Just got back from
the SHOT Show in Sin City. Iím fortunate in that Los Vegas is only an easy
three and a half hour drive from my home. However, the combination of
having the Shot Show, a camera convention, and a gazillion other people
all in town for Super Bowl weekend made me feel like a salmon swimming
upstream during spawning season most of the time that I was there. Never
the less, it was really nice to see old friends again and forge new
Iím told that there
were lots of IHMSA people at the Show and so Iím sure theyíre going to be
writing about the many new things, that from their perspective, impressed
them as well. I also wonít go into a lot of detail about the things
covered here as Iíve made arrangements to review a number of these new
products, and so youíll be seeing more about them in the future. I should
also say that what Iíve listed here is in no way supposed to be a
comprehensive list of everything that would be of interest to our readers.
That would be just plain impossible as the Show is just too big, the time
too short to cover it all, and the IHMSA NEWS would have to be two hundred
pages long. Anyway, hereís some of the stuff that I thought might appeal
to your fancy.
- Any competition shooter who isnít using Sierraís ballistics software is
missing an important tool in their reloading bag of tricks. The new 2008
Infinity V6 software is fully compatible with Windows Vista. An improved
atmospheric model has also been added to improve the estimates of the
effect of shooting at different altitudes. Information is also presented
in a more user friendly format as well, especially for those calculations
for shooting up or down hill. Re-barreling your gun and wondering about
what twist rate will work best with your load? No problem. Lots of good
stuff here. You need this software.
- every silhouette shooter owns at least 3-4 MTM ammo boxes, and for good
reason. Theyíre strong, reliable, convenient, and they never wear out.
This year, MTM has leaped into electronics in a small way. Theyíre coming
out with a mini electronic scale that will sell for only $29.99. This
thing is as cute as a lady bug and would be perfect for taking to the
range for developing loads on the spot or weighing rimfire ammo. Theyíve
also got a new plastic range box with lots of compartments
and trays where you can carry all your cleaning stuff, ammo, etc. and even
has a couple of padded mounting forks to mount your gun on while cleaning.
- In a surprise move, Leupold is getting into high quality flashlights for
the outdoors. However, this light is a lot different than any other on the
market in that itís modular. What I mean by that is that it comes in three
parts. Thereís a number of different reflector heads, bodies, and rear
switches which are bought separately and which can be configured together
to build exactly the kind of light that you need. A great concept.
Theyíve also come
out with an interesting new line of binoculars - the green ring Mojave.
The thing that makes them different is that theyíre an open frame design.
It kind of reminds me of two rungs on a ladder with the open space between
the rungs. The rungs in this case, are the lens tubes which are connected
at the top and bottom by frame members. The advantage is that the
binoculars are very light weight for their size and come in at only 23
ounces. They have a lot of very nice features and yet the price is very
"This small inexpensive scale is perfect for reloading at the range or
- Thereís a new high quality 80mm spotting scope that promises to compare
with the likes of Kowa. Itís a new addition to Alpenís top of the line
Rainier series. Alpen already makes a very good, very
reasonably priced 80mm spotter, but the new scope uses top class lens
materials, polishing techniques, and super quality coatings to
substantially boost performance. The price should also be better than
other comparable products.
Alpen is also coming
out with a 2X pistol scope - their first. Haven't seen it yet but it
should be good for 22 Unlimited Any Sight competition.
- Theyíve got a new cartridge that may be of interest to silhouette
shooters. Itís called the 6.5 Creedmoor and is a medium pressure type that
was developed for long range rifle competition. Itís somewhat smaller than
a 260 and uses a 30 degree shoulder. One of the biggest advantages of the
new cartridge over somewhat similar wildcats is the fact that Hornady will
be offering factory cases. So no case forming, trimming, etc. will be
necessary. The new cartridge was used throughout the 2007 long range rifle
competition season to thoroughly check it out and weíre told that the
accuracy, especially with the 120 grain bullet, was fantastic. Should work
just fine in an XP although it might be a bit of a boomer. No guts, no
For those who ever
thought of shooting Field Pistol with 22 Mag ammo, Hornady has upgraded
theirs with a very high quality 30 grain V-Max bullet. Accuracy is said to
be much improved over standard ammo.
- is looking very seriously at the new .327 mag as a possible chambering
in their guns. Theyíre actively engaged in talks with various companies in
that regard. It should be a natural for Field Pistol.
"Alpen Outdoors challenges Kowa with its new Reinier 80mm."
- It seems like in addition to Alliant Powders, they own about half of the
industryís accessory name brands. As a result there are always lots of new
things. For new reloaders, RCBS has a new 45 minute instructional DVD. A
lot of shooters learn to reload from a buddy but the problem there is that
the buddy could be teaching bad habits. Something like this DVD could have
prevented the gun blowup that I discussed last month and so is worth the
Weaver mounting systems has some new tactical
scope rings which would look great on any silhouette gun. They use a huge
strap over each ring to secure the scope. The top of the straps are cut to
give the appearance that there are three straps over each ring. Totally
defeats any amount of recoil and looks very cool besides. Weaver also now
has windage adjustable 22 rings. This is what you need when you run out of
windage adjustment on your scope.
ATK also has a very nice ďGorillaĒ shooting
bag/rest thatís great for checking loads off the bench. It consists of
four horizontal cloth tubes linked 2x2 which are filled to make them
rigid. When a gunís barrel is placed between the tubes, they will actually
clamp onto the barrel making your hold on the target exceptionally steady.
- Dick Iosso makes some really unique and effective gun cleaning products
including their bore cleaning paste (favored by benchresters and others
super serious about accuracy) and an excellent brass case cleaning
This year they have a new spray on case sizing lube that cleans dirty
cases as well. Got sooty cases? Clean them when you size them with this
stuff. Nontoxic and biodegradable besides. Iosso also makes the toughest
plastic bore cleaning brushes that you can buy.
- not a lot going on with the Meade Corpís brands this year. However they
have upgraded their already excellent ďAccuTrackĒ elevation and windage
system by adding another spring into the design making it even more
positive. Redfield is developing a series of new products; however they
wonít be ready until 2009. Was told that they really will be something
- has brought out an interesting looking 60 and 80mm spotter using a folded
optical path design very similar to Leupoldís 60mm spotter in appearance.
These ďExcursionĒ spotting scopes distinguish themselves by utilizing ED
glass, which is the very best there is. With ED glass, color fidelity and
practical resolution is as good as the optical design will allow. The trouble
with most 80mm and up scopes is that theyíre huge, heavy, bulky things. By
folding the optical path, scope length can be cut almost in half. Thus you get
the same focal length in a much more compact package. The Excursions only come
with straight through eyepieces however.
- A couple of years ago I wrote about SKB rifle cases and the fact that they
were almost impervious to airline abuse. Well this year theyíve got a new Roto
Mil Spec design that is totally proofed against the airlineís damaging your
stuff and theyíre backing up their claim with $1500 in content coverage. The
case is super heavy duty, watertight, dust proof, hermetically sealed, and has
an air pressure release valve. It also now comes in black, olive drab, and
desert tan. Itís the ultimate case to carry all your silhouette guns together
in one package in perfect safety.
Reloading accidents can be avoided by using instructional videos
like the new RCBS
- is going for Eleyís throat with its competition rimfire X-ACT ammo.
Theyíre using all new machinery, materials, production techniques, etc. to
produce this stuff. Itís supposed to beat the pants off everything thatís out
there. However I was warned by the Lapua rep that the price was going to be
high, very high.
Lapua Midas will also be
upgraded using some of the X-ACT technology and will be called Midas Plus.
Lapua Master will be discontinued and be replaced by Center X, which also will
use some of the X-ACT production techniques. If you want to avoid the big
jump in 2008 Lapua prices, Charlie Scott, a large Lapua dealer told me at the
Show he still has a supply of the 2007 ammo on hand and will continue to sell
it at the old prices. Call him at 913-649-7658 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
before itís all gone.
- Theyíre changing their packaging to eliminate the little removable tray
inside the box. (Yawn) Orange labeled ďClubĒ ammo will be replaced by ďTeamĒ
in a light blue labeled box. Donít know if this is just cosmetic or something
more. There is some Eley Club ammo floating around with the flat nosed EPS
bullet which is usually found in their more expensive stuff. There will be two
more shipments of Club EPS and then thatís it.
- I have a couple of center-fire guns that I switch scopes on fairly
regularly and so use quick release rings when I can. Iíve got a couple of
rimfire guns for which I wish I could do the same. Burris has answered my
prayers and is making just such a ring. Neat!
- Not a lot going on here either. However, they do have a new instructional
DVD on advanced reloading techniques. I haven't seen it, but anything
that goes beyond the basics is sure to be of interest to all competition
shooters. Sales of the 2400 case trimmer that I reviewed last year are strong.
Mine got a workout a couple of weeks ago when a friend gave me a bunch of once
fired Remington 223 cases that had the bullets crimped. Trimming away that
crimp area was easy with the 2400.
- has a neat looking ten inch barreled, 22 rimfire, and semi auto pistol for
2008. Itís called the ďChargerĒ and is decked out in a rear grip, black,
laminated stock. It even comes with a bipod as standard equipment. Think of it
as a blending of a 10-22 action and a kind of XP-100. It weighs 3.5 lbs
without the bipod. Tip off style bases are included. Not sure if the stock gun
would have the necessary accuracy for silhouette competition but being based
on the 10-22, thereís plenty of after market goodies out there that could turn
this fun gun into a serious race horse.
- Thereís a new super 88mm spotter with best quality Fluorite Crystal glass.
The TSN-880/770 series has a huge objective lens in a magnesium body that is
no larger than that found on many 60mm scopes, thus weight and bulk is
substantially reduced. It also has a very slick dual focus capability with
both quick and fine adjustments. Iím a big believer in hanging on a digital
camera on to a spotting scope to record results when developing loads or when
shooting a match, which then can be stored on a computer. Kowa probably has
the best camera adapters for this kind of imaging, no matter the type of
- If you like bright lights, youíll like the new Streamlight Super-Tac
flashlight. Itís a LED type that puts out an enormous 135 lumens. Itís got a
huge reflector lens on the front which makes it look like a small bell but
which focuses the light into a brilliant beam that I could easily see inside
the brightly lit Shot Show building. Very impressive.
- is one of my favorite bore cleaner companies and has a great new product.
Aqua Clean bore cleaner is water based and so is super environmentally
friendly. It wonít hurt you or eat your gunís stock, has no ammonia, and yet
removes lead, copper, and powder residue (even in black powder guns). Wow! I
haven't tried it yet, but I intend to. Their products have always come through
for me in the past, so I know itís going to work.
- In all the time Iíve been writing, Iíve only done four reviews about knives.
Iíve limited myself to the best of the best - no junk or middle of the road
knives allowed. One was a Spyderco, one a Gerber, and two were Cold Steel
products. All were excellent. The knife that I carry in my jeans every day is
one of those four - a Cold Steel Recon One folder. Itís made from very high
quality Japanese steel and has a lock on it that wonít break even with 200 lbs
of force on it. Itís one very tough (you know what). This year, they have a
newly designed lock on their American Lawman knife that is supposed to be even
stronger. The Lawman is designed for police work but would be welcome in any
outdoors personís pocket. Get a copy of their catalog. Itís a good read with
lots of historical info about the design of their various products. Also get
the Cold Steel DVD for demos of their products. Awesome stuff.
- like it or not, public concern about lead from hunterís bullets causing lead
poisoning in raptor type birds is growing. Nosler has grabbed the bull/issue
by the horns and has a new premium, lead free bullet. Itís called the E Bullet
i.e. energy and expansion. Itís made 100% from gilding metal with a Nosler
engineered hollow point type cavity capped off with a polymer tip. Gilding
metal is usually an alloy of cooper and a small amount of zinc, although I
suspect Noslerís blend may have a touch of tin added to provide toughness. By
using gilding metal, copper fouling problems in your gunís bore are supposed
to be eliminated as well. By the way, check out Noslerís web site for monthly
specials on bullets.
- Thereís an interesting new bushing bump die. It basically allows you to
control the amount of neck tension on the bullets and the amount of headspace
of the case. I usually adjust my dies for minimum headspace so thereís firm
(but not hard) resistance when I lower the bolt on my XPís.
I know then that the
case is as perfectly aligned in the chamber as possible. Forester says this
new die will help accomplish this. The die is limited to a relatively small
number of chamberings however. They probably can do custom dies though.
- Great reloading stuff of the best quality. A couple of small items jumped
out at me. One was their universal bore guides which are made out of high
quality materials. Why have to buy a unique bore guide for each gun when a
universal type can fit many. They also have a new, stainless steel, scope ring
lapping rod that is very, very dimensionally correct. You can be assured that
when you use this lapping tool, that your rings will be just as uniform and
your scope fit perfect.
Thatís it for now. More
coverage on many of these items and others in the following months.
This new Lapua
rimfire ammo is supposed to be the best on the planet