Should Gun Manufacturers and Importers Write Their own Reviews?

Apparently some folks think so and it is a pity. They, manufacturers and importers, certainly have the opportunity to take great liberties with the truth in the form of their own catalogs, websites, and ad copy and as most everyone is aware: they are quite happy to do so.

The latest hate-mail comes from someone who approached me to review one of their guns, e-mailing me privately and on Facebook initially. Anyone who has bothered to read the main index page of my site can quickly read, “This is the independent resource for candid, hard-hitting firearms information, evaluations, and opinions.” Most folks are also aware that truth is an affirmative defense against slander or libel. A true statement is never defamatory.

Further, when an entity consents to publication, this consent is a complete defense to a defamation action. Obviously, when a manufacturer, importer, or dealer sends off a product to be reviewed, there is consent for that is the reason the product was supplied in the first place, to be reviewed.

Now comes the hate mail, apparently a response of sorts to .

Dear Mr. Wakeman:

The purpose of this e-mail is to request that you take down your "video review" of the Breda Xanthos Damasco immediately.  Your "review" of our product is intentionally misleading and maliciously intended to cause damage to the reputation of the Breda brand.  Specifically, you intentionally used ammunition that you knew would not work well in that gun based upon our prior communications.

As we discussed on more than one occasion, the Xanthos Damasco is a hunting gun intended to shoot up to 3" magnum shells.  Attached to this e-mail is a copy of the written note that I sent you specifically recommending that you use 1 1/8th oz. 1,250 fps shells or faster for best reliability.  After receiving this note, you called me to discuss what loads the gun will and will not cycle reliably.  During that lengthy telephone conversation I specifically reminded you that we recommend using 1 1/8th oz. 1,250 fps shells for best reliability. 

I also explained that inertia operated guns depend on a certain amount of recoil in order to cycle properly.  How an inertia guns performs with a certain type of shell depends in part on the height, weight, shooting style, and grip of the shooter. With these caveats in mind, I told you that if you wanted to try using loads that were lighter than what we recommend you would have to experiment a little bit to find a shell that would cycle reliably.  Your response was that you had almost every type of ammunition commercially available to test the Damasco.

Despite my written note and our telephone conversation, all three (3) types of shells that you used in your "video review" were considerably slower and less powerful than what I specifically recommended.  As a "gun expert", you knew that these shells would not cycle properly.  This would be like trying to fire .380 caliber ammunition through a pistol chambered for 9 mm.  It could conceivably work. But most likely it will not because it is not the correct ammunition for the gun.  I find it highly suspicious that you did not fire even one round of the ammunition that I specifically recommended for that particular gun in your video.

You then tried to make the Xanthos look even worse by comparing it to a gas operated shotgun that you had fired thousands of rounds through; and knew would work with the ammunition that you had selected.  Once again, I find it suspicious that you just happened to have that gun on hand during your test of the Xanthos.  I might have respected the journalistic integrity of this test if you had used a Benelli or other inertia operated gun as a point of comparison.  Instead, you intentionally compared apples with oranges.

I am respectfully asking you to take down your video and refrain from providing any further commentary on the Xanthos or any of Breda's other products.  I am asking that you please do this immediately so as to avoid any further damage to the reputation of our products.  If this had been a fair test and review of the Xanthos, I would not be asking you to do this.  For the reasons set forth above, I do not believe your review of the Xanthos falls into the category of fair journalistic commentary.  

You may not know this about me.  But I have been a trial attorney for the last 22 years.  I am very confident that I would be able to prove to a judge or jury that you intentionally and maliciously staged your review of the Xanthos Damasco in a manner designed to damage its reputation.  If this were not the case, you would have fired at least one round of the recommended ammunition through the gun during your video review or at least compared it to another inertia operated gun. 

In short, please take down your video before you force me to sue you.  I have very little patience for this type of nonsense.  Please do not test me.  It will not be a review that you will enjoy.

Thank you for your time and anticipated cooperation.


Jeffrey A. DiLazzero, Esquire   


Jeffrey A. DiLazzero, Esquire


99 N. Main Street

Second Floor

Mullica Hill, New Jersey 08062

Telephone:  (856)507-1400

Mobile: (609)254-6480

Threats and harassment are part and parcel of being a journalist, though most come from ant-hunting or anti-2nd Amendment zealots. There is no small measure of irony in someone who tries to make money under the umbrella of the 2nd Amendment that takes delight in attacking the 1st Amendment.

As to the claims of Mr. DiLazzero, over the years I have evaluated countless firearms. Specifically, as far as 12 gauge inertia guns, the past practice of how they are tested has remained consistent over the years. It isn't hard to see that the same identical loads have been used for years. Three 3 inch chambered inertia guns are compared right here: . All three cycled Federal Top Gun 1 oz. 1180 fps loads flawlessly.

Here, , the “The testing was done primarily with 1230 fps 1-1/8 oz. B & P Legend shotshells. Both firearms functioned without any failures to feed or failures to eject.”

Here, , the Franchi Affinity 12 Gauge Autoloader had no problems with 1 oz. loads.

This Stoeger 3-1/2 inch gun, , cycled 1 oz. loads.

Here, the 3 inch inertia Benelli Vinci and the 3 inch inertia Browning A5 are compared: . Right in the article, “Note: Both cycled 7/8 oz. Winchester white box “Super-Speed Loads” as tested.”

Seven years ago, I reviewed a Benelli Ultralight 12 gauge, of course yet another inertia gun with a 3 inch chamber: . As mentioned, “Benelli notes on their website, "Use 3 dram 1-1/8 oz. loads in all Benelli 12 gauge shotguns." I started out with 1230 fps 1-1/8 oz. loads with a short-sleeved shirt and a very light upland vest on and the sharp punch of recoil revealed itself right away. It wasn't that surprising, as all things being equal ultra light means ultra recoil.

It is a bit unclear as to why exactly the 3 dram (old blackpowder code for 1200 fps) 1-1/8 oz. load recommendation remains in place. Of several recently tested Benelli's, including the SBE-II, all have had no problems functioning perfectly with 1 ounce loads. In the case of this Ultra Light, it handled 7/8 oz. Winchester "Super Speed" promo loads as well with zero issues. My understanding is that one exception has been made to this generalization, that being 1 oz. 1200 fps and up for the new Benelli Vinci.”

Isn't this enough? Not only was the Breda Xanthos tested honestly and fairly, with the very same loads as other inertia guns, I didn't so much as bother with 7/8 oz. loads that several prior inertia 12 gauges had cycled with no issues.

It goes like this, what Breda USA publishes on their website is, "The Xanthos models are suitable for frequent hunting trips, as well as, recreational days on the skeet or sporting clay range.  Xanthos models will reliably cycle loads from 2 ¾ inch 3 dram – 1oz. target loads to 3 inch duck loads." That is Breda's public statement, not mine.

Of course the Breda Xanthos was tested fairly, not just with “3 dram 1 oz.” loads Breda claims will reliably cycle, but with B & P F2 Legend 3 dram 1-1/8 oz. loads that exceeds the Breda USA website claim handily and is a full-powered high quality 1230 fps 1-1/8 oz. shell that will cycle essentially any 12 gauge autoloader, inertia, gas, short-recoil, or long recoil that does not have severe issues.

Far from any tortured, ridiculous, self-serving, baseless theories of looking into a misty crystal ball and prophesying that 1-1/8 oz. Federal Gold Medal and 1-1/8 oz. B & P F2 Legend shotshells would not work, I fully expected them to, for they have indeed worked flawlessly in essentially all 3 inch chambered inertia shotguns I've ever tested, as well-documented above.


Hi Randy,

I felt your review if the Breda was fair and unbiased. You have always been fair in your comments in reviews, I am very disappointed in Jeff D's letter to you, and as the service provider for Breda in the US, am embarrassed by his behavior.

Kind regards as always- Rich Cole, Cole Gunsmithing

WOW! What a way to try and defend there product.  I would have thought a
proper inspection of that shotgun by there best gunsmiths would have been
in order. Followed by a civil letter written to you explaining their
finding. Kind of makes one wonder if all their guns have the same problem.
Maybe, maybe not.  I guess it is up to their sales department to figure
this one out.  I respect your reviews and opinion so stick to your guns. 

Good Shooting
Scott Frasier

Dear Randy, if I want to read a good review ... I read you !! It is very "strange" but for current information and glossy magazines all rifles are fine and performing, very strange.

Please keep it up! Thank you.

Regards, Hector from Italy

Dear Mr. Wakeman,

I enjoy reading your reviews and consider them part of my ongoing education in regard to shotgun sports. Before getting to the heart of this message (the Breda Xanthos review), may I first extend my condolences on the loss of your father. I always enjoyed the banter between you and your father, it made me chuckle, reminded me of my own father, and always left me smiling.

I am writing to you in light of the malicious letter that you received from Mr. Jeffrey DiLazzero, Esq. Obviously, the intent of his letter is to intimidate you into silence. What Mr. DiLazzero may not understand is that there are thousands of well-educated sportsmen in the US and Canada, like myself, who stand behind you and will simply appreciate your reviews even more because of the stance your are taking against an obvious bully.

Should you need to write again to Mr. DiLazzero, please make him aware that he is jeopardizing his client base (thousands of people like myself) by attacking your credibility. The worse thing he could do in regard to his future client base is to continue this chicanery.

Keep up the honest work Mr. Wakeman  -- honesty in this day and age are refreshing and there are more people than you may realize who appreciate that aspect of your reviews and stand in your corner.

Matthew, Quebec City, Quebec

Regarding your most recent review of the Breda shotgun, I must say that I appreciate your honest reviews of all shotguns and it's unfortunate that the Breda shotgun you received for evaluation cannot perform to their own specifications.

They did have an opportunity to test and fix that gun they sent you before sending it for evaluation, and now they have an opportunity to send you a new shotgun to test.

The fact that they're upset with your initial review is interesting, it implies they have an inferior product and we're trying to dictate which shell to use in it to obtain their satisfactory results. That's hardly a fair review. Suggesting a specific load and velocity to test with skews the results and does not give an accurate review.

Thank you for your continued and honest reviews of firearm products!

Clay in Dallas

I have been reading your evaluations for a long time. I have always felt you told it as it is. I have also noted that you seemed pleased to give a good evaluation when warranted . . .

Ernie Broe

Thanks Randy for the review on the Breda for telling it like it is.  An auto loader is supposed to auto load.   


Judging by the abnormally high percentage of positive gun reviews posted on the web I have to conclude that something’s wrong with reviewers except for a few of them.
Shooters need your advice Randy!  Hold on !

Jean Bernier

You're the only person I know of that gives honest, non ass-kissing reviews. Don't change a thing.

Chad Ruffing

Just watched the youtube of the review. Can we all agree that if an autoloader does not work as well as the original Auto-5, it is not worth making. Perhaps the folks a Breda should spend more time designing and manufacturing their gun and less on "killing the messenger."

Don Cetrulo

Randy, keep on writing fearlessly. We are behind you. The truth of your reviews is what we respect. Thanks for being there. After that review, I made my mind to buy a Remington V-3 as will my buddies at our hunting club. Thank you. We read you religiously!

Ted Karnezis

I write for my readers, the reason exists. What do you think? Let me know by e-mailing or posting on my Facebook page, .

Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.



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