Auction Arms

Kimber Eclipse Target II 45 ACP, $1393

October 3, 2016 - Gun of the Week

We compared two full-size 1911 handguns in the June 2013 issue to see which model offered the most bang for the buck. This Personal Defense test pitted two pistols of disparate price points to see if the less expensive model offered enough to consider it versus a fully equipped modern handgun. Tested were the Rock Island Armory Standard GI No. 51421 45 ACP, $410; and the Kimber Eclipse Target II 45 ACP, $1393. Here’s an excerpt of that test.

Bersa Firestorm .380 ACP, $307

October 3, 2016 - Gun of the Week

Back in April 2006 Gun Tests magazine tested three .380 ACP pistols, one of which was the Walther PPK, as made here in the U.S. under license by Smith & Wesson. They loved the well-built little PPK, even though it had to go back for rework before they gave it a clean bill of health. It had failed in DA shooting, but a stiffer spring gave it the equivalent of their Grade A appraisal. They recently found a gun that looked a lot like the PPK, the FireStorm by Bersa ($307 MSRP), from Argentina. Here’s what they found.

Correcting The H&R Single Shot’s Problems

October 3, 2016 - Special Reports

Harrington and Richardson made single-barrel shotguns for more than 100 years, and the basic design didn’t change when New England Arms took over. The shotgun action we will use for this chapter is from one of the company’s latest model series.

Smith & Wesson 638 Bodyguard .38 Special +P

October 3, 2016 - Gun of the Week

The name Bodyguard has to be one of the all-time classic names for a self-defense gun. Certainly this Smith & Wesson design has been with us a long time, and in many ways it should be considered an unsung hero among the latest super-light firearms, mainly because it did so much so well.

Working with Pins and Punches

October 3, 2016 - Special Reports

One of the things some gun owners—engineers or fairly well-educated hobbyists who have a good grasp of mechanical things—ask about is how to handle the different kinds of pins in their guns. Particularly, they often want to know if their punches are the right ones, or if they can use a slightly different one without damaging their pins.

Pillar Bedding: How to Spot Botched Jobs on Rifles

September 8, 2016 - Special Reports

In my years working on guns, I have seen a large number of totally botched bedding jobs. In fact, you would be shocked to see what people do to their guns’ bedding to increase the accuracy of a rifle. But do you know how to spot the most common mistakes in bedding, thereby giving you a leg up in improving a gun’s accuracy, or avoiding it altogether? Following are the most common problems shooters should watch for:

Colt Trooper Mark III .357 Magnum

September 8, 2016 - Gun of the Week

The Colt Trooper was made from 1953 to 1969. The Trooper Mark III superceded the Trooper and had a redesigned lock mechanism. It was manufactured from 1969 to 1983 in blue and nickel finish with 4-, 6-, and 8-inch barrel lengths. An owner's manual can be obtained by calling Colt at (800) 962-2658. The Trooper III in our test was made in 1974.

We paid a published dealer price of $350; retail price is $400. Blue Book lists the gun's value as between $225 (95 percent), $325 (98 percent), and $395 (100 percent).

The Colt Trooper Mark III is for all practical purposes the working man's Python. Sound good? It features a serrated front sight pinned in place. The rear sight is fully adjustable, and it should be more durable than similar designs since the rear notch moves back and forth inside a protective frame. While adjustment for elevation is clockwise for down and counter-clockwise for up, the windage adjustment is reversed. Turn it to the right if you want the point of impact to move left, and turn left to bring the POI to the right.

Another feature is the direction in which the cylinder rotates. While other revolvers move counterclockwise, expecting a Colt to go bang requires the first round to be in the 11 o'clock position prior to cycling. Also, to release the cylinder one pulls rather than pushes on the latch.

Repairing Crosman Air Guns

August 31, 2016 - Special Reports

The quantity of air-gun parts per gun is about the same or less than the number of parts in cartridge firearms. In fact, many air-gun parts look and function like their counterparts in firearms we’re already familiar with. Here's an inside look at the Crosman 760 air rifle.

Ruger GP-100 .357 Magnum No. KGP-141 Revolver

February 26, 2015 - Gun of the Week

Ruger lists seven different models in the GP100 revolver family with barrel lengths of 3, 4, and 6 inches. Finishes are either blued or stainless steel. Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices range from $552 for the .38 Special +P only models to $615 for the stainless steel .357 Magnum revolvers with barrel lengths of either 4 or 6 inches. All models come with a rubber grip complete with a rosewood insert. Our 4-inch barreled KGP-141 had a pleasing bright-stainless finish and an adjustable rear sight. Elevation was the familiar clockwise for down and counter clockwise for raising the point of impact. The windage adjustment required opposite movement for changing point of impact.

Beretta Cheetah 84 LS .380 ACP, $652

February 18, 2015 - Gun of the Week

Smaller guns have always had a certain appeal. In some cases it was just the aspect of miniaturization that captures our imagination. In other cases it was the reassurance of a highly concealable weapon. One niche of such guns were semi-auto .380s, which have long been popular sidearms because of their flat, short footprint and sufficient, if not outstanding, power. Even in the small world of 9mm Shorts there is a pecking order in terms of size, with the Beretta 84LS being one of the largest.

Olympic Arms OA 98 223 Rem

February 11, 2015 - Gun of the Week

The design of the OA series of AR-15 type rifles connects to the OA 98 pistol. To accommodate a folding stock, Olympic Arms developed an upper that eliminated the need for a buffer tube. However, due to subsequent legal restrictions, folding-stock models such as the OA 93 and its cousins now feature fixed stocks, but these rifles still benefit from their minimal design and lighter weight. If you look at an OA-built AR-15 and imagine it without a stock, it is easy to visualize how the OA 98 pistol came into being.

CZ USA CZ 83 No. 91302 380 ACP, $522

February 27, 2014 - Gun of the Week

The CZ 83, now available from CZ USA, located in Kansas City, Kansas (, has been in the catalog in one form or another since 1982. That’s when the Czechoslovakian military received its 380-caliber pistols. The Model 83 appeared the following year for civilian sales.

The CZ 83 is also available chambered for 32 ACP. The 380-caliber models come finished in blue steel or satin stainless. The satin-nickel slide on our CZ 83 was stamped Cal. 9 Browning Court. This is yet another name for 380 Auto.

Makarov 9x18

February 20, 2014 - Gun of the Week

Gun Tests Magazine recently tested a Makarov in a larger caliber, 9x18 (about $150). It was blued, and had plastic stocks and fixed sights. It had a safety that dropped its hammer. It was well preserved, and about thirty years old.

Back-Boring Shotgun Barrels

February 19, 2014 - Special Reports

The modern-day shotgunner is now waking up to the benefits of back-boring in certain sporting applications. This may be just the common cycle of the trend, or perhaps this feature has finally found a permanent place in our list of optional features for the shotgun bore. Both Remington and Browning now offer this feature in their target guns. This may fool some gun owners into thinking their trap guns are obsolete; indeed, many will trade in perfectly good and serviceable guns and barrels to obtain this “new” feature.

CZ 550 Varmint No. 04164 22-250 Remington

January 1, 2014 - Gun of the Week

In 2010 members of the Gun Tests staff toured South Dakota and found a haven for open range hunting. At the 17,000 acre Rifle Ranch, (605-985-5516), located about one hour from Rapid City, they fired a selection of borrowed rifles chambered for 223 Remington ammunition. On the flight home they discussed additional options for shooting small targets at greater distance and decided to gather a selection of bolt-action rifles chambered for a round that packed more powder, the 22-250 Remington. They included CZ USA’s $1037 550 Varmint.

Adjusting Fixed Chokes In Single-Barrel Guns

December 24, 2013 - Special Reports

The fixed, or “built-in,” choke is found in many of today’s shotgun barrels, and it is found in almost all shotgun barrels over ten years of age. It generally consists of a tapered entry (choke forcing cone) followed by a parallel section. Without a doubt, the most frequent alteration that the shotgun bore mechanic is asked to do is to make an adjustment in a choke exit diameter.

The Remington 11-87 Premier Trap Shotgun

December 24, 2013 - Special Reports

Gunsmiths are likely to see far more of this shotgun than those from the high-end offshore makers. Here’s what both owners and gunsmiths need to know about how it works and how to keep it working.

Glock G34 Gen 4 9mm

November 26, 2013 - Gun of the Week

Gun Tests Magazine recently tested five high-capacity semi-automatic 9mm handguns that were aimed at the Practical Shooting competitor. Practical Shooting evolved from experimentation with handguns used for self-defense. One characteristic that separates Practical Shooting from other organized pistol competition is that the scoring takes into account the amount of time it takes to deliver the required number of shots for each course of fire. So, fast-action gun handling, as well as quick, precise shots becomes an integral part of the shooter’s score. In another test, they paid particular attention to features and components that make the guns faster and easier to operate, as well as more accurate. They chose to look at the Glock G34 Gen 4 9mm. Here's what they said:

Working the Lee Enfield Rifle

November 26, 2013 - Special Reports

Gun Tests finds out about common problems and common solutions for the most common military-style bolt action in the world. Adapted from the American Gunsmith Library.

Installing Sling Swivels On A Hunting Rifle

November 20, 2013 - Special Reports

I used to go into the deer woods with a cut piece of plastic (to sit on a wet downfall), a six-foot length of drag rope and a turkey sandwich left over from Thanksgiving. Of course, I had my knife and maybe a candy bar along with something to drink which I carried in my pockets or a small backpack.

Cimarron Evil Roy No. ER4104 357 Magnum, $770

October 29, 2013 - Gun of the Week

We tested three single-action revolvers suitable for Cowboy Action shooting in an August 2012 showdown. All chambered in the most common CAS competition caliber, 357 Magnum, the choices were the Ruger New Vaquero NV-34 No. 5107, $719; the Heritage Manufacturing Big Bore Rough Rider RR357CH4, $500; and Cimarron’s Evil Roy No. ER4104, $770.

Springfield Armory Custom Shop Professional .45 ACP

September 23, 2013 - Gun of the Week

The Professional is a complete rebuild, including the installation of a match-grade barrel and complete refinishing. Other parts listed for installation include match hammer and sear, speed trigger, titanium firing pin with extra heavy firing pin spring, beavertail grip safety, ambidextrous thumb safety, low mount Novak rear sight with matching dovetail front sight, 3-dot tritium inserts, magwell, 20-lpi checkering on the front strap, checkered cocobolo grips, beveling of all external parts, deburr complete pistol internally, apply a “Black T” finish to the complete pistol and ship with six Metalform seven-round magazines tuned to the pistol.

Glock 34 9mm

September 17, 2013 - Gun of the Week

Not much has changed on the Glock 34, and it is still the most popular choice for Practical Shooting competitors, including Dave Sevigny, the most prolific winner in the history of the USPSA Production division.

The G34 featured a 5.3-inch barrel on a full-size frame that housed a 17-round magazine. The G34 has a large cutout in the top of its slide. It might just be the easiest way to produce a slide of the proper weight so that reciprocation remains smooth and reliable.

Glock GL31 .357 Sig

September 8, 2013 - Gun of the Week

Glock adapted this same pistol to other cartridges, including the .357 SIG, and we found the fully loaded GL31 handled much like the model 17. If you have ever felt that the Glock pistol chambered for .45 ACP or 180-grain .40s were somehow out of sync, then the .357 SIG is a more natural fit.

Remington Nylon 12, 22 S, L, & LR, about $350

September 4, 2013 - Gun of the Week

Brown plastic, actually Nylon, in a wood-grain pattern gives this rare old Nylon 12 a timeless, glossy look. The checkering was useful, and the rifle durable. It was a light and well-balanced rifle, but not many of us thought it was handsome. The full-length stock added good protection to the tubular magazine.

Express Rust Bluing: Tips and Techniques

August 20, 2013 - Special Reports

Bluing, as done in the good old days, was essentially a hand-applied process that took time to accomplish. The end result of the express rust-bluing process I’ll describe here looks and wears just as well or better than some of the methods used in days gone by. In fact, it may even wear better than a few of the so-called “modern bluing methods” used on today’s production firearms.

Savage 11/111 Lightweight Hunter No. 19209 308 Winchester, $899

August 14, 2013 - Gun of the Week

Gun Tests magazine tested 308 Win. bolt rifles in the January 2013 issue -- a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Compact ($880), a Savage 11/111 Lightweight Hunter ($899), and a Mossberg 4X4 No. 27656, $471. Here’s what we found out about the Savage.

Disassembly/Reassembly of the Browning A-Bolt II

August 14, 2013 - Special Reports

The original A-Bolt Hunter and its BBR predecessor had several things in common. Both were manufactured by Miroku in Japan, had detachable magazines under their floorplates, and adjustable triggers. They were both delivered to the store without sights unless otherwise specified, and neither was designed by John M. Browning.

BAR history from The Browning Insider

July 31, 2013 - Special Reports

Much of the fame of today's sporting BAR began through the fame of the original military BAR designed by John M. Browning near the end of World War I. This rifle, called the BAR M1918, was commissioned by the U.S. Army in an effort to break the stalemate of trench warfare in the battlefields of France and Belgium. It took John M. Browning three months to design it. Browning took this project so seriously that his son Val personally did testing and training of the American troops.

Smith & Wesson M&P Compact No. 109003 40 S&W, $569

June 10, 2013 - Gun of the Week

We recently tested compact 40 S&W handguns in the March 2013 issue. Here’s an excerpt of that report.

For this test we looked at a S&W M&P Compact 40 ($569) and a Kahr CW40 ($485). They are a bit larger than the tiny nines we’ve been trying, and there are good reasons for that. The 40 S&W is a lot more cartridge than the 9mm Parabellum, and when forties get smaller than these two test guns, recoil is entirely unfriendly.