Also, a more-recent version of an existing model was well worth its modest price. Because we are always looking for a low-cost gem, we added a bargain-basement used gun whose specific model we hadn't previously tested in the magazine. The Mossberg Trophy Hunter rifle line (there is also a Savage Trophy Hunter, so don't be confused) has been replaced by the Mossberg Patriot series.

The Savage Model 12FV was the most accurate rifle in the test and received high marks for its smooth action and three-position safety. The only question was, would you be willing to lug this rifle around the woods or bring it to the stand?

38 Special Problem in 357 Mags

I enjoyed the article on 38 Special lever-action rifles, but I think you missed a very important warning. The 38 Special and 357 Magnum are not interchangeable, for reasons other than the strength of the action. I have a Marlin lever action in 357 caliber. I decided to sight it in with 38 Special rounds and then change to 357 and adjust the sights. After about 20 or 30 rounds of 38 Special, I switched to 357. When I tried to rack in the second round, it wouldn't seat. The problem was that the 38 Special rounds carboned up the chamber, and when the 357 round was extracted, only about half of the cartridge came out. I had to have a gunsmith remove the front half of the casing. I only shoot 357 rounds in my rifle and revolver since then. I have never seen this in any article which discusses using 38 Special ammo in a 357 chamber.

Hard to Argue

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) said recently that if state agencies and officials around the country who are responsible for issuing concealed-carry licenses or...