As I write this it seems early winter has turned back into late spring. We had our normal couple of snows 3 weeks ago and that seemed to be the beginning of a normal late fall and early winter up here at 8000 feet. Now, just to be fickle, Mother Nature has shown us again that she is still boss. It is a nice mid 60s day here today with not a cloud in the sky. But it won’t last long. As we enter winter, and if all goes as normal, our snows will begin and winter will officially be here. I mention this not to be your local weatherman, but as the weather gets cooler that means our favorite time of here is upon us. That being our hunting seasons.
Here is the mountains of Arizona our elk season promises to be a good one as usual. Some monster bulls are already being taken by bow hunters and as we ease into gun season we should see some really nice bulls being taken. Arizona always ranks right up there as the place to find the really big bulls, especially on the Apache reservation. If you have the money some real monster can be had there. On the down side, Arizona, like most other western states, has the draw system. If you are not drawn you don’t hunt. Even if you have large acreage and have large herds of deer and elk if you don’t get drawn, you cannot hunt the deer and elk as they belong to the state. It is not a system that I like, but it is the only way to hunt big game. One of the western states had a neat system that I rather liked. If you didn’t get drawn for 3 years in a row, the 4th year you automatically got a tag for either deer or elk. I have heard the state has dropped that system for a more money making system and unfortunately that is what it is all about, the almighty dollar.
Our small game seasons are the ones I really like. Just to be out in the woods this time of year with your favorite 22 caliber rifle or handgun is a tremendous way to spend an afternoon. For the last several; years I have caught myself bidding on vintage 22 rifles on the internet sites. Growing up in the early 60s my favorite squirrel guns were the Sears J.C. Higgins brand of rifles. These were the model 29, 30 and 31 rifles. They were great semi auto rifles sized not for a small child but for the average man. They were made by High Standard and fetch a pretty penny these days. I managed to luck into one of each a while back, each with the original tiny little 4X scopes that came on them originally. I immediately dumped them and put on a decent size 2X9 scope. I found out later that those little red and brass colored scopes have some collector value. Typical.
Another little rifle I had back in the mid 60s was the Marlin 99 M1. This little M-1 Carbine look-alike is a neat little 22 rifle and extremely accurate. Like the J.C. Higgins mentioned above, these little rifles of 50 years ago also are not cheap. I also managed to find 2 of them in mint condition and added them to my growing list of vintage rifles. Later on I also ran across a mint Remington 541 from the early 70s. Since then I have gone whole hog and picked up quite a few more 22 rifles. Colleen bought me several CZ rifles, the 452 and 455 in 22 LR and 22 Magnum and most recently the new CZ 512 semi auto in 22 Magnum. Add in there a couple of Ruger 10-22s in stainless and blue and you have a good assortment. To say I am loaded up on 22 caliber rifles would be an understatement, especially being a handgun hunter. I just happen to like the feel and style of the 22 rimfire rifles. Great guns for an afternoon walk thru the woods.
Speaking of a nice walk thru the woods, our latest HHC (Handgun Hunter’s Challenge) is now history, and a great one it was. We had 42 people there from all over the country. Several fellows brought their wives and youngsters too which made it nice. Quite a few big hogs were taken along with some really nice trophy animals. Alcorn Russell had an extra $10,000 lying around and spent most of it on a huge bull Bison and a monster bull elk. I took a Beeffalo, which is half cow and half Buffalo. I brought home 3 large 150 quart coolers along with 3 smaller 50 quart coolers of fine steaks and burger. Larry Farley and I got into a large herd of medium size hogs, 150 lbs or so, just the right size for great eating and we both slew our fair share of them. That added to my already full coolers. It was a great hunt and even better, a chance to spend time with some friends I only get to see maybe once a year these days. As we get older those friends become even more special. We have lost two of our best friends in the last year, Jason Parr and Eric McClure. Both died within a couple of weeks of our 2017 HHC and both died way too young. I will miss them both.
Our next African hunt is slated for April of next year and again we should have 12 hunters heading to Africa. Right now we have 11 hunters signed up and have one opening left. If you have always wanted to hunt Africa get with me for the details. And before you say you can’t afford it, an average African hunt, taking 3 or 4 plains game animals, can be done for around $7000 plus your airfare. Most folks when they hear of an African hunt, think $25,000 or more. Well, you can easily spend that much or even a whole lot more, but an average African hunt can be had for $7000 to $8000 plus your airfare. If you are interested, get with me at 928-527-4100 for more info.
Well, let’s see what is new and amazing these days. Right now the fastest selling 9mm over at our gun shop is the Taurus PT-111 G-2. This is a great little packing gun in 9mm and also a favorite of the ladies due to it’s light weight and size. We sell them as quick as we can get them in. At just a bit under $240, you can’t beat it, plus it has the great Taurus no questions asked warranty.
The Ruger SP-101 has been a great little revolver for years in stainless steel. Now it is available in blue. It is a 2¼” 357 Magnum revolver and is a great little compact and rugged revolver. The little Ruger LCR has been one of their best selling compact carry revolvers for several years now and a new grip from Pachmayr has just been added. It is their Guardian Grip and gives you a place to hang your 3rd finger on. The original grip is a bit small for most men and this solves that problem.
While on the subject of Ruger firearms, they have added a couple of calibers to their fine Precision Rifle. The rifle has been a great success for Ruger in the 308 caliber and now for those that want to reach out a bit farther they have released it in 338 Lapua and 300 Winchester Magnum. These 2 calibers should put the rifle in the hunting field along with the target range.
Ruger’s fine 1911 now has a competition grade brother. It is the new full size 9mm SR1911 Competition Pistol. I have said all along that the Ruger 1911s are just as good if not better than some of the high dollar 1911s out there. Their lightweight 9mm Commander 1911 is one of the finest carry guns available. In a 1911 style I have yet to see a factory 1911 that can stand up to it.
More companies are following Mossberg’s lead in coming out with a short “firearm” that is not listed under the federal Short Barrel Shotgun listing, which requires special paperwork and licensing. Mossberg was first with their 14” barreled “firearm” in 12 gauge called the Shokwave. Now Remington has released a semi auto version of that called the V3 Tac-13. It is a semi auto 12 gauge “firearm” with a 13” barrel. It has the small rounded grip that they call a birdshead and I have never seen a bird with a noggin that looked like that. Maybe a road kill, but nothing alive. Nevertheless the new “firearm” should be a great seller for those that like the idea of a semi auto 12 gauge with a 13” barrel. It has a strap under the forend to help keep the recoil down. It should be a great home defense gun. Now if Remington would follow Mossberg’s lead and put the V3 Tac-13 out in 20 gauge that would be the perfect home defense or truck gun.
Beretta is finally getting away from their old Model 92 design that they have had for 45 years. Their new semi auto is an unusual one. It is the new APX Compact. It is a striker fired 9mm and to me most striker fired autos pretty much look the same. They had the full size APX last year and have now released the new APX Compact, which is a 9mm that actually looks a bit different from all the others. And that takes some doing. The semi autos these days all look alike. Admittedly there are some with a feature or two that is different but for all practical purposes they are all peas in a pod. The new little APX Compact is just a bit different and just different enough for the average Joe to take a second look at it in the showcase. Beretta hasn’t had a lot of luck with their couple of new guns since the old model 92 but hopefully this one should be a bit different.
Speaking of looks, it is amazing how many young shooters come in our shop wanting one of the new Gen 5 Glocks. Realistically the new Gen 5 is much like the original Glock Gen 1, with a few new changes. But the young shooters believe all the hype they read and see on the internet and won’t touch a Gen 2 thru 4. The Gen 5 is the only one they will even look at.
Speaking of the new Glocks, the new Glock 19X is a great seller. The 19X is basically the Glock 17 frame and the 19 slide, sort of a hybrid. It is sort of humorous too that many of the law enforcement agencies will not buy the 19x because it is a two toned gun, black and sand brown color. They say no law enforcement officer should be seen with a 2 toned gun. So Glock is bringing out another model, the model 45. Now the model 45 is not a 45 ACP. It is a 9mm, but is exactly like the 19X except it is all black. Glock is one of the most accommodating companies there is today. Hopefully the new 19x and model 45 will not kill off the original model 19 which is one of the finest carry 9mms around.
Hornady is getting a lot of attention with their new 6.5 PRC. It is a new powerful cartridge that kicks the 6.5 Creedmore’s butt in every way. I was especially happy to see that as I have had as much of the 6.5 Creedmore as I can stand. Hopefully the new 6.5 PRC will replace the Creedmore round completely. Anyway, on the heels of the 6.5 PRC is a new Hornady cartridge, the 300 PRC. This new one is based on the 375 Ruger case necked to 6.5. This is basically a beltless non-rebated 30 caliber magnum cartridge. They are promoting it as a match grade cartridge for long range shooting and as a hunting cartridge. The rumor is that the 300 PRC is being looked at strongly by the U.S. Navy to replace the old 300 Norma Magnum as a sniper cartridge for their special forces.
A while back the Freedom Group, who owned several gun companies and accessory companies quietly switched most of those companies under the Remington banner. Now that Remington has received the needed capital to pull out of chapter 11, they are said to be planning on bringing back some of the original companies . A couple of these are Para and H&R. The Para 1911s have been some of the finest 1911s on the market. After being bought out by Remington, word was that Para was just going to be absorbed into the Remington R-1 line up, which was a disaster. The R-1 pistols were some of the worst on the market. Now Remington has all new folks in their leadership and they are talking about bringing back the Para as a stand alone company, expanding the line up of H&R and expanding the line up of Marlin. That will be great as there is simply no competition in the lever gun market for Marlin. Remington now is listed as ownership of Marlin, DPMS, Advanced Armament Corp, Bushmaster, Parker Shotguns, Barnes, Nesika, Stormlake Barrels, Dakota Arms, Tapco, Timbersmith, Para and H&R. Hopefully Remington can put the right people in the leadership positions and bring these companies back to where they need to be.
Ruger’s new 10mm Redhawk is doing very well, which surprised me a bit. It is a step down in power from their 454 Casull, 480 and 44 Mag, but is appears to be a good move for Ruger. We have already rechambered several of them to the 10m Magnum.
Our new Master Hunter lever gun in 500 S&W is doing very well. Marlin said it couldn’t be done, but we managed to figure out how to do it. It is being built on the customer’s base marlin 1895 and is a real thumper and great dangerous game lever action. Plus the price is right too.
We have recently bought out 2 companies that made some really nice 1911s in the past but had gone under. We are now building our own full custom 1911s in lightweight Commander style guns, full Government sized guns, in the rare lightweight model and standard weight in both 45 and 9mm, full longslides in 38 Super, 10mm and 45 ACP. We have invested a ton of money in these new guns and so far they are doing very well. My plan is to give the customer a full custom, excellent quality 1911 built from the ground up and at a decent price. So far, so good.
One other thing. Before Trump won the election, many companies that make guns, gun parts and accessories and such had slowed down their production lines, not wanting to have a warehouse full of guns and accessories that they couldn’t sell if Clinton won. Then when Trump won, they had to start all over building up their stock. So now they and pretty much every gun builder and accessory companies are behind, and that includes us. With Trump in office, it is like we get a breath of fresh air. Instead of sending one gun in for custom work, many are sending 4, 6 or 8 guns in at one time. Normally we have 125 guns in our order book. These days we are pushing 300 to 350 orders in our order book. This means we are behind. But we are getting 3 or 4 guns out every week so we are not hopelessly behind. And don’t hesitate to send in your gun or guns. The sooner you send them in the sooner you get them back. So it is not a bad thing at all. It just takes a bit longer.
That’s it for this time, until next time, if you go small game hunting or just target shooting, take a youngster or lady with you. They are our future.