Rifles photo

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

One of the questions I’m often asked is: Do I get specially selected rifles to test? The answer, my fellow Americans, is no. There are two reasons for this: Some manufacturers are under the delusion that every gun they make is perfect, and all they have to do is pick one off the shelf and I will be bowled over by its excellence. The second reason is that the people who do the actual selection are unaware that some rifles shoot better than others, and some don’t shoot well at all. Over the past four years or so I’ve gotten at least four rifles from one of the major companies that shot so poorly I had to send them back and could not write about them.

Right now, I’m testing for the magazine’s “Best of the Best” section. Here’s what’s wrong with three of the six rifles I have:

*Very expensive gun that would not extract. It could not pull a fired case out of the chamber.

*Low-to-medium-priced rifle with a well-designed trigger, and a 3.5-pound pull, but so much creep that it’s virtually a two-stage trigger. And the 3-shot detachable magazine takes only 2 cartridges.

*Medium-to-high priced .22 semi-auto with a trigger pull so awful that I have trouble describing it. It varies between 6 ½ and 7 ½ pounds, and creeps, drags, and scrapes.

Any half-assed pre-shipment check by a competent person would have caught this stuff.

And then there is the maker of very expensive custom rifles who has promised me three times, twice to my face, to send me a rifle and never has. But that is another issue entirely.