Gary's Gun Notes #86

Things are finally beginning to slow down a bit from the hustle of the SHOT SHOW. All the distributors have been having SHOT SHOW sales and wringing out every penny they can from this yearly event. I talk about the SHOT SHOW quite often on here but there may be some that do not know exactly what it is. SHOT stands for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade. It is a yearly show held in one of the major cities in the U.S. The most popular site is Law Vegas. The show takes up the entire convention center plus normally several large football field size tents outside the show. I haven't heard the final tally for this years show but last year they had over 31,000 booths. And booths range in size from a 10x10 space to a space well over half a football field size. It literally takes 3 full days to see this show. It is intended for dealers only but almost all dealers give a pass to some of their favorite customers. For me it is a chance to meet many of the gun writers and gun magazine publishers and some of the people I buy things like reamers, barrel blanks, steel for cylinders etc from. Due to my surgery a week before the show this year Kase, Colleen and I missed the show but that's ok as it does get a bit tiresome going to it every year.
      One of the things the show is good for is to let us see and handle some of the new products that are scheduled to be released to the public. This doesn't always go as planned unfortunately. The manufacturers will often show a new product and watch the publics reaction to it. If people are oohing and aahing over it for 4 days they will go ahead and produce it. If it is mostly ignored, then they quietly drop the whole idea and when someone asks about it, they deny the whole thing and tell you that it must have been their competitor, after all, you how crazy those guys are.
One gun in particular I remember that Kase got all excited about was a gun from a European company that has some very decent semi auto pistols out. At the show they had a clear polymer framed pistol in 9mm. You could see right thru it. The magazine was also clear so at a glance you could see how many rounds you had left. I thought it was a neat idea but it never saw the light of day. We asked them about it the next year and they flatly denied it was them, although we had pictures of it at their booth.
Quite often guns will be introduced at the show and take 2 years to ever be delivered. This is not because they are less than excited about releasing it but due to parts delivery and such. The old Bren Ten people, Dornaus & Dixon, had a great product in the Bren Ten, the first 10mm pistol many years ago. But when it came time for delivery the magazines were not available. They had farmed the magazines out to another company, who just couldn't seem to get them done right. So they held off delivering them for a good while. When the magazines still hadn't become available after several months, they delivered the guns without magazines, which wasn't a real good idea. Yes they would have lost considerable money by holding off on delivery but by delivering them without magazines it killed the company. And tales such as this have happened many times thru the years. A whole firearm being scrapped due to the lack of a small part.
A few years ago we released our #5 revolver, a very close copy of the old original 1929 Elmer Keith design. The first 15 frames that came in were fine as were the internal parts. The next 85 were junk, warped and had the screw holes off center and such. This came about due to faulty heat treating, which is the last thing they do before shipping. I had almost 100 orders on the order board and no guns. We had shipped 10 of the first 15 guns and held back the others for testing. I called the people that had orders and asked them to hang in there, that I would get their guns out to them as soon as possible. In the meantime we went thru arguments, threats, lawyers talking back and forth and got absolutely nothing done. 
This went on for over 6 months. Many of the customers just decided not to wait and demanded their deposits back. One afternoon I sat and wrote refund checks for over an hour. Twenty five years in business and that just about put us under.  Eventually we began to get some frames in, a small handful at a time. Many of the internal parts still weren't right so that set us back again. That was 5 years ago and we delivered our last #5 of the original 100 back in mid summer of last year.  Diamond Dot, John Taffin's bride had called and wanted a #5 for John's 66 birthday with the serial number MM66, mile marker 66. I think John was half way thru his 67th year before he finally got the gun. I think Diamond Dot would still shoot me on sight.
Three years ago we ordered another 100 of our stretch frames. The same frame our Professional Hunter and BMF was made on. Two years later the first batch came in. Out of 100 frames, only 4 were usable. The others were warped. So the whole thing started all over. That one still hasn't been settled yet. But at least I hadn't done a big advertising campaign about them so I didn't have but a small handful of orders for them. I still have 2 or 3 guns that have not been delivered yet. And they have been waiting for at least 2 years.
What all this comes down to is the old adage, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray". And I know of several companies thru the years that were good companies, that went under simply due to things like our problems or the problems of the Bren Ten people. It happens to large companies too.
While on the subject of the Bren Ten, they are coming back out again under new ownership. Kase has had the hots for one of the new ones since he heard about it 2 years ago at the SHOT SHOW. Kase and I had 6 or 8 of them between the two of us a while back but eventually sold them when we heard they were coming back in business. They are taking orders finally and supposedly the first years production is sold out. Prices run around $1200.
Another gun that looks amazingly like the old Bren Ten and the new model Bren Ten is the new Armalite AR-24. Both of these guns is based on the original CZ-75 design, which has been the design of choice for countless pistols over the past 20 years. And like  I was mentioning above, Armalite announced this 2 years ago, but from what I have heard, very few have actually ever been released. Knowing Armalite, it will be a good one when it does finally see the light of day. It is a 16 shot 9mm and all steel construction.
Hornady has come out with what they call SUPERFORMANCE ammunition that is said to be 150 to 200 fps faster than any of it's competition without going over the pressure limits. Other companies are coming out with specialty ammo for self and home defense. Winchester has come out with some very special 410 gauge ammo meant for the Taurus Judge revolver chambered in 410. It is in their Supreme Elite line of ammo.
For those that carry a pistol as I do, Mexican Carry, which is simply stuffed behind your belt in the small of your back, you might check out the new Kel Tec PF9 in 9mm. It holds 8 rounds and is only about 3/4" wide, extremely slim. So it would be perfect for those that prefer Mexican carry. And I have no idea where it got that name. I would think a mauser rifle and 4 belts of ammo strapped around his chest and neck would constitute Mexican carry.
Barnes bullets is coming out with a special line of Buster Bullets. They made the comment that you needed extra heavy bullets for taking game like bison, moose etc with a handgun. Personally I think the people at Barnes that made that statement are morons.
Speaking of bringing guns back out, the old Browning 25 auto, known as the Baby Browning, is coming back. Apparently due to the run on small carry guns and an upsurge in the pimp business, there is a demand for small 25 autos. I know a cop in Sarasota Florida that was shot 5 times point blank in the head with a 25 auto. It really pissed him off.
Our new Mastodon is doing extremely well, much better than I had expected. One of my favorite people is Roy Huntington who is the head honcho of GUNS magazine and American Handgunner. Roy always wants me to send him some pics of our new products and usually he throws in a little free publicity along the way. I sent him the new pics of the Mastodon that are on the site here and immediately he called back saying "we need to get that in the magazine, I will call John Taffin and get back to you". Within a few minutes I got an e-mail from Roy saying "get the guns to John and John will do an article on them and we will get it in the next issue of American Hunter". He also mentioned that he had to have the article back and in his hot little hands within 3 weeks. So the race was on.
So I got with John and loaded up some hot rounds and light rounds for both guns, one a 455 GNR and the other the 510 GNR prototype. I had the guns to John within a hair over a week and he had the shoot done and pics taken and back to Roy with days to spare. So my thanks go out to Roy and John for being two of my favorite people and good friends. The Mastodon will be in the July/August issue which will be released the last week of April.
I also have a new Mastodon that we will be releasing next week. As I type this the gun is in the Black Chromex tank and will be the first high polished Mastodon and also the first 3 inch Mastodon. The prototype gun of the snubbies is chambered in 510 GNR. Andy Rowe has a great light round that is perfect for this little beast. His 350 Short load or even a lighter load using his new 315 grain bullet would be perfect in this gun. And before you shudder, the recoil isn't that bad at all, even with the hot 350 Long load. Due to my surgery I still can't shoot it yet but Kase shot at least a box of 50 of the light loads and hot loads thru it with me looking over his shoulder. The gun barely came off the sandbag in recoil. I will have pics of it by this time next week.
If you have been wanting a new AR-15, get out and buy one. You can buy a brand new top of the line brand AR-15 for around $700 and in some cases less, even closer to $650. There is a glut on the market of AR-15 type rifles and even the top end brands are making deals. Guns that were retailing for $1800 this time last year are now well under $1000.
Police style shotguns are finally back in stock at most dealers. A lot of people over the last year bought small riot type shotguns for home defense. Many of the older crowd don't feel comfortable with an AR-15, but a short riot type shotgun gives them a warm fuzzy feeling. Mossberg had record sales of their shotguns over the last year. They sold everything they could make, and often before they could make it. And the Mossberg shotguns are, to me, the finest home defense shotguns on the market. Our troops in Iraq and other hot spots use the Mossberg model 590 and a fine combat shotgun it is.  When Kase built his first Tactical 12 combat/home defense shotgun, which was built on the Mossberg 590, when all the pictures were taken and it was released to the public, I took the prototype home. Since then I have used it in a couple of combat shoots and a fine shotgun it is.
As I sit here typing this I can see out my office window and see the snow coming down in what must be our 473rd snowfall of the year and I ask myself  IS THIS CRAP EVER GOING TO STOP??? Damn Al Gore. It's all his fault for ticking off Mother nature. I do love snow but I am reaching my love limit rather quickly. And we still have at least 2 more months in which we normally get snow.
The snow will be nice for our next HHC (Handgun Hunter's Challenge) coming up in a bit under a month. Last March we had snow there the first day of the hunt. I can still see Puff Daddy rolling down the side of the mountain in a ball of snow and mud, screaming like a little girl. Those California boys aren't used to snow. But they are good at rolling down hills.
         The next hunt is scheduled for March 25th thru the 28th, Thursday thru Sunday. We arrive on Thursday and if you get there early enough you can be like Bill Firman and slay half the hogs in Tennessee by dark. We hunt all day Friday and Saturday and leave out on Sunday. The hunt is at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee. You can take a look at the lodge at . They have some of the finest exotic game I have seen anywhere and their prices are half to one third what everybody else charges. Plus no hidden charges We should have Aoudad, large Russian hogs, Sika deer, Fallow deer, bison, water buffalo, Addax, all kinds of exotic sheep, from Dall sheep to Corsican, large elk, Red stag, probably Muntjac and much more. If you enjoy a good hunt, give Sherry Wilson a call at 931-260-1600 and put down your $250 deposit. I guarantee you won't regret it.
      It looks like time to get back out and shovel snow, so until next time, take a youngster hunting. They are our future.
God bless,
Gary Reeder

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