December 2007

Downrange: 12/07

So Many Guns, So Little Time

I am generally a disciplined gun buyer—you don’t see the range of guns that comes through this office without having some restraint, else you’d be living in a tent with gun safes all around to block the wind. But this year, I have a powerful craving that might only be satisfied with the acquisition of new blued steel.

For that, I blame my cohorts, whose names appear at the right. Each Gun Tests writer has his own thing, and it is their collective knowledge and enthusiasm that threatens my wallet this year. As I

Todd Woodard

redacted the material in the Guns of the Year ‘07 feature that begins opposite, I got re-interested in guns whose specs I’d reviewed before—largely because I could trust what I was reading as the informed opinion of someone who knew more about a given gun than I did.

Ray Ordorica, for instance, wrote the original story about the Marlin .308 MX lever action, and for the first time in nearly 30 years, those guns have come onto my radar screen. I used to scour Marlin’s catalogs as a kid, though everyone in West Texas used bolt guns or semiautos to hunt deer and varmints. But I might just have to have one of them now (page 14).

Roger Eckstine shoots a lot of practical pistol events, but he’s recently taken an AR-15 armorer’s course and is becoming more competitive in three-gun action matches. The Bushmaster Patrolman’s Carbine he recommended (page 15) looks like a great black gun for the money, and I really want one.

Ralph Winingham usually writes about shotguns, with competitive Sporting Clays models, especially over/unders, being his forte. But earlier this year he was perusing the selection of guns at Dury’s Gun Shop in San Antonio and noticed a brace of odd .22 rifles, a Walther and a Browning. I’d seen the Walther G22 pupgun at a recent SHOT Show and was intrigued by it, but when Ralph pitted them, he clearly preferred the Browning Buck Mark rifle (page 12). Perhaps it will become the winner in my personal 2008 new-gun sweepstakes.

Kevin Winkle’s gun tastes run the gamut, but it’s fair to say he really enjoys collectible guns. As I was going back over the 2007 tests, I saw his excellent review of new autoloading rifles, which I had completely forgotten about. His coverage of the Remington Woodsmaster (page 13) got me interested in self-loaders for hunting, and I might follow through on that purchase if I ever get in the field to deer hunt again.

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez (not listed in the masthead) have gotten me interested in .44 Magnums, because a revolver chambered for that round appeared in the 1996 horror flick, From Dusk Till Dawn, which I am ashamed to admit I watched recently. In the movie, the .44 Mag., a Model 29 Smith, is wielded by Seth Gecko (played by George Clooney), who uses it to shoot quite a few vampires, including one convincingly played by Salma Hayek. Clooney snaps the Model 29 closed a lot, which bugged me, but what he shoots stays shot, if you know what I mean. I suspect the same would be true if he’d used the 4-inch Ruger Redhawk, which Roger reviewed, sans vampires (page 11).

So many guns, so little time.