February is coming to an end and I am finally getting 2 free minutes to sit down and type up the February Gun Notes. But the whole month has been like this. 12 hour days, and 8 day weeks. And the SHOT SHOW started all this craziness.
Larry Kovach, Kase and I hit the SHOT SHOW on the last two days as we normally do. I can't handle much more than 2 days of trade shows. We each had a long list of people to talk to, deals to make and lies to tell. And we got most of them done.
This is the year of the Single Action Army copy, over/under shotguns, and of new 1911s. It seems every company that makes handguns is making or will be making a copy of the original Colt single action. One of the nicer ones we saw was the one from Taurus. Very smooth and about as close a copy as you are going to find. Each of the companies that sell the Italian copies have new and different versions of the Colt, some of which look darn nice.
There was also about 20 versions of the original Colt Lightning rifle, including one from Taurus. It looks like Taurus is out for the SASS crowd this year.
New 1911s were everywhere. If you have ever even thought of owning a 1911, this is your year. There was even a copy of the 1910 45 auto, from U.S. Sporting Arms. This obviously was the version before the 1911. Those that are history buffs will like this one. Not cheap but nice nevertheless.
There was even a 1911 with a built in bayonet. Why? I have no idea but it seemed to garner it's share of the touchy feelie crowd.
Again on the subject of Taurus, they have a new 1911 coming out, in blue and stainless. They also had a long barreled stretch frame revolver that caught my eye. It has a very long cylinder but was a smooth round top with no rear sight at all. It has a large fiber optic orange front sight but no rear sight. I thought this was a bit strange until I picked it up to look at it closer. It was chambered in 410 shotshell. It also shot the 44-40 but mainly was being pushed as the first large frame normal size 410 shotshell revolver.
At the S&W booth, the new 460 S&W was the gun that a lot of folks wanted to see. They also had plenty of their 500 S&W revolvers on hand to show off.
It is always amazing to watch the folks from Japan and from the various European countries at the SHOT SHOW. They cannot have guns in their country (most are there for the replica arms and the air rifles) so when they come to the states they have their picture taken holding every gun possible. It's amazing how much we take our freedoms for granted. Watching those from countries that cannot have guns makes it that much more obvious. We have quite a few Japanese come into our gun shop and they will buy a Ruger aluminum gripframe with a set of standard Ruger grips and you can tell they can't wait to get home to show it off. That is about as close to a real gun as they are going to come.
As Kase and I were wandering down the isles I heard "you're Gary Reeder". Hell, they figured it out. The bag over my head didn't work. I turned and it was Massad Ayoob. I had never had a chance to meet him before but spent a few pleasant minutes talking to him. He's a nice guy.
We had lost Larry earlier in the day as he had a list of bullet companies and brass makers to talk to. The new magnum loads for the 378 GNR were already on his mind and he had questions about the bullets that were available. He also had to meet with the brass people to order more 510 GNR brass. It's amazing how quickly we went thru literally thousands and thousands of rounds of 510 GNR brass. But more has been ordered and Larry expects them any day.
These last few years our custom GNR dies have been made by Hornady and we had a meeting with them about some new cartridges we have planned for later this year. One we have already mentioned to you, our new 476
We finally caught up with gun writer John Taffin and went over a few new articles planned for later this year. John is one of the nicest fellows you could ever meet. Even if he does give me hell about the term "45 long colt". Even after I gave him copies of some paperwork that showed the 45 Colt and the 45 Long Colt, two separate cartridges, listed as being chambered in the Colt revolver. The 45 Colt was later dropped, by the way, and the cartridge we have today is actually the 45 long colt. That is even mentioned in Cartridges of the World. But even with this John won't give in and call it the long colt. It's no big deal but I do love to nag him about it. John was the only gun writer that we were able to corner. We had plans to meet with several others including Gary Paul Johnston and Dick Williams but just couldn't make the connections.
As we were going into the main hall the first morning we literally ran into Jason Parr, which I thought was quite amazing. 15,000 people in the hall and we walk into the person we were looking for. We didn't get much of a chance to talk to him as he had blondes to see, redheads to con and brunettes to lie to. But it was nice to see him and say Hi and Bye in pretty much the same breath.
If you are into knives it would have been heaven for you. I have never seen so many knives in my life. I think one third of the 9000 exhibitors were showing knives.
As I mentioned in an earlier Gun Notes this was the year for over/under shotguns. Everyone had them, including companies that, as far as I know, have never had one before. The Mossberg over/under was one of the nicer ones for those who want to keep their price tag under $1000. It is a very sleek shotgun and is already proving to be another winner for them. Anytime you see a mainstream shotgun company or even just a gun company put out an over/under you know our economy isn't as bad as CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN tell us it is. An over/under shotgun is a shotgun for a small percentage of the buyers and when they go to the expense and trouble to put one in their line up, you know they are doing well.
We did get to talk to some folks that I wanted badly to talk to. This concerns the true original color case hardening. I have been wanting to do this for a good while but had held off due to being so damn busy with other stuff. Now I am simply going to have to bite the bullet and do it. I have ordered the equipment to get started doing this. It will be a while but if all goes well, in the near future we will be able to offer true color case hardening. Our Western Classic and our #5 Improved are both doing well, and hopefully in 2006 I will be able to offer a blued version of each with a color case frame.
All in all the SHOT SHOW was a good one. There are some other items that are coming out that I will get to next time due to limited space here.
Our next African hunt is coming up in about 4 weeks. I put one of the new higher power Burris scopes on my 378 GNR, the 3X12 that they offer. Hopefully this will help with the long shot that the area offers. The last time we were in the Rooiport area, where we will be again this year, and next year too, I had to pass on a couple of shots as my lower power scope just didn't give me as good a picture as I wanted. I took two shots at a bit over 250 and got the animals that I was shooting at but I passed up a couple of other shots. It was about the same range but at much smaller animals. Hopefully this higher power scope will help with that. Now that I have changed my scope I have 4 weekends to get out and do the long range sighting in. We have had well over 120 inches of snow here at my house so far this year (that's 10 feet, by the way), and the place where I normally go to shoot is under a lot of snow. But there is plenty of time. I always do things at the last minute anyway.
This year I am bringing two guns, my 378 GNR encore and my 510 GNR revolver.They did very well for me the last two years, so why change.
I will have one more Gun Notes before we leave for Africa and will try to cover more of the new items shown at the SHOT SHOW then.