April 2018

How About More 44 Specials?

Reader Mick makes a case for an extensive wheelgun feature using one of his favorite rounds. On it. Reader Tom extols the virtues of smaller rifles for bigger people. Great advice.

Re “Firing Line,” February 2018

ruger gp100 buffalo bore

Reader Andrew complained about the “apples to oranges” comparison of the GP-100 44 Special to two 44 Magnums. I have to agree. As a long-time fan of the 44 special (I prefer large holes), I would prefer to see a comparison of carry-worthy, relatively short-barreled 44 specials from Ruger, Taurus, Charter Arms, S&W or any other manufacturers still providing us with revolvers in this great caliber. While you have done comparisons in the past, I would like to see an updated and comprehensive comparison of 44 specials with cylinders dedicated to the caliber, and not including short-barreled 44 mags.

I realize that any 44 mag will shoot 44 special, and indeed my NM Super Blackhawk is the most accurate handgun I own; its groups always draw a crowd at the range. But at my 5’8” height, this single action is not my idea of the perfect carry gun. Yes, I still like to carry a revolver... imagine that! While because of my size I usually end up carrying a semi-auto IWB, especially during the summer, during coat weather I enjoy carrying my S&W 624 in a Kramer horsehide holster. I bobbed the hammer and had it round butted and fitted with Spegel Bootgrips. Nearly as accurate as the Super Blackhawk with the right handloads, this gun gives me comfort and a feeling of safety when it is on my person, and it is the weapon at my bedside.

But, sadly, my 624 is big and I am relatively small. So, to repeat, I would be pleased to see a review of short-barreled, K-frame-sized 44 specials from any manufacturer, whether currently offered or discontinued, but still available. Thank you for your consideration, and thank you for what I believe to be the most honest and informative firearm publication extant. — Mick

Re “Bolt-Action Hunting Rifles for Compact and Youth Shooters,” March 2018

Not just for shorter people! I’m 5’10” and about 180 pounds, and my arms are a little longer than average. That makes me just about the average male in North America. Most of my hunting is wild boar in California, and you face a range of conditions, from up-close to 200-yard-plus shots. Over the years I’ve used several rifles. Lots of walking, in and out of trucks, up and down hills so steep you need to sling the rifle and use both hands, very hot days and very cold mornings. I really like the youth-sized guns! With a properly set scope, they are fast and easy to maneuver. They are also potentially just as accurate as their longer cousins. I don’t find hunting with a shorter stock any handicap at all! My nephew started shooting with a Remington Youth Model in 7mm-08. I down-loaded his cartridges for the first few years to lower the recoil. Now, he shoots the full-power stuff. With a Leupold 2-8x scope and a good sling, it is the perfect wild boar rifle! —Tom

In the September 2003 issue, we ran a story about a Remington 700 Titanium in 7mm-08, which weighed 6.5 pounds with a scope. It listed for $1239, and our sample didn’t shoot that well. But for a lot less money, as you learned, several youth models by various manufacturers weigh in very close to that and cost half of that, or less. For a lot of shooters, this entire class of youth firearms is a bargain. The trick in these light firearms is to get them chambered in something mild, so they won’t rattle your fillings. — tw

Re “Guns of the Year,” December 2017

mossberg 590 shockwave

I was excited to read the review on the 590 Shockwave. I have shot the 590 and was eager to compare our views. I was unexpectedly disappointed when the final sentence of the review stated, “but we wondered how easy it would be to shoot.” This gun was given an A grade. One of the criteria is shootability. Would like to know why it was given an A. When I shot it, this gun literally blasted me with a giant blow back and up, and it removed skin on my right hand from the jagged safety and upward movement that, without the strap, would have caused me to lose control of the gun. I have ordered the OPsol insert and Aguila minishells, which it makes it so much nicer to shoot. Wondering about the stopping power of those shells? Maybe I should get the new 20-gauge model. Please advise of your findings. Love the GT magazine! — Jeff

Perhaps my edit of the original review for the December Guns of the Year feature didn’t give our full experience with the Shockwave. Here’s what the Our Team Said section said about the Shockwave in the October 2017 issue: “Loaded with Aguila minishells and equipped with the OPSol Texas Mini-Clip attached, the Shockwave offered a lot of firepower. We really like shooting the minishells through the Shockwave. The 2.75-inch shells were less fun to shoot due to recoil. We found the Shockwave accurate and effective. For a short-range defense weapon in cramped conditions like a vehicle, the Shockwave is a good choice.” Just above that, Robert Sadowski wrote, “The 2.75-inch shells had substantially more recoil. The 3-inch shotshell delivered brutal recoil and an 18-inch pattern with birdshot. We would avoid shooting 3-inch shells in the Shockwave.” — tw

Re “Value Guide: Recent Semi-Auto Handgun Rankings,” March 2018

remington r51

About the Remington R51 review, I bought the R51 for my every-day carry because I love the feel of the gun, and it conceals inside the waist well and comfortably. I had serious doubts immediately; the rounds did not chamber well. After looking very hard at the problem, I found two issues. First, the magazine is too tight to fit seven rounds, making the first round hard to chamber after firing. Second, the lips of the magazine were very sharp and dug into the rim of the case. You could feel a burr on all the cases. I filed the mag lip to alleviate the issue and began to only load six rounds and have run thousands of rounds through this pistol with no misfeeds at all since. I also sent Remington an e-mail with this same info, but got no response. I don’t think they want to admit there is a problem at all. I will say this is a very good shooting pistol, and I am very happy with it. — Bruce P.

That’s great problem-solving. Looking back over the last couple of years when the R51 was born, aborted, then reborn, perhaps there was a lot more going on behind the scenes that contributed to Remington’s recent bankruptcy. I’m glad you got your R51 to work, and perhaps others who bought one can look at these problem areas that you’ve described. Thank you. — tw

Re “Bullseye Target Cam” Video on Gun Tests' YouTube

bullseye target cam

I have the Target Cam and have used it several times out to 200 yards. Be sure and look at all the videos from Bullseye on how to set it up and use it. This works great and makes the spotting scope obsolete. Due to the ability to mark your hits with different colors, you can shoot multiple groups on the same target and know which bullets go in which group. It saves a long walk out to 300 yards to check, change, or paste your target. I’m going to try the camera out when I pattern my shotgun for turkey hunting. Since it shows the last shot, I’m hoping to be able to fire several shells at the patterning target and see the pattern for each shot. The only problem I have encountered, other than not having looked at all of the videos before using the camera, is not having a clean line of sight from the camera to the shooting stand. My range has berms at 25, 50, 100, and 200 yards, so a camera placed on the ground at 200 yards may be obscured by the berm at 100 yards. Be sure your tablet or phone can “see” the camera. Oh, and don’t forget to take your phone downrange with you to set up the camera to view the target. Ask me how I know. — James

Man, not having to fiddle with a spotting scope has a lot of appeal. But I assume that if I used it on a public range, somebody would “accidentally” shoot it and think that was pretty danged funny. — tw

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