Very seldom do I choose the right walnut shell with the
pea under it, and never do I win lotteries, but this time I got lucky. I
mentioned a couple of months ago that I thought the
trend toward large calibers was sliding in the other direction, and it appears
that is the case.
Over the past 2 months I have received more inquiries and orders for small to
medium caliber guns than in the past 2 years. I still get orders for the 429,
the 457 and the 510 GNR but the rest is 41 GNR and under. I have taken a large
amount of orders for the 41 GNR, 356 GNR, 300 GNR, 256 GNR and the Raptor
cartridges. The 257 Raptor is the only one I have actually run complete tests
on and it is amazingly accurate. The new 240 Raptor and the 6.5 Raptor are
almost finished but none of the testing has been done, yet I already have 3 or
4 orders for barrels in each of these calibers.
This tells me that people are a bit burnt out on the larger calibers, and
maybe for a couple of different reasons. For one, gun lovers are always up for
something new, and the 475 Linebaugh, 500 Linebaugh, 500 Maximum, 475 Maximum
and 500 S&W are sort of old news. Nothing exciting anymore. Loads for each
of these have been explored and tried and maybe are now becoming a bit boring.
Gun guys are always looking for something different, something that 14 of
their buddies don't have, something they can show off.
Another reason I think is the cost factor. A cartridge that takes 40 grains of
powder and a 400 grain bullet gets expensive when you shoot it quite a bit. A
new cartridge that uses 25 grains of powder and a 110 grain bullet sounds real
good, expense wise.
One of my friends who has been to Tennessee hunting with us, (let's call him
Richard), came into the store today and bought reloading supplies for his new
pistol. It takes a 50 grain bullet and uses 1.0 grain of powder, and that is a
hot load. He figures at 1.0 grain of powder, he can get 7000 rounds of ammo
out of a pound of powder. His new toy is a Colt 25 auto he bought at the gun
show here in Flagstaff today. I don't know if he plans to bring it on the Big
Bore/Big Boar Hunt in October, but if so I think I will pair him with Waterboy.
Richard may well not be the norm in the guys that are switching to smaller
cartridges, but he is close. This is not an across the board runaway switch as
we are still getting quite a few orders for our new 457 GNR, the fairly new
429 GNR, and of course, our most popular cartridge for the last 3 or 4 years,
the 510 GNR. But other than those the calls I am getting inquiring about the
256, 356, 300, and the Raptors are increasing weekly. Could just be
coincidence, but it seems like a trend. Even the orders for barrels is
experiencing a change. Normally I get one barrel order for a Contender or G-2
a month. This past few weeks it has been 3 or 4 per week, and they are all
On the subject of small calibers, I ordered a special twist .257 caliber
barrel a while back for our 250 GNR cartridge. I had good luck with it as far
as functioning was concerned but the accuracy was lacking. So I decided to go
to a different twist. Unfortunately our guys in brown lost the barrel
somewhere between here and Iowa. So I have had to order another. Hopefully by
the next Gun Notes I will have some good news concerning the 250, the 240
Raptor and the 6.5 Raptor.
Our hunting seasons open here real soon. Unlike back east where most hunting
seasons open the weekend after Thanksgiving, ours opens in September. Of
course we have to get drawn before we can hunt deer, elk, sheep, or buffalo,
which makes it a bit of a pain in the butt. If you don't get drawn, you don't
hunt, unless you go back east or try to get drawn in another state. Kase,
Colleen nor I got drawn for anything this year, which makes our BB/BB hunt in
October more appealing. Colleen may be going over to New Mexico for an elk
hunt there, sometime in October I think.
Some new guns will show up in the hunting field this year. A while back I
mentioned that Remington had bought out DPMS firearms and Bushmaster. We knew
they were planning to have Bushmaster put out their new R-15, a full camo
AR-15 style rifle in 223. Now we find out that the reason for buying DPMS, the
second AR-15 company was for another hunting rifle. This one is called the
R-25 another full camo hunting rifle chambered in 243, 7-08, and 308. It
features a hunting style barrel with nice crown, 20 inch free floating barrel
and is fluted ahead of the gas ports. It comes with the picatinny rail system
for a scope, sling swivels, and as I mentioned comes in full Mossy Oak camo.
retail somewhere around $1500.
Sort of on the same subject Sig Sauer is bring their model 556
"assault" rifle out in a limited edition is a "bush green"
finish. I don't know if this is a camo or a solid color green. They are only
doing it half way, as only the stock and forend are green with all the metal
still black. Duh?
If you like over & under shotguns but can't handle the $1200 to $2000
price tag, there is good news for you. Stevens has a brand new O&U out
called the model 512 Gold Wing. Sounds like a motorcycle. This one is really
nice shotgun and has all the features of a $2000 shotgun at 1/4th the price.
Stevens came out last year with their model 200 rifle which, to me, is the
best rifle buy on the market. It comes with a grey nylon stock, Savage style
barrel lock up, floating barrel, nice trigger and a super smooth action. And
all this for under $350. Plus as Stevens is owned by Savage, it comes with the
Savage warranty which is one of the best on the market. We did a bit of a test
on the Stevens rifles last year and it shot just as good (often better) than
the Remington 700, or a 3 year old Winchester model 70, and shot groups about
1/4th the size of the Remington 710 rifle which had to be one of the worst
rifles I have ever handled. If you are looking for a truck gun or a rifle for
a youngster who might not be quite as gentle with it as you would, check out
the Stevens. If I was a rifle person I would have a couple of these in my
Another unusual rifle to be found in the hunting field this year is the
Remington model 597. I mentioned earlier this year that they were coming out
with it in a yellow camo and an orange camo. Now for their San Francisco
customers I assume, they have introduced a new hot titty pink Mossy Oak camo.
Camo or not, it sure seems that hot pink would stand out in any hunting field,
maybe a lot more than you would want.
Another unusual trend this year is guys going to Africa and hunting dangerous
game like Cape Buffalo and such with a lever action Marlin in 45-70. I give
Randy Garrett credit for this trend. In fact he has e-mailed me several
pictures lately of guys who have taken really nice buffalo and such in Africa
with a Marlin 45-70 and the Garrett loads. Randy's 44 magnum and his 45-70
ammo is undoubtedly the finest ammunition in those calibers ever made. I have
a double rifle (O&U) in 45-70, one of only 5 ever made by Paul Jaeger, and
I wouldn't consider shooting any 45-70 in it except for Randy's special brew.
It's good stuff.
By now I guess you have heard that the U.S. Military is strongly considering
going back to the 45 ACP as a duty round. I don't know exactly when they plan
to start their testing and evaluation but several companies are tooling up to
furnish the specs that the military wants in a test gun. S&W is heavily
interested in this new gun and is waving their new M&P around, hoping for
the contract, if and when it happens.
Speaking of military weapons, the old 30 M1 Carbine of WW-2 vintage are
collectors items these days and the commercial versions by Universal and Iver
Johnson are in collections too, so it was time for someone to bring it back.
Kahr Arms, who own Auto Ordinance, the makers of the Thompson carbine in semi
auto, is now bring the M-1 Carbine back. They did a small experimental run of
them a year or so ago, then they dried up. Now they are going into full
production of them, in a black nylon folding stock and metal handguard.
Weighing in at 5 pounds, it makes a dandy home protection or plinking rifle.
Not really up to snuff for a hunting cartridge, it will still be popular among
There is a fairly new magazine for the AR-15s that has been out a while that
deserves recognition. It is the magazine made by Mag-Pul. It is a nylon
magazine, self lubricated and supposedly foolproof. Kase does a lot of AR-15
shooting and works on them a bit and he swears by them. Apparently more
durable than it's aluminum counterpart, it is still priced right at around $20
for a 30 rounder.
I am hearing that Dakota Arms has found some financial backing and may not be
going bankrupt after all. No word on the situation other than that a group of
investors have bought them out but if it is true it will be good news
hopefully. Often when investors buy a company out, it just means they want
their investment back real quick and they cheapen up the product for quick
sales. Let's hope this doesn't happen with Dakota.
I am seeing ads that the 338 Federal is now available in several rifles and is
ready for dangerous game. That sounds like some of the tripe one of the gun
writers would come up with. If they would tell the truth they would sell a lot
more guns than trying to hype it as a big game rifle. At the very most the
cartridge is equal to the old 358 Winchester which was a medium game cartridge
Bushnell scopes and binocs have been around for 60 years and celebrated their
birthday by buying Simmons scopes. No word yet on what may be coming down the
pike from them.
Those of you that like to hunt the hills of Tennessee take note of our Big
Bore/Big Boar hunt coming up October 2nd thru 5th. It is in Monterey Tennessee
and as usual I have booked the entire camp which holds 26 hunters. We have 6
openings left as of today. This hunt is a serious hunt but is a fun hunt too.
If you have a big bore rifle or handgun in your safe that you never use, drag
it out, dust it off and join us on this hunt. They have plenty of acreage and
lots of big hogs, buffalo, many types of sheep and various exotic deer. The
hogs and sheep are $695 and that includes food, lodging, the hunt and the
animal. No hidden charges. And it's a good hunt. The deposit is $250 for the
hunt. We fly into Nashville on Thursday afternoon October 2nd, hunt all day
Friday and Saturday and Sunday morning and leave out Sunday afternoon. It's a
great hunt and very enjoyable and you are welcome to join us. Feel free to
call me for more details or you can call Alan Wilson, the head honcho and make
your deposit. His number is 913-839-2091. Look them up at www.wildernesshuntinglodge.com.
Get a buddy, or a son or daughter or your wife and join us. You won't regret
If you are not registered to vote, make sure and do so soon as we are up
against the two most rabid anti gun people in politics this year, with Obama
and Biden. If we lose this election, we stand to lose everything. Get all your
buddies to register to vote too. Like last time, every vote counts.
Til next time, get ready, hunting season is almost here.