Last month, I attended the 33rd annual National Shooting Sports Foundation SHOT Show in Las Vegas, where more than 1,600 manufacturers unveiled new products.
This week, in Part 2 of my Best of SHOT Show series, I’ll begin with a shotgun all turkey hunters should take a serious look at — the Mossberg Turkey Thug series.
These new guns feature a revolutionary Lightning Pump Action, user-adjustable, creep-free trigger system and adjustable fiber-optic sights. There are two models — the 835 and 535 — available with TruGlo 30mm red-dot sights. The TruGlos are mounted and bore-sighted at the factory, and the red-dot is mounted so that the shooter can still use the open fiber-optics sights if he wants. I shouldered one of the TruGlo-mounted 835 models. The action and the trigger were smooth, and it gave me quick and accurate target acquisition.
The Thugs series is offered in Mossberg’s 3 1⁄2-inch chambered 835 and 535 models. The 500 model is chambered for three-inch shotshells, and they all have five-plus-one capacities. Three models feature Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity camo patterns with a receiver mounted Picatinny rail, and the other stock option is black synthetic. The 835 and 535 models have 20-inch barrels, the 500, a 24. All have a vented raised rib. Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices range from $409 to $642 (www.Mossberg.com). Watch for these guns in the new TV series, “Turkey Thugs.”
More and more females are showing up in the woods and at the shooting ranges, and at this year’s SHOT Show, there were a number of manufacturers, both in firearms and clothing, dedicating new products to accommodate them.
Charter Arms is well aware of female interest in carry and range handguns. When I walked by their booth at the show, it was the color of the gun that first caught my eye. It was a shiny pink revolver set on a pedestal, and it was appropriately named the Chic Lady.
This eye-catcher was a compact .38 special caliber five-shot revolver.
And when Lissa McCarthy, Charter’s national sales manager, handed me the two-inch barreled Chic Lady, I was immediately impressed with the weight. “Just 12 ounces,” she said, and told me that it was also rated for plus P ammunition. Built on Charter’s popular Undercover Lite frame, it’s constructed of high aircraft-grade aluminum and high-polished stainless steel, comes with fixed sights and a traditional spurred hammer. Also included is a faux alligator gun case. MSRP is $450 (www.charterfirearms.com).
The 30-30 lever-action rifle has long been considered the gun of the Adirondack deer hunter. This year, I found what I thought to be a more modern-day lever-action rifle — the Rossi M92 carbine .454 Casull, a compact and powerful little lever gun.
Loaded with a Hornady GRXTP round, the 300-grain bullet comes out at 1,650 feet per second and develops 1,813 foot pounds of energy when shot from a 71⁄2-inch handgun barrel. When shot from this rifle’s longer barrel, the velocity will increase substantially.
The Rossi Casuall is offered with a blued or stainless-steel 20-inch barrel, extended front sight, 10-plus-1 magazine capacity, attractive wood stock and classic- looking buttplate. It weighs only five pounds. Options include a magazine loading tube and recoil-absorbing butt pad. MSRP is $577 (www.rossiusa.com). I did not get to shoot this one, but I will.
This year’s surprise from Weatherby is a new Vanguard S2 rifle. It features a match quality two-stage target trigger guaranteed to produce a sub-MOA (less than a one-inch group) three-shot group when using factory or premium ammunition. This new trigger has a creep-free consistent let-off, adjustable down to 2 1⁄2 pounds. The S2 is fitted with a very comfortable Griptonite stock and a right-side palm swell, and a 24-inch, drilled and tapped, matte, bead-blasted, blued or stainless barrel. Other features include a three-position safety and rifle weight of 7 1⁄4 pounds.
The Vanguard S2 blued version will be available in 15 calibers.
Retail prices are expected to be around $450 for the Vanguard S2 blued version and $600 for the stainless (www.weatherby.com).
When comes to finding and identifying game, quality optics are important, and Alpen Outdoors is offering hunters and outdoor enthusiasts a reasonably priced binocular in their Alpen Wings 10x42 model 588.
Featuring fully multicoated and PXA phase-correction optical performance, they deliver a bright, crisp image. They are waterproof, sealed and nitrogen-filled, have long eye relief and twist-up eye cups for use with or without glasses. Weighing in at just 22 ounces, they can be worn comfortably around the neck using the extra-wide neck strap. Also included is a deluxe travel case and Alpen’s lifetime warranty. I was very impressed with not only their distance capability, but, more importantly, their clarity. MSRP is $275 (www.alpenoptics.com).
For years, Limbsaver has been designing and producing revolutionary firearms and bow accessories, and its new Kodiak Firearm/Crossbow Sling has taken the way you carry your gun/crossbow to a new level. The major differences of this sling from others are the NAVCOM Break-Away technology and 3-D self-balancing swivel system that balances the sling to any angle or shoulder contour.
Also included are NAVCOM hand grips, which provide control and protection against dropping and damaging your gun/crossbow. The Kodiak is offered in wide and narrow sizes, black, camo/black and blaze orange/black. The 3D Swivel System set also can be purchased separately. The complete Kodiak sling has an MSRP of $35 for the narrow, $40 for the wide. The 3D swivel set is $13 (www.limbsaver.com).
Turkey hunting, both in the spring but especially in the fall, often can be a run-and-gun situation, and the new TomTaker 2 blind offers you a place to hide and surprise that wise old gobbler. Down-sized from its larger version, this blind measures 48x48 inches, and is just 50 inches high. It features high-quality Durashell PLUS fabric that eliminates noise, and is weatherproof and wear-resistant. It goes up in down in a minute.
Shooting angles are many with its multi-triangular shoot-through camo mesh windows. It folds up and fits into an 8x8x37.5-inch-long backpack, which includes a game/decoy carrying pouch. Offered in Realtree APG HD and weighing just 12 pounds, the TomTaker 2 has an MSRP of $150 (www.ameristep.com).
Handgun shooter/hunters who reload for .357 magnum, .40 Smith & Wesson, .44 magnum, .45 ACP or .45 Colt are probably familiar with the problems of using carbide dies. Robin Sharpless, director of sales and marketing for Redding Reloading Equipment, told me the little ring in a standard carbide die has to do double-duty — it sizes the top of the shell case to properly hold the bullet, then continues to size the whole body of the case. However, these two sizes have different diameters.
Redding’s solution is a unique design incorporating two carbide rings into one sizing die. The upper ring is positioned to size only the bullet retention portion of the case, while the other is located to properly size the case body without overworking the brass. These correctly sized cases won’t look and function better, but the brass life will increase. MSRP is $140 (www.reddingreloading.com).
Sighting in your rifle or slug gun just got a lot easier, courtesy of Slammer Hunting Innovations’ new TomCat Target and Click Stick Pro kit by Steppin’ Wolf Productions and Slammer Hunting Innovations.
Company president Jim Jones said the L-shaped measuring tool has increments of one-eighth, one-quarter and one-half inch, which are the windage and elevation measurement increments on the majority of scopes sold. Once the size of the increments on your scope is determined, the Click Stick Pro can be used. All the easy-to-use instructions are on the tool, and using them will not only save time at the range, but also money in ammunition. MSRP on the TomCat Target and Click Stick Pro is $20. For a good look at what the Click Stick Pro can do, go to www.slammerhi.com.
Next week, I’ll discuss several new rifle/shotgun scopes, new ammunition and a few other hunting/shooting products unveiled at the show.