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LEAST informative gunwriter

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by cleve land, May 6, 2004.

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  1. cleve land

    cleve land Member

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    I know gunwriters have numerous faults and are pretty much shills for advertising. Most give some good info some of the time. The one that drives me nuts is Dick Metalf. Whatever gun he writes about is the greatest thing since spit. How about the rest of you folks?
     
  2. mec

    mec Member

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    Awh. The poor guys just like guns and are trying to make a living- or part of a living. The best thing to do is read them for enjoyment-until you just don't enjoy it anymore but never take anything you read as reliable until you check it out for yourself.
     
  3. MikeJ

    MikeJ Member

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    I agree that gunwriters are compelled to write positive things about the guns they review but unfortunately that is the way the world works. If I spend advertising dollars with you, you better say good things about my products or guess what, I'm going to place my ads somewhere else. This is why I don't put much stock in what they have to say, it's a direct conflict of interest. On the other hand, when I was new to shooting, about 20 years ago, I read every gun mag out there for the sheer enjoyment of discovering what was available and what new guns were being introduced. I look upon these articles as entertainment and try to discern what is useful information vs. what should be discarded as pure hype. BTW, the one gunwriter that really got on my nerves was Chuck Taylor and I rather enjoyed Jan Libourel in those early days.
     
  4. mec

    mec Member

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    JL had kind of this dry, intellectual Oxford wit. Nobody managed to match Dean Grennell for just plain fun though- unless you read between the lines on those gunwriters who got caught coming out of motel rooms with peak-hold piezo-electric tranducerized goats under their arms.
    "Dddddaaaaaaaddddddddyyyyyy!"
     
  5. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    Hey mec,

    Is Dean Grennell still alive? He used to write some great stuff, but I haven't seen any of his articles in a while. Garey Hindman told me he was in poor health.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  6. mec

    mec Member

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    He retired several years ago but GunWorld had alot of his stuff and ran it for a couple of years until they ran out. I've heard that he's been in poor health and may be in a nursing home.

    I always appreciated his wit and lack of pomposity.
     
  7. magsnubby

    magsnubby Member

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    I wouldn't even know where to start but i can tell you was one of the best to ever peck out an artical:SKEETER SKELTON.
     
  8. Boats

    Boats member

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    Whoever wrote that fiction about shooting goats in France. Marshall is a close second in uselessness.
     
  9. Abominable No-Man

    Abominable No-Man Member

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    I never thought too much of Chuck Taylor's writing, personally. "Guns & Ammo" had a piece from him in "The Complete Book of the 1911" a couple of months ago- called "100 Years of Combat". Thought it was kind of hammy.

    OTOH, the same mag had an article by Patrick Sweeney about customizing your 1911 that I thought was pretty good.

    ANM
     
  10. mec

    mec Member

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    Funny thing about those goats. Most of the people in the writing field don't believe it, others believe it and have seen pictures and Libourel has gone down in print as believing the goats were shot, doubting that the goats were shot and then believing the goats were shot again.
     
  11. Sarge111

    Sarge111 member

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    Oh brother...

    This is a tender subject with me. I write a little, and like everyone else I would love to-

    1. Sit home & wait for the UPS truck,
    2. go shoot a "free" gun and ammo,
    3. write it up, and then
    4. collect a paycheck for doing what I love to do anyhow.

    I would hope if that opportunity ever presents itself, I would be able to take advantage of it without becoming an advertising "ho". I think you set your own ethical standards, and then you either sell articles or you don't. It's all politics of one sort or another, and I haven't seen any perfect politicans for awhile.

    A few, however, have set standards of how I wouldn't do it.

    Dick Metcalf- and his ever-widening "acceptable accuracy standards" for service pistols. I have a '98 article in which he writes that it is 4" @ 25 yards. Then later it goes to 4.5" at that distance. I guess when some manufacturer mistakenly sends him a .40 with a 45 barrel in it, the "acceptable accuracy standard" will go to "three and a half feet" at that same distance. If it jams every shot- I doubt we'll hear about it. It'll be a "new protoype with minor bugs to be ironed out, as with any new design"...:barf:

    Mike Venturino is perhaps my second least favorite; too much subjective BS and not enough useful info. He actually accuracy-tested a lever-action rifle at 25 yards. Speaking of subjective, useless crap, the staff of "Gun Tests" gets a Weenie Award here. "We wouldn't recommend this gun because we accidentally hit our left thumb with a hammer the week before the tests, and when we fired it upside down in the 'vampire bat attack point shooting position', it kinda made that thumb hurt a little.":rolleyes:

    Libourel does seem to get suckered in by various snake-oil salesmen with stopping-power rating systems. One of the best things he ever did was a running series on various defensive handgun types, which ran in Gun World a couple of years ago. I actually enjoyed reading it.

    I really miss the old "Gun World"... it was a nice, light-hearted break from the Chuck Taylor/Massad Ayoob "kill 'em all & let God sort 'em out" stuff. But I think the funniest thing I ever read in a gun rag was the tale of a character with an overloaded '06, who had it in the house one day admiring it. He just couldn't resist the urge to dry fire, one time, at a little Taco Bell dog that appeared at the wrong moment. The dog got splattered, and the susbequent mayhem and wrath our rifleman suffered at the hands of female relatives, was enough to bring tears of laughter to your eyes. Seems like it ran in "Combat Handguns" during the late 90's.

    Wouldn't know anything about that one, would you mcump?

    Excellent articles are still being written by Mike Cumpston, John Taffin, Bart Skelton, Jeff Cooper, Charlie Petty and a host of others.

    For me, there are three things that turn me off to a gun writer. The "Super Me" syndrome, advertising prostitution, and flat-out BS. I'll give a guy ONE of them, once in a while- but repeat offenders need to be ignored like 1972 election results.
     
  12. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    I've never met Chuck Taylor. He may come across better in person. But he seems awfully much into chest beating, and some of his handloads look a little warm. I frankly don't believe the after-action reports he used to print about handguns used in battle. And his style is just too macho for words. I guess I'm just not the sort of reader he thinks he needs to appeal to.

    Dr. Libourel can seem a little pompous, and I don't read most of the articles that he selects for publication in, "Gun World." I think, in particular, he relies too much on that other Ph.D. guy (name escapes me at the moment), who writes very basic stuff. I did enjoy reading about Jan's late father, a Dutch pilot killed by the Japs in the East Indies in WWII. Libourel pointed out that his service weapon was an American Colt .32 auto. I wish he'd verify Marshall and Sanow's results if he continues to rely on them.

    However, a former FBI chief firearms instructor told an editor I know that the Strasbourg tests DID take place, and he was supposedly in a position to know. If the tests are fake, someone spent an AWFUL lot of time compiling the data.

    I never found Duane Thomas too informative. And Jim Carmichel writes very little of interest in, "Outdoor Life" these days. Petzal at, "Field & Stream" seems to be courting mainly the advertisers. I couldn't believe he left the M94 off his list of classic deer rifles, then omitted the CZ M452 series of .22's in a story that included some of the guns it did, which are worse values. Of course, any list of the "greatest" guns is highly subjective.

    Lone Star
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2004
  13. Boats

    Boats member

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    It doesn't take all that long to compile data when one is making it up.
     
  14. mec

    mec Member

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    "wrong moment. The dog got splattered, and the susbequent mayhem and wrath our rifleman suffered at the hands of female relatives, was enough to bring tears of laughter to your eyes. Seems like it ran in "Combat Handguns" during the late 90's."

    .." Pepe filled the kitchen. A colloidal mist of riboneucleic acid, half digested Gravy Train and Hair. What wasn't converted instantly into energy coelesced on the ceiling, walls and refrigerator in an irridescent brown an crimson fractile that even Picasso's mother couldn't love.."

    Ummm, Hmmmmm..... No real gunwriter would ever write a thing like THAT.
     
  15. Sarge111

    Sarge111 member

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    I must admit...

    that is one of my all-time favorites- but maybe I'm a little warped.
     
  16. mec

    mec Member

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    I guarantee it's sick. I should know because I'm the one who wrote it. Sick, Sick, Sick! HahHahHah(wheeze)Haaarrrr!

    It was great because theTaco Bell chihuahua was just then making it big. If I were still at it, I would probably find some way to immolate that Geico Lizard.
     
  17. John Ross

    John Ross Member

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    Back in '97 a guy named Justin Huang started a USENET thread called "The gun rag drinking game". I added to it.



    Take a swig from your drink every time:

    1. Jan Libourel gives a positive recommendation for a gun.

    2. Jan takes a "middle of the road" position on something,
    like the "point shooting vs. aimed fire" debate.

    3. Duane Thomas slams anyone who shoots a 1911 style pistol.

    4. Martin Topper calls himself "Dr. Topper" in a caption.

    5. Leroy Thompson reviews a revolver.

    6. Bradley Steiner insults people who like aimed fire.

    7. Chuck Taylor refers to himself as a Four Weapons
    Master.

    8. Duane Thomas says that the 9mmP is more feed reliable
    than any other auto handgun cartridge.

    9. Kerby Smith writes an article entitled "How to
    Get Started in Action Shooting."

    10. Chuck Taylor writes a story in which a 1911 loaded
    with .45 ACP hardball saves the day.

    11. Finn Aagaard writes an article that makes absolutely
    no sense at all.

    12. Jan Libourel reviews a 1911 pistol that has been tricked
    out with $3,000 worth of modifications and likes it.

    13. Duane Thomas mentions that he's been certified as a
    Handgun Master at FAS.

    And in general:

    14. The following words or phrases are used:

    a. Ultimate
    b. Best
    c. Utter reliability
    d. Trigger that "breaks like a glass rod"
    e. Best buy

    AND (John Ross' additions)

    f. "one of the most versatile"
    g. "not for the recoil-sensitive"
    h. "when I did my part" (referring to a gun's accuracy)
    i. "minute-of-jackrabbit" (-squirrel, -groundhog, etc.)

    15. Dean Grennell does a reloading piece and uses the phrase "in the
    usual manner of quoting" several times but doesn't put in a table of
    loads anywhere in the article.

    16. Jeff Cooper invokes the royal "we".

    17. Peter Kokalis evaluates a handgun for accuracy by testing it at
    seven yards.

    18. Jack Lewis admits to behavior that, under current law, prohibits
    him from owning any modern firearm.

    19. Charlie Askins explains the effectiveness of the Government
    Model as a combat sidearm by describing the various Mexicans and Arabs
    he's killed with his.

    20. Readers (of a gun magazine whose every issue discusses stopping
    power, combat handguns, concealment holsters, etc.) write to express
    horror and outrage at Askins discussing killing Mexicans and Arabs.

    21. Massad Ayoob demonstrates his psychic powers by describing what
    the participants of a gunfight were thinking at the time, even the
    ones killed in the shooting.

    22. Any gunwriter gives us a sophomoric simile involving the sex
    appeal of a current TV or movie bimbo, i.e. "Saying that the Freedom
    Arms 353 is a well-made gun is like saying that Pamela Anderson is
    moderately attractive."

    23. Any gunwriter gushes about a $2000+ limited-production bolt
    action rifle that shoots 2 MOA.

    24. Any gunwriter at any magazine "tests" a .50 BMG shoulder rifle
    without giving any group size data whatsoever.

    25. Any gunwriter extols the virtues of a particular cartridge as a
    great "all-around" caliber to readers who already each own dozens of
    different guns.

    Give me a bit, I'll think of more...

    JR
     
  18. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    My vote goes to Boddington for trying to pose as an expert while spraying errors all over the place.

    Jim
     
  19. mec

    mec Member

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    That was a real trip down memory lane. The Grennell "usual manner of quoting went like " 3000 fps/1500fpe. " The times no tables appeared in his articles might have been an editorial deletion. One time I laid down a really nice deal about .22 magnums in revolvers and the centerpiece was a a comprehensive performance table. they left that out and the article made about as much sense as Jesse Jackson trying to pronounce " Amitai Etzioni"- Or Amitai Etzioni trying to pronounce anything at all.
     
  20. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    Jim-

    I also find Boddington trying. He seems to almost smirk at times, and his prose (particularly in books) often seemingly tries to encompass almost every product that a reader or advertiser might like. Don't know that I've caught him in many errors, but I seldom read his material. Many of the writers at one of his former publishers tended to be prima donnas.

    Remember back when Askins could still refer to Mexicans as, "coffee-colored sons of..."? I met him a few times, and I'll tell you, he talked like he wrote! What he typed was full of vitamins, though, and the man had been over the hill and seen the elephant! (Shot it, too, along with all those Germans, Mexicans, Vietnamese, and Arabs...)

    You know, we should have a thread about underrated gun writers...the practical, knowledgeable guys who never fanned their peacock tail feathers as noisily as others do... Don Zutz, Clair Rees, and B.R. Hughes come to mind. (Hughes has mainly written about knives, though, for years.)
    I had breakfast with Rees once at the SHOT show and he seemed like a pretty nice guy.

    Lone Star
     
  21. mec

    mec Member

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    The guys with the NRA publications are pretty much unknown- probably because they don't irritate enough people to gain any sort of name recognition. Lately, they've taken on a couple of high profile types who are either controversial or ought to be but most are un-noticed because they stick to the subject.

    I remember the old pulp magazines like GunSport, Guns and Game,etc. Russel Tinsley was a favorite as were Kent Bellah, Gene West and a guy named Russell Anabel who used to write tall tails about exotic, mythological animals. ( one was called the Onca or Onza and was a supercharged, puddy tat that looked like a mountain lion with a mohawk.- good thing none of the readers were up on their linnaeus or they would have grown suspicious about felix onca).

    For sure, the magazines themselves are a lot slicker now. - Photographs you can actually see and higher production values all around. I found a stack of first and second year GUNs magazines a while back. Charles Heckman wrote a piece about bullet swaging and reloading and made frequent mention of CH presses and dies. Ed McGivern was there debunking Orvo Ojala and other Hollywood gun handlers not hesitating to call them great big fibbers. Back then, the magazine was more like a pamphlet and big news was that Melvin Kowznovski had won a shooting contest at some local California rifle range.

    In the early 60's, well before the hippie era, Guns and Ammo floated a huge deal about Project Round-Up. This was a government plan to section off the country and take up all the guns. It scare the heck out off all of us 13 year old readers. We knew that it had to be true if somebody put it in a magazine.

    Times do change. Back then we got mad at the gun magazines for not writing about our .22s and filling their pages with articles on "The .44 Maggie!" ( Thank the Creator of Heaven and Earth that they stopped using the word " Maggie").
     
  22. tex_n_cal

    tex_n_cal Member

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    Ken Waters is the best on vintage guns and handloading, period. Ross Seyfried is a hoot.

    I don't recall the guy's name, but about 20 years ago I read one article that still sticks in my mind as the absolute worst piece ever in any rag. The guy had one of the then-new Dan Wesson .44 mags, at the time(and maybe still) the most accurate DA revo ever made - a big heavy gun for hunting and target shooting.

    What does Elmer-wannabe do? He orders it with the four inch barrel, and spends half the article writing about the special grips he designed and made for it, to facillitate rapid fire shooting. The grips in the photos looked like they were carved by a drunk lumberjack with a chainsaw.:barf:
     
  23. Sarge111

    Sarge111 member

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    Gary Sitton...

    was another good writer who penned a few handgun articles for Guns & Ammo 10-15 years ago, and seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. I heard he was still around, but just quit qriting- at least for gun rags.

    MEC, your early-teen aggravation at the various magazines, for not writing up the cheap old .22's that we were all stuck with at that age, is not something you suffered alone. The lack of decent reviews on these low-budget beaters was about half the reason I wrote that 'Hunnerd-Dollar Gun" article. I had a lot of fun doing it, which is I think 'half the battle'. I also had quite a bit of fun imagining what Dick Metcalf's 'accuracy standards' for pinned-together, 2 1/2 inch .22 revolvers with fixed sights might be...

    This has been an informative thread. You guys are a pretty tough crowd, but you should be. Gun rags cost around five bucks off the rack these days, and you ought to be getting something worth reading.

    Thanks for the collective input.
     
  24. mec

    mec Member

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    Great Article! I almost bought one of these with K-Mart had them on sale for $34. The only one left in the store wouldn't stay on full cock so, I passed.

    You are grouping about as well at 25 yards as I did with one of the 2+ inch barreled HS sentinels a while back- at 50 feet. The Sentinel did shoot pretty close to the sights.

    My first was a colt buntline scout. 1959. Boy was I pissed when they introduced the .22 magnum the same year and then the BearCat and all the pulp magazine writes ignored my .22 long rifle. I killed a truck load of cottontails and Jack Rabbits with that thing though.
     
  25. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    mec-

    I don't recall what Russell Anabel called it, but that cat is now, "Panthera onca". Some species previously classified under, "Felis" are now grouped under the genus, "Panthera", the cats that can roar.

    In Spanish, it's, "onca" or, "tigre". In Portugeuse (spoken in Brazil), it's sometimes, "onza", I think. One letter really looks like a "c" with a tail; this keyboard won't make it...

    And I do recall a thrilling hunt for jaguar as described by Anabel. They brought the cat to bay with dogs and killed it with a Colt SAA .45.

    Lone Star
     
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