With the holidays finally behind us we can now settle down to getting our normal orders out on schedule. I have 3 shops where we build the guns plus our gun shop which Colleen runs. I have 2 machine shops with 8 people working for me and one other shop where I do the Black Chromex finish. You would think we could catch up but that is not case. To totally catch up would mean rushing out the orders and I just won't do that. We are catching up a slight bit though and hopefully within 6 weeks or so we will be down to 6 to 7 month delivery time rather than 9 to 10 months that it has been since early fall.
This next month will see a lot of new items for all of us, most of which will be released at the SHOT SHOW the second week of February. The new military round will surely cause a stir. The 6.8X43 is an excellent round. I am finding it to be devastating on feral hog type critters, almost tearing them in half. As soon as it is legal for me to release it I will have an encore barrel in that caliber. And no I will not be chambering it in a revolver. Get real.
The WSM cartridges are doing extremely well after a rugged start. We have done a fairly long and involved test with the WSM cartridges in the encore barrels and with the findings of that test, we will no longer chamber them in the encore. We found minor stretching of the frame in as little as 100 rounds. We don't have any problems at all with the 300 win mag and will continue chambering that. It does surprisingly well in the encore pistol.
When the encore first came out we chambered it in several rounds that I wouldn't even consider today. There are 460 and 378 Weatherby barrels out there and even one or two 510 Wells. I don't think they are dangerous if loaded to the level a handgun should be loaded to but I think damage (in the form of stretching) to the frame will occur fairly quickly. And then your wrist and elbow right after that.
We have a couple of new revolvers out that I should mention. One is already out and is a limited edition. It is our 25th anniversary special. It comes chambered in your choice of 454, 475 Linebaugh, 510 GNR or 500 Linebaugh. There will be only 5 made other than the normal prototype. Each gun will feature an octagonal barrel in the customers choice of length, with our Black Chromex finish, highlighted by high polished stainless steel small parts like pins, screws, hammer and trigger. We have our own Gunfighter Grip and real elephant ivory grips perfectly fitted to the gun. I had an old elephant tusk hanging on the wall that we cut up for the grips. We are numbering the 5 guns, "One of 5", Two of 5", etc. As I type this #1 and #5 are sold. I have had several people call to ask if we will build another 10 guns without the real ivory and without the numbering. Maybe. I'll have to think about that.
The second new gun that we just released to gun writer Gary Paul Johnston, is our lawman Classic. This one is a bit different than most of our other cowboy guns. It is in 45 long colt, based on a Vaquero frame. It features an unfluted cylinder, 4 5/8 inch barrel, contrasting Black Chromex and stainless steel two toned finish, and an unusual gripframe. I had had the urge to build a special gripframe for a good while now that incorporates several good features. Those of you that like the Bisley style gripframe, especially the old original Colt Bisley, but like the smaller shorter gripframe like would be found on the first generation Colt should like this one. It is a half breed gripframe, completely different from any other on the market. It is our Lawman gripframe. It fits a smaller or medium hand but has the straight down style grip giving it almost a 90 degree angle, perfectly suited to the human hand. For cowboy style shooting where offhand shooting is quite often the way to go this one is perfect. It is just like pointing your finger. What the Gunfighter Grip did for the hunting handgun the Lawman gripframe should do for the cowboy shooter. It also features a hammer similar to the old Colt deep cut hammer. I have black micarta grips on the prototype that Gary Paul Johnston has but other options will also be available. I will have color pictures of it on the site as soon as I can. The new Lawman Classic will be built on our gun or on the customers furnished Vaquero. I am looking at either $1195 or $1295 for the price with us furnishing the base gun.
I am also looking into buying a large batch of Mongolian stag. This is legal to bring in the states but is expensive. If the deal works out and I can get them in the states the really nice stag should be available by early summer. I tried some of the American elk stag grips and was very disappointed. It shrank constantly and was very soft.
I have had several people call or e-mail me in the last week about the status of the Phillips and Rodgers Medusa. I have been working with Roger of P&R for a couple of months now and will probably pick up the Medusa line. Due to legal considerations the name of the gun will change and some of the lines will be softened and sleeked up. If all goes well. we can look for that one by next summer. We will be buying the tooling from Roger and building the guns ourselves at my shops. For those of you that are not familiar with the Medusa, it is the revolver that will shoot over 30 different cartridges in one cylinder. It was intended for survival situations where just about any ammo in the 38/9mm range would fit in it and fire. The cylinder on our 45 Classic which fires 45 ACP, 45 long colt and 45 Schofield was a spin off of the original Medusa design.
We are down now to roughly 5 months from our next African hunt and pretty much have a full hunt. We have 10 hunters booked and 2 openings left. This is an exceptional hunt at a very reasonable price, ($5000 to $6000 for a weeks hunt including several animals). If you are interested in one of the 2 slots left call me as soon as you can at 928-527-4100. We are just now booking our flights so time is running out.
Another hunt that is coming together is the grizzly hunt mentioned in Gun Notes #20 last month. This is the state sanctioned grizzly hunt in Alaska. Instead of the normal $18,000 this hunt is $2500. Spaces are limited so call George Faerber now if you are interested. I am typing this at home on a Sunday night and don't have his phone number at hand but it can be found in last months Gun Notes. Larry Kovach, Dave Manson and I will be going on that one in August. It will give us a chance to field test the 510 GNR on dangerous game.
For those of you that prefer the semi autos, my son Kase is working on 2 new series utilizing the 1911 frame. One is called Condition One and the other is The Fifth Ace. Both are intended for the serious 1911 shooter but will be reasonably priced. Both will be developed for concealed carry or self defense. Although both are extremely accurate in my shooting tests, neither is intended for target use.
A moment ago I mentioned Larry Kovach, hunting partner and owner of Cartridge Performance Engineering Inc. (And can be found at www.cartridgeperformance.com .) Anyway, Larry is working on some new data for our oldest 41 wildcat, the 41 GNR. For over 20 years now we have limited the 41 GNR to the 170 grain Sierra bullet, taking game the size of caribou and elk with it with no problems, most with one shot. Larry has taken the 41 GNR a step further. He is now loading it with the 250 grain LBT bullet from Kelly Brost at Cast Performance Bullets ( www.castperformance.com ) . This new load is working out to be only a slight bit under the speed of the 170 grain jacketed and is showing a lot more penetration on larger animals. I plan to take a revolver or encore barrel in 41 GNR with the heavy bullet loads on this next African hunt and try it out there.
While I am on the subject of Larry Kovach, in case you didn't know, his new business is manufacturing ammo for our custom guns and barrels. So far he has 41 GNR, 410 GNR, 510 GNR and several others coming. By mid summer we will see probably 3 times that many of our custom cartridges available to the non reloader. Another friend, Brian Doher is also getting set up to load our cartridges among others. He is based out of Phoenix. Within 3 months if all goes well, the 41 GNR, 410 GNR, 510 GNR, 475 GNR, 338 GNR, 378 GNR, 356 GNR, and 300 GNR will be available to the non reloader. Look for the 7mm GNR, 30 GNR and 350 GNR to roll in shortly after that.
I will be at the SHOT SHOW Saturday and Sunday. If you are there look me up and say hi. I will be rotating back and forth between the Krause booth (Gun List), the Harris Publications, (Combat Handguns and Guns of the Old West) , American Handgunner and Guns Magazine booth, Dave Mansons booth and Hornadys booth. See you there.