August 2000

Firing Line 08/00

Autauga Arms Status
I recently opened Autauga Rifles. I am still in contact with the Autauga Arms folks as they wind down. They are getting out of the pistol business and have basically eliminated the remaining inventory. I have and will continue to provide the same quality rifles as the Autauga Tactical Rifle you reviewed in November 1999.

Rusty Rossey
Prattville, AL


We’re sorry to see the Autauga pistols disappear, and dearly wish we had held on to the one we tested in November 1999. Its value in a decade will be astronomical. For readers who want to contact Rossey, you can reach him at Autauga Rifles, Inc., 740 E. Main, Suite 13, Prattville, AL 36067, telephone (334) 361-2950, fax (334) 361-2961, email: hardrock308 @mindspring.com

—Ray Ordorica


Bobcat Confusion
Just received my June 2000 issue of Gun Tests and noticed the review of the 21 Bobcat. While the overall review was good, you refer to it as the EL22. We do not make that model anymore. It is called the Bobcat, and it looks like you tested the INOX model. While you compared it to the competitors, you did not mention that it was the Stainless model.

Cathy Williams
Advertising & Communications Manager
Beretta USA


We did indeed test the 21 Bobcat INOX (stainless steel) gun, catalog number J212500. When we first planned the test, our source was Gun Digest 2000, wherein six different pistols are referred to as the Model 21 Bobcat. We erred by not including the full name of the gun, referring only to the EL22 designation listed in Gun Digest. The INOX model features a stainless-steel slide and barrel atop the alloy frame.


Dry-Fire Advice
Thank you for testing and evaluating the TMA Dry-Fire Safety Device for AR-15/M16 type rifles in the February 2000 issue. We believe that the device will enable shooters to eliminate accidental discharges, improve dry-fire training effectiveness, and prevent damage to their rifles. We are disappointed that Gun Tests experienced difficulty using the device in the Colt rifle, but we also believe we know why it happened.

Older Colt rifles had the anti-follow notch milled into a modified M16 hammer, which leaves the anti-follow notch with a sharp edge which can cut into the dry-fire device and prevent the proper operation of the device. Your test gun was an older Colt, which would typically have that type of hammer. Newer Colt rifles, and competitors’ rifles such as Bushmaster and ArmaLite rifles, have anti-follow notches cast into the hammers. These cast-in notches have rounded edges which do not cut into the device. Any owner of a rifle with a sharp-edged anti-follow notch can round off the edge with a stone, and the device will function properly. Of the several thousand devices we have sold, only a handful have had this problem. There should be no problem with newer rifles from any manufacturer. We offer an unconditional money-back guarantee.

We also have a new dry-fire safety device for M1/M1A/M14 type rifles.

William H. Peterken
Technical Marketing Associates, LLC
Higganum, CT


Gun Tests Testing Protocols
I have been a reader of this periodical since 1995. In that time I have amassed a fair number of firearms for my personal collection (I’m a plinker primarily, but I am also a CCL holder). Most of what I have bought, I did so in consultation with comparison pieces that have run in Gun Tests. While I have not always agreed with the results of the articles, I have always taken it as a given that the authors did a fair job of being objective and letting the particular piece’s performance decide the issue as to whether your periodical would recommend that readers purchase the piece or not.

As a former research scientist at the University of Houston (circa early ‘90s) and as a current program developer and reviewer at South Texas Community College (to establish my methodological bonafides), I commend your responses when readers write in asking how you can give a gun a different rating than the last time your periodical tested the same model. Because you act as any consumer would in purchasing a gun, you are testing the product as it comes through commercial channels. You are not testing a product that has been given special attention from the manufacturer in hopes of a favorable review. This is a sound approach, and it is what separates your periodical from your competitors.

Although my gun purchasing days are likely to be much less in the future than in the immediate past, I will continue to subscribe to your periodical because I know that you and your staff rate guns and peripheral equipment as you find them.

John D. York, Ed.D.
via AOL


The SR-25
I enjoy reading Gun Tests and find valuable information in it. Sometimes the test results you show lead me to a different conclusion than yours, but it’s usually a matter of priorities. I own a Knight/Stoner SR-25 that is old enough to be classified as pre-ban. About the only complaint I can muster is that the trigger pull is heavier than I like—I should have shelled out a few bucks more for the deluxe trigger package.

I shoot left-handed and the rifle initially came with no shell deflector. The empties would smack me in the face. When I called the company, they said that they had discovered the only way they could ensure reliability was for the cases to fly straight back. I told them it was intolerable to be smacked in the face with hot .308 brass, and they mailed me a prototype bolt-on shell deflector at no charge to cure the problem. The service and courtesy were all one could wish for. If you had a problem in this regard, there must have been some changes in personnel since I dealt with the company.

Now, regarding your conclusions based on the tests, I feel that the statement attributed to Warren Page is what is important—”Only accurate rifles are interesting.” If you are willing to settle for 3-inch groups in what is a rifle intended for longer-range shooting than a .223, I fail to see the advantage of the heavier caliber .308. It would be nice if the makers of the DSA FAL would render their piece more accurate. Until they do so, what good is the money saved if you can’t hit anything at extended ranges such as 500 yards or more? (You even say that the piece isn’t accurate enough to justify mounting a scope sight, yet you recommend buying it!) Five hundred yards is about where the .223 gives up and the .308 takes over and excels. With a military-style .308, poor accuracy makes the rifle next to useless.

The Stoner is a true 1-MOA rifle, and it doesn’t need handloads to do it. True, it is pricey, but if you have to pay to get top-flight accuracy, so be it. There’s always the Springfield M1A Super Match at a much lower price than the Stoner, and its accuracy doesn’t take a back seat to anything. My M1A is also preban and cost $1,200, about half the price of the Stoner. If you want a reasonable price, good accuracy, and total reliability, the Springfield M1A is unbeatable. Nonetheless, I still believe my SR-25 was worth the money.

Jeffrey J. Loefer
Olympia, WA


Thanks for the insight on Stoner’s service and the history of their add-on deflector. The statement about accurate rifles actually came from Townsend Whelen, who did lots of bench shooting with a variety of target and benchrest rifles. Of course your comment about the longer-range .308 is entirely valid. However, most urban rifle engagements, as Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch told me, take place at ranges very much closer than 100 yards. In such engagements it is far more important that the rifle fit the man perfectly than that the rifle have match accuracy. The ability to make a fast hit with adequate accuracy is, we believe, a realm owned by the DSA FAL, and this has been proven in recent matches where winners used the same rifle we tested.

The FAL gave more than adequate accuracy for close-quarters battle, hence our endorsement of it. DSA does make match-type rifles, built on the order of the Knight with free-floating barrels, and their rifles also are winning matches all over the country. The individual rifleman (non-military scenario) might be better served with a more accurate version of the DSA/FAL, and they’re available. We agree the M14 clones are among the most accurate .308 rifles out there. We didn’t mean to give the impression the latest test made our previous findings obsolete. It’s good you got your Stoner at a good price, for it seems to be a good rifle.

However, both the DSA FAL and the AR-10 are far better deals today than the SR-25, and they can be had with free-floated match barrels, and for lots less money than the Stoner. Bottom line is, you pays your money and takes your choice.

—Ray Ordorica


Compact .45 Fan
I have been an avid reader of Gun Tests since your early issues, and I usually find your results to be right on the money, despite your scrambled caption of the page 3 photo in the September 1999 issue.

I am glad that you finally tested the Kimber Ultra-Elite, and that it came out on top—exactly where I thought it would. With regard to actual cost, while even an Ultra-Elite can usually be bought for less than $1,085 (usually $900 +/-), I have never heard of any C&S Adventurer going for less than full sticker. The C&S gun will also be very hard to get your money out of should you have to sell it.

Much as I like the Kimbers, you should test Smith & Wesson’s CS-45. It belongs right up there with the other elite .45 mini-guns.

With regard to Mr. Coutre’s Taurus inquiry, the only answer for problems with a new gun is to immediately send it back to the factory for correction/repair/replacement. Five reasons why: 1) the factory that made it knows far more about a particular new gun than most any gunsmith; 2) non-factory repairs will void the factory warranty, leaving you out of luck for any subsequent problems; 3) the factory’s repair work will be free under warranty; 4) the factory can replace a defective gun free of charge; 5) why put so much non-recoverable money ($50!) into a Taurus anyhow?

Keep up the good work—you are the only publication that tells the truth about guns!

David Mayer
Miami Beach, FL


Pardner Test
Thanks for all of the kind comments about the Pardner. It is a great all-round gun for the money. Oddly, it was a bit outmatched by the other specialized turkey shotguns reviewed in the April 2000 issue. For the record, we do make over 25 different models of turkey guns and all are distributed nationally. Many have 3.5-inch chambers and screw-in chokes. All the 3.5-inch guns also carry a special stock weight to help reduce recoil. Many are also camo painted like the two other guns tested.

Again, we are happy for the praise on the little gun and hope you will review one of our turkey models the next time you test turkey guns.

Robin Sharpless
Sr. Vice President
H&R 1871, Inc.


Bond’s PPK Correction
The June issue mentioned James Bond’s PPK being a .380 (9mm Kurz); however, in Dr. No, M made Bond give up his .25 Beretta for the PPK in .32 (“a real man stopper”), not .380.