When it is summer time and you live in the mountains
there is always the chance of forest fires in the area. This is the situation
here. We have had at least a couple of big fires started by the bums that live
in the forest and of course the do-gooders whine and cry for them whenever the
forestry department says they are going to throw them out of the forest.
Well, after the last 2 fires, one of which is still
going after 4000 acres burned, the forestry people have shut down the national
forest completely. This sure puts a damper on long range test firing and new
load work up.
I am referring to our new 455 GNR. I have 2 new
revolvers built chambered in the new cartridge and am limited to test firing
in our 20 yard indoor range. But so far it is going well. No problems with the
cartridge backing out and locking up the cylinder. Load wise I am just a RCH
above the 454 right now but hope to try some heavier loads by the first of the
week. It is hard to do much when the dies haven't arrived yet so this forces
me to jerry rig dies from parts of other dies, which isn't always the best way
to do things. Hopefully Hornady will get the dies to me fairly soon so I can
finish up the load testing.
In case you haven't been on the forum lately the new 455
GNR is a 475 Linebaugh necked down to 45 long colt. It looks like an overgrown
41 GNR. It is a straight case (necessary for eliminating the backing out
syndrome) short neck and sharp 40 degree shoulder. The case holds 8 grains of
powder more than the 454 which isn't a lot but what I am searching for is a
powerful 45 caliber cartridge that will take anything on this continent
without the vicious recoil and twist of the 454. I would rather shoot the 500
maximum any day rather than that damned 454.
I don't know if the new 455 will do exactly what I hope
it will, but so far so good. The recoil with a 454 equivalent load is more a
roll than a hard slam back twist that the 454 has so it makes me happy so far.
Our reloading manual is also coming along well. I got
the final draft today from Jim Johnson at Valley Printers in Missouri and it
was all fine. I went over the preliminary draft a couple of weeks ago and we
changed a couple of things and added a few more pictures. Today's draft needed
no changes or additions so all is well. Jim should be able to get started on
the actual printing pretty quick now as his schedule allows.
Those of you that might not be familiar with this
reloading manual or haven't heard me jabbering about it on the forum, it is a
reloading manual of all the GNR cartridges, (with the 455 GNR as the only
exception). We have currently 23 of our own proprietary cartridges, meaning
that we own them and nobody else can chamber them or sell the dies etc. Loaded
ammo will be available from Raven Ammo, Brian Doher's company, and from
Cartridge Performance Engineering, the company recently bought out by Andy
Rowe. Brian and Andy had a long meeting recently to hash out who is going to
reload which calibers and between the two of them they have about 80% of the
cartridges covered. You can expect some very good product to come out of both
Anyway, back to the manual. It covers all the GNR
cartridges (except for the new 455 GNR) along with the 450 KNR that Kase
developed back in '92. It covers everything from 224 GNR up to the 510 GNR,
again except for the 455 GNR. The book is my own compilation and I am having
it published so don't expect a Hornady or Hodgdon type reloading manual. It
has considerable information about the cartridges along with plenty of
pictures of the cartridges and animals taken with those cartridges. Hell, I
even have Puff Daddy, AKA Jason Parr, in there, so you know it has no class.
It will be a serious reloading manual for the person who is serious about
reloading the GNR cartridges. It doesn't waste any pages on headspace
I am also putting the finishing touches on the handgun
hunting book I have been working on for 3 or 4 years now. I sent Jim Johnson
about 20 more pictures today of friends with their animals taken with
handguns. This is a long drawn out process as there are so many things to
cover in a handgun hunting book, from the guns, to the animals, to camps, to
hunts overseas, to ammunition, to reloading for that ammo and on and on. So, I
will need Jim's advice on much of this as this is a first for me. Publishing
your own book is a lot different from just handing a manuscript to the editor
and going on vacation, kind of like John Ramsey Miller does. Hell, he is
probably laying out on the beach right now with a margarita in each hand and a
laptop lying nearby so he can catch up on the forum news.
Sort of on the subject of reloading, Starline brass has
recently introduced some brass for those of you shooting the old timers. They
have or will have brass for the 56-50 Spencer,50-90 Sharps, 50-70 and several
more on the way. More on ammo also. I have had several people ask me about
Winchester ammo being gone. Remember this ...They aren't. Winchester ammo has
nothing to do with Winchester guns. Winchester ammo is owned by Olin, who has
owned them since time began. Winchester guns was owned by FN and licensed to
United States Repeating Arms. FN, who also owns Browning and the fine line of
FN guns, decided the Winchester line wasn't making the percentage they needed
to stay in business so they closed their U.S. plant.. Unfortunately the 2
companies that I heard were interested in Winchester guns have not come
forward to bid on the defunct company.
This is a real confusing situation here too as they say
that Winchester shotguns and semi auto rifles made in Japan will still be
available but this is turning into a confusing mess. Most gun shops don't want
to carry them as they think they might get stuck with them if Winchester folds
totally. So I have no idea where this will go.
With the total flopping of the WSM and WSSM guns by
Winchester and Remington's not doing very well at all, you would think that
subject would be absolutely taboo with other companies. But apparently not so.
Dakota Arms is bringing their own line up of short magnum cartridges out.
You would think this would be confusing to the potential
buyer of these guns, so think how Monsieur Boddington must be feeling. He must
be spinning on his toes trying to figure out how to change directions totally
while talking out the other side of his mouth. He is still voicing the praises
of the Winchester 325 WSM in many of his writings, and now that Dakota has
bought his soul and he will be representing them and their new short magnums,
what will he do? You know the answer to that as well as I do.
Mag Tech has come out recently with a new line of
handgun hunting ammo in 44 magnum, 454 and 500 S&W. They say they are
intended for game up to dinosaur and lickolottapus. Haven't had a chance to
try it out yet but I will do so.
Remember right after the SHOT SHOW I mentioned the large
amount of double side by side shotguns that were being shown. Well, they are
all here, for the most part and if you are a double gun man you should be in
erection heaven. There are some real dogs out there, some so-so and some
really fine shotguns. I am waiting on Ruger to bring out their double gun in
20 gauge. I like a round action shotgun and this one (if it ever comes out)
should be a great little shotgun. I counted the companies bringing out new
side by side doubles this past week and came up with 11 companies and models.
That should be plenty to make a double gun man happy.
S&W is slowly pulling themselves out of the hole
with mostly foreign sales of their new Military & Police semi auto. They
have taken orders recently for well over 200,000 guns from various companies
foreign and in the U.S. Their 1911s are doing very well also, mainly to SWAT
Teams and elite squads. The good thing about this is S&W will advertise
that the various SWAT teams are using their products and this will help the
sale to the individual.
Along with this a lot of companies are gearing up to
sell their products to law enforcement agencies. No longer do the cops have to
get by with model 10 S&Ws and Mossberg pump shotguns. The people who make
the buying decisions are getting their act together and the law enforcement
guys these days are getting more and more high tech. With the situations like
New Orleans and possible terrorist situations, I am happy to see this.
Another thing I was happy to see was Leon Munyan winning
the Handgun Hunter of the Year recently. And not only did he get first place,
he also took 2nd place and 3rd place. I have never seen this happen before. I
have never even seen someone take 2 of the 3 places before. And to make me
even happier, Leon took all the animals with one of our Ultimate Encores
chambered in 378 GNR. This should seal the fact that the 378 GNR is by far the
most powerful, fastest, and flattest shooting of all the 375 caliber wildcats,
bar none. Congrats Leon.
Have a good 4th of July holiday and we'll be talking to
you next month.