SHOT SHOW 2016 is history and I for one am glad of it. Every year it gets more and more crowded, more packed with individuals that are not dealers or manufacturers. I know this sounds like I should have something that others can’t have, but the show is a dealer and manufacturer show and I would bet at least half the people wandering the isles were not of either group. Mostly they were friends and buddies of FFL holders and such. And this is not just me that is complaining. At least 6 of the main 11 big distributors in the country are having their own small show a week or two before the big show. And it is by invitation only. This keeps all the non-FFL gawkers out. The distributors spend a LOT of money at the show and the whole thing is getting way out of hand. The SHOT SHOW started out as a great idea for dealers to see the new items and learn about them and place our orders for the coming year. These days we can’t even get close to the booths or our sales people to place orders or to talk pricing. I talked to Dave Manson of Manson Reamers today and he expressed almost the exact same thing. Another friend at a bullet and die company called bitching about the same thing. SHOT people are out for every penny they can haul in, even if it kills the show. It is a shame really, but unless the small shows the distributors are putting on themselves begin to hurt the people that put on the SHOT show every year, I don’t see any changes coming.
OK, off my podium. Back to the good stuff. And there is a small amount of it. Again this year many of the companies are showing new products for 2016 and if they get a lot of interest or orders for these products they will build them and hopefully have them out to the public within a year, maybe. If there is no interest then they quietly forget the items and deny they ever were shown. Ruger is the main one that I know of that normally has what they advertise when they advertise it although S&W is getting better. The people at Ruger who make those decisions should be commended for that. Way back in 1985 they advertised the new Model 85 in 9mm. For reasons unknown to mortal men that gun didn’t make it to the gun shops for almost 3 years, at least in any numbers. I think they learned a hard lesson with that and now when they show a new product, you can bet there are truckloads of them heading to the gun shops at the same time.
The amount of bitchers and complainers this year seemed to be a lot more than normal. It seemed with every new item that was introduced, there soon followed a host of morons bitching and complaining about that item, and most were silly complaints at that. Complaints like “my XXX looks a lot nicer and doesn’t have all that cheap etching and the finish on my XXX that is 47 years old is still nicer and was given to me by my Grandmother who used it to shoot cats on Sunday “, or “I don’t know why they are bringing that gun out in that cartridge. My XXX is in 9mm and shoots better and I can hit a horny hummingbird at 85 yards with mine”, or “why didn’t they chamber that XXX in another caliber. My gun shop, Martha’s Gun Shop, Bail Bonds and Happy Ending Massage Parlor hasn’t had that caliber of ammo in years”, or “that is a cheap piece of shit. They should have used flat head screws in the frame instead of those cheap Torx screws. My brother-in law is a gunsmith and does a better job that that whenever he gets out of jail on parole”.
One rifle was a new 22 Hornet or 218 Bee rifle with a 22” barrel that got a lot of nice comments like “what is wrong with these idiots? It takes at least a 26” barrel to burn all the powder, and 28” to 30” would be better. You won’t even equal a 22 LR in velocity”, or “they should have put a bull barrel on that single shot rifle. The barrel will heat up fast and groups will go all to hell”, or “the finish is stupid. Why would a varmint hunter want a shiny stock and forend. The groundhogs will see that gun from 500 yards off”. And right in the middle of all that whining and bitching sat Scott Boggs, picking his nose and fantasizing about Haley Berry. But he wasn’t griping about anything. In fact he actually came up with a decent response to all those others. I didn’t really understand his comments but I am sure they were nice and the comments after that amounted to “huh?” and “what in hell did he say?”
Now some things that are scheduled to be released this year. One is perfect for those that are grade A gunsmiths but who forget how to take a gun apart or put it back together. It is a rubber mat to lay the gun on to take it apart and put it back together. On the mat are pictures and a schematic of the gun with the take down steps written on it. It is a special neoprene rubber that is not effected by your beer should you spill it on the mat.Great idea from a company called Real Avid. And there is a place to write your name at the top of the mat with your favorite crayon.
Winchester has spent the last year developing a new 22 rimfire ammo called the M-22 Subsonic. Now there may be some folks that are saying “why in hell didn’t they spend that time trying to catch up on the enormous backlog of 22 LR ammo instead of coming up with a new round that we won’t be able to get anyway”. I am sure nobody is really saying that, after all a new cartridge that we can’t get is a whole lot better than the same old cartridges we can’t get.
Several other gun companies are coming out with their own ammo for 2016, including Browning. They have 3 types of 22 LR rimfire ammo being produced right now. Here is what they are offering.
The 22LR 37-grain Fragmenting Bullet rapidly transfers energy for consistent performance on varmints and is available in a 50-round plastic pack.
The 40-grain High Velocity Bullet increases downrange energy to extend the effective range of 22LR rimfire and is available in a 100 round plastic pack.
Finally, Browning Ammunition introduces a BPR offering featuring a 40-grain 22LR rimfire bullet with black oxide coating. This load offers reliable functioning and performance in semi-automatic rifles and pistols and is available in a 400-round bulk pack.
So there you go, straight from the horse’s mouth.
Uberti (owned by Beretta) is making their Cattleman series of single action revolvers safer by adding the benefits of a modern transfer bar through the addition of a retractable firing pin. That should make the lawyers happy. From the outside this added safety device allows these revolvers to look perfectly true to the original design since no additional hammer safety bar or transfer bar is shown. Good idea.
Kimber introduced a new stainless steel revolver which met mixed reactions. To my eye it is blocky without the sleek streamlined look I would have expected from Kimber. Reminds me of something Robocop would have carried in his steel mesh jock strap. One rumor going around the SHOT show was that the Kimber shot triangular bullets. I assume this was due to the sort of slab sided cylinder look. The gun is chambered in 38/357 and is called the K6S.
Surprisingly Colt was there with a large amount of “new” products. Most a spin off of their 1911 series but also included the model 1904 and 1908 semi auto line up but some other new additions showed up too. And the rumor mill was going crazy over the Colt booth also. One of which said that Colt was producing AK-47s in an effort to pull their hides out of receivership. Just a rumor. There were also people saying they heard from reliable sources, which usually turned out to be their brother in law back in Moose Jaw Alaska, that Colt was bringing back the Python, Anaconda, Cobra, and one or two other Snake guns. This would be a smart move on Colt’s part if true. Keep your fingers crossed.
Speaking of rumors. There was also one that the U.S. Government was planning on selling off excess 22 LR ammo to the public. That the Department of Defense had over-bought over the past 5 years and were going to offer much of this ammo to the public at discounted prices starting this summer. That Obama felt bad for those of us that have been searching in vain for bulk 22 LR ammo. Yep, that will happen right after Caitlyn Jenner wins the Miss America Beauty pageant.
Ruger has released a new American firearm, this time a semi auto pistol. This is added to the American centerfire rifles and the American rimfire rifles. As I mentioned above, when they released the news of these new guns, they already had truck loads of them headed to the gun shops.
Smith & Wesson had a lot of new items to rave about. They have a new semi auto pistol called the SW22 Victory. It reminds me of the AMT copy of the Ruger MK 2 back in the early 80s. A bit different from the Ruger in that it has removable barrels and slab sided barrels. It comes in stainless and camo. S&W also has new M&P 9 and 40 with green Crimson Trace laser and guns with the original red laser. Their M&P Shield has ported barrels available along with night sights. A couple of models come with no thumb safety, due to requests from those carrying them as defense pistols. The M&P Bodyguard in 380 also is available with no thumb safety and they are offering full engraved 1911s from their Performance Center. They have also revamped the M&P15-22 Sport with a whole new look and feel.
For those that walk on the wild side, Auto Ordnance is now offering titanium gold plated Tommy guns. The famous Thompson, made forever by Auto Ordnance is now available in a gold plated model. The gun comes with a 30 round stick magazine and a drum magazine, also gold plated. They say they will only be able to produce 15 to 20 guns a month. Tentative price is $2500. They are also the sister company of Magnum Research who is not to be out-done and is offering their Desert Eagle in stainless steel with piccatinny rails and light rails and a built in comp. And now you can have the 357, 44 Magnum and 50 AE on one frame with interchangeable barrels.
Inland, the folks that made a lot of guns for the military during WW2 is back and this time making M-1 Carbines, in a standard carbine, paratrooper version and a new 12” pistol. Inland is also making a true copy of the Ithaca Trench gun that is actually made off the new Ithaca M-37 actions. It will be a perfect copy of the original with heat shield and bayonet lug and supposedly the bayonet by mid summer.
FN is coming out with some new models that are the semi auto version of the guns our troops use in combat. FN makes most of the guns our guys are using so it is only normal that they make some special semi auto versions. These include exact copies of the military M-4 and M-16 priced at $1750 but also an exact copy of the M-249 Saw. This one weighs in at 17 lbs and is mere pocket change at $8000. Be the first one on your block....
Browning is bringing back the Sweet 16 and got very mixed reviews on this one. It is sleek and smooth and not at all like the old hump back A-5 Sweet 16 but there were a lot of “experts” that bad mouthed it. I think if the ammo would be a bit more readily available and at a more competitive price, the gun would sell better. Nevertheless at $1700 it won’t fly off the shelves.
There is a lot more to go over and we will do so in the next Gun Notes.
Our next HHC is scheduled for March 3 thru 6 at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee. We have a great group of folks lined up to attend and we invite you to join us. It is a great hunt and an even better time to spend 3 days with old and new friends. We are working on a lot of goodies to give away and as usual there will be dozens of guns on display for you to handle and shoot if you like. The hunting is also great with a large amount of exotic species from deer, sheep, Bison, water buffalo, Elk, hundreds of wild hogs and numerous other species of huntable game and the prices are about half of what all the other preserves charge. if you want to join us consider this my personal invitation to do so. If you would like more info, feel free to call me at 928-526-3313.
That is it for this edition. More next time. Until then, take a youngster or lady shooting and hunting. They are our future.