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The internet, that is.

Friday at the range I was a saint. Probationary members have a special badge so we can know when to run. I was shooting and two range officers were watching. Between us we have a little experience.

So this newbie comes up and with no invitation or encouragement from any of us begins to tell us about this great review he read on the internet. He couldn't tell us who wrote it or where he saw it but he positively knew that writer raved about the SIG 522. No specifics just how wonderful it was.

As fate would have it I was shooting a 522. Do you think he asked me? Well no...

Now I am not to the rave stage yet, but do like it. So far it has worked even with GBs and seems to be accurate enough although that test is yet to come.
 

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Charlie Petty said:
So far it has worked even with GBs....
That's an odd statement to me. I have at least three guns that won't run reliably on anything BUT GBs. And I think I only have one semiauto (rifle) that won't feed them. Oh, come to think of it, my Stoeger Luger won't feed them either. They run fine in everything else and are pretty accurate in quite a few.
 

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I like the Sig 522. If I hadn't just purchased the Sig 556 earlier this year. ..... :roll:
I have all these guns I wanna buy .... so many guns ... so little time ... so little $$$$ :banghead:

Oh well. I am glad the 522 seems to work OK for you.
 

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Charlie,

I've found that the Internet is more blessing than curse . . . and in many forums (such as this one) it seems to be self-correcting; for example, if a bad handload is posted, usually within a matter of hours there will be several responses that not only say it's a bad load, but also why it's a bad load. You don't get that in print media.

Also, I've found that by searching various forums you can get a broad consensus of what works and what doesn't - sure, you have to sift it a bit yourself, but think about it - it's rare that a new gun doesn't get rave reviews in the print media. Yet the writers in web forums seem to uncover . . . issues . . . that all (ALL!) the gun rags miss. Such was the case when I bought a Kahr P9 . . . and what a wretched little piece of trash that was. Had I waited 6 months longer and read user reviews on various forums, I would've avoided that little POS. But NO . . . I foolishly believed the lavish praise the print media universally heaped on it, to my regret. :roll:

There's much to be said for a larger sample size.

(BTW, if I were interested in a Sig 522 and someone at the range was shooting one . . . I would've asked his opinion. And watched him for a while to see how it was working.)
 

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One more vote for "blessing."

Think of what it meant to own a printing press during the struggle for Independence. Now think of what one person can do with a home computer and an internet connection.

As to the rating of firearms, let's not even get into those professional gunwriters who've never met a gun they didn't like. Let's take as an example the Diamondback DB380. Let's say a reputable gunwriter gets a sample that works flawlessly and reports it as such in America's Guns of the World. An internet search, however, would reveal numerous postings from people who have had serious reliability issues with that gun.

Now, if you wish to accept that input (or even input on tactics and legal issues) from people you've never met and whose credentials are unknown, caveat emptor, but I would say the same for someone who happens to have whatever it takes to get published in next month's gun magazine and the cycle to the newsstand, both for the original article and any (unfiltered) feedback, will be much slower.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
As to the rating of firearms, let's not even get into those professional gunwriters who've never met a gun they didn't like.
I grow increasingly weary of comments like that. How about names and examples :x
 

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Charlie Petty said:
As to the rating of firearms, let's not even get into those professional gunwriters who've never met a gun they didn't like.
I grow increasingly weary of comments like that. How about names and examples :x
I'd have to do some thinking to come up with the last published bad review of a gun of any kind that I read. I suspect that "bad guns" simply don't get reviewed, or such reviews don't get published. Sometimes silence speaks volumes.

"Fat Phil" Engledrum used to publish some harsh reviews in his various random rags, but I don't think I've seen a new one of those from him in 20 years or more.

"Gun Tests Magazine" (which is more like a newsletter) has some bad things to say sometimes but IMO they're so incompetent that nothing good or bad from them can be taken as reliable information.
 

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I grow increasingly weary of comments like that. How about names and examples :x
I will cop to having let all me subscriptions to commercial gun magazines run out about ten to twelve years ago so my memory is not fresh in this regard. One name that seems to come to mind is Gary Paul Johnson (sp?).
 

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One of life's little rules is when you're in a hole stop digging.

If you base such an accusation on something ten years old you should be prepared to back it up. Otherwise I think the legal term is libel...

Also, if you haven't read one in ten years how do you know that all magazines and writers are anything but honorable?
 

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Re: Negative reviews…

American Rifleman Feb. 2010 had an overview of nine different .380 ACPs. All but the Rohrbaugh were identified as having feeding or chambering problems. And it was written by a well known gun scribe.

Back on topic: although perils abound, the Internet is great as a source locator. Original materials have to be found and verified for serious work, but it's a time saver for sure. Especially if you want to have perceived wisdom or your preconceived ideas verified by the unwashed masses. :twisted:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
GBs are Remington Golden bullets. As mentioned elsewhere they have had a tendency for misfires. The ones I was using this last time are in one of the new 525 round (used to be 550) bulk packages and seem to be better.
 

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ExSarge said:
What the heck are GB's?
Golden Bullets, Remington's plated high-speed long rifles?

As for gun evaluations . . . American Rifleman reviews often mention malfunctions - the article gobetween mentioned a couple of posts up regarding tests of various .380s is a good example, and noteworthy for it's candor and rarity. AR also mentions group sizes . . . and if you've followed their tests for a number of years, you may have noted that a number of rather pricey rifles yielded rather indifferent accuracy, even with match ammo.

Moving on to the rest of the gun press . . . maybe a good question to ask would be "When was the last time you read a critical review of a firearm or firearm accessory?"

I'm not trying to be facetious, that's a serious question: I really would like to know where a critical review has appeared outside of AR.

Why is it that American Rifleman tests often report some problems with a firearm, and the other magazines don't? And why do Internet forums uncover problems that don't show up in gun press reviews? (Not talking about ONE unhappy customer - do a bit of searching, and you can see that some makes & models have multiple unhappy buyers. Just a matter of sample size? Or something else?)

Since I've started following his writing, I'd say Charlie does a good job in his evaluations (I particularly liked his recent .22 ammo test) and I take what he writes seriously but I have reservations about how seriously to take some of his colleagues in the gun press.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think Snake made a very important point: sometimes it's what isn't said that is more important. I think that malfunctions absolutely must be reported so if I see a piece that doesn't mention feed/function at all that's a red flag.

But we also have to realize that sometimes the reader doesn't have good critical thinking skills.

I've had more than a few readers write in with an interpretation entirely different than what I meant but the classic was a letter written to "The Dope Bag" in which the writer said, "Based on your recommendation I bought a ..." He then went on with a laundry list of problems and a lengthy recitation of the many sins of the NRA.

I had not written the original review so I dug it up and found that the writer had mentioned every problem the reader complained about plus a couple he didn't.. There was no way the thing could have been called even remotely positive and certainly not a "best buy" thing.

He probably just looked at the pictures :roll:
 

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SWAT magazine has had some reviews that were negative. Last one was by Erick Gelhaus on the Glock converted to .50 and the initial one was by someone unknown (to me) telling of an unreliable Nighthawk custom.

Seems to me I posted about a gun review where the writer shot his groups at some silly distance. Yep, here it is.. viewtopic.php?f=65&t=57991

Buddy of mine wrote for a large Hunting magazine. He quit when the editor changed some of the numbers in one of his articles.

As CP says, you have to read carefully. I remember a colleague getting bent around the axle when Jeff Cooper mention that shooting Game over a hundred yards away was a sign of poor hunting skills and shooting center-fire rifles at 200 yards was where the accurate ones truly shined. This guy was never able to quite grasp the difference in the two pursuits. (I have my doubts about the 100 yard game shots, but I've never hunted out west)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It is a point of considerable pride for me that a couple of manufacturers demanded my head for accurate reviews published in three different mags... and not about the same product.

My favorite was when a CEO called an editor and told him they were pulling their ads because of something I wrote... I wish I could have been there when the editor told him they would have to buy some first... :D
 

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Al Thompson said:
. . . I remember a colleague getting bent around the axle when Jeff Cooper mention that shooting Game over a hundred yards away was a sign of poor hunting skills . . . I have my doubts about the 100 yard game shots, but I've never hunted out west . . .
I would be very surprised if Jeff Cooper had ever hunted Kafue lechwe before writing that . . .

I don't agree with everything Cooper wrote, but he was articulate and had a knack for making one think about a subject; he was not a person to dismiss out of hand.

My disenchantment with some gun writers actually began several decades ago, when one writer at American Handgunner magazine published .30/30 loads for the T/C Contender that approached the performance you'd expect from a .308 Win rifle. Another (or the same?) writer later claimed that his design cast handgun bullets were the very first to have two crimping grooves so you could load ammo to different lengths. (Neatly ignoring bullets like Lyman's 358156 which dated back to the '50s.)

Charlie Petty said:
It is a point of considerable pride for me that a couple of manufacturers demanded my head for accurate reviews published in three different mags... and not about the same product . . .
:thumbsup: (If you ever care to share details . . .)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Not a chance... :D

Another was in the middle of his booth at the Shot show where a pres. berated me because I should not have used a picture that did not depict one of his products as he would have liked.

He never would answer when I asked if the thought the photo was fake or not accurate.

I never told him that the editor, not the writer, picks the photos. :lol:
 

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HankB said:
Not a chance... :D
I guess some things are best left unsaid. :)

As for gun magazines, I read'em for entertainment as much (if not more) than for information.

Publishing is a business. Sales alone won't keep a periodical afloat. They depend on advertising revenue. The writers I tend to follow find ways to let you know what they think without spelling it out in big, bold letters.

How about -

"Acceptable Combat Accuracy" - might keep all it's shots inside a human torso at 7 yards?

"Reliable with (insert specific load here)" - nothing else would function?

"Acceptable fit and finish" - if you're not too picky?

Does anybody think that any specialty magazines (cars, computers, stereos, video games, etc) give scathing reviews to products that paid for advertising in their periodicals? Not often that I've found.

Maybe if Consumer Reports started reviewing firearms. But I've read a few of their reports I didn't agree with (based on personal experience).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Actually many years ago they did.

All of those cliches are so transparent that no respectable writer uses them anymore. (I hope)

I've always tried to give an honest, objective report and hope to provide enough information so the reader can draw his own conclusions.

Writing about something you don't like is a real challenge and like pulling teeth for me. Something I really enjoyed usually writes itself.

Editors have a horrible job sometimes but most of those for whom I've worked did it well. If two articles were equally worthy but one was an advertiser they often got the nod but back in the days of my "Gunny Sack" column I tried to give the ink to worthy products... even if they couldn't afford to buy the cheapest ad. Sometimes that paid off down the road. :)
 
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