This has been the most “amazing” month I can remember in almost 35 years in the gun business. Four years ago when Obama was elected the market went crazy, but it began to ease back to normal within 4 or 5 weeks. This is going on 3 months and it gets crazier each week. It seems every time Obama opens his mouth the people react even more. Normally I run our two machine shops and let Colleen and her help run the gun shop next door. But this past month has seen me over there behind the counter helping out more than I am in the machine shops. It is not unusual for there to be 10 to 15 people waiting for me to get there and open up in the mornings, and many of them have driven 3 hours up from Phoenix after hearing that we still have ammo, powder, primers and a good supply of magazines of all shapes and sizes. The Phoenix gun shops, including Cabelas and the other big box stores have empty shelves.
This year the panic buying has crossed over into whatever guns are available. I have talked to several older couples that don't own guns but they say Obama is not going to tell them they can't.  Most of the older crowd don't feel comfortable with AR-15s or any of the other “assault rifles” so they, for the most part, buy pump shotguns.  Many are buying small home defense revolvers, and every semi auto will find a home almost immediately. And all this is despite the fact that the prices have gone thru the roof. All gun shops have to buy thru distributors and they put the desirable guns on an allocation basis and that means the prices are much higher than normal. Now it is normal for prices to go up the first of the year but most ammo is almost double what it was this time last year. Finding a brick of 22 LR is pretty much impossible. Even the small boxes of 50 are scarce. We were lucky and saw this coming to some extent and stocked up. Our back rooms have been stacked with primers, ammo and magazines. Unfortunately powder is regulated at no more than 100 lbs here in the city so we couldn't stock up on powder but we still have many thousands of primers, quite a few magazines and lots of ammo. But, once that is gone, we will not be able to restock, at least not for a good while. The ammo manufacturers are backlogged for many months and expecting to get anything in any quantity is whistling up a duck's ass.
Where is all this heading? I really wish I knew. As the supplies of ammo, primers, powder and magazines gets lower and lower the prices are going to go thru the roof. Already I have seen cheap steel cased 223 going for $1 a round and higher on gunbroker. Magazines are going for upwards of $100 each, magazines that sold for $19.95 2 months ago. Every day I have several calls from as far away as eastern New Mexico asking if we have any AR-15s at all in stock. A friend had 20 Olympic Arms AR-15s that normally sell for $899 each. He took them to the Phoenix gun show and sold them for $2600 each and all 20 went in two hours. If Kase had 20 of his custom AR-15 that was on the in stock list we could have sold everyone of them.
The SHOT SHOW was even crazier. Good friend Dave Manson said it was like $1 whiskey night at the local bar. There were a lot of neat items displayed but whether they will ever be produced is anyone's guess. Makers of AR-15s, magazines, AR accessories and so on were swamped with orders, but will they be able to make them and sell them? That is a good question. When the original Crime Bill was introduced and passed in ‘94 anyone that had parts for these guns or magazine bodies were allowed to finish them and sell what they had. Whether or not this is on the agenda this time is anyone's guess.  Some of the issues supposedly in the new Crime Bill are absurd to say the least. In the last “assault rifle bill” they said we couldn't have pistol grips on our AR-15s. Lord knows those pistol grips have killed a lot of people. They said we had to have a thumbhole stock. That is much safer. Now in Feinstein's new bill, she thinks thumbhole stocks should be outlawed. I guess she found out the lethality of thumb hole stocks was a real danger to us all. Another thing she would like is to ban more than 500 rounds of ammunition in your home. I assume she has never seen a brick of 22 ammo. She says anyone with more than 500 rounds must register their home as an armory with the local police and I assume buy a lot of special licenses and permits.
The rifles, shotguns and handguns we have these days are simply amazing in the numbers and in the quality. A gun with mediocre quality doesn't last long these days. At last count there were over 30 companies making AR-15s, almost 2 dozen making home defense type shotguns and ( are you ready for this) almost 3 dozen companies making 1911s. Nah you say? Here are some of them, Colt, Dan Wesson, Kimber, Ed Brown, Para Ordnance, Remington, DL Sports, Rock Island, Ruger, Reeder Custom, Taurus, Springfield Armory, Norinco, Nowlin, Pistol Dynamics, Olympic Arms, Sig, Cabot, Smith & Wesson, Wilson, Auto Ordnance, Cimarron, Chiappa, Doublestar, Les Baer, CZ, Gemini Custom, Guncrafter, Infinity, Llama, Cylinder & Slide,  Lone Star, Magnum Research, Caspian, Armscor, ATI, and several more. And some of these have 5 or 6 models of 1911s. So if you figured in each model of 1911 these companies make you would have somewhere around 6 to 7 dozen. John browning would be proud. Although he wasn't totally pleased with the 1911 and designed the P-35 Browning Hi Power as an improvement over the 1911.
Are the gun control bills going to pass. I really don't think there is much of a chance of them passing as is. The last time our politicians passed the ‘94 Crime Bill, many of them found themselves out of a job shortly after that. They know that is what will happen again if they back this bloated gun control bill from Feinstein. I think we may very see some bill pass but I don't think the one Feinstein, Obama and Biden want to pass will do so.
Ignoring for now the gun control panic, here are some of the new items supposedly coming our way this year. I have deleted all mention of new AR-15s as there are just too many and to be honest, most are just mil spec AR-15s, no different from the other standard issue rifles. Weatherby has announced a new line of rifles they call the X series. These will be totally revamped in design and looks, especially in looks. Instead of rolling out a new camo design (Lord knows we have seen every imaginable leaf, twig, and limb design known to man and some not known to man). They have, instead, come up with a completely new look. It is camo in that it isn't one solid color. But the similarity stops there. They have all kinds of swirls and weavings on the stocks and what they call “something new to interest those burnt out on the same old camo they have seen on everything from guns to vehicles”. They are aiming this new look at the 18 to 35 year old. One pattern looks to me like a bunch of warthog skulls woven into swirls. They have also included a few series of their semi auto shotguns into the new X series too. It will be interesting to see how this goes over.
Magnum Research has somewhat revamped their Desert Eagle with a built in muzzle brake and 6” barrel. It is currently available in 50 AE with other calibers to come later. Springfield Armory has it's new XDs slim 45 ACP out and should be in stores soon if not already there. Only 1” wide it should be popular to concealed carry folks. Mossberg has their new MVP (Mossberg Varmint Predator) varmint rifle out. It comes in 223 and 204 with 308 in the wings. It uses factory 223 AR-15 magazines. CZ has somewhat reworked their great 22 rimfire bolt action rifle, the Model 455 and plans to drop the model 452 soon. I have 4 of the CZ 22 rifles, in 22 magnum and 22 LR and they are great rifles. If you want one top of the line rimfire rifle without breaking the bank, check out the CZ 452 or 455. Remington has a new inexpensive rifle out called the Model 783. Listed as “as good as the model 770 if not better” scares me a bit. The Model 710 was horrible, and the 770 wasn't much better at all. I do hope the 783 is an improvement over the other two and this one won't be strike 3 for Remington. The Savage Axis, that I have mentioned on here several times, continues to win award after award. They got rifle of the year twice in one of the categories. We can't keep them in stock. Very fine rifles and retail with the rifle  and a new scope for well under $400. Winchester is bringing back the model 1873 in 2013. This one will be first released in 357 Magnum with hopefully more calibers soon. They are also bringing out another 1894 (about time). This one will be the 20” carbine version and available in 30-30 and 38-55. We have had several of the new Winchester Super X Marine Defender shotguns in 12 gauge recently. They come with a brushed chrome barrel and magazine tube. Nice guns and reasonably priced.  Ruger's Scout rifle is coming out in stainless in 308 and they have a new Hawkeye African with their own muzzle brake.  They also have a new Magnum Hunter in the Model 77 series and their new 77/357, the 357 Magnum in the Model 77 rifle. The Ruger #1 will be made in 222 this year as they bring back an oldie but goodie. The 10-22 tactical will be made with black nylon stock and a flash hider like that on the Scout rifle. Their new Guide Gun is a stainless bolt action rifle in a laminated stock with their own muzzle brake.
In the handgun line up there are a lot of new offerings. CZ is wanting to take a larger percentage of the American market with several new semi autos scheduled for release this year in 45 ACP and 9mm. FN has redesigned their FNH pistol and it is now the FNX. It looks a lot nicer than the original plain jane model FNH and should get it's share of sales. Legacy  Sports should get an award for the most unusual camo pattern on any handgun. I think they call the pattern Buzzard Puke. Nuff said on that. Para ordnance was bought out last year by the Freedom Group and have several new guns slated for release this year. Remington has announced 4 new 1911 models to add to their handgun line up this year, most in concealed carry models. Ruger has, as usual, a lot of new handguns either just released or ready to release. These include the Single 9, the 9 shot version of the Single Six chambered in 22 magnum.  They have a Commander style 1911 coming out, as well as the new SR45 (45 version of the very popular SR9), as well as the SR 22 in a two toned version. Their LCR revolver is being made now in 4 calibers, 22 LR, 22 Magnum, 38 Special and 357 Magnum. The LCP will be available in 380 auto.
Smith & Wesson had redesigned their popular 1911 with many new features such as large cut outs in the slide and the round butt. The ever popular Model 41 in 22 LR is now available with an optics ready model with a 5 1/2” barrel and built in picatinny rail top feature.  Walther is bring back the 22 caliber PPK/S along with several completely new semi autos.
There are quite a few new ammunition offerings scheduled for 2013 but with so many of the ammo companies being so far back logged these new rounds may not be available until much later this year. Winchester has their new 17 Winchester Super mag round coming out. It is advertised as 3000 FPS, the fastest rimfire in the world, with 2 1/2 times the down range energy of the 17 HMR and much flatter trajectory. Out here where the wind blows during our varmint season the 17s are as useful as tits on a chicken. Not sure what use yet another 17 caliber has in the overall scheme of things. We'll see.
With so many people going with suppressors these days as more and more states legalize hunting with suppressed weapons, it was inevitable that someone would come out with ammo especially for suppressed weapons. Rumor has it the first caliber would be 9mm (which has no use in the hunting field) but maybe other calibers will be forthcoming.
Now this column wouldn't be complete without something about Zombies. The folks that make the fine Coonan 357 Magnum semi auto pistol, Coonan Inc., have come out with their new Triple Threat Apocalyptic Kit, which is eight 357 magnum rounds jacketed in 99% pure silver. The ammo comes in a unique wooden stake. Don't leave home without it.
There are a lot more items slated for this year and I will go over some more of them next month. And by the way, Colorado has a tentative proposal scheduled for debate. They say all dogs must wear a vest or flotation device when around any water. Maybe they don't know dogs can swim?
Our next HHC is coming up in less than 6 weeks and I am really looking forward to it. We hope to have some new guns to preview at the hunt, as we normally do and with all the hectic panic buying and frustration in trying to restock up on ammo, guns etc, I am ready for a break. The hunt, our 77th handgun hunt, will again be at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee March 7th thru the 10th. We arrive on Thursday afternoon, the 7th, hunt that afternoon if you like, hunt all day Friday and Saturday and Sunday morning if you haven't tagged out and leave on Sunday afternoon. Normally we have anywhere from 30 to 50 hunters show up. The 3 lodges hold 56 hunters. We have about 20 people signed up so far and you are invited to join us. The lodge has right at 15,000 acres and is loaded with critters of all types, from hogs to Elk to Bison, to Yak and a lot more. The prices are great, about one third of what the other lodges charge and there are no hidden charges. If you are interested call Amelia or Sherry at 931-839-2091 and put down your deposit and join us. This is an excellent hunt and good for hunters of all types and ages. This is slated as our Big Boar/Big Bore hunt. We have this hunt every few years and although it is called the Big Bore hunt you can use whatever caliber you feel comfortable with. This gives the guys (and ladies) a chance to dig out that large caliber rifle or handgun and use it on the hunt. Alan Wilson, the owner of the lodge, will have lots of specials for us and plenty of game available. I will post the special prices on my forum as soon as I get them from Alan.  As always there will be many many guns on display there for you to look at, handle and shoot if you like, also you can hunt with them if you like. There is always plenty of ammo there too. And as always there will be plenty of prizes and giveaways.  It is a great hunt and it doesn't matter if you are a new person to our little group. We were all new at one time. Grab a buddy and join us . Call and put down your deposit today and join us March 7th thru the 10th.
Until next time, make sure and join the NRA and sign up a friend or two. And stand up for our rights. if you don't, we will surely lose them.
God bless us all,
Gary Reeder