May 2008

Firing Line: 05/08

Re: "32-Caliber Wheelguns: Ruger’s SP101s

Excel at Self-Defense," April 2008

The article appears to have a mistake in it. The table on page 23, "Accuracy and Chronograph Data: .327 Federal Magnum" shows a 100-gr. bullet at 1422 fps developing 382 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy, while an 85-gr. bullet at 1410 fps develops 442 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy. How can a lighter bullet traveling slower develop more energy?

Terry Atwood
Mabelvale, AR

The data for the two different .327 Magnum ammunitions were transposed. The text description, which refutes the chrono module data, is correct. I regret the error. —Roger Eckstine

Read your article about the Ruger SP101 in 327 Federal and noticed you also evaluated the SP101 in 32 H&R Magnum. I own an SP101 in 357 and love it. One of the things I love about Rugers in general is the great selection of aftermarket parts; for example HiViz makes a great front sight for the 101, Hogue makes a good replacement grip, and there are many well-made holsters available.

Then in the back of the edition I noticed a comment from Steve Sanetti, president of Sturm Ruger. Now that I know he reads your magazine, I would like to use it to make a request to him: Please start making the SP101 in 22 WMR with a 3-inch barrel.

With the price of ammunition going up in general and especially centerfire, many shooters are turning back to rimfire. It really makes sense, Mr. Sanetti. Please start the production line up and use my name and address to take my order, I am sure there will be others.

Paul Marsolek
West Fargo, ND

Good piece. And, yes, I did wonder why you compared the Rugers with a cowboy gun, however interesting. I was especially curious when the 32 H&R Magnum by Charter Arms seems to be so ubiquitous in gun magazine advertising these days. Might have been at least one better choice. I looked in your new archives to see what previous 32s you might have examined, but found negotiating your new system a little long and daunting for my computer experience level. Found none, though I’m sure you must have done some.

Joe Halbach, Sr.
Nassau Bay, TX

Check the archives for the February 2004 and August 1999 issues. —Todd Woodard

Some thoughts on the new 327 Federal cartridge. I read the recent article on the Ruger SP101 chambered for the new cartridge. I noticed the bullet diameter is 0.312 inch and the case length is about 1.2 inches. This sounds a lot like the 30-caliber carbine with a rim. After all, the 30’s bullet diameter is only .04 inch smaller and shoots a 110-grain bullet at around 1400 fps from a handgun. I love shooting my Ruger Blackhawk in that caliber. I realize the Blackhawk has a longer barrel. Out of a rifle barrel, the 30 Carbine is doing about 2000 fps. I’ll bet the 327 Federal would do about the same.

Thanks for the great magazine. I look forward to it each month.

Blair Pike
Macomb, Michigan

Re "Lever-Action Rimfires: Henry’s

Golden Boy Is Golden Indeed," April 2008

The Marlin 39 may have done better in the velocity test if you had given it a level playing field. I speak of the .22 Long Rifle reaching max velocity in a 16-inch barrel. The other rifles had 20-inch tubes, while the Marlin had a velocity-reducing 24-inch tube. The Micro-Groove did not fare too badly, but it may have been the best if the friction were not there from the other 4 inches of barrel length. Keep up the good work.

Joe Lacefield

I don’t own any of the tested lever actions; however, I thought it odd that in one caption you touted the Golden Boy as "the right gun for our adult testers who wanted a full-sized gun," then for the Marlin you downgraded it because it wasn’t right for "smaller shooters." I had to check to see if this was a youth model review. It just seemed inconsistent, like you’re applying different measures to different guns. I’d understand better if it said you downgraded the Marlin because of the weight, the harder lever throw, and sharper edges, despite it shooting the best. Keep up the good work.

Alex Gemrich
Cross Plains, WI

I’m a long-time subscriber, and this is the only time I thought a poor grade was given to a firearm that was unsupported by the facts of the article. To give the Marlin 39A accolades and glowing commentary through 90 percent of the article, only to end with a short paragraph of critical observations resulting in a C grade, was unfounded, in my opinion. Offering a consolation upgrade to a B if weight wasn’t a factor was a poor compromise. You knocked it down to a C, which in this contest is pretty low, because you wouldn’t recommend it for smaller shooters.

The Marlin was the most accurate, but you challenged the Micro-Groove rifling anyway. It has the greatest strength receiver, a crossbolt safety, hammer extension, provision for scope mounting, highest capacity, finest woodwork, topnotch metalwork, 24-inch barrel provides the best sight plane, favorable recoil pad, likely a tackdriver and has a clean trigger—sounds pretty good to me!

I think you overplayed the negative about not recommending it to the youth or smaller shooter market because of its weight and longer lever throw. Maybe that is a good observation, but not worthy of a downgrade. The Henry you rated an A- was only 0.2 pounds lighter. Really, guys! I think you missed the mark on this one. I would call it an A.

Roger Giles
Knoxville, TN

In the test of lever 22s, why didn’t the Marlin have higher velocities with the Micro-Groove barrel than the Henry and the Browning? From all the reading that I have done over the years on the 22 LR, the optimum barrel length is around 16 to 18 inches. In the longer barrel, friction takes over, slowing the bullet.

Gary L. Hack
Sunbury, PA

Hey, What About Us?

I’m hoping to see this go into the letters section of your mag: I’ve just renewed my subscription, but am beginning to wonder why; it seems like it’s been months since I’ve seen any reviews or articles about guns or accessories for collectors, re-enactors or cowboy shooters. The emphasis seems to be on hunting and tactical pieces to the exclusion of collector sources, mil-surp and reproductions of classic antique guns. Are we out of fashion these days?

David Jason
Idyllwild, CA

I forwarded your note to the magazine’s FFL dealers, Ben Brooks, Kevin Winkle, and Joe Syczylo, along with cooperating retail stores, and we’ll see what floats up. I appreciate you pinging me. —tw

RE "Full-Time-Double-Action 9mms: We Like

Sig Sauer, H&K, Glock," April 2008

In reading your article, I noticed that the listed capacity for the Glock 17 is 16+1. It’s not in my nature to nitpick, but the actual capacity of the G17 is 17+1. Thanks for a great publication. Frank

Alvino
Gilbert, Arizona

Re "Firing Line," April 2008

I take respectful issue with Chuck Shannon about PH’s and their alleged lack of knowledge about firearms. I agree about what has been said about Peter H. Capstick—great storyteller, miserable PH.

I’ve made 17 safaris to five different countries since 1980. I’m a long-time member of the International Professional Hunters Association. Having said the above, I can say that of all the numerous PH’s that I personally know, do have extensive knowledge about a variety of firearms. I know several PH’s that have competed in their nations’ rifle competitions, scoring at the very top. Would you like to go hunting, especially in Africa, with someone who did not know about all kinds of guns and not be able to use them effectively?

Personally, I use and love bolt guns, built on Mauser or Mauser-like actions. If I were to be punished and limited to one rifle, it would be my .338 Winchester Magnum built for me by Duane Weibe.

Manny Gerstein
W. Palm Beach, FL

Art Bouwman and Dean Thomas complained about the agony of disassembling Ruger’s .22 auto pistols. I recommend that they get a "Majestic Arms Speed Strip" and tame their Rugers. The kit provides a replacement for the factory bolt pin. I so hated to clean my Ruger Gov. Competition model that I rarely shot it. Then I got and installed the Speed Strip. Now, I just use the Majestic-supplied Allen wrench to remove the bolt pin, and slide the bolt out. Re-assembly after cleaning is just as quick and easy.

Sheila Link
Hemet, CA

Reach Majestic Arms at www.majesticarms.com. The Speed Strip kit sells for $45 plus shipping and handling. —tw

Re "Solid, Dependable Pumps: BPS Beats

Ithaca Featherweight," April 2008

I enjoyed your article comparing the Browning and Ithaca 20-gauge pump shotguns. In your review you state: "Both shotguns were easily disassembled and reassembled for easy cleaning of the barrels."

I bought my son a 12-gauge BPS way back in the 1980s. We hunted ducks and geese in the muck and rain twice a week. To really clean it, we once made the mistake of going the next level—pulling the trigger group for cleaning. We did fine until attempting reassembly of the trigger group.

This chore, so easy in most pumps, was a nightmare for the Browning. My recollection is that we ended up taking it to a gunsmith for assembly of the trigger group. Have they fixed that issue, or did you just stop at removing the barrel? Keep up the good work.

Jack Mattice
Vancouver, WA

Nope, we stopped at basic disassembly. We will comment about trigger quality, but because of the legal issues involved with trigger modification, we usually steer clear of trigger issues. —tw

We’re All in Deep

I love reading about guns. Guns that I own, guns that I lust for, guns that I’ll never own because they’re out of production, guns that I fantasize about trading, the guns that I already own. Gun Tests continues to satisfy that desire for knowledge, critical analysis, science, technology and the craft of it all.

When I was recently solicited for subscription renewal, I looked at the back page for what awaited us in upcoming issues.

Granted, blackpowder rifles and powder hold no interest to me and, I suspect, to few other subscribers. But when you are hopelessly addicted to the game, it matters little. We’re all in deep, and Gun Tests gives us what we need by broadening the scope of our savvy and indulging our collective passion. Light ‘em up, guys, and keep bringing it.

RJ Haskins
NRA Life Member, Vermont

An "F" for A+ Grade

I’m a long-time subscriber to your great magazine, definitely "my pick" and a "best buy" among all the gun publications out there.

However, I have a quibble with your article on "Full-size .22 LR Semiautos" in the March 2008 issue. Perhaps it’s my bias against your current grading system. (I found the old system more useful.) However, I don’t see how you can grade a pistol "A+" as you did with the Ruger, when you "found a few items of contention." It seems to me that the dirt-catching slot for the chambered-round indicator and the pinching action caused by the smaller bolt ears should have been enough to rate the pistol merely an "A."

Besides, in a grading scale from A to F, I believe a plus or minus appended in between letters is appropriate, but "A+" or "F-" are inappropriate—the equivalent of hyperbole (which I define as "intentional excessive exaggeration for effect"), for which I have no value. It’s like describing an athlete as "always giving 110%," which is both impossible and inspires others to describe athletes who give 120%. When you rate something an "A+," that downgrades anything rated an "A," because the "A"-rated gun is not as good by definition.

Keep up the great work.

Gil Moore
Hinton, VA

You make good points. On the downside, we’ve not awarded an F-. Failing is failing. On the upside, we dispense very few A+ grades: 10 under the new grading system. But I will keep close watch on the top grade, and I guarantee we’ll never grade a gun A++. —tw

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