November 2011

Reader Gives His Moisin an ‘F’

Mr. Spitzer disagrees that the Moisin-Nagant could be a shooter, but he likes its history. Reader Cate asks why anyone would want a Mannlicher stock, and Reader Bennett gets his wish.

Re "Moisin Nagants: We Pit Two Versions

of the Hoary 1891/30," October 2011

I disagree with your "A" rating on the rifle. I have one of the $140 Moisin Nagants and have found that operating the bolt, after firing a single round, to be extremely difficult. In fact, it was so bad that I had a gunsmith polish the chamber, but to no avail. I used Russian surplus and new Greek ammunition. Either my rifle is a lemon, or it needs significant additional break in. Either way, the rifle is a fascinating piece of history. However as a shooter, I would have to give it an "F."

—Len Spitzer,
Tucson, AZ

Re "New Polymer Forties: Glock, Springfield,

Ruger Shoot It Out," October 2011

I really like the fact that Gun Tests does not have advertisements in the journal. It has been refreshing to read articles without having to flip past several ads for products I’m not interested in. However, lately I’ve noticed that your publication has been making reference to products you are using during tests. In the New Polymer Forties article, you reference a Falco holster, Caldwell pistol rack, and LED rope lighting from Seriously, rope lighting? I understand if costs are rising, and this is a way of making ends meet (or profit), but these product mentions are almost comical. I’d rather see an ad or two instead of this. Otherwise it’s a great publication!


—John Case

This is a great question. Gun Tests does not accept advertising or any other type of product-related compensation because that way we are never bound to writing about any one product in a favorable light. Writers like me focus on firearms, so you are not likely to read a test and evaluation of shelf racks, interior safe lights, or dozens of other accessories any time soon. So, the advice of an individual writer regarding a specific product is by his choice only. I believe these accessory mentions make the story more interesting, and we use the same standards for accessories that we do for guns — they’ve got to work as advertised. Consider it a tip or how to. By the way, the rope light wasn’t expensive, and it’s a lot better than trying to find the flashlight that was supposed to have been left on top of the safe, but seems to get misplaced every other day. —Roger Eckstine


Hello Roger. I would like to inform you that some customers are responding to your Gun Tests magazine topic about our holsters. I sent you item 92, a IWB holster, and people are asking for a 52.


I am sorry to have written the wrong catalog number. The holster appearing in the lede photograph pertaining to New Polymer Forties, October 2011, is indeed Falco It. 92, a leather inside-the-waistband holster with widely spaced quick-snap belt loops. What we didn’t get wrong was how much we liked it. I will be sending you some hard copies and an electronic version when it becomes available. —Roger Eckstine


Your October 40 S&W Value Guide reminded me of the low grades given to my favored G27. I’ll concede that, from the box, the G27 is little more than a backup belly gun, but with a little modification and a few bucks, it can be made an excellent concealed carry choice. Simply adding a finger-rest floorplate to the standard mag is a big help, but I went one step further and switched to the G23 13-round mag with factory Glock sleeve. That simple and inexpensive change gives me a solid grip and good accuracy out to at least 10 yards. Other, pricier modifications have helped tame the little beast, including a Lone Wolf ported barrel and a heavy tungsten guide rod and spring set. The XDM in the test ships with the longer mag and sleeve that surely contributed to its A grade, so why not consider a future comparison test with reasonably priced modifications pitting sub-compacts against their larger brothers?

—Bill Morgan

An excellent idea. I’ve passed along the idea to the staff (and now the rest of the world), and we’ll see who comes up with the match-ups first. —Todd Woodard


I just received the latest issue of Gun Tests, and read the test on the 40 S&W autos. While I am sure that Glock is a fine weapon, the fact that you test two of them surprises me. There are so many other 40 S&W handguns to be tested. One manufacturer in many of your 9mm and 40 S&W test is CZ. The CZ is currently the choice of much of NATO, a well-respected firearm with many variations of size, magazine capacity, and materials. CZ offers 17 variations on this theme, plus a 22 LR conversion and a full 22 LR pistol on the same CZ 75 frame, and yet I see Glock, Springfield and Ruger again and again. If you were going to test polymer 40s, you should have included the CZ P-07 or the CZ 2075 RAMI to give a better spectrum of comparison. In doing this, you would still have had a Glock to add to the review. It would seem that the prejudice of much of the firearms press against CZ also inhabits your publication.

I currently own a CZ 75BD, and I have seen almost universal acceptance and delight when I have lent it to a curious shooter at the range. Indeed, several shooters I have introduced to my CZ 75 have later purchased one.

—Harvey Berger,
Azusa, CA

We haven’t exactly ignored CZ as a brand. There was the "Mannlicher-Style Hunting Rifles: CZ Outduels Ruger and Steyr" in the September 2011 issue, and "Smallbore Accuracy Shootout: CZ, Browning, Ansch tz Duel" in the July 2011 issue. And "22-250 Rem Bolt Actions: Four Varminting Rifles Compete" in the February 2011 issue. We covered the CZ P07 in the October 2010 article, "Polymer-Frame DA/SA Pistols: FNH and CZ USA Compete," and the CZ USA 75D PCR Compact in the August 2010 piece, "9mm Compact Pistols: Ruger, Springfield, CZ USA, and Glock." The CZ USA P-07 Duty got ink in the August 2009 "Polymer 9mm Pistols: Green, Dark Earth, and Black Beauties." That hardly sounds like prejudice.

Roger also tells me he has production and Custom Shop CZ USA SP01 Shadows in house, along with a CZ CTS Custom Shop gun. —Todd Woodard

Re "Is Ruger’s New Gunsite Scout Rifle

a Pretender, or Contender?" May 2011

Have enjoyed your magazine for years. But on the Ruger/Steyr Scout comparison: Agreed with most of the review, but you missed a main point. Although you complimented the versatility of the Steyr relative to the integral bipod, you did not pick up on the combined use of the rail and integral scope rings. The Gunsite Scout is ready for the use of the optic of your choice in conjunction with a night-vision scope, should this be desired. Any firearm that might be used for self defense has much greater utility if it is able to be used in darkness. In my opinion, this type of versatility exceeds that of an integral bipod, and would make the Scout much more competitive in the letter grade evaluation, possibly equal to the Steyr given the price difference. Your comment on this?

—Russell N. Kell

I don’t believe the specialized uses of the rifle that you mentioned are really the realm of the Scout rifle. Do you propose changing the scope several times a day? Or carrying night-vision accessories to stick on the rifle at will? That would seem to defeat its purpose. —Ray Ordorica


Jeff Cooper articulated the configuration of what he and his conferees determined to be the "ideal" Scout Rifle some 30 years ago. It probably took only 30 minutes for the first misunderstanding of the concept to emerge.

The Scout Rifle is intended to be the one rifle to take when you don’t know what you’re going to meet in the field, either as a "military" scout or as a hunter. It is a general-purpose weapon that can serve competently in lieu of more specialized rifles. The Scout Rifle is defined as a light, handy weapon, weighing three kilos (6.6 pounds) or less with scope and bipod (if fitted), with a length not to exceed one meter (39 inches). It should chamber a widely available caliber with the capability to successfully engage targets up to 500 pounds. The 308 Winchester fits that particular bill.

The Scout Rifle is not defined by scope position. In fact, because the Scout Rifle must have iron sights, preferably including a ghost ring rear aperture, a Scout Rifle need not have a scope at all. For those who question the forward mount of an intermediate eye relief scope, there appears to be a lack of understanding of the benefits such an arrangement provides. It’s not surprising that those who have not worked with a forward-mount scope literally view it as a conventional scope "out there somewhere." Once the technique of binocular vision is mastered, the Scout Rifle shooter finds himself able to view a field ("field of view") that is limited only by one’s range of peripheral vision. You find your target with both eyes open, then use the scope to "zero in," again with both eyes open. You can’t take advantage of the binocular vision technique with a conventional scope. I’m startled when I see a commentator complain about the "limited" field of view through a forward mounted scope. Use both eyes! The field of view is unlimited!

The Scout Rifle is a bolt action simply because no other repeating actions can meet the weight and/or length criteria. I’d sure like to see a three-kilo AR in 308, with scope; it’s hard enough for a 223 to make weight. As for the speed of bolt work, the practiced boltgunner can chamber a new round before the rifle has settled down from recoil. In practical terms, aimed fire from a bolt gun is no slower than aimed fire from a semiauto. I hope we can agree that only hits count, and you only hit when you aim.

For those who point to the lack of commercial success of the Steyr Scout, one can point to five factors: One, it looked funny with its stock’s unconventional lines; two, it received very little marketing support from the importer; three, it was expensive; four, those who didn’t try one on couldn’t get their minds around the benefits; and five, and possibly most important, it looked funny.

The Scout Rifle is the "90% rifle." It will handily solve 90% of the problems the shooter will face in the field. For the other 10%, you’ll need something bigger, e.g., a "Super Scout."

— Dr. Walter J. Kuleck, Ph.D.

The letter writer is the author of several books, including

The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide and The AR-15 Complete Owner’s Guide. —Todd Woodard

Re "Mannlicher-Style Hunting Rifles:

CZ Outduels Ruger and Steyr," September 2011

I’m 78 and have been around guns since I was a teenager. I have never seen or understood the reason for the Mannlicher stock extending to the muzzle of the rifle. It looks nice, but adds weight.

Enjoyed the article. Do you have an explanation about why anyone would want a Mannlicher stock?

—William R. Cate,
Henderson, NC


From my research, the full stock provides no functional qualities. A full-length stock to the muzzle, bent comb, and angular cheekpiece are all German design aesthetics that have been around for hundreds of years. The Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee long-rifle designs were all influenced by German immigrants, and those American-bred flintlocks have those characteristics. The term "Mannlicher stock" has been in use since the debut of the Mannlicher-Schönauer sporter rifles and refers to any full-length stock. —Robert Sadowski


Re "Corrosion-Resistant 12-Gauge Shotgun:

Mossberg Duels Remington," October 2011

You say, "It’s a little tricky to place the Marine Magnum in the lineup of Remington shotguns. It’s clearly a higher grade gun than the Express models, which, like the Mossberg, have aluminum receivers." I have never heard of any 870 having an aluminum receiver. Just to make sure, I even checked the new guns I have in stock with a magnet, and they are all steel. Internet lore aside, would you please provide a reputable source for this statement?

—William M. Kohnke,
Paladin Armory, Elliston, MT

Mr. Hohnke: The secondary source we used was wrong. The Remington website says all 870 receivers are made from billet steel. —Todd Woodard

Ruger Mini-Thirty

I really enjoy Gun Tests and value your opinion. I need some advice on the Ruger Mini-Thirty. I want to buy a M-30/20GBCPC No. 5854. You have previously tested the Mini-Thirty and said it was a good buy. That was a year or two ago, I think. In your test, it shot all sorts of ammo without a problem. Have there been any recent changes that would make it inadvisable to buy a new one now?

— Bruce Bennett

Bruce, please turn the page for more on the model you requested. —Todd Woodard

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