SHOT Show Day 2

by Boge Quinn

photography by Boge Quinn

 

American Derringer made its name with its M-1 .45 Colt/.410 bore over/under Derringer pistols, and the company continues to grow with a plethora of Derringer-type offerings available in a vast array of calibers and grades of ornamentation. I know a lot of guys who absolutely love these little pistols, and their continued popularity since the nineteenth century is a testament to their design.

Armalite has many new and exciting offerings for 2001, among which are the AR10T .308 "flat-top" semi-auto carbine. This appears to be a very well-made piece, and Armalite seems to be well-positioned to take advantage of the positive changes in the political climate. Look for us to test the AR10T and other Armalite offerings soon!

Ballisticast, Inc. is making some very nice products for those amongst us who cast our own bullets, and for industrial use. Their lubri-sizer is a unique and interesting design that sizes bullets "backwards" and does away with the need for having a variety of nose pieces on-hand. The folks at Ballisticast were excited at the prospect of being featured on GunBlast.com and will be sending us products for evaluation soon.

Ballisticast, Inc. also has a line of premium-grade bullet molds available. They specialize in large-caliber flat-point, Keith-style, and LBT-style bullets, and they have the capability to make high-quality molds in virtually any style imaginable.

We have known for years that Barnes Bullets are some of the best available in the industry, and we have always heard that the folks at Barnes are some of the nicest and most accommodating folks you're likely to meet. We found this to be "true" at the SHOT show, as Barnes' Jessica Treu was most cooperative with us in every way. Not only was she willing to commit Barnes to sending us anything in their catalog for testing, but Barnes will be sending us new products while still in the design phase. GunBlast.com (and you, our readers) will be able to have input and suggestions as to what we are looking for in high-performance bullets!

Barrett Firearms is located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and not only are they our neighbors (a couple of hours East of us), they are one of the most innovative companies around. Barrett pretty much established the modern trend of manufacturing practical weapons in .50 BMG caliber. They began making guns for military and police snipers effective at a range of 1 MILE (yes, I said MILE) or greater, and thus were well-positioned with established designs when the craze for sporting .50 BMG rifles began. For those who are unfamiliar with the .50 BMG (Browning Machine Gun) cartridge, it looks like a .30-06 on steroids. Designed as a heavy machine-gun, anti-aircraft and anti-tank round, the empty case is about 6 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, and fires a bullet of 750 grains or more at velocities approaching 3000 feet per second. The ballistic coefficient of the .50 BMG bullet is optimal for long-range accuracy, and the Barrett rifles are built to take advantage of this inherent accuracy. Chris Barrett is pictured with their Model 99 line of bolt-action single-shot rifles. Jeff tested a standard Model 99 (see his evaluation at The Big 50), which is the rifle closest to Chris in the picture. Barrett has just introduced a new variant of the Model 99 (closest to the camera in the picture), which offers the performance of the regular Model 99 in a much smaller package. Look for more features and evaluations of Barrett guns at GunBlast.com in the future.

Barrett also still makes the tried-and-true Model 82A1, as pictured here with Angela Barrett. The Model 82A1 is a semi-automatic .50 BMG with a detachable box magazine, and it is the rifle that put Barrett "on the map". An excellent and acclaimed design, the Model 82A1 is about as small as a semi-auto .50 can be, but this sucker is still BIG (and accurate)!

Among Browning's new offerings for 2001 is the cute little Buck Mark Carbine, which is Browning's excellent Buck Mark pistol sporting a long barrel, fore-end and butt-stock. The carbine is available in a trim lightweight hunting model with adjustable iron sights and scope mounts, or a target model with a bull barrel and without iron sights. We like the handling qualities of the lightweight hunting version slightly better. This is an amazingly handy and attractive design that Jeff is really looking forward to testing. According to Browning, this carbine is available at select Browning dealers and distributors now, but Jeff is danged if he can find one! If anyone knows where they are, let us know...

Browning is also offering the classic Low-Wall rifles in pistol calibers such as .45 Colt for the Cowboy Action Shooting market. This is a well-made version of the classic design that should find favor with Cowboy shooters.

BSA is offering their new "Big Cat" line of rifle scopes. BSA scopes are well-made, imported scopes at reasonable prices. The "Big Cat" line includes many magnification levels, eye relief distances, lighted-reticle models, and rubber-armored models. See Jeff's article on the BSA "Cat's-Eye" lighted-reticle scope at the following link: BSA Catseye.

After a hiatus of some time, we are glad to see that Charter Arms is back in business! Both Jeff and I have owned Charter's excellent little 5-shot .38 snubbies for many years, and I have always been partial to their excellent .44 Special "Bulldog" model (unfortunately made infamous by "son of Sam" David Berkowitz). Charter is offering not only their excellent "Undercover" line of snubbies in .38 Special and .357 Magnum and the "Bulldog" .44 Specials, but newly-designed rifles and M1911A1-type .45 Government models with many new and innovative features you will find nowhere else. All new Charters are offered in stainless steel only. Look for reviews of Charter Arms' new guns at GunBlast.com in the near future!

We didn't look at a lot of knives at the SHOT show (after all, this is a gun publication, and you only have a few days to take in a mind-boggling array of items), but we had to make an exception for Cold Steel when we saw their new Recon Tactical Folder. Jeff has been a fan of Cold Steel for years, and he is particularly fond of his Recon Tanto. The Recon Tactical Folder is a folding version of the Recon Tanto, equipped with a half-serrated blade and an extremely strong locking mechanism.

Cowboy Action Shooting has taking the firearms world by storm, and finally my favorite types of guns are "coming back in style" and becoming more available! Another example of the Cowboy shooting influence on the industry is EAA's cute little "Bounty Hunter" side-by-side double shotgun in .410 bore. A scaled-down version of their 12-gauge gun, the EAA Bounty Hunter should find favor with smaller shooters or those who need a break from shooting their normal "cannons".

Fobus USA offers many imported add-ons and holsters for modern pistols such as the Glock line. The detachable, telescoping shoulder stock shown here (with a Glock mock-up, or "Mock") is used by Israel's elite Mossad units with their full-auto Glocks, and is available in the USA for law-enforcement or military use only. It ingeniously pins into the "hollow" in the Glock's butt without modification to the pistol, and incorporates a skeletonized cheek piece. Fobus also makes a line of polymer holsters for modern pistols, and they have already sent us one for a test piece. Stay tuned...

Just kidding about the 1mm Parabellum "Micro-Glock", folks! This is just a key chain model that Glock was giving as gifts.

New for 2001 to H&K/Benelli's line is the USMC Model 12-gauge semi-auto shotgun, as issued to the United States Marine Corps.

Our pal Jason Cloessner with Lipsey's displays some of the limited-production Ruger and Colt guns available only from Lipsey's. Jason is holding a limited-edition Ruger Mini-14 in stainless with gray-laminated stock. Lipsey's is always negotiating with manufacturers for limited-production exclusives at reasonable prices, so have your dealer call Jason to see what's available. Tell 'em GunBlast.com sent you!

Marlin is offering some new guns tailored for the Cowboy Action Shooting market. Among these are the nice little "1897 Cowboy" lever gun in .22 Rimfire. This handy octagon-barreled rifle is very well detailed and available at a competitive price.

Marlin is also offering a nice "Cowboy" rifle in the excellent .38-55 caliber. One of the nicest things about the influence that Cowboy Action Shooting is having on the industry is that some of the great calibers of the past (such as .38-55) are becoming available again. If you've never played with the .38-55, we suggest you try it!

MOA, Inc. is the maker of the legendary "Maximum" line of single-shot pistols. Available in many hunting and benchrest calibers, the Maximum has won too many benchrest competitions to count!

Olympic Arm's new AR-15 Mini-Carbine caught our eye. This looks like a well-made little gun, and the novelty of its size is attractive. As Jeff put it, "I'll bet that's a LOUD little snot!"

Opti-Logic has a new line of laser range finders that appear to be both well-made and affordable as compared to competitors' models. Opti-Logic will be sending us a test piece for evaluation soon.

Peltor's new "ComTac" electronic hearing protectors, as issued to the U.S. Navy SEAL teams, are now available to the general public. These units not only filter-out harmful loud noises but amplify soft sounds as well. Look for evaluations of these and other Peltor products on GunBlast.com in the near future!

Radian's new AV line of shooting glasses are fully-coated UV-protective glasses that are made from a new, proprietary polymer. Not only do these glasses offer unparalleled impact resistance, as the picture shows, but they include built-in earplug-type hearing protectors integral to the earpieces of the glasses.

Among the exciting new offerings from Ruger for 2001 are the wonderful bird's-head grip frame models. Shown here on the new 3-1/2" "Sheriff's Model" Vaquero, in my opinion Ruger's bird's-head grip is much better than the original Colt style (much as I consider Ruger's Bisley frame to be much superior to Colt's). The shape of the frame is slightly fuller than Colt's, and as you can see from the picture, there is a crease on both sides of the grip at the bottom. These grips sit in the hand incredibly well, and they feel like they will handle recoil with great efficiency for a small gun. These grip frames (and the Sheriff's Model) should be available from Ruger by about April, and you can look for a complete evaluation from GunBlast.com as soon as they become available.

After a too-long hiatus, Snake Charmer is finally making their .410 tilting-barrel single-shot again! The only thing that has changed is the stainless-steel-only construction and the addition of a manual safety on the side of the frame for the sharks (er, product-liability lawyers).

Springfield Armory has introduced some new competition pistols in various calibers, but the "big" news from SA is the built-in locking mechanism available on their M1911A1 pistols (there go the sharks again!). I suppose in today's political climate you must develop a locking mechanism, and if you have to have one then SA's is a good one. It locks with a TINY key in an unobtrusive place on the mainspring housing, and the hole in the mainspring housing is so small it will hardly be noticed after you throw the key in the river where it belongs!

Thompson/Center, makers of the excellent Contender and Encore single-shot pistols with interchangeable barrels in multiple calibers, are introducing a new .22 Rimfire semi-automatic rifle to the market. T/C also makes some of the finest muzzle-loading rifles on the market today. They are also announcing changes to the Contender design that they claim will enhance ease of use, reliability and safety without compromising the ability to use older-production barrels on the new frames.

Fiber-optic sights seem to be the "coming thing" these days, and none seem better than those made by Williams Gun Sight Company, Inc. Makers of the nice "Fire Sight" for rifles (see Jeff's review at Williams Fire Sight), Williams now has fiber-optics available for many different makes of pistols that install without modification to the gun. At first glance, these sights have amazing visibility as long as there is ambient light available. Look for a more complete evaluation in the future.

Boge Quinn

SHOT Show Day 3

 

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Elizabeth Saunders with American Derringer shows off some of her company's engraved models

 

Jeff with Armalite's new AR10T Carbine

 

Ballisticast, Inc's bullet lubri-sizer

 

Ballisticast, Inc. bullet mold

 

Jeff with Jessica Treu of Barnes Bullets

 

Chris Barrett displays the Barrett Model 99 line

 

Angela Barrett with the Barrett Model 82A1

 

Browning's new Buck Mark Carbine

 

Browning Low-Wall in .45 Colt

 

BSA's line of "Big Cat" scopes

 

Charter Arms is back! Here is a look at their .44 Bulldog Pug

 

Cold Steel's new Recon Tactical Folder

 

Jeff with EAA's Bounty Hunter .410 shotgun

 

Fobus USA's telescoping shoulder stock for the Glock pistol, as used by the Israeli Mossad, is just beginning to be imported to the USA

 

The latest mini-gun from Glock - the Micro-Glock! Is that "1mm Parabellum?"

 

 

Jeff with H&K / Benelli's USMC shotgun

 

Jason Cloessner shows off a selection of limited-production firearms available only through Lipsey's distributorship

 

Jeff likes Marlin's "1897 Cowboy" .22 lever gun

 

Jeff with Marlin's "Cowboy" lever gun in .38-55

 

Richard Mertz of MOA Corporation with an MOA Maximum falling-block single-shot pistol

 

Bruce Bell shows off Olympic Arms' new AR-15 Mini Carbine

 

New line of affordable laser range finders from Opti-Logic

 

Jeff models Peltor's new Comtac electronic hearing protector/enhancers, as issued to the Navy SEALs

 

Radian's new AV model shooting glasses with built-in hearing protection, after withstanding a shotgun blast at 15 yards

 

Detail of Ruger's new Bird's-head grip frame

 

The Snake Charmer is back!

 

Tammy and Bridget show off some of Springfield Armory's latest 1911 model .45 auto pistols

 

Rori Chandler shows off one of Thompson/Center's new .22 autoloading rifles

 

Williams Gun Sight Company's new fiber-optic sights for the Glock pistol