From new camouflage patterns to laser range-finding rifle scopes that illuminate the precise aiming point for any distance, all things hunting and shooting were being hawked last week at the annual Vegas bazaar known as the SHOT Show. “Hurry, hurry! Step right up! Get the world’s most powerful rifle cartridge…”
The Shooting and Hunting Trade Show is open to wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and media. The retailers discover and order the guns and gear they think their customers will want in the coming year. The media announce and explain this gear to gin up interest. Everyone gets filthy rich.
Okay, I made up that last part. Everyone tries to get rich, but most settle for another pay check or squeaking by. A few, having invested their life savings in the next “can’t miss” deer lure or one-handed, auto-unloading Tyrannosaurus rex stopping rifle, go bankrupt. You, my friends, get to determine this. So, to help you decide if and where to dispose of your vast quantities of disposable income, RonSpomerOutdoors.com presents a few products from the recent show…
Winchester 350 Legend
Brace yourselves. Another rifle cartridge. I know, we already have two for everything, but the 350 Legend (overly optimistic title, perhaps?) fits a growing niche — straight walled, centerfire rifle cartridges for Midwest deer hunting. Several former ”shotgun-only” states are now permitting rifle cartridges so long as they are 35-caliber or larger and not bottlenecked. Most of these are old fashioned “big-bores” from 40- to 50-caliber and kick like the proverbial mule. The idea behind Winchester’s 350 Legend is to maximize trajectory and efficient deer-killing power while minimizing felt recoil. I shot the 350 Legend and, as claimed by Winchester, it kicks about like a 243 Winchester. Maybe not that much. The sharply-tipped, 150-grain, Extreme Point bullet in Deer Season ammo should launch at 2,325 fps. Zeroed at 100 yards, it is just 1.5 inches high at 50 yards and 7.6 inches low at 200 yards where it still carries about 900 f-p energy. We’ll try to get a sample Winchester XPR rifle and do a thorough review.
Steyr’s “One Piece” Monobloc Rifle
It’s not really a one-piece rifle, but the barrel and action are one piece. Instead of screwing or press-fitting a barrel to an action, Steyr takes one billet of steel and hammers it around a mandrel to create the action, chamber, and rifled barrel. The bolt body, trigger group, safety, magazine, and stock are then added to create a unique rifle that should maximize accuracy potential by minimizing slight discrepancies in concentricity at the barrel/action joint. Other unique features are leather wrapped, removable fore-end, grip, and comb inserts that, along with interchangeable butt pads, permit wildly customizable sizing. One rifle should fit every member of a family. Or two.
Mossberg’s MC1sc Subcompact 9mm Pistol
At last count the world had only 73,941 auto-loading, striker-fired handguns. But no Mossberg handguns. Actually, and rather refreshingly, this new little MC1 Mossberg has features you don’t see on many, if any, 9mm pistols. The polymer, transparent magazines make it easy to see how many rounds are loaded. The take-down system is quick, easy, and requires no pull of the trigger. Sight options include built-in, red-dot laser and adjustable TruGlo Tritium night sights. During the SHOT Show media range day this compact little handgun looked right, felt right, and performed right.
SHAW Barrels Custom Rifles
One of the largest makers of rifle barrels in the U.S. (for 100 years) now offers customer-designed (right on the website) Mk. X rifles with integral Picatinny rails. Based on the Savage 110 bolt-action, the Mk. X action includes a heavy, integral recoil lug, screwed in barrels, detachable magazines, Timney Trigger or Savage AccuTrigger, Grade 5 walnut or laminated stock, and your choice of more than eighty cartridge chamberings. Barrels for .224s like 22-250 Remington with twists as fast as 1-6.5!
Leupold RBX-3000 Laser Rangefinder Binocular
Having a laser rangefinder in your binocular is the ultimate in convenience. One unit does everything, and this one reaches as far as 3,000 yards. An atmospheric sensor reads temperature, air pressure, and humidity. True Ballistic Range computes for angles, too. Optical quality is high thanks to Leupold’s Twilight Max HD Light Management System, a fancy title for the best anti-reflection multi-coatings, blackened lens edges, HD glass, etc. All the bells and whistles are in this unit.
Riton Optics SHOT Show News
The exciting news from this US military veteran-owned company is not so much its rugged, high-end tactical scopes as the new hunting scopes in development. I spoke with the company president who told me the current line of RT-S MOD 1, 3, 5, and 7 scopes are being slimmed, trimmed and optimized for performance in fields, woods, plains, and mountains. If they exhibit the optical and mechanical performance of Riton’s tactical line, hunters will have some sweet options at agreeable prices. Stay tuned to this up and coming brand.
Swarovski dS Smart Scope Rangefinder
Scopes with built-in rangefinders are getting better and better, the best coming from high-end makers. Swarovski, unfortunately, became a victim of the recent Federal government shutdown which prevented them from receiving some kind of red tape OK to import and sell their latest dS laser scope. That should be cleared up soon, now that the Feds are opening again. So check swarovskioptik.com soon for complete details on this 5-25x52mm scope. It should make targeting steel to extreme ranges faster and easier than ever.
Here’s another military vet start-up company displaying at SHOT show 2019. Don’t worry. This is not the DDT that kills falcons and eagles. It kills the pain in your back from carrying a too-heavy pack. CEO and military vet Pete Berni is designing and building functional packs that don’t weigh 10 pounds before you even start loading them. Effective (but not overbuilt) shoulder straps and hip belts. Lots of pockets for organizing gear. Strong, durable fabrics that don’t fight you on opening. And a lifetime warranty. If it breaks, they fix it for free. Stay tuned for more details on DDT packs we’ll be testing in 2019.
Norma Bond Strike Bullets
Norma continues to “Americanize” its high-quality ammunition. This year new packaging wraps Norma’s best long-range hunting bullet ever, the high B.C., controlled-expansion, bonded, polymer tipped BondStrike. Initial offerings in .308 caliber should expand quickly to other popular mid-caliber hunting cartridges. Watch for tan boxes with game animals and a red Norma logo.
Going to the Dogs With Purina Probiotics
Hunting dogs aren’t left out at SHOT. Sport Dog, DT Systems, Garmin, DogTra and others were showcasing their latest e-collars, bird launchers, dummies and more. But Purina might have introduced the most welcome product for many dog owners — Calming Care. This probiotic supplement reduces anxiety and related behaviors like nuisance barking, whining, pacing, and jumping. Better dog behavior through modern chemistry. Or at least modern medicine. I’m looking forward to trying Calming Care on my setter to see if it reduces her car sickness. She gets so stressed about car rides that she starts drooling like a starving wolf before I even open the door.
There is no conclusion. With some 14 miles of aisles winding past thousands of booths, the SHOT show offers more products than we could write about with daily blogs for a year. By summer most of this stuff should be on dealer shelves. You’ll have to scour the web for the rest of it. And we’ll bring you as many reviews as we can. Or you can just take grandpa’s old lever-action 30-30 and go hunting. That’s the best part anyway, isn’t it?
The author has been slogging SHOT show aisles for more years than he cares to recall. This year he paced 10 miles the first day alone.