2013 has been a crazy roller coaster ride of ups and downs, sometime I think more downs than ups. It seems like every politician or wannabe politician has been at our throat during the year. We ended up not losing too much but we didn’t come out unscathed. 2014 is going to be our make or break year. It is election year and we need to get as many of the anti gun and anti American politicians out of office. The time to be wary of is right after the November elections. If we boot a lot of the anti gun and anti American politicians out and elect some decent folks, if there are any, we still have a very dangerous 2½ months between the election and the swearing in of the new people. The liberals that get booted out will have nothing to lose and between the election in November and the January swearing in they can really cause a lot of trouble. But we need first to get as many of the liberals out of office as we can and then worry about what happens between November and January.
I guess sometime I am really naïve in that I didn’t realize how much real evil is in our leadership. From the White House all the way down to the local level, including (especially including) our school teachers and school administers. It is very disheartening to see how the school teachers are doing their best to turn our children into mindless liberals that do not believe in anything good. We need to keep our eyes on God as that is the only hope we have.
2014 will hopefully see some catching up of the gun, ammo and reloading gear manufacturers. Many of the manufacturers have announced dropping various series and items currently in their line up. I mentioned last time the list of guns that Ruger is dropping. Other firearm manufacturers are slimming down their line up also. Powder manufacturers are shipping a large amount of their product to the ammunition manufacturers and it is going to be a lean year powder wise for most of us. Every day over at our gun shop we have folks coming in wanting gun powder. When we don’t have what they want they whine and bitch. I ask them if they stocked up when the shortage first stated way back when. They look at me with that vague stare and say “what shortage?” I often wonder if these people have been living in a cave. They all seem to say the same thing..”well, the company needs to crank up production”. I tell them they are running 3½ shifts with an overlapping shift but they give me that “yeah right” look. The gun, powder, primer and bullet companies are at full production and have been for well over a year. I talked to our Remington rep recently and he said they are about 10 million rounds of ammo behind. He said if they ship out 100,000 rounds of 22 LR today to the distributors, that ammo is already sold and on back order. When the gun shops get it, it is gone in an hour. So Remington is back to square one. They haven’t caught up at all. And that is how it is going all over. The companies are cranking out the product but it is gone before it hits the dealer’s shelves.
I told one fellow recently who was bitching that he couldn’t find 3031 powder to use another powder. I pulled out the Lyman reloading manual and showed him a list of 10 or 12 powders that would work for his cartridge other than 3031. That is what I recommend for everyone. Get one of the newer loading manuals, look up the caliber you load for and see what powders will work for that caliber. Write them down and carry that list with you. Then if you run across any of those powders, grab it. These days we have to be a bit more flexible in the powders, primers and bullets and we may have to take second or even third best when we can find it. I normally use a lot of 296 and H-110 powders. I noticed recently that I was down to an 8 lb keg of each but had several kegs of 1680. I went thru all my loading manuals and surprisingly I found all but a couple of the handgun calibers I load for will work fine with 1680. This is what I mean by being flexible. See what powders you have and see if they will work for the calibers you load for. If so, then try them. You might be surprised that they are more accurate than the powder you are used to using.
This past week I announced that we are dropping our Sale Caliber feature on my web site. The reason for this is the scarcity of powders, bullets, dies and now, parts for our custom Contenders and Encores. I have about 10 Encore barrels orders that we have taken in the last couple of months. Once those are finished, we will build no more custom Encore barrels, until the parts situation eases up. I have had Encore internals ordered since July and have no idea when or if we will get any parts in. I see no sense taking orders for custom Encore barrels if I have no idea if I can make them or not. I have a large box of Encore and Contender barrels stacked up behind me that are my own barrels. I spent this morning robbing parts out of them which will get us through the orders we currently have and then down the road when we get parts in from TC, I can replace the parts I robbed out of my barrels. This is the first time since 1978 that we will not be building custom TC barrels. But as I said above, these days we have to be flexible.
The yearly SHOT SHOW is coming up in a couple of weeks and the firearms media is normally swamped with an ever increasing amount of new products to entice us for 2014. This year things are not quite as busy with less and less new products being introduced. The firearms manufacturers are working overtime to catch up on back orders and this situation hampers any new products from being brought out. There will be a number of new guns and accessories introduced at the show but nothing like in normal years. I am seeing quite a few new ammunition companies showing up in various industry magazines. A company called Liberty Ammunition is showing up in various industry magazines, as is a new company out of Australia called Australian Outback ammunition. The Israeli ammunition manufacturer IMI is back shipping ammo in again. They manufacture extremely fine ammunition and have for many years. They stopped exporting it for years but with such demand here in the states, they are back shipping again. A company called Prograde Ammunition is being seen here and there. The Russian Wolf ammo is expanding their ammo lines to include hunting and precision target ammo in reloadable brass cases. They have been one of the main suppliers of standard plinking ammo for years but are now getting into the higher grade of ammo that people require. I will admit their ammo in the past with the steel cases hasn’t been something I would ever run thru any of my guns. But they are coming out with more brass cased calibers of ammunition that folks are more prone to buy.
I think 2014 will be the year of accessories. So many companies that build firearms and have relied on the sales of them to get by are now finding that they need to have other avenues to rely on. They are coming out with firearms accessories like special sights, scope mounts, their own line of scopes, new stocks, and so on. I think the aisles of accessories at the SHOT SHOW will outnumber the firearms aisles easily.
Every week over at our gun shop we are getting flyers in from our distributors with new accessories from new makers of red dot scopes, thermal scopes, gun safes, scopes and binoculars, stocks and gear for your rifles, holsters, gun cases, camo clothes, flashlights, shooting gloves and eye protection and an endless array of gear for shooters and reloaders. One of our distributors that normally sends out a 20 page flyer of guns and ammunition recently sent out a large flyer that had one page of guns and ammunition, the other 20 pages or so was all accessories. With everyone and their Grandmother buying AR type rifles during the last year or two, the accessories for them could fill up a large catalog. The companies that have been building the AR rifles are finding out that the market is flooded with them and they just aren’t selling. So they are wisely selling the various parts for the ARs and the bolt on accessories that seem to be endless. I think that will be the trend for 2014.
I have about 30 years of gun magazines at my house and sometimes when I have had a day that was a bit stressful I will pull one of the old hunting magazines out and sit in an easy chair, covered with Jack Russells, and take my mind off the days events. A day or so ago I pulled one of the  old hunting magazines out from 1980 and settled down to relax with some light reading. Half way thru an article on how to get your game, I checked to make sure this wasn’t a tongue in cheek comedy article. Unfortunately they were dead serious. These are some of the things they said you have to do to be successful in the field..First if you have an old pair of house slippers, cut the soles off them and glue them to your hunting boots. The soles of house slippers are a soft Vibram type material and will be much quieter in the woods than the hard soles on your hunting boots. Next, if you have a Remington, Weatherby or other rifle that has a shiny stock or high polished bluing, take 1000 grit sandpaper to the stock to dull down the finish. Take some dark duct tape material and put it on the metal. If you can’t find the dark duct tape, use masking tape and take a black marker and go over the tape with the black marker. After all that shine might spook the game. Have a gunsmith go in and “touch up” the safety on your rifle so it won’t make a click when you flip it off. Or you can take both hands and with the thumb of your right hand push forward on the safety while the fingers of your left hand are pushing the other way softening up the harsh click of the safety being pushed off.  If you take a shot at an animal and you miss, often the animal will stand there wondering what the noise was. if this happens, reach your left hand around the stock of the rifle and press your fingers hard against the bolt as you work the bolt handle. This will dull the sound of the bolt being worked and won’t let the animal know where you are. (Are you still with me?) Ammo in a revolver will rattle in the chambers, so when you reload, don’t size the cases fully. Just barely size them so you have to push hard “with considerable resistance” to get the ammo in the cylinder. This way it won’t rattle. (They didn’t mention the hammer and punch you might need to get the fired round out of the cylinder later). Also always point the muzzle of the gun down as pointing it up allows the cases to drop back down against the face plate and rattle. (I assume you never take a shot at a squirrel in a tree or a mountain lion in a tree. Let them come down to the ground before taking a shot). Also always drop the first round in the chamber of your rifle, never feed it out of the magazine and then ease the bolt closed holding down tightly on it with the off hand to muffle the noise. Loading from a full magazine makes noise that can be heard from considerable distances. Never wear rings, watches or other metallic items when hunting. Besides making noise, the fluorescent numbers in your watch face can be seen for a long ways in the early morning darkness.  If you have a nylon stock, never wear leather gloves as the leather squeaks with in contact with the nylon. The article went on for 4 more pages but these wonderful tips for successful hunting were about all I could handle. Now at the next HHC I will check you guys to make sure you are abiding by these rules of wisdom.
Speaking of the next HHC, it is scheduled for March 13-16th at the normal hunting lodge in Tennessee. I wanted to wait until after Christmas and all the festivities before starting to promote it. Several guys have already called and signed up. If you are interested in joining us, consider this your personal invitation to do so. The lodge is www.wildernesshuntinglodge.com and there is a phone number there to call and put down your deposit. We have room for 50 hunters. The hunt in October saw 46 hunters join us for a great weekend. We get there on Thursday afternoon, hunt all day Friday and Saturday and Sunday morning if you haven’t tagged out, and then we leave on Sunday afternoon. The lodge is in Monterey Tennessee and if you fly into Nashville, you can either rent a vehicle for the 90 minute drive to the lodge, or let me know when you are coming in to Nashville and I can hook you up with one of the Misfits that are driving to the hunt. The March hunt is always a good time as there is often snow on the ground and the weather is cool. Great hunting weather. Join us for the next HHC (Handgun Hunting Challenge) although you are not required to hunt with a handgun. Use whatever you are comfortable with. If you need more info, post your questions on my forum at  http://www.reedercustomguns.net/forum/index.php?mode=index. Hopefully we will see you there.
Til next time, take a lady or youngster shooting. They are our future.
God bless,