November 1999

Firing Line 11/99

No Inspection Periods
In your response to Mike Burrei (Firing Line, August 1999) you stated, “All reputable dealers offer three-day inspections.” Yeah, right! Then there aren’t a whole lot of “reputable” dealers around. In my 36 years, fifteen of which I’ve been in the Air Force stationed all over this country and purchased literally scores of firearms, I’ve never seen one of those “reputable” dealers. Gun shops, mass retailers (like Wal-Mart, Kmart, etc.), and even the base/post exchanges display disclaimers with “no return” policies. They will ship your new gun back to the manufacturer for repairs and/or replacement, but they do not offer test-drives and very rarely accept returns; especially if they have any reason to believe the gun has been fired—even once. As an FFL holder and part-time, absolutely reputable, dealer myself, I can assure you that once a firearm is out of my eyesight, it’s permanently purchased.

No one works harder to satisfy a customer than I do, but there’s too much that can happen to or with a firearm once it leaves my custody for me to offer “inspection” periods. Can you imagine the liability and media heyday in today’s political climate if someone’s “three-day inspection” included knocking over a convenience store or two? You can’t return a new car for a refund after driving it for three days; don’t hang your hat on the idea that you’ll use that new gun free for three days either.

“Let the buyer beware” definitely applies here—that’s why a subscription to Gun Tests is so valuable.

Matt Ruger
Eielson AFB, AK


Many dealers who advertise guns for sale nationally do offer inspection periods. In fact, Gun List, where we check many of our retail prices, specifically promotes a five-day inspection and return privilege on page 7. However, you’re right; few dealers will accept back a new gun that’s been fired.


The A-Bolt Is A-OK
Regarding the August 1999 review of the Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker, I have never read an article on the Boss system by a gun writer who gave it a a favorable review, except possibly in the American Rifleman. I don’t think that Layne Simpson of Guns & Ammo even understands how it works.

I am a retired engineering manager who has been handloading for over 40 yrs. When I first read about the concept, I realized this had to be a breakthrough.

I first purchased a Browning All-Weather rifle in .223 cal. I prepared my cases, used a surplus military powder that fills up 95 percent of the case, set the bullet jump at .020 inch, went to the range, and after three adjustments of the Boss, got 0.5-inch groups at 200 yards—yes, 200 yards.

I next purchased a Winchester Model 70 All Weather Featherweight rifle in .270 with a Boss. With four adjustments of the Boss, I could make all the holes touch at 200 yards.

I have four rifles that I spent months trying to find a load that would come close to MOA, but to no avail. It only took one load for each of the rifles with Boss attachment. I just tuned it in for that load.

You cannot purchase a high-priced custom gun that shoots tighter than my two Boss equipped rifles. If you are a serious handloader, don’t leave home without one.

Warren Hartz Sr.
McKenzie, TN


Grip Source
In your July 1999 issue, the customized Colt CCO has the referenced grips shown. I have been looking for a set of part-checkered, part-smooth grips for my stainless Kimber Compact. How can I contact Ahrends?

Jim Morris
via internet


Brownells may have the grips you want in stock: Brownells, Inc., 200 S. Front St., Montezuma, IA 50171-9989, telephone (515) 623-5401, fax (515) 623-3896; or Kim Ahrends Custom Firearms, Box 203, Clarion, IA 50525, telephone (515) 532-3449, fax (515) 532-3926.


Praise for Saf T Lok
I read with high interest your article about gun locks in your June 1999 issue of Gun Tests. I have been searching for quite a while for a method to prevent “little hands” from touching my home-defense weapons, yet have them ready in the event that they are needed.

I have purchased many types of locks, including a Taurus with the hammer lock, the Speed Release and the Saf T Lok. I was unsatisfied with all solutions until I saw an ad in the Boston Globe saying that the Boston police were going to use the Saf T Lok for their duty weapons.

I called Saf T Lok and purchased a lock for my Glock and my Taurus Ultralite. Frankly, I was impressed! I installed them without any problems. I used common sense and care while installing the Taurus and it worked fine. Contrary to your indications that there would be clip problems with the Glock, my experience is that there are no clip problems with my Glock 23 and this lock functions flawlessly. These locks are easy to unlock in the dark, and they are quick.

I don’t think that you gave the Saf T Lok a fair test. In my view, we should be encouraging any and all choices for non-criminal gun owners to secure their weapons as conveniently as possible. Saf T Lok is a very good choice.

Philip A. Pearson
Atkinson, NH


Thunder Ranch Thunder
I would like to respectfully disagree with the conclusion reached in your article, “Investing in a Shooting School: Thunder Ranch vs. LFI” (May 1999). While I agree with your recommendation to attend courses offered by both schools if you could afford to do that, I believe Thunder Ranch would be a better choice for a single course.

I attended the Defensive Handgun I Course at Thunder Ranch last September (Class #174). We discussed some of the legal aspects of self-defense, both in class and during informal sessions, with Clint Smith and his instructors. However, the real value to me was the hands-on, real world, get dirty, tactical instruction and practice, overseen by Thunder Ranch staff who had “been there, done that.”

Bill McClung
Alexandria, VA


Corrections & Clarifications
In our review of ballistic programs in the September 1999 issue, Shooting Chrony says the current retail price of the recommended PC Bullet for Windows packages is $30. Based on its performance and low cost, we’d rate this product as a best buy.