This is normally the slowest time of year in the gun industry. Not necessarily that we are slow or not busy in the shop, it's just the opposite. We are slammed there after a couple of employees left us over the past couple of months for personal reasons. Due to this and being still backed up training some new guys, I was not able to post a June Gun Notes.
The slow part is the firearms industry. Most companies are still trying to get the guns out that they promised at the SHOT SHOW 6 months ago and not doing a really good job of it. Some companies are doing a good job of this and some aren't even close. I hate to tell you here about a new item coming out and then it be a year before we finally see it. Unfortunately that's a way of life in this business.
Charter Arms, who was Charter Arms, then Charco, then Charter Arms then Charter Co, then Charter Arms...well you get my drift, anyway they are putting out some nice little revolvers again. Lightweight and well made and competively priced, I think they will do well this time. They are bringing back the Bulldog in 44 special and the old Undercover in 38 special and they look very nice.
Thompson Center's new Icon rifle looks very sleek. I haven't fired one yet but it looks good. It reminds me of the Steyr model S rifle of years ago.
Speaking of Steyr, they have a new owner and plan to really get into the hunting rifle business here in the states. They had their wrists slapped recently as some of their assault rifles ended up in the hands of the bad guys in Iraq and Iran. The new owner will supposedly push the hunting rifle line up and try to forget the assault rifle snafu.
Assault pistols are really a booming market these days with a resurgence of the old Cobray/MAC-10/Ingram type pistols. mainly in 9mm and 45 ACP. There seems to be a new model introduced just about every week or so. The newest that I have seen is the TP-9 pistol by a company named Brugger & Thomet. Supposedly a Swiss designed "Tactical Pistol" , this one comes with all the required gadget holders that all "tactical gear" is expected to have these days.
Speaking of accessories, I had a small part of my ass chewed off today by a highly pissed off 455 GNR revolver shooter. We finished and shipped his gun to him about a month ago. He wanted us to drill and tap it for a scope. Well, instead of a scope on it, he installed a red dot of some brand that I had never heard of. On about the 10th shot the thing came apart, with lens and bases and pieces of plastic going in every direction.
His comment was that I should have told him that the 455 GNR was too powerful for a red dot sight. We had a few words back and forth and I guess when he told me the thing just exploded and pieces went flying everywhere, and I snickered a bit (actually a hearty laugh) that was the last straw. He slammed down the phone after telling me to do something that would be physically impossible and probably illegal in most states except California.
So let me say this before another of these wonderful pieces of machinery explodes...the 455 GNR is way too powerful for a red dot scope or red dot type optical sight. Howzat? Wow, I feel so much better now that I got that off my chest.
The new Speer reloading manual is out. Number 14 if I remember correctly. I haven't received mine yet but any day now. And speaking of reloading manuals, I am in the process of having extra pages printed for my reloading manual that will include the calibers that I have introduced since the manual came out a couple of years ago. The new cartridges include the 256 GNR, the 257 GNR, the 429 GNR, the 455 GNR, the 586 GNR and the 610 GNR. I am still working on the 586 and 610 and they are the hold up right now. Hopefully I will have these new pages ready to go by the end of the year.
I haven't been able to do a lot of load testing with several of our new cartridges yet as the dies haven't come in from Hornady Custom. I finally received my 429 GNR dies this afternoon late, but haven't received the 256 GNR, or the 586 GNR or the 610 GNR dies. I have afro engineered up some dies for each one but that is nowhere near as good as the real thing.
I took the new 610 GNR Mega Beast rifle with me to the Hot & Nasty hunt to premiere it there. The guys seemed to like it although nobody volunteered to shoot it. The gun is surprisingly mild to shoot. It shoots a 550 grain hard cast flat nose bullet at 1900 fps, which give it a TKO in the low 90s. The 460 Weatherby's TKO is in the low 80s. So the TKO is greater than the 460 but the recoil is much less. I shot 18 rounds in one testing session and had no sore shoulder or red mark the next day. All in all the 610 is one I am very pleased with.
The 610s little sister, the 586 GNR is still in the testing stage. I have been working to get the 610 fully tested and ready to go and now I am going to start working with the 586. This one also uses the 577 Snider brass from Jamison Brass, which is readily available. It has a very slight shoulder to it and is necked down to .585 while the 610 is actually necked up to a straight case holding a .620 diameter bullet. Both calibers are using a 550 grain hard cast bullet and I have experienced no leading at all so far.
I had the professional pics done for the 610 GNR today also and they look great. Hopefully I can get the color pics on the web site the first of the week. The same for the 429 GNR, which is in the Alaskan Hunter series. The Wyoming Hunter series of hunting handguns is doing very well, with the caliber list expanded by one. It is now chambered in our new 256 GNR and the 375 GNR.
The new Wyoming Hunter in 256 GNR had a great showing a few days back on our Hot & Nasty hog hunt down in south Texas. It was truly a hot & nasty hunt but a successful one too. All but one of our hunters got at least one hog with the one that didn't holding out for a big black bristly Russian boar, which he never was able to get in his sights. Sean Harper took a 400 pound hog with one shot with my Wyoming Hunter prototype revolver in 256 GNR. One shot in the head with that little 75 grain hollow point bullet stopped the big hogs clock for good. And the amazing thing was that the bullet exited that other side of his head leaving a one inch hole. This new cartridge is showing a lot of promise in a revolver.
I also used a prototype revolver in the new 429 GNR and that new cartridge easily downed a 300 pound hog with one shot. I have never been a user of the XTP bullets but I figured this new cartridge would give me a chance to try one. The cartridge, our 429 GNR, is sort of the big brother to the 44 magnum. It is basically the 454 necked down to 44. The case holds 8 to 11 grains more powder than the 44 magnum, so it's power potential is very good. The load I was using was 7 grains over the maximum 44 magnum load and recoil was surprisingly mild. I chose the 240 grain Hornady XTP bullet at hyper velocities and the bullet entered the hogs back as it was flopping around in a mud hole, severed the spine and left for destinations unknown. An almost instant kill. Typical of many of the GNR cartridges, this one has a short neck, sharp shoulder and straight walled case, and it works great in a revolver. So the 429 also promises to be another excellent cartridge.
As I mentioned above, our Hot & Nasty hog hunt in Texas was a success with a lot of hogs being taken. The calibers used were these.....
- Shane Lambert...510 GNR
- Tim Reid...308 rifle
- John Merrick...44 magnum
- Bill Kurmes...45-70 rifle and 429 revolver
- Vince Picardi...510 GNR
- Sean Harper...256 GNR and 41 GNR#2
- Curt Raybuck...44 mag but no shots taken
- Jason Kendrick...410 GNR carbine
- Kase...10mm and 378 GNR
- myself...429 GNR and 41 GNR#2.
If I left anyone out, my apologies.
Our next hunt is the Handgun Hunters Challenge #2 the last week in October in the hills of Tennessee. We have 22 hunters slated to attend this one. It filled up in one day.
Let's see, what else. When the S&W model 29 (the old Dirty Harry gun) in 44 magnum was being produced it's sales were slow at best these last few years. So S&W dropped it and left it's stainless steel brother the 629 as the only 44 mag available. Now so many people have yelled and whined that S&W has brought it back in several variations. In a 6 1/2 inch model much like the old original version, in a special 4 inch model (limited run) and now in a limited run of 3 inch models. It's good to see it back. There has always been a warm spot in my heart for the old model 29.
Remember the old COP pistol? It was a stainless steel 4 barreled pistol that used a rotating firing pin and fired a different barrel every time you pulled that 40 pound trigger. Supposedly someone is trying to bring it back. With so much interest in self defense pistols, it may do better this time.
Everybody is making a new version of the 1911 45 auto. One of my distributors told me today that the old scope company Unertl is coming out with a new 1911. How true this is I have no idea. My friend tends to use the kickapoo juice from time to time.
Another of our regulars on my forum blew a gun in half a while back. He mistakenly loaded it with the wrong powder. Everybody on the forum was ranting at him to watch out for Bullseye powder as it is an extremely fast powder and a very little goes a long way. But remember that Bullseye is no longer the fastest powder out there and not the only one to be extremely careful when loading. In order of fastest here are the top 6...
1. Vitavouri N-31
2. Hodgdon Titewad
3. Red Dot
4. Hodgdon Clays
5. IMR 700X
So there are other powders to be especially careful of when reloading.
This edition of Gun Notes is either a late June edition or an early July edition, take your pick. But this one will be covering June and July. Things were a bit too hectic during June to find time for that edition. For that I apologize. Til next time, put some gunsmoke in the air.