June 2014

How About Some DW Pistols?

Discretion is the Better Part
of Valor?

Hey, guys! I did a search of your archives to find articles about Dan Wesson 1911s. Only one article, and it’s been so long that the gun is discontinued. DW is producing 1911s that are equal to the semi-custom guns. How about including some of them in your comparisons? I suggest you begin with the Valor — the flagship model. You’ll love it.
— Stan Houghton Salem, Oregon

DW Valor Duty Black

Hey, Stan, thanks for the tip. The Dan Wesson Valor 45 ACP in Duty Black Finish #01926 has an MSRP of $2,012. The matte-stainless glass-bead finish #01986 is $1,701. The Duty finish is actually a matte-black skin. Specifications include a forged frame with 25-LPI checkering front and back, an undercut trigger guard, Heinie Ledge Straight Eight Night Sights, VZ slim line G10 grips, EGW carry bevel bushings as well as tool-steel fire controls and other premium small parts. Every piece is hand-fit, polished and blended. There’s also a Bobtail Commander version known as the V-Bob. Added to the list. — Todd Woodard

Re “Two 308 Win. Match Rifles
From Springfield and
ArmaLite,” May 2014

It’s probably been 60 some odd years since the last time the AR-10 versus the M-14 (Springfield M1A Loaded) went head-to-head against each other. I’m surprised that with the AR-10 you opted out by not getting the factory National Match detachable sight system that is available so as to compare the rifles more evenly, instead of the 36X Weaver Target scope that you did use.

You did not mention the fact that both rifles use the same magazine shells. ArmaLite sells the conversion kit that can be used on converting genuine US GI and Chinese M-14 magazines. It seems that during the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban, when the AR-10 came on the market, ArmaLite was told by the ATF that if they made the rifle with the original “waffle” magazine it could only be made with a 10-round capacity. Believing that the weapons ban might be made a permanent law after the 10 years were up, ArmaLite chose to use the glut of M-14 and Springfield Armory 20-round magazines on the market for the AR-10 instead.

Reloading wise, the AR-10 gets the nod over the Springfield (M-14) rifle. The reloader for the M-14 has more problems facing him than the AR-10, such as limited amount of powders to be used for reliability, the cases need to be full-length sized as the M-14 beats the brass up pretty bad upon ejection, and having to keep count as to how many times the case has been reloaded, because after four times, you risk a case rupture upon firing. With the AR-10 (and 15), I’ve always just neck-sized my brass without a problem, and powder selection isn’t nearly as critical.
— Tom Buckley Lacey, Washington

DW Valor Stainless

I enjoyed your review of the M1A Loaded in the most recent issue. I can echo two of your findings, but not the third. My experience with a Scout Squad with the polymer stock was that it is also very accurate, but also had the sticky magazine problem. However, my stock does have the same trap as the GI models. It came with the rubber buttpad, but I replaced it with a GI surplus metal one.—Kyle Peterson
on Facebook

Re “AR-15 Magazine Testing:
Price Has Little to Do with
Quality,” May 2014

It’s too bad you left out two popular magazines, one polymer type and one metal type, in your testing. But I think the metal one is actually made for a few other brands.

The Lancer L5 Advanced War-fighter Magazine is the polymer one. There have been a couple of videos produced demonstrating quite destructive testing on this magazine by apparent independent sources, and the magazines in question survived. The L5 AWF magazine has also been product improved over time. The Magpul magazine has also been product improved, but unlike Lancer, Magpul still manufacturers all of their past variants, the Standard, the M2, and the M3, the M3 being the best. If I owned a magazine company, I would have dropped the older models, like Lancer did.

C-Products is the manufacturer of metal magazines you left off of the list. C-Products make the following metal magazines:

l 6061 T6 aerospace aluminum body, black or gray Teflon coated, black or orange anti-tilt follower, 17-7 stainless steel spring.

l 400 stainless steel body, matte black, black or orange anti-tilt follower, 17-7 stainless steel spring.
C-Products makes magazines for other companies, maybe even for Brownells. It would be interesting to see the results of the same tests on the Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazine and the aluminum and stainless steel C-products magazines.
— Milton Schick Tucson, Arizona

Hey Milton: I forwarded your request for a follow-up to Bob Campbell. There may be others as well, it’s a big category. — tw

Ruger GP100 or S&W 686-4 Dilemma
I am a recent subscriber to Gun Tests and have already decided not to renew any other gun magazine. I bought a Ruger GP100 from a friend, who bought it new in the 1990s and fired one cylinder full of 38 Specials. It is Mag-na-ported. I just had a chance to buy a S&W 686-4 in excellent condition at a price I couldn’t refuse. I can’t afford to keep both. Which should I keep? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
— Mike via email

GT readers: Because Mike was on a deadline, I said he should keep the Ruger. Was that good advice or bad? Just put “Dilemma” in your email subject line and send in your opinions, or weigh in on the Gun Tests Facebook page. — tw

Re “Downrange,” May 2014
You, sir, have seriously impressed me! I had heard about Negroes and the Gun on C-SPAN2 in an “After Words” interview, then looked up the video on the Internet. I have discussed this with several firearms enthusiasts, but to be honest with you, I never thought I’d see any reference to the serious scholarship contained in this book, by this author on the subject of African-Americans and their rights, and needs, to keep and bear arms! I certainly did not think I’d see any articles, impartially and ethically presented on this subject by any mainstream gun magazines or their national organizations. Until Gun Tests magazine wrote it! Bravo!

Based on your article, you have probably already seen the video, and read the book, but I will not make that assumption. It is important to note that the two recent SCOTUS decisions regarding pro-gun access and ownership rights for D.C. and Chicago were initiated on the behalf of African-American citizens. I never remember hearing anybody or any organization presenting those facts.

And yes, it is important for non-Black gun owners to know that there are Black men and women gun owners who they can stand in with — and there always have been.

This article and the subject reminds me of an article written by Harlan Carter, NRA Exec. VP, in Guns & Ammo some 35 years ago: “Gun Control Is A Racial Issue.” Very insightful and powerful article!
Great job, and a great article.

I appreciate your kind words. Even a blind pig finds the occasional truffle, and I stumbled onto Dr. Johnson’s work quite by accident. I contacted him and his publisher about doing an excerpt, and I remember the sensation of writing the request. My face was burning because I was embarrassed that I knew nothing about him or this topic. We all know a little more now. — tw

Specialized AR-15s
I live in NYS — the NYS (UN) SAFE Act state. With the passage of this act, it is now illegal for citizens, law-abiding citizens of New York State, to purchase so-called “Assault Type” semi-auto rifles. Also, as of April 15, anyone who does own one of these rifles must register them with the state. Registration today, confiscation tomorrow.

I have heard that Ares has or will be introducing the SCA, which is an AR-15 alternative rifle that will be NYS compliant. Do you have any details on this and if this true, will you being doing a test of this rifle soon? I am sure hundreds, if not thousands, of gun owners would like some info on this.— Richard Rossi

Several gun makers are making or planning “New York Compliant” AR-15 rifles in response to the tough gun-control measure passed by New York lawmakers last year. Everybody is doing basically the same thing, which is adopting a stock that was originally produced for the California market and making it conform to the New York laws. To keep the detachable magazine, the rest of the NYC rifle can’t have “points,” that is, other helpful features such as a collapsible stock, threaded barrel, pistol grip, and so on.

Black Rain Ordnance in Missouri is making one version. Alan Thordsen of Thordsen Customs in California (ThordsenCustoms.com) is making a variety of replacement parts, such as the FRS-15 stock. The Ares Defense SCR (AresDefense.com) is a sport rifle with a MIL-STD 1913 flat-top upper receiver chambered in 223/5.56mm and 7.62x39mm. It accepts most Modern Sporting Rifle accessories and parts including magazines, upper receivers, barrels, bolts, handguards and optics. Of course, adding some of those components in some jurisdictions can turn a deer-hunting semi-auto into a “Cuomo assault weapon,” so you must be careful what you add.

Sadly, this may be an area we have to cover, but I’d like to wait a few months to see what else pops up. — tw