GARY'S GUN NOTES
Last month this time I thought I had seen and heard pretty much everything concerning all these never ending shortages and out of stock and back orders and all the rest. But this past month has gone even further. I will try to keep from all the negative stuff this month but it is hard as that seems to be all there is. I have yet to see anything positive about all this mess. So here are some new items that MAY be available in the next couple of months before our big game hunting seasons begin.
Last fall Leupold said they would not deliver any new product until after the first of the year. Obvious reasons. Now I am seeing a few scopes and such peeking out and a few mentions that certain scopes are finally “back in stock”. Thru the years my favorite scopes have been Leupold and Burris. Handgun hunters put Burris scopes on the map when Burris put out a myriad of handgun scopes from 1X to 2X to 3X and up to 10X and 3 really good variables. These scopes were perfect for handgun hunters as all were long eye relief and seemed to fit every shooter’s eyes. Personally on my revolvers I like the 3X. A bit more power than the 2X but better eye relief than the 4X. My favorite longer range Burris scopes have been the 7X and the 2X7 scopes. I have several on my TC barrels.
But all that came to a screeching halt in the last year or 3 when Burris dropped almost all their long eye relief handgun scopes and replaced them with a couple of extended eye relief variables. The scopes are fine scopes but not what a handgunner needs. They are good for sitting at a bench and shooting over a sandbag but not worth diddly in the field. So after the handgun hunters put Burris on the map, they threw us under the bus. I personally will never buy another Burris handgun scope.
My son Kase has always liked the Leupold handgun scopes better than Burris. Now I am finding I agree with him. My serious hunting handguns now wear Leupold scopes. Several with the 2X and 4X. My really serious longer range handguns like my Africa guns all wear the Leupold 2½ X 8 scopes. In fact earlier this month my 3 custom handguns for African hunting all wore the Leupold scopes. They were 2 Encores, in 450 GNR and 416 GNR and one G-2 in 310 GNR. Unfortunately all 3 of these guns along with all my gear, extra scopes, 2 new cameras, 2 pair of binocs, my hunting clothes, boots and other personal gear were all stolen somewhere between Dallas and the top part of Saudi Arabia. So I had to borrow guns, clothes, ammo, a hat and everything from some of the other guys to hunt in. I hunted for 10 days in my house shoes as I had no boots. Ray Shepard’s wife Danielle was there as a hunter and did very well too, and I could have borrowed a pair of 6” spike heels from her but that might have started some unfound rumors. So I stayed with my house shoes. Try hunting in 50 foot high sand dunes in your house shoes. The area we hunted was smack dab in the Kalahari Desert and we were walking in that heavy red sand all day. I can’t complain though as thanks to my friend and PH for 30 years, John Abraham, I got onto a huge Cape Buffalo that I shot with a borrowed Freedom Arms 454 Casull that we had customized to make it legal for Africa use. The gun belonged to Michael Mendes and worked perfectly for me. A few days later we ventured deeper into the Kalahari Desert and I was lucky enough to take one of the very unusual Golden Wildebeest with a custom TC chambered in 338 GNR that I borrowed from Erik Stenberg. So even though I didn’t get my 2 main animals with my own guns, I did get them with guns I had customized.
Back to the scopes. In that mess I lost about $25,000 in guns and gear and that included 3 new Leupold scopes and when I replace my guns I will replace those Leupold scopes too. The 2½ X 8 on the 310 GNR and straight 4X scopes on the 416 GNR and 450 GNR.
Speaking of scopes some affordable night vision scopes and thermal scopes are finally hitting the market. The company ATN which is American Technology Network, has several scopes available in thermal and in night vision. The day/night scopes start at less than $700 and the thermal scopes start at less than $1200. Now I know these still sound expensive and they are but if you need night vision or thermal then they are now available at about 1/10th of what they were a couple of years ago. I remember looking at a thermal scope with intentions of buying one. But the starting price was a bit under $30,000 which was a bit rich for my blood. So if you need a good night vision or thermal scope, check out the ATN scopes. I was impressed.
We got another of the Ruger 57 pistols in today and what a neat pistol it is. We have had several and they always go out the door before I get a chance to really try one out. If you haven’t had a chance to check one of the Ruger 57s out check one out when you get a chance. And by the way it is not called the 57. It is the Five Seven. At least that is what one of the reps told me. By the way the 5.7X28 that the 57 shoots was actually recognized as a NATO round recently. I am not sure what branch of what military uses it but it is now officially the 5.7X28Nato. This means that no matter what brand of 5.7 ammo a military unit uses all the 5.7 ammo will be the same and will work in all 5.7 pistols.
The new Smith & Wesson Shield EZ is doing very well and selling as quickly as we can get them in. It comes in 380 and in 9mm. The new Shield EZ is named that because the slide is very easy to pull back and the ladies love that. Pulling the slide back takes about half that of a normal S&W Shield and that is a great point for ladies and small statured men. Now if we could just get a steady supply of 380 and 9mm ammo for these guns it would surely help.
By the way the S&W Shield EZ is not the first easy racking slide on the market. The first one that I know of is the Ruger Lite Rack LCP 2. This little pistol is chambered in 22 LR and has a smooth and easy slide racking feature. The only thing holding it back from being a best seller is the caliber. Various shooting ranges are using this little pistol as training pistols for those that have never handled guns before.
Ruger has another small frame 9mm just released. It is the Max 9. The new pistol has a 13 round mag and is only 6” long and less than 1” wide so it is perfect for concealed carry.
Taurus has a new small pistol out that will also be perfect for concealed carry. It is the GX4 and if it is even half as dependable as their G2C of a couple of years ago it will be a sure winner. The G2C is still one of our best sellers (when we can get them). More on the new GX4 when I can try one out.
By now everyone knows that CZ has officially bought Colt. The final paperwork went thru this week. No word yet on what guns CZ will be making under the Colt banner but if the new Colt guns are anything like the other guns CZ puts out, such as the fine 1911s from Dan Wesson, which is also owned by CZ, then the new Colts will be back to where they were decades ago. There are lot of guesses as to which of the older Colt guns CZ will be bringing back. They might not decide to do that at all and just bring out a couple of new series. Whichever way they decide I am sure if it has the CZ name on it, it will be good.
One would think that after the fiasco of my recent Cape Buffalo hunt I would be burned out on Africa, but that is not so. I have a tentative lion hunt scheduled for this late summer or early fall, again in South Africa. If all goes well I will use my 378 GNR in the G-2 platform for the lion. More on this later. I have some small health issues that hopefully won’t stand in the way. I have always wanted an African lion with a single shot handgun, and I am not getting any younger, so now is the time. But we shall see.
That is going to do it for this month. If you get a chance to get out and do some shooting, remember you might not be able to replace that ammo, so go easy, but if you do go out, take a lady or youngster with you. They are our future.