January 2014

Wants Full-Grade Markdowns

Reader Rehak wants us to grade down nonadjustable sights and heavy triggers more than we currently do. Reader Tuss defends his American. And lots on the Metcalf 2nd Amendment kerfuffle.

Harder Grading!

I enjoy reading the comparisons and test results of semi-auto pistols. In the articles, very little reference is given to whether or not a particular handgun has sights which are “regulated” to hit where someone is aiming. It appears that if they hit fairly close to the point of aim at 6 or 19 yards, then they are okay for self defense. I would suggest that semi-auto pistols without adjustable sights be downgraded a full letter because of this fact. There is little or no reason in this day and age for all handguns not to be equipped with adjustable sights. This isn’t the 1930s, yet gun writers give very little attention to this fact.

Three of us shot a Kimber 1911 semi-autos at a range of about 5 yards. All of us shot good groups, but they were in different locations on the target! Then there is the difficulty of trying to adjust fixed sights, which may include installing a new front or rear sight. New front sights run about $30 or so, plus many require the services of a gunsmith because the sights need to be fitted to the slide. All of my 1911s have adjustable sights, and I would not purchase one without them. Yet very few models come equipped with them.

Guns with unmanageable trigger pulls should also be downgraded. Who wants to pay $1000 for a handgun that has a trigger pull of 7 or 8 pounds? Again, there is no excuse for this giving the manufacturing techniques available today yet gun writers continually rate guns with lousy trigger pulls as being okay.
One of my recent purchases was a Springfield Armory Range Officer. This is an absolutely outstanding 1911 handgun. I changed out the hammer mainspring and had a gunsmith adjust the trigger pull to 3.75 pounds, down from about 5.5 pounds. The slide/frame fit is outstanding, with no play whatsoever between the slide and the frame. Even with adjustable sights, it took several trips to the range to get it sighted in properly. Keep up the good work!— Terry Rehak
Worland, Wyoming

Those are excellent points. I agree that nonadjustable sights are a pain with no easy solution save patience. But to lower the ceiling for all guns without adjustable sights to a B would downgrade a lot of pocket pistols unfairly, just to name one segment that would be affected. However, we regularly give a half-grade edge, at least, to handguns that have adjustable sights when they’re pitted against nonadjustables. Also, we grade down and complain about too-heavy trigger pulls as well. Usually a half-grade, but a full grade if they’re gritty, creepy, and too heavy.

Also, Ray Ordorica pointed this out: “The problem with any and all adjustable handgun sights is that they break. Always. Eventually. Fixed sights do not. That is why best English makers put fixed sights on double rifles that cost more than $100,000. As to reliability of revolvers, one day Ross Seyfried and I were shooting together at his old ranch in Colorado when in the course of about a minute, his Pachmayr 45 lost its adjustable-sight blade and my custom S&W revolver jammed. Yes, jammed the hammer so it would not fire. Go figure.” — Todd Woodard

Re “308 Win. Bolt-Action  Rifles: Should You Buy New or Used?” December 2013

Was all excited to read when you pitted the used Weatherby Vanguard against the new Ruger American. After reading, I feel compelled to defend the poor Ruger and its accuracy deficiencies. I own both model rifles from your test, and am very satisfied with both. My Ruger American is in 30-06, and it shoots 1.5 MOA, which includes military surplus ammo. With handloads I can get under an inch. Could the accuracy issues be from the SightMark scope? I don’t own the model of scope used in the test, but I do have a 5X multiplier on an AR-15 made by SightMark that lets in less light than a set of welding goggles. I wonder if switching the two optics would have also switched the results in your accuracy test?
— Dustin Tuss

The results with the Ruger weren’t so bad that we would immediately blame the optic. It’s also possible that we just drew a bad set of ammo lots for it. But all the news for the American brand isn’t bad. Roger Eckstine’s test of the 243 Win. model in the February 2013 issue had the #6904 American right around 1-inch groups at 100 yards, on average. — tw

Re: “Downrange,” December 2013

Dear Todd, great editorial, great publication! It’s much more than disconcerting to hear that even Dick Metcalf has succumbed to the thought that regulation of an inalienable right is justified. I believe it’s highly symptomatic of our nation’s steadily growing desensitization to the erosion of our individual freedom via governance to the lowest common denominator. The modus operandi is straightforward: highlight the actions of a nut job, e.g., someone who shouts, “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and then use it as a justification to restrict freedom. In short, the media deluges the populace with stories about the actions of the mentally insane. The ensuing freight train of emotion permits lawmakers to further control and restrict the freedoms of the other 99.99% of the populace. Americans are losing freedom because more laws have been legislated based on the actions of idiots and unstable people.

(BTW, I’m not entirely sure how freedom of speech is regulated for the case of a nut job getting arrested for disturbing the peace and creating a dangerous environment in a theater. Are the townfolks required to limit the capacity of their vocal chords, perhaps surgically, so as not to possess the capability to shout at a high volume?)— Joe Salerno

Todd, just as you express your opinion, do not think for a minute that you represent the majority or even a significant minority — it is just your opinion. This is what Dick Metcalf did in Guns & Ammo. It is ironic that he was paid to express his opinions on the back page of the magazine, and then, when he did so, was promptly fired because some people, probably advertisers and the NRA, were offended that someone from their “like-minded” community should have the temerity to suggest they think a tad differently than others.

Metcalf’s point is that there are restrictions on all types of weapons and people who might carry them, just as there restrictions on people expressing themselves under the First Amendment. Those restrictions are legal and, most likely, appropriate. We DO NOT have to think the same way on everything. Woe be to us when we use the right to speak out on a political issue and then get fired from our jobs for doing so. We then give up so much more than we gain.— JCG, Colorado

The polite word for what you say is poppycock. Bottom line, Dick Metcalf was engaging in commercial speech that angered some unknown total of G&A readers. It wasn’t just a few, obviously, as hundreds of reader comments on the company’s Facebook page made clear. Also, what I wrote isn’t just “my” opinion.

It was “our” opinion as Guns & Ammo readers. (Yes, I buy and read G&A periodically.) I was horrified by what Metcalf wrote — I felt betrayed, in fact. I’ve worked at the nexus of the 1st and 2nd Amendments for decades now, and you obviously don’t understand what the 1st protects — political speech from federal or governmental intrusion. Is that right being eroded every day? Absolutely. And it’s wrong. Efforts to restrict freedom of speech and association, to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects (the 4th), and other restrictions should be fought on every hill. Metcalf could easily have made the same argument that restrictions on the 2nd are occurring and should be fought, but he didn’t. He endorsed infringements. Said simply, Metcalf p***** off the customers and paid for his poor judgment. — tw

Limits or infringements, the difference is inconsequential to the majority of firearms owners. Although I’m a strong supporter of laws preventing felons from possessing firearms, the founders were clear in their intent. A government “of the people” is only possible when significant power resides “with the people.”
I do hope Metcalf finds another venue; he’s too talented a writer to “write off” for one mistake.

On another topic, having finally acquired a Kimber Custom Eclipse II in 10mm, it’s not hard to see how their CDP II was best in class this year. My Eclipse shoots as good as anything I’ve ever owned and shoots more like a new firearm than one with several thousand rounds down the pipe. Keep up the good fight. Best Regards,— Mark Forster
Lincoln, Nebraska

Good Morning Mr. Metcalf: I am just an ordinary, average Citizen of the United States of America, not a Constitutional Scholar, just a mechanical engineer and a businessman. I am also a descendant of one of our founding fathers, Samuel Adams. I know full well that had our founding fathers lost the American Revolution, more than likely I would not be here, as they along with their families, would have been executed for treason by the King of England at the war’s conclusion.

I read the subject article, your article, in Guns & Ammo and I would like to comment.

I do agree with you that the People have a responsibility to their fellow Citizens if they wish to maintain their right to “keep and bear Arms.” They need to understand proper firearm safety, handling and storage. Training is a must. People also need to respect the rights of Citizens who don’t wish to exercise their Constitutional Right and are afraid of firearms. Respecting the rights of those who fear firearms is extremely important. In time, if these folks are treated respectfully, even those who fear firearms will respect the rights of those who exercise their Constitutional Rights and use firearms for hunting, shooting sports, recreation, and even self defense.

I also agree that there is a need for our Government to enact laws to reasonably regulate training, storage, who has access to own firearms, (not the mentally ill or convicted criminals, etc.) how, when and where firearms can be carried, as that relates to respecting the rights of other Citizens.

However, I disagree that the Government has the right to restrict people from owning certain firearms, limiting magazine capacities, and restricting the issue of carry permits, for any reason. I also fundamentally disagree that it is the “guns” fault when shootings occur. The gun is merely the instrument, or the tool; it is the person who pulls the trigger who bears responsibility.

Your interpretation of the Second Amendment is fundamentally flawed. You have taken words out of context to make a claim that our forefathers use of the word “regulated” applies to “arms” directly, giving our Government the right to “regulate” our fundamental right “to keep and bear Arms.” I respectfully disagree. The other reason I disagree is because you did not do a very good job remembering your history lessons.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads as follows: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The United States Supreme Court broke the Second Amendment into two parts, one part being the reason for its existence, the second being the People’s right. The U.S. Supreme Court stated correctly that the Second Amendment defines an Individual’s right to keep and bear arms and that right shall not be infringed.

Recognize that I understand there is a peaceful procedure to be followed by the People of this country first to settle their differences with the Government. However, should the Government ever get too big for it’s britches, and decides not to listen to the will of the People, the Second Amendment is the stick that was designed to be used to spank them. Hopefully it is never required. Regulations concerning the Second Amendment only weaken this country. — Lee Kissinger
West Greenwich, Rhode Island

Thank you for the editorial on Guns & Ammo magazine and the editorial they published on the Second Amendment. I found it to be a perfect illustration of the primary political/philosophical error made by most citizens of the United States in current times.

The Guns & Ammo editor clearly believes that natural rights can be legitimately abridged by a government if is serves some outcome that is considered to be politically or socially important. This is, of course, absurd, since, “... [t]o secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men....”, and one cannot abridge the rights of the individual in order to secure them.

His misunderstanding shows in his example of the supposed curtailment of the right to free speech because one is not allowed to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. What stops us is not that the government has some supra-right to curtail individual rights for the social good — as he believes — but the individual rights of our fellow citizens.

If one’s actions abridge the rights of another individual, then those actions can be forcibly stopped. This is important to understand: natural rights are never in conflict, if your actions abridge my rights, they are not legitimate, period.

I would encourage your readers to ask themselves this question before they vote or agitate for legislation: Is this a legitimate function of government? Am I seeking to secure individual rights, or will this abridge them? Just because 51% of the voting public decides to abridge the rights of others, that does not make that abridgement legitimate.
— A. Beard in Arizona