August 2006

Firing Line: 08/06

Re "Weatherbyís SAS Field Kicks Grass in Duck-Blind Showdown"
July 2006

I just read your review of Weatherby, Browning and Beretta duck guns. Iíll still stick with my two Remington 11-87s instead. The 11-87 doesnít have a magazine cut-off, and Iíve talked to the factory about that. To me, that is the glaring deficiency in the gun.

I always use No. 2 steel 3-inch shells, and when teal come in, I wish I could dump the first round and insert a No. 4. When a big Canadian floats by, I wish I could throw in a Hevi-shot. That said, I take my fair share of ducks and geese every year.

My first 11-87 was a Premier model. It spent a week at the bottom of a duck pond after I rolled a canoe, until I could get a couple of divers to locate it. After that (and about 10,000 rounds), small parts began to break. So I bought another 11-87 Sportsman for $495, and had the first gone over in detail. Now Iíve got two that work great and are good bargains. Iíve seen very good shooters use fiber-optic front sights but I never look at the bead. Chris Batha wrote a great book on wingshooting called, Breaking Clays. In it his mantra is, "Face on the stock, eye on the rock (target)."

By the way, reference rolling a canoe, it is very hard to swim far in hip boots. I recommend not fastening them and folding them down halfway if you are in a boat. Thatís an old Alaska float-plane pilotís trick that is also a lifesaver in a boat.

Larry Sitter
Portland, Oregon

----------

Re "Taurus, AWA, and Beretta Rifles Meet at the Not-Quite-OK Corral"
March 2006

I just purchased a Thunderbolt, and you are correct when you say the shells are difficult to get in the magazine. After the first four or five rounds are loaded, the remaining rounds are harder to get in. I would hate to have my life depending on loading quickly. Also, the blueing has rubbed off the loading gate, and the gate will not close on its own because it hits the back of last cartridge in the magazine, so it has to be closed manually.

I have shot Marlins for years in Cowboy Action shooting, but Iíve never had empty shells, like from the Thunderbolt, come out of the top. I used some dummy shells for practice, and the first shell I ejected hit me in the face. Good thing I had my glasses on.

I would like to know if the chamber of the Thunderbolt is bigger than the Ruger Vaquero, because fired shells from the Thunderbolt will not fit in the revolver cylinder. Also, when firing the Thunderbolt I could feel gas and powder fragments hitting my face. Do you know if this is normal for a top-ejection firearm. I was using Magtech cowboy ammo.

Robert Jones


We did not notice any gas escape during our limited testing. If your rifle has a chamber thatís a touch too large, it could contribute to gas blowby, but by itself doesnít necessarily constitute an out-of-spec problem. The fact that fired cases from one firearm wonít fit into another is not uncommon. All revolver rounds ought to be fully resized, if you reload, so the difference in chamber size ought not to be an issue for loaded ammo, no matter in which gun it was first fired. If an ejected round struck your face, you probably didnít keep the butt on your shoulder. If you keep the rifle mounted, ejected rounds go over your head. óRay Ordorica

----------

Inventory Lists

I was receiving your test guns inventory list (approximately) every month but havenít gotten it for a while. Could you please check to see that Iím still on your list? I also like that you include letters of gun owners who have had a problem (customer service) with a company. Other gun owners need to know that information.

Ron Chappell
Mission, TX


A number of problems have arisen in distributing the list, and weíre working on solving those. But AOL has presented many more problems than other services. We recently got 800 undeliverable mail notices from all of our inventory-list-requested AOL addresses, so those GT readers are SOL. óTodd Woodard