December 2018

What November's Midterm Elections Might Mean for Gun Control

By the time you read this, the midterm elections will have already happened, and we’ll know if more federal regulations and laws restricting our civil rights are on their way. I would like to say that the congressional outcomes don’t mean anything for two years, as long as President Trump is in office. But that’s simply not true. PDT has shown an irresolute streak on publicly considering more gun regulations, though, to be fair, we haven’t seen any new laws at the federal level.   More...

38 Special Problem in 357 Mags

I enjoyed the article on 38 Special lever-action rifles, but I think you missed a very important warning. The 38 Special and 357 Magnum are not interchangeable, for reasons other than the strength of the action. I have a Marlin lever action in 357 caliber. I decided to sight it in with 38 Special rounds and then change to 357 and adjust the sights. After about 20 or 30 rounds of 38 Special, I switched to 357. When I tried to rack in the second round, it wouldn’t seat. The problem was that the 38 Special rounds carboned up the chamber, and when the 357 round was extracted, only about half of the cartridge came out. I had to have a gunsmith remove the front half of the casing. I only shoot 357 rounds in my rifle and revolver since then. I have never seen this in any article which discusses using 38 Special ammo in a 357 chamber.   More...

New Snubnose Revolvers Under $400: S&W, Taurus Compete

Subscribers Only — Snubnose revolvers are viable options when deciding what type of self-defense firearm to purchase. They are easy to use and easy to conceal. Plus, the 38 Special cartridge is an excellent self-defense round, and 38 Special +P loads are almost as powerful as a 357 Magnum rounds. We procured three snubnose revolvers under $400 — the Smith & Wesson Model 637-2, Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38, and the Taurus Model 856 — to see which one would come out as top dog. In our opinion, all three of these snubnose revolvers are good choices for concealed carry and home defense. All have attributes that make them well suited for conceal carry, such as light weight, small grips, and smooth, snag-free outside edges. Sights are a big consideration, and we like them large and easy to use, and if we have the ability to modify the sight, that is a plus in our book. The triggers also need to be smooth because these revolvers will mostly likely be fired in double-action (DA) mode. Plus, we think the ability to fire 38 Special and 38 Special +P ammo through the revolver enhances its versatility.   More...

Which 308 Bolt-Action Rifles Would We Take to the Woods?

Subscribers Only — The 308 Winchester is one of our more popular and most versatile cartridges. Accurate, powerful enough for most anything in North America save the largest bears, and affordable, the 308 Win. has a lot going for it. Among the most popular firearms chamberings for this cartridge is the bolt-action rifle, and we recently tested four examples to see which one might make a timely Christmas present for yourself or someone else who would like something long and skinny under the tree. In some ways, this report was a continuation of the test we ran in the October 2017 issue, which used the Savage Axis, Remington SLP, Remington Varmint rifle, and Browning BAR, all in 308 Winchester. This time, we included a rifle that would be a match for the Remington Varmint rifle previously tested — the Savage Model 12 with bull barrel was the heaviest rifle this round. In the previous feature, the editor noted that none of the rifles seemed to excite the testers. He was correct. This time around was different. This time we got excited and found the rifles are interesting and appropriate to the job at hand. We really liked one rifle and felt that it was a Best Buy and a great all-round choice. Also, a more-recent version of an existing model was well worth its modest price. Because we are always looking for a low-cost gem, we added a bargain-basement used gun whose specific model we hadn’t previously tested in the magazine. The Mossberg Trophy Hunter rifle line (there is also a Savage Trophy Hunter, so don’t be confused) has been replaced by the Mossberg Patriot series. The Savage Model 12FV was the most accurate rifle in the test and received high marks for its smooth action and three-position safety. The only question was, would you be willing to lug this rifle around the woods or bring it to the stand?   More...

2018 Guns & Gear Top Picks: Firearms

Toward the end of each year, I survey the work R.K. Campbell, Roger Eckstine, Austin Miller, Robert Sadowski, David Tannahill, Tracey Taylor, John Taylor, and Ralph Winingham have done in Gun Tests , with an eye toward selecting guns, accessories, and ammunition the magazine’s testers have endorsed. From these evaluations I pick the best from a full year’s worth of tests and distill recommendations for readers, who often use them as shopping guides. These choices are a mixture of our original tests and other information I’ve compiled during the year. After we roll high-rated test products into long-term testing, I keep tabs on how those guns do, and if the firearms and accessories continue performing well, then I have confidence including them in this wrap-up.   More...

2018 Guns & Gear Top Pick: Programmable Automatic Powder Dispensers

Our reloading pursuits for handguns are generally to provide volume ammunition for training at a discount based on reusable cases and bullets purchased in bulk. The progressive reloading press is capable of producing more rounds per hour than our arms can withstand. But setting the powder drop to exact quantities can be trial and error, a time-consuming exercise of repeated drops to prime the new setting and weigh out the result. But what if the new load is not what you hoped? Using a programmable automatic powder dispenser enables the reloader to quickly develop multiple loads for test without having to reset your powder measure.   More...

2018 Guns & Gear Top Picks: Top-Ranked Dry-Fire Trainers

Dry-fire training should be part of every shooter’s training routine. It helps build the fundamentals of shooting and reinforces muscle memory. Enter technology, which offers a variety of high-tech lasers, laser-friendly targets, and apps that allows shooters to train in the comfort of their own homes, without the cost of going to a range and, further, without incurring the cost of ammo. The beauty of dry-fire training is you can do it any where you want and at any time. No loud noises, just the clicking of tripped firing pins and a flash of red laser, though some apps and target do have sound effects.   More...