June 2008

Firing Line: 06/08

High-Power Autoloaders

Please advise if you plan to evaluate high-power autoloaders. Benelli, Browning, Remington, and Winchester all make autoloaders, yet I have never seen a comparison done on all four. -John Pennington

In the May 2007 issue, we tested three .30-06 Springfield semiauto rifles: the Remington Model 750 Woodsmaster 27061, $831; the Browning BAR Mark II Safari, $934; and the Benelli R-1, $1,265. We liked the lower price and better accuracy of the Woodsmaster. We’ll try to get around to Winchester’s Super X rifle as soon as possible. — Todd Woodard

Re "12-Gauge Matchup: Stoeger’s Cowboy Gun

Beats 870 Pump," May 2008

I very much agree with the philosophy of using a double for home defense for all the reasons you gave. There is one additional benefit if you have a double-trigger model: you can load birdshot in one barrel and buckshot in the other, giving the possibility of a nuanced response. I use a Baikal (Remington Spartan) with 20-inch barrels, skeet choke tubes, and a light mounted under the barrel.
-
Taylor Buckner

Hero’s Arms, South Hero, Vermont

You denigrated the revered Remington 870 for the folding stock and its brutality to the shooter. It is all true, and so very unnecessary. I have been building home defense and tactical 870s for decades that are easy to handle and considerably less expensive than the $505 that model retails for.

You can get a basic Parkerized synthetic-stocked 870 used for $150 to $200, trade the field barrel for an 18-inch Cylinder bore at your local shop or cut it down, add a $30 extended mag tube and a speed-load pistol-grip buttstock for $60, and you can handle anything short of an accidental no-knock-warrant home invasion.

For the home I add a high-intensity flashlight under the mag tube. Just be aware of the mirror locations in your home and don’t blind yourself. If you want a folding stock, I would ask, "What for?" A shotgun is no place for such a thing. If you need to aim, you use a stock. If you need to shorten the reach, you slide the butt under your arm, hold the pistol grip, and point-shoot at close ranges.

Last, high-powered buckshot in the home is OK if you live alone and don’t mind if you obliterate whatever possessions you have in the adjacent rooms. Stick to high-brass 2.75-inch #5 or #6 shot, and none of your targets will complain about a lack of power.

These days, with the increase in armed invasions of the home by groups of thugs, I feel much better having 9, 10, or 11 shots without reloading, otherwise the side-by-side would be my choice for ease of operation and the optional "cut loose with both barrels and run" tactical withdrawal.
-
Kurt Sellers,
West End, North Carolina

You say you don’t know anyone who likes the Remington 870 shotgun’s safety. Well, you do now, and I’m going to try to change your mind, too. I didn’t like it either until I was dry-practicing with my Remington 870 Express. With my trigger finger safely extended along the top of the trigger guard, I discovered that I could very conveniently and reliably press the safety in with the big, middle knuckle of my trigger finger by just twisting my hand in slightly. Pretty neat, huh?
-
Norman Nipperus
Tempe, Arizona

Re "Last-Gasp Self-Defense 32 ACPs

From Walther, Kel-Tec, Taurus," May 2008

You mistyped John Farnham’s URL. The correct URL is defense-training.com. The article lists it as defensive-training.com.
-John Walter

Thanks for the correction. — tw

"Last gasp" is an appropriate title for the .32 ACP as a self-defense round. But the explanation given by Bill Davidson is, to say the least, absurd. Using his method of multiplying the energy of a single round by the number of rounds in the magazine might have some merit if they could all be discharged simultaneously. And then you would have to assume that each bullet would strike in the same vital area.

Using the table given in your article, the average energy is 92.5 ft.-lbs. for the .32 ACP. Multiply that by 8 for the Kel-Tec, and you have 740 ft.-lbs. of energy. Two 9mm 115-grain factory loads have 798 ft.-lbs. of energy, and just one 45 ACP 185-grain JHP, even out of the short Millennium Pro, has over 400 ft.-lbs. of energy, and a +P a little over 500 ft.-lbs.

Multiplying bullet energy by the number of bullets flying at once is silly. Thanks for a great publication.
-
Jeff Smith
McMinnville, Tennessee

Re "Tricky Trio of 22 Autoloaders:

Marlin Tops Remington, Ruger," May 2008

Your article included an odd trio of guns to test. The base Marlin was lauded for its low price, but that’s about all. The Marlin cost $179, yet that was the only base rifle that was compared. The 597 has a list of $188 on the Remington web-site. The 10/22 is listed as $261 on their site. Wouldn’t it have been a more even test if all three were the base-price gun?

The model of 10/22 that you tested isn’t a Ruger production version. It’s a custom version designed by another group, and available only through them, as mentioned. The price reflects what they want it to sell for. Yet, you test it as though it were a standard Ruger offering. I fail to see how the three rifles can be adequately compared. You don’t like the Ruger sights, but you don’t like the Remington sights, either. The Ruger was the second most accurate rifle, had the best fit and finish, and does come with a Weaver sight base for a scope. The Remington had a heavier trigger than the others, and one that varied in pull. The Remington dovetails, by the way, can be problematical when mounting 1-inch scopes. I believe that’s why they include the Weaver base as well.

With the Ruger, you set yourselves up to not like it. You didn’t like the same things on the Remington that you disliked on the Ruger. Yet, you would purchase the Remington, inaccurate as it is.
-
Jim Robison,
Talking Rock, Georgia

Rating Important Things

For years I have read Gun Tests, which bills itself as "The Consumer Resource For the Serious Shooter," but there comes a time when one wonders how serious you really are. The point is, you have never rated gun-rights organizations, to the best of my knowledge. This is at least as important as which self-defense shotgun to buy. Gun owners are becoming more likely to be assaulted by errant law enforcement personnel, politicians, bureaucrats, and the BATFE. And without real, tangible knowledge, most gun owners are going to assume the best gun rights organization is the biggest. Which is flat untrue! It is not only false, but in many cases the big boys are flirting with the other side.

There are several gun-rights organizations out there, among them the Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and what I regard as the current best, the JFPO (Jews For the Preservation of Firearms Ownership). How about rating something really important? Or are you afraid?  
-Doug Schurman

Not afraid; that topic is simply outside our area of coverage. We did write about gun organizations back in the early 1990s, but like other areas we no longer cover, such as accessories, almost all GT readers want to read about guns. — tw

Firing Line

Gun Tests Rack Sales Program

Gun Tests Welcomes Letters