Without even squinting I can see March from here and it looks good. March is pretty much the beginning of most states varmint seasons. Unfortunately our liberals here in Arizona have been busy the last few years cutting our Prairie dog shooting into a season that doesn’t start for 3 or 4 months. They claim we will decimate the Prairie Dog population if we start hunting them while the young are out. So we have to wait until mid summer when the young are past their puberty stage.

But the other varmints are fair game, like the Coyotes and such. With all the never ending snow we have been having the last month or so the grass will be high and the game animals will be healthy so not only will our varmint hunting be exceptional, the high grass will make our deer and elk herds big and healthy. Now if I could just get drawn….

March means something else too. It means the next Africa hunt will be less than 8 weeks away. Even though I won’t be going along on this hunt, it is exciting getting Colleen ready. She has been with me to Africa but these days with a gun shop, 2 machine shops, a lot of employees and even more Jack Russell Terriers there is no way for both of us to be gone. Good Lord willing I will be going on the 2020 hunt in April 2020. I will again be taking 11 other hunters along just as in the past. Colleen actually has 12 other hunters going with her, including 2 husband and wife couples and one of Colleen’s girl friends who will be hunting with her. So it should be an interesting hunt. Colleen is taking her Colt Sauer 300 Win. Magnum, her custom 458 rifle that I built her for her first African hunt years ago, and her 310 GNR G-2 pistol. A couple of the ladies are talking about taking on Cape Buffalo, so this should be an amazing hunt .

If you are interested in the 2020 Africa hunt, get with me. I am not sure where we are as far as people already signing up but I do know several have already put their name down. Good friend Alcorn Russell, who just won Hunter of the year in the Mississippi SCI chapter he is a member of, has been with me in Africa in 2017, 2018, and is signed up for Colleen’s hunt in 7 weeks plus has put his name on the 2020 African hunt. Maybe we can talk him into hunting an elephant with his handgun.

Speaking of hunts, our next HHC (Handgun Hunter’s Challenge) is scheduled for October 4 thru 7 at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee. We usually have 50 to 55 hunters there and it is always a great hunt. They have almost 15,000 acres to hunt in and are loaded with game from wild boar to elk, to Red Stag, various exotic deer and exotic sheep including Merino, Black Hawaiian, Corsican and my favorite, the Dall Sheep. It is a great hunt and you are invited. Give me a call for more info.

One of my favorite companies, Hornady, is doing very well these days. They have opened up a new 150,000 square foot facility a few miles west of their original plant. Steve Hornady, the head honcho, has been a good friend forever and has been there if I needed something special in bullets. Before my last African hunt I was looking for a good bullet for a big Cape Buffalo. I had passed up probably 2 dozen Cape Buffalo over the past several years as I didn’t want to shoot just any buffalo just for the sake of saying I shot one. In my search I ended up with a box of Hornady’s new .458 caliber DGX (Dangerous Game Expanding) 500 grain bullets, and the Hornady 500 grain DGS (Dangerous Game Solids). I loaded up a batch of each and ended up using 2 of the DGX expanding bullet on my Cape Buffalo in my 450 GNR pistol. The Buffalo dropped at the first shot but I put one more in him to keep him down. Just about every large dangerous game animal I have taken thru the years with my handguns has been taken with a Hornady bullet, most with the old 500 grain solid or 510 grain soft point .458 caliber bullets. They just work.

Now Hornady is getting rave reviews for their new 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge). The new PRC soundly beats the 6.5 Creedmoor in every way and is a great cartridge. It has been names cartridge of the year by several companies including Field & Stream Magazine. Hornady has 2 versions of the 6.5 PRC, the 6.5 PRC Match and the 6.5 PRC Precision Hunter. If you are a fan of the 6.5 bullet, check out the Hornady 6.5 PRC. It is the best of the bunch.

Another company that I have used their handgun bullets for probably 50 years or more is Sierra. Their 41, 44 and 45 caliber JHC (Jacketed Hollow Cavity) are great bullets and I have taken more animals that I can count with them thru the years. In the 41 caliber the 170 grain JHC has been my old standby in my original 41 Auto Mag and now in the 41 GNR revolver and TC. The 44 caliber JHC in my 429 GNR is another excellent bullet for hunting medium to large game. Anyway, Sierra now has their own brand of ammunition, called the Gamechanger. Loaded in several different calibers, this is top of the line hunting ammunition. Try it. I think you will be impressed. The Gamechanger bullets will be available for you reloaders also.

Some other new things to check out when you can includes a gizmo that I am not really sure it has a use. It is an ammo counter attached to the rear of your semi auto pistol and tells you on the little screen how many rounds you have left. If I am in a situation where I need to know how many rounds I have left, I don’t think I want to take my eyes off the bad guy. The item is made by Radetec if you are interested.

There is a new line of scopes out called March Scopes. People shooting in long range matches are winning with these scopes left and right. One that is doing very well is their High Master series. This is a 10X60X56. Now a scope in 60X has to be a helluva scope for varmint hunters or match shooters. At 60 power you can see a flea on a Prairie Dog at 600 yards. They also have Service Rifle scopes including a 1X4.5X scope, perfect for a service rifle or medium range hunting rifle.

Years ago in the late 60s and into the early 70s, the 5mm rifles from Remington were the hot round. The 22 Magnum wes pretty much responsible for them becoming extinct. Now for all those that have 5mm rifles Aguila has introduced a 30 grain semi jacketed hollow point rated at 2200 FPS and should be the perfect round for the 5mm rifles out there. This will probably be a limited run so if you need some get your local gun shop to get some on order.

Many years ago Sharps Rifles, the folks that made the fine long range Sharps buffalo rifles, had a little 4 shot derringer, for lack of a better word. It had 4 barrels, 2 on top and 2 on the bottom. I have one on the wall in my office. It appears to be .30 caliber and has blue steel barrels and a brass frame. It says C. Sharps patent 1859 if I am reading it right. It works off a rotating firing pin working in a clockwise rotation, one barrel at a time. The new pistol is made by Iver Johnson and is in 22 LR caliber. It is all stainless steel and is called the Pocket Ace. It has no sights whereas the original from C. Sharps has a tiny bead up front and a small groove in the top of the frame. For snakes it probably would be a decent little pocket gun with 22 shotshells.

Remington has had nothing but trouble with their R51, the little pocket pistol. They had a model 51 out many years ago and they decided to bring it back, but had all kinds of functioning problems. Well, now they have put it out again. It is a 7 shot 9mm and they say they have completely re-designed it from the ground up. Let’s hope it works this time.

ATI, American Tactical Imports has joined the growing number of companies putting out an AR style shotgun chambered in 410 shotshell. It has a 5 round magazine and looks and feels good. Another snake gun. Also in the AR shotgun line up is the new Charles Daly AR-12S, an AR clone shooting 3” 12 gauge shotgun shells. It also comes with a 5 shot magazine.

Crimson Trace has added even more models to their lineup of scopes. From 1X4 compact scopes up to 6X24X56 and a lot of models and powers in between. I keep hoping to see a nice handgun scope in their line up but nothing yet.

The ammo company HSM has really been expanding over the past several years and now has a new line of hunting ammo called the Tipping Point. Now I am not sure why they are calling it Tipping Point as it doesn’t tip over and tip in any form. They use the fine Sierra Gamechanger bullets in calibers from 243 to 300 Winchester magnum. This company has been around for 50 years so we can expect some fine ammo from them.

When Beretta lost the military handgun contract, I was told they had a gazillion model 92 pistols on hand to ship to the military, so now they are looking at new models to use the existing frames, slides, barrels and such. One is the special limited edition for folks from Tennessee called the 92G Brigadier Volunteer. Another is the 2 toned 92G Elite LTT which is a heavily modified model 93 with lots of special features. The Beretta 92 was always a fine 9mm and with these variations and probably more to come, it will be around for quite a few more years.

Hodgdon has 2 new reloading manuals out. There is the little basic manual which is a free one from Hodgdon or from your local gun shop or we have plenty that we can send you for the shipping cost. They also have their new big yearly manual with all the new loads, including those for the 6.5 PRC and the 224 Valkyrie. Hodgdon is now the company that distributes their own powders, plus Winchester powders, and IMR powders. It has data on just about any cartridge you might load for.

Taurus can always be depended upon to come out with new and very well made handguns. I rank them right up there with Ruger for releasing new products that work. Their new G2C 9mm is the hottest selling little semi auto that we have had at our gun shop for a good long while. A great feeling and functioning 9mm and sells for well under $250. Now Taurus has come out with the new 692 Tracker that is a seven shot multi caliber revolver that you can change the caliber simply by changing the cylinder. It comes in a 3” for home defense and a 6.5” barrel model for hunting.

Mossberg’s fine new “firearm” the Shokwave now has a new addition to the lineup. It is the Night Stick. Both are based on the 590 frame in 12 gauge. Both have a 14” barrel and pistol grip which makes them perfect as a home defense “firearm” or truck gun. Mossberg gets away with the short barrel not being listed by the Feds as an SBS (Short Barreled Shotgun) as they build it and register it as a Firearm, not a shotgun, even though it shoots a 12 gauge shotshell. The Shokwave is also available in 20 gauge and 410 gauge. The new addition is the Night Stick, the same as the Shokwave except it has a wood pistol grip and wood forend. It looks almost retro, which is probably what they wanted it to look like. Mossberg has made and sold more shotguns than any other maker and you can always depend upon a shotgun or Firearm made by Mossberg. And for those that have one of the Shokwave or Night Sticks from Mossberg, DeSantis now has an over the shoulder “shotgun” pouch for those that carry for whatever reason. Like the old pouches for sawed off shotguns of years ago this one is a modified shotgun scabbard. It is called the Kurz Shotgun case. It is made from top grade cowhide and has a special ammo holder on it for 5 extra rounds.

For the last several years hunters have been wishing and hoping for a slick working lever action (can you say Winchester model 94)? Marlin has a great 30-30 in their model 336 and is hell for strong but the old Winchester 94 has the reputation for being lightweight, super slick and a great woods gun. When Winchester got back in business after being gone for 5 or 6 years we all hoped they would put out their slick Model 94s again. But unfortunately the folks in charge at Winchester put it off, again. First they decide to put out some commemoratives (useful as mammary glands on a chicken) and a few high priced Model 92s, then some high priced 125th anniversary models, then some other equally high priced Model 94s in special series. Now they are all excited about putting out a new 1886 Short Rifle in 45-90 (same chicken). Maybe one day in my lifetime I will see a new slick hunting grade model 94 in 30-30 without mortgaging the house. Maybe.

Speaking of Marlin, they now are releasing their new 1895 in 444. This caliber has been gone for several years. It is good to see it back again and should be another fine rifle from Marlin. This should be very popular in those states that require a straight walled cartridge for rifle hunting.

CCI ammunition, always a brand you could depend upon for fine ammo and at a decent price, has added the new VNT bullet in 22 Magnum. It is a 30 grain Speer bullet with a thin jacket and polymer tip. It is rated at 2200 fps and should be another good one for CCI. Also from the same parent company is the new Speer Personal Protection Gold Dot handgun ammo. This is a special loading of the Gold Dot bullet and comes in most handgun calibers from 25 auto to 45 auto.

Ruger has added an extended magazine to their LCP 2. It now is handier for those with a larger hand. It is chambered in 380 with a 7 round magazine.

Thompson Center was for years known for some of the finest black powder rifles around. With the sell out to S&W, these were for the most part dropped by the wayside. Now they are bringing back a new black powder rifle in 50 caliber. It is the Impact SB. It has all the needed features including fiber optic sights, hand removable breech plug, unbreakable Power Rod, and comes in a variety of camo patterns. It has a 1” buttpad that can be removed for smaller shooters. The good point is they start at $265.

With Cops being under the crosshairs all across the country FN has a new special handgun strictly for law enforcement. It is their FN 509 MRD. It comes in 9mm. It is a striker fired DAO set up for any of 10 different red dot optics. It has a 10, 17 or 24 round magazine. Right now it is for law enforcement only but maybe down the road….

Also for Law Enforcement is a new 147 grain 9mm round from Winchester called the Ranger One. It has a special fluid insert in the nose cavity with a bonded design bullet. This is supposed to be the ultimate man stopping round.

A very unusual law enforcement rifle is from Maxim Defense. The whole gun is only 18” long, chambered in 7.62 (308) with a 5.5 inch barrel, yep 5½”. It has a special noise dampening feature to keep it from blowing your eardrums out. It is a full auto weapon so class 3. The main requirement of the gun was that is shoot 8” groups at 300 yards. It was designed for law enforcement and to be carried easily in a squad car or in the saddle bags on a motorcycle. It is about time the cops got some better weapons.

That is going to do it for this issue. Lots of new products to tell you about but I will do so next time. In the meantime, as the weather eases up, get out and do some varmint hunting or target shooting and take a lady or youngster with you. They are our future.

Until next time, God bless.