I may have kicked the hornet’s nest a little bit. The Remington R51 review I wrote and the subsequent calling out of Shooting Illustrated, caused something of an internet kerfuffle. Now that things seem to have calmed down I wanted to take a second and collect my thoughts about what makes gun reviews unique and why my personal standards are a little different from other reviewers . . .
With most things in life, buying the wrong product isn’t necessarily the end of the world. Buy an AMD processor instead of an Intel and your computer will still work. Buy a Chevy instead of a Honda and you’ll still have a functioning car. Well, mostly.
But when it comes to guns, things are very different. If a computer or a car breaks down, the worst that usually happens is you get inconvenienced for a little while and spend some money getting it fixed. With a firearm, the stakes can be much higher: this is a tool which you may use to protect your life and the lives of your loved ones. Guns need to work the first time every time. Period.
For as long as I’ve been writing for TTAG, that’s the standard which I’ve applied to my reviews. We aren’t opining on some new toy or trinket — this is a firearm, something that someone might depend on to keep them alive. When it comes to a product that important it’s imperative that people know the absolute truth about the item they’re planning to purchase, whether it’s good or bad. We’ve built our brand on that dedication to telling the truth about guns in our reviews, and it’s something that I make sure to instill in every new writer that wants to write a review of a firearm for the site.
One of the common cries that I kept hearing after I published the R51 review was that I had edited the post after it was published. Here’s a secret: I do that to just about every review I write. I even did it to this very article. The wonderful thing about the internet is that nothing is set in stone, and if you’re not happy about the current state of your article you can change it. Usually I only need to fix a typo or change an instances where Robert changed “trigger” to “bang switch” (I hate that term), but every once in a while there’s a need to make a more substantive change.
Every couple months I like to revisit my reviews and see if there’s anything new I can add. With some of these guns, I paid the company to keep them after the review and I continuously update the write-up to include things I’ve learned from my longer period of ownership. For example, I just recently updated the Primary Arms 4-14 FFP scope review to include a note about long term reliability of the scope on my gun, since that was one of the concerns I’ve heard about it.
Some guns I become more impressed with as time goes by and some guns fall apart after a few thousand rounds. All of these are things that readers should know when researching a firearm, and due to budget and time constraints they aren’t necessarily things we can test for every review. So we do our best when first publishing, and update the review if more pertinent information comes to light. The reason I make this extra effort to edit post-publishing is that while reviews are popular, the vast majority of people read them months or even years after they are first published. Keeping them up-to-date ensures that we provide the most accurate information possible no matter when someone may read them. The truth, in other words.
With that R51 review, before it even published Robert and Dan took a look at it. I made sure to talk to Robert about the content and thrust of the review, especially since we didn’t always have the best relationship with Remington. Unfortunately the product they sent us was problem-ridden, and the review you may have seen when it first published was the end result. While it might have been nice to give the gun a good review and get in on Remington’s good side (maybe soak up some of their ad dollars in the process), but that wasn’t possible. The gun that looked so promising wasn’t the hoped-for home run. It had some serious issues so I gave it a mediocre review; three stars.
Immediately after the write-up posted, the Remington fanboys started crawling out of the woodwork. I had included some statements about how the only people to give the gun a positive review were on a Remington-funded junket prior to the gun’s launch (I wasn’t there). My intentions with those statements were to point out that this was a gun so bad that the only people who gave it a pass were practically paid to do so. Instead it was interpreted as my being annoyed that I wasn’t invited. After consulting with Dan I realized that it wasn’t really contributing anything to the review and I pulled the language. I also clarified some statements that were being misinterpreted about the relative force of the R51’s recoil.
Throughout these changes, though, the tone of the article never changed. The technical content never changed. The findings never changed. And the end result never changed. Sure some of the wording was amended, but the details remained the same. As Dan and Robert can attest, the intent and spirit of the article remained unaltered from day one — I simply clarified my original statements and removed the ones that were being misinterpreted and didn’t contribute to the review.
Weeks after the review published though, I started making some more significant changes. One of the reviewers that I trust absolutely and completely is Tim Harmsen at the Military Arms Channel. He has the same mindset as I do when it comes to reviews, and he started reporting some major malfunctions with the R51, above and beyond what I had experienced. Using different R51s, he also duplicated some of the problems I was seeing. I edited the article to include the details of his findings, as well as his video review. Based on his experience and subsequent discussions with him, I eventually downgraded the results to the point you see today.
It all goes back to my original statement: gun reviews need to be the unadulterated truth, good or bad, and need to reflect the ability for a firearm to function when lives are on the line. I couldn’t in good conscience recommend a gun that had stopped running with rounds left in the magazine, had obvious QC issues in the manufacturing process, and had been proven on camera to fire out of battery. These are details that the buying public needs to know when they consider purchasing a gun, even if found by another writer. I have, however, clearly identified the difference between malfunctions I personally experienced and malfunctions Tim experienced in the article so the reader can form their own opinion based on our combined experiences.
Months after Tim’s and my reviews came out, Shooting Illustrated published their own review of the R51. What really ruffled my feathers and compelled me to write my article was the fact that by the time they published it, SI already had months to see if there were any reported problems with the gun. Yet they chose to do their write-up based on their experience with what seems to have been a hand picked pre-production sample. In the meantime there had been hundreds of reports from people all over the country verifying our findings and including issues of their own on the Remington forums and elsewhere. They couldn’t have missed it. But just like with video game reviews, the old school print media ignored the negative feedback and chose to appease their benefactors.
The backlash against my post was predictable — the older generation ran to the support of the older media. “He’s just pissed they didn’t give him a job!” Yes, I interviewed with American Rifleman, but if memory serves they wanted to pay about half of what I was asking. I never harbored any ill will towards them for that decision, and ended up taking a much more lucrative position in a much less expensive part of the country doing much more interesting work. And the level of editorial freedom I currently enjoy is something that I never would have been allowed at AR or any other dead tree publication. In short, anyone who actually knows me and my history understands how little I care about not getting that job. Caesar’s wife and all I suppose.
What really made me laugh, though, was one competitor’s statement on the matter. “He’ll never work for a print publication now!” Knowing what I know now about print media, I’m pretty comfortable with that fate. My integrity isn’t for sale, and I think the R51 proved it. Remington was dangling a carrot just in front of my face, offering the opportunity to attend those well-catered junkets if I just gave the R51 TTAG’s blessing. In the end, the result was something I was unwilling to alter. I knew that people were going to trust their lives to that gun, and I couldn’t even get it to work on a square range with a properly maintained and clean example of the firearm.
Robert named the website “The Truth About Guns,” and I do everything in my power to meet the standards he set out. We don’t just regurgitate the technical specs of a firearm, we put them to the test and verify the manufacturer’s claims. When a gun exceeds those expectations we praise it, and when it falls short we make sure to let our readers know. And especially with high profile guns, I like to include information from other people’s reviews where appropriate to ensure that the reader is as well-informed and educated about the gun as they can be before they decide to slap their hard earned cash on the barrelhead and trust their lives to an object.
We will continue to present our findings truthfully, warts and all. And I’m sure that those without the same rigorous standards or who have some personal skin in the game will continue to throw stones and try to discredit us for it. It’s my hope that others — especially in the established gun media — start to follow our example. Recoil Magazine has shown some potential in that area by publishing a rather hilarious negative review of a Hi-Point handgun, and I sincerely hope to see Iain Harrison continue that trend. Because when it comes to guns, I can’t morally justify ignoring problems and don’t understand how others can either.
As our friends on the other side might say, if I can save just one life by providing an accurate review, it will all be worth it.
Amen. And you gave the 870 a shiny five star review so I don’t see how any one could accuse you of bias against Remington… As for the R51 If the gun doesn’t work well it doesn’t deserve a good review. Period.
I had the opportunity to handle several of these R51’s at the NRA Annual Meeting & Convention this past April, in Indianapolis, at the Remington display. One would hope that these would be among the finest exemplars they had to offer, as their only reason for having the guns present was so they could be handled by the 75,000 attendees of the event.
The first R51 I picked up, I cycled the slide back, and promptly broke the gun. The slide simply jammed in the rearward position, and would not go back into battery. The booth staff had to literally get tools out and take the gun apart to get it functioning again (at least, I assume they got it functioning again, I’d left before the gun was back together).
The second R51 I picked up cycled (by hand) OK, but the grip safety had a TERRIBLE stacking-sudden-release problem. That is, as you applied hand pressure to the grip, and the grip safety began to depress, then it would get increasingly resistant to pressure until with an audible “SNAP!” it would suddenly depress into the frame. Uh, no thanks. At least the trigger wasn’t too bad.
The third R51 I picked up, the grip safety functioned like a well oiled machine–but the trigger was just terrible.
FYI, I’ve got no generalized gripe against Remington. I’ve got my 870, just like everybody else in America, and think it’s a fine shotgun for my purposes.
But that R51, at least as displayed April 2014 at the NRA Annual Meeting, was nothing short of a debacle.
I think re-visiting this is not needed. If you want to think about it in your head, fine. But Nick ticked off some readers and it is what it is. Standing by what you say or believe is going to do that. But going back and talking about it isn’t needed.
Personally I’ve only been ticked off when Nick failed to mention the points system required for importing handguns like the Zasvata M57A.
Oh and the last line isn’t something we should ever say. Repeat, ever. Using their phrases is a sign that someone is thinking like an anti. And this post does smell a little like Metcalf.
On the contrary, I think writing this (and reading it) are both worthwhile efforts. It’s important (to me) to know the mindset behind the polished final result.
Nick Leghorn is Dick Metcalf? That’s is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever read! Congratulations.
Amen brother. Give ’em hell!
Anyone that does gun media for a living, isn’t going to publish a negative review from a major company. Recoil can lampoon Hi Point because everyone in the industry knows what they are, and are willing to laugh at that review but there isn’t a hope in hell that they going going to publish a seriously negative review on Glock or Sig. I was told by members of the media if they truly get a turd they will send it back to the company and publish nothing about it.
But even TTAG has an issue that the traditional media has, the experience level of their reviews. Reviews are published without a lot of experience. One recent review of a firearm accessory the reviewer had a couple of weeks and a case or so of ammo with it. Heck I wouldn’t even give a preliminary review in that time period, let alone publishing it to a major site.
re mocking High Point from RF’s former site:
Funny, because if hi-points fail, the company can and will fix them, unlike big green. Although the r51 is a slightly better looking gun. Slightly that is, it looks mis-proportioned slide to grip actually to me. Then again I feel the jaguar etype is kinda ugly as well….and Ive always felt everyone claims its the best looking car ever just because Enzo Ferrari did and the print had to express that their tastes aligned with his and therefore hyped the looks.
The R51 was a litmus test for smelly reviewers. People should be out defending their good reviews for the gun, not the bad ones.
One of the many reasons I like this site.
I said from the get-go that I’d reserve judgement on the R51 until someone could put their hands on one and give us a report. If they fix the numerous flaws in the pistol’s function, I’ll happily give it a second look, but for now my search for a slim, larger frame 9mm must go on.
It was why I bought a Beretta INOX
Hm, the profile’s a bit thick on the Beretta (92, I presume?), but I still want to get one even if it’s not my ideal IWB carry piece.
I’d prefer that you show the changes as amendments vs. wiping previously written language. I think it shows a better progression in the thought process. For example:
1/1/2010 – The Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40 watt range ran fine during our testing on Winchester white box and Speer Gold Dots. However, due to time and ammo constraints, we were only able to shoot 250 rounds of each.
10/26/2011 – ***Update. After further testing, the PPR 40W seems to choke on Blazer steel case especially when dirty***
I think that looks better than just wiping the original paragraph and rewriting it.
No reason why anyone should care, but I concur with Mr. Kee on his recommended approach to updates/edits of posts. It takes nothing away from getting the most up-to-date info into folks’ hands, and it maximizes the transparency of the process–and transparency is a good thing. 🙂
I’m talking, of course, only about substantive changes to a post. Fixing a simple typo shouldn’t require anything more than simply fixing the typo.
I concur. I’m an engineer by training, and we do a lot of documentation and a LOT of revisions, and we always annotate the changes, what was changed, and so on. The same applies to software, albeit usually that’s in the form of .dif files.
Absolutely. It’s one thing to make minor edits like fixing typos or eliminating poor word choice (and I agree with you, Nick: “bang switch” is an idiotic term), but wholesale edits like removing whole paragraphs without any notation or explanation are a whole different ball game.
Especially in a format like this site, where user comments are part of the content. It’s a little disconcerting to read an article, then see a bunch of comments about how the thing was heavily edited after publication, with no indication of that from the author. It might not actually change the tone of the article, but to an outside observer, it does look kind of shady and questionable, especially if you didn’t see the article before the edits.
At the very least, if an article’s content (not typos, etc) is edited or amended later, it should be noted that that’s what happened, with an explanation of why.
I too like annotated changes. That way should l come back to a post I can see if anything’s changed and if so, what.
I completely agree, ideally, the web would be append only, you can add, but not subtract. Or at least have a way to see previous versions.
Exactly. Nick, I know that you’re not a journalist by training (and neither am I, for that matter) but what you’re doing here is still journalism, whatever some may claim about new media. Journalists, be they by training or by trade, follow some guidelines, and explicitely labelling updates to the text is one of these guidelines. You may get away with changing some typos and minor wording (although sticklers would argue even about that), but modifying major portions of an existing article and not clearly labeling the changes is one of the biggest No-Nos a journalist could possibly make. It doesn’t matter that there was no foul intention behind it. The lack of transparency can taint an otherwise excellent article in the eye of the readers.
OK, enough with the journalistic finger wagging. You’re a smart guy, so I’m sure you got the message. Taking it to heart will just make your journalism even better.
Well this will be a weird and long comment.
So I was very happy to see my review posted today. I took the endeavor very seriously and it was actually 1 of 4 reviews I had queued up. After the somewhat fanboyish reviews during the P320 contest I was very hesitant because I was trying to quantify why I selected each rating and overall why I did not give it a perfect score. I want to be objective about why a gun has a good feature or a bad feature. Some of the criticisms were predictable but the feedback was still valuable. I wanted to emulate a lot of the reviews on the site where personal bias is put aside. I can’t say its always been the case but I would say most reviews have tried to quantify their scores rather than “I really like Glocks so….5 stars across the board!”
I wish people could understand they can own a gun and not find it perfect. I have some other firearms that I love dearly but will be happy to tell you why they might not be the best choice for someone else. I did my review to help others in their research because it was through a lot of research and reviews that I made my selection. The more information out there the better. I just hope I’m adding more signal than noise.
On the flipside, I don’t trust the print media. Just accepting advertiser dollars compromises you, but it doesn’t automatically make me disregard your reviews. The problem is the pattern and I have seen it with guns, videogames, and cars. The favored brands get preferential treatment and the non-favored brands get dogpiled because they are seen as “safe”. People crap on Hi-Point because Hi-Point doesn’t have the advertising dollars. They are “safe” to pick on. Nevermind that Hi-Point fills a valuable market niche. Manufacturers should see the value in honest reviews and they should not be releasing a crap product on the market. Especially in this day and age. You can’t simply buy positive press anymore. There are too many ways for bad news to get out and it cannot be contained.
I expect some subjectivity when it comes to a review. I also expect information. TTAG was fairly generous with the R51. I could tell from early releases the team was excited about the pistol and I could tell from the review that you really WANTED to like the gun. I understand that feeling. I think that is Remington’s biggest failing. You had a lot of people, myself included, who were genuinely excited about this product and ready for it to hit the market. The fact that it is a dog is a disappointment. It should have been easy money. Remington is still busy trying to blame everyone but themselves for this debacle. TTAG was not alone in their assessment, and I did look elsewhere to see what the consensus was. If you were the lone voice complaining, that would have been something else. From the looks of things, you were more gracious than you needed to be. 3 stars may have been generous.
Your attitude and integrity are two of the reasons I trust your reviews.
Keep em coming Nick
Dead tree media meets the Internet.
Dead tree media loses every single time.
This is a point lost on “Shooting Illustrated.”
I didn’t mean Nick is a FUDD, I meant Nick is sticking by his stance despite FLAK and isn’t attempting to mend fences. Note the use of the word “fanboy” and how little he cares about not being able to write for American Rifleman. His bitterness and/or contempt is showing.
I think re-visiting this is not needed. If you want to think about it in your head, fine. But you ticked off some readers and it is what it is. Standing by what you say or believe is going to do that. But going back and talking about it isn’t needed.
I loved the look of the gun and wanted to get one, but from everyones reviews that I mostly trust (TTAG and MAC especially) the R51 looks like a turd…
What in the hell happened to QC? 🙁
Nice article Nick. When RF doesn’t insist on inserting juvenile prose into your articles they are clear and concise. An informative and entertaining read through and through.
Remington could have done the honorable thing and released a statement saying they would halt production and sort out the manufacturing problems while recalling the guns that have shipped. That would have been worth millions in public relations and restored confidence in their brand.
Anyone who’s seen one of the Marlins they’ve shipped in last few years knows that will never happen.
As a former writer of the dead tree Hook and Bullet Club I can state that keeping the Ad Dollars rolling in is Mission #1 on the part of publishing houses, readership was/is largely a function of the cover art. Count the number of pages of Ads and their placement near the articles that tout the related new whiz bangs and the connection is clear. Honest reportage is as rare as,,,well never mind. Additionally lets not forget the contrived conflicts between various word smiths to keep the reading public buying or subscribing.
Remington has neutered it’s design staff in obeisance to the Progressive Collective Will, they have NO successful designs besides those that were developed in the 1950’s, the M-700 and the M-870, Oh there is the odd 22 rim fire but that proves my point. Instead of marketing a successful product for which there is a need Rem buys up competitors and then destroys them by moving in their own staff.
Rem has not marketed a successful handgun since the New Army over a century ago and as long as they toady to the PC Leftist Elite, employ Union slaves nothing will change, nothing.
AAC is the most recent example.
Rock on. Remington derped on this pistol.
AMD processors don’t run on intel boards, same for the other way around. So if you buy the wrong CPU your computer is useless.
Oh, chipsets, shmitt-sets… 🙂
I think all handgun reviews should include new shooters or those who may be prone to or have the potential to limp wrist the weapon. That review may just save someone’s life.
I respect your integrity in giving is the unvarnished truth. Truth can be ugly sometimes… especially if someone “has a dog in the fight”. I go to this site because I don’t want spin. We get it all the time from our politicians. Like most, I don’t have a lot of money. I try to research from as many sources as possible. The one place that I DON’T go are the gun porn rags. I don’t mind spending more money for the right kind of tool. When I buy a firearm that will be used to protect my family, I ask “What are their lives worth?” and suddenly it’s not so much after all. I just wasn’t to know that it will work. I consider it “due diligence”. Thank you for what you do and Good bless you.
“Buy an AMD processor instead of an Intel and your computer will still work.”
Plus, when you add 486 +100, you get 586 on AMD instead of 585.999999973. 😉
(I hear that’s why they named it the “Pentium.”)
2+2=5 for very large values of 2.
The buggy FDIV in the FPU was an “undocumented feature”…
Ever see an IMAX film called “The Journey Inside”? It made it very clear that little miniaturized aliens had sabotaged the chip. The film had already been produced and distributed when the FDIV bug went public. Everybody around me was wondering why I was laughing my ass off.
Personally and in all honesty, I have never shot or handled an R51. That being said, I was very intrigued initially and I researched it because I wanted to purchase one. After reading many user reviews, I decided against buying one. That being said, it is insulting to even put a picture of a Glock next to a R51.
To the glock or the 51? (I know what I think the answer to that is. But your phrasing leaves me unclear on what you mean.)
GLOCK all day BB!!! I meant it was insulting to the Glock to put a pic of the R51 next to it.
Keep up the good work. Ethics are their own reward! Flying? Instructor clip your tail feathers yet?
We’re doing the AOPA syllabus for primary training, and I aced the second stage check. Tomorrow’s lesson finally has the words “initial solo” in it, and I can’t wait.
My instructor was extremely cautious and didn’t have me solo until he was solidly confident I wouldn’t bend the airplane (and myself). He didn’t care what the syllabus said about when it was supposed to happen.
Well spoken. So the R51 isn’t a ” dandy little pocket pistol”? Thanks for not having brand bias and reviewing stuff I can afford. BTW what’s the status of the Taurus 1911 review? I haven’t bought a gun magazine in years so.pretty much everything I learn is on the internet. Keep up the good work.
If the R51 was ever a pocket pistol then so is my XD/m compact.
It’s why I keep coming back to this site everyday (and that I felt justified in my PWS rifle purchase when Nick gave it 5 stars!)
Speaking of which, did you switch to that as your 3 gun rifle, Nick?
I did. Added a Geissele S3G trigger and a 51T brake from AAC and it is perfect.
The R51 is indeed a Piece Of Crap, I sent mine back in March a week after I purchased it. FTF’s,FTE’s Failure to return to battery and a out of battery discharge, thankfully down range (safety training pays off).
I finally got through to what passes as customer service last week and will be issued a complete refund (eventually). There is one Remington forum I frequent and the complaints from other owners and growing number of former owners will testify what I am saying and Nick. There was one Remington apologist early on who accused me of spreading “unsubstantiated Gossip” for posting a link to Nick’s original honest post and he even speculated that Nick might be subject to a libel lawsuit. Needless to say there is no concern now not that there ever was. He mysteriously stopped posting about 3 weeks ago when it became apparent even to him the truth about this debacle called the R51
I have to agree with the others above…. if you are presenting a product review… do it! I see far too many “reviews’ when researching this or that…. Many read like they were written before the object being reviewed was even seen….
When I want a new gun, first step key it into the TTAG search and start reading. After reading the PT111 review, I not only bought one for the Mrs. as an EDC, I bought one for my collection! I was pleasantly surprised when my experiences with these matched the findings reported. Had the review been less than stellar, for just something different to shoot maybe, but I would NOT have made that as a purchase for her protection.
Keep up the great work! We DO rely on your collective honesty and opinions.
When I reviewed wine, I tried to apply objective standards to assessment and evaluation.
I caught a lot of flack and opposition for it.
There is this idiotic mentality that wine is “subjective”. It’s not. But you have to know quite a bit about it and sensory perception.
The nice thing about guns or cars or computers is that one can objectively evaluate them using basic benchmarks of performance. There are also technological means of evaluating concretes like accuracy, trigger weight, muzzle velocity, ballistic gel penetration or even kinetic force of recoil, etc in a reproducible manner.
And nobody can argue some bullshit about “subjectivity”. Additionally, reviewers applying systematic, objective procedures help flush out the fluff piece writers.
I think it’s problematic to tweak reviews after publishing, however.
It’s one thing to write a clearly designate addendum at the end of the original piece or to write a separate piece and link between it and the original.
This objection is not one of ethics or style. I think it’s OK to correct oneself or change a rating after further evaluation. But changing the original piece muddies the picture and the record.
Let the piece stand for itself. Then issue a re-evaluation. I think the record will speak for itself and the credibility of the reviewer/publication will be stronger for it.
The reviewer’s honesty is much appreciated and I wish Remington would wake up and clean house. I was their #1 supporter (to the extent that I used to tell gun buyers “you can’t go wrong with a Remington”) but that was before the new ownership took over and ruined the product line.
Even the old standards can’t be trusted. Several years ago I bought a brand new 1100 Classic Trap and practically had to use a breaker bar to get the choke tube out. A drunken baboon with an impact wrench could not have gotten it in any tighter; I’ll never understand how that barrel ever got past inspection and out of the factory. When the choke tube finally came out it brought barrel metal with it, stripping the internal threads and rendering the muzzle end useless. Turns out the choke tube was not only ovoid but, just for good measure, was cross threaded as well.
Needless to say, that was my last NEW Remington. If the new ownership were being paid to destroy this once great company they couldn’t be doing a better job.
There was a kerfuffle? I was sad I missed it. Then as I read on, I read it was just fanboys, corporations and their paid shills in the media. I am glad I missed it. It appeared to be a problematic gun at launch, was widely criticized online at many places, chronicled and videoed with obvious problems… and the paid print media came out with glowing reports. It was surreal. Expected, but this time was so out of place and the contrast so out of proportion it was just surreal. As usual, new media such as TTAG and MAC proved to be some of the only trustworthy sources of info in the matter. Well done.
Gunblast tdiinva. A “Jeff Quinn ism” lol
Nice work, Nick. Life is short, so tell it like it is.
IMO, the R51 was a great idea, doomed by a terrible corporate culture and THE shoddiest QC in the history of manufacturing. The design is elegant and brilliant, but it needs to be built by someone else. A friend of mine bought one (even after I warned him about some of the issues I’d read). When I first held the gun and dry-fired it, it pointed so naturally for me and had such a nice trigger that I wanted to run out and buy one. However, a couple rounds in I was disabused of that notion. It wouldn’t cycle reliably, and after a couple mags it malfunctioned (in different ways) on just about every round. And this isn’t a new thing for Remington — a few years ago when they discontinued production of the M700 Alaskan Ti models, I immediately bought one so I’d have a lightweight receiver for a custom build down the road. Good thing I didn’t plan to use it as is — the barrel fluting on that, one of their premium rifles, was so crooked I think drunken monkeys could’ve done better.
On the reviews, keep ’em coming and keep ’em honest. Also, I agree with the previous posters who want edits and changes to be clearly identified.
While I have been following TTAG for quite some time this is my first post on TTAG. At the risk of repeating what others have already said, I feel compelled to express my support and appreciation for Nick’s honest and thorough reviews. I really do use them. My last purchase (CZ 455) was a direct result of Nick’s excellent review of that rifle, and I am very pleased with it.
I also agree with the suggestion to track edits to the reviews. This would strengthen the credibility of the reviews even more.
Nick & all other TTAG contributors – thanks for the great work. I appreciate your efforts to bring The Truth About Guns to the world.
you keep writing, I continue to read…and look at the pictures.
The word vindicated comes to mind. The Remmy R51 debacle ranks up there w/the Caracal pistol bomb…your reviews are great to read.
If it is made like crap and works like crap then it must be crap. It appears the R51 is an absolute “dandy” piece of crap. What else needs to be said?
Most gun magazines and gun magazine writers create fluff articles to appease advertisers. Most magazines are really more or less manufacturers shills.
Well said, Nick. I thought it was telling that apart from self-righteous indignation and a few threats of violence, your critics here (especially re: Shooting Illustrated) really didn’t have much to hang their hats on.
I agree with Andrew that indicating substantive changes made after the first post would be a good policy in the interest of transparency.
I hate to be the bee in the bonnet but all I see here is a bunch of guys feeling like they are the only ones who see the light and are fighting the big man of “print media.” Give me a break. Print media is a midget anymore to sites like the truth about guns. The R51 may be a piece of junk but Mr. Leghorn me-thinks toots his own horn in this piece way more than he needs to. It reads like TTAG and Leghorn are the only objects speaking the truth to all of us who are gunnies. Remington may be a bit to corporate and the R51 might be a lemon but how many guys do you know hit home runs every time? I like this site but as soon as they feel that they have the unvarnished truth on guns then you can see my backside heading out the door. Remington in my opinion is still trying to do right but the country. Look at the fact that they are abandoning their home since 1816, moving to a pro gun state and also look at their response to a in my opinion a bogus trigger issue with the Rem700.
You’re like the Underwriters Labratories of gun reviews….good on ya, unvarnished truth and integrity are hard to come by, and I value it!
First, thanks for the peek behind the photonic curtain; it’s nice to get a peek into the workings of TTAG from the writers’ perspective.
Re editing and updating reviews, I appreciate that as it can allow, for instance, a first impression to become a long-term review. I would like to make two related requests regarding this, however.
First, I would ask you folks publish a summary article every so often – biweekly or monthly seems about right – indicating which reviews have been updated and to what extent. For example, something like:
Fireball 5000 review – first published 4/1/13 – major downgrade, gun blew up
Yoyodyne 0.45mm Railgun Rifle – first published 10/31/31 – long-term update, still pushing Mach 5
Second, as have others, I request you clearly indicate in a given article that the article has been edited, and if possible, highlight the changes.
But most of all, please keep doing what you’re doing.
I don’t think the complaints are all about the R51 not being a home run.
The issue, rather, is that there are apparently serious flaws in the (re)design, fabrication and quality control. Problems in all three areas is, frankly, amateurish, especially from a company of Remington’s pedigree.
You might not hit a home run with every product release. But every product you release should at least work for most of the people who buy it, most of the time.
Keep up the good work Nick. One thing I’d suggest is like Ralph said- if you are going back to re-explaining yourself and writing, that gets in the way of the review itself. And if it comes across as defensive – it detracts from your style, which is straight up, and user perspective. If the facts change, then update the article, like you said, and I prefer that, including later updates on how a weapon holds up after long use – thats a rarity, online or on paper, and especially useful.
You have two good editors in RF and Dan and other good writers with their own voice to bounce ideas off of- stick with integrity and doing your homework, and telling the facts as you see them – thats why I am here, and value what you say.
As a former member of the gunwriting media, I couldn’t agree with Nick more. I wrote for approx 8 years and in that time I learned quickly which side of the bread the butter was on. I learned that advertising $$ dictated how the article would play as well.
I had more than my share of “stinkers” show up at my house, many of them from major gun makers. I had some that I could barely find anything GOOD to say, and when I complained to the editor I was told to “play up the good parts and just downplay the bad”. When I told him there wasn’t anything good to say, I was told to “include lots of photos because most of our readers never get past the pictures anyway”.
In another instance, I was given the go ahead for a T&E on a handgun, and when I contacted the manufacturer was told not only NO, but HELL NO! It seems the editor of the magazine I was doing the review for had panned one of their other products and they didn’t want anything of theirs to be reviewed in anything that he was editor of. (In the end, I queried another publication for the same gun, got the go-ahead AND the sample with no trouble.)
You keep it up Nick, and keep telling it like it is. It’s far better than reading whole magazines full of “Puff Pieces” as they used to be called.
Big Green has more problems than just the R51. For example, the Mod 700 just ain’t the icon it used to be, and sales are starting to reflect that, despite all the marketing money spent for its support.
Just as I love Kimber .45s, the Solo 9mm was a disaster from a carry piece perspective, which is, THIS GUN MUST WORK, EVERY TIME.
Don’t be surprised when your favorite firearm maker lays a rotten egg. Just be glad we have organizations willing to do the testing for us and publish honest results. Keep it up.