Gary's Gun Notes #39

Hunting seasons have finally arrived across the country and most gun shops are really busy about now. Lots of new products that I told you about a while back are still not available yet but some are dribbling out into the shops here and there. More new things are coming soon too.

One new item that I want to mention to you first is a new cartridge and a new revolver from Freedom Arms. They are working on a new cartridge called the 500 Wyoming Express. This is a 50 caliber revolver cartridge that will, at first at least, only be available in their fine revolvers. The cartridge is unusual, not in the caliber itself, which is .500 because it is replacing the 50 AE in their line up. Now you would think that if they are coming out with a new 50 caliber cartridge, it would interchange with the 500 S&W and be shootable in the big S&W revolver. But that is not the case. 

This new cartridge is a rimless cartridge but has a large belt on it. As far as I can remember this is the first belted cartridge intended for a revolver. Now a belt is just what you think it is. Just like the 300 Winchester magnum is a belted cartridge, so is the 500 Wyoming Express. the belt is what holds it in the cylinder and keeps it from falling all the way thru. The Freedom Arms cylinders, due to a large ratchet, do not have the room for 500 Linebaugh rims and this is the reason why they have never come out with the 500 in their revolvers. The 475 Linebaugh just barely works in there. So with a rimless cartridge and using the belt as a rim and headspacing off the belt, now they can offer a 500 caliber revolver with their own cartridge.

The brass, bullets and dies will be offered first and from what I was told, loaded ammo will be offered later.

I got to see one of the Stevens rifles recently and was mildly impressed. Stevens was a big name back at the turn of the century until Savage bought them out. Then they were slowly phased out and absorbed into the Savage line. Now they are back and while still owned by Savage, the Stevens line up of rifles will be a separate entity. The model 200 rifle is a basic rifle with no frills. It has a grey nylon stock that has a good feel to it. The bolt works nice and smooth and the trigger pull is more than adequate. the gun reminds me of the Remington 788 of years ago except in a synthetic stock. The gun is slated to retail for $300 or so and at that should be a good solid value.

Taurus has a couple of new miniature revolvers out. Not really miniature but scaled down in size. They are called the Instant Back Up and are a scaled down version of the extremely popular model 85 snubbie 38 special. the new Instant Back Up will be released in 2 unusual calibers, the 9mm and 17 HMR. 

Those of you that like double shotguns will like this. Kimber is releasing a new double barreled shotgun in 20 gauge. It is called the Valier and is a lightweight classic English looking double. It will probably have the classic English price tag also.

Weatherby has the ladies and youngsters in mind this fall with an unusual rifle called the Vanguard Compact. The initial rifle comes with the normal short stock and short barrel, but it also comes with a second stock that can be changed over in a couple of minutes for use by a larger person or as the youngster grows. A unique idea from a company that hasn't had a lot of good ideas since Roy Weatherby died a few years ago.

Speaking of Weatherby Vanguards, they have a new one called the Vanguard Sub MOA. This rifle is guaranteed to give you LESS than a minute of angle group. That means it will shoot UNDER an inch at 100, guaranteed. It comes in several calibers up to 338 Winchester Magnum and in blue or stainless.

Bushnell, the scope and binoc company of forever, has bought out Uncle Mikes and Michaels of Oregon, which includes Hoppes, Butler Creek, Stoney point, and a couple of other smaller companies. Bushnell will be changing their name to Bushnell Outdoor Products.

Well, we are now officially down to less than 6 months from our next African hunt. This hunt will be unusual in that it will consist of 2 groups of hunters, 13 hunters in all, going over in two separate groups. The first group will be leaving March 20th if I remember right, and the hunt will start the 22nd of march . This group will be hunting in absolute virgin wilderness in an area called Bavianne down in the eastern cape area. This area will be something new for us that have gone before, in that it will be in a mountainous area that is loaded with game that has the tenacity of mountain goats. This hunt will probably separate the men from the boys. And even if it is a hard hunt the game will make it worthwhile. Many of the species that we will get to hunt are some that I have never even seen, and this will be my 10th safari in Africa. This hunt should be a great hunt, and is sure to produce a lot of record book critters.

The second group will be leaving the U.S. the 30th of March and we will meet them in Rooiport, the area on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. This area has produced some monsters for us over the last couple of years. In my 3 trips to Rooiport I have yet to come back with less than 5 record book animals and most were in the top 10 in the world. Last year was no exception as out of 36 animals my guys took all but one went record book, and that was in the same area and hunting out of the same camp. The area is a quarter million acres and loaded with game. 

To say I am looking forward to this hunt would be an understatement. I will officially start booking our 2007 hunt right after the first of the year. I have 3 or 4 fellows that want to go and have called to put their name on the list but it is a bit too early. I don't even know what area I will book the 2007 hunt in yet. But by the end of the year I will know for sure. If you would like to go on one of our African hunts with us, be thinking about it. I'll keep you posted here and on my forum.



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