May 2007

Firing Line: 05/07

Grading System Followups

After thinking it over, I really do think that that the old grading system was much better. Though I enjoy reading each issue cover-to-cover, the old system was much more "to the point" and simpler to understand than the current letter-based grades. I plan on sticking around either way, but do give some thought to going back to the other set of grades "Our Pick, Best Buy, Conditional Buy," et cetera.

Although the letter grade is an excellent and familiar system for determining the quality and accuracy of the firearm tested, I still want to know, "Would you buy it?"

I rely on you "gun guys" to level with me on performance and give me your honest assessment so I can spend my hard-earned rubles wisely. I also want to know what you would put in your gun safe.

Just because a particular 1911 has a great finish and didnít malfunction doesnít mean you liked it. Objective standards are great and certainly needed, but Iíd encourage all reviewers to mention the old "Buy It/Donít Buy It" ratings, if for no other reason than to give me your subjective feeling about the future of a particular model or manufacturer. You have tons more experience than I do.

Anthony Dembek
Enfield, Connecticut

A gun should be rated based on its reliability, accuracy, and quality. These are objective factors.

If you want to add your own personal value judgments, thatís fine. However, this should be shown as a separate "value" rating. Otherwise, you have diluted the usefulness of your ratings.

David B. Cox
Knoxville, Tennessee

I do like the grading scale; but I think the testing should be more standardized.

All handguns with a 4-inch barrel or longer should be accuracy tested at 25 yards. Below 4 inches, 15 yards. All centerfire rifles with scope at 100 yards. All open-sight rifles at 50 yards. All rimfire rifles at 50 yards.

B. Remedios

Mr. Dembek: We intend to do as you ask ó be clear about what we would buy in the Report Card text at the end of each article, but also show minor separation between guns with letter grades. Also, I appreciate the quote you sent as the tagline on your email:

"I wonít be wronged, I wonít be insulted, and I wonít be laid a hand on. I donít do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." óJohn Wayne (John Bernard Books, The Shootist)

Re: Pricey .22 Plinkers: We Favor Browningís

Buck Mark Sporter," February 2007

Walther G22
Let me start by saying that I really enjoy Gun Tests, even when I donít agree with some points. I remember when Browning introduced the Buck Mark that you put the Walther G22 up against. I was intrigued with it too, but the price everywhere I found one was prohibitive.

Last winter, I purchased a Walther G22. Iíd had my eye on them since they were introduced. I managed to get one that came with a "factory" hard carrying case and a "factory" 3x9-40 scope already attached. I had to order the sling swivels from Walther America. I have had a lot of fun with this gun plinking, ground hog, and squirrel hunting this past year.

Late last spring or early summer, Gun Tests started teasing my interest with the mention of an upcoming review of the G22. Once the review came in, I was a bit let down after reading the comparison, and I think the G22 (shown nearby) didnít get its fair due.

Hereís one fact overlooked by the testers, with no mention in the article, and it ties into Mr. Morschís lament on the lack of lefty guns in the April 2007 Firing Line. The G22 can be configured for the left-handed shooter. If everyone will pull out their G22 owners manual and turn to page 6, at the top, it clearly states that the gun can be configured for left-hand use.

Also, on page 13, it states, "Conversion from right-hand to left-hand operation: The rifle may be adapted from right-hand to left-hand operation. Only an authorized gunsmith should carry out this adaptation. So, Mr. Morsch, that is why the G22 has the ambidextrous safety. Everything is already there to turn it into a "lefty."

The G22 is a unique little rifle, and Iím happy with mine. Thanks for a great magazine that provides a excellent forum. By the way, my subscription renewal is in the mail tonight.

Bob Kiddy
Weston, West Virginia

Re: "Firing Line," April 2007

Taurus .45 ACP
Iím jumping in with a couple of comments on Taurusí .45 ACPs. I have two friends who have purchased the PT-1911 and are thoroughly pleased with them. Neither had any of the shortcomings that your team experienced. Apparently, you must have picked up one which slipped by Taurusí QA people.

On to the PT-145 SS Millennium Pro. I picked up one of these on Gun Tests evaluation (January 2007), and could not be more pleased.

This gun shoots straight and has super-controllable recoil. It appears that they have really engineered the spring system to dampen the recoil. I have medium-size hands, and the grip fits me with the same feel as my Kimbers. One word of caution when slamming a magazine home, watch where the palm of the strong hand is. The base of the magazine can leave a pinch line on your palms that will last a week

Finally, the next time you are looking at concealment holsters, take a look at the ClipDraw ( I put one on my PT-145 and find it about the best inside-the-pants holster. No bulk, super light weight, and removable for "real" holster use. Keep up the great magazine!

F.C. Gaetje
Washington State

During a recent trip to the Bluegrass Indoor Range in Louisville, I saw a friend try out a PT-145. The gun worked for him all right, but it reminded me of one I bought new when they first came out. It took about 500 factory rounds before the left rear point of the plastic frameís tail broke off during firing and hit me in the face. Glad I was trained to wear safety glasses!

Taurus did replace the parts and return it to me for free, and very quickly.

The point Iíd like to make to your readers is (most of) your evaluations are for initial value, not necessarily longevity. I remember in your January 2007 article you gave it a "Best Buy". It was a very accurate gun for me as well, it fit in my back pocket, and functioned well ó until it broke. I find your articles refreshing and I use them to help me improve my knowledge, skill, and consumer savvy. Maybe a review of certain models after extended use would be in order?

LTC Shawn A. McConnell
Fort Knox, Kentucky

Re "Inexpensive .30-06 Bolt-Action Rifles:

Stevens or Mossberg?", October 2006

After reading your article on the Stevens Model 200 .30-06, I decided to purchase one. Your article said that it came with scope mounts. My rifle did not come with the mounts. When I called Savage Arms, customer service said that this model does not come with mounts. You may want to correct this.

They did say that the purchase price for the mounts would be under $20.

Luis Arocho

Re "12-Gauge Semi-Auto Shotguns:

Donít Buy the Franchi I-12," October 2006

I would like to request to be placed on the inventory e-mail list. Keep up the excellent reviews.

Walther P22
I recently purchased a Stoeger M2000 based on your reviews. I have yet to take it to the range, but have taken it apart. The one nice innovation on the Stoeger that was not mentioned in your articles was the placement of the bolt carrier spring. The spring is forward and around the magazine tube instead of inside the stock, where it often corrodes unseen. With this forward location, it becomes part of the basic breakdown and is much easier to keep clean.

Mark A. Smith

Re "Four .22s for Fun and Practice:

We Praise One Walther P22," February 2006

Regarding my Walther WAP22005: The false brake rotates due to heating and cooling of the barrel, the front of the slide cracked off, and it dumped the slide during firing. The press-in front sight loosens. It is extremely difficult to re-assemble due to the problem of aligning the recoil spring. I give it a definite "Donít Buy."

Bruce McKay
Hayden, Idaho

Re FNH 5.7 X 28 Test?

Walther P1
Do you plan test on the FNH 5.7 X 28 sometime soon? I am thinking of getting one.

Jeffery Vrabec

Check and look for the "Range Bag" segment in March 2005, page 27. We gave the gun generally good marks. óRoger Eckstine

Re "The Grand Old P38: How Good Is It?

What About the P1?", July 2005

I attended a local gun show last month and came across a dealer with a supply of surplus Walther P1ís and P38ís. I immediately recalled the tests you did in the July 2005 issue and began inspecting the pistols. They were all in great shape, having been manufactured around 1972.

The dealer claimed they were all NIB and had never been fired. Not remembering all the specifics in your test, I decided to return home and reread the test article, which further convinced me that I needed to own at least one of these pistols. The next day I returned to the show and purchased a P1 based on your test assessment. The cost of the pistol was $299 plus tax.

Walther PPK .380
This was probably the best bargain Iíve ever gotten at a show. The pistol has all matching serial numbers, was packed in the original box and packaging. Included a manual, two new magazines, a new (never used) black holster that has a compartment for carrying an extra magazine and a never used cleaning kit.

You guys do a great job. Thanks for turning me on to a gun I may have never thought of buying on my own. I expect many hours of fun shooting the P1.

Phil Serra
Glenshaw, Pennsylvania

Re "A Trio of Pocket .380 ACPs:

Steer Clear of NAAís Guardian," April 2006

You did a test on the Walther PPK .380 auto, and on page 15 of that issue, your last comment on the PPK was, "Weíll let you know what S&W has to say about it." This was in reference to the malfunctions you had with the test gun.

Have you ever had any further contact with S&W about the problems with this gun? Reason for asking is that I purchased one new and it jammed every single time out of the box. S&W was very good about taking it back, and it now doesnít jam, but the ejector does not function correctly and all my efforts to contact S&W further have resulted in talking to answering machines and not getting any call back.

I love the little gun, but have relegated it to collector-only status as it is unsafe for a carry gun with the malfunctioning ejector. And I have not been able to find anyone who is trained/experienced in working on PPKs.

Guess I should have bought a working Glock instead of a S&W kit?

Jon Kutz

Lake Crystal, Minnesota

Our malfunctions were in the DA mode only. S&W promptly fixed the problem by installing a stronger hammer spring. On further testing, the gun has worked perfectly in DA mode since the factory worked on it. Our PPK is a winner. ó Ray Ordorica.