December 2017

We Wouldn't Buy Ruger or Howa Precision Rifles

Reader Rene thinks the reviews of two rifles last month should have been lower. Reader James wonders if we’ll ever get around to reviewing his favorite 10mm Glock. And praise for legal item.

Re “Options in Precision Rifle: We Test Desert Tech, Howa, Ruger,” November 2017

I have every issue since 1991 — great publication. However, the article on Precision Rifles compels me to write. The three rifles tested were all magazine fed, not single shots. Yet, of the three, only the Desert Tech SRS-A1 functioned as designed. The Howa would not feed from the magazines, and the Ruger’s bolt was so rough that the testers were forced to use it as a single shot. Despite this, the Howa was given a “C” and the Ruger a B+. To me, this is akin to saying that a car that can only be driven in a straight line should pass muster because it has a great air conditioner!

Howa hcr rifle

Howa HCR

When a firearm leaves the factory in a condition that precludes the buyer from using it as designed, that firearm deserves an “F.” I believe it is acceptable to point out whether the problem is severe or an easy fix. However, the evaluation needs to stress that the firearm should have never left the factory in the condition tested. Personally, regardless of the grades given, I would not buy the Ruger or the Howa. Keep up the good work.— Rene

Ruger varmint target

Ruger Varmint

Given the complaints were either a warranty fix or simple polishing, we found it hard to fail either rifle. The Howa needed its magazine catch swapped out. The Ruger might be the most accurate rifle you can buy for about $1000 in real-world pricing. — Roger Eckstine

Re “Big-Bore Autos: Two More 10mms and One 357 Magnum,” November 2017

glock g40mos

Glock G40MOS 10mm

I’m not known for being thin-skinned, but I have to ask… why haven’t any of your reviews of the 10mm handguns included my favorite Glock — the G40MOS 10mm? Did I miss it? Maybe if I did miss a review, a recent review, you could be kind enough to point it out? I pore over every word of your excellent mag. I’d hate to think I missed that review. — James

James: You’re right, we haven’t gotten to the Glock 10mm yet. But Robert Sadowski continues to develop articles in that handgun category, and I’ve asked him to include your recommendation for the G40MOS 10mm. — Todd Woodard

Re “10 Things Gun Owners Get Wrong About Their Self-Defense Rights,” November 2017

Todd, this issue is really “a keeper,” with the reason I’m writing being Michele Byington’s article. Because of Michele’s article, I’m saving this one. This is not going to end up in the barber shop. I’m a long-time subscriber. I had two big ringed binders full of back issues, then remembered my motorcycling days when I had boxes and boxes of saved motorcycle magazines that were never looked at and realized I can search back issues at your online site, so why not spread the wealth and give my collection away. Hopefully, it might even prompt some new subscribers.

In another subscription I have, I’ve noticed that when they evaluate a product and that product has paid advertisements, they never find fault with that product. Go figure, huh?

Michele Byington

Michele Byington

Todd, you might want to consider when testing handgun ammo to run it through different-length barrels. I’m sure shooting the same ammo out of, say my CZ-75B, will perform differently than from my Kel-Tec PF-9. My 4-inch Trooper versus my M637. My Kimber Custom II versus Ultra Carry.

One more thought: Test cheaper ammo (Brown Bear, Armscor, Sellier & Bellot, Tulammo) against name-brand ammo to see if the difference in price (especially if just poking holes in paper) is really worth the higher cost. Who knows, maybe some of the lesser brands might even be good defensive ammo. Be well! — Charles

Charles, glad you liked Michele’s legal-defense article enough to keep it on hand. As far as the different barrel lengths, I’ll research the archives and see if we have brands of ammo that we’ve carried across different pistol sizes so we can compare their out-of-the-barrel results head to head. I have also asked Bob Campbell to consider setting up a test panel of firearms so we could compare ammo selections through them in popular chamberings, including lower-price offerings. Thanks for the ideas. — tw

Dear editor, this was the most interesting and informative article you have printed for the general population of gun owners. I have been a subscriber for long time, and I read each issue cover to cover. Keep up the good work! — Peter T.

Sir: For what it is worth, I was very disappointed in the “10 Misconceptions” article Gun Tests recently published. If I wanted to read about legal issues, I would subscribe to the ACLU newsletter or the monthly publication of the bar association in my state. What I am politely attempting to say is, stick with reviewing firearms. What is next: the best dog food for hunting dogs? — Duane

Todd, many thanks for the “10 Things Gun Owners Get Wrong” article by Michele Byington in the November issue. I have a CCP for both Virginia and Utah, shoot regularly at the range, and am a retired Army infantryman with three tours in Vietnam. Her article made me think. What would I do if I were arrested in a gun-related case? Where would I find a lawyer to represent me with her savvy of the law? Seems to me that all of us ought to have in our pocket the name and contact information of such a lawyer just in case we need it. Waiting until after such an incident, with perhaps only one phone call allotted when under arrest, is not a very good plan. I am now on a search for a lawyer such as Michele in my area just to have his/her information in my wallet in case I ever have to use it. I’ll start with the NRA. Suggestions welcome. This has been a great wake-up call. Thanks again! — Greg

The NRA is a good place to start to find lawyers who specialize in self-defense-related legal matters. The number for NRA’s Carry Guard program is (866) NRA-5050. — tw

The article “Ten Things Gun Owners Get Wrong About Their Self-Defense Rights” by Michele Byington was excellent, and highlighted many of the points that I cover when instructing the North Carolina Concealed Carry classes. I will encourage students to subscribe to your very informative magazine. I have saved my issues dating back to 2011, and often refer back to the issues when answering questions. Thank you for a great publication! — Don

Re “Two Over-The-Counter Exotics from Mossberg and Century,” October 2017

Mossberg Shockwave

Mossberg Shockwave

I wanted to thank you for stressing the idea of checking state/local laws in your review of the Mossberg Shockwave shotgun and AK-style pistols. As an FFL specializing in transfers, I have handled both a Shockwave and its Remington 870 “Gatekeeper” equivalent. In my state of Washington, these two firearms meet the legal definition of a pistol under Washington state law, so I had to transfer them with the state pistol form in addition to the federally required Form 4473. There are other states that require additional forms to purchase handguns, so it behooves prospective buyers to check their state laws if ordering from an out-of-state seller for delivery to a local FFL dealer. I think most state firearm definitions can be found online in the firearms-law sections of state criminal codes. Keep up the good work. — JW

Re “Firing Line,” November 2017

smith & wesson mountain gun

SW Mountain Gun

Todd: I read with interest and concurrence your reader Walter’s letter about Colt 45 revolvers. As one who is frequently in the woods in bear country, I completely agree. Indeed I am often armed with one of two marvelous S&W Model 25 Mountain Gun products (one in blued finish/one in stainless) with 4-inch barrels in a shoulder holster. When loaded with the right (and very formidable) Buffalo Bore ammunition and two HKS speedloaders, the carry load is relatively light, and I certainly do not fear being undergunned. The 4-inch barrel is not now in production, but I see that a 6-inch-barrel version of the Model 25 in Colt 45 is currently available from the S&W Performance Shop. Walter might want to pick up one of these. Or check the current listings on Gun Broker, where original Mountain Guns can frequently be found. Best regards. — Lou

Re Left-Handed Tikka

In a previous article, you stated that you were unaware of a left-handed version of a Tikka rifle. I have a left-handed Tikka T3 Lite in 223 Rem. I have had this gun for about eight years. Beretta may have discontinued the left-handed version since then. Enclosed is a picture. Always enjoy reading Gun Tests. — Dean

left handed Tikka rifle

Left-handed Tikka rifle

Re “9mm Polymer Pistols: Ruger’s SR9 Is Good, but Not Great,” December 2007

I just got my first copy of my Gun Tests subscription and was wondering, have you guys done a review of the H&K P30 SKS V3. This is a subcompact in 9mm. The gun has a external safety, decocker, and is a double-action and single-action gun. I just bought the new Springfield XD-E sight unseen, and I learned the grip is too wide for my hand. (Never buy a gun without looking at it first, otherwise you’ll run into a big and costly mistake.) Any information about the H&K subcompact would be appreciated.— Larry

I couldn’t find an “SKS” variant of the P30, but I did find a subcompact P30SK version. No, we haven’t tested that particular model of the P30 line. The larger P30 V3 9mm was tested in the December 2007 issue and earned a B+ grade. The Heckler & Koch P30S V3 in 40 S&W earned an A- grade in the October 2010 issue. Perhaps we can add it to an upcoming comparison of subcompact 9mms. — tw

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