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Rifle Reviews in magazines...along with other reviews.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by fpgt72, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    I still get quite a few gun magazines....I am old, and I enjoy them...plus they are pretty darn cheap....so here we go.

    Just last night a magazine came in...the name really does not matter as I have seen this trend in about all of them....and yes I know my $12 per year means nothing to them....my one subscription means more...this is how they can justify the ad rates they charge and there is where the real money is made.

    Ok...I already drifted...sorry one of those days.

    Last nights magazine did a "test" of several "precision" .22 rimfire rifles. All tested to see just how accurate they all are.

    Ok...you are thinking this sounds like a good test....and you are also thinking lock the suckers down and let the gun do all the work....nope.....off hand.

    Really this tells me nothing at all.....even if you are the best shot in the world you are testing this all day....and they state this in the article, you are going to have very different results at the end of the day then at the beginning when you are fresh.....your groups are going to change after you have your 3rd cup of coffee.....after that second coke.....and this is not the first time it has happened....a while ago another magazine.....(i think) did a test of rimfire ammo.....again not even a rest....this does not tell crap about a specific ammo (not that it really would anyway) past a click no bang.

    So having read this article last night, and just going your 1" group at 50 yards with the different guns means nothing at all...I figured a little rant was warranted.

    Lets put it this way....I am working up loads:
    upload_2018-7-3_6-27-11.png

    Past how fast they are moving with a specific recipe me shooting off hand is not going to tell me the best info...the gun needs to be as stable as possible, and really I think no human is going to get better groups off hand then from a rest....same human. Pick your best shooter...I bet he will do better from a rest 90% of the time.

    So for these the normal thing workup a handful run them over a crono and look at groups....all from a form that takes the shooter out of the question as much as possible.

    Years ago when I first started small bore one of the old guys said after you are sure where your rifle is hitting at each distance get off the bench...you know what the gun will do at that point now it is up to you....we are testing what the gun can do not what you can do.
     
    troy fairweather likes this.
  2. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    The "gun press" hardly ever has a bad word to say about any product. They're in business to shill products.
     
  3. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Magazines make their money from advertisements, not your paid subscription. Publishing bad reports on products loses them advertisers. What do you expect from them?

    Years ago I read a certain motorcycle magazine and one of their editors did a battery comparison and published the results. One of the largest motorcycle battery manufactures in the world did not fare well in this test. The manufacturer demanded he retract his statements about their batteries. He wrote a response and stated he would stand by his article. He never wrote another word for that magazine. I knew he was truthful as I had used their batteries and his findings were correct. I had quit buying them before reading the article as they were junk.

    I'm pretty sure it works the same for all magazines except for the very few that accept no advertising.
     
  4. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    That’s like a lot of things in life. If you are entertained, that’s the value.

    If you want to know what is the most accurate load in a given rifle is, you have to put down the magazines. Most all of the “reviews” are of things given to them or they are even paid to review (write the article on them).

    So you get a combination where you feel like you couldn’t hit the side of a barn with it, if you were shooting it from inside the barn and a magazine artical would say “great for plinking“

    Kind of like a food show I got suckered into watching once and the guy was trying to describe the taste. “Has a real Earthy taste” = “Tastes like dirt”.
     
    troy fairweather likes this.
  5. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Gun Tests magazine is great for not sugarcoating anything. Even when they are wrong, they stick to their preferences.
     
  6. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    Exactly. But the (printed) gun press no longer has a monopoly on information. Using the Internet, plenty of courageous people are willing to tell the truth about gun products. Since anybody can get unbiased reports on the Internet, there's no reason any more to subscribe to the PR rags that call themselves gun magazines. And as readership falls, so too does their advertising revenue. The gun press is caught in a vicious circle. I suppose they'll keep printing -- diminishing numbers of copies -- as long as suckers are willing to buy them.
     
  7. DPris

    DPris Member

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    It was about time for another gunmag bashing thread.
    Used to show up quarterly, it's been a while. :)

    While I agree that the article in question is meaningless when testing accuracy in doing it off-hand, this has been a continuing gripe of mine on Internet forums where posters proudly stick up pictures of 7-yard off-hand groups and proclaim how accurate their gun is.

    No accuracy testing is valid in free-standing off-hand shooting.
    You use a rest, period.

    As for the other assertions-

    Mag sales AND mag subscriptions are both demographics used to wave in front of potential advertisers. If an ad guy or gal can tell a company "Your ad with this mag placement will reach 50,000 readers", it's a metric for that company to use in deciding whether or not to buy ad space.
    Like it or not, without the ads there'd be no mags.
    And, since I'm still selling articles to them, I'm assuming people do still buy gunmags. :)

    The "most are given to them" myth still persists.
    I've been doing this for going on three decades.
    I do have to borrow test products to review, it's a for-profit biz & I'd lose money bigtime if I had to buy everything off the shelves.
    On the more expensive items like guns & high-dollar glass, I get the option to BUY at the end.
    Typically a writer's discount, usually comparable to dealer cost.

    I am NOT paid to write nice things about products.
    As a freelancer, I've written for four major companies during my career, and never have I been told by an editor to write a positive review on a POS.
    Never have I been given an assignment & told how to write it up.

    I won't argue about other writers' work, beyond the above statements.
    Sometimes a less-informative piece does get through.
    Of course, that never happens on the Internet.... :)
    Denis
     
  8. JeeperCreeper

    JeeperCreeper Member

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    In regards to any publication:

    1. I treat all media as entertainment first.
    a. Don't take anything too seriously
    b. Any data or information gleaned will need to be put through my own perspective/worldview filter
    c. Understand that I will never 100% agree with anyone on anything all the time

    2. I read between the lines
    a. I read cynically knowing the nature of the content with ads, sponsors, paid content, etc.
    b. I search for the author's bias and play devil's advocate
    c. I realize I am smarter than the author because I am super genius.... (my bias says me very smart in brain)

    3. I always look for the take away
    a. Could be a minor point that the author did not intend: For example, maybe the .22 shootout was not the best test, but you can see that all rifles did well so when shopping, you know that on any given day, any of the test rifles will be "good enough".

    I know that that list is not profound, original, nor creative. But I do remind myself of those things when I read anything from forums to news sites, to blogs, to watching youtube videos...

    ...it's not worth raising your blood pressure when it should be fun or at least moderately entertaining.
     
  9. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    If you read it on the internet it has to be true.
     
    George P, .308 Norma and Hokie_PhD like this.
  10. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    I would say that news stand sales are more important to gun magazines than paid subscriptions. One factor in diminishing news stand sales is that more and more outlets are refusing to carry them, on the ground that they're too "controversial." The antigunners are using economic pressure to shut down the gun press, as part of their campaign against all aspects of the "gun culture."
     
  11. DPris

    DPris Member

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    The number of copies sold IS more important than the number of subscriptions, but both are figures to track and display.
    And, while we obviously do here on Internet forums, sometimes it's hard to remember that not everybody even HAS a computer. :)
    Denis
     
  12. Goosey

    Goosey Member

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    "Accuracy ranged from excellent to acceptable"
    "Overall, it proved to be a nice-handling, accurate rifle"


    The gun in question averaged 1.96" five-shot groups from five different factory loads ranging from 1.60" to 2.20"... one handload with Berger VLDs averaged 1.80". I guess that's all technically 'acceptable' but I would expect better from an $1,100+ rifle. The only "excellent" load was a handload with NBT's which averaged 3/4".



    Definitely sugar-coated the results, but at least it was four 5-shot groups. I don't care for the "three, 3-shot groups" that are so common as 3-shot groups will vary much more in size from group to group. But I don't typically buy magazines to get in-depth information anyways.
     
  13. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    I can't figure out why people rant about gun magazines.

    I haven't had a subscription in many years. Just like I don't have cable or dish.

    I suspect that magazines sell their sub information to just about anyone who will buy it.

    My wife did a test one time. She used our dogs name for a subscription. Our dog received a lot of junk mail after that. If you want a lot of junk mail just subscribe to a magazine.

    Simple solution. If you don't like it don't buy it.
     
  14. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    Sadly, even the American Rifleman never has a bad word to say about any product.

    Some years back this upstart magazine American Handgunner came out and one of their tenants was that they would print what they found when testing things. For quite some time they held to that. They even went so far as to tell manufacturers that they would not soft pedal the truth when threatened by the loss of advertising.

    But eventually the magazine was slowly taken over by folks more interested in making a buck that telling the truth. Today it is just as bad, or worse than the rest.

    It seems the older and more established a form of communication is the more it is controlled by those who only want to make money, and to whom the truth is just inconvenient.
     
    Demi-human and CoalTrain49 like this.
  15. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    I have to wonder why this is so often used as an indictment against the printed word. Firstly, no one REALLY wants to read a negative article and no one wants to write one. Some say they do, until it's about their favorite toy and then it would be a complete meltdown. Negative articles aren't going to sell issues and will have the opposite effect on ad sales. So you can forget that, period. If a gun writer has a test gun about which they can say nothing positive, or it does not function properly, they don't lie, they don't sugarcoat the truth, they send it back.

    I've had the pleasure of meeting and/or conversing with probably a dozen or so gun writers and the comment that they're just a shill for the industry is completely unfounded and made only out of ignorance. By and large, they are consummate gentlemen who are very passionate about what they do. They also stake their name and reputation on every word they write. Can't say the same for the countless, faceless posts on the internet.

    It's also said that they get free ammo. Yes, it's part of their job. Do you think a guy who gets paid a few hundred dollars for an article can afford to buy all his ammo and still feed his family? No. So it's stupid to hold this against them. Does your cable guy pay for all the cable and hardware he uses? Do you buy all your office supplies at work? Pay for your company PC? No. Same concept. Same goes for hunts. Yes, they get to go on a hunt without great personal expense but can a guy foot the bill for a $10,000 hunt for an article that pays $500? Sure, it sounds like fun for those looking at it from the outside but it's still work for the one doing it. It's also a lot more stressful because you're banking a lot on it and everything hinges on your success.

    Personally, I think the decline of the printed word is beyond sad. Apparently, people would rather get free information from anonymous folks on the internet, which ranges from very good to dangerously stupid, than pay a little for that of a professional. Since when has profit become such an evil concept? People are becoming socialists without even knowing it. Welcome to the world of Google, where everyone has access to free information but people are dumber than they've ever been. There's only so much you can learn by asking Google one question at a time. Sometimes you have to be smart enough to ask the right question.
     
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  16. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Isn't that a bit of a contradiction? I'll only review the ones I think are worthy or safe to review. I thought that was the reason people read that stuff was to get an idea if the firearm was something they wanted to buy. :confused:

    Ever hear of Jim Zumbo, Dick Metcalf or Jerry Tsai? They were all pretty passionate about what they did. There's a trap door there that you're saying doesn't exist. The whole business is driven by the advertising dollar.

    It's actually pretty easy to understand. Gun writer writes a bunch of negative things about a new model, mfg. reads it, calls the editor, says no more ad dollars for you and closes the account. Lost revenue and bad for business.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
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  17. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Not true
    I’m a car guy from before I could drive, I found the articles that weren’t ads disguised as articles that would discuss the pros and cons of products the best.

    For guns I want to know the same. For instance, before I bought my M&P 2.0 I read a lot about the originals and the changes made before the 2.0 upgrade. I enjoyed reading what folks said, both positive and negative.
     
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The car magazines will do comparos, usually four vehicles of generally similar specifications.
    And they rank them. It is pretty easy to see No 4 get damned with faint praise.

    I think the worst thing about product reviews, print or www, is laughing off the duds. The gunzine writer will say "It was a prototype and the production model will correct that fault." The gunboard poster will say "It didn't work very well when I got it, but the company has real good customer service." One guy said with a straight face, "Any decent gun ought to be shooting well after only two trips back to the factory."
     
  19. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    I should have been more clear. I’ve never cared about mags that reviewed cars, but rather the ones focused on hot riders.

    But your second paragraph makes a lot of sense
     
  20. GEM

    GEM Moderator Staff Member

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    There have been quite negative reviews. A classic example is Tom Given's take on the Judge. There are others.
     
  21. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    “Accuracy” was probably the wrong word. Something like “shootability” would have been more appropriate. Shooting while standing and unsupported is aided by having a different type of rifle as compared to off the bench or prone with bipod, so a test while shooting off hand can give you different information.
     
  22. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    If people think what's in magazines is bad they'd better avoid 75% of what's online. 25% is flat out wrong, 50% is of marginal value and maybe 25% is useful and correct.
     
    JohnKSa likes this.
  23. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    The current business model for magazines started back in the 1880’s with the Ladies Home Journal. Subscriptions did not pay for cost, it was advertizing that made the magazine its profit:

    Marketing the Women's Journals, 1873-1900

    http://wvvw.thebhc.org/sites/default/files/beh/BEHprint/v018/p0099-p0108.pdf

    Cyrus H.K. Curtis was first and foremost an advertiser. He had been involved in advertising ventures since he was twelve, and by the time he and his wife brought out the Ladies Home Journal in 1883, he was an experienced and savvy promoter of reading material [2]. Curtis was the first to recognize and then act on the idea that a publisher could sell his magazine 101 at less than cost and still make a profit by attracting significant amounts of advertising to the magazine. All the major mass marketers of magazines eventually copied this strategy,…..

    If you cannot see the conflict of interest between product reviews and revenue, you are blind. Corporations are profit maximizing organizations and they only exist to, wait for it: maximize profit! They are in it to maximize profit right now, devil take tomorrow. In my research on topics gun related, I have read articles and magazines going back to the earlier 1900’s. In print articles do not have meaningful evaluation of the articles under test. Of course the authors and the editors are self censoring, even if they won’t admit it. The test conditions are, as Dpris once said, to “give you a taste”. As Dpris once said, they get $400 per article, if you want to make a profit, the writer is not going to shoot many bullets down range nor spend much time doing anything other than typing on a keyboard. I mean, bullets are expensive, powder is expensive, gasoline is expensive, time is money. After costs are deducted, what does the guy have left? The price per article can be low, because who can't be an in print gunwriter.? It is not like the profession has any educational or occupational requirements. How much do they pay food critics? Can’t be much, about anyone can open their mouth and chew. I guess the dividing line is whether they can write an interesting review of the experience. When there are so many people who can point and pull the trigger, and willing to write about it for free, magazines don’t have a problem paying little for the articles.

    There are people right now, that you know of, who are famous for being famous and making lots of money out of that. I believe in print gunwriters are just doing their darn-est to promote their own brand, if they can get their name out there, get the public familiar with them, then the real money is in endorsements, book sales, and consulting. The chance to dance upon the stage will go away if either an advertiser or the magazine is upset with a review. Anyone remember Rick Sanchez? At CNN, his face was on the screen every day for hours to an national audience. One boo-boo and, anyone remember Rick Sanchez?

    Anyone can read very old in print magazines and see raving reviews of firearms that turned out to be classic failures. I have some of the first Bren 10 reviews on the shelf, the writers just praised that pistol to high heaven. Virtually in every in print magazine you will read an article in which the product is basically sold as the “end of history”. Admit it. Go back and read every early AR15 article you can find, the ones before the weapon is adopted by the Army. Every article I have read, the gunwriter describes failures to eject, failures to feed, and yet, its not the gun's fault. A lot of good American boys died with that jam a matic in their hands. History shows that there are real conflicts of interest between in print gunwriters and gun manufacturer's.

    I hate to say it, but people don’t want to read negative material. I think there is this Polly Anna optimistic streak in humans, except for the clinically depressed. And, since some shooter actually owns the firearm being written about, they don’t want to be told their baby is ugly. As Erasmus said, "a father shall swear his squint-eyed child is more lovely than Venus". Negative articles do not seem to sell.

    Even the most revered writers passed off design problems. I have read a number of Elmer Keith reviews where he surfaced a defect and claimed it would be fixed, therefore, it amounted to nothing . Until the fix is tested, you don’t know if the fix solved the problem, or, created an entirely new one! Happens all the time if you would admit to your self . What this also shows, is that these product roll outs are timed-phased, coordinated efforts.They don't have time in the schedule to give the gun writer a perfected firearm. Advertisers must rely on the skill, guile, of the reviewer to make the defects disappear. Magic is all about the timing and misdirection. You can learn about the history of mass marketing in the book "Satisfaction Guaranteed, the making of the American Mass Market" by Strasser. What you see, read, and hear, is the end result of a planned advertising/mass marketing campaign. It is almost beyond comprehension the amount of work going on behind the curtain, before they flash the shiny thing in front of you, in the expectation you will go running down to the gun store and buy, buy, buy.

    Reminds me of the GM story from the 1970’s. Referring to comments that car lot new GM cars were rattle traps, the executive said “Manufacturing makes it, marketing sells it, and customer service makes it work”. That attitude darn near put GM out of business. I remember in the 1980’s, Japanese cars had proved themselves so reliable, and the demand so high, that Dealers added a column to the price on the window, titled ADP. Which stood for Additional Dealer Profit. At the same time GM was selling a Toyota Corolla as under the NOVA label, and having to give discounts to customers to sell the things! Perhaps what we need in the gun business is a little more competition.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  24. MosinT53Hunter

    MosinT53Hunter Member

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    I'm always reminded of the time when Remington came out with their R51 9mm pistol. All the magazines that had articles about them all had very positive reviews, no malfunctions, was to be the new "wonder" single stack pistol for CCW. Then the consumers got ahold of them....and recall after recall came in, and I won't go on since most everyone knows about it. I guess the gun writers must have gotten the good ones. Always remind myself of this when I see a new wonder weapon, because, sometimes, those kinks need to be worked out at the factory BEFORE they are shipped out to customers.
     
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  25. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Yeah, that was the biggest piece of junk ever to hit the market. If a few reviews had warned people away they probably would have saved Remington some money and at least their reputation to some degree. Now where are they?
     
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