Gary's Gun Notes #43

Because I did a SHOT SHOW Gun Notes a couple of weeks ago this one will be short and mainly some things I didn't cover in the SHOT SHOW edition. Several new things coming in the next month or so that should interest many of you. Thompson Center's new stainless G-2 should be out shortly. Hopefully this will perk up sales of the gun as it hasn't exactly set the hunting world on fire. It is simply hard to beat the encore. The advantages make a list an arm long for the encore over the G-2, which is pretty much a Contender in new clothes. 

Thompson Center has some new calibers out this year in the encore. They are trying the 460 S&W but from what head honcho Ernie French told me, it ain't doing too well. lots of problems so far including the lead core leaving the jacket behind in the barrel, plus accuracy problems. 

TC has a new rifle/carbine forend that is an easy off forend with a coin slotted screw that you turn 90 degrees and it pops off. For a couple of years now they have had a short barreled carbine that they called the Katahdin that is similar to our Beast in that it is a large caliber, short barreled carbine. This year they have it in the 500 S&W and 460 S&W (maybe). It also comes in 45-70. 

With their new Pro Hunter conversions the new TC Encore can be made into just about everything shy of a 78 Volkswagen. This new Pro Hunter is going to make believers out of a lot of people that don't like single shots.

Charter Arms is back with their extremely popular Bulldog and Pug revolvers. new owners and some new products should help them stay in business this time. S&W introduced their new AR-15 which is another of their Military & Police series. The M&P is apparently going to be a whole line up of pistols and rifles, all called the Military & Police. 

A few years back, Surefire set the flashlight industry on it's heels with their super bright compact flashlights . Now others are jumping on the bandwagon including Pelican (the gun case people) Streamlight and about a dozen others. Hopefully this will bring the prices down a bit. $350 is a bit much for a flashlight.

Winchester announcing that they are closing the doors the end of March has all of a sudden made plain jane model 94s worth a lot more money, or at least that's what some people think. I see them on the internet every day for twice what they were 2 months ago. I still think someone will buy they out. There is simply too much potential there. Dump all the WSM and WSSM dead weight and you still have a strong viable company.

S&W is sticking their necks out, it seems with their Clint Smith revolvers. The last one didn't do well at all and they have 2 more models coming out. Do you know who Clint Smith is, and would you buy a revolver simply because it had his name on it? Nuff said.

Do you reload? If you don't you should. If a box of ammo costs you $30, you can reload it for around $8. Plus you can find the load that your gun likes and if the ammo is cheaper you can shoot more. Plus it's enjoyable. What would you say the top 20 selling dies would be for 2005? It surprised me a bit. here are the top 20 selling dies for last year (this would make you think this would also be the top selling guns for the year too).

1. 204 Ruger
2. 30-06
3. 223
4. 308
5. 243
6. 22-250
7. 45 ACP
8. 270
9. 300 Win mag
10. 44 mag/special
11. 300 WSM
12. 357 mag
13. 7mm mag
14. 45 long colt
15. 45-70
16. 25-06
17. 9mm
18. 500 S&W
19.. 30-30
20.40 S&W

For years the 30-06, 45 ACP, 223, 9mm and 308 have been the top 5. It's good to see some new calibers mixed in there this year. I was also surprised to hear that the little hand held Lee reloading kit is still a good seller. I used one for a very short time but after the first time I popped a primer in my face trying to seat a primer with a hammer, I did two things. First I changed to a clean pair of pants and then I threw that damn thing as far as I could and went and bought an RCBS press. But apparently they are still going strong. 

Stag Arms is doing very well with their left handed AR-15 copy called the 15L. Just makes sense to me. There are a lot of lefties out there. 

At the SHOT SHOW I met a fellow that publishes a mighty nice looking magazine for handgun hunters. It is named aptly Handgun Hunter Magazine and is published by Gary Smith. A very slick magazine, on par with the Safari Club magazine as far as quality is concerned. You may well already be familiar with this magazine, but I wasn't. Gary is a mighty nice fellow and his magazine boasts some of the finest handgun hunters around as the article writers, people like Dick Williams, J.Wayne Fears, Larry Weishuhn, and Gary Smith among others. Their web site is and you can subscribe online if you like. I really liked the magazine, even if it did have far too many pictures of a certain gun writer that I have no love for, but that's just me and personal differences. I would buy the magazine without hesitation. 

Our next African hunt is now less than 3 weeks away. This is why I am doing this now as I might now have time to do a March edition. If I don't then I apologize now for being up to my ass in alligators. I am going all out trying to get my 310 GNR, 8mm GNR and the new 280 GNR barrels ready for Africa. I have 3 weekends to do this but friends at Hornady are rushing me out a set of dies for the 280 GNR, and the 310 GNR and 8mm GNR dies are in transit as I type this. So if all goes well, 2 of these 3 will be going to Africa with me. The third caliber is old faithful, my 378 GNR that has been around the world with me several times and never let me down. That barrel has taken more large game animals than should be allowed. If I could only own one caliber it would be my 378 GNR encore. 

This hunt will be a two week affair with 12 hunters total spread over two weeks and over 2 different hunting camps. I have 6 hunters going to the first camp in the Baviaan mountains of South Africa and then 4 of us will be heading north to the Rooiport area to meet the second group of 6 hunters. 6 in the first camp and 10 in the second camp. Four FOGs and 8 FNGs should make this a very interesting hunt. At least one Cape Buffalo will be hunted and several other unusual critters like sable, Grysbok, Vaal Rhebok, Blue Duiker and a lot more are on the menu. Several of these I have never even seen in my previous 10 hunts to Africa.

I have just started taking names for our 2007 hunt in Africa. Famed writer of very fine action books, John Ramsey Miller is slated to go and several others have expressed an interest. If you would like to join us, give me a call or e-mail me for a Madubula Safaris brochure. I'd love to have you join me in 2007.



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