Christmas is truly right around the corner and lots of folks are completely
stumped on what to buy for that shooter or hunter in the family. This year there
hasn’t been any real special firearms introduced in the last few months to keep
shooters hot to trot. In past years there have been real special handguns and
longguns that have guys going from gun shop to gun shop looking for one. That
isn’t the case this year. There are a few new guns but they are not really that
special. And unless your shooter or hunter is wanting an AR-15, the prices are a
bit higher this year than in the past. The AR market is still a buyers market.
With over 200 companies licensed to make AR-15s there is a lot of competition
out there and not that many shooters that haven’t already bought one or two.
Companies that push the ARs for hunting are coming out with some special models
and the tactical companies are really pushing the specialty models that are set
up for suppressor, thermal sights and a lot more. It is not unusual these days
to buy a $900 AR-15 and then spend $3500 to $5000 just on accessories. A lot of
guys like to hunt hogs at night and the thermal scopes start at about $4000 and
go up from there. Suppressors are around $1000 to start and go up from there.
And the list of accessories is as long as your arm.
A few companies are releasing limited edition handguns and longguns. Some are
doing the “limited edition” game so if the gun doesn’t sell, they can pull it
off the market and say it was a limited edition and it is sold out. There are
some new items that the manufacturers are being real hush hush on right now. The
SHOT SHOW is about 6 weeks away and they want to keep everything under wraps
until the last minute. A few new products are oozing out though. Weatherby is
bringing out a new Mark V Ultra Lightweight rifle, a special magnum rifle meant
for carrying a lot and shooting a little. They have slimmed down every part of
the gun and yet they say it will still shoot sub MOA groups.
The newest Glock, the M-43 is the best selling Glock ever. This small pocket
size 9mm is pretty much the perfect carry gun and with today’s hotter ammo the
9mm doesn’t take a back seat from the 40 S&W or the 45 ACP.
Smith & Wesson is at it again. Years ago the M^P was the Military & Police and
was the Model 10 in 38 special. Over the last few years they have dubbed the M&P
as the new rifle and semi auto handgun. Well, it looks like they have gone full
circle and now have a new M&P revolver back out again. It is a 357 Magnum that
they are building on the model 327. It is called the M&P-R-8 Tactical and has
the light rail under the barrel and comes in a soft satin finish.
Tippmann Armory is coming out with a U.S. made reproduction of the original
Remington Rolling Black. It is chambered in 44 Magnum and sports a walnut stock
and adjustable sights just like the original.
Savage arms new A17 semi auto rifle has been named “Rifle of the Year”. It has
been called the most reliable semi auto rifle ever made in 17 HMR. In fact CCI
has come out with ammo specifically made for the Savage A17 rifle. It features a
17 grain varmint tip bullet that is said to hit 2650 at the muzzle.
Browning has a new X-Bolt Eclipse Target Rifle coming out that should be a
welcome addition for the varmint hunters next spring. It has a heavy barrel,
flat bottom forend and laminated stock. It will be offered in 204, 22-250 and
223. I have made a mental note to grab one of these and rebarrel it to one of
our Raptor cartridges, which are based on the 204 case.
Colt has been teetering on the brink of “gone under” again for a good while.
They are in bankruptcy right now but a new company is talking with them and
could bring them back to life again. If memory serves this is the 5th time they
have been on the brink of going totally under in the last 20 years. But even in
the throes of bankruptcy they are still advertising new products. They are
coming out with a new solid copper handgun round in 380, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP.
It is called the Defender series. and is said to be ideal for home defense.
Speaking of ammo, Fiocchi Ammunition has expanded their line up of calibers
mostly used in cowboy action shooting. They have made ammo for years for the
cowboy shooters in the normal calibers like 45 Long Colt, 44-40 and 44 Special.
They have added a couple more calibers recently including 32 S&W Long, 38 S&W
Short, 38 Special and 357 Magnum.
Ruger continues to bring out new products every few weeks. Our factory rep
brought in their new LCP pistols in a KRYPTEK camo recently. The finish looks
like snake scales an comes in several different colors and are a strange finish
on the frame that almost looks like you can see thru it.
When Beretta lost the new military handgun contract they were left with a lot of
new M-92A3 pistols that has been designed for the military. Most law enforcement
agencies are going to the Glock, those few that haven’t already. So Beretta is
doing it’s best to move some guns out. One way is to lease them to law
enforcement agencies. Supposedly they are making some great deals to qualifying
law enforcement agencies. Smart move Beretta.
Those that have the Pelican 1700 gun case, the one designed for compact long
guns, know what a pain it is to put your gun in there and close the case. True
they do have the Pluck Foam where you can pull out pieces of the foam to make a
cut out to fit each gun. But then what do you do with all the little foam pieces
you pulled out, and if you change guns, now you have to try to put the little
pieces of foam back in and pull more out to match the shape of the new gun you
are carrying. Now a company called LBX Tactical has a soft padded rifle bag that
you Vel-cro your rifle in and it fits perfectly in the Model 1700 Pelican case.
Just pull the foam rubber out and set it aside and put the new zip up padded
pouch in there in it’s place. Neat idea. I use the 1700 to carry several
handguns when we go on a hunt. This new padded bag from LBX should make it a lot
Kase swears by Troy Products and recently bought a new Troy AR-15 with all the
bells and whistles. And that says something. Kase being an AR-15 builder and who
can build pretty much whatever he wants, to buy a factory gun says something for
Troy Products. Troy now has the forend, hand guard and top rail that look just
like the parts that go on an AR-15 but fit an AK-47, giving it a new sleeker
more streamlined look and feel. Sort of on the same subject, ATI, American
Tactical, the company that imports a lot of very neat firearms is now bringing
in their new Omni Hybrid MAXX series chambered in 410 shotgun. This one looks
just like any other AR-15 yet has a 5 round magazine, 18.5” barrel, a special
guard rail and 6 position stock. I can see this one finding a home in many a
truck for varmint control.
Over the past year we have developed several new cartridges that are not in our
2nd edition reloading manual. As soon as we get all the load data compiled we
will be putting inserts in the current loading manual with all the data needed
to load these new cartridges. Over the past year we have brought out the new 250
GNR, which is a tiny little cartridge yet has a lot of power. It is basically a
32 H&R necked to 25 caliber. Nate Henning, my main man at the shop took a nice
black hog at the HHC this past spring and knocked the hog down with one shot. A
great little cartridge putting an 85 grain bullet out at 2000 fps is plenty of
punch for most smaller game. Also new out is the 7 Raptor, which is the 204 case
necked up to 7mm and puts out a 100 grain bullet at almost 2600 fps, a 110 grain
bullet at almost the same speed and a 120 grain bullet at well over 2200 fps. A
great little deer cartridge that is fast, flat shooting and has no recoil to
Another new one is our 30 Raptor, again on the 204 case necked up to 30 caliber.
This little screamer will put a 100 grain bullet out at well over 2400 FPS, and
a 125 grain bullet at over 2300 fps. Another great little deer cartridge.
Another new one is our 400 GNR, which is simply a 30-30 case blown out straight
with a .40 caliber bullet. This one works very well in rebarreled Marlin 30-30s
and in handguns. In a handgun it will put a 180 grain XTP out at almost 2400 fps
and a 200 grain XTP at the same speed.
The 460 S&W case is a great case for wildcatting and we have done our share. We
have the 460 case necked down to .375 which is our 377 GNR. Sean Harper, who
does all the ballistic and pressure testing says the 3 cartridges we have on the
460 case, the 377 GNR, the 411 GNR and the 430 GNR are all extremely powerful
cartridges yet pleasant to shoot, which is an added bonus. The 377 will put a
235 grain bullet out of a pistol barrel at almost 2300 fps, which should be
great for black bear size critters. The next step up is the 411 GNR, the 460
necked to 41. It will also take just about any big game out there. It will put
out a 220 grain Sierra Silhouette bullet at almost 2300 fps, a 255 grain case
bullet at almost 2200 fps and a 285 grain cast at almost 2100 fps.
Next up would be the new 430 GNR, the 460 case necked to 44. Another very
powerful cartridge with mild recoil. It will put a 200 grain bullet out of a 13”
barrel at over 2200 fps, a 240 grain bullet at almost 2200 fps and a 265 grain
bullet at well over 2000 fps. These last 3 should be plenty for anything on this
We have a few more on the drawing board but more on those later.
Until next time, take a lady or youngster shooting and hunting. You will have a
hunting partner for life, plus they are our future.
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