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Working Over/Under Shotguns: ‘Chernobyl Classic’ Gets Our Nod

The over/under shotgunner has a few pluses and minuses to deal with when he picks up his favorite fowling piece and either goes afield for game or heads to the range. Compared to the self-loading or pump shotgun at the range, a stackbarrel shotgun makes two choke patterns available in an instant, and the O/U's generally heftier weight isn't a factor since you don't have to tote it up and down hills or hold it above your head during a wetland tromp. Capacity also doesn't come into play.

In the field, however, hunters lean toward single-barrel guns because they offer more shots and less weight. Moreover, the repeaters are generally less expensive, and a waterfowler consequently won't worry so much about soaking his 870 as he would his Citori.

But what if there was a class of over/unders that were good enough to hunt with yet weren't so expensive that you fretted about getting them muddy? Such O/U's do exist, and we recently tested two affordable stackbarrels that would seem right at home in a duck blind or a pirouge: Stoeger's IGA Condor I 12 gauge ($559 MSRP, $395 retail); and the Baikal IZH-27, a $459 MSRP gun imported from Russia by EAA. Our test gun cost only $349 plus tax locally, however. Here's what we liked, and didn't like, about them:

Does Internal Case Volume Affect Ballistic Performance?

Aserious rifle benchrest shooter will go through a course of fire with a single case, reloading it on the firing line. The objective is to assure repeatable accuracy in a load carefully worked up to shoot groups measured in thousandths of an inch. Among the things the shooter eliminates by repeatedly using the same brass is the deviation in ballistics caused by internal case volume (ICV).

Even when a box of brass comes from the same lot and manufacturer, there's no way to be certain of their individual ICV without taking measurements. The identical powder charge, bullet and primer in a case with an ICV of 0.66, for example, will produce a different ballistic profile than in a case with a...

Gun Tests’ Gear of the Year

Deciding which firearm is right for you can be very difficult. You have to decide which guns will meet your needs. Then, you have to separate the gems from the lemons. Last but not least, you have to pick the firearm that will give you the most for the money.

Gun Tests subscribers have a big advantage over other gun buyers. We tell you what the firearms we test are really like. We give you the facts and our unbiased opinions, instead of hype. We can be impartial because we buy the guns we test from a regular retail source—just like you—instead of getting them from manufacturers. Furthermore, we don’t take advertising from firearms makers.

We receive many letters that ask what we cons...

Bad Guns, Bad Guns: What You Gonna Do When They Fail on You?

Throw-down gun, Saturday night special, gat, heater, rod. These nicknames stick to cheap, widely available handguns because they show up in police reports and tabloids more often than they do in the results of organized shooting matches. But are such guns produced with evil intent, or are they instead inexpensive firearms which help those on the lower end of the economic spectrum defend themselves? Are these low-priced guns so "bad" that foes of gun control have a legitimate product-safety argument to deny lower-income citizens the right to bear arms based merely on cost and availability?

To assess the merits of this question, Gun Tests recently acquired and fired a trio of handguns and 3...

GTs 1999 Guns of the Year: Your Cant-Miss Firearms Buys

The year of 1999 saw a great deal of innovation in all areas of fireams development, including the use of a high-tech metal (titanium) in revolvers, the broadening use of plastic (also called polymer) in semiauto handguns and shotguns, and the codification of benchrest manufacturing techniques in rifles (including aluminum bedding blocks in riflestocks). As we tracked these trends and tested products in the critical head-to-head format found only in Gun Tests, we gave you our best advice on what guns we thought deserved your money in their respective classes. When we get to the end of the year, we're able to look back over the previous 12 months and see what guns broke the mold in terms of p...

Powerhouse Lever Rifles: We Like The Guide Gun

Handy rifles seem to find their ways into the hearts of outdoorsmen all over the world, whether they're in Alaska or Africa or deep in the heart of Texas. Handy can mean many things, but most of all it implies ease of carrying, combined with adequate power for whatever use to which it might be put. We'll wager the average reader seldom thinks of a lever-action rifle, except the .30-30, when handy rifles are mentioned. Most riflemen of our acquaintance think in terms of short-barreled bolt rifles of "handy" calibers, like a Ruger Model 77 carbine in .308, or a custom 7x57, or perhaps the little Mannlicher-Schoenauer carbine in 6.5x54.

We certainly never thought about a .45-70—in any config...

.308 Bolt-Action Showdown: Weatherby Beats Sako, Browning

[IMGCAP(1)] Some time back (April 1998) we tested a Sako Model 75 Hunter in .308, when it won a head-to-head hunting-rifle competition against a Browning A-Bolt II Eclipse and a Steyr SBS Forester. As such it garnered a hard-earned Buy recommendation, and in our view, it has been one of the strongest performers in its category—a king of the hill, if you will.

Thus, we wondered how that gun's performance would hold up against new challengers, such as a $999 Weatherby Mark V and a $636 Browning A-Bolt II Medallion. At the time of that earlier test, the .308 Sako retailed for $1,055, but in the intervening years, new Sakos have gone up in price to $1,185. Since the Sakos are basically unchan...

Big-Bore Lever-Action Hunting Guns: Pass On Marlins New .450

Marlin wanted to add some oomph to its line with a new cartridge. But is the belted round that much better than good loads for the .444 Marlin? We test to see.

‘Background Check’ Rule Is Coming For You

On April 11, 2024, the Biden Administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives issued a new rule to expand background-check requirements for private...