Our holiday season is pretty much over with Christmas gone and New Years a day away and for most of us this means back to the grind. 2011 may be a year to remember, or try to forget. Many of the gun companies are gearing up for a down year, one in which prices need to be trimmed as much as possible or a year to bring out the inexpensive guns and gear. This down turn has been coming for at least a year so most companies have had ample time to get ready and to bring out some lower priced guns for the year ahead. I am hoping the economy will do an upturn after the first quarter but these days the sun doesn’t always shine.
To sell new guns in a downturned economy the manufacturers have to bring out the new exciting guns for the new year, but they also need to be affordable. Two of the major gun companies have recently announced fairly hefty price increases for the new year and personally I think this will hurt them big time. Just talking to the factory reps of some of the gun companies lets me know that most are bringing out a wave of new inexpensive rifles for 2011. Some of these have been out for a while but have not really been promoted to any extent. Now they need to do so and they have already started.
Savage has their Stevens model 200 out and a fine rifle it is. Not expensive at all, in most cases under $350. This rifle comes with a grey nylon stock, a super smooth action and the barrel lock that comes on the Savage 110 rifles and that is one of the reasons for their accuracy. Savage also has their new AXIS rifle out in most of the normal calibers. it comes with a black nylon stock and detachable magazine. A very smooth action and more than adequate trigger. The new AXIS is priced to sell right at $300. Marlin, not to be outdone, has their XL-7 rifle out. Like the Savage, this one comes with a nylon stock in camo or black, has a very decent trigger and a good feel to it. This one is priced to sell for under $350.
New inexpensive rimfire rifles doing much next year but companies like Marlin, Mossberg, Remington and Ruger, along with several foreign companies should do very well. Marlin is revamping their model 925 in 22 LR and 22 magnum. This one should sell for under $200. Mossberg’s new company, Mossberg International, which makes and imports several rimfire rifles made in various European countries will have several new rifles for us next year and at affordable prices. Their new version of the old Plinkster sells for under $150. Remington has their model 597 out and has for several years now. Some new modifications and new stocks and new finishes make this model more appealing to the rimfire shooter. The model 597 in it’s various shapes and colors will sell for under $250. Ruger’s 10-22 has been one of the top selling 22 rifles for many years and continues to be so. In various styles of stocks, heavy and tapered barrels, full length stocks and standard plain jane stocks and finishes are all there and with prices starting at under $225 they will continue to be good sellers.will see the light of day next year too. Several companies will be introducing new models and some will be modifying current models to make them more sellable. I don’t see the top end
The 22 rimfire firearms will do well in 2011 with centerfire ammo a bit high priced the 22 rimfire always looks even better. Most of the AR-15 rifle manufacturers have come out with a 22 rimfire version of that gun and they seem to be selling well. Browning is coming out with a 1911 pistol chambered in 22 LR called the 1911-22A1. The gun looks exactly like the old original 1911 in 45 acp. The new Browning has an aluminum alloy frame and slide with all steel barrel and internals. And speaking of 1911s, this being the 100th anniversary of the 1911, expect every company that makes 1911s to come out with their 100th year anniversary model. That is fine with me as the 1911 is and has always been one of my absolute favorites.
Speaking of 22 rimfire guns for the new year, the Heritage Mfg. Rough Rider is an all American made revolver chambered in 22 LR and 22 magnum. There is nothing flashy or fancy about the Heritage revolvers but they are affordable and very well made for the price. American Tactical has 22 LR versions of some of the finest “assault” weapons ever made, such as the H&K MP-5, AR-15, and several others. Those that like the feel of the black rifles will flock to these with open wallets. Another of American Tactical’s offerings is their 1911 in 22 LR. This one is called the . This one, like the Browning mentioned above, looks just like the original 1911 and comes with a 10 round magazine and 5” barrel. They also have a new model called the Killer, which is a 22 LR rifle that comes in a traditional model and a tactical model.
As I mentioned, expect a lot of special 100th year anniversary 1911s.has one such 1911 coming out, again an exact copy of the original 1911 with special markings on the slide commemorating 100 years. I have been told that no less than a dozen companies are coming out with their version of the special 100th year 1911.
An old classic is back..again. The old baby Browning in 25 ACP was one of the standard carry guns of the pre WW2 era. The little gun was made from 1931 to the early 1980s. While Browning was tapering off the manufacture of the Baby, which was actually made by FN in Belgium, it was also being manufactured by Bauer, an American company in Fraser Michigan. Their version was in stainless and came with a nice, if slightly pimpy, fake pearl grips. It was a fine little semi auto but people were becoming educated that maybe the 25 auto wasn’t the best caliber to carry for self defense. The Bauer lasted until the mid 80s before going out of business. Now over 25 years later the little Browning baby is back. But not made by Browning or Bauer this time. Now it is made by PSA, which is Precision Small Arms Inc. It is again all stainless steel, in 25 ACP, 6 shot magazine, gold plated trigger and aluminum grips. The gun weighs a hair over 7 ounces empty and is all American made. I like the little guns. Maybe as useful as tits on a chicken, but I like them anyway.
One of my favorite brand of bullets for rifle and handgun has always been Sierra bullets. I could get by with nothing else if need be. They are coming out with several new bullets for the new year. They have a new 70 grain Blitzking 25 caliber bullet coming out. This should do very well in our 257 Raptor and the new 255 Banshee. Also in 25 caliber they have a new 90 grain Blitzking bullet coming out. This one should do well in our 257 Raptor and 257 GNR both. For theshooters Sierra has a new 180 grain Matchking HPBT coming out. This one will be for guns with a 1 in 8” twist barrels For the big game hunter they also have a new 338 caliber 225 grain soft point Pro Hunter bullet on the way. They have covered most of my favorite with their new offerings. The .257, .284 and .338 are 3 of my favorites. I am looking forward to trying each of these out.
Hodgdon is handling the 3 main powder brands these days, IMR, Winchester and Hodgdon. In their new 2011 reloading manual they show 29 Hodgdon, 19 IMR, and 10 Winchester powders available to the reloader. Hornady is expanding their V-Max ammunition with their Superformance varmint loadings. They use a special powder that gives them 100 to 200 FPS gain over standard ammunition in the same calibers. These calibers include 222, 223, 22-250 and 243. Also the new powders that Hornady is using in these loadings are available from Hodgdon. Sort of on the subject of stashing away ammo for bad times. Fiocchi ammunition is coming out with ammunition called Canned Heat. This ammunition comes in cans sort of like tuna fish cans, that are enameled cans, oxygen free to ensure years of storage with no rust or deterioration. Just tear off a couple of labels of canned tuna or turkey, slap then on these cans and stash them away. Neat idea.
I mentioned the AR-15 type rifles being offered in 22 LR above, and that means some company needs to come up with some specialty ammo just for these rifles. And CCI has done so. It is called 22 LR-AR Tactical. You knew the word Tactical had to be in there somewhere, didn’t you? It is a copper plated round nose bullet in 22 LR that they guarantee will shoot 1.5” groups at 100 yards. The ammo comes in special 375 round loose packed boxes.
If you have an AR-15 type rifle there are now even more choices for you in the way of calibers. Just about every company that makes the rifles are offering the complete uppers to fit your rifle. A couple of the newer ones to do so are Arma-Lite and Ruger. The Arma-Lite comes only in 5.56 while the Ruger SR-556 comes in 5.56 or 6.8 SPC. Calibers up to 50 Beowulf and 50 BMG are available in the AR-15 platform.
Winchester is bringing back the 1886 Short Rifle and the 1892 carbine for 2011. The 1886 will be chambered in 45-70 while the 1892 comes chambered in 45 long colt, 44-40,and . Another icon in the gun manufacturing field, Colt, has announced the return of their New Frontier revolver. It will be released in a couple of calibers and several barrel lengths. Used New Frontiers are grabbed up immediately on the used gun market so hopefully the new version of the New Frontier will do well for Colt. It would be nice to see Colt come back into the top firearms manufacturers circle again. Bad management and the unions have pretty much killed Colt over the last 25 years. Hopefully they will make a come back.
Our new Goerg shoulder holster is becoming popular. We have had 2 gun magazines contact us to do articles on the new holster. It really is not new as it is the shoulder holster designed by the father of , Al Goerg, in the early 60s. He died in 1965 in a plane crash in Alaska and the holster was forgotten. I received one of the few holsters he made from Scott Boggs a while back as he knew I was wanting one to build the same holster that Goerg designed. It took us almost a year to get it going but the new Goerg shoulder holsters are now in production. They are made one holster at a time for each customer and for his specific handgun and caliber, Made of the finest leather available the holster features an ammo carrier on the off side under the left arm, or right arm if you are a lefty. The ammo carrier holds 10 spare cartridges in calibers from 357 to 510 GNR. The ammo carriers are changeable too so you can have 2 or 3 ammo carrier foe all the calibers you hunt with. I changed a few things about the holster to make it a bit better. I got rid of the leather lacings and replaced them with Chicago screws and stronger swivels. The buckles are made of better steel too than was available back in 1963. I have been working with my holster maker for the last couple of months designing a new shoulder holster for scoped revolvers. I have a rough drawing of the holster I want and will be talking to my guy this week and hopefully have a working prototype holster within 2 months or so
Another new thing I plan to premier very soon is new chamberings in our new Skorpion revolver. Currently we are making the gun in 356 GNR and 41 Magnum. I have 2 new chamberings planned for the Skorpion and will announce then as soon as we finish the testing. Stand by for more on these.
Our next HHC (Handgun Hunter’s Challenge) is scheduled forat the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee. More info on that coming in the next issue. If you are familiar with this hunt and want to join us, consider this my personal invitation to you to join us. It is a great hunt and a chance to meet some of the Misfits and try out a bunch of new guns and calibers. if you want to join us, call Sherry at or and put your deposit down. Over 40 hunters were at the last HHC in October and a great hunt it was. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
The SHOT Show is coming up in January and hopefully next time I will have a lot of new info for you. Til next time, take a kid shooting. They are our future.