Revolvers for the Elderly, New Virginia Laws, Henry Rifles

A reader whos been there suggests that an elderly relative stick with 38 Specials and not 357 Magnums if shes going to use a revolver for self defense. And how about an AR-15 for ridealong?


Re: “Firing Line,”
February 2016

S&W Lady Smith snubnose revolver

In last month’s Firing Line, reader Winslow asks for advice on a 357 magnum lightweight snubnose revolver for a 75-year-old female cousin. My advice would be, buy the 357 mag if you must, but be sure you can shoot 38 Special in it as well. I own an S&W LadySmith originally bought for my wife. I have fired several dozen 38 Special rounds from it, but only five (one cylinder’s worth) of the 357 mags. It was a painful experience, maybe because that attractive rosewood grip doesn’t offer much cushion. (It is now wrapped in thick camo tape.) More likely because that is a lot of firepower for a smaller, lightweight firearm. I suspect that 38 Special (not even +P) will be the round of choice with for Winslow’s cousin’s revolver.

I have read recent Gun Tests articles on various AR rifles, so I recently built an AR with a folding stock. I was attracted to this option because I drive a sports car, and even with a collapsible stock and 16-inch barrel, an AR will not fit in the trunk. The folding stock adapter I chose was one made by Law Tactical ( It was easy to install, works fine to fold the stock, and adds just a little bit of fiddling when I have to separate the upper and lower. But it is very expensive and adds no additional operating functionality to the firearm, since it should never be fired with the stock folded. Anyway, I have not seen many options for folding stocks on an AR platform, and thought that a review of adapters for them might be in order.

— Jim

I had the notion a couple of years ago that I was going to put some sliding, lockable cabinets in my Tahoe so I could take and get to an AR PDQ should the need arise. I agree with many other shooters that a sidearm allows me to fight my way to my rifle. Maybe a folding stock, like what you suggest, is a better answer than an SBR for portability — less expensive and no tax stamp. Thanks for the suggestion.— Todd Woodard

Re: “DPMS and POF 308 Semi-Autos: Heavy Hitters, or Just Heavy?”
February 2016

DPMS and POF 308 semi-automatic rifles

I would appreciate a little help. I’m wondering why these two diametrically opposed 308s were chosen to oppose one another. By the way, I would pick the DPMS based on price alone. It just seems odd to me that the A- went to a gun you needed a Dremel to open up. The POF’s price alone is enough to keep me away. Then we have a 16-inch barrel versus a 20-inch barrel. No wonder the DPMS was lighter. Then we have the stock difference. The DPMS wins with the most commonly available adjustable you can get. The POF has the stock that I commonly see in distance competition or benching. I don’t care for it, but it is rock solid with no slop at all. I would have thought that putting your March 2014 Rock River LAR-8 A4 would have been a more similar comparison. Then again, maybe similar is not the intent. Thanks for the chance to express my thoughts.

— John

Hey John: You’re obviously correct; these were diametrically opposed 308s, rifle vs. carbine. We chose these two to see which gun was better suited for a variety of applications: hunting, accuracy, handling, and how the guns would be viewed by different shooters not familiar with the more powerful 308 Win. cartridge. As far as the modification with the Dremel tool, this could have been addressed through the manufacturer, but we chose to deal with it because the modification was simple and not beyond our ‘smithing abilities. Like most shooters, we’re always looking for value, so we gave the $1000 DPMS an A- because it outperformed the high-end POF in all aspects we cared about. — Rafael Urista

Re: “Bad CHL News Come Feb 1,”
February 2016

While I am not in one of the affected states, I am from Vermont, and we do not require a permit for CC, and no state recognizes our not needing a permit! I can highly sympathize with anyone from a state that is affected. One way to express your dissatisfaction is with your wallet. Do not visit or spend money in Virginia. Let the state’s General Assembly know your dissatisfaction and let them know that you will speak with your wallet. There are many places in Virginia that might be worth visiting and spending time and money there. List them. List the length you might have considered staying. The General Assembly is well aware of the money per day that visitors to the state spend on average. The more they hear from dissatisfied people, they might begin to crunch the numbers and reconsider.

I have some dear friends who live in Virginia. Unfortunately, due to some archaic laws in Virginia, we seem to curtail many visits for fear of being stopped or detained while passing through that state.

— Art

As I mention in Downrange of this issue, the General Assembly is looking for a solution to the reciprocity problem caused by the state’s attorney general. His name is Mark R. Herring, and his mailing address is 900 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219. Or you can call his office at (804) 786-2071. If the current deal between the assembly and Gov. Terry McAuliffe goes through, Herring will have his reciprocity review authority revoked. — tw

Re “Uberti’s 1860 Henry Rifle Trumps Henry’s ‘Original’ Lever-Action,”
February 2016

Remington ammo

I am writing in regard to the article on the Uberti 1860 Henry rifle. On page 26 you note that “Remington ammo was balky on entering the chamber,” which you attributed to a slight shoulder on the bullet. I had the same problem with a Uberti copy of the Colt Lightning pump action rifle in 45 Colt. I don’t think it was the bullet so much as the abrupt shoulder caused by the uncrimped case mouth. It wouldn’t matter in a revolver, as you are basically dropping the round into the chamber. However, in the mechanized and horizontal loading process in a lever or pump action, the round will feed better if it presents a smooth profile to the ramp and chamber entrance. I solved the problem by running all of my ammo through a profile crimp die. That pushes the case mouth inward and rounds it slightly, and would also smooth out lead bullets. It’s no different than the crimp I apply to my handloads. I routinely do that to all brands of factory ammo that I purchase for my Lightning or various lever actions. It’s cheap (if you already have the reloading equipment) and doesn’t take much time.

— John

Thank you for the tip. — tw

Can’t Reach Thureon Defense

Thureon Defense rifle

Enjoy your magazine and the work you do. I have decided to purchase a 45 ACP carbine, so I reviewed past articles and your value guides. However, I struggle to find what I am looking for in the online Gun Tests resource. Even using the advanced search feature, I find it easier to look through my stack of past issues, find what I am looking for, and then use keywords or the magazine issue date to see if I can get to what I am looking for online.

Anyway, based upon your ratings, I decided on a Thureon Defense Carbine. Easier said than done. Over the last couple of weeks, both myself and my local dealer have tried contacting them by phone and email and have gotten zero response. Are they still in business? If they are closed for vacation, are out of stock, or have another reason for not responding, I would think a note on their website, a voicemail message, or an automatic email reply would go a long way toward improved customer service.

— Don

Don, I will attempt to contact Thureon myself, and I will contact you if I’m successful. Two comments: The performance of the Thureon was faultless. It is simpler than an AR-15 and has the makings of a great carbine. However, a lack of response to dealer and consumer interrogatives is a concern.

— Bob Campbell

Re: February 2016 Issue

As I sat here reading my latest copy of Gun Tests, I started to think, I find such great information on so many things in here, but looking at the pistols, why do they all have to look the same? Whatever happened to the personal pride everyone took in their ownership of not only a working tool, but also a masterpiece of design and artwork? In all my years in law enforcement, I took great pride in the firearm I carried, and so did my fellow officers. When anyone saw one of us wearing a sidearm with custom grips, in a spit-shined leather holster, they knew that we were someone who took pride in our firearm and knew just how to use it. Nowadays, when you see an officer with a flat-black piece of plastic sticking out of a plastic or nylon holster strapped to his leg commando-style, you have to wonder where the pride went. Yes, it may look very military-like, but it all looks the same. And I ask myself, can he really use that thing?

The same goes for personal carry. What pride can you take in having a handgun that looks like all the rest? Somehow a square, blocky, hammerless, flat-black piece of plastic, with rails so short that the slide rattles like a 1911 with ten thousand rounds through it, just can’t scream pride. If you were to take an example from almost every firearm maker and throw them in a box, shake them up and stand back two feet, you would have a very hard time trying to figure out just what was what. They all look the same!

Whatever happened to steel, wood, a choice of finishes, and last but not least, a hammer and full-length rails? Oh, we all know that most are great-working tools, but you should still be able to take pride in what you carry. There are some very nice, well-thought-out carry handguns out there, but who wants to pay three thousand dollars for an everyday carry gun?

If you like and want plastic, there is always Glock, the ones who started this whole trend of today’s handguns. But some of us still think about curves, flow, smoothness, and materials in the design and building of modern sidearms. Thank you.


Hey Grant: I don’t think you’re alone in your nostalgia for handsome, well-cared-for firearms. But the upsides of plastic guns are hard to overlook. They function well; they are easy to care for; they are practically corrosion proof; and, not to be dismissed, they are less expensive on a per-unit basis. The economics of the matter alone are persuasive. But I would wager a lot of other Gun Tests readers agree with you. Thanks for writing. — tw


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