As I type this we are almost exactly 48 hours away from heading out to the next HHC (Handgun Hunterís Challenge). The hunt is Sept. 29th thru Oct 2nd. We will be driving and plan to leave Flagstaff Tuesday evening heading east. There are 2 truck loads of hunters leaving out at the same time. The Rundquist family will be in one truck and Jason Parr (Puffy), Tom Cothrun and myself in the second vehicle. Good Lord willing we will arrive at the lodge sometime Thursday morning. As of last week we had 46 hunters signed up with deposits and normally we will have 6 or 8 more that decide to make the hunt at the last minute so I am hoping for 50 to 55 hunters total at the hunt. The hunt is spread out over almost 15,000 acres and it handles 50 hunters with no problems. Some areas are straight up and down canyons, others rolling grasslands and others heavily wooded areas so it can be a fairly easy hunt or a hard one, whichever you prefer. Several couples are making the hunt which is no problem at all. There are ďsuitesĒ for married couples or if they prefer they can stay in the cabins with the rest of the hunters,. Also several youngsters this time, some for their first hunt, and this is always a great time for them. If you havenít signed up or put down a deposit yet, just show up. It is at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee, an hour and a half NE of Nashville. You can get more info at www.wildernesshuntinglodge.com.

As always we will have a couple thousand dollars in prizes to give out. Everybody gets something. Dave Manson, of Manson Reamers, usually brings his whole staff and also brings some neat tools for those that like to tinker with their guns. These are also in the door prize giveaways. There will be a good amount of custom barrels at sale prices as well as dies, custom knives, holsters, hunting books, T-shirts, hats and a lot more. Plus, of course, tables full of custom guns to handle and some will be available to test fire or hunt with if you like. I usually bring quite a few of my own guns for those that want to try one of our calibers.

Anyone that has a gun to be customized or worked on this is a great time to bring it as we can go over what you want done to it and I can bring it back with me. I normally bring several extra gun cases for bringing back customerís guns.

Alan has, as usual, a lot of interesting critters on the hunt list. For those that like the unusual, there are Scimitar Horned Oryx, Ibex, Blackbuck, Watusi bulls, some monster bull elk, Red stag bulls, some really big Aoudad, big Australian Water buffalo, Dall Sheep, some really big Bison bulls, a lot of Fallow, Sika and Axis bucks, the little Muntjac (the little 20 lb. deer with horns and fangs), plus a lot more than I canít think of right now and of course hundreds and hundreds of hogs. The hunt is listed as a handgun hunt but hunt with what you are comfortable with. Rifle, handgun, bow, whatever you enjoy hunting with is fine. Remember orange hat and vest. I will have plenty of orange hats there if you donít have one.

Our new gear has been doing quite well as we are getting several guns in every week for our new red dot sight base. These are all steel bases that we build one at a time to fit your personal gun perfectly. The aluminum bases are junk and should be avoided completely. They vibrate loose and give the shooter all kinds of problems. After several folks mentioned to us all the problems they had been having with their red dot sight bases coming loose, we decided to come up with a solution to that problem. That solution is a new all steel base. So far we have built them for all the Ruger single actions, the Ruger double actions, a Colt Python, several Glocks, several brands and models of 1911s and a few others. We are even building them for fixed sight revolvers. We have done a couple of Freedom Arms fixed sight model 83s and have built a couple for the Ruger Vaquero. Back during the cowboy action shooting days everyone seemed to have a vaquero or two. Now that the cowboy shoots are dying out there are a lot of Vaqueros sitting in safes gathering dust. With our new red dot sight base, we can turn that Vaquero into a viable hunting gun. They can be just as accurate as a Blackhawk but the fixed sights have held back all but the most ardent single action shooter from using them in the hunting field. The new all steel red dot sight base is $125 plus the shipping back of your revolver. Most folks are adding some other work to be done to the gun while we have it here for the base.

One of our most popular add onís is our Positive Performance Package. This is actually work that we have been doing for almost 30 years but we put them into one package to save the shooter some money. The Positive Performance Package consists of the Maxi Throat, the Deep Dish Crown and an action job. If your revolver isnít shooting as well as you think it should, give this package a try. We guarantee it will cut the groups in half. The package individually would be $400 but as a package deal it is sale priced at $325. As I mentioned a lot of folks that are sending their guns in for the red dot sight base are asking for this package while it is here. Others that are sending in their guns for full packages are adding the red dot sight base to the package. Another smart move.

As far as the actual red dot sights themselves, most are going with the Burris Fast Fire 3. Now I am not saying this is the best sight but the majority of sights that are coming in with the guns are this sight. We also have a couple of the Leupold and a Sight Mark or two, but at least 95% of them are the Burris Fast Fire 3. It is small, not big and bulky like some others and has a brightness setting for those that donít like the super bright red dot. The Fast Fire 2 has been a favorite for AR-15s and the FF 3 for handguns. If you decide to try one, try to go with one that is slender in width. We fit a base to a Glock recently and the red dot sight stuck out half an inch on either side of the slide. Now this is not necessarily bad but can cause snagging problems in some cases as the base we build has to be the same width as the sight. The more slender sights always work best.

Another new series is our TRAIL GUN. This is the little hunting or hiking revolver built on the Ruger Single Six. Most shooters have a Single Six in 22 sitting in their safe that seldom gets used, but this new conversion puts it back on your hip. We convert it from rimfire to center fire first and then convert it to either 30 Carbine, 218 Bee, 38 Super or 9mm. Plus we are working on a couple of other calibers. But the 30 Carbine, and 38 Super, puts the power of a 357 Magnum in a small packing size revolver. The 218 bee and the 9mm are also quite popular.

We are working on a couple of new calibers for handgun and rifle hunters. For the handgun hunters we have our new 354 GNR. Those older than dirt might remember the 357 Herrett. It was a cut down 30-30 designed by Steve Herrett and Bob Milek for hunting large game with a handgun. They also developed the 30 Herrett for smaller game. For many years Kase and I hunters with the 30 Herrett in 10Ē Contender barrels taking critters all over the world. I liked the 30 Herrett so much I decided to make a revolver round out of it. But it was too long as designed so I had to take 1/10th of an inch out of the neck, straighten up the case and put a sharp shoulder on it and the result was our 300 GNR, a great hunting cartridge in a revolver for animals up to large bodied deer. The 357 Herrett tempted me for years too, but again it was too long for a revolver. So again it needed some slicing and dicing. I started with a 30-30 case, took .165 off the neck dimensions of the 357 Herrett, cut the case down to 1.475, straightened the case and again added a 40 degree shoulder to it and that became the 354 GNR. It wonít fit in a rechambered 357 Magnum cylinder as those cylinders are shorter than normal but fits in one of our longer 1.8Ē cylinders and works fine in a Blackhawk size frame. No stretch frame needed. So far it is doing very well. In load testing we are already up 3 to 4 grains over the 357 Herrett and no problems at all (other than a bit of recoil). I have a barrel made to send to Sean Harper and he will do the full pressure and load testing on the new cartridge. It uses any 357 Magnum bullet. So far the 160 grain bullet seems to be doing the best, but Seanís testing will tell us more. Now like the 300 GNR, the new 354 GNR is not for the beginning reloader. It requires cutting the 30-30 back to 1.475, opening up the case to .357 caliber and doing the normal loading, much the same as we have to do on the 300 GNR. But this process only has to be done once. I am also finding this cartridge is a bit of an exception to the rule of always using new brass. The case is cut back below the old 30-30 shoulder so the area that normally gets stressed out in the initial firing is cut off, leaving almost virgin brass to be used. This is especially good in that very few 30-30 shooters reload and once fired brass is readily available. So far, so good. We shall see.

The other new cartridge is the new 355 GNR. This one is again using a 30-30 case blown out almost straight in the 355 GNR chamber, giving it a short neck with a 40 degree shoulder. Again it uses any 357 caliber bullet. It has more case capacity than the 35 Remington and with the almost straight case and a rim should do very well in either a lever action rifle or a custom Contender or Encore barrel. And loading it wonít involve any trim dies, or cutting of the case. Just fireform and load. I will have a barrel going to Sean on this one also when we get back from the HHC.

A lot of discussion lately on Rugerís decision to drop the Model 77 rifles. This may be a temporary thing but I believe it is to make room for more variations of the new American rifle. The new American brings forth a lot of time and money saving features and knowing Ruger it will be just as good and just as accurate as the 77 is. Just looking at the wholesale prices on the 77 and the American there is almost $400 difference. The new American rifle can be sold for a bit less than $450 whereas even with a very small mark up the 77 will run right at $850 or more. So this is, to me, a good decision by Ruger. If the economy improves they can always bring back the 77. If it stays stagnant as it has been for a couple of years now the American is a much better way to go. This is the same situation (to me at least) on the single action revolvers. They are not as readily available from Ruger as in the past. And this makes sense in an abstract way. One could train a monkey to put together a Glock or any of the Glock offshoots and he could (not counting a few banana breaks) put together 25 or 30 guns in a day. But give that same monkey all the parts to a revolver and watch him scratch his head (among other parts of him). He might get 2 or 3 guns put together in a day,. So it is all about money. Everyone is buying semi autos these days and more and more states are going to concealed carry permits or even with no permit at all, so it just makes sense to crank out the semi autos to meet the demand while it is there. Handgun hunting is coming along strong but Ruger has several guns like the special 454s and 480 that the distributors are paying to have made, so again Ruger can continue to concentrate on cranking out the popular concealed carry autos. Then we have the most popular add on to ever hit the gun industry. That is the suppressor. More and more companies are threading their guns for the suppressor and some are even making their own suppressor, so again go with the money while it is there.

Another sign of the times is Coltís new decision to only sell to Colt stocking dealers. Years ago Weatherby did the same thing. You had to be a Weatherby dealer to carry the rifles. This kept the Wal Marts and K Marts from selling them at less than a gun shop could even buy them. I think that is what Colt has in mind. Get the quality up (which they sorely need) and keep the basement bandits (the dealers who have FFLs but donít have an actual store and no overhead and who sell guns at prices no gun shop can match ) from getting the Colt guns. When I first saw they were doing this I thought, what a dumb ass thing to do. But after giving it some thought, if they can get their quality up then it will be a good thing, and something many other companies should do.

One more very important thing, with the elections coming up and Clintonís vow to ban all guns, now is the time to join the NRA and donate what you can. They are all that stands between us and Clintonís gun ban. And donít think she canít hurt us. She can and will. Our only hope is that the elections wonít be rigged as the last ones were and Trump can pull this off and end up in the White House. What really turns my crank is the Republican establishment is still trying to figure a way to boot Trump out. Who in hell do they think they can put in his place that can win. The average person has already said they support Trump, yet the ďgood old boyĒ establishment is still causing problems. We need to go out of our way to boot these guys out in November along with all the RINOs that are as liberal as Clinton is. Trump is not my ideal person to run for president. He has lots of downsides, but who doesnít? They said the same thing about Reagan. We need to drop the petty complaints about Trump and support him. If he loses it wonít be because Clinton beat him, it will be because we let him down and didnít support him. We need to make sure every friend or relative we have gets out and votes. With 160 million gun owners out there, we can win any election we choose to, but we have to get out and vote first. If we lose this election, we lose our freedoms in one fell swoop.

Thatís it for now. Next time hopefully we will have some good news about the HHC and how everyone did. Until then the most important thing you can do is take a new shooter out shooting or hunting. If we have a future, a lot of it depends upon them.
Until then,
God bless America,
Gary