January is not quite over but it has surely been a hectic month. The SHOT SHOW was held in Las Vegas to capacity crowds. A couple of mini SHOT SHOWs were held before that, and my trip to Boise Idaho before that. All in all a hectic month.
A few weeks back John Taffin mentioned on my forum that 3 good friends, due to age, health, living miles apart and other reasons probably would not see each other again until we crossed over the river. Being one of those 3, that didn’t set well with me. Jim Taylor, the third friend was already in the states for the Christmas holidays. Jim is a missionary in Mozambique and gets to the states every couple of years. As Jim was already here and visiting relatives in Austin Texas, I got in touch with him to see if he could get away for a couple of days and meet me in Boise at John Taffin’s place. Even running into a bunch of snow in Provo that slowed me down considerably and cost me an extra day, it surprisingly all went as planned, (Murphy must have been somewhere else screwing up someone else’s plans) and we all got together the first week in January. It was a great 3 days with John and Diamond Dot treating us like family. John took Jim and I to the Elmer Keith Museum there in Boise and we had a chance to take a look at his mounts and his large collection of both handguns and long guns. Being a fan of double rifles, it was especially neat to see all the doubles Keith had and hunted with. A great 3 days and something I will remember for the rest of my days.
The story above brings to mind something that we all see on my forum just about every week, the passing of a friend. Yesterday afternoon I was heating up my bluing tanks for a long session of bluing and had a call from an old friend in Clarksville Tennessee. His name is Wendell Harrison and he was one of my DJs at the radio station across from Ft. Campbell many years ago. I left there in 1977 and went to work for another radio station in Nashville. And then from there to Florida and so on. Radio people move around a lot.  I haven’t seen Wendell or any of my other old friends at the station since then. I have often planned to look them up and call to see how they are these days. Wendell gave me the bad news that of all the DJs that worked for me there, along with the station owner and manager, he was the only one still alive. Several of these guys were very close friends. We worked together, we partied together, we did things that we shouldn’t have done at those parties,  and were close for 10 years or more. I could have looked them up but didn’t take the time to do so. Time passes us by way too quickly and we often fail to get in touch with old friends until we get the bad news that they are gone. Another old friend from that time period is Larry Farley. Larry and I were hunting buddies, hunting several times each week for groundhogs there in middle Tennessee. When I left that area and went to work for that station in Nashville, I planned to get back with Larry, but it never seemed to fit my schedule. A few years back Larry looked me up and called and then at our first  HHC in Monterey Tennessee, Larry and I got together for the first time in over 30 years. What all this leads up to is if you have a good friend that you haven’t seen in years, give him a call. None of us are promised tomorrow. That is why I keep putting on these hunts in Tennessee. My accountant chews my butt out every time we do this telling me I shouldn’t spend all that money and get nothing back from it. But he is wrong. I get a lot back. I get to spend time with good friends. Friends that I may only see once or maybe twice a year. To me that is worth a lot more than money in my pocket. There is not a species of  animal there that Kase and I have not taken one or several of, so the kill is not what we look forward to. It is seeing old friends again and like my trip to Boise, spending 3 days with old friends and making new memories. Our next hunt is March 13 thru 16th. Join us if you can.
The SHOT SHOW will be mentioned in every gun magazine for the next several months, until the mention of the next upcoming show next January. The show these days is, at least to me, not as good as in years past. It is way too crowded with 67,000 in attendance. Just trying to find a certain company’s booth and discussing their new products is near impossible. When you do find the booth, one of almost 2000 of them, there is usually a packed crowd there ahead of me. There were literally thousands of new items shown there. Unfortunately many will never be produced. But that is just the way business is. If the company gets a lot of orders for that product, they will build it. If the reception was not exactly overwhelming, they will quietly set it aside and pretend it never happened. Again that is just good business. Aggravating to be sure to those that look forward to seeing it on the dealer’s shelves, but good business nevertheless.
Over the next couple of months I will go over some of the items I believe will actually be produced. Some probably already in production. I will try not to be too negative on some of the things that are listed as coming soon, even though my first thought was...WHY?? It is funny, when I was up in Boise with John Taffin and Jim Taylor, we discussed some of the new items coming out and the response from all 3 of us was the same...WHY??
Colt is coming out with several new products this year. In announcing them they stated one of the new rifles was the model M2012LT308G and the other was the  model M2012LT260G. Now I know you have those model names memorized, right. Colt needs to either fire or castrate their nerds that come up with names or model names like that. These new guns are bolt actions with fluted barrels and lots of special features. They come in 308 and surprisingly in 260 Remington. Not sure I understand why on the 260, which has pretty much flopped for several years. The guns start at $3200, which may weed out a lot of shooters. Now if they would just come up with some new names for these rifles. That was another pet peeve John and I talked about. Years ago Colt had an Agent. It was a small lightweight snubby revolver in 38. Great little carry gun. Now they have an Agent again. This time it is a small compact semi auto..Smith & Wesson is just as bad. years ago the #1 little ankle holster gun that cops carried was the Chief’s Special. It was the little 38 special model 36. Now the Chief’s Special is a 45 Auto. Another very popular gun years ago was the Military & Police revolver, the old model 10 in 38 special. Today the M&P is several firearms from S&W, both semi auto pistols and semi auto rifles. Ruger does the same thing. Years ago the Hawkeye was that single shot pistol that looked like a slab sided revolver. It shot the 256 Winchester. Today the Ruger Hawkeye is a rifle. It would seem the gun companies could hire someone with some imagination to give these new guns a new name. But I guess that would make too much sense.
OK, off my soapbox. Benelli has probably the most modern factory for manufacturing firearms in the world. You punch one button and it make a shotgun, sort of. Now they have come up with a new ignition and firing system for their shotguns. It is called Inertia Driven and they say it takes the big 3˝” magnum down to a mild 20 gauge in recoil. In fact they are putting that in a lightweight shotgun to prove it.
Para Ordnance has come a long way baby, since moving their plant down south. Their new pistol is the new 18.9 (another one that needs a good name), but it makes sense in a way. It is an 18 shot 9mm. If it is from Para it will be a good one. Sig has finally given in and is producing a striker fired semi auto with a polymer frame. It is good to see them finally getting away from the same old same old. Beretta, not to be outdone by all the other companies coming out with tiny little semi autos has come out with their Pico, a tiny tiny little 380.
I am sure you have noticed that SMALL is the key word these days. The smaller the pistol is, the more press it gets. Springfield Armory has come out with the XD-s Micro, a super small 45 auto. They also have a single stack 9mm Micro Compact.  A company called Edge Arms has a new 4 barreled 22 magnum in the works. It looks much like the old COP of years back. EAA, European American Armory has a new polymer frames 1911 coming out. Several companies have tried this and had lots of problems causing the gun to be dropped from production. Hopefully EAA will get it right. Another EAA product is the fine Witness pistol. They now have a special model called the Pavona. It has pretty little sparkles imbedded in the finish and the metal slide comes in hot pink and other twinkly colors. They will love it in San Francisco.
Speaking of finish, how about a pink camo finish on a single action revolver? Legacy Sports (the old Interarms of years ago) has a new line up of single action revolvers in the Muddy Girl finish, which is a mixture of red, black, gray and white mushed up together. I have shot prairie dogs with a 22-250 Improved and what is left on the ground looked a lot like the Muddy Girl camo. Legacy also has a new Buntline revolver out called the Ned Buntline.  Legacy Sports is a name probably not familiar with a lot of folks but it will be. They either produce, import or sell, or all three, several very fine lines of firearms. They have the fine Puma lever guns which include faithful reproductions of the Winchester model 1892, and the 1886 rifles. The Puma line has been around for many years, mostly in the model 92 but the addition of the 1886 in 45-70 will make a lot of folks happy. Legacy also has the very well made Howa rifles. Howa made rifles for Smith & Wesson, Mossberg and several other companies including the Weatherby Vanguard.  Legacy also carries the line of Escort shotguns, which are very well made shotguns at an affordable price. They also have the ISSC pistols, which are 22 caliber pistols made in Austria and look amazingly like the Glock. ISSC also makes several models of 22 LR semi auto rifles that look just like several well known German and Israeli assault rifles. Legacy also has the Citadel which is the company that is making the new M1 Carbine chambered in 9mm. This, to me, is a great idea. Several companies are coming out with carbines in handgun cartridges. This makes more sense for home defense than an AR in 223. The 223 will go thru someone, thru a sheetrock wall, thru a drunk looking in the window of the house next door, thru 2 bulldogs and a chicken. The handgun cartridges have much less chance of doing so thus making it more amenable to being used in a home for defense.
Smith & Wesson has a new line up of revolvers that again bring up the question..WHY? It is the new Model 929, which is a large frame, 6˝”  8 shot revolver in 9mm. And it has a comp on it to keep recoil down???  They also have the 986 model which is a 5” 7 shot 9mm. The guns have titanium cylinders. The model 986 sort of makes sense as it brings to mind the 586 and 686, both fine revolvers in 357 Magnum. But the 929 with the 29 in there brings to mind the 44 Magnum, in the 29 and 629, yet it is chambered in 9mm. Expect high dollar figures on these. They are also updating their Bodyguard in 380.  And their Governor, the 410 shotshell revolver is now available in stainless
I have been told that in shotguns, 28 gauge is THE GAUGE for this year. Weatherby is coming out with a nifty little semi auto labeled the SA-08 deluxe. It weighs a hair over 5 lbs and is a nice looking little shotgun. Being a fan of the 28 gauge I have Colleen on the look out for one for me. Several other companies are talking about adding a 28 gauge to their line up.
Speaking of Weatherby, they have really expanded their line up since Ed Weatherby took over the reins after his Dad’s death years ago. They have now added a whole line up of shotguns intended to be used on the hog population in the country. It seems every gun company has a gun out named the Hog Killer, Hoh Reaper, Hog Humper, Hog Eliminator, Hog Decimator, Hog Eradicator and so on. Not to be outdone Weatherby has their new Hog Reaper shotguns out along with several versions of the Reaper series.
Rock Island Armory has greatly expanded their line up of 1911s. They now show 26 different 1911s in their new catalog, in calibers from 22 LR to 9mm, to 10mm to 45 ACP. These are very well made guns. I have yet to see one with a problem. Their newest is the 10mm Compact 1911.
Speaking of 1911s, Cimarron Arms, the folks that furnish many of the cowboy action shooters with handguns and rifles, have added a 1911 to their stable. One of the new shooting games out is the Wild Bunch shoot. This features settings as in the movie Wild Bunch and the guns used in that time period, shortly after 1900, can be used. The original 1911 is one of them and Cimarron now has the original 1911 GI model out in blue or nickel.
The company ATI brought out the MP-44 a while back which was a copy of the German MP-40 machine gun but chambered in 22. Now they have the MP-40 out in 40 S&W.
Ruger has a multitude of changes and new things this year. After dropping several models last year they are revamping their line up. They had dropped the Red Label over/under shotgun but now have decided to revamp it a bit and bring it back, but only in 12 gauge. Several changes in the gun. Most won’t notice the changes unless they have had a Red Label in the past. But knowing Ruger the changes will be good ones. They had talked about dropping totally the #1 rifle but now are bringing it back in special calibers only. It will be a limited edition rifle. The calibers to be offered are 257 Roberts, 220 Swift, 450/400, 9.3 X 62 and 280 Remington.  Their fine little 77/22 is now available in stainless with the wood stock. Their new American rifle will now be available in stainless in the regular size and in the compact version.  The GP-100 revolver in 357 Magnum is now called the GP Match Champion after some reworking of the revolver. Their LCR now has an external hammer for those that would rather have the option of single action or double action.
There are lots more items to go over but they will be covered in the next couple of issues. Our next Handgun Hunter’s Challenge (HHC) is in a bit under 7 weeks. If you are thinking of joining us, by all means do so. Consider this my personal invitation to you to join us on this hunt. It is March 13-16th at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee. You can see more about it at www.wildernesshuntinglodge.com. Call 931-839-2091. Put your deposit down today ($275) and join us. I guarantee you you will enjoy it. I will have more details on my forum http://www.reedercustomguns.net/forum/index.php?mode=index  in the next few weeks.
Til next time, take youngster or lady shooting. They are our future.
God bless,