Five Great Products from Media Day at the Range

The 2014 SHOT Show started with a bang. Actually lot’s of bangs. I went to the Media Day at the Range to see what great new gear is coming out this year. I was definately impressed. So now, in no particular order, are five great products from this year’s Media Day.

 

Winchester Long Beard XROLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s something that will definately drop the hammer on some gobblers. The Winchester Shot Lok XR looks like a normal shot shell from the outside but inside is something revolutionary.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In a traditional shot shell, there are lots of little spaces between the pellets. When force is applied to the shot column, the pellets at the bottom are moving faster than the pellets at the top. This causes them to move into the empty spaces and deform. Deformed pellets won’t fly straight and decrease how many land on target. With the Winchester Shot Lok, that’s no longer a problem. They fill the entire shot column with a resin so force is evenly distributed throughout. This prevents the pellets from defroming. With less deformed pellets you can put more metal down range and more meat on the table.

 

Beretta Pico

Beretta Pico

This is a little gun with a big punch. The Beretta Pico is chambered in .380 and fits in the palm of your hand. Everything is designed for ease of carry, right down to the magazine release hidden in the trigger guard. That way nothing catches when you’re drawing the pistol and you won’t accidently drop the mag when you hold it. The sight picture is clear and re-aligns quickly for follow up shots. I’ve been carrying the Ruger LC9 but I might have something new to consider.

 

Redring Shotgun Sight

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I first saw this I was skeptical. Could a laser sight on your shotgun really make a difference? Ask the pile of busted clays in front of the Redring booth and you’ll get your answer. This sight affixes to any standard shotgun rib without special tools and will improve your accuracy dramatically. It’s parallax free so you can keep both eyes open as you bring the barrel on target. It’s so smooth even my middling shotgun skills were approaching a 99% hit rate.

 

Kriss Vector Series

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What can I say? These guns are AMAZING! The Kriss system directs the force of the recoil down instead of straight back at the shooter. Not only does this reduce felt recoil, it reduces muzzle rise dramatically. I dumped an entire mag on full auto and saw almost no muzzle rise. It’s chambered in .45 ACP but it feels like you’re shooting a BB gun. Not only that but these guns just look cool. I also had the opportunity to put some rounds down range with the Sphinx series of handguns. Part of the Kriss group, Sphinx are a series of handguns that deliver the same Swiss reliability and performance of the Kriss long guns. While lacking the magical recoil diverting technology of the Kriss, Sphinx pistols only rise vertically. No angled blowback to fight with while re-aquiring the sight picture. The gun goes bang, goes straight up, and then easily settles right back down. Truely an amazing family of firearms.

 

17 Winchester Super Magnum

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another great line of ammo from Winchester. The .17 Super Mag scoots along between 2,600 and 3,000 fps depending on the grain. That’s enough speed to give Mr. Coyote a headache or completely evoporate a praire dog. I was shooting the 25 gr polymer tip rounds and putting tight groups down range. For those of you dreaming of a pickup truck, a spotlight, and dusk are all you need for a weekend of fun then this is the ammo for you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stay tuned for more updates about all the great new stuff coming out at this year’s ShotShow.

-Richard Hammack

Advertisements

SHOT Show 2014

SHOT Show 2014 is right around the corner. This year is going to be big. How big? Here’s a little infographic that tells you everything you need to know.

https://i1.wp.com/thumbnails.visually.netdna-cdn.com/how-big-is-the-shot-show_52caf4735d725_w587.png

You read that right, thirteen acres of shooting, hunting, and outdoor products! The Vigorous Chase will be right there giving you all the new information you need. Stay tuned for daily updates coming to you from the show floor as we see what great new gear is coming for 2014!

Les dernières cartouches

Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe_de_Neuville_-_Les_dernières_cartouches_(1873)Behold, Les dernières cartouches, a glimpse at the battle of Bazeilles. Alphonde de Neuville painted this majestic work in 1873. The battle had been fought only a few years before and had changed the world. It was this vision that blazed vividly in my mind while out on an excursion.

I was seeing this painting in the curling smoke of my Pietta made .44 Navy Colt from Cabela’s. I was squirrel hunting in the foothills of Colorado and slinging lead into trees like Doc Holiday on a bend. My hammer clicked and I began to reload. Doing that with a gun designed in 1851 isn’t easy. It’s what got me thinking about the painting and the battle that went with it.

The battle Alphonde painted was fought in Bazeilles France, a little town just a few kilometers from the modern border with Belgium. On September 1, 1870, a division of French Troupes de Marine ambushed an attacking Bavarian army. The battle was a defensive reargard to slow the Northern German juggernaut. Napolean III and his army were encircled in Sedan and Bazeilles was on its flank. Beginning before dawn, a battle took place that saw the town change hands four times. At the end of the day over 5,000 Bavarians and 3,000 Frenchman lay dead. The Marines fought to the last bullet, in the last house, on the way to Sedan. Ultimately the battle was a loss for the French and Sedan fell. Napolean III was captured and the French Second Republic ended. Paris fell the following January. While the embers of Paris still burned, the triumphant German Confederation met at Versailles. Several German duchies and municipalities merged with Prussia to create the modern German state. Alphonde’s painting shows the inside of the last house in Bazeilles. A weary soldier from the colonies stares into the afternoon longlight. His comrade fires his Chassepot at the Bavarians in the street. A bearded veteran is kneeling in the middle ground, reaching into the last box of bullets. If the French could massacre 5,000 of Bavaria’s finest with bullets made of paper, maybe I could shoot a squirrel or two.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaper cartridges have been in use since the firearm became portable. They are simple to make and save time down the road. This method is designed for my revolver. It probably won’t work for long gun cartridges.

I use only the finest quality French cigarette papers. Zig-zag 1 1/4 inch are the easiest to work with. The ‘light’ zig-zags are too fragile and tear when rolling. To begin, set your powder measure to how many grains you want to throw. Consult your guns’ manual to see how much powder to use. Once you have your powder measure set it’s time to begin rolling. Simply set a wad and ball on top of the powder measure and wrap the paper around it.

Cartouche

Twist the paper around the top and hold the ball in place. Wrap the paper around the powder measure and moisten it. Don’t lick it. After a few rolls you’ll have lead and gunpowder all over your fingers. You don’t want to be licking that. Once the paper is wet, turn the whole setup upside down and let the powder fill the paper tube.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith a little practice, you can begin to crank them out. It becomes meditative. Once I’ve compiled enough for some serious range time I’ll post a follow up with results.

-Richard Hammack

A Gentleman Owns More Than One Suit

Go google “best gun for survival” and as of today you get 30,600,000 returns. The argument goes something like this…

GunGuy1:”The best gun in the entire world is x”

GunGuy2: makes valid point about gun x that it may not be the best but is still a good gun:

GunGuy1:”WHat ar you Hitlers! you must be retard or SOmething!!!1!!11!!”

This conversation goes back and forth for way to long.

I do not believe in the best of anything. Can you imagine the best screwdriver? A gun is a tool. It is a very specific tool with millions of permutations. There is no such gun that is perfect for everything. Let’s look at different guns and see what they have to offer.

Hunting Rifle:

When you really want to reach out and touch something, this is what you want. In a prolonged disaster situation, food becomes a priority. A .30-06 or 7mm bolt action with a scope will bring home dinner. Lighter calibers like the .30-30 offer similar game getting capabilities but with less recoil. A lever action .30-30 would offer the advantage of quick shooting in a defensive situation. Hitting game at 300 yards and hitting people at 300 yards are two different stories. Defending a house in an urban setting would be an area the hunting rifle may fall short. A situation that requires you to shelter in place and defend your home from multiple aggressors would require faster shooting and lighter loads. An advantage of hunting rifles is the popularity of the cartridge. In a prolonged disaster situation ammunition stocks may run low. The popularity of these cartridges in North America would increase your odds of coming across more should your own supplies dwindle.

Assault Rifle:

Everybody loves machine guns. It’s a fact. Britain conquered the world  using single shot muzzle loading muskets. I remember watching Zulu Dawn and thinking, “If the redcoats had some AK’s that would have been way easier.” This exposition will only cover two rifles: the AK and the AR. Please don’t get sad that I don’t cover your favorite assault rifle. This is to discuss two very popular rifles in America right now. The AK-47 is the most used assault rifle on the planet. It has fought in conflicts of every imaginable terrain, climate, and scale and repeatedly proved its worth. It’s so simple you can train an illiterate goat-herder from Central Asia to use it in 5 minutes. The 7.62 x 39 is heavy enough to drop attackers quickly and can even drop medium sized game within distance. I live in a suburban environment and envision a shelter in place scenario. When the food where I live runs out, I don’t need to be shooting anything beyond 100 yards. I’ll be dealing with looters or foragers. I want a nice, reliable, fast gun that will keep my home protected. A drawback to the AK vs the AR is the range. Sure, you can make it into a Druganov clone to increase the accuracy but the load is too light to take anything bigger than mule deer. The AR (and its descendents) is an exceptional rifle that offers the rapid fire needed in a close quarter urban environment. The low muzzle velocity and high energy create startling wound profiles on game and hostiles alike. The AR has been fielded in multiple environments and come up shy on just one facet, reliability. AR’s are built with extremely tight tolerances. These tolerances allow the AR to put rounds on target well past 700 yards. This also proves to be its downfall when operating in dirty, grimy conditions. Jamming in the middle of a gunfight sounds like no fun. If you found an AR and an AK in a mud puddle filled with sand you have two options. Pick up the AR, field strip it, clean every nook and cranny and hope it works. Or you could pick up the AK, urinate in the action, cycle it a few times and be ready to party. A definite advantage of the AR over the AK is its modularity. I’ve heard it called Barbie for boys. Every imaginable pistol grip, stock, magazine, scope, and doo dad can be mounted on the AR to fit the owners needs. An AR also has the advantage of using the 5.56 NATO round. This could be an advantage if the disaster takes the shape of some blue bonnets coming over our hills.

Shotgun:

It takes big game. It takes small game. It takes birds. It takes aggressors without even aiming. The shotgun is definitely a tool I want to have if the SHTF. The same gun can be used for multiple purposes depending on the ammunition. Light loads for the daily small game and birds it would take to maintain calories, slugs for the occasional big game. I would argue pump over auto for simplicity sake. I can fix my Remington 870 Express but my brother’s Benelli is like a rubix cube. Even if you get stuck with a basement full of cheap target loads you can make cut shells. The shotgun may be great for all sorts of situations but its range may leave something to be desired. Anything beyond 100 yards will merely be irritated by the noise of the gun and remain injury free.

Black Powder:

Hear me out. My Model 1851 Confederate Navy .44 is deadly. I take squirrel and rabbit with it easily. I can use up black powder on small game before dipping into any “real” ammo. It’s a cheap and easy way to prolong the home magazine. What about caps? Those will run out before the powder surely?. To that I say Ha! Flintlock! And I also say don’t call me Shirley. Our forefathers defeated the largest army in the world using flintlocks. The Zulu’s may have smashed the British at Islandlwana but we started the tradition of whipping her majesty’s soldiers way before they did.

Handguns:

100% necessary. A large caliber handgun such as the .44 magnum or a Desert Eagle .50 will easily take large animals within range. A handgun is also essential when it comes to self-defense. The abundance of handgun ammunition will ensure supplies last if the SHTF. Handguns do not have anything near the power or range of the other guns listed here. A handgun is certainly something you want to have in the toolkit if things get ugly. I would again argue revolver over automatic for simplicity. The revolver certainly falls short in the capacity department when compared to semi-autos.

So what are we going to do? There are several things at play here but for me a chief concern is price. My Scottish blood turns to ice when I look at the prices of guns and ammunition. The reason I’m such an AK fanboy has two reasons, durability and price. I may be planning for the apocalypse but I still have bills to pay right now. An AK-47 in America should cost $400 with two magazines and a cleaning kit, new in cosmoline. An AR will be double that. For a rifle you can get a .30-06 bolt action for $200 (minus scope). How about a Nagant? You can equip your whole family with the same rifle Simo Häyhä used for $600! A shotgun will run anywhere from $80 for a single shot .410 up into the $300’s for a good pump action. What about the price of ammo? Shotgun shells can be accumulated in larger amounts for a lower price than rifle ammo. Consider the cost saving of having your weapons be of a uniform caliber. Think pistol caliber rifles combined with handguns of the same caliber. A .40 carbine with a .40 on your hip will provide several methods to eat food and deter people with ill intent. Black powder is crazy cheap. You can melt down anything metal for bullets and shoot for eons. If you want to get creative you can even make black powder from scavenged resources.

So what then is the best gun to have if things got really, really, bad?If you haven’t seen the light yet let me help you. If you got through the first paragraph and said ‘tldr’ here’s a picture instead of words.

a tool for every purpose

-Richard Hammack