June 2013

On the Mark V: Mag Box Floats

Weatherby explains the ups and downs of the rifle’s magazine design. Several new readers have questions about finding older stories. Reader Smith hisses at the Colt Python revolver.

Re “257 W’by Bolt Rifle Match-Up: Vanguard 2 Beats the Mark V,” April 2013

I enjoyed your article on our rifles in your April issue. I’m always interested in other people’s views on our products. I’d like to clear up a technical issue. You mentioned the magazine box in the MkV moved in the stock when the floorplate was open. That is by design. In most bolt-action rifles, the magazine feed lips are built into the receiver, so there will be different receivers within the same model line to handle different-size cartridges. The magazine box is just a box holding the cartridges, and its relationship to the receiver is not critical. Our Vanguard model is a good example of this design. In the MkV, we use the same receiver for all our rifles, no matter the cartridge size. The magazine feed lips are built into the magazine box, and there are different magazine boxes depending on the cartridge. To get correct feeding, the magazine box has to be centered and hard up against the receiver. We achieve this by letting the magazine box float in the magazine well of the stock and use the follower spring to push it into position. Thus, we’re not dependent on dimensions in the stock to hold the magazine box in the correct place. As you noted in the article, the magazine box doesn’t move or rattle when the floorplate is closed.

According to Greg King at Weatherby, the MkV’s magazine’s box floats in the magazine well of the stock as shown. The follower spring pushes it into position.

I hope that helps. If you ever have any technical questions about our products, please feel free to contact me.

— Greg King
Production Supervisor,
Weatherby, Inc.


We appreciate the clarification. I had a chance to shoot the Vanguard II after the test, and became convinced it could outshoot me. I bought a used Vanguard synthetic in 308 Winchester recently, and I’m enjoying lot-testing ammo for it, so here’s a hat tip for making three enjoyable shooters. — Todd Woodard

New Subscriber Questions
I am a new subscriber to Gun Tests. I am planning on buying a handgun. I’ve never owned one and have just recently shot several different types that my friends own. I was on the Gun Tests website hoping to gain information on which handguns are better than others. I was looking for a way to list all the handguns that scored an “A” for a specific caliber, but that didn’t seem to be an option. I was really hoping to narrow my options by using Gun Tests’ independent expert opinions since I don’t have the time as a working father with a wife and two young and active sons. If there is an option to generate the sort I’m looking for, would you please let me know how. And if not, do you plan on adding such a feature in the future? — Kelly Taylor

The site will organize search results by a lot of clickable conditions: caliber, barrel length, manufacturer, and others. But not by grade. When we added the “Compare Guns” feature to the Gun-Tests.com website and to GunReports.com, we weren’t using grades in Gun Tests. I will see what it would take to add that functionality to the Gun Tests website. — tw

Am looking at a CZ-USA 712 12-gauge shotgun. Am wondering if you have done any testing on this model. My subscription started on the March issue, and I was interested in getting the January and February issues also. Please advise. — Jimmy Gourley

We tested the CZ-USA Utility No. 06029 12-gauge 712 in the September 2009 issue. To see the recent back issues electronically, log on to Gun-Tests.com. Your subscription gives you access to the entire archive. If you want hard copies, use the back-issue order coupon in the April issue on page 15. I also sent you a PDF of the coupon. — tw

Test Scores
I am a new subscriber and missed your rating and test results for the Ruger SR1911 Commander and the Ruger LCP 380. Can you help? — Joseph Laurenzo

We’ve tested the SR1911 full-size gun, but haven’t gotten to the Commander model yet. The SR1911 earned an A- grade in the September 2011 issue. We tested the laser-equipped LCP380 in the February 2013 issue. It earned a B+. The standard LCP380 was tested in the June 2008 issue and got an A- ranking. A Special Report on the LC380 appears in this issue. — tw

Re “Boot-Gun Revolver Showdown: 38 Specials Take on 9mms,” March 2013

In the test that included the Charter Arms Pitbull in 9mm, I liked what I saw, and thought this is the perfect home-defense handgun for my best friend, Ron, who had a stroke four years ago and is paralyzed on his left side. That makes it almost impossible to use an autoloader, and anything larger than a 9mm would be too much recoil. Have been in touch with Donna at Charter Arms trying to find one of these, but they are as hard to find as hens teeth! Thought you could be of some help. — Raymond F. Rava

Hey Raymond, you’ve already done what we would have suggested — contact Charter Arms to get the name of a stocking dealer near you. Or ask your favorite dealer to order one for you. I also asked Product Coordination Editor Kevin Winkle to keep on the lookout for one, and I sent him your contact information. — tw

Suppressors? Sure
A couple of friends and I want to get suppressors this spring or early summer. They would be for our 22s. None of us have any experience with them, other than researching the governmental hoops to purchase them. What we need is a head-to-head shoot-out of various models to find the best ones for us. We would hate to go through all the paperwork and expense just to get a lemon. — Steve Varchmin

We agree. We’ve been working with our primary Houston testing site, Class 3 dealer Tactical Firearms, on how to get this done. The testing process is fairly easy — shoot before-and-after sound readings, talk about weight and balances changes to the pistols, break the cans apart for cleaning — but taking possession of several of the items at a time is a pretty big cost and a major administrative hassle, beyond the cost of the suppressors themselves. But it is a problem we believe we can solve. — tw

Re “Mid-Size Compact Forties: Smith & Wesson Edges Out Kahr,” March 2013

I’d like to add to Russell Kontas’ solution for a slick grip found on the S&W M&P 40c. The woodworking tool is a great idea to stipple the backstrap, but if you are not willing or able to do the stippling yourself, there is a company that can do it for you. Check out A2stippling.com. He only sells S&W parts. He hand-stipples each item as ordered. I received an excellent product at a very reasonable price. Had to share! — J.V. Krauss

J.V., thanks for the tip. A2 Stippling also has a Facebook page. We contacted Aaron Barth, the self-described hobbyist who does the stippling handwork. He said, “I’m an active duty Army officer from Texas (my adopted home), and I have been stippling for just a bit over a year. I stipple five pieces on S&W’s M&P line — the grip, magazine release, base pads, striker plate, and frame tool. I do this for the entire line of compacts and full-sized guns. I stock 35 different pieces of genuine S&W parts. I keep a stock totaling over 1000 parts at any given time.” He said he started doing the work for a couple of reasons. “I saw another Army officer online doing the same thing and really liked his work. I had some time on my hands since I am not deployed, and learned what he did. I also wanted to fill a void between the more expensive grips out on the market — the $30 to $40 ones for a single grip — with a quality $15 grip.” He said his stipplings are a “working man’s product” and are in a price-range most can handle. In the past 15 months, he’s had almost 700 customers. Gun Tests readers should note he does not stipple or modify the frame itself. “I am not an FFL and I don’t accept frames to stipple,” he said. He plans to offer colored grips this summer in OD Green, Grey, and FDE/Tan. “Right now, I only offer what S&W sells — black and FDE,” he said. He also plans to offer low-capacity basepads for shooters in states with magazine restrictions. — tw

Hot-Weather Holster Choices
I have been reading your articles on holsters with some interest. I live in Florida, where it is illegal to wear a weapon out in the open where people can see it. It is also illegal to have the gun outlined, “printed” under a shirt. I don’t know how it is in your state or any other state, but wearing two layers of anything in the summer almost prohibits you from carrying. I have found a holster that will allow me to carry outside, in plain view of the whole world, without fear of someone getting their shorts in a knot. I would recommend that you take a look at “SneakyPete” holsters. These holsters will accommodate a variety of the 380s and other small pistols. I carry a Sig P238 in mine. — Tom Jellifer

Re: “Youth Semi-Auto 20 Gauges: CZ’s Model 720 Is a Best Buy,” October 2012

I recall that you did a story on youth shotguns with Gil Ash’s son at American Shooting Centers. Couldn’t find the piece in a quick scan of several years of back issues. Can you help? — Stew

A quick search at Gun-Tests.com using the keyword “Ash” will take you right to the October 2012 issue. — tw

Re “Available Revolvers: Colt Python and S&W 686 Go Head to Head,” April 2013

This article discusses two revolvers I’ve had a chance to own. I should say I’ve had three Colts, and they have all disappointed. I can’t consider the Python as “one of the finest production revolvers ever made.” You should have put the sentence in bold about the Colt being a “large frame 38 Special target revolver.” My 6-inch nickel-plated Python would go out of time after just one cylinder of heavy loads, such as Remington 180-grain soft-point hunting loads or the Cor-Bon 200-grain hard-cast lead. Frequent trips to the gunsmith did no good. I was told it was a target model and should limit the loads to 158 grains or less. And the large hammer spur on the Python made double-action shooting difficult with a high hand grip.

I replaced it with a S&W 586 (-4), essentially a carbon-steel 686. It handles the heavy loads just fine. It is a true 357 Magnum gun, developed after the K frame had problems. The pull is every bit as good as the Python’s. The hammer spur does not hit my hand in double action.

I was also disappointed in Colt’s lack of support for their products. I have a Magnum Carry — which must have been produced by some other gun maker named Colt. The current Colt doesn’t sell parts for it or support it at all. It was an embarrassment to the gun industry, with sharp edges on every corner and a barrel that unscrewed its “crush fit” on the first cylinder of 38 Special wadcutters.

S&W still supports its older products to a great extent, and parts have never been a problem.
— Christopher Smith
Dayton, Wyoming

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