Gary's Gun Notes #36

Around here the Dog Days of summer have set in. Too hot to spend much time out of doors shooting (even though it rarely gets over 90 here), and we haven't found out if we were drawn for any of the fall hunts yet. So we just mark time until we hear the good or bad news concerning our fall hunts and whether it will be rabbits and squirrels again this year or maybe deer or elk. 

A little bit of news on the firearms front. Remington has a couple of new cartridges out that are actually old cartridges with a new spin behind them. It is their Managed Recoil system. It comes in 308 and 300 Winchester magnum. It is a cartridge that delivers twice the expansion of competitors but half the recoil. While not for all game and not for every hunter this new ammo should be good for the young shooters, for women and those that have a problem with recoil.

For those traveling with firearms, it has been a hassle locking up your gun cases, and then getting to your destination and finding the locks cut in half, so the federal folks could inspect the contents. The folks in the TSA , the folks in charge of making our flights safer, have finally accepted certain locks for gun cases. This way they won't have to cut your lock off your case and leave your firearms virtually free for anyone to grab for the rest of the flight. Last year they had OK'd several locks but on our last African hunt, most of them were bent badly or broken. Now Pelican, the folks that make what, in my meager experience, is the best firearms case on the market, have come up with a stronger lock that fits their cases and a lifetime guarantee on the locks. So if they do get broken, just send them back to Pelican for a replacement.

Remington has been putting out their Classic series of rifles since 1981 but 2005 is the last of them. In the past the 700 Classic has been chambered in calibers from 17 Remington to 375 H&H. The final model will be in 308 Winchester.

Almost as if Savage has planned to take over where Remington has left off, they are releasing their model 14/114 American Classic series of rifles. These guns are the peak of Savage quality, with almost exhibition grade wood, deep dark bluing and fine cut checkering. They are expected to grace your dealers shelves any day now.

New England Firearms has a new pump shotgun this year to go along with their long line up of single shot shotguns and rifles. Called the Pardner, it is a 12 gauge with 18 1/2 inch barrel, black synthetic stock and a 5 round mag tube. This one should be excellent for home protection and give Mossberg a run for it's money.

Speaking of Mossberg, they have released their new Super Bantam with it's adjustable stock for the young shooter.

AMT went out of business a few years ago and with it some of the nicest and most reliable semi autos on the market. Chambered in 22 magnum, 30 carbine, 45 Winchester magnum, 50 AE, along with 45 acp, 9mm and 380, these firearms left a big void when they disappeared from the market. Now Excel Arms, an American company, has released their MP-22, a stainless steel 22 magnum semi auto with a polymer gripframe and 8 inch barrel. A conversion unit also can be had in 17 HMR. All American made and a lifetime warranty. What more could you ask for?

The U.S. Military may well be shooting a larger cartridge in the future. At least larger than the 9mm currently in the Beretta. The military has asked for samples to test from various companies, almost 90 of them, so whomever they do choose that firearm should be a good one. They are looking into the 40 caliber or the 45 acp. With the terrorist problems all over the world and becoming increasingly more evident in the U.S., they feel they need something that will have considerably more stopping power. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Ever wonder who is considered the best in the various firearms field? Here is the latest list from the folks at The Shooting Retailer magazine, a magazine for firearm dealers.

The number one handgun company?..In revolvers.. Smith & Wesson. No real surprise there with their new innovations in the last couple of years. I would have thought it a toss up between S&W and Ruger.

The Number One rifle company... Remington..Number one in hunting rifles. Remington also posted a number one place in autoloading shotguns. Pump shotguns?.. Mossberg by a long shot. Who was number one in non-hunting rifles? This one was no surprise either with Ruger at the top of the heap.

Semi auto pistols, who do you think? Who else but Glock. It is almost impossible to beat these guys. Just about every company out there has a gun that is somewhat a copy of the Glock, but they still lead the pack.

What would you think one of the major disappointments of the last year has been? The short magnums. They haven't done anywhere near as well as the ammo manufacturers had hoped. probably because most shooters these days aren't dumb and they actually check out those claims of super cartridges, super velocity, super brain wash, etc. 

The best selling 22 rifle? The Ruger 10/22. The best selling "assault rifle"? The Bushmaster. Mossberg has the overall best pump shotgun category but the Benelli Nova is rated the best pump shotgun on the market. Benelli also came in second in the autoloading shotgun market behind Remington, and had their prices been a bit more competitive they might have wrangled a number one spot. 

And to round it all out, who would you think held the top spot in muzzleloaders? Who else but Thompson Center. A lot of other companies have come and gone and have been flash in the pans and one year wonders, but Thompson Center gets better every year.

While we were speaking of Mossberg, I failed to mention they have a new deluxe all American made rifle out called the ATR, for All Terrain Rifle. Mossberg rifles were, for years, made by Howa in Japan, but these new ATRs are all American from their all steel receiver to the floating button rifled barrel that is guaranteed to deliver top of the line accuracy. Offered this year in 270 and 30-06, more calibers are slated for later.

Let's see, have I left anyone out. Oh yeah, the folks at Henry Rifles, the new company that makes the brass receiver 22 rifles and 44 magnum rifles has a new bolt action 22 LR out called the Acu Bolt. 

Under joke of the year, Leupold has announced that Craig Boddington was their pick as 2005 Writer of the year. No comment.

In our own stable of firearms, the Western Classics and #5 Improved revolvers are doing very well, even though we are running a bit behind. delivery of some of the small parts has set us back a few weeks on delivery. One revolver that has amazed me even though I felt it would do well, is our Wichita Classic, a 44 special or 41 special built on your old model Ruger 3 screw. In the last 6 weeks alone we have built 11 of them, and that is a lot of one series, and all of them have been in 44 special. 

Our big caliber stuff continues to do very well, with the BMF at the head of the pack, as usual. The BMF, the 510 Hunter, Kase's new Ultimate 10, which is a brand new long slide 10mm that he is building, and his Rekon Kommander are all slated to be on the front and back cover of Guns Illustrated for 2006, available on the newsstands around the first of the year. 

One new series that has amazed me is our Kodiak Hunter series of Encores. I had a series back in the late nineties in 50 AE, which was a series of 50 barrels in 50 caliber. They sold out rather quickly and I sort of dropped the series, When I announced that I was bringing it back in our new 476 GNR caliber, the phones began to ring and are still ringing. And I haven't even shown the barrel nor the new cartridge on the site yet. The cartridge promises to be a beast and aimed at those that hunt the really big stuff. I am still in the load testing stage but from all I have found so far it will be a real thumper. I finished up 3 barrels this afternoon and have at least 8 to 10 more on order. The new version of the Kodiak Hunter is an encore barrel, heavy tapered, with a barrel band front sight up front with a white or red bead and a ghost ring rear sight. I had hoped to have one ready for LJ's bear hunt in Alaska coming up in about a month. And that is still a possibility. 

That's it for now. Hopefully in the next issue we will have some hunting news for you.



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