Telling the truth isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always cheap. Sniper’s Hide is one of the authoritative blogs and forums for long-range shooting and precision marksmanship. But the Hide has found itself on the receiving end of a federal defamation lawsuit because of a critical forum post and YouTube video. Click the screen cap above to view it for yourself. It’s a less-than-flattering, but very matter-of-fact, detailed exploration of the ‘workmanship’ that went into a Tactical Rifles customized Remington 700 . . . 

The video was originally posted on the Hide’s forum back in 2012, publicity that the TR wizards apparently didn’t enjoy. But rather than addressing the problems shown in the video and perhaps responding in the forum, Tactical Rifles has chosen to sue Sniper’s Hide owner Frank Galli and rifle owner, Marc Soulie of Spartan Precision Rifles, who made the video. TR’s suit charges slander, libel, and makes a bizarre ‘assault’ claim that I don’t remotely comprehend.

But if Tactical Rifles expected Galli to fold, delete the post and settle the lawsuit, they picked a fight with the wrong Marine. Galli, Sniper’s Hide and Soulie are fighting the lawsuit and the Sniper’s Hide community has their back. They’ve already crowd-funded the first $7500 of legal defense fees for them, which is all kinds of awesome.

While this isn’t Sniper’s Hide, TTAG and the Armed Intelligentsia have a stake in this fight, too. As you know, when we find problems with a gun or other product, we tell you about it. That’s part of the job description here. If a butt-hurt operation like Tactical Rifles can successfully sue Sniper’s Hide over a negative opinion of their work, no one will be safe from the next petty company that turns out products of questionable quality.

The last time I checked, truth is a perfect defense against a charge of defamation. But that hasn’t stopped Tactical Rifles from trying to silence Frank Galli, Marc Soulie, and Sniper’s Hide. If Tactical Rifles can muzzle Galli and Sniper’s Hide this time, how long will it be before some other cheesed-off operation puts TTAG in their lawyers’ crosshairs?

[h/t Paul McCain]

162 Responses to Sniper’s Hide Sued by tacticalrifles.net Over Negative Forum Post

    • Apparently they’ve never heard of the streisand effect. Before today i’ve never heard of Tactical Rifles or Snipers Hide. Now I have and can say I don’t have a very good first impression.

        • I have never heard of Snipers Hide either until now. I shot expert while in the Marines but never had any desire to be a sniper.

          I guess if you don’t want people bad mouthing your product the best bet is to put out a quality product and fix any issues that warrant it.

      • I think you’re confused. Snipers Hide is the forum – a great one with tons of (take it or leave it,) knowledge being shared. Tactical Rifles is the company suing the owner of those forums for the “defamatory” video review of their work (which I have no personal experience with… but won’t ever, because if I didn’t like their work, and posted a video, they might sue me.) 😛

      • JOELT: I trust you mean you now do not have a very good impression of Tactical Rifles. Sniper’s Hide is *the* premier long-range, precision rifle discussion forum on the ‘Net, not to mention all great place to sell all things gun related.

        Horror stories about “Tactical Rifles” are numerous, far, far too numerous than being merely a couple cranks. They have a long and undistinguished track record of putting out substandard and subpar rifles.

        People on Sniper’s Hide have carefully documented the many problems they have had with TR products, down to rather lenghty photo essays on shoddy workmanship, etc.

        TR has sealed their doom by launching this lawsuit.

        Their only hope now is that people doing business with them do not bother to check the Internet and read up on them. Anyone who fails to do that, in my book, is without excuse.

        • Paul, get a grip. He said he’d never heard of it. How you get “he didn’t have a good impression of it” out of that, I’ll never know. I never heard of it, either. Did I not “have a good impression of it”, either?

      • “The Streisand Effect”! Nice work. If you don’t know what he’s talking about, Google it.

        Well done!

  1. Companies. Be warned.

    You pull a stunt like this with any known operation, you WILL lose sales and you WILL be outcast in the community.

    Like anonymous, we never forget.

    Period.

    Signed,
    Gun Owners Who actually use the Internet

  2. With obviously frivilous lawsuits like this, are the defendant’s legal expenses usually ordered to be covered when the plaintiffs lose?

    • No. The standard for recovering fees and costs from a plaintiff for a frivolous lawsuit is extremely high in federal court.

    • Depends on the judge, there are frivolous statutes but they are rarely used in federal court. The most the defendant can ask for and receive in most cases are attorney “costs” which are a few hundred dollars for filing fees, making copies, etc….. the most expensive part attorney “fees” are rarely granted when these cases are eventually dismissed. The kicker is, it will likely be several years before this case is dismissed, with attorney fees mounting the whole time. Nobody wins in court except the lawyers and the court staff who stays busy with the never ending bogus litigations.

      • “Nobody wins in court except the lawyers and the court staff who stays busy with the never ending bogus litigations.”

        ^ This!

  3. The people of the gun aren’t so forgiving in most cases and TR should realize that. This seems (cause I haven’t read all the material and seen the video) like an overreaction, and even if they won their case, TR has lost a great deal of future customers as long as people remember this and remind others in the future when they go around asking how TR rifles are.

  4. Wow. They will not only lose the case, they’ll likely be counter-sued for legal fees. And worse yet. .. They’ll get even more bad publicity. And even “more worser,” they missed an opportunity to step up by addressing the issue and gain legions of fans.

  5. While I’m far from a legal expert I would think it would be hard to bring a lawsuit against the operators of a forum, unless they’re the ones that posted the video. Shouldn’t they be suing the individual user?

    Also, this reminds me of the MSLSD “documentary” Remington Under Fire where they ripped into the 700 as a flawed design that was prone to “just go off.” Remington’s rebuttal was a 20 minute video laying out all of the inconvenient facts that the original show left out. I always hold that up as the model of how these things SHOULD be responded to.

    • part of the purpose of the suit is to find out who posted the critical review? Now that the 9th Cir has deemed bloggers as journalists (and thus protective of their sources), other circuits probably will follow (9th’s rep as a liberal base is where others look for 1st amendment issues.

      • Yeah, none of the links work for me. The court website won’t let me get to any actual information without a court login, and the sniper’s hide link won’t work because the office blocks weapons sites. Yes, weapons sites….I don’t know what you fellas at TTAG put in the meta data, but please don’t change it….

        • One of my best friends has read TTAG from work for nearly two years, until about four months ago, when it suddenly got filtered. I told him he should file a grievance, but as the week before they’d furloughed or laid off a flat 10% of their workforce, he didn’t want to rock the boat. I think he reads on his phone now.

        • As odd as it sounds TTAG has actually increased my at work productivity. A few years ago I read an article about increasing productivity by working hard for 45 minutes to an hour, then taking a 2-3 minute break doing something else. So, pop on TTAG, read an article, drop a comment, back to work.

          On the flip side this site has shot my at home productivity right in the a$$….

      • The “bloggers as journalists” ruling is obviously a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it’s great to see bloggers can be accredited (if that was the meaning of the ruling) as working journalists, the fact that they can be sued by powers with much deeper pockets would/will have a chilling effect on free speech.

        Isn’t that true?

        • No, anyone can be sued by anyone at any time, for any reason when it comes to accusations of libel or slander.

          You just have to find a lawyer who is willing to take your case. I would be shocked to learn TR found a lawfirm that took the case for any reason other than being promised a steep percentage of anything they might recover. They probably hoped to get Sniper Hide and the other guy simply to settle out of court.

          That’s not working out too well for them.

        • PAUL, where did I say anyone couldn’t be sued by anyone, anytime? Are you drunk, or just reaching?

        • “where did I say anyone couldn’t be sued by anyone, anytime?”

          You implied otherwise when you said that recognition of bloggers as “working journalists” meant that now “they can be sued by powers with much deeper pockets”:

          “On the one hand, it’s great to see bloggers can be accredited … as working journalists, the fact that they can be sued by powers with much deeper pockets would/will have a chilling effect on free speech.”

  6. A company not willing to step up and correct a problem won’t last very long. And suing their customers should have a *chilling* effect on future business!!!

  7. Hello? Tactical Rifles? Let me tell you a little story about Cheaper Than Dirt and how you lose sales through douchebaggery.

    • But, CTD still gets promoted on this page by the writers. So, they would stick to their guns…TTAG writers would never mention CTD.

      • Apparently you and I have vastly different definitions of “promoted.”

        I think you pull the “No true Scotsman” more than everyone else around here combined. Nothing ever seems to be up to your standards.

        • A few weeks ago one of your writers reviewed a product and linked to it CTD. So, I guess that does not count as promotion.

        • I found the post you were talking about. Tyler reviewed a rifle sling, and at the end of the review, he listed three places to get it, one of which was CTD.

          Oh, hell, I guess you got us. CTD is secretly paying us to advertise for them. How do you think they afford me?

          Seriously though, it was an editorial oversight, and should have been removed at the time. I couldn’t help but also notice that you left a comment bitching about it in the post at the time, instead of sending us an email. If you’d sent an email, it probably would have been fixed the same day. And you guys wonder why we’d prefer that you not leave editorial critiques in the comment section… because they might not get seen.

          The oversight has been corrected, the link has been removed, along with your useless comment referencing it. Next time send us an email instead of holding a grudge for three months.

        • One link is a promotion. And, I was not talking about the ammo review. There was a product review and to purchase the product a direct link was set to CTD awhile back (and I am talking a couple of months). That is okay. I guess that is not promoting a site or giving. My bad. I stand corrected once again.

  8. Do they know that the reaction of many to such an action is essentially justification of the review?

    If they just let it slide or ignored it it then becomes one of many reviews on the almighty internetz.

    Blowing a gasket and getting all lawyery just makes them look like tools and makes the consumer think the review is on to something.

    • I am not a lawyer, but I did work as a corporate paralegal for a few years, so I have had some contact with the less reputable side of the lawsuit process. (Aimed AT us, not by us.)

      In far too many cases lawyers will threaten to bring suit or actually file a suit as a form of intimidation, especially if the facts of the suit are not actually in their favor. Since these lawyers get paid for preparing the documents and the suit it is irrelevant in many cases if the case actually gets to trial, and they often hope that it will never see a courtroom.

      First option is that they convince you that they WILL take you to court, force you to hire defense attorneys and pay for all the extremely expensive legal activity that precedes an actual court fight. The hope is that you will not have the will or economic resources to apply to the fight and will capitulate by acceding to their demands. In this case I suspect they wanted Sniper’s Hide to remove and/or refute the negative video. If you decide you will fight they will begin to pummel you with legal actions that disrupt your usual activities, drain your bank account, and also fill the MSM with negative PR, if they can. At some point they will offer to settle on some ridiculous compromise, usually involving a sum of cash less than it would cost you (not including the years it may take to actually come to trial) to pursue the case through trial and often involving a non-disclosure agreement.

      Since they are pretty sure their case has no chance of winning in the courtroom the object is to win via “death by a thousand cuts” and this only works if the defendant is unwilling to be intimidated, regardless the cost.

      Seems a particularly bad strategy to employ against a former Marine who KNOWS he and his video report were in fact truthful.

      • Thanks you for so elegantly defining “a-holes” in five paragraphs. TR are shitheads of the First Order.

        DEATH! FAILURE!! DEATH!!!

      • The term in general parlance for this is SLAPP, (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) and it’s been a corporate fave for the last few decades.

        The only thing new here is that instead of being aimed at protesters, or someone who gives a bad print review, it’s now the internet sandbox in play.

  9. The point of this suit isn’t to settle a legitimate grievance: if a product is measurably substandard , it’s a perfect defense against a claim of libel.

    Problem is, just because your case is truthful doesn’t mean your legal fees are $0. The point they’re making- say bad things about our products, and we’ll drag you into court at $400 per hour . The prospect of paying thousands of dollars to defend yourself from pointless litigation is why everything cool in life now has three copies of a legal waiver attached.

    Hopefully, we can not only rally defense funds for the reviewers, but comprehensively boycott Tactical Rifles as well. I realize the following is a little off topic, but anytime one of “our own” , a company which should contribute to self reliance and the 2nd Amendment , stoops to the lows of the antis by using the legal system as a weapon, we need to get the point across loud and clear. Pull this crap, and you’re going to Chapter 7. Period.

      • There’s only a glut because the bar (no pun intended) to actually become a lawyer has nothing at all to do with whether or not you will be a competent lawyer. When I took paralegal training our instructor (in Orange County, California) told us that as high as 2/3s of the people who pass the bar in California never actually make a living as a lawyer.

        That was 20 years ago, so I don’t know if the stat is still valid, but it is interesting.

        • Between a collapsing middle-class, shifting work to paralegals, off-shoring even more grunt work, and corporate downsizing, there’s a really serious glut of lawyers in the country.

          But yeah, the bar for passing the Bar, is not exactly as lofty as one might wish to imagine.

        • What’s the number? Isn’t it 30,000 new law school grads every year? That’s a shit-ton of make-work.

    • Somebody tell me how, and I’ll send a check for $10 or $25 to the defendants, depending upon the time of month. I don’t have much to spare, being on SSI, but this is something I feel quite passionate about!

  10. There’s been a lot of cases wherein someone has been sued over what they wrote on a forum. Some win, some lose. The basics always come down to ‘was it true’ and ‘was it true from their perspective’. I think, but I’m not sure, that Tactical Operations also had something like this happen (where someone called one of his rifles garbage, or on par with garbage) but I don’t know how it was addressed and resolved because I don’t frequent those types of forums these days. I would explain why, but anyone who has visited either ‘Hide’ or ‘Central’ knows what I am talking about.

    • The basics of these suits SELDOM come down to anything as simple as whether or not what you reported was truth. It boils down to the simple equation of: do you have the time, patience and economic resources to outlast the expense the plaintiff is willing to expend to harass you and get you to capitulate prior to an actual trial date? See my comment above about harassment strategies.

      • And that is not happening in this case. TR just hacked off a whole lot of extremely loyal readers of Sniper’s Hide and they have plenty of financial help now. I wonder when TR will cry “Uncle” and just drop their case?

    • To win a libel case the party accusing another of libel has to prove malice AND has to be able to prove they have suffered financial loss as a result of malicious LIES told about them.

      TR has a tough uphill climb on all counts here.

    • Great move. I was thinking about doing that myself. In fact, I think I will do it anyway since the more voices, the better on this. Cases like this are what they’re all about.

      TTAG and Popehat are the only two blogs with the high level of quality that I allow to clutter my email with automatic feeds. The others have to wait until I have to graze.

  11. As someone who knows mostly nothing about building rifles but has some basic mechanical knowledge, even to me the work inside that stock looked like it was done by a first-day apprentice. The comparison at the end to what it should have looked like was even more glaring. I’m pretty sure TR is going to be paying Sniper’s Hide’s legal bills when this is all over.

    • I too know very little about long range precision rifles, but watching the whole video I completely agree. If the guy who made the video has some professional knowledge, which he certainly seems to have, it’s going to be mighty difficult for the plaintiff to show he wasn’t being truthful.

      Unfortunately I’ve been through a lawsuit and can tell you that even if you win…you lose. It’s not like you go talk to an attorney for ten hours and are done with it. Going to court costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time. Based on the seemingly insignificant suit I went through, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one runs into the tens of thousands, perhaps into the hundreds. I sure hope I’m wrong but the system doesn’t give a damn about justice. It cares about process and process costs $400 and hour for attorneys and even more for professional witnesses. They’ll try to bring in their own witness to defend their workmanship and explain how everything in the video is totally “normal” in the industry.

      I didn’t believe it before I went through it. Some people will fight irrationally, even when their chances of success are slim and the value of the win is far overshadowed by the cost of the fight. You never know what kind of resources the other side has available, being right can be very costly.

      Damn I hate to see this.

      I’ll be following this thread and looking for a place to donate to the cause. This crap needs to stop.

      • It won’t stop. Want to know why?

        Because this country is overrun with lawyers. In the last 10 years, law schools have popped up around the country like mushrooms on a dung heap.

        After 2007/2008 or so, there were lots of kids who were studying some useless liberal arts twaddle who decided “Well, there’s a way I can turn this useless liberal arts/humanities degree into something… I’ll go to law school!”

        The job market is positively flooded with lawyers. There’s so many lawyers out there, scrounging for a way to make a few bucks to pay back their student loans that you’ll see no end of unctuous twaddle being filed in courts for the next 10+ years.

        • Right, the country is overrun by lawyers. That’s why plea deals are in use more than ever (upwards of 90%), and PD offices are balancing huge case loads with even less staff. Try getting arrested for a crime you didn’t commit and see how motivated your PD will be to take it to trial. He won’t, because he doesn’t have time.

          Yeah, too many lawyers, that’s it, it’s definitely not a manufacturer getting butthurt about losing future business and trying to get revenge. What should we do, ban them from filing a lawsuit? How is that democratic? We need the legal system, regardless of how ugly or annoying it is.

          I’d love to see sources for some of those claims, by the way. This will hopefully be tossed out by a summary judgement, like the majority of frivolous lawsuits.

        • Thanks for the link. It’s certainly true that law employment has dropped since the 2008 crisis, although that trend seems to be reversing lately, with I think the class of 2017 looking at much better job odds. I probably jumped the gun on my other comment too – we all hate ambulance chasers and sleazy attorneys, and this lawsuit is clearly BS.

        • Ben, I think you are mistaking a court system overloaded with a plethora of silly arrests for stuff that shouldn’t get anyone more than a ticket, for a shortage of counselors.

          Most everything pleads out for the last 4 decades I know of, because the system would lockup in a matter of days were every case go to even the briefest of trials. Just doing the extra paperwork for the trial would crash the system. Metro traffic courts can barely manage the volume of having defendants in front of the judge for 3 minutes per – and those are the just poor folks who don’t have an extra c-note to toss a lawyer and get that ticket handled without ever setting foot in court. Criminal courts are even worse off – if nobody plead out, court dates would stretch 10 years in the future in a matter of months. Not to mention trials, even the most kangaroo and perfunctory, cost money.

    • Agreed. I know a fair amount about building drag racing engines but very little about precision rifles. To me that rifle looks like a POS.

    • Part of the problem is that thanks to Youtoob videos, ‘net blogs/web boards and so on, there’s a profusion of people who think they know what they’re doing when they tear into a gun. I see absolutely ripe BS everywhere I look on the ‘net concerning guns – from gun users, tacti-kewl “operators,” “trainers” and reviewers. The favorite canard I like to read is “I shoot 10’s of thousands of rounds of ammo per year, so I know guns.”

      If that were true, then teenagers who masturbate would know more than Mendel about genetics. Hey, the kid is producing fountains of DNA, so he knows all about genetics, right?

      When done by someone with skill, working on guns looks easy. A little cut there, a rap of a hammer there, a little inletting black like so, and wha-la! Gun is done!

      Everything complicated looks easy when done by someone who really knows what they’re doing. If I subscribed to that notion, I should be able to go out onto a balance beam and somersault over backwards and land on my feet, right? It’s so easy a little girl can do it!

      Age and wisdom tell me that my attempts at doing what those little girls do would be quite painful.

      This is one of the reasons why the European gun makers still rely on the apprentice system for new entrants to the trade. Here in the US, we have no such system. There’s no restriction on who can hang out a shingle and call themselves a “gunsmith,” or “gun maker.” I’ve run into some “gunsmiths” who don’t seem to know that you need to have a FFL to work on guns for money. If the ATF knows about these guys, they might get a friendly reminder…

      About the only advice I can give on this matter is for prospective customers to look at the work done by a gunsmith on other people’s guns. Don’t read a blurb, go look at a gun.

      OK, so no one wants to show you a gun? That’s OK (and possibly, some gunsmiths won’t refer you to other customers – I won’t – my customers’ privacy is a high concern for me). So then have a look at the gunsmith’s shop. Look at his bookshelf. Look at his tools, look at his bench, look at guns he might be working on. Classic gunsmiths will have books and tools coming out their ears. Shelves packed with books and paper[*]. Benches just covered with tools – stuff that you have no idea what it does, why he has that bent-up piece of metal. But go to touch it, and if you pull back a bloody stump where you arm was, you can reckon that thing that looked like a bit of bent-up steel has a very important purpose. In my shop, there’s lots of such tools that do things like cock the springs on double guns, or take off the retaining nut on a shotgun forearm, etc, that look like scrap steel. You can’t buy many of these tools, you have to make them.

      Want to spot a gunsmith who has chops? See if he can drive a hand file. The entry test at H&H used to be to file a 1.000″ cube of steel, with square edges/corners, with nothing but a hand file and a vernier caliper. Dunno if they do that any more, but driving a file is still a big part of the trade. Lots of internet wanna-be’s don’t know how to drive a file; their file/bench work looks like a beaver on meth went to town on a stock or metalwork. That inletting on the stock in the video looks like the work was done with a Dremel. Pure amateurism.

      Graduates from gunsmithing schools in the US (TSJC, Murray State, etc) will know how to drive a file. It’s first-semester (and every semester thereafter) stuff.

      [*] That scene in “Shooter” where Swagger goes to visit the gunsmith, and the gunsmith tells the kid to fetch out a book with the red leather spine that “hasn’t moved in 15 years”? There’s more truth to that than one might think. I regularly see very interesting books on fellow gunsmiths’ shelves that are covered in dust – now-rare volumes that are worth hundreds of dollars in their own right. Books that I’d like to buy, but they’re not selling – never mind they haven’t opened the book in 10 years. They just might need it “some day” and by God, they’re going to make sure they have it. They’re gracious enough to allow me to read these old books, and there’s lots of interesting details in them – so I see why they don’t want to let them go.

      • “If that were true, then teenagers who masturbate would know more than Mendel about genetics. Hey, the kid is producing fountains of DNA, so he knows all about genetics, right?”

        This brilliant metaphor has been stored in long-term memory, and I guarantee I will personally use it… more than once.

      • Dyspeptic… that was an awesome write-up. Robert really needs to take jewells like this and turn them into their own blog posts. I learn something every time I read one of these. I know how much time it takes to craft a response like this. Thanks for the effort.

      • Thanks, Dys. Great tips on how and why to pick the right gunsmith.
        Heard that same story about the 1″ cube from an old Marine Gunny who built the first .50 sniper rifle in Vietnam, on how he got started as a kid, with a mentor- an old German down the street- handed him a file and a chunk of metal and told him to do that first.

        • It really isn’t just a “hazing” ritual. There’s lots of work that can be and is done on guns with files. Lots and lots of work.

          Example: someone has really dinged up the ends of their shotgun barrel(s). OK, I get the dent(s) out, make the muzzle(s) round again, and then I have to dress off the muzzle to make it flat, smooth and white. That take a file. If the ‘smith doing that job doesn’t know how to drive the file, you’ll end up with a muzzle that isn’t square, and your shot pattern will pull to one side.

          Many gunsmiths who do things the “old school” way with have dozens and dozens of files. I’m closing in on 200 or so hand files, rifflers, rasps, etc, from a farrier’s rasp down to jeweler’s diamond files. I could go off on a rant about how there are no good files made in the US any more, but that would likely bore most people. When gunsmiths get together over beers recently, however, it’s a topic of much discussion and consternation.

  12. I have an idea. Perhaps we could crowd source some money for TTAG writers. They could use it to purchase some thesauruses! That way the next time they thought about using some urban dictionary term like “butt-hurt” they’d have more options at their fingertips.

    If we’re not linking to supermodels around here then we shouldn’t be throwing around words from the urban dictionary either. I thought we were trying to raise the bar.

    …. stepping off my soapbox

    • I invite you to join us and raise the bar by example. I cut my teeth writing snarky comments too, until Farago challenged me to review the Chiappa Rhino. The rest, as they say, is a really long story to tell at the shooting range.

      And, having said that, I blame Dan for the addition of ‘butt-hurt.’ I haven’t used that phrase since forever, or at least in the last two months. It’s so 2013, you know.

    • Yea, no need to be a douche. The language is appreciated, as were the Israeli models, which there needs to be more of……Looking at you R.F.

  13. The guy who needs the most help right now is the guy who made the video. The Hide is in good shape at this point and has asked that funds now be sent to the videO reviewer. Details on the Hide.

    I am mobile or else I would post the info, maybe somebody else will, please?

    • Marc Soulie is the guy who made the video. Here’s a link to one of the posts on the Hide with his contact info:


      Marc’s info:

      marcsoulie@yahoo.com can be used for Paypal. If you’d prefer to use check or M.O. send to Marc Soulie, P.O. Box 185, Saratoga, CA, 95070.

  14. Having watched the video once, casually… I foresee the plaintiff is going to have a tough time defending their work in court once a few gunsmiths with good reputations of many years in accuracy rifles are called in to provide expert testimony.

      • This sort of dispute is why the American Customer Gunmaker’s Guild was formed for high-end custom rifles: to help customers gain resolution to complaints and to provide a base of qualified experience that would help arbitrate claims of shoddy workmanship on guns. Same deal for the Pistol Guild and such. The ACGG also helps educate customers on what they should expect from a custom rifle or shotgun in the way of workmanship and timeliness. The guilds also place a barrier to entry on membership, with requirements that prospective members provide references from existing customers and then the gun maker has to provide samples of his/her work to the guild for blind review and critique. If the work provided isn’t up to the guild’s standards, the prospective member isn’t admitted.

        However, the ACGG has nothing to do with the “tactical” crowd whatsoever, and with good reason. There’s so much lubricious snake oil in the “tactical” gun market, it isn’t remotely humorous any more. But hey, there’s tons of gun buyers who just eat that “tactical” crap up by the bucket, so it stands to reason that the scammers would hone in on that part of the market.

        That’s not to say that there haven’t been scammers in the high-end custom gun market, tho. There was one out of New Hampshire a couple years ago that took down 80-some clients for more than a quarter-mil in deposits. It was run by an attorney who, because he knew nothing about actually making rifles, farmed out the actual gunsmithing to a bunch of gunsmiths who did know what they were doing, but who remained anonymous to the end customer(s). These gunsmiths then became very cranky when they had not been paid for services rendered, so they held onto the rifles they had built. The customers wanted their rifles, and sued to force the “gun maker” into BK and recover something. This wasn’t a ACGG member, BTW.

  15. The sad thing is that this isn’t new. There’s a contractor in Connecticut who has been suing people for posting bad reviews and they have targeted some websites who have posted the accounts:

    http://boingboing.net/2014/01/11/baybrook-remodelers-sue-and-s.html
    http://boingboing.net/2014/02/07/baybrook-remodelers-cack-han.html

    The people running these companies are just your typical scammers who have been doing this to customers for years and years; the only problem now is that it’s much easier to get the word out about shoddy and unfinished work thanks to the internet. People have even tried suing Yelp.com for bad reviews!

  16. If they just made right what was wrong consumers would be singing their praises. QC issues are inevitable no matter who you are. Making good is the difference between a great company and a bad one.

  17. The inconvenient truth of our wonderful nation is that anyone can sue anyone for anything. The likelihood of prevailing in a lawsuit is not relevant.

    If Sniper’s Hide simply reported their experience, they have no liability other than the legal costs of their defense. (Reporting your real experience with a product or service truthfully and accurately is never libel or slander.)

    This sort of thing would go away if judges would always find in favor of the defendant in these situations … and if an average person could state and substantiate the facts in court themselves without having to hire an attorney.

  18. This is ridiculous. Reviewers shouldn’t fear manufacturers, manufacturers should fear reviewers. We need to do something about this. Time to hit the other forums.

  19. You gotta give cheaper than dirt some credit, I don’t think they sued anybody for the lambasting they took. This rifle co? Oh yeah, thats marketing genius alright.

  20. Just to clarify the article, Marc Soulie is the owner of Spartan Precision Rifles; he made the video of work he did on his customer’s rifle. The customer’s rifle was originally built by Tactical Rifles.

  21. “The last time I checked, truth is a perfect defense against a charge of defamation.”

    Now that is rich. I thank you for the morning laugh. Our legal system today is soooo perverted from those old timey ideals of truth, justice and the American way that one can only pray to survive the experience.

    • Agreed, there are no more boundaries, this is a lawless post Constitutional nation, has been for a long time.

      For whatever internet advice is worth, if you want to at least minimize the chances of being named in a defamation/slander/libel suit for posting your opinions on the internet or elsewhere, always add the letters IMHO. It will give your lawyer a stable basis for a defense, if not preventing an action from being filed.

      IMHO Tactical Rifles sucks. Cya in court D bags.

  22. Many of us rely on these unbiased reviews while considering pretty much any product: guns, phones, cars, marital aids… If reviewers suddenly have to worry about being sued, we’ll have less credible information out there and we’ll all suffer because of it. Got to hope this particular case gets beaten down with a baseball bat and quickly.

  23. “Here at Tactical Rifles, we make a commitment to our customers: if you aren’t satisfied with our products – for any reason – we’ll see you in court. THAT’S the Tactical Rifles difference.”

  24. Didn’t read all the comments, but Mark Soulie isn’t the rifle’s owner – he’s the gunsmith (and a damn fine one at that) that the rifle’s owner commissioned to *fix* the TR.net rifle.

  25. Not that the folks at tacticalrifle.net are likely to pay me much mind, but I sent them the following e-mail:

    ===============================================================================
    Hey, guys, if someone finds a problem with one of your products, and makes that finding public, you should consider that that person has done you a favor, and fix the discovered problem. To sue the person for, basically, helping you out with quality control, is kinda chickenshit, don’t you think?
    ===============================================================================

  26. Would have been a lot cheaper and a much more satisfactory result, not to mention good PR, if they would have just done right by the dude and made him happy.

    I’ve read plenty of posts where a guy posted a complaint about something, the forum told him to contact the manufacturer first. He does, they do right, he reports back that they took care of him and all is well in the world.

    I’ve even seen manufacturers respond in forums “Hey, here is our number, call us ASAP and we’ll get you taken care of.” To which the members invariably laud their proactive customer service.

    That’s the extent this drama needed to entail.

    Derp is as Derp does I guess.

  27. Lawsuits like this one would never be brought if the US adopted a “loser pays” system. That’s all the tort reform that the system needs to make it run right.

    Unfortunately, the slimeballs who run the American Bar Association and the American Trial Lawyers Association (sometimes hilariously called the American Association for Justice) have the politicians in their pockets.

    Now that the ABA has also jumped on the gunhaters bandwagon, it’s just another reason for the ABA to be rejected by every lawyer with common sense.

  28. How childish. When their frivolous suit fails, I hope Sniper’s Hide sues them back.

    This rates as one of the most ridiculous lawsuits I’ve ever read about. Those who suit to punish via frivolous lawsuits should be sued back. FOR A LOT.

  29. It is sad. After seeing the video twice reading the review by mosesthetank on Snipers Hide I am left wondering what is going on. It seems that Marc Soulie did not even post it. He simply fixed the rifle and made the video for the customer. These are the 2 most popular reviews for Tactical Rifles on Snipers Hide, but not the only ones. Neither was written by Frank Galli or Marc Soulie. I am not aware of all that is going on but I just don’t get it. Whatever desperation Tactical Rifles must feel certainly their attorneys have framed some logic around things, I just don’t see it. I know it’s a bunch of crap but I do want to the reasoning behind it all, if anyone can find it.

    • there’s also a bunch of typos on their page as well. and, if you look at the ‘testimonials’ page, youll note that if compared to a google cache version of the tacticalrifles.net page they are playing games with and doing some creative editing of their ‘customer reviews’ posted on there too. Big red flags, do you really want these guys building you a rifle? Another clue is they are charging literally double what all the rifle makers that the pro shooters are using these days like GA Precision, Spartan Precision, and LA precision to name just a few.

      -Paul

  30. The video complaining about the rifle was kinda BS on several points.

    Yes, the muzzle brake was mis-timed and should not have been that way.

    The bedding job – maybe it was bad, hard to tell from the video.

    The muzzle brake “gap” was just fine. It was not a defect and looked ok.

    The loose threads – there was NO problem with that. Threads tension when tight. It doesn’t matter that you can angle the barrel when it was unscrewed. The gunsmith in the video just exposed his own ignorance.

    Threads being “gritty” – probably just anti-seize paste.

    High spot on the receiver-face? Hard to say. Probably a true issue if it was a custom rifle that claimed to be trued.

    Chamber being 0.003″ out of center? Probably very common.

    What groups did the rifle shoot before the “fixed?” Likely the same.

    But the lawsuit was a mistake. They should fix the rifle and apologized for the muzzle brake timing and paint over-spray.

    • I disagree. The tolerances you are suggesting are 18th century at best. Threads should be tight after maybe 2 revolutions, if they were cut to within 0.0001 they would have been fine. Chamber center should be within 0.0001. Some smiths go 0.00001, but not everyone has such precise machinery.

      • The threads should not be that tight.

        You want the threads to allow a little side-to-side play, because the alignment of the receiver/barrel interface can either match up on the threads, or on the recoil lug (which is surface ground to be very close to perfectly parallel). If the receiver has been blueprinted on a mandrel or in a fixture, you should have a receiver face that is perpendicular to the axis of the bolt bore. That receiver was grossly loose on the tenon from what I saw in the video.

        You can have the receiver choose to align on the threads, or on the receiver face, but only very rarely both. So there will typically not be a Class 3 fit on the threads, and you want the barrel to mate up very flat on the recoil lug, and the lug very flat on the face of the receiver. That’s the whole point of blueprinting the receiver, is to get that receiver face perpendicular to the bore axis.

        As for getting the chamber center within 0.0001 – not easily done unless you’re running a lathe with much better bearings than is normal in a lathe (regardless of manual or CNC). Most lathe headstock bearings are spec’ed to 0.0002 TIR. Only the best manual toolroom lathes (like a Monarch 10EE or Hardinge HLV-H) are speced to less than 0.0001, and those lathes are spec’ed to 0.00005 and 0.000025 TIR, respectively. The 10EE is too long through the headstock to do most 24″ (or shorter) barrels, and the HLV-H is too small through the headstock to do many barrels. The best CNC lathes might have tighter than 0.0002 TIR bearings, but they’d be a bear to do chambering on.

        What’s kind of ironic in this contest of lathe spec-one-upmanship is how many winning rifles have been turned out on South Bend 10L (aka “Heavy 10”) lathes. The South Bend lathes of that era pre & post-WWII) didn’t have roller or ball bearings in them. They have babbitt bearings – basically a sleeve of bronze/zinc/lead alloy that is kept lubricated with oil. This sleeve is clamped around the spindle in pillow blocks.

        Lubrication is 19th century simplicity at its finest: In the South Bend 10L, you have two little oil cups on the headstock that you fill every morning to keep the wicks that pull up the oil into the oil ring on the headstock babbitts to keep them lubed. TIR on these was spec’d to be 0.0002 or less – most that I’ve seen were something like 0.00015 to 0.00017 when in good shape.

        If the lathe lost lubrication (usually due to the clogged wick), you’d feel the bearings heat up and if you didn’t shut it down in time and pull the wicks and get them replaced, you might have to pull out the babbitt bearings, melt them down and re-cast the bearings. That was one of the advantages of making bearings out of babbitt metal: You could re-cast your bearings if things got screwed up.

        • History and science? Egads, heads will explode. At least some will accept the facts when coming from you. It’s a shame how many don’t understand the precision required to ‘call out tenths’…

        • Hey, I own test indicators down to tenths and fifty millionths too, all made by Swiss Elves high in the Alps, fed only the very best hot chocolate and Keebler Cookies. The two of them together cost me about $400.

          When one starts asking “OK, how good is my foundational accuracy on this machine? Let’s start with the the chuck or vise, the setup, the spindle, the collets, the tools…” we see that it’s easy to stack 0.0005 TIR into the situation very quickly before we even get to the point of worrying how well the reamer is going to follow the bore.

          Then there has to be a little slop between the pilot on the reamer and the bore, else one wouldn’t be able to get the damn thing back out of the chamber. There’s at least another couple tenths.

          All in all, it gets pretty difficult to claim results to a tenth with a straight face once one does this exercise. I like to point out to people the difficulty of even measuring to tenths of a thousandth with repeatable accuracy. My general rule when people claiming that they hit sizes to tenths “all the time” is to ask to see their temperature controlled metrology lab. No temp-controlled lab, then I seriously doubt their measurement skill.

          I like to start off conversations about this level of machining accuracy for the uninitiated by asking “How thick is a sheet of typical laser printer paper?” Most people don’t believe that it is 0.003″ thick. Most people have no appreciation for what 0.001″ is, much less one-tenth of that.

        • I’m not a gunsmith or any kind of machinist, but I’ll describe the system I saw. The inside of the muzzle was threaded and a fixture was attached to draw out the fluid, through a filter and cooling system, and then back through the breech. Before any work was started the fluid was run until the barrel and reamer reached the temp of the fluid (20 degrees C). At the breech end a starter (roughing?) reamer was used. The reamer was used in small increments as the fluid was run though. At some point the finish reamer was attached to finish the job, again with the cooled fluid run through to get everything to the same temperature. I got the 0.00001 figure from watching the readout on the lathe screen.

        • DG, I love reading this stuff. I find it fascinating. Would love to apprentice under an old school gunsmith. Despite all marketing to the contrary, gun making is a very old technology. Modern technology (in general) often just relieves the tool operators from having skill or knowledge. Sometimes digital wishes it was as good as analog!

        • Frank,

          What you probably saw was a DRO on a lathe that was reading down to 0.0001, or actually, more likely 0.0002″. Most DRO’s have scales that will give repeatable resolution down to two-tenths. There are scales that will give resolution down to one-tenth, but they’re typically used on only the cross-slide, which isn’t used in chambering. What you probably saw was a reading of how far the reamer was being pushed into the bore, and that DRO scale was probably set to read down to two-tenths.

          What I’m talking about is using test indicators with a very high sensitivity to detect the run-out of the barrel’s bore to the axis of rotation of the lathe. This is a very different matter that isn’t detected or represented by the DRO on a lathe. You need a test indicator, the proper tip and then a whole lot of patience. Dialing in a barrel through the headstock on a lathe down to 0.0002″ is at least a 20 minute process.

          The flushing system you saw sounds similar to one marketed by Greg Tannel, of Gre’-Tan rifles, out of Colorado. It’s a very nice system for flushing chips out of a chambering job, and most summers, there is a course given down at Trinidad’s NRA summer courses on making/using a high-pressure chambering flush system on a lathe.

          http://www.gretanrifles.com/products/main.jsf

  31. So is there an after-video where they really rip into Tactical Rifle?

    If not, then I didn’t see anything giving the lawsuit any substance.

    It looked like crap to be honest. Is a Pre-Schooler the head of their painting department?

  32. Snipers Hide is a great resource full of friendly knowledgeable enthusiasts of long range precision shooting. Whether this video was knit-picking or valid matters not to me. To immediately default to calling in scum…errrr…..attorneys, well I have a hard time respecting that route. I would never deal with this company on principal. That is all.

  33. TR FINALLY served Snipers Hide/Frank/Marc with the lawsuit. It appears that the Snipers Hide attorney had to compel TR to either serve up their suit or drop it. It seems that there are quite a few TR customers who have come forward and are eager to represent their case in defending SH and going after David Rooney. I am sitting on the sidelines wondering how in the world Rooney thinks he can manage what appears to be a decision even worse than the initial filing of the complaint.

  34. I recommend contacting any of the below (emails, phones, or website) to voice your concerns with the way they handle their business. I’m sure their computer servers and staff are prepared to handle the opinions and concerns of all the potential customers they might have had/have lost due to this lawsuit before they can speak with the potential customers who have not heard of this mess. They make great decisions and don’t make mistakes so I’m sure they will be more than happy to hear from all of us. Instead of making SH and the reviewer pay legal fees lets encourage Tacticalrifles.net to drop/forget the lawsuit.

    1-877-811-GUNS (4867)

    Sales and General Inquires: info@tacticalrifles.net

    Law Enforcement Inquires: LEsales@tacticalrifles.net

    Military Inquires: MILsales@tacticalrifles.net

    Tactical Rifles, inc

    4918 Airport Rd.

    Zephyrhills, FL 33542-4328

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