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2007 SHOT Show Update

Speckmisser

Well-known member
Well, in lieu of a well-planned attack, I've decided to just go random this year.

Of course there are a lot of things you just have to touch, even though you have no intention of ever using it. Then there are things that drive you to distraction just figuring out what they do or who would buy them.

So anyway, in no particular order, here are a few things that some of you might find interesting.

Midland radios has finally released a waterproof GMRS radio in their H2O series (the GXT800). The top of the line sports a 20 mile range and all the features you'd expect (multiple channels, privacy channels, NOAA weather channel, etc.). Anticipated retail price should be below $200 when they hit the streets later this summer.

The venerable Maglight is moving to LED. Nothing new or special there, since there are already so many great LED flashlights on the market, but a product they'll be adding later in 2007 is an upgrade kit to change your old Maglight over to LED.

There are a lot of guns I didn't get to look at during the shoot day. Among them was Ruger, so when I had the opportunity I cruised over to their booth to see what's new.

Three new items stood out, among the many new offerings.

First, they've done some redesign on the M77. Called "the Hawkeye", the new rifle features sleeker lines, eliminating the bulky stock and some of the weight of the rifle. They've also reworked the trigger, reducing factory settings from 6-8lbs to around 4-4.5lbs. I dry fired the sample rifle and I had to admit that it did feel better than the my brother's old-styled M77. They have also incorporated a new, softer recoil pad.
[attachment=37706:attachment]
You might need it for the next item.

The second item is the new round they've developed, the .375 Ruger. This round is designed to offer the same performance as the .375 H&H, but the new cartridge is the same length as a standard 30-06. As a result, the new round functions in a regular long-action, and doesn't require the magnum action that the H&H round calls for. They'll be releasing the .375 Ruger in two versions of the new M77 Hawkeye... the Alaskan and the African.
[attachment=37708:attachment]

Third is a new Mini-14 Target model. The infamous accuracy (inaccuracy) of the standard Mini-14 has been the topic of some discussion on JHO recently, and has been talked about for years since this rifle was first introduced. It's a great truck gun, but it never did print the kind of groups you'd want to write home about. This new version, with it's adjustable muzzle weight, target barrel, and thumbhole stock, the new rifle is advertised to return MOA groups... definitely good enough for 100 yard varmint shooting.
[attachment=37707:attachment]

Moving along...

I dropped by to see if Thermacell was doing anything new. It's hard to improve their core product. It works as advertised, and I can personally attest to its effectiveness on both coasts. What they have done, though, is to create a version of their backyard lantern that should appeal to those who want a little less of the picnic look and prefer something a little more "stylish". The new Thermacell lantern incorporates the insect repellant unit into a small lamp that will look great around the pool or patio. In the lamp they have also put four LED bulbs, which offer a low setting (only two bulbs illuminated) or high (all four bulbs illumintated). It's a nice little touch.

One last topic for now (still a lot to see and I'm running out of day here)...

This isn't really new, but I don't think I've ever noticed how many "no-name" scopes are out there. I decided to cruise around and check some of them out.

Most of these are coming in from Asia, and very often they're pretty close replications of the big-name scopemakers' products. Nikon, particularly, seems to be copied a lot. Quality runs the gamut from cheap stuff that I wouldn't mount on a BB gun to some really nice glass that I would probably put up against the Bushnell and Burris. Some of them are even better. I'm curious to see which (if any) of these guys can make a dent in a market already so well represented by the household names in scopemakers... Bushnell, Leupold, Nikon, etc. But I also have to keep in mind that the SHOT Show is an international marketplace, and a lot of these things are destined for buyers in other countries.

Amongst those I had the opportunity to look at are scopes from Vortex (new to the scope market), Shirtstone (european styling), and Konus. Bear in mind that all of these were reviewed inside the convention center, sometimes without even a gun blank to mount them on, so my impressions are only rough, initial feedback. A real, field test is the only way to get a better sense of the quality and functionality.

That said, of the three I think the Vortex had some of the nicer glass. After several years in the optics business, this is their first year producing rifle scopes. I scanned the conference center with a sample scope, looking at bright walls, dark corners in the rafters, and even a couple of people sitting in an office window upstairs. I would feel completely comfortable relying on this glass to take my shot on an elk hunt. These will be priced in the range of the Nikon Monarch, and I think that's probably a fair match.

Shirtstone scopes were a little harder to judge. The illuminated reticles were nice, but due to the location of the booth it was hard to get a true test. They seemed clear enough, but I noticed some blurriness. I'd like to see how these work at the range. Pricewise, they will fall at the lower end of the spectrum.

I found the Konus scopes most interesting. They will be priced in the realm of the Simmons and Redfields, or slightly higher. However, the glass that I looked through was remarkably bright and clear. The scopes also seemed pretty well constructed, from the etched reticles to the metal caps on the windage and elevation adjustments. The adjustment knobs themselves are finger adjustable, and I found them nice and tight, with very definite clicks when I turned them. I don't know why, but this made me feel confident about the scope and the adjustments.

That's about it for now. I saw a lot of other stuff, but I'd be here all day if I tried to write about it. Besides, I need to save some for upcoming editions of the JHO Journal.

Just to repeat the caveat, all of these reviews are done in the convention hall, and often with prototype equipment. What I'm experiencing here is generally unscientific, first hand, kneejerk impressions. Real life mileage may vary.
 

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scr83jp

Well-known member
Did the exhibitors in the LE section offer free beer like they did at Vegas last year and did anyone check out the TC centerfire rifle?
 

Speckmisser

Well-known member
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (scr83jp @ Jan 13 2007, 07:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Did the exhibitors in the LE section offer free beer like they did at Vegas last year and did anyone check out the TC centerfire rifle?[/b]
Yes and yes.

Actually, the free beer thing is picking up in all of the areas. Several manufacturers and distributors had beer and wine at the end of each day. Shoot, Budweiser even hooked up the Press Room every afternoon at 4:30. Unfortunately, I seldom drink beer and nobody was handing out free tequila.


I almost missed the new TC rifle, the Icon, but I'm glad I caught it. It's a really nicely made gun (what would you expect from TC?). It seemed a little heavy, but I think that's because I'd been playing with all these lightweight Kimbers, Brownings, and such. Nice action and pretty good trigger pull (can't remember if it's adjustable or not). Unfortunately, I didn't get to shoot it. It's definitely worth taking a look at, if you're in the market.
 

Speckmisser

Well-known member
Check out Field and Stream.com, and go to Dave Petzal's gun blog. He had one of the F&S photographers go out and take a bunch of booth babe photos. They are relatively tame, since it IS Field and Stream mag, but it gives you a pretty good idea of things.
 


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