It finally looks as if some semblance of spring is finally here. We havenít had any snow in a couple of weeks and that is usually a good sign. At least as good as it gets up here at 8000 feet elevation. We could easily have another late winter blizzard but I have my fingers crossed. It would be nice to get out in the sunshine and do some shooting at more than 25 yards. Plus I have a couple of new cartridges I want to do some more testing on. I have been testing the new 416 GNR#2 over the last couple of weeks and it is doing very well. The 416 GNR#2 is a 445 Super Mag case necked down to 416. Simple cartridge to make. Very good accuracy in both bullet weights I have tried. I am shooting it in a converted Ruger Maximum framed revolver and also plan to have Sean Harper try it out in an encore barrel as soon as I get some more bullets cast and a barrel made.
I had Mountain Molds make me a couple of molds, one a 275 grain gas checked bullet and the other a 325 grain gas checked bullet. Both are double cavity molds and are doing very well. I have no velocity figures yet as that is what Sean will be doing, velocity and pressure testing. The 325 grain with a healthy does of AA1680 or 296 are all the fun I can stand in a revolver. The 275 grain bullet isnít as bad as far as recoil is concerned and both should do very well on large and dangerous game. In the revolver I am getting no backing out and no sticking in the chambers, so all is well so far. Those of you that like the 416 caliber bullet should like this one. And if any of you want to have Mountain Molds make you a good bullet, let me know and I will fax or send you my spec sheet for my molds.
The second caliber I am working with is my new 366 GNR which is a 9.3 caliber cartridge. It is the 405 case necked down to 366 caliber. I have been working with the Speer 270 grain Hot Core bullet, the 250 grain Nosler Accubond, the 286 grain Hornady Interlock bullet and a German Cupra Nickel bullet. The German bullet is just for grins as they probably arenít available any more here in the states. I expect more companies to begin making 9.3 caliber bullets as several rifle companies including Ruger are coming out with rifles in 9.3 X 62 caliber. I havenít done enough work with this one yet to say which bullet weight my barrel is going to like but the 9.3 has been known for good accuracy and a lot of punch for a hundred years. In Africa it is extremely popular for large and dangerous game. I have a barrel started for Sean in this caliber also.
Gun parts along with everything else seem to still be being backordered all over. I talked with a couple of other custom gun guys this past week or so and they too are having an extremely hard time getting parts. So far my customers are being patient, which I appreciate a lot. I can do nothing about these shortages except sit back and wait. I have probably 30 guns sitting in boxes in parts waiting on some obscure little part that is back ordered. The parts are getting here but not in a timely manner at all. I talked to one fellow today and he was grateful that the work was taking a few weeks longer to finish as it gave him a bit more time to pay for it.
Thompson Center is getting ready to close itís plant to move up alongside theplant. Smith & Wesson bought them out last year. I donít know how long they will be shut down but anything longer than a month will hurt all the barrel makers, including us. If any of you have the hots for a new Contender/G-2 or Encore barrel, my recommendation is order it now while I have a decent supply of internal parts for the barrels. We make our own barrels and lugs but I buy the internal parts from Thompson Center as it is just not cost effective to have them made.
With turkey seasons ready to start in several parts of the country the turkey hunters have a large amount of guns, ammo, camo gear and calls to choose from, probably more this year than ever before. More and more women hunters are getting into turkey hunting and several shotgun makers are building short stock, lighter weight shotguns for the ladies. Benelli has a Super Nova for the ladies as does Mossberg in a camo youth/ladies model. Several companies are specializing in camo clothes to fit the female figure. The ladies are getting into all aspects of the hunting fields and this is extremely good for our sport.
Ever wonder what brands of rifles, shotguns, scopes and ammo were the most popular in the country? Here are the tallies for 2010. The #1 rifle on the market was Remington. The #1 shotgun was Mossberg, the #1 scope (here is a surprise) was Bushnell. The #1 rifle ammo maker was Remington. The #1 shotgun ammo maker was Winchester. Amazing, not a foreign brand in the running. The scope did surprise me. I think more and more hunters are realizing that the higher priced scopes simply do not give you more features and more quality than the medium priced scopes. In fact we get more high dollar scopes returned in our gun shop with problems than we do the medium priced scopes. The Bushnell scopes are excellent scopes for the money invested. A couple of the high dollar scope makers are having their lens and some scope bodies made in China, and you simply canít charge top dollar for a Chinese made scope. In fact the top 2 scope makers have Chinese made models in their line up.
No figures on the most popular handguns, mainly because there are just too many brands and models to choose from. And too many types of handguns, from personal defense, hunting, target, general plinking, single shot, semi auto, revolvers and so on. I personally think it would be near impossible to come up with one top handgun brand that covers all these categories.
Speaking of which products were the most popular our final tally of GNR calibers for 2010 is finally here. I base this on the amount of revolvers and barrels we build plus the amount of dies we sell of each caliber. The top 5 GNR calibers for 2010 were...
Surprisingly in the #6 spot was the 257 Raptor and in the top 10 was the 255 Banshee. The 429 GNR fell out of the top 5 and was replaced by the 455 GNR. The 7 GNR was also in the top 10 for the first time in years. The 41 GNR rounded out the top 10. I donít remember a year in recent memory that the 41 GNR wasnít at least in the top 10. We currently have almost 50 proprietary cartridges in our line up, so being in the top 5 or even top 10 is good.
As I mentioned a Gun Notes or two ago it seems just about every firearms maker has a 1911 coming out this year as we celebrate the 100th birthday of the 1911 45 auto. There are 41 companies making a 1911 this year, from Browning to High Standard, to Para Ordnance to Coonan, to Colt, Springfield Armory, Kimber, Sig and Taurus, to some less recognizable makers like , Doublestar, American Classic, STI, American Tactical, Nighthawk, , , , Magnum Research, Les Baer, and of course Kase Reeder Custom among others. Some of the originals like Remington and Ithaca are supposedly coming out with copies of their original guns and surprisingly some of the companies that have been for years connected to the cowboy action shooting field like Cimarron and Taylors are now coming out with 1911s for the new cowboy shoot that allows guns made prior to World War 1 to be used. That is the Wild Bunch shoots, copied after the classic movie The Wild Bunch.
We need to keep our eyes on Obama over the next year or so as he is trying to make the liberals that put him in office happy by getting on the gun control band wagon. He made promises to those that backed him and now that he is beginning to think more seriously about a second term he is wooing those left wing morons that are screaming more gun control. Stay up with what your congressmen and senators are doing. Donít let them sway into the gun control column.
Our most recent HHC, Handgun Hunterís Challenge, is history. It was, as usual, a great hunt. We had 21 hunters there and some really nice animals were taken, from Bison to Nilgai, to Dall Sheep, to Fallow deer and Yaks. Kase and I both took Yaks. And if you should ever hunt one, ďuse enough gunĒ. They are extremely hardy and tough animals. They are also extremely hard to kill, so take a caliber or two above what you would normally use, just to be sure. This was our 72nd hunt since 1987 and we have taken well over 450 hunters on these hunts. Our next one, good Lord willing, will be in October. No date set yet and I will probably set that date sometime in early summer.
One sour note on our last hunt in October. As Kase and I normally do, we brought dozens of guns to display and let anyone use or hunt with them if they like. Unfortunately it seems someone liked one of them a bit too much. We had one of our full custom guns stolen. It was my own personal 510 GNR that was taken. We have notified the authorities and the serial number has been posted on the national data base so it may turn up one day. For more info on this, with pictures and serial number go to our opening page on this site.