Gary's Gun Notes #22
This is the time of year that we normally get inundated with new products that are supposed to make our lives a lot easier or at least more fun. The SHOT SHOW was held 6 weeks or as ago in Las Vegas and contained almost 8 miles of booths with everything from guns, ammunition, archery, black powder gear, and all the accessories required for them, to hunting dog accessories. If it had anything to do with the shooting sport it was there.
There were a lot of ho hum new products there that didn't exactly excite me but a few that were worth mentioning. One that we'll start with is close to my heart. Bob Baker at Freedom Arms has a new grip style meant to handle recoil better, and for those of you that are familiar with our web site and our guns this one will look like an old friend. They have their new "round butt" which is very close to our Gunfighter Grip. Another excellent decision from Bob Baker and one that make their fine guns more user friendly.
Taurus is never hesitant to come out with new products and this year is no exception. They have introduced a new copy of the Colt Lightning rifle in 45 long colt that is scheduled to hit the cowboy market by the end of the year. It comes in high polished stainless and traditional blue. They call their rifle the Thunderbolt. The same rifle under the Lightning name is available from several of the Italian gun companies. While on the subject of new items from Taurus, they have joined ranks with S&W and Magnum Research and us and have produced a 500 Smith & Wesson revolver. As far as I know our new Ultimate 500 and Magnum Research's BFR are the only 2 single action revolvers out there chambered in the new 500 S&W. The Taurus revolver is obviously a double action. But that doesn't mean Taurus does not make single action revolvers either. They have a new copy of the Colt SAA out in blue and stainless for the cowboy action shooters. They have also released a new "Ultra Ultra Light" 44 magnum revolver. Very much like the S&W model 329, this beast weighs only 28 ounces. Smith & Wesson also showed off their snubbie 500 S&W in abundance. Each of them had a lot of black around the muzzle so someone had been shooting them a bunch.
Several years ago a couple of the big gun companies that have produced double action autos for eons were taunting the 1911 lovers that the old slabside was dead. They are now eating their words. There were new 1911's everywhere at the show in every combination and color. Sig has bowed to the pressure and apparently their new owners realize that there is money in the 1911. They have their new 1911 out and it's got all the bells and whistles. The same goes for the new Smith and Wesson 1911. There were new 1911s from Colt, Charles Daly, Kimber, Para Ordnance and quite a few others.
Speaking of Charles Daly, when Browning decided to drop the Browning High Power a year or so ago, Daly tooled up to build this old warhorse. They had their new High Power at the show. The only downside was that now Browning had decided to bring back the High Power, so now you have a choice. Both are excellent choices.
Another old face was back this year, and that was Charles Bronsons favorite, the Wildey. This huge semi auto has been around for well over 20 years but has been plagued with minor problems that has kept it from becoming a big success. Hopefully this time will be different. It also this year is being chambered in a caliber that is dear to my heart, the 44 auto mag cartridge. Back a hundred years ago or so I was shooting hundreds of rounds of 44 auto mag a week and have been lucky enough to hunt with it all over the world. The Auto Mag is by far my favorite big bore semi auto. Maybe one day someone will bring it back.
A lot of new ammo was on display at the show, including the new 25 WSSM from Winchester. For those of you that are fans of the Super Short Magnums now you have another one to play with. Hornady set the industry on it's ear with the introduction of their 17 HMR a couple of years ago. This cartridge is now chambered in everything from handguns to zip guns. Now Steve Hornady has another wild hair. This time he has necked the 22 LR down to 17. CCI is making the ammo for him and you can expect this new cartridge in rifles and handguns by late summer.
Surprisingly there was no excitement about the new military cartridge at the show. This new cartridge, the 6.8X43 is expected to replace the 5.56 (223) in combat rifles over the next year or so. Remington is making the ammo and supposedly there are 10 million rounds ready to ship to Iraq. In the M-16s you only have to replace the upper receiver for this new cartridge. I've found it to be devastating on wild hogs, almost cutting them in half so it should be an exceptional combat cartridge.
Every year when I go to the show it is as much to see old friends as anything else. This year was no exception. I introduced Larry to all the gun writers, including John Taffin, Brian Pierce, Dick Williams and a couple of others. Didn't get a chance to see writer Gary Paul Johnston, even though we were within 5 minutes of him several times. Got a chance to spend some time with old friends Dave Manson of Manson Reamers, Hamilton Bowen of Bowen Classic Arms, Steve Hornady and Wayne Holt of Hornady, Taz Ridley, former pres. of Safari Club, Jason Parr, former bouncer in a whorehouse in New Orleans and so many others that I can't remember.
And spealing of John Taffin, we are building one of our 510 GNR revolvers for John to use on a buffalo hunt coming up this summer.
Also before I forget, I spoke with George Faerber in Alaska last night and he is putting names on a waiting list for the Alaskan grizzly hunt we spoke of in Gun Notes #20. That's the hunt that is normally $14,000 to $18,000 but the state game and fish dept has dropped the price to $2500 for a special hunt this summer to thin out the huge grizzly population. It's a helluva hunt and may not be offered again. Don't miss out on this one. get on his waiting list in case someone drops out at the last minute.