I was asked again by Bad CO if I would review the Firearms Guide 5th Edition on DVD which he’d been offered by the publisher. The blurb states that it presents over 59,000 models of Firearms, airguns and ammo from 705 manufacturers worldwide which makes it pretty comprehensive. Using the capacity provided by the DVD format, it also includes 27,000 high resolution images with up to 12 per model. The ammo database has 5800 rounds in the database It works on XP, Vista and Windows 7 so still not good news for you Mac and Linux users out there!
First impressions are a well laid out and easy to use guide. That’s the plus side, the only downside I can see so far is a lack of exploded diagrams for some of my more favourite classic rifles and revolvers. The program opens with a front page showing 5 options, the main header bar being a firearms, airgun and ammo guide.
The schematics section is possibly where you will start but I still find it irritating that they manage to miss some serious contenders from the obvious manufacturers, but the schematics for the Imbel more than make up for the lack of the L1A1 “That Rifle” unless you are Verticalgyro!
That said you really need to open the calibre page, click on a round, click on the show me the ammo button and go from there. You then most definitely get to see all of the weapons on the disc by manufacturer.
The producers of this certainly seem to have taken to heart previous comments about historical classics and every historic rivet counting anorak can be as satisfied as the modern AR style buff. Pleasing to me especially was the Brugger and Thommett offering as I use their excellent sound moderators for work although they aren’t shown!
Dropping back to the home page offers you the options to see the schematics, the FFL Guide, the EU/US calibre guide and the printable targets section which is full of fun to shoot and some useful zeroing and bench rest type targets.
The calibre guide is really an imperial/metric one but has some useful information and lots of little gems and has a list of currently available brands and bullet weights in each calibre. Again mostly aimed at the US and Canadian market but there are good images and a great level of data such as bullet weight, primer type, powder composition etc. I did find very helpful the published performance data as this really helps hand loaders. The guide does now include the sub .22 rim fire cartridges and a good spread there is too.
The FFL (Federal Firearms Licensee) locator hasn’t changed its remit since the second edition so still wont be of much everyday use to the UK shooter but if expanded over here to the same level would be outstanding.
The rifle guide is very much an in depth type of subject, it seems to list every calibre in every model and I note that unlike last time the new Ruger Gunsite Scout is included
Its always got little surprises and of interest is the fact that the Lewis gun appears under Savage, mind you Savage certainly managed to be the contractor of choice for almost everyone at one time or another.
The video section from the 2nd edition no longer seems to be available on this one but I may just be a computer biff, in fact looking at the fact that the memory keeps crashing on my laptop but I suspect thats more to do with all of the downloaded tv programs on my borrowed laptop.
All in all a good DVD and guide at USD $39.95 priced no worse than a decent reloading program and a lot less than a book with half of the available images and information.
Would I buy it? Well at first glance I would have said no but having had the opportunity to use it I definitely would buy it. For those not willing to part with money without trying first then the tutorials should put your mind at ease.