SHOT Show Reports


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Okie dokie! Well, it looks like I'm running solo for the SHOT Show this year, but I'll do what I can.

Yesterday was the range day, and as always it was a kick in the britches to get out and shoot all the guns. The bright side was that I had a great time. The not-so-great side is that there really wasn't a whole lot of outstanding new stuff... at least not that I saw or experienced. I may have missed something here or there.


First, I shot some of the new Winchester ammo. Of course, at Range Day you're shooting with a few hundred other people, and there are no breaks to go downrange and check your targets. As a result, it's pretty hard to tell how your shots are grouping. It's also obvious that a lot of the scopes were never zeroed, so sometimes it was a challenge just to hit the target. Fortunately, there were a lot of reactive targets downrange like bowling pins and spinners, so at least you could shoot at things from 50 to 100 yards.

The PowerMax bonded is designed for "massive expansion" without blowing up. It's made with game like whitetail deer in mind, and I can see where it would probably do a real good job. It isn't a super-hot load, so shooting it wasn't much different than any other standard rifle cartridge. That's about all I can say since I didn't get to try to group it, or use it on critters.

I also shot the Dual Bond saboted shotgun slug. OMG! I'll have to check my notes on the product name, but one of the new loads offers a 12ga slug that's coming down the pipe at over 2000fps! That's hot for a shotgun, and you feel it when you shoot it... but I was whacking bowling pins at 100 yards with it over and over again.

I messed around with several other guns including Ruger's Alaskan Hawkeye in .416 RCM (Ruger Compact Magnum) and the #1 in .300 RCM. I ended up the day putting a few rounds downrange with one of Savage's new Accustock rifles. I guess you're not really going to feel the difference in the gun, but it did seem to be much less punishing than my old, wood-stocked Savage 110.

More details are available on the Hog Blog, for those who are interested.



Well-known member
Day one at the big event...

I'm kinda taking it easy and formulating a plan of attack today, but I did get out and talk to some folks.

Big trend for firearms? Adjustable or "custom" triggers! I'm not sure who started it, but I'll give credit to Savage for their "Accu-Trigger". Right on their heels came Browning/Winchester with the Feather Trigger and MOA. This year, Remington is among others jumping in with the X-Mark Pro.

I'll be following this up, of course, to see who else is getting in on the trend. More later.

Other stuff of note is Remington's new "Copper Solid" ammo. As of last year, Remington had planned to meet the lead-free demand by loading Lapua's copper bullets. For whatever reason, that didn't work out and Remington has now created their own copper bullets. I'll get into more technical info later, but the new bullets include a controlled-expansion, hollow-point with a polymer tip. It's reminiscent of the Barnes TSX.

Production is just now underway (they were shooting reloads from the custom shop at the range day yesterday), but they hope to have the ammo on the market by March. Initial chamberings will include the .30 and .277 calibers. Pricing will likely be on par with other non-lead ammo offerings.

They've also got a frangible bullet for the varmint hunters, the Remington Disintegrator. This bullet is available in .223Rem (5.56) and 22-250.

No word yet from Remington on a lead-free rimfire, although I was told that they are working on one as we speak.

Had a chance to drop by and talk to the good people at Winchester Ammunition today also, in hopes of learning more about their new .22LR and .22WMR ammo. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of info available from the fella I spoke to. He gave me the catalog and sort of left it at that. I'll probably go back and see if I can get some time from one of the developers/engineers before the week is up.

Winchester had no good news for other calibers at this point. From what I could see, the ETip is still only available in the .30 and .277.

Lots more to do and see...


Good stuff Phil. If you see any 12 ga. lead free slugs glom some samples to pattern if you can.


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Jesse you looking for sabots or solids? Beau coup sabot loads, including that bad to the bone round I was shooting at Winchester. 2000fps!

Samples are hard to get this year, although I need to start talking to the PR folks about samples, and just stick to technical questions with the engineers.


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Hit the ground running today, and spent a lot of time chasing down lead-free ammo, but also managed to swing by and visit with some of the more interesting/intriguing products.

First, quick update on the lead-free story... no news. I had some great conversations with engineers from Barnes and Lapua, but the bottom line is that they really aren't doing anything shockingly new. Barnes' big thing this year is their line of bullets for military and law enforcement use. These bullets are really just variations on the current line of products, the TSX and Varmint Grenade... although the thought of a .50BMG Varmint Grenade striking target... WOW!

I still need to follow up with Winchester regarding their non-lead .22LR, so more to come on that for sure. I'm also supposed to go see the folks at Federal to see if they've got anything new coming down the pike. I heard some interesting rumors, but really need to get them validated.

Oh... and Jesse, nothing available for me to "glom", but Hastings has some copper slugs coming down the pike this spring. There is a copper sabot (the sabot used for these is a proprietary design, and should be interesting), and a copper solid for smoothbores. Nothing is in production yet, and who knows what may change between now and release, but they do look like good options for the slug gun hunter.

I've been poking around the flashlight manufactures a little bit too. There's a whole science that goes into these lights, and I know next to nothing about it... but what I do know is that I'm still looking for a lightweight headlight that is bright enough to blood-trail with. I've seen some bright headlamps, but they are generally far too heavy to wear for very long. Energizer and Surfire both had some pretty impressive units, so I'll be exploring those a little more this weekend.

Later tonight, I'll update the Hog Blog with more reports and some photos.


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Little update... some things I didn't think to write about yesterday.

First of all, there are some interesting changes happening in the outdoors media. The Bonnier Group, parent company whose holdings include Field and Stream and Outdoor Life magazines, has recently announced a partnership with the Outdoor Channel. Now that may not mean a lot to most folks, but I found it pretty intriguing, especially in light of the current state of print media. As magazines struggle to keep their place in the current environment, TV and the Internet are still doing OK. I can see some pretty incredible opportunities with the resources and technology of an electronic media company like Outdoor Channel mixed with the content and industry expertise of some of the Bonnier Group's holdings.

Speaking of media and computers, I had the opportunity to meet with the creators of a pretty cool new online game. The Hunter is a first-person hunting game, and at first glance it really didn't seem all that much different than the better hunting games that are already out there. But on taking a little closer look, these folks have a really great idea.

First of all, the idea behind this game is the creation of a community... very similar in a lot of ways to the social networks. Game participants become part of the community, and have the opportunity to interact within and without the game environment. And yeah, I know, Deer Hunter Tournament has created a similar online environment, but I don't know how well it's gone over so far. The approach is different, however... at least from what I got to see in the guided demo. First and foremost, it's not a multi-player game environment. You "hunt" alone, and then share your experiences (both in the game and in real life) with others in the network.

Anyway, the whole thing looks pretty cool. I'm hoping to participate in the Beta testing program, and I'll get a much better idea as it goes. I'll let ya'll know how it turns out. In the meantime, if you're interested, head on over to and take a look.

More to come from Day 3... and I need to get my butt on over there now!


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What should I report today?

I finally made my way over to the clothing and gear section, and spent several hours and a lot of boot leather looking for something that made me want to actually stop and talk to the representatives. Unfortunately, very little got me very excited.

I stopped off at the Kings Outdoor booth to see what they had going on. They've expanded their line into more patterns and fabrics, but like everyone else, they have this emphasis on fleece. Anyone who's hunted through the hitchhikers and burrs knows what happens to fleece... even the stuff with a very low nap. You become the amazing velcro person.

I want to see something with the burr-shedding properties of denim or canvas, but the weatherproofing and comfort of fleece. There must be SOMETHING out there that is warm, but not too hot, and sheds water and wind. Is that too much to ask?

The cool thing at the King's Outdoor booth was running into the ladies from High Maintenance Camo. They're expanding their line to include some King's Patterns. I've already forgotten which of the sisters I was talking to, but she explained how they ended up sharing booth space with King's. (It reminded me of what a logistical miracle it is to put one of these shows together.) Apparently things are going really well for the High Maintenance family business, despite scheduling setbacks at the SHOT Show.

I also had time to stop in at the Rivers West booth to chat about their new products. The Outback is their new, lightweight line of gear, and it's much needed for those of us who hunt on our feet in warmer places. It still offers the same toughness and durability, as well as the guarantee. There is also the packable, Spider jacket.

In addition to these lines, Rivers West is expanding their women's clothing lines.

One other vendor I had to stop and speak to was Featherflage. I know that this stuff looks gimmicky as all get out, but it works! Not only does it work, it works in many different environments... not just the duck marsh. I'm shocked that some of the major waterfowl organizations haven't adopted these guys as the "official" camo. Maybe CWA should get in touch with them.

I'll be putting up more, along with a couple of photos, on the Hog Blog tonight. Stay tuned.

Tomorrow is the show wrap-up. I'm pretty worn out, but I'm sure I'll find something to see and talk about tomorrow.


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Had a nice chat with the folks from Hornady today, regarding their entry into the non-lead ammo line. They'll be introducing a bullet made of gilding metal with a polymer tip, very similar in appearance to the Nosler ETip. The initial run should be available by summer, 2009, and they'll be releasing bullets in .277 (.270/7mm) and in .30 cal (I think the first one will be a 150gr, but they'll also have some different sizes right behind it). Unfortunately, there's nothing in the LeverEvolution line at this time, although the engineer assured me that they were working on it. Apparently there are some challenges due to the bullet composition and the Flex tip.

One of the things the Hornady bullet does offer is enhanced expansion at very high velocities. A reported weakness of the Barnes bullets is the tendency to shear petals at high speed, so you end up with nothing but a blank of copper poking straight through the animal. I've heard this can happen with the ETips as well. Generally, these manufacturers will advise loading to a lower velocity to get the proper terminal performance.

Oh, and speaking of the ETips, Nosler is releasing them in a 90gr 6mm (.243) and in .338 later this year. That will expand the options a bit more for CA hunters.

Some of you probably already saw the press release Jesse posted yesterday, regarding Brenneke's new copper slug. I haven't been able to speak to anyone there, but that will definitely put one more player into the mix.

On other fronts, I had the chance to take a look around at rangefinding binoculars. I realize that most folks are perfectly happy keeping their rangefinders and binoculars separate, but I much prefer the convenience of having my gear in a single package. I already carry too much crap. Many years ago, I bought a set of Bushnell's rangefinding binos, and while they were functional they were far from perfect. I finally retired them and picked up one of the Leicas, and it's hard to turn back.

It turns out that Bushnell is taking their RFB back to the drawing board, and it wasn't on display this year. According to the Bushnell representative, they'll be doing some upgrades and moving this glass into the higher end of the market. I think that's a good call.

I found Leupold's RXB IV to be an ugly offering, but what it lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up in the lightweight package. This glass is available only in 9x32, which is a compromise (I guess) between the 8x and 10x offerings from other companies. The RXB includes the True Ballistic Range functionality, which gives you the true, horizontal distance to the target when you are shooting at an angle.

Zeiss has also incorporated an angle compensation technology into their brand-new rangefinding bino. I looked at the Zeiss prototype last year, and of course (being Zeiss) it was impressive. The cost, of course, will give many people pause as well, but if you're looking at quality optics on this level, you should expect to pay a lot.

I'll try to get all my thoughts together soon, and offer some kind of a SHOT Show wrap-up later. It's been a long four days... and all I want now is a nice, strong drink and a comfy bed.

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