Our most recent HHC (Handgun Hunterís Challenge) is now history and a great one it was. We had almost 40 Misfits there and a great time was had by all. We had Gold Medal Fallow bucks taken, a couple of Water Buffalo, several big hogs, three large bull elk (one with a crossbow), one cow elk, Sika deer, Merino Sheep, and 2 trophy Muntjac. The GNR cartridges did very well as did the people pulling the triggers, Blake Naugle used the 476 GNR on his water buffalo and the 375 GNR on his Sika deer. Larry Farley waylaid a huge hog with his 510 GNR, Mark Hall took a big curly hog with his 375 GNR. Jerry Epperly took a big 7X7 bull elk with his 378 GNR. Scott Boggs and his step dad took a big hog with the 429 GNR in aand used the new 401 GNR prototype to do the coup de grace. Randy Barnett took a gold medal Sika buck with his 257 Raptor. Bear Evans took a Muntjac with the prototype 307 GNR revolver. Doug Faith used his trusty 429 GNR for a really nice sheep. Dara Stringer took her second big hog with the 7 GNR. Kase got a big bodied 6X6 bull elk with his 378 GNR, and I took a big Water Buffalo with the 41 GNR. I am sure there were a lot more critters taken with GNR cartridges but this is all I had written down.
A lot of other animals were taken with non GNR guns, such as Puffyís Dave Manson used a rifle of unknown caliber for his critter. Scott Boggs took what was probably the first animal with the new Freedom Arms 22-32 caliber by taking a Muntjac. Brittney Denning AKA Tiffany the Hun, used a 7mm-08 rifle on her first hunt and took both a large hog and a Merino sheep and did very well for a beginner. Bob Denning has created a monster, methinks. There were quite a few more animals taken and if I didnít mention yours I apologize as this was all I had written down.on a big hog, Brian Tonnacliff used a 45 long colt on his critter and son Alex Tonnacliff used a on his. Gerald Altman used a 480 Ruger and D.A. Page put his 454 to good use. Damon Stewart used his on a hog and his 475 Linebaugh on a cow elk. Robert Strickland put his 44 magnum to good use while
The main thing about our HHCs is the chance to see old friends and new ones too and making new friends by putting faces to the names on the forum. Often the HHCs are the only time we get to see old friends, so it serves several purposes. You see and spend time with old or new friends, you get to bring home a lot of meat to fill the freezer and you get to play with, shoot and hunt with different guns. There are always several dozen guns there on display for anyone to handle, and to shoot if they so desire. All in all itís a great 3 days. Our next HHC will be sometime in March, good Lord willing. I will talk to Alan in the next month and set a date for it. We will again book the entire lodge and will have room for almost 50 hunters. The March hunt is always a nice hunt as often we get to hunt in the snow, which is a treat for those in the southern states that donít get any snow. I will keep all of you posted on the dates of the next HHC. This last HHC, by the way, was the 71st hunt I have booked for all of us since 1987. In that time over 400 hunters have enjoyed these very special hunts all over the world.
Our new cartridges did very well at this latest HHC. Someone used the 500 GNR on a hog. Whomever did, forgive me for not keeping tabs on who it was. The 401 did very well, blowing completely thru a big hog. The new 307 GNR was used on a Muntjac. Not much challenge there but it did very well. I think someone used the new 255 Banshee on a doe but donít remember who. The 240 Banshee was brought along for the ride buy I donít think it was used on a critter. The new 284 GNR is still in the testing stage so nothing there yet, but I will have it at the next HHC, you can be sure of that. More and more of the Misfits are swinging back around to the smaller cartridges. Trends incartridges goes in cycles, as do all guns and calibers. It was just a few years ago that everyone wanted the monster calibers, like the 475 Maximum, 500 Maximum and 500 S&W. That trend has died out pretty much these days as more and more are going back to the smaller cartridges. Hunters quickly found out there was nothing on this planet that required the power of these 3 big bruisers. They found out in no time that the 475 Linebaugh, 500 Linebaugh and 510 GNR will do just as well with a lot less abuse on the shooter and the equipment. Our new 500 GNR has now joined that league of shooters who are easing back on the power, blast and recoil of the 3 big boys.
On this last hunt we saw large 300 pound hogs taken with the 7 GNR, and 356 GNR. Deer taken with the diminutive 257 Raptor, large 2000 pound Water Buffalo taken with one shot with the 41 GNR and large bull elk with the 378 GNR. The 429 GNR accounted for itís share of meat also, but the trend toward the smaller calibers is spreading rapidly. I plan to do a lot of shooting over the winter with the new 307 GNR, 284 GNR, the two Banshees and the new 401 GNR and hopefully use one or two of them on the March HHC.
I have had folks e-mail me asking what the sale calibers means. We now have about 40 of our own proprietary calibers, which means calibers that we have developed and we own. So every 2 weeks I pick out 2 of these calibers, usually one for a revolver and one for a Contender, Encore or rifle and put them on sale. The barrels, in pistol length only (15Ē or less) are sale priced at $275 and we put the corresponding dies on sale also at $85. Then in two weeks we change and put 2 new calibers on sale. For the past two weeks the 358 GNR and the 375 GNR#2 have been our sale calibers. Beginningand running thru the 375 GNR and 429 GNR are the sale calibers. With the economy in the dumpster, this saves you a bit of money, enough for some reloading gear or scope base and rings.
Speaking of the down economy, there are a lot of good buys out there and you donít really have to look hard. Kase showed me a Remington heavy barrel rifle today on gunbroker that had a $1400 Leupold scope on it, top end base and rings, a $75 bipod and a couple of other small items and the whole package (which would retail new for well over $2000), went for less than $600. And deals like this are to be found in just about every gun shop in the country along with various internet auction sites. I pick up one or two good used Ruger revolvers just about every week for use in building special guns or prototypes of new series and most are single actions that run me well under $250 each. It is a buyerís market out there with prices lower than they were 5 years ago. Several of the new small frame 380s that were introduced a year ago are foundering a bit and prices are being dropped almost daily. If you want or need a new gun for self defense or for this hunting season, now is surely the time to buy.
Several of our new series are doing very well. The new Ultimate 500, which is the new 500 GNR in ais doing well with several guns already shipped in for the conversion. Our new Skorpion is doing very well. This is the new series where we build a new larger 5 shot cylinder for the in either 356 GNR or 41 magnum. There has always been a need for a good powerful mid size frame revolver and hopefully we have filled that niche.
A while back in mid spring I brought out 3 new series on the older large frame Vaquero. The cowboy action games have been slowly dying out (or so it seems to me) and I felt that there were a lot of the bigger Vaqueros sitting in shooterís safes gathering dust. Figuring I would give you guys a reason to pull that Vaquero out of the safe and put it to good use, I came up with 2 new series utilizing the older larger vaquero. Both of these series feature a big 5 shot cylinder and new heavy duty barrel plus new internals. The series are the Ultimate Vaquero 2 and the Backpacker 2. We build these in calibers up to and including the 45 long colt, but nothing larger. Once we open up the cylinder window in the frame for the new larger 5 shot cylinder, the top strap becomes considerably thinner. We have never had one blow up but I like to play on the safe side, so the 45 LC is the largest we will build in the Vaquero. These chamberings include the 356 GNR, 41 magnum, 41 GNR, 410 GNR, 429 GNR, and 45 LC. These calibers in a shorter barreled fixed sight gun make a great backpacking gun. The gun, in neither series, is intended for a full scale hunting sidearm as the fixed sights will largely limit the bullet weight and power of the loads to what it is regulated for. But when used in the purpose it is intended it is hard to beat. We also brought back our old Texas Ranger Classic in the larger Vaquero and I am in the process of drawing up 4 more of our older series of guns for re-introduction after the first of the year.
Other gun folks are introducing new products in hopes of picking up their share of sales. As I mentioned a good while back, a company called American Tactical Imports is adding more and more versions of their new 1911 to their stable. They now have 5 different lines of 1911s from a pure military version of the 1911 to a top end fully adjustable sighted 1911. The prices start at a retail of less than $450 up to less than $550. And the quality is exceptional. More and moreconcealed carry pistols and revolvers are being introduced these days as more and more states are allowing concealed carry. If you have a 32 or 380 auto in mind the selection is almost endless. The prices range from a hair over $200 up to well over $600. A company called Master Piece Arms have 2 new small autos out in 32 and 380, called Pocket Protectors. These little autos are, as the names imply, meant to be carried in a pocket or small handbag. The quality is very good and the price is right too. In the line up of is one that is being re-introduced by Steyr. They are bringing back their compact M-A1 in 9mm or 40 caliber. A smooth shooting pistol in the same vein as the Glock, this one should garner itís share of sales.
One topic that one of the gun writers wrote about and put his big foot in his mouth was the use of ďassault riflesĒ in the hunting field. The term ďassault riflesĒ is quickly being dropped these days and was for a while replaced with the term Black Rifles. Now that is being dropped too as many are not black anymore. These days we are seeing more and more of these semi auto rifles made in the AR-15 design in the hunting field. With Remington, DPMS, Bushmaster, Armalite and several other companies making larger caliber rifles strictly for hunting and most states allowing these semi autos for large game, this trend has a solid footing with the hunters today. Many standard rifle companies that make the same old bolt action rifles are learning the hard way that maybe, just maybe, they should have jumped into the semi auto hunting rifle game a good while back. With guns available from 17 caliber up to .458 caliber these new semi autos are taking game up to elk and bear on a regular basis. And they come in full camo, which the hunters like too. The accessories are almost endless for these guns too. You can have just about anything on these guns from special front grips (some states do not allow these) to flashlights, lasers, red dot sights, bipods, scopes, special slings, special stocks for the long armed guys, shorter stocks for the ladies, special iron sights and the list goes on and on. You could even have all of the above on one gun, should you so desire. And the accuracy on these rifles is second to none.
Another new trend, for lack of a better word, is firearms for countering home invasions. I realize you are thinking, home invasions?, where does this guy live? Well, believe it or not, home invasions are up well over 100% in almost every part of the country and up near 400% in some areas near the U.S./Mexico border. People are just plain scared. Illegal aliens are becoming not just a bunch of tired old lazy Mexicans anymore, but instead are roaming gangs of Mexicans armed with the best firearms on the market. And they are getting these firearms by home invasions. They kick in the door in the middle of the night and take what they want. Kidnappings are running rampant in the southwestern states. Young girls being taken in the middle of the night across the border. The media refuses to mention this but itís happening way too often these days and people are arming themselves. Several gun companies are making special guns intended to counter home invasions. The most prominent firearm to thwart this problem is a shotgun and companies like Remington, Mossberg, FN, Winchester, Beretta, and several other companies are all making special home defense shotguns. I will get more info on these and get a bit deeper into this on the next Gun Notes.