I indicated in last month’s article on my impressions of the Shot Show, it was
really, really big. The biggest ever. More things to see than ever could be
accomplished in a mere four days. Consequently, you have to prioritize your time
and just hit as many of the highlights as you can.
In my past
stories of the Show, I usually restricted myself to only those companies and
products that were directly related to silhouette shooting or the direct needs
of silhouette shooters themselves. In this year I’ve decided to take a broader
approach and will hit the things that tickled my fancy, most of which are
directly related to silhouette shooting but some of which are not, but still
interesting (at least to me).
The pot is
really bubbling up in Norwich, New York. They keep coming out with one
innovation after another. Here’s an exclusive peek at three prototype revolvers
that are under active development as we speak. First, is the 357 TS. This baby
is designed to shoot a bottle neck cartridge case loaded with a 200 grain
spire point bullet! The increased efficiency from the bottle neck design
and the improved ballistics from the spire point bullet will give the silhouette
shooter and the handgun hunter down range performance like they’ve never had
before. Subtle features in the case and chamber design are meant to overcome
setback problems. They had the serial #1 prototype on display and it was a very
impressive gun. This is going to interesting.
there’s the 460 Super Mag. This is a stretch 45 Win Mag. Cases are being made
by Burtram Brass in Australia. This sucker will sling heavy 45 caliber bullets
downrange at Super Mag velocities. It’s being developed as a direct competitor
to the 454 Casull. It’s currently in the load development phase.
development is a 32 Super Mag. I saw some of the prototype cases while at the
Show - also made by Burtram Brass. 1.6” long and they’re beautiful. Besides
steel animals, also should provide lots of power for game up to coyote at
reasonable distances as well. In shorter barrel varieties, it should also have
potential as a self defense gun. This really looks intriguing.
Now it must
be understood than it’s possible that none of these three guns will make it out
of the testing stage and into production. But it does illustrate that Dan Wesson
is working very hard to develop out of the box products and give you, the
consumer, more, innovative choices.
milestone of some kind, Dan Wesson, which has always been a revolver maker, is
now selling more semi auto pistols than anything else. Their Pointman 1911
series was a big hit, and now the new Patriot series with internal parts, combat
rear sight, and magazines made by Chip McCormic is even a bigger hit. If you
want a tack driving 1911 with all the options standard at half the price, check
it out. As an indication of how much interest these new semi autos are
generating, one distributor at the Show even tried to buy all of this year’s
production. There’s also the new Pointman Major Aussie, a Pointman with a new,
low profile slide that seems to be favored down under.
who like semi autos and flexibility, you’ll have to look into the Pointman
Tri-Ops Pack. This is a match, hand fitted Pointman frame assembly with 3
complete match grade slide assemblies in 9mm, 10mm, and 40 S&W. An appropriate
recoil spring and magazine for each cartridge is also provided. It’s like
getting three guns in one package.
not least, they’ve also brought back the Alaskan Guide Special. This is a 445
Super Mag with a fully compensated barrel and a black, baked on, matte finish
that’s supposed to be as tough as nails.
- The maker
of the best single action revolver ever made will start production
of its Model 97 22 Long Rifle revolver this April or May. That should put it into
the marketplace in the June or July time frame. A ten inch silhouette model will
be available. Because it’s based on the smaller, lighter frame, the ten incher
should have no problem meeting the weight requirement for production class
guns. The new gun will be available with three different cylinders i.e.
sporting chamber, match chamber, and a 22 mag chamber. (Mmmm. Just had a
thought. A Freedom Arms revolver chambered in the Hornady 17 rimfire would be a
very interesting match indeed.) Right now, Freedom’s backlog is running about 4
If you also like to play Cowboy, they also have a couple of new high ride
holsters, including a cross draw with a 25 degree angle and a top strap.
Center - The G2, the
replacement for the discontinued Contender, was on display. The pistol was
supposed to be on the market last July, but was held back so TC could put a new
black powder rifle in production instead. The latest word is that the G2 (Geez,
I hope they change the name.) will be available this coming Fall. We’ll see.
Although the gun is styled like an Encore, it doesn’t have its muscle. It’s
actually not any stronger than the old Contender, not that that’s a bad thing.
However, the trigger is totally Encore in operation. The angle of the grip has
also been pushed back slightly. Theoretically, recoil is made more manageable
with the real heavyweights. All existing Contender barrels will fit the new
frame, and it will be available in all the current Contender chambering's. TC
also plans to come out with a barrel for the hot, new Hornady 17 Rimfire Mag
The “Raging Bull” series continues to
expand. This year they’ve added a bunch. The first is in one of my favorite
cartridges - the 41 mag.
joining the family is something that will be of interest to the many silhouette
shooters devoted to this particular cartridge - a 30 carbine Raging Bull.
Joining the Raging Hornet this year is the Raging Bee i.e. an eight shot 218 Bee
revolver. (I think a Taurus should work on a Raging Ram in a silhouette
compatible cartridge.) Taurus certainly raised a bunch of eyebrows in the
silhouette community when it announced its 12” barreled Silhouette revolver. It
now understands that particular gun needs to loose a couple of inches in order
to compete in the Production Category. One nice thing about it though was the
fact was that trigger pull is easily adjustable by turning a screw under the
grips. No gunsmithing required.
ATK (Formerly Blount)
- Had a great
interview with the president of the ATK Ammunition and Related Products Group,
Mark DeYoung. Mr. DeYoung was formerly president of ATK’s Lake City Small
Caliber Ammunition Company before he took over the new group. ATK makes
everything from the strap on boosters for the space shuttle to 223 ammo for the
This is a
very aggressive, growth oriented company and so will be throwing the full weight
of its considerable technical resources behind its new acquisitions like
Federal, CCI, Speer, RCBS, Weaver, Simmons, Outers, Ram Line, etc. Additionally,
ATK will be also investing a significant amount of money in their new
acquisitions to boost efficiency, capacity, and development. Consequently, I’m
very confident that you’ll be seeing a host of new, innovative products once
more flowing out of this group.
asked Mr. DeYoung the critical question that I raised in last month’s column.
ATK is an ammo company. Will they spin off the non ammo related portions of the
old Blount group like Outers and Redfield, etc.? The answer was no - for
now. Basically the non-ammo related divisions will be given a chance to produce
profits at the target levels expected of them. If they don’t meet expectations -
well, who knows what would happen then.
asked if ATK was going to support major shooting competitions (like the
Internationals) once more. Blount and then Lehman Brothers had reduced this line
of support to the shooting sports over the last couple of years. The answer was
definitely yes. Good News.
acquisition of Blount’s Sporting Equipment Group by ATK looks like a very
positive development for shooting in general. They give every indication that
they’re going to work very hard to put money, energy, and most importantly -
direction into an important segment of the industry.
Sat in on a very interesting briefing
from the president of Remington in which he laid out the financial health of the
company. It was almost like being at a stockholder’s meeting. In a nutshell -
before 9/11 things weren't too good with lots of excess inventory on hand. After
9/11, the inventory literally disappeared overnight and Remington is working
hard to replace it. Right now, the company is doing very well indeed, as is the
rest of the firearms industry.
In the way
of product news, Remington has a new family of shotshells called “Hevi Shot”
made with an alloy of tungsten, nickel, and iron that’s actually 10% heavier
than lead and is totally environmentally safe. They also have a limited edition
Model 700 chambered in 221 Fireball. Now, that’s going to be a really neat, fun
gun! Now if we could only get them to bring back the XP-100. Of course, their
new Short Action Ultra Mag ammo in 7 SA Mag and 30 SA Mag got a lot of
attention. More performance than traditional 7 Mag or 300 Win Mag in a shorter
cartridge. A good idea.
Hornady Magnum Rimfire (17 HMR) was the talk of the Show. With a muzzle
velocity of 2500 fps, the 17 caliber rimfire is supposed to be a tack driver out
to 200 yards. Several rifle manufacturers are scrambling to chamber for the new
cartridge. While Hornady engineered the new cartridge and the new 17 grain
plastic tipped bullet to go with it, they had to go to another company to
actually produce it since Hornady has no rimfire production capability. CCI is
actually making the ammo for Hornady and even packaging it in CCI plastic boxes
with Hornady’s name on it. In order to get the dazzling performance out of the
little cartridge, they’re using Hodgdon’s LilGun powder - something I’ve been
enthusiastic about ever since they came out with it. Retail for the new
cartridge is $12 for a box of 50. (By the way 13 grs of LilGun in a Hornet
with a 45 gr. Speer or Nosler is a killer load for Field Pistol.)
Hornady has also
come out with a nifty new case trimmer which allows you to adjust settings
in or out in .001” increments. Along the same lines, they also
have a new neck turning tool that also allows you to adjust the cutter in
.001” increments. These really sound nice.
They’ve got two new reloading
presses. The first is the T-7 which is a 7 station turret type. It uses
all cast iron construction for strength and rigidity and a hefty 1”
compound linkage ram with nearly four inches of travel. I liked the idea
of having 7 stations as you can then have two or even three sets of the
dies that you use the most in the press all the time. No need to
constantly take them on and off all the time.
Additionally Redding introduced the “Big Boss”, which is a jumbo cast iron
press for those reloading really big cartridges. It’s on a heavy duty
frame, with a 36 degree offset and a one inch ram with 3.8” of travel.
Both the T-7 and the Big Boss can use the new optional “Slide Bar
Automatic Primer Feeding System”. Basically this is a little gizmo that
attaches to the side of the press with a primer tube above it. Raise the
shell-holder, slide a bar with the primer under, and lower the ram and the
primer is inserted. Works good.
also have new Type S match bushing neck sizing die sets and Type S bushing
full sizing die sets. Before you bought the bushing dies separately.
There’s also the new Competition Pro Series dies designed for progressive
presses which feature their competition seating die and the Redding
profile crimp die.
They’ve got some new, really hot 22 ammo out for 2002. It’s called Velocitor. Cool name. It’s the fastest 22 LR ammo you can buy - 1425 fps!
they do it with a full sized 40 grain bullet! That represents a 30%
increase in velocity over other high velocity types. Once more, they’ve
capped it with a Gold Dot bullet. Should be as deadly as a lightning
strike on squirrels and 22 rams. Hope to try some of this stuff when it
comes available and we’ll see how well it shoots.
They’ve got clamp on Weaver scope bases for Ruger Blackhawks now as well
as the MK II. The excellent Grand Slam scopes are now available in silver.
New dovetail type scope bases
and rings for the Contender and Encore.
news here is that they’ve got a new 22 rimfire ammo called “Signum”. The
bullet of the new ammo has approximately 16 vertical lubrication
grooves pressed into the nose right where the ogive and the body blend
together. This is in addition to the normal horizontal lube grooves that
are usually found on all other 22 rimfire bullets. As a result, the bullet
carries 50% more lube than a standard bullet. The idea behind the
additional lube at that point is that its supposed to prevent lead build
up in the bore just ahead of the chamber and thus helps to retain the
original accuracy of your gun.
For those who like to shoot the
22 BR or 223 on the half size critters, Nosler has a new 80 grain match
bullet using J4 benchrest grade jackets. This is a hollow point boat tail
with a ballistic coefficient of .440. A 1 : 7 twist is recommended. If you
want something lighter, they also have a new J4 69 grain hollow point boat
tail with a coefficient of .359. A 1 : 9 twist is needed. When shooting
these bullets, recoil is very low, and because of the slick aerodynamics,
trajectory is very flat.
the way, if you want to try some of Nosler’s other 22 or 6mm bullets, just
call or e-mail and for $5.95 they’ll send you 10 bullets and a Nosler
“Test the Best” hat and a catalog.
The 80mm spotting scope Burris
introduced 2 years ago has done so well that they’ve come out with a
higher power variation with its 20 X 60 X 80 Landmark. This is a big scope
that gets the job done and provides a very bright image to your spotter.
At the other end of the scale, they’ve got a new, very compact 20X 50mm
scope that some people will like for its light weight, easy portability,
and wide field of view - just the thing for silhouettes. Of course for
variable pistol scopes, Burris has more selections than anyone, and their
3 X 12 stands out from the crowd when it comes to checking accuracy of
your new loads.
Nikon’s new 2.5 X 8 pistol scope. The clicks are very positive and the
optics are impressive for a 28mm objective lens. Eye relief at max power
is 15 inches, the same as the Leupold 2 X 8. Also had a chance to check
out their new red dots. There are two basic types. The standard model has
perhaps the best looking dot I’ve seen i.e. a really well defined,
perfectly round dot with no flare or star pattern no matter how high you
turn up the brightness. The VSD (variable sized dot) model lets you select
four different sized dots (1, 4, 6, or 10 moa) as well as adjust the
brightness. It also comes in a RealTree cammo pattern as well. Both red
dots are fully waterproof and fog proof. Nikon also makes one of the very
best 60mm spotting scopes on the planet, the Fieldscope III. This year,
there’s a tactical version in black rubber armor. Very sexy. There’s also
a RealTree version of their standard 15x45x60mm spotting scope. It’s the
new high definition hardwoods green pattern. Really pretty nice.
help but wonder how many tens of thousands Spacemaster spotting scopes
Bushnell has sold to silhouette shooters over the years. The 60mm
Spacemaster has always delivered the goods at prices that wouldn’t give
you a stroke. This year the Spacemaster has been given a rotating eyepiece
that moves from the horizontal to nearly vertical. So whether you like
your scope mounted high where you use a straight through eye piece
position or mounted low where you use a 45 degree or even higher position,
the new Spacemaster can handle it. It comes in two versions i.e. a 15-45X
and a 20-60X. They’ve also added their “Rainguard” anti fog, water
repellent hydrophobic coating to the optics on their Elite line of
spotting scopes. It will allow you to see when other lenses fog up.
me a nut, but besides guns, I like knives as well. Not the $2500 custom
made types, but the working kind that you carry in your pocket to take
care of the million little things that you use a knife for throughout the
day. I’ve been carrying around one of Cold Steel’s Voyager series for
several years now and have been very happy with it. However, I’ve had a
hankering for something heavier to take care of the bigger jobs when I’m
out messing around out in the yard, range, or maybe even dressing game in
the field. The new Recon 1 is just the knife I was looking for. Super
strong 4” folder with a new, advanced, extremely strong locking
mechanism and Cold Steel’s legendary AUS 8A steel blade. The Recon 1 is
available in a Tanto, spear, and clip point. It’s a beauty.
Will be coming out with a new
line of Winchester pellets. Will be of the dome head variety and will be
available in 22 and 177. A new imported, high quality, compressed air
pistol (the kind you charge from a scuba tank) should be also coming down
the pike this year as well and it won’t cost you the price of a Hawaiian
vacation. Had a nice talk with their marketing folks and expressed my
admiration for the 747, and suggested that they improve the rear
sight. They seemed to be very receptive to the idea. Give them a call if
just concluded an agreement with Umarex Sportwaffen GmbH, maker of Walther
and Smith & Wesson airguns whereby Crossman will function as Umarex’s sole
North American distributor. Hope this means that Walther airguns will
become more available.
Will be chambering two rifles
AND one of their pistols in the new Hornady 17 rimfire. While not suitable
for silhouette, it should be a really fun gun.
IOSSO Cleaning Products
always been a big fan of their bore cleaning paste which is very
convenient to use. Their case cleaner is also tops. For 02, they’ve got a
new, very light weight gun oil somewhat similar to Kroil. Use before the
bore cleaner to loosen tough fouling and your barrel will come out cleaner
than ever. Also use as a lubricant. Biodegradable, no distillates, no
silicon, or ammonia. Just good stuff.
“Laser Magic” bore sighter is really slick for sighting in scopes. Just
remove the bolt from your XP or RAMPRO, insert the laser module, and the
beam will be projected out to 100 yards, although they recommend sighting
in at 25. Adjust your scope’s crosshairs to overlay the laser dot and
you’re there. Really takes a lot of the trial and error out of the
Rocky Shoes & Boots
02, Rocky has doubled the amount of Thinsulate insulation that’s available
in their excellent Cornstalker series of boots. I use these and I know
they’re good. You can still get the Cornstalker 01 with its 600 grams of
Thinsulate that I wrote about a couple of months ago. However, if things
really get cold where you are, go to the CornStalker Pro with 1200 grams.
The upper part of the boot has also been redesigned for a new look. Also
new this year are some of the nicest camo parkas and insulated pants that
you’ll see anywhere. They’re made with “SilentHunter” fabric which is
about as noiseless as it gets. It feels like brushed cotton but it’s
something much more abrasion resistant. Rocky also makes the best
Gore-Tex, Thinsulate, and Merino wool socks (these are great) you’ll find
anywhere. Don’t forget the kids. Rocky also has a full line of boots for
the kids as well when you’re taking them on that first hunt.