This year’s Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show will again be held at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday through next Friday.
Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, it’s the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved in shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries. Last year’s show had 1,600 exhibitors spread out over 630,000 square feet and a total attendance of 61,000.
As I have done in the past 13 years, prior to the show, I contacted several shooting sports manufacturers willing to reveal something new they’ll be showcasing that I can include in my “Sneak Peak” column. Here are a few of the new “must have” items.
Airguns — they just keep getting better and quieter. When I spoke with Lou Riley, Gamo CEO, he was excited about the company’s new Whisper Fusion air rifles and the patent-pending, double-integrated noise-dampening technology that actually reduces the noise level 89.5 percent — without sacrificing the pellet speed. The Pro model can push .177 PBA ammo out of the barrel at 1,400 feet per second, while the regular Fusion model pushes it out at 1,300 feet per second — definitely good news for small-game airgun hunters.
The Fusion uses inert gas technology, a pneumatic cylinder that replaces the spring, enabling the shooter to have more terminal velocity and less vibration. Both models feature the smooth-action trigger, which is crisp and creep-free, and the new recoil shock wave absorber that absorbs up to 74 percent of felt recoil.
Other features of both models include a fluted, polymer-jacketed, rifled steel barrel, rubberized grips, all-weather black stock with adjustable cheek piece and fiber-optic front and rear sights. The Pro has a 33 mm cylinder power plant, 3-9x40 Adjustable Objective BSA scope, and comes with 50 rounds of PBA Platinum and 30 rounds of the new Lethal Hunting pellets. The Fusion has a 3-9x40 BSA scope. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $299 for the Fusion, $337 for the pro package (www.gamousa.com).
Cowboy action shooters should take a look at the 12-gauge lever-action model PW87 for Single Action Shooting Society get-togethers. Based on the Browning-designed, lever-action rolling-block shotguns of the past, it has a 19-inch modified choke barrel, takes 2 3⁄4-inch shells, is 37.75 inches long, weighs 7.9 pounds and has a magazine capacity of five rounds. When I saw it, I thought it looked like a good choice for a heavy-brush upland game gun. Suggested retail price is $401.
International Defensive Pistol Association shooters should check out Century’s new model K100 Mk7 semi-auto 9mm Luger by Grand Power. It’s a modern, fully ambidextrous pistol featuring an external hammer with four interchangeable backstraps, steel reinforced GF-30 polymer frame and a short reset trigger. The barrel is 4.25 inches, the pistol 7.97 inches overall and it weighs 1.8 pounds. Suggested retail price is $559 (www.centuryarms.com).
Keeping your hunting/butchering game knives sharp always makes the job easier, and EdgeCraft will be introducing several new sharpeners. I was impressed with the Chef’s Choice Sportsman 4635, a diamond hone knife sharpener for fishing, hunting and serrated knives.
A professional, manual three-stage sharpener that applies a super-sharp and durable edge to all outdoorsman knives, as well as 15- and 20-degree household knives, it has a stage for fishing, hunting and a separate ultrafine honing stage for a longer lasting, strong, razor-sharp, double-beveled and arch-shaped edge. All sharpeners in this series feature 100-percent diamond abrasives and comfortable ergonomic handles. All are made in the United States. Suggested retail price is $30 (www.edgecraft.com).
Bill Jordan has come up with another great way to hide in the woods with his new pattern, RealTree Xtra and Xtra Green. Both deliver three distinct fields within one camo pattern, a foreground, mid-ground and background. Jordan was successful in creating an incredible depth, visual confusion and 3-D effects in the pattern mid-grounds and retaining total sharpness of detail. Jordan said, “It is as close to nature as we’ve ever gotten.” I’ll definitely have to check it out at the show. See it for yourself at www.realtree.com.
Ever notice how high up in a tree some of the hunters are on the TV hunting shows? You can be 22 feet high in the new Ameristep Team Realtree Skyscraper Ladder Stand. It’s all-steel construction features a slim high design, accessory pouch, armrests that convert to shelves with built-in cup holders, a quiet entry trap door and a ladder leveler for uneven ground setup. The armrests are removable, the platform locks to prevent trespassers/theft and it includes a footrest. Also included is a hoist rope and bow/gun holder. It has everything needed for an all-day comfortable sit. The Skyscraper comes in Realtree AP HD camo and has a 300-pound capacity rating. Suggested retail price is $300 (www.ameristep.com).
Three years of research by Winchester has increased the horsepower of the .17-caliber rimfire cartridge significantly. According the Brett Flaugher, president of sales, marketing and strategy, “At 3,000 feet per second, it’s the fastest modern rimfire cartridge on the planet.” And it’s going to add to the downrange energy, as well.
The cartridge will be offered in three bullet types: the Varmint HV (high-velocity) in 20-grain plastic tip, the Varmint HE (high-energy) in 25-grain; and the Super-X 20-grain jacketed hollow-point. This new cartridge will offer a better performance in long-range wind drift and bullet drop than the .22 mag and the .17HMR, and the company estimates it will have 150 percent more energy.
I was unable to get the suggested retail price, but it will be relatively lower and more affordable than traditional rimfire ammunition. Savage Arms is the first gun manufacturer that will be producing rifles for this new cartridge, and there are several other major manufacturers that are expected to follow (www.winchester.com).
As an avid turkey hunter, I was very interested in Hunter Specialties’ new Drummin’ Thunder kit that includes all the calls needed to locate and excite that big lovesick tom and bring him in. Toms can be found with the reed-type Loco Crow call built using engineered Green Mountain wood that’s pressure treated, tuned and then sealed for weather protection.
Now once set up, its time for the Drummin’ Thunder glass pan call and Mountain Camo striker to produce the raspy yelps and clucks that will get him headed in. Lastly, to get the tom into range, a few calls on the three-reed diaphragm should end the hunt successfully. I might have to bring one of these kits with me to Florida this March to help me call in an Osceola tom. Suggested retail price is $20 (www.hunterspec.com).
It has been my experience in the 13 SHOT Shows I have attended that the majority of firearms manufacturers introduce at least one new gun every year, and I believe there may be even more.
Remington has a new model 783. It’s a model 700 look-alike, a good-looking, bolt-action rife with an easy retail price of $451. The trend over the last few years in the firearms industry has been to offer a good-shooting, low-end-price rifle.
The Chiappa Firearms Triple Threat over/under, side-by-side tri-barrel shotgun really caught my eye. The sporting model has a full-length stock, the coach model with reduced stock and a pistol stock that meets Federal regulations. Both come with removable choke tubes. I watched the video of this gun in action, and it’s as fast as any semi-auto shotgun. The Triple Treat will carry a pricetag of $1,500.
I’ve been using and enjoying Crimson Trace Lasergrips for a long time on several of my handguns. It’s definitely a lot fun to place that red dot on the target, squeeze the trigger and put that round right where you want it. Now that the company has solved the power consumption, cold weather and overall size problems, they’ve incorporated the green laser to the LaserGrip line. All LaserGrips are pre-sighted at the factory out to 50 feet, are fully adjustable, feature the most powerful laser allowable by law and have a two-hour run time on No. 2032 batteries. Prices vary, depending on your handgun. Check them out at www.crimsontrace.com.
When I return from the SHOT Show, I’ll have a number of other new “must haves” to talk about in my “Best of SHOT Show 2013” selections.