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ITHACA, NEW YORK â€" At first, neighbors were simply annoyed by the delivery trucks that kept coming and going at all hours of the day and night. Loud noises, “like firecrackers,†were often heard coming from inside the house. Then they noticed a strange, toxic smell. When Tompkin’s County Sheriff’s deputies raided the South Hills home last week, they expected to find meth amphetamines and paraphernalia for making the illicit drug. Instead, say court documents, police uncovered what appears to be a massive, test-target making operation that sources say involve America’s top firearms manufacturers.
“In every room, there were stacks and stacks of targets,†says Tompkins County Sheriff, Peter Meskill. “Some were brand new. Others were obviously shot at but we were unable to locate any firearms on the premises. At first we had no idea what we had stumbled into.â€

What officers had discovered is largest scam ever perpetrated on the American gun buying public, says Peter Starkle, the owner of the house arrested on Monday who claims to be a private test-target making contractor working for no less than three of the U.S.’s top gun makers.

“Making sub-MOA [minute of angle] test targets is really a work of art,†he says. “But it has nothing to do with real world hunting and shooting. It has to do with selling guns.â€

Currently being held on accessory to fraud charges at the Tompkins County jail, Starkle claims to be a member of the Test-Target Making Guild of America but says trade secrets prevent him from revealing just exactly how test targets are created.

“Let’s just say firearm makers definitely aren’t wasting real bullets anymore than they’re willing to trash a rifle that doesn’t shoot up to some arbitrary standard.â€

Firearm makers contacted to refute Starkles claims said the charges where everything from “blatantly unfounded†to “patently insane.†Spokesmen from Beretta/Tikka, Jarrett Rifles, and Remington hung up without offering comment at all.

But Starkle says he’s been in the business of test-target making for years.

“The idea that test-targets found in the box with rifles made by Weatherby, Kimber, Remington, Howaâ€"all the major playersâ€"were shot by the actual rifle purchased by the consumerâ€"That’s a lie firearm manufacturers have been peddling for over a decade.â€

Next to gushing “adver-torial†provided by gun writers who, Starkle insists, “would gladly give a kidney for free product or the free, exotic hunting trips often provided by gun makers†under the guise that they are stringently testing new products, the most important factor influencing the sale of a high-end production or semi-custom firearm is how the rifle or pistol can potentially perform on paper.

“Look at the sporting arms being produced nowadays,†says Starkle. “American rifles are as beautiful to behold as a turd. They are cheap looking because they are. You could easily make an argument that out-of-the-box accuracy at the cheapest possible price matters more to hunters and shooters than anything else. So you just put a test-target in the box with a three-shot group measuring less than an inch and, with the Internet, word gets around fast. All of a sudden there’s a legion of camo-clad doofuses willing to pay an extra five-hundred dollars for the rifle whether it really shoots that well or not.â€

According to Starkle, with the increasing legal costs of defending themselves against liberal politicians and the anti-gun lobbyâ€"plus what Starkle calls the “Wal-Mart-a-lization†of our economyâ€"gun makers are constantly thinking of new ways to shave production costs.

“The big manufacturers would secretly prefer not to put test targets in with rifles at all,†he says. “But it’s become a valuable marketing tool in recent years.â€

Starkle asks hunters and shooters to consider how many rifles and pistols they’ve owned that shoot as well at their private gun club, let alone in real hunting situations, as the test-target in the boxes said they should.

“All the gun buyer sees are three holes in the paper. And when that person fails to consistently achieve the same level of accuracy at home, what happens,†asks Starkle. “Here come a legion of magazine editors and gun writing shills to tell you to buy more stuff.â€

Starkle says he’s heard gun writers blame inconsistent groups on everything from cleaning products and simple human error to his personal favorite:

“They tell people to experiment with as many different kinds of ammo as they can afford, which in turn lines the pockets of the gun industry even further,†he says. “It’s all a scam and I’m happy to be out of it.â€

When the leaders in the American gun industry are separated by a profit measured in pennies, Starkle says, test-target making will soon be going the way of hand-finished stocks, hand cut engraving and checkering.

“Some companies are already outsourcing the work to third world countries,†he says, “Now they have a bunch of underage Haitians burning clover-leafed holes in targets with a smoldering cigaette butt. I’m actually a little relieved the police caught me. It was time to get out.â€
http://outdoorunderground.com/bones/44#more-44
 

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Regardless of if this is accurate, all the more reason to try a anything you intend to buy, before you purchase it, or get your information from someone you trust.

I have never put much stock into what I read in a magazine article, now if my brother, father, or good friend tell about something they have first hand information/experience with, thats a whole different ballgame. Article writers and Editors of magazines have more of an interest in selling ad space, and kickbacks, for me to take their opinions for more than a grain of salt.

TBYB (try before you buy), or get your information from someone who has nothing to gain from it.
 

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I have never received a "test target" with a rifle. Have you? :?
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
I have never received a "test target" with a rifle. Have you? :?
I don't tend to buy new guns, but I have seen them included with new rifles.
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
I have never received a "test target" with a rifle. Have you? :?
That's because, like me, you're a cheap bastid and don't buy those new, expensive, semi-custom made, extremely accurate, "tack driver", (did I mention expensive?) rifles the gun magazines gush all over.

I received one with my Walther P-5, but I've never been able to match it. Maybe there's something to the story. Or, maybe I just don't shoot as accurately as the guy at Walther who does it for a living all day, every day...

But, if no firearms were discovered in the house, what caused the "Loud noises, “like firecrackers,†were often heard coming from inside the house." reported by the neighbors?

And the toxic odor? Hmmm? Ah axe youse dat...! Whut wuz it whut made dat noise an' dat odordiforus scent?

Hey! Inquiring minds wants to noze! Ya noze?

Whatever. It was an interesting and entertaining story. :lol: And, could just be true....... 8)
 

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I bought a Remington 700 VS new in the box. No test target. Of course, it does not come with a scope and has no iron sights, so . . .
 

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I've never gotten a test target with a gun, but I did get a signed slip of paper with one, saying what size group it shot durring testing.
 

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Adam5 said:
I've never gotten a test target with a gun, but I did get a signed slip of paper with one, saying what size group it shot durring testing.
That's interesting. Aren't there too many factors involved (shooter, ammo, wind, etc.) to justify even stating info like that? Just curious.
 
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