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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hate ambiguous magazine articles. You know the ones where they talk about how much they like this new hot gun, but they give you absolutely nothing concrete, no measurements, or real data that I could not get off the box it came in myself. Like reloading data that pushes the limit, but fails to have any OAL data in the mix. For me that is the bottomline, give me information that I can use.

So when I see, not just ambiguous information, but blatantly wrong information, it just pops my cork. Still, there are people out there writing magazine articles who as soon as I see their name on the byline, I know it will of little value to me. There is one author at Guns and Ammo magazine that has stepped over even that fine line into just plain wrong information. Reading his articles is like trying to get through a CNN or MSNBC report without screaming at the television.

Well, Tom Beckstrand got me there with his article on the new plastic cased ammunition from True Velocity. Not just untrue information, but a spin on technology, that is so wrong it is funny. Now I am sure he did not come up with this spin on heat reduction in the AR, and someone at True Velocity is probably rolling on the ground laughing that no editor at Guns and Ammo was smart enough to catch this major technological misstep that they pitched to the unknowing Tom Beckstrand. I, myself, have been guilty of feeding fantastical, unbelievable information to reporters who should have known better, only to see it in print the next week. Like the squad that so wanted to get back into the fight, that when their APC threw a track, they all got out and pushed it back up on its tracks. LOL, those things weighted 28,000 pounds, empty. Yet there was the story in Stars & Stripes by a reporter wearing Infantry brass. LOL, and yes, my Battalion Commander made me write commendations for everyone of those guys because it was in print, even as he was laughing about it the entire time he was chewing me out.

To shorten up this story, the issue is the idea put forth by Mr. Beckstrand in that the plastic case of the True Velocity ammunition has an insulating affect that greatly reduces the heat in the action of an AR. Well, for those of you with little knowledge of the AR, it has an operating system that is both its best feature as well as its greatest weakness. Gas comes back from the barrel through a gas tube and operates the action. In the original M16, this gas port is most of the way down a 20" barrel, so both gas and heat are at acceptable levels so as not to overheat the action. But as barrels have gotten shorter and shorter, more heat, at greater pressures, and carrying more carbon blast back into the action overheating it to the point that continuous full auto fire will either seize up the action about the third or fourth 30 round magazine, or it will start cooking off rounds, meaning it continues to fire after you release the trigger. Heat is most definitely a huge issue in the AR, my issue is that any heat transfer through the cartridge case is less than 1% of the total.

Back when many companies were touting the virtues of replacing the Direct Impingement (DI) gas system of the AR with a piston design to reduce the heat coming back into the action, they sent out demo teams. The HK 416 was one of those ARs, for instance. What I remember were the demonstration teams these various companies sent around trying to get support within the military for a change. Invariably, they would show us the new rifle, fire off 3 or 4 magazines on full auto, then take out the BCG and hold it in their bare hand. It was impressive, in that we knew anyone doing that with a regular DI AR would be making a trip to the hospital for severe burns. So if there had been significant heat transfer through the brass case as touted by Mr. Beckstrand, those guys would have been burned, severely.

Now Mr. Beckstrand is a former SF operator, and it just goes to show that those pulling the trigger, often do not understand the technology of their tools. Much like Mr. Ayoob, a retired LEO, has little legal understanding outside of the police state he operated within. Like I said, the technology assertion is so absurd as to be funny and should have been picked up by his editors.

This is not Mr. Beckstrand's only faux pas, he continues to complain, to everyone who will listen, that the Army's new M855A1 is horrible because it is loaded past SAMMI max pressures (53,000 psi) for the .223. Well, the 5.56mm NATO round has, to my knowledge, always been loaded to NATO standards, and that includes his beloved M855 green tips, which are loaded to 63,000 psi. And contrary to Mr. Beckstrand's assertions, the M855A1 has proven itself to be exceptionally accurate and lethal, setting many new records in Afghanistan. Point of fact is that the Taliban has stopped their practice of standing up out past 400 meters and taunting our troops, the M855A1 has been dropping them with ease ever since it was introduced into that theater.

Well, let me climb back down off my soapbox now.
 

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I remember having a discussion long ago with a higher level employee that I knew at a major magazine publishing company about story content and glowing reviews of products, and their answer was just the answer that I thought would come out of their mouths:

"We have to give good to glowing reviews of those items we review, and do our best to overlook many of the flaws those items may have, for one simple reason: advertising dollars from the manufacturer of the item we are reviewing. It has NOTHING to do with the reality of whether the product in question really is garbage or great, it has everything to do with the all mighty dollar. And for writers that have NO CLUE about the subject matter they are writing about, and implement falsehoods about that subject, we try to edit their stories to more closely align with the truth about the subject matter as much as possible, but sometimes glaring examples of facts that are just wrong do get through, because sometimes those stories came at the editor at the last minute, and are not reviewed as well as they should be."

A prime example of this 'glowing review' of every item that was reviewed was Skin Diver magazine in its heyday. Everything that they reviewed, whether everyone in the industry knew that the item was garbage or great, was "the newest and greatest thing", and everyone needed to upgrade their gear to include this item or purchase this item to add to their gear. It was all about the advertising dollar controlling the story, not the facts about the item. And I have found the same things, to some extent, in Guns and Ammo magazine, and with many of their authors over the years. Many write opinion pieces that you, the reader, are supposed to take as fact.

And now you know why I hardly ever read a magazine anymore, and rely more on websites like The Truth About Guns and others that are not beholden to advertising dollars.
 

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I gave up on the vast majority of gun magazines years ago. I get better information off the several gun blogs I use. Gun mags are mostly advertisements, period. If gunwriters are critical, they don't get guns for evaluation. There is one magazine I subscribe to intermittently. I cannot recall the title, but it bills itself as the Consumer Reports of firearms. They actually buy guns and report on them. The magazine is fairly expensive, and mostly black and white. If anyone can recall the title, I haven't subscribed for a while and probably should.
 

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Good reviews really cant be trusted in any format, or by anyone, you might get the odd real one, but more often then not it is by someone who got the product for free, and wants more products for free from the same vendor, or, they are paid in one form or another, might even be the plague of most online reviews, actual fake paid reviews. I dont even pay attention to any review that is over 4 stars, usually i look at the 3 and below, those are the real ones, people almost never feel a need to sing somethings praises, they will tell you about something good if you ask, but rare is the person who feels the need to volunteer that info, but you can bet they will complain about it if it isnt good. Absence of complaints on a product that has been out for several months or more, usually means it is pretty good, or so bad nobody else wants it. Only other reason you might not have bad reviews is, some companies will offer refunds and a replacement product free, to get you to pull a bad review, more then once i have had someone contact me on amazon offering just that, for me to pull a negative review i left

And the more money motivated the reviewer, the less the review can be trusted, i.e. magazines.
 
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The internet used to be a good alternative to gun mags. I say used to be, because many of them now are doing the same things the gun mags did years past. Some went just the opposite route, if they didn't get a good kickback, the gun sucks.
Now, many YouTube channels will say, "we just don't review guns we don't like". Which is nonsense, you can't let the viewers find out for themselves a product isn't good.

Everything is about money, very little honesty out there.
 

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Personally I believe everything I read on the inter webs and in magazines!
Magazines as in periodical paper back books, not them clippy things!
 

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Gun magazine articles and reviews in most cases are bias. They review for money. It is like fake news. One of these articles comes to mind imediatly.It really got me aggitated with it's one sided review. The article was by Mark Keefe and was about Taurus. The article was so out of touch with what was really happening at Taurus it made me ill.
 

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As long as you understand that you're never going to see a negative review of a gun in a gun magazine, then you'll be fine. Just enjoy the pictures. :D I've seen more than once where the editor will explain that they just don't like giving negative reviews. Part of that could be because they would possibly lose advertising dollars to the gun company in question. Part of it is also that they would rather find positive things to talk about with any gun. That's probably why some of the online review sites do so well, because it seems like gun owners in general are complainers and want to rag on other brands of guns.
 

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I subscribed to Gun Tests for some time and they had some harsh things to say about some supposed high-quality firearms and accessories that received glowing reviews in G&A and other gun magazines. Dang! You just can't believe anyone these days!! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I prefer seeing a lot of data in an article, so that I can see past the some of the hype and drill down to the important stuff. Standard stuff like weight, length, length of pull, length of barrel, twist rates, type of rifling, type of action, and other stuff like that. I was just reading a shotgun report and it came with 3 screw in chokes, but the article failed to say if they were proprietary threads, or one of the standard easy to replace threads. Little things can make the difference.
 
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When was the last time that you remember seeing a gun, ammo or equipment review in ANY of the gun mags, but G&A in particular, that was negative?

Buy a 2 page color advertisement for the next 6 issues and your zip gun made out of sewer pipe could be the next "Gun of the Year".
 

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I prefer seeing a lot of data in an article, so that I can see past the some of the hype and drill down to the important stuff. Standard stuff like weight, length, length of pull, length of barrel, twist rates, type of rifling, type of action, and other stuff like that. I was just reading a shotgun report and it came with 3 screw in chokes, but the article failed to say if they were proprietary threads, or one of the standard easy to replace threads. Little things can make the difference.
Well.....keep in mind that not all gun reviewers are created equal. If the shotgun guy has another review he's doing, they may give it to somebody who doesn't know that this information might be good to have. Sometimes the best review is your own.
 

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From my own experience: Consumer Reports.

In the early 1970s, I worked in consumer electronics as a technician. Mostly TV service. Every year, Consumer Reports would run reviews and ratings on the different brands, comparing picture quality, etc. I suppose it may have changed, but at that time many of the "catalogue stores" like Sears and Montgomery Ward TVs were made *usually under a two or three year contract) by the major manufacturers (RCA, Philco, Motorola) and simply had a different name tag attached. The cabinet might be different, but the internal components were all the same. In some cases, everything was 100% interchangeable between the store brand and the major brand name sets.

One year I remember in particular, one of the brand name sets was classified as a top buy while the store brand, which was contracted through that brand name and identical in every way except the name tag, was rated near the bottom. At that point I determined that Consumer Report is a waste of money.

As a side note, the brand that was justifiably always ranked at the top was Sony. They were exceptionally well made (although hard to work on because they were so compact) and they had the industry's only unique, patented picture tube with interlocking pixels for a much smoother picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sony was built on technology stolen from Texas Instruments. At least that was the judgement of the Japanese courts, once Sony was in a position to pay the penalty without great harm.
 

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I gave up on the vast majority of gun magazines years ago. I get better information off the several gun blogs I use. Gun mags are mostly advertisements, period. If gunwriters are critical, they don't get guns for evaluation. There is one magazine I subscribe to intermittently. I cannot recall the title, but it bills itself as the Consumer Reports of firearms. They actually buy guns and report on them. The magazine is fairly expensive, and mostly black and white. If anyone can recall the title, I haven't subscribed for a while and probably should.
Gun Tests https://www.gun-tests.com/subscribe/multiproduct.html
 
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Reading reviews regardless of what they are for has become an art. You have to be able to weight through the excellent reviews for the "paid reviews" and you have to weed through the poor reviews from "stupid (for lack of better term) people".

I usually look at the poor reviews first, looking for patterns in issues while trying to weed out the ones that are unhappy because of their improper use/modifications/stupidity. The two - four star reviews, in a 5 start system, I generally find to be the most useful. I will check out the top reviews as well again looking for patterns, and also specific details I want to know.

I tend to stay away from magazines and manufacture web pages when it comes to reviews.
 
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IF you belong to a organization like I do ---"1911 annonomous " and have weekly meetings like we do (hooters is the meeting place) then you don't need to read no stinkin reviews as everybody has all kinds and brands of different 1911 and so you get first hand info, I also belong to the CZ Support group, and EAA support group.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
IF you belong to a organization like I do ---"1911 annonomous " and have weekly meetings like we do (hooters is the meeting place) then you don't need to read no stinkin reviews as everybody has all kinds and brands of different 1911 and so you get first hand info, I also belong to the CZ Support group, and EAA support group.
(Shakes head and walks away without commenting.)
 

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The problems with reviews is that on the surface, we believe the reviewers like they are preaching gospel. Their reviews are nothing more than a personal opinion. They then attempt to back up that opinion with some charts and data (usually provided by the Manu). The phrase "figures Lie and Liars figure" applies to reviews of products and services as well. If you want to know whether to buy Firearm X and you plan on shooting ammo Y, then pick up the firearm and review it yourself. Put a box of ammo down range and draw your own conclusions. Put it over a chrony and into ballistic gel and if you write down the results, you're going a step beyond what a reviewer does. You'll either like it or you wont. Each firearm made is handfitted to some extent. When you see reviewers either complain or glow about fit and finish, they are reviewing that ONE firearm. Maybe it was made Tuesday, mid day or maybe it was made Friday afternoon. If you're getting paid to do reviews and a company sends an item for review, they don't just grab one off the assembly line and ship it to you. It's selected carefully to be the best representation of what that company can offer.
 
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