Home Rifles Page 71


We Pick a Pair of M1 Carbines: Fulton Or Surplus Winchester

Cherished by many, despised by others, the M1 Carbine has been with us for more than 60 years now, and with new units being built, they will be with us a long time. Do you need one?

Entry-Type AR-15s Are Short. Is One of These Rifles for You?

In previous tests on these pages we've been far more excited about lightweight AR-15 types than about the normal, full-size military configuration of that rifle. We looked long and hard at the Carbon 15, and one or two others. We think we're not alone in our attraction to the lighter .223 rifles, judging from our letters. But how about "entry" type carbines, with short barrels and stocks? Do they have any use in the field? Many a cop and shooter want the smallest, lightest yet most efficient .223 autoloader available, so here we present three more alternatives. Two of them are built around the AR-15 concept, but have short stocks and barrels to cut weight and bulk. The third is the often-overlooked Ruger Mini-14 semiauto, which is a lot less imposing in its wood-stocked configuration, but may be just what the doctor ordered if you need a .223 semiauto that is less intimidating but just as effective as the AR-15 types.

Semi-Auto .30-06s: Brownings BAR Outshines the HK SLB

According to Gun Digest 2002, there are at least 42 semi-automatic rifles chambered for centerfire calibers available today. But how many of them are classified or readily identifiable as hunting rifles? By this we mean a non-military appearance, available with barrel length of approximately 20 inches or more, and a two-piece stock with receiver drilled and tapped for mounting a scope. The answer is seven. (Eight, if you are willing to include the Ruger Deerfield 99/44 carbine, based solely upon its name.) Among this short list are the Browning BAR, or Browning Automatic Rifle, and the HK SLB 2000, both of which are available chambered in .30-06 Springfield.

Want To Win At Cowboy Action? Try A .357/.38 Lever Rifle

Cowboy Action shooters who win generally do so by making their job as easy as possible. A common course of fire for the rifle calls for knocking down ten steel plates as fast as you can. Misses are heavily penalized. The heaviest, lightest-recoiling rifle will generally do the job faster than a light rifle that kicks. In a nutshell, if you use a lever rifle chambered for a .38 Special or .357 Magnum, it'll knock down the plates as easily as one chambered in .45 Colt or .44/40, and will recoil so much less that you won't believe how fast you can make those hits. The .38/.357 offers a tremendous advantage to the serious competitor, never mind that John Wayne nor Tom Mix nor the Texas Rangers ever carried a lever rifle chambered for .38/.357. You're giving up authenticity for speed. However, if you're not shooting black powder in all your guns, we suspect this won't make much difference to you.

FAL Rifle Test: Do Less Expensive Models Make Sense For You?

In our testing, we found Brazil's Imbel to be okay, and Century Arms' lower-cost R1A1 rifle was worth a look, but we would avoid Century's budget-priced carbine rifle.

.22 Hornet Buzz: CZs 527 Lux Varmint Rifle Is Our Pick

The .22 Hornet cartridge evolved out of the black-powder .22 WCF, which originated in 1885 for the Winchester single-shot rifle, and was also chambered in the 1873 Winchester. The tiny Hornet first saw the light of day as Winchester-loaded ammunition in 1930. Yes, that's right, Winchester loaded Hornet ammunition before any commercial rifles were available for it. Commercially made rifles were produced by Winchester, and then Savage and Stevens, beginning around 1933. The first experimental rifles for the Hornet, for which Winchester made the ammo in 1930, were built at Springfield Arsenal in the 1920s.

HK, Bushmaster, and Rock River: Semiauto Field Rifles In Heavy Trim

Most shooters who envision a varmint rifle see a big, heavy bolt gun perched atop a shooting bench, with prairie dogs 300, 400, and 500 yards or more distant. The shooter carefully loads a single .22-250, 6mm PPC, or other handloaded round and chambers it. After gauging the nearby wind with smoke from a fine cigar, the shooter lays down on the stock and fires. The light recoil from the gun scarcely moves the rifle or shooter.

.243 Hunting Rifles: We Find A Trio of Lefty and Ambi Winners

While many left-handed shooters have accepted their fate of living in a right-handed world, the cross-dominant shooter is yet another kind of victim. Being cross dominant means the hand of greatest dexterity is on the opposite side of the body from the dominant eye.

Are you cross dominant? Here's a test. If you are right handed, for example, make a circle by connecting the tip of your right thumb to the tip of your right index finger. Hold it at arm's length and then bring it slowly to your eye so that you can see clearly through the circle. If it comes naturally to your left eye, you are cross dominant.

Getting A Garand Deal: Choose Marksmanship Program Surplus Model

John Cantius Garand (1888-1974) was a French-Canadian machine designer who lived in New York. Gen. Julian Hatcher, in his famous and fine reference book, "Hatcher's Notebook," tells us that his close friend John Garand pronounced his name with the accent on the first syllable, to rhyme with the word "parent." So his rifles are GARands, not gaRANDS.

Surplus Showdown: Swiss K-31 Carbine Vs. the Swedish M-96 Mauser

Due to their low cost and high quality, the Swedish M-96 Mauser and the Swiss K-31 have become popular with American gun owners. In fact, these two surplus guns have spawned a healthy aftermarket industry for upgrading them into sporters. This is a prime indicator of a gun's desirability, since it's unlikely that shooters would spend extra money making a sorry gun not quite as sorry.

400-Year-Old Technology; We Try A Trio of .54-Caliber Flintlocks

They're all about fire and brimstone, noise, smoke, and tremendous gobs of fun. We're talking about flintlocks, of course, the longest-lasting form of firearm ignition the world has ever seen. The heyday of flint firearms spanned 200 years. Percussion firearms lasted maybe 50, and our current self-contained cartridges are now about 150 years old. But the idea of banging a stone onto a piece of steel and producing fire was, and still is, a very good one, when not much can go wrong in the process. With a flint firearm all you need is good black powder, a projectile and some wadding and your gun will keep on going bang until you get tired. With percussion and cartridge firearms, you need fulminates, i.e., something which when struck, detonates to ignite the powder. When you run out of caps, you're out of luck. Perhaps that crude simplicity is the great draw of flinters.

Winchesters .300 WSM: Short And Fat Versus Long and Slim

Winchester's .300 WSM seems a bit strange to us. Its purpose would seem to be the achieving of a somewhat lighter rifle while maintaining the approximate performance of the .300 Winchester Magnum. With its 1/2-inch-shorter cartridge length, the .300 WSM's action can be half an inch shorter, too. Also, there's the matter of a shorter bolt throw, which implies a faster-operated rifle. Independent tests of these points by some friends of Gun Tests indicated they are not necessarily true. (They found identical rifle weights and bolt-operation times in a casual test of on-hand rifles.)

News Nuggets

You may not have seen the very odd news that the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published an Interim Final Rule...