As an avid small game hunter, I spend quite a bit of time at the SHOT Show looking at, touching and shouldering all the new shotguns, and usually pick a 12- or 20-gauge for my best of show, but not this year.
I found my choice, of all places, in the tactical/law enforcement section of the show at the American Tactical booth hanging among all the modern sporting rifles. It was a .410-gauge Cavalry SX over/under imported shotgun.
Looks are what caught my eye on this one with its Turkish walnut oil-finished stock, crisp checkering and side plate engraving. When I picked it up, it was light and well balanced. Technically, it had everything one would want in an over/under.
The features on this little .410 include 4140 chrome moly steel, blued, 26-inch barrels, chrome plated inside and out; it’s chambered in three-inch magnum; has a single selective trigger; brass front bead sight; and comes with five interchangeable chokes (cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified and full). The Suggested retail price, which is usually higher than retail, for the Cavalry SX is $490, making it an excellent buy. Check the 20- and 12-gauge models (www.americantactical.us).
Crossbows were well represented at this year’s show, and I was able to make my selection at the media day at the range when I shot the Bednar family’s new sleek Tenpoint Stealth SS. With temperatures in the low 20s and wind gusting to 25 mph, I was able to put my first shot in the center bull’s-eye of the target shooting from a sitting position.
This model has an XLT bow assembly and new Functionally Superior Bullpup (FSB) stock that combine to create the shortest overall length of 34.4 inches, and its just 171⁄2 inches wide. It weighs 6.8 pounds, and the 121⁄2-inch power stroke sends a 425-grain Pro Lite arrow off at 352 feet per second and delivers 105 foot pounds of kinetic energy. It comes with a 3X Pro View scope.
The Stealth SS is also offered in a package that includes the ACUdraw 50 cocking mechanism, instant detach three-arrow quiver, ambidextrous, side-mount quiver bracket, three-pack of TenPoint Pro Elite carbon arrows with practice points, instructional DVD and Tenpoint vehicle window sticker. Suggested retail price is $1,119.
You can also upgrade to their state-of-the-art ACUdraw cocking mechanism that is fully integrated into the stock and requires only the strength of the average person’s index finger to operate. Suggested retail price with this ACUdraw mechanism is $1,219 (www.tenpointcrossbows.com).
I read about a new, two-shot over/under-type compact handgun prior to attending the show and decided to stop by the booth and see if it qualified for my carry gun category, and it definitely did. Fortunately, I got to speak with Ray Kohout, the inventor and founder of DoubleTap Defense.
His company has developed an ultra-compact, no-snag pistol in .45 or 9 mm caliber built on a titan-ium or aluminum frame utilizing Azimuth Technology manufacturing. New York state pistol permit holders, especially those with an unrestricted pistol license, should take a look at this gun.
It has a MIL-STD finish that resists corrosion, three-inch stainless steel standard or ported barrels to reduce muzzle flip and recoil, slim no-snag hammerless design for easy pocket carry, ambidextrous thumb latch to eject rounds, integral grips that house additional rounds,
double-action trigger and a choice of aluminum or titanium frame.
The DoubleTap dimensions are 3.9 inches tall, .665 inches wide, and 5.5 inches long. The aluminum version weighs 12 oz., the titanium 14. Suggested retail price for non-ported aluminum is $499; titanium, $729. Porting is an additional $70. Extra barrels .45 or 9mm are $199 non-ported; $269 ported (www.-doubletapdefensellc.com).
With all the talk about today’s modern sporting rifles, I found one I really fell in love with. It has a pistol grip, drop-down magazine that holds at least 50 rounds, etc. I can’t wait to get this out into the woods to hunt for the ingredients of a good squirrel or rabbit stew.
Not wanting to break any of the new laws, I called the state police information number, and the officer I talked to assured me of its legality. Now that I know I have your attention, I’ll reveal it’s the new Crosman MSR77 NP break-action air rifle designed from the Vietnam-era service rifle.
What makes it more than just a single-shot target rifle? It has a muzzle velocity up to 1,200 feet per second and delivers 18 foot pounds of energy.
Other features include the Crosman Nitro Piston technology, 70 percent less noise than other break barrels, a smooth-cocking force, quicker locking time and less recoil. As for the drop-down magazine, it’s a built-in for ammo storage. The MSR77 weighs just seven pounds, has a rifled steel barrel, two-stage trigger and sling mounts. Suggested retail price of the MSR77 without optics is $275; with optics, $300 (www.crosman.com).
Here’s a knife that never requires sharpening. It’s the Havalon Piranta-Edge. Replacement blades are why this folding knife is unique and always sharp. It’s 71⁄4 inches long opened, has a rubber blaze orange easy-grip handle with black inlay, liner lock construction and pocket clip.
I’ve been using one of their similar knives for some time and know this new model, a bit bigger than mine, is ideal for skinning, caping and field-dressing. The razor-sharp blade requires a lot less pressure, especially when working in a deer’s cavity. Each knife includes 12 additional stainless steel No. 60XT blades. It’s a great carry knife and has an suggested retail price of $37 (www.havalon.com).
Big game hunters, especially those who hunt high country, will want to look at Lowa’s new Hunter GTX Extreme. These boots have the new crampon-and spike-compatible Masia outsole combined with the new Polyurethane midsole package and what I consider something all boots should have, their new hardware X-Lacing and shaped rubber rand for durability and abrasion resistance. The Hunter has a Nubuck leather upper and Gore-Tex liner that’s
waterproof and breathable. The PrimaLoft insulation adds to comfort and warmth.
The tall shaft of this boot provides maximum angle stability when moving over rough ground. Other important features include climate-control system, C4 comfort tongue system for when laces are tightened, asymmetric walking position — the optimum for better balance and angle for less fatique — and spring lace hook system that spreads lace tension evenly. The Hunter GTX EVO Extreme is offered in medium and wide widths and an antique brown color. Suggested retail price is $435 (www.-lowaboots.com).
Bird hunters, — and this includes turkey hunters — who need and want a quicker acquisition of their target should take a look at Konus’ new Sight-Pro TR. This sight has four interchangeable reticle patterns that can be illuminated in either red or green, and it has five variable power intensities.
The Sight-Pro TR can be attached to Picatinny rail or three-eigths-inch models, common on .22s. I noticed when I held it, the solidness of the knurled rings around the glass adds to its stability. The Sight-Pro TR is 4.75 inches long, weighs 13 ounces, and is covered by the Konus Lifetime replacement policy. Suggested retail price is $219 (www.konususa.com).
Last week, I actually gave readers a little hint on what this week’s challenge was going to be when I introduced Savage’s new 17-caliber B.MAG rimfire rifle and how “we” might be going to tip over a turkey.
That’s my second hunting challenge for 2013. Savage plans to release this new rifle sometime in spring or early summer, and I’ll be testing it in the fall during the Pennsylvania wild turkey season, which allows hunting them with a rifle. This will be my first rimfire turkey hunt.
Winchester recently introduced the 17 Win Super Mag rimfire cartridge after several years of research. This new hotshot has a 3,000 feet-per-second velocity when it leaves the barrel, and 400 foot-pounds of energy. It retains almost 300 foot-pounds out to 100 yards.
This rifle and this cartridge are going to be a game changer for coyote and varmint hunters, and hopefully a surprise for a Pennsylvania tom (www.winchester.com).