randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

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randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby winchester1852 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:56 pm

By Randy Wakeman***************


The answer, for the most part, can be considered self-evident and self-revealing. Certainly, manufacturers have the right (and the fiduciary responsibility) to present their products in the most appealing manner they can. This is even if a marketing department's version of appealing sometimes contains the appeal of a fiberglass clown head wobbling on a spring at a miniature golf course or disposable Bic lighter type cartoonish features.

The shame of it is only that it gets in the way of selecting a shotgun based on clear field advantage as opposed to mythical nonsense. Mythical nonsense is easy to spot. If a claim is not made with basis, if a manufacturer cannot support the claim with “shareable data,” you can bet it offers no tangible advantage.

The puff without substance isn't at all new, but it obfuscates what features and benefits are. How many times have you heard “less recoil,” “more reliable,” and “better patterns”? If you aren't sick of it by now, you should be. Pattern consistency is controlled by two primary factors: consistency and quality of the shell and of the choke. Everything else is secondary to non-existent. Back-boring does not work, porting gives you more loud than anything else, and recoil is contingent on gun weight, shotshell payload, and shotshell velocity more than anything else. So-called 3-1/2 inch “Super Magnum” shells often have no more payload than the 2-3/4 in. baby magnum shells of fifty years ago (some have less), yet still our eyes can sometimes grow wide with fascination that the unfolded length of a shotshell hull is of any great value. It simply is not.

You wouldn't think that the most important gun care product would be Armor-All or all-purpose plastic wax, but apparently we are headed in that direction. Several folks have asked me what possibly justifies a $1750 MSRP for profuse plastic, fake finishes, and techno-polymer? There is no easy answer to that. That the U.S. dollar is not particularly desirable these days is a factor, of course, and it costs money to relentlessly promote the lizard, pistol grip calculators, and fake oil finishes. How often have you heard that you get what you pay for? I suppose you do, if you pay for over-priced, over-gimmicked, over-advertised plasticy anodized things, then that's exactly what you can expect to get. I will confess to a bit of bemusement when sporting clays guns have the benefit of surviving thousands of hours of salt spray. When sporting clays courses are confined to cruise ships, it might be a more interesting feature.

There's little question that advertising works. If it didn't, few would bother with it and if campaign war-chests are any barometer of who gets elected, you can imagine that marketing battle-chests have a little something to do with what gets selected. I'm often asked if firearms are better today than older examples. Well, they certainly can be, some clearly are, but more often then we would like, they aren't on the basis of quality control and durability. The focus on the autoloading shotgun is not because I don't like or appreciate them, it is for exactly the opposite reason: some of the most enjoyable days I've ever had in the field have been with autoloading shotguns: just good ones. Regardless of a manufacturer's desire to make money, I think the consumer has a right for autoloaders to function as described and as promised. When the prices of mass-produced autoloaders soar past 1400, 1500, 1600 dollars, we do have a right to expect some significant level of longevity and build quality commensurate with our investments. Sometimes, it just isn't there. The shame is, it easily could be.

It isn't exclusively the fault of manufacturers, to be sure. Though we really know that one size does not fit all, we quickly cast aside what we already know and have always known. There is no such thing as an optimum versatile shotgun (or much of anything else) as versatility carried far enough invariably means compromise. The combination bicycle, rotor tiller, and snowmobile hasn't arrived yet and to a lesser degree, the horse for all courses and clothing for all seasons hasn't either. Extremely light and extremely soft shooting cannot come in the same box, yet we seem to fall for that on a perpetual basis. We also take comfort in imagining the mystical properties of steel and polymer to be somehow “more,” but they can never be more than what they are, regardless what names are assigned to the same materials.

There are several autoloaders today that, at least in the supplied form, aren't what they could be. I well understand that these are mass-produced guns that rely on sourced and jobbed out parts. It isn't rational to expect a gun manufacturer to make all of their own springs, pins, beads, and small parts. Nevertheless, the manufacturer that brands the box bears the responsibility for what it contains. Who else? Manufacturers need to carefully select their sourced parts, monitor their vendors, and employ quality controls. Too often, they don't. There are examples from many, many manufacturers.

How is it, for example, at this late date, that according to industry sources many thousands of defective shell lifters have been replaced, and continue to be replaced in the Beretta Urika / Urika 2 / 391 series? It is mind boggling. Yet, once properly set-up, the Beretta 391 remains the top volume clays autoloader on the market today, and one of the most desirable. Yet, despite its long history nagging quality control problems remain that frustrate the most devout 391 fans. It is all okay, unless it happens to you.
The same is already apparent with the A400 Unico, essentially phase two of the Beretta Extrema 2. Improperly hardened, soft main bolt pins have resulted in a stream of failures to cycle, breech bolts failing to go back into battery all due to a sourced part lacking quality control. Thank goodness for Cole Gunsmithing, with no Beretta service department to go along with the high-priced lizard price tag, the consumer all to often is on his own . . . unless he is savvy enough to get a problem gun off to Rich Cole.

The same is true of the latest from Remington, the Versa Max. A belated launch, a recall warning not to fire it, then finally guns that have no suspect hammers. I just got through inspecting a batch of Versa Max models. The roughness of the actions was astounding. About an eight pound gun, every single Versa Max had a trigger break that was heavier than the gun itself, ranging from 8.5 to 10 lbs. It is a ridiculous amount of slop and inattention to yet another overpriced plastic wonder. The shame of it is, the Versa Max action excellent. Perhaps working with alloy is a new adventure for Remington, but the rough actions, horrid triggers, overly wide forearms and ridiculously tiny bolt release buttons all suggest that someone just doesn't care or doesn't care nearly enough. There is something wrong when a $475 Mossberg 930 has better build quality, a smoother action, better controls and a dramatically better factory trigger than examples trying to be sold for three times the money. Mossberg must know something that the other guys don't?

A common conversation topic, “Are Guns Better Today?” Well, they certainly can be and sometimes are. Yet, aluminum does not have the durability of steel, and despite more developed raw materials, advanced manufacturing methods, and so forth, technology must be properly applied with equal attention to quality control for a design to come close to its potential. Setting aside proclivities of brand worship, some things are self-evident and not at all subjective. If the bead falls off halfway through the first box of shells, it the stock is poorly fitted or finished, if the action is rough, the bluing uneven, the trigger unacceptably heavy, the rib isn't straight, the center bead not centered on the rib, the wood not matching in color, grain, or tone, the choke tubes looking like they were made with a rat file, etc. These are not tainted observations, they are obvious quality problems. Recalls are all voluntary at the discretion of a manufacturer, no outside body. We should all wonder how increasingly pricey guns could possibly rise to the level of a recall. Moreover, with some guns that have thousands of examples of the same problem, we should also wonder why some manufacturers turn a blind eye to what is clearly a common defect.

Part of it resides with us, the consumer. Talk really is cheap and the only vote that counts is the vote we actually make with our wallet. It is up to us to vote for quality, value, performance, customer service and aesthetics. If we fail to do that, we aren't helping things. If we continually vote for gimmicks and "features," we can hardly be surprised when those things continue, for we have funded and perpetuated them. You can bet your fastest-cycling cryo technopolymer steelium back-bored triple-ported self-cleaning bottom dollar on that one.
Last edited by winchester1852 on Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: versa max randywakman

Postby mudpack » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:41 am

winchester1852 wrote:the Versa Max. A belated launch, a recall warning not to fire it, then finally guns that have no suspect hammers. I just got through inspecting a batch of Versa Max models. The roughness of the actions was astounding. About an eight pound gun, every single Versa Max had a trigger break that was heavier than the gun itself, ranging from 8.5 to 10 lbs. It is a ridiculous amount of slop and inattention to yet another overpriced plastic wonder. The shame of it is, the Versa Max action excellent. Perhaps working with alloy is a new adventure for Remington, but the rough actions, horrid triggers, overly wide forearms and ridiculously tiny bolt release buttons all suggest that someone just doesn't care or doesn't care nearly enough. There is something wrong when a $475 Mossberg 930 has better build quality, a smoother action, better controls and a dramatically better factory trigger than examples trying to be sold for three times the money. Mossberg must know something that the other guys don't?

I'm a bit confused: first, what does Wakeman have to do with the VersaMax?
Then, is the action "rough" or "excellent"?
If Mossberg was the only manufacturer making guns with good triggers (and their triggers aren't even "average"), then they might be in possession of secrets. As it is, I think Remington just dropped the ball on this one.
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Re: versa max randywakman

Postby orphanedcowboy » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:09 am

mudpack wrote:
winchester1852 wrote:the Versa Max. A belated launch, a recall warning not to fire it, then finally guns that have no suspect hammers. I just got through inspecting a batch of Versa Max models. The roughness of the actions was astounding. About an eight pound gun, every single Versa Max had a trigger break that was heavier than the gun itself, ranging from 8.5 to 10 lbs. It is a ridiculous amount of slop and inattention to yet another overpriced plastic wonder. The shame of it is, the Versa Max action excellent. Perhaps working with alloy is a new adventure for Remington, but the rough actions, horrid triggers, overly wide forearms and ridiculously tiny bolt release buttons all suggest that someone just doesn't care or doesn't care nearly enough. There is something wrong when a $475 Mossberg 930 has better build quality, a smoother action, better controls and a dramatically better factory trigger than examples trying to be sold for three times the money. Mossberg must know something that the other guys don't?

I'm a bit confused: first, what does Wakeman have to do with the VersaMax?
Then, is the action "rough" or "excellent"?
If Mossberg was the only manufacturer making guns with good triggers (and their triggers aren't even "average"), then they might be in possession of secrets. As it is, I think Remington just dropped the ball on this one.



He's quoting Randy from this article:

Are Autoloading Shotguns Too Gimmicky?

By Randy Wakeman


The answer, for the most part, can be considered self-evident and self-revealing. Certainly, manufacturers have the right (and the fiduciary responsibility) to present their products in the most appealing manner they can. This is even if a marketing department's version of appealing sometimes contains the appeal of a fiberglass clown head wobbling on a spring at a miniature golf course or disposable Bic lighter type cartoonish features.

The shame of it is only that it gets in the way of selecting a shotgun based on clear field advantage as opposed to mythical nonsense. Mythical nonsense is easy to spot. If a claim is not made with basis, if a manufacturer cannot support the claim with “shareable data,” you can bet it offers no tangible advantage.

The puff without substance isn't at all new, but it obfuscates what features and benefits are. How many times have you heard “less recoil,” “more reliable,” and “better patterns”? If you aren't sick of it by now, you should be. Pattern consistency is controlled by two primary factors: consistency and quality of the shell and of the choke. Everything else is secondary to non-existent. Back-boring does not work, porting gives you more loud than anything else, and recoil is contingent on gun weight, shotshell payload, and shotshell velocity more than anything else. So-called 3-1/2 inch “Super Magnum” shells often have no more payload than the 2-3/4 in. baby magnum shells of fifty years ago (some have less), yet still our eyes can sometimes grow wide with fascination that the unfolded length of a shotshell hull is of any great value. It simply is not.

You wouldn't think that the most important gun care product would be Armor-All or all-purpose plastic wax, but apparently we are headed in that direction. Several folks have asked me what possibly justifies a $1750 MSRP for profuse plastic, fake finishes, and techno-polymer? There is no easy answer to that. That the U.S. dollar is not particularly desirable these days is a factor, of course, and it costs money to relentlessly promote the lizard, pistol grip calculators, and fake oil finishes. How often have you heard that you get what you pay for? I suppose you do, if you pay for over-priced, over-gimmicked, over-advertised plasticy anodized things, then that's exactly what you can expect to get. I will confess to a bit of bemusement when sporting clays guns have the benefit of surviving thousands of hours of salt spray. When sporting clays courses are confined to cruise ships, it might be a more interesting feature.

There's little question that advertising works. If it didn't, few would bother with it and if campaign war-chests are any barometer of who gets elected, you can imagine that marketing battle-chests have a little something to do with what gets selected. I'm often asked if firearms are better today than older examples. Well, they certainly can be, some clearly are, but more often then we would like, they aren't on the basis of quality control and durability. The focus on the autoloading shotgun is not because I don't like or appreciate them, it is for exactly the opposite reason: some of the most enjoyable days I've ever had in the field have been with autoloading shotguns: just good ones. Regardless of a manufacturer's desire to make money, I think the consumer has a right for autoloaders to function as described and as promised. When the prices of mass-produced autoloaders soar past 1400, 1500, 1600 dollars, we do have a right to expect some significant level of longevity and build quality commensurate with our investments. Sometimes, it just isn't there. The shame is, it easily could be.

It isn't exclusively the fault of manufacturers, to be sure. Though we really know that one size does not fit all, we quickly cast aside what we already know and have always known. There is no such thing as an optimum versatile shotgun (or much of anything else) as versatility carried far enough invariably means compromise. The combination bicycle, rotor tiller, and snowmobile hasn't arrived yet and to a lesser degree, the horse for all courses and clothing for all seasons hasn't either. Extremely light and extremely soft shooting cannot come in the same box, yet we seem to fall for that on a perpetual basis. We also take comfort in imagining the mystical properties of steel and polymer to be somehow “more,” but they can never be more than what they are, regardless what names are assigned to the same materials.

There are several autoloaders today that, at least in the supplied form, aren't what they could be. I well understand that these are mass-produced guns that rely on sourced and jobbed out parts. It isn't rational to expect a gun manufacturer to make all of their own springs, pins, beads, and small parts. Nevertheless, the manufacturer that brands the box bears the responsibility for what it contains. Who else? Manufacturers need to carefully select their sourced parts, monitor their vendors, and employ quality controls. Too often, they don't. There are examples from many, many manufacturers.

How is it, for example, at this late date, that according to industry sources many thousands of defective shell lifters have been replaced, and continue to be replaced in the Beretta Urika / Urika 2 / 391 series? It is mind boggling. Yet, once properly set-up, the Beretta 391 remains the top volume clays autoloader on the market today, and one of the most desirable. Yet, despite its long history nagging quality control problems remain that frustrate the most devout 391 fans. It is all okay, unless it happens to you.
The same is already apparent with the A400 Unico, essentially phase two of the Beretta Extrema 2. Improperly hardened, soft main bolt pins have resulted in a stream of failures to cycle, breech bolts failing to go back into battery all due to a sourced part lacking quality control. Thank goodness for Cole Gunsmithing, with no Beretta service department to go along with the high-priced lizard price tag, the consumer all to often is on his own . . . unless he is savvy enough to get a problem gun off to Rich Cole.

The same is true of the latest from Remington, the Versa Max. A belated launch, a recall warning not to fire it, then finally guns that have no suspect hammers. I just got through inspecting a batch of Versa Max models. The roughness of the actions was astounding. About an eight pound gun, every single Versa Max had a trigger break that was heavier than the gun itself, ranging from 8.5 to 10 lbs. It is a ridiculous amount of slop and inattention to yet another overpriced plastic wonder. The shame of it is, the Versa Max action excellent. Perhaps working with alloy is a new adventure for Remington, but the rough actions, horrid triggers, overly wide forearms and ridiculously tiny bolt release buttons all suggest that someone just doesn't care or doesn't care nearly enough. There is something wrong when a $475 Mossberg 930 has better build quality, a smoother action, better controls and a dramatically better factory trigger than examples trying to be sold for three times the money. Mossberg must know something that the other guys don't?

A common conversation topic, “Are Guns Better Today?” Well, they certainly can be and sometimes are. Yet, aluminum does not have the durability of steel, and despite more developed raw materials, advanced manufacturing methods, and so forth, technology must be properly applied with equal attention to quality control for a design to come close to its potential. Setting aside proclivities of brand worship, some things are self-evident and not at all subjective. If the bead falls off halfway through the first box of shells, it the stock is poorly fitted or finished, if the action is rough, the bluing uneven, the trigger unacceptably heavy, the rib isn't straight, the center bead not centered on the rib, the wood not matching in color, grain, or tone, the choke tubes looking like they were made with a rat file, etc. These are not tainted observations, they are obvious quality problems. Recalls are all voluntary at the discretion of a manufacturer, no outside body. We should all wonder how increasingly pricey guns could possibly rise to the level of a recall. Moreover, with some guns that have thousands of examples of the same problem, we should also wonder why some manufacturers turn a blind eye to what is clearly a common defect.

Part of it resides with us, the consumer. Talk really is cheap and the only vote that counts is the vote we actually make with our wallet. It is up to us to vote for quality, value, performance, customer service and aesthetics. If we fail to do that, we aren't helping things. If we continually vote for gimmicks and "features," we can hardly be surprised when those things continue, for we have funded and perpetuated them. You can bet your fastest-cycling cryo technopolymer steelium back-bored triple-ported self-cleaning bottom dollar on that one.
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Re: versa max randywakman

Postby winchester1852 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:15 am

put this up for the hell of it.
Last edited by winchester1852 on Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby A5Gunner » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:38 pm

Pretty much dead on target. :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby Hat Flats » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:02 pm

Yep Randy Nailed it! The A-400 is not the gun the Xtrema is and the Versa Max is not the gun the Old 1100 is and the "new" A-5 is nowhere near the gun the old A-5 is. We have to be smart enough to spend our money on a gun that is worth our money!
But the flavor of the week seems to be all the rage and suckers are born every minute so here we are buying less for more.
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Last edited by Hat Flats on Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby Conewago Duck'n » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:10 am

Whole heartedly agree with the article. There is nothing out there in these new gimmicky auto loaders to justify their $1500-1600 prices, except maybe their over bloated advertising budgets. As the article points out, the prices continue to climb with little improvement in quality or longevity. I can't help but wonder how many of these new high dollar autos will still be out in the blind in 20, 30 or even 100 years time like the original A5?
The build quality just does not seem to be there like it was in the past. Look how many antique 870's, model 12's, A5's, etc are still capable of functioning year after year. My grandfather's 1924 L.C. Smith is still tight as a bank vault and still folding ducks when I get the urge to take a walk down memory lane with it.
Every one is free to vote with their wallet, as pointed out, and I will continue to vote a solid NO to a new auto that is so highly priced.
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby OmegaRed » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:29 am

I can't stand anything this jackwagon puts on the internet. I didn't read this article..tis posts on SGW ruined it for me
I just dropped in, to see what condition my condition was in.
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby dakotashooter2 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:38 pm

What is sad is that they are able to sell consumers on features that are not needed or in some cases even wanted. A lot of the so called inovations in firearms seem to be little more that change...for the sake of change....... which I was always taught was not necessarily a good thing. The old joke is that women are always attracted to somethink sparkly.............. well it seems gun buyers suffer a similar afliction.
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby clampdaddy » Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:03 pm

OmegaRed wrote:I can't stand anything this jackwagon puts on the internet......


Agreed. He pens an article about all the un-needed gadgets and claims made by the manufacturers of modern guns and goes on to do a write up about how great the benelli comfortech system is and another where he gives a slobbery wet.....kiss, to every "gimmic" that is housed within a Maxus. So which is it? Are today's semis too gimmicky or are they using new features that might actually serve a purpose?
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby TuJays » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:07 pm

Well, in light of how this topic started out and then....."changed for the hell of it".....i figured i would add the latest review, so here ya go :beer:

http://randywakeman.com/ReviewRemington ... hotgun.htm
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby Yuchi1 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:14 pm

Appears to be simply a case of "anybody's dawg that'll hunt him".
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby John Duck » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:59 pm

Back in the day, Liberals bad mouthed this mentality as Madison Avenue consumer brainwashing. Now that they use the same techniques 24/7 thru the media, because they KNOW it works, they call the propaganda "Politically Correct! An inexperienced affirmative action new age loon got elected as head of the worlds superpower this way.
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby BBK » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:12 pm

OmegaRed wrote:I can't stand anything this jackwagon puts on the internet. I didn't read this article..tis posts on SGW ruined it for me


HA! I feel the exact same way. Listening to him (reading his posts) on SGW just completely ruined it for me. Biased, arrogant, rumphole of a guy who will write up good reviews on products sent to him and bad ones on the competition. Just reading some of his posts, he will write up a heck of a good review pushing hevi-shot hevi-13 and then 2 months later he is writing up a review on federal heavyweight and starts talking about how bad hevi-13 is. You can tell who pays him and when.

So glad he is an upland hunter and not a waterfowl hunter!
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby A5Gunner » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:17 am

The guy may be a tool but I still think think the article is on target. What they want for guns today is rediculous. Point is that it is'nt like they are spending the money on expensive wood or materials or labor intensive fitting. Modern manufacturing and plastics should make things cheaper but the price of these guns has outpaced any improvement IMO. $1300 for a plastic stocked, aluminum reciever, black gun ? I think profits must be way up or celeb endorsments and matrketing cost a lot more today.
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Re: randy wakman are semis too gimmicky ******edit big time

Postby John Duck » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:29 pm

A5Gunner wrote:The guy may be a tool but I still think think the article is on target. What they want for guns today is rediculous. Point is that it is'nt like they are spending the money on expensive wood or materials or labor intensive fitting. Modern manufacturing and plastics should make things cheaper but the price of these guns has outpaced any improvement IMO. $1300 for a plastic stocked, aluminum reciever, black gun ? I think profits must be way up or celeb endorsments and matrketing cost a lot more today.


Your right of course but that is the same with autos, tech toys and a lot of stuff.

What I paid for for my BEII is lightweight, hardly any recoil, camo job, and feel. It will never last as long as guns of 70 years ago...unless parts are replaced, but still a great modern gun.
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