September 2008

Downrange: 09/08

What we do, and how we do it.

Over the years, I’ve shot my share of pistols, revolvers, shotguns, and rifles as a range rat—bumming a shot here or a magazine there from owners who will tolerate my interest in guns I don’t own. However, I rarely get to spend the time with products other than my personal guns to see if I would truly like competing items better.

Todd Woodard
One of the advantages we enjoy at Gun Tests is our ability to compare firearms head to head. We think the best way to purchase firearms is to shoot them side by side and learn about the problems of a particular product, and then determine whether a competing product, shot at the same time with the same ammunition, is better or worse.

But few of us can afford to do this, either because of a lack of money or time or both.

In the pages of Gun Tests, things are different. We’re able to take guns, match them up, and see how they do.

Example: The first feature this month is a three-way comparison of varmint rifles that shoot the spitfire 204 Ruger round, pitting a Ruger against Kimber and Savage bolt actions. Who will win? Before we begin testing, we have no idea. But after firing several hundred rounds, we’ve got a pretty good idea which gun we would buy. This feature could only have been written with the products matched up side by side.

We follow that piece up with similar comparisons of 45 ACP revolvers (a small but very interesting subset of wheelguns), ever-popular 22 plinking rifles, and a revealing look at three self-defense pistols in 38 Super and 40 S&W. All told, we estimate there’s more than $10,000 worth of guns crammed into these 32 pages, and we’re confident that an enthusiast like you can buy guns more confidently as a result.

Beyond our assembling groups of interesting test products, we go a step further. Hardnosed critiques are our exclusive franchise: You won’t read critical graded comparisons that advise you to "buy-this, don’t-buy-that" elsewhere. Our protocol is to evaluate products comprehensively and tell you—no holds barred—which products we think are better than other products.

You may disagree with our conclusions (see the "Firing Line" letters on page 31). All the better. Evaluating firearms is subjective, so the more opinions and data we have, the more confident you can feel that the gun you’re buying will do the job you want it to do.

Our goals at Gun Tests are the same as yours: To buy good guns and enjoy shooting them. We think your subscription to Gun Tests will save you money, point you toward the best guns (and away from the bad ones), and increase your shooting enjoyment. GT