This year, when the New York Giants take the field in Arizona for Super Bowl XLII, I’ll be sitting in front of the biggest TV screen I can find in Las Vegas.
The Super Bowl, the biggest weekend in Las Vegas, just happens to be the same weekend as the 30th annual National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Shot Show. For four days, 1,950 shooting sports exhibitors will be sprawled over more than 715,000 square feet of floor space (shattering all previous Shot Show records) showcasing their products at the Las Vegas Convention Center. They don’t get any bigger, and this show isn’t open to the public. It’s a buyers’ show, and they’ll come from 50 states and 75 countries. I’ll be there as one of the 200-plus invited members of the media.
As in the past, I spent the last few months trying to pry a little information about “what’s new” from various shooting sports manufacturers to give readers a sneak peek. Here are just a few of the 2008 items that will be introduced at the show. When I return, I’ll share many more in my best-of-show choices in firearms and accessories.
If you’ve ever tried to video your turkey or deer hunt, you know that it can be quite difficult. Bushnell has developed a lightweight, compact video camera that mounts easily on/off the top of a rifle scope so the images and activity seen through the scope can be digitally recorded. This VideoScope has a 1.5-inch color display screen for previewing and playback that will record up to 30 minutes of VGA quality digital video with 1GB internal memory, and it operates on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The camera is waterproof and designed to handle the recoil of a .375 H&H rifle or a 12-gauge shotgun. It weighs eight ounces and is less than seven inches long. It has a 5x lens that brings the action up close, and a five-way button pad for easy operation. It comes with a USB cable for transferring videos to a PC or Mac, and no special software is required for downloading. Suggested retail price is $249. (www.bushnell.com)
Here are two items from Brownells that will make gun cleaning a lot easier. The first is an adjustable stand that will hold a 1911 pistol securely in a number of positions during cleaning, and it allows both of the user’s hands to be free. It also keeps the gun up from the work surface to avoid scratches or scuffs. The large, circular base is very stable and can support any single stack 1911. It’s easily adjusted to hold the pistol, allows for rotation and can actually be used as a display stand. It has a tough polymer composite base and comes with a chemical resistant neoprene base mat. Retail price is $99.95.
Brownells’ new cleaning jags by the Custom Shop are designed to increase patch pressure on the bore when cleaning without having to worry about scratching it. The solid aluminum jags with rubber
O-rigs press the patch firmly into the bore surface for efficient cleaning of powder, lead, copper and plastic fouling. You can use this jag with patches and steel or bronze wool. It is available in 12-, 20- and 28-gauge shotgun and 50-caliber black powder sizes. Each size is separately color-coded for easy recognition. Retail price is $10.95. (www.Brownells.com)
Hunters are always looking for new knives, and the SWINGBLADE
is definitely new. A simple push of the button, and the blade changes from a 3.6-inch drop-point skinner to a 3.2-inch gutting knife for easy and efficient big-game cleaning.
The Swingblade is 8.3 inches long overall, hand-finished shaving-sharp, made from AUS-8 stainless steel for superior edge retention and has a rubberized non-slip grip
Kraton handle. It comes with a
nylon belt sheath and lifetime guaranty. Manufacturers suggested retail price is $69.95. (www.outdooredge.com)
Gun collectors — here’s a little advanced notice on the release of a new 2008 limited-edition rifle from Savage Arms. In recognition of this year’s 50th anniversary of the Savage Model 110, they’re producing 1,000 limited-edition rifles. These are the first-ever Savage bolt-action rifles chambered in 300 Savage. The 110 action has been the definition of accuracy for Savage for their Hunter, Classic, Weather Warrior, Varmint, Target and law enforcement models.
These beautiful rifles have high-luster blued barrels and actions, a unique checkering pattern, high-grade hinged floorplate, scroll pattern on the receiver, 24-karat, gold plated, double-barrel bands and trigger and an embossed recoil pad. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $1,724. If you want one for your collection, see a gun dealer now and have him put in an order. You can check out the gun at
Savage will also introduce a new centerfire series built around a .223 bolthead dimension that is short and much smaller in diameter than the standard centerfire action. The result is the Model 25, a compact, lightweight action rifle that’s not bulky.
Two calibers will be offered, .223 Rem and .204 Ruger. Both will feature 60-degree bolt lifts, dual pillar bedding, free-floating fluted barrel with recessed target crown and three locking lugs. Stock offerings are regular and thumbhole. And both will have the Savage AccuTrigger, adjustable from 2.5 to 3.25 pounds. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $588 for the regular stock and $635 for the thumbhole model.
Want to increase your shooting accuracy for less than $25? Take
a look at the Little Sure Shot Gun Rest. This versatile rest is the smallest I’ve ever seen — six inches long — and it weighs just four ounces. Designed with a foam-rubber padded resting area to protect firearms, it provides superior shooting accuracy and stability while allowing the shooter to be more relaxed. And it will attach to any walking stick you find in the woods with the twist of a knob creating a sturdy monopod — perfect for the turkey hunter who has to hold a shouldered 12-gauge waiting for an overly cautious tom to show himself. Retail price of the Little Sure Shot Gun Rest is $24.95. (www.-thunderboltcustoms.com)
Ice fishermen, upland game and/or predator hunters who spend time in the outdoors this time of the year will appreciate the Alpha Iceman 10-inch boot by LaCrosse. This is a pac boot that features a comfortable 5mm neoprene lining with an addition of a 9mm wool felt liner that will protect your feet from the cold — up to minus-120 degrees. The Alpha Iceman is available in brown and men’s medium sizes 7 to 15. Suggested retail price is $143.95. (www.lacrossefootwear.com)
Now that your feet are warm, the new Hothands Heated Mittens from Heatmax will be a welcome addition to everyone’s outdoor hunting comfort equipment. Made of tightly woven fleece with 40 grams of Thinsulate insulation, they have pockets that hold HotHands 2 warmers that will provide up to 10 hours of warmth. They are great for keeping that trigger or jigging finger warm. Suggested retail price is $19.95. (www.heatmax.com)
KNIGHT & HALE
It is never too early to think about turkey hunting, and the new Hammer Series by Harold Knight and David Hale is going to be a great way to talk turkey this spring. They’ve taken four of the most popular friction call surfaces and combined them into an integrated soundboard with WIP (Wood Impregnated Plastic) Technology and created the Hammer Series, featuring their Sla-Tek surface with glass, aluminum and slate surfaces.
The result combined with plastic for durability and wood particles produces the sound needed to bring that old tom into range. And that includes the ability to tone it down for up-close yelps, purrs and clucks.
Suggested retail price of the Hammer Series call is $21.99. (www.-