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January 04, 2008

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The Guns I Test Aren’t Special

One of the things of which I am frequently accused (in addition to uttering false notes, and mopery with intent to loiter) is testing specially selected rifles that are not representative of what you, the unwashed and lesser-privileged, are forced to buy. Nonsense say I, and as proof, here are some of the things that have been wrong with guns that were sent to me in recent months.

*A .308. Chunk of finish knocked out of stock; trigger that was creepier than Dick Cheney; bluing salts oozing out of the barrel threads.

*A .22/250. Chunk of paint knocked off the stock (is this a new look? Am I missing something?); 7-pound trigger pull. On a varmint rifle. 7 pounds. Gap around the firing pin that craters primers. Bolt face scrapes brass off cases.

*A .375 H&H that was made for me and for which I paid big buck$. Ejector did not eject. Trigger needed work. Barrel band was not secured in place and went flying up the barrel after 100 rounds.

I could go on, but I'm depressed enough already. This is why, when people ask me whether to buy Brand X or Brand Y, I say who knows? You may get a great rifle or you may get a dog. It's all a crapshoot.


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This years blog subjects:

A look back in anger, good bye to tatiana, the guns I test are not special.

I think Mr. Petzal has determined 2008 to be "the year of the grouch".



Oh, for the opportunity to receive a blemished firearm for testing. How horrid to be expecting to have a firearm arrive in mint condition and then not get it. Oh, darn, Dave. How disappointing. Oh, shucky darn, drat.
The excitement is underwhelming me.


Scott in Ohio

Perhaps the title for the blog should be updated to "The Enthusiastic Grouch"?

My only problems on new guns have been poor fit/finish that I was able to correct with a Dremmel tool.

Tommy S.

I take exception to that unwashed bit.

Lesser privileged - sure, but I wash once a week thank you very much!


Very few take pride in their work these days -- I was a house builder for almost two decades and would never dream of handing over the keys to a less than well built house.

Bought my son a new expensive .22. Far less than reliably functional, it has required much babying to keep it happy...

While manufacturers are unfortunately trapped between consistent quality and the proverbial, "bottom line", good gunsmiths are not too hard to find -- but it is little consolation when a new firearm still needs work!

Tommy S.

I am getting upset - I haven't made GREG spit on his keyboard in 2008 yet.
GREG - got your ears on?


Must be nice to get to test firearms before you buy. I have bought 3 different firearms (2 rifles, 1 pistol) that had to go back due to defects.....stinky process that doesn't work well....



You are so right! Last year I ordered a Marlin 1895 Cowboy in 45/70. Since I live out in fly over country with the rest of the great unwashed masses I could not walk into the local gunshop and fondle the prospective purchase from several on the rack. When I received the rifle it looked OK; however, I did notice a large knot hole in the butstock which had been filled with wood putty before staining and finishing. Once I drove it off the lot other maladies came to light. The biggest problem was that the hammer bounces off of the right side of the slot at the rear of the bolt before striking the fireing pin. Upon close inspection the factory's solution was grind away part of the underside of the bolt to let the skewed hammer fall reach home base. The gun shoots high with all but the most pedestrian factory loads. The octagon barrel did not have the tooling marks polished out before blueing. Several screw head slots were marred from ill fitting factory screw drivers. The fore end is not symetrical along with oversized inletting, and of course it has a trigger pull more suited to King Kong! Marlin says the gun is up to specs...

I ordered a CZ 452 American in .22 LR last month. The gun was fitted out and finished very well. The checkering was well executed on a very nice piece of walnut with tiger tail figure. Metal polish and blue were also good. I had to stone the trigger parts to smooth up the trigger but over all it was OK out of the box. The little gun is a shooter even with cheap ammo!

The Czech's seem to have a sence of craftsmanship and pride that have been lost in America. Several 336's I have had from the 60's and 70's were built like Swiss watches compared to the glorified crow bar I received from Marlin's latest efforts!


Come on Dave. I can't hunt today, Auburn is loosing it's defensive coordinator to the same school for the second time in three years, and now this. I need something good to read.


I think that some of the public's perception is that gun writers get a cherry from every lot for testing. I can't remember the last time I read a gun review where the trigger didn't break like glass, the gun didn't shoot a 1/2 inch group with all ammo tested, the wood to metal looked like Dale Goens ran the shop and the optics were as clear as tap water.
I've seen the crap on the racks at the local gun emporium, and unless the writers are getting different guns than I see, most of them need glasses or a serious dose of reality.
Glad DEP keeps it real.

Tommy S.

I just wanna go home...
I just wanna go to bed...
Had me a drink about an hour ago..
And it went right to my head!


When it comes to water I can either flush or wash. I flush. What is a privilege?

Dave and others are right when it comes to buying a mass produced item, it is a crapshoot. But for something that is produced in the millions or hundreds of thousands, what do you expect?


I knew a gentleman that bought a Remington 7mm-08 that had a 30 cal barrel and the bullets came out tumbling! Store traided him out with a Ruger M-77 30-06 and Remington gave him a case of ammo. some deal?


Im out here Tommy. 2008 just been unbelievably busy so far. Kids dont go back to school till Mon. Ever chase a 3 year old with a bum leg? Im gettin my spitter warmed up though!!!!LOL


These type of issues are not isolated to guns.

I purchased a new pickup on January 20th last year, so far the alternator has died, the transfer case refuses to engage low-range, and the door pillar was so far out of square that the windshield cracked.

The truck I replaced was of the same make and model and it had over 300,000 virtually trouble free miles on it when I sold it.


seems everywhere you go, there you are, huh?


....and a few blogs ago you, DEP, were casting aspersions on all things Winchester. All three of my left handed Model 70s (.375 H&H, .338 Win Mag., .30-'06 Spring.) had very decent wood, bluing, wood to metal fit, and best of all, will shoot into three inches at 200 yards. Alas, I must confess, the triggers did need a mite of adjustement. Neatest thing I've seen in a coon's age is a Savage 10 .223 Rem. Out of four of them that I know of in our deer hunting group, four are tack drivers.


Aw, com'on every body cheer up. At least Hitlery lost in I o way, and a lot of the political gurus are ready to shovel dirt on her
campaign. I just hope that they drive a stake in her heart first.


Boy, you're hard! I was just hoping she'd lose the caucus. Besides, having heard her laugh, I doubt that a stake would do it. Seems to me, Dorothy,Toto and the boys did it with water.

Dr. Ralph

Having worked for the first time in almost three weeks today I can assure you that I am unwashed and lesser privileged... and slamming Colorado Koolaid at a breakneck pace. I also am in the mopery with intent to loiter mode. Slung the door open, asked the three rug rats when in the hell they were going back to school and unceremoniously kicked them off the computer and out of the room... oh, and bring me two more beers. Basically everything is shit now. How's that for a crap shoot? You play, you lose... end of story. I have a 2005 Silverado and when it hit 58,000 miles it dies on the interstate. No problem tow it to my ace mechanic and fix it. Right? They call me back to say the fuel pump went out and it's $800... I say you mean $180, $280? No sir that fuel pump alone is over $500. I call every parts store in the book and $480 is the cheapest and it's a re-man, so obviously they now make gold fuel pumps and hide them in gas tanks. Get it back and bam 200 yards from the house dead on arrival. AGAIN!!! Turns out it was a rotor button after all. And they were so nice they didn't even charge me again. Want to know why I haven't been hunting with the .257 Mag this year???? Cover your ears if your last name is Weatherby! Took it in for a trigger job and got it back, man was it smooth and light.... only thing is the safety would no longer engage. Turned around and drove straight back to my local gunsmith of unparallelled repute and said "what the heck?" Got it back a week later AFTER opening day and it was worse than before I took it in! Less pull but creepier and feels like sand paper then you hit a smooth spot and then the paper again then bang. Got to looking on the web and someone else had the same problem then another... then someone said Weatherby got a bad batch of springs and when the trigger was adjusted properly the safety would not engage. NO SHIT..

I came up with the crap shoot theory a while back Dave, so watch out or I'll sue you for copyright infringement. I discovered this after telling my next door neighbor to buy a Remington 700 because it was the best deer rifle in the woods. Damn fool buys the .300 Ultra Mag with bullets that remind me of the Empire State Building and asks me to sight it in. The piece of crap couldn't shoot an 8 inch group at 100 yards so I took the scope off, re-mounted it and was rewarded with 10 inch groups... we shot three boxes of .300 Ultra Mag with the best five shot group over five inches! Pain, but no gain.

craig curtis

must be awfull all those firearms and not a one up to par heres a list of all the guns that were laid in my lap,=--------- ---------- -------- ------------ kind of comes up blank dave aspiring gun testers we"d like to be im thinking !


Stake through the heart, water, abra-ca-dabra juice, West Indies Voo-Doo or chicken bone. Whatever it takes. How hard can one be on the Antichrist??


Hey craig curtis,

That's the same bunch of manufacturerers that sent ME guns to play with!
The one I liked best was the .--- Win Mag with the --------- stock and the -------- action! The shotgun -------- sent me had absolutely no recoil what-so-ever! You could shoot it off your nose and the pattern was unheard of!!!
Shame on you Dave!
I go to the mail box, I get bills!
You go, you get guns! And you expect me to be upset because your FREE guns have some imperfections?! May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits!!!! May your wife decide on new curtains for the kitchen the day before deer season opens!!! (you know you'll have to hang them before you leave the house!!)



DEP; I'm sure you greatly appreciate all this sympathy from your fellow gun nuts, but remember, it all comes from the heart. Me, I,m also sympathetic.
The fleas from 1000 camels? You could start the mother of all flea markets.
Keep 'em comming.

Del in Kansas

Dave I guess I've been lucky. A new Shiloh Sharps 1873 sporter in cal 45-70 I ordered arrived with much, much better wood than I paid for. The action is smooth as glass. Metal to metal and wood to metal fit is outstanding. It will put 5 520 grain cast bullets into 2 inches center to center at 100 yards with the factory open sights. NO it is not for sale.
I bought a Kimber 2506 last September. It was also a beauty.

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