The day before the SHOT Show opens, the National Shooting Sports Foundation sponsors “Media Day at the Range,” where members of the working press get an opportunity to view and use most of the new firearms, ammunition and optics to be introduced.
For those who attend, it’s a full day of shooting, and it was there that I found a 28-gauge, semi-auto AKKAR, which, at the end of the day, became my Best of Show small-gauge shotgun choice.
Offered in either 28- or 26-inch vent-ribbed barrel lengths, this Turkish-made Model 600 semi comes with black synthetic, camouflage or walnut stock. The barrels have hard chrome bores and lightweight aircraft aluminum receivers. Choke tubes are included.
At the trap range, my friend and travel companion, Steve Zuhurek of Schenectady, and I found out how well this little 28 could bust clay birds, and it would be a good choice for rabbit, squirrel and grouse hunters. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $400 (www.akkar-usa.com).
As the owner of a modern sporting rifle, previously referred to as AR and/or black guns, I visited a number of optical company booths at the SHOT Show, but I actually found what I was looking for after show hours at the Wyoming Business Council’s media reception when I met Jason Williams, owner of Lucid Gear in Riverton, Wyo. His company makes several scopes for ARs, shotguns and regular rifles. The Lucid L5 6x24x50mm had all the qualifications I was looking for atop my .223.
The L5 is constructed of one-piece of a 30mm-diameter aluminum tube that’s shock-, fog- and waterproof, has a multi-coated lens with a multi-functional, L5-etched ranging reticle. Other features include parallax adjustments, plus lockable windage and elevation adjustments, all in a 15.25-inch scope that weighs just 24.5 ounces.
It was perfect for my AR until Annie Wood, the Wyoming Business Council’s marketing program director, reached into the bowl into which the attending outdoor writers tossed their business cards for a chance at a number of prizes, and pulled out my card for the last item to be given away. It was a fully guided Wyoming antelope hunt for two in the fall in Casper, Wyo. Obviously, I was very happy, and so was Steve, who will be joining me on the hunt. Now, the L5 will be mounted on my .270 Win Century Arms M70 (antelope) rifle. Suggested retail price is $500 (www.mylucidgear.com).
CONNECTICUT VALLEY ARMS
This year’s show had several new muzzleloader introductions, but my choice is one that has been around for a while — the .50-caliber Buckhorn 209 Magnum rifle by CVA. An ultra-modern, conventional in-line muzzleloader with a precision rifled 24-inch barrel and a 1:28-inch twist, it has a 209 primer ignition system that can handle up to 150-grain magnum charges and offers a very economical way to enter the front-loader fraternity.
It also has a thumb-activated safety, illuminated fiber-optic sights, dual-barrel retention points and a bullet-guiding muzzle. Additionally, CVA has added its new Grip Dot panel stock and Crush Zone recoil pad for increased shooting comfort. It weighs just 6.3 pounds — a lot of gun for a suggested retail price of $175 (www.cva.com).
Every outdoorsman knows the importance of a dependable flashlight, and the new LightStar80 by Penlight emits 80 lumens, clips in a pocket or on a cap and can be forgetten until needed. It was also designed with BiteGrip, allowing hands-free use. The LightStar 80 is constructed of durable aircraft-grade aluminum, is water-resistant, 5.5 inches long and has a high-color rendering index LED that allows view in full color — very important when following a blood trail. Included are two “AAA” batteries. Suggested retail price is $30 (www.terralux.com).
The interest and use of laser sight systems, especially for handguns, has become quite popular, and Crimson Trace has introduced a new Rail Master platform for rail-equipped firearms. These new sights, like all their other laser sights, have set new standards for durability, battery life and quality. The Rail Master Laser features a tap on/off switch and is compact. It comes with four interchangeable inserts which utilize Secure-Lock Technology to enable a custom fit to any handgun, enabling the user to adjust the sight’s location on the rail to optimize activation.
The Rail Master has a four-hour 1/3N battery life to power the most powerful laser permitted by law. Mounted on a handgun, it holsters easily, and on an AR15 hand guard, it extends the rifle’s versatility. The Rail Master has adjustable windage and elevation and maintains zero when removed from a gun. Suggested retail price is $150 (www.crimsontrace.com).
There were a number of crossbow manufacturers displaying at the show. My choice for the second year in a row was the TenPoint. I based my decision on construction, performance and that all-important price. I actually made my choice while attending a Media Direct Creative press conference, when I spoke with the representatives from TenPoint and shouldered their all-new flagship, the Wicked Ridge Raider CLS. The CLS stands for compact limb system technology. When the Raider is fully cocked, it is only 17.5 inches, axle-to-axle, making it quite maneuverable in the tree stand or blind. The Raider’s 180-pound draw weight propels the bolt (arrow) a speedy 330 feet per second and with 101.6 foot-pounds of kenetic energy.
Other features include the ACU-52 integrated self-retracting rope-cocking system, which I know makes cocking that 180-pound bow very easy. Also included in the package is their 3x multi-line scope, Wicked Ridge instant-detach quiver, three Wicked Ridge aluminum arrows and a logoed embroidered sling. Suggested retail price is $820 (www.tenpointcrossbows.com).
All turkey hunters should be carrying a gobble call, and the new Thunder Gobble call I tried at the show was the most realistic I’ve ever heard. It combines the tube and shaker type calls, using a double reed that creates very realistic raspy gobbles. The ergonomic mouth piece directs all of the air flow through the call to produce loud gobbles. A lanyard is also included. Suggested retail price is $15 (www.flextonegamecalls.com).
An outdoorsman can never have enough knives, and the new FlashPoint Buck Hunting knife will do it all. It has a SafeSpin open-and-close technology that lets you open it without getting your fingers near the blade and using only one hand. And when in use, it has a carabiner clip that attaches it securely to a belt loop. The blade is 2 7⁄8 inches, the knife, 4 1⁄2 inches, closed. The handle is of anodized aluminum, it weighs four ounces and comes in blue, black and orange. Suggested retail price is $55 (www.buckknives.com).
Here’s a shotgun slug I found to be quite different. They call it Wild Technology Balle Fleche, and it’s available for 12- and 20-gauge, choked or unchoked shotguns with either smooth or rifled barrels. They include the loaded cartridge case, as well as the complete arrow bullet, which actually has four plastic feather-like fins at the end of the lead projectile and is surrounded by a two, ring-shaped half shells. When fired, there is guaranteed combustion gas tightness without interfering with the flexibility to get down the barrel. The five-round boxes are available in 2 3⁄4-inch regular, 2 3⁄4-inch mini mag and three-inch magnum. Suggested retail price is $30-$39 (www.centruryarms.com).
Turkey hunters will like the new 12-gauge, three-inch magnum ammo that Hornady recently introduced. Offered in No. 4, 5 and 6 shot sizes, these loads deliver quite a wallop. The nickel-plating that reduces fliers is very thick, adding up to a denser pattern with the Versatite wad and no shotgun modifications or specialized turkey chokes being needed. These new loads usually pattern best with an improved cylinder or modified
choke, as the Versatite strips cleanly from the pellets in flight, keeping them together for a shorter shot string. The load leaves the barrel at 1,300 feet per second, and any turkey hanging up at 50 yards is definitely in trouble.
In tests, the No. 5 load delivered 70-plus pellets in a 12-inch square at 40 yards, and at 25 yards, 123 pellets were within the 12-inch square. A box of 10 rounds has a suggested retail price of $18 (www.hornady.com).
There are several items I’ll be testing and evaluating and reporting on in the near future.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette: