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2006 Editor's Roundtable, Day One: Benelli, ATK/Federal, Rock River Arms, Insight Technology, Inc.

2006 Editor's Roundtable, Day One: Benelli, ATK/Federal, Rock River Arms, Insight Technology, Inc.
For the second time in 2006, the writers and editors of Intermedia Outdoors get up close and hands on with the latest the hunting and shooting industry has to offer.

New firearms, ammunition, optics, gizmos and gadgets are all apart of the Primedia Outdoors Editor's Roundtable held at the Pike-Adams Sportsman's Alliance Park (PASA) in Barry, Illinois.

Designed for the editors and writers that make up Primedia Outdoors, the Editor's Roundtable is held twice a year and provides magazine, internet, and television staff an inside and hands on look at different products and gadgets the shooting and hunting sports industry has to offer for the current year and beyond.

The Second Annual meeting in a given year is generally a bit sexier than what's spun out the first time the Round Table is held in May. By now, most manufacturers have an inkling of what they'll be introducing for 2007 and some share those tidbits, like sprinkles on a cupcake.

Day One of the second installment of the Primedia Outdoors Roundtable wouldn't be classified exactly as Big Bore Excitement, but nevertheless, we did see some items that have been already introduced and a few items that will be coming in 2007.


BENELLI


Steve McKelvain with Benelli kicked the week off in a stellar fashion by showing the group of writers and editors in attendance a video about what Benelli had introduced in 2006. Having to watch a video for the first 10 minutes of the week was probably a good way to ease into what's to come.

There wasn't anything revealed or shared about what's coming in 2007, but the recap did cover a few 2006 introductions. A couple of past items from the Benelli family are now available in 20-gauge. The Cordoba, Sport II and SuperSport 20 aren't on dealer's shelves yet, but make sure to check them out in late 2006/early 2007 when Benelli will have shipped the guns.

Benelli's Inertia Driven system is well known amongst shotgunners, but something that surprised me about the system was that it's being included in all Franchi and Stoeger shotguns as well.

"It's a platform that we're putting across all of our lines -- Benelli, Franchi and Stoeger. We're hoping that we'll get someone at the entry level shooting a Stoeger and they'll get used to the Inertia system and strive to have that in a Franchi or Benelli," said McKelvain.


Makes sense.

Longtime outdoor writer and former Petersen's Hunting editor Joe Coogan gave the presentation for the Franchi, Stoeger and Uberti line. Coogan is now the Brand Marketing manager for Benelli USA.

The Stoeger Cougar was once known as the Beretta Cougar. It's the same gun, but now it's manufacturered in Turkey and is less than half the price of the original Beretta version.

The manufacturing of what was Beretta's Cougar 9mm/.40 S&W pistol has been moved to Turkey and now will be offered under the Stoeger name. The only difference in the manufacturing of the gun will be the plant location and the price of the gun. The same machinery used to manufacture the Beretta Cougar will be used to manufacture the Stoeger Cougar, only the Stoeger Cougar will retail for $349, which according to Coogan is a couple hundred dollars less than what the Beretta Cougar was offered at.


The Renaissance line of over and under shotguns from Franchi was introduced to replace the Veloce series. There's been an upgrade in wood and the stack-barreled guns will be available in three grades: Plain, Classic and Elite. I put a 28-gauge Elite grade Renaissance O/U through the paces on the five stand course and found it very pleasing to shoot.

Uberti is now offering exact replicas of Sharps rifles (all chambered in .45-70) as well as a trap door series.

ATK

ATK has quickly become a twice a year presenter at Primedia Outdoors Roundtables. The first roundtable, ATK sends out representatives from its various accessory companies like Outers, Champion Traps & Targets, Ram-Line, Alliant Powder, Fusion, Shooter's Ridge, Gun Slick, Weaver, and Redfield. For this Roundtable, ATK had its representatives speak to the ammunition side of the business, namely Federal and CCI.

The presentation revisited a couple of introductions for 2006 and also touched on some items that will be introduced in 2007.

  • Two new grain weights are being added to the Vital-Shok Nosler AccuBond family, a 150-grain .30-06 (2950 fps) and 165-gr. 308 Winchester (2700 fps).
  • Also from the Vital-Shok sub-brand are the Barnes Triple-Shok 140-gr. 7mm Rem Mag (3110 fps), 140-gr. 7mm-08 (2800 fps), and 140-gr. 280 Rem. (3000 fps).
    A 200-grain .338 Federal will be available to hunters next fall.
  • Varmint hunters will be pleased to hear that a 32-grain .204 Ruger Nosler Ballistic Tip (4000 fps) will be offered in addition to the 39-grain .204 Ruger Sierra BlitzKing. Both are a part of the V-Shok sub-brand.
  • The Fusion line of ammunition also has some additions. There are three Low Recoil offerings: a 145-gr. 270 Win. (2200 fps), 170-gr. .30-06 (2000 fps), and 170-gr. .308 (2000 fps). Keep an eye out for the 200-grain .338 Federal (2750 fps).
  • The Barnes Tipped Expander is a new slug that's being offered in the Vital-Shok line. There will be a 12-gauge 2 3/4 inch 3/4 ounce and a 20-gauge 3-inch 5/8-ounce. Both travel at 1900 feet per second.
  • Federal has added shotgun slugs to its Fusion line. F209 FS: 20-gauge, 3-inch 5/8 ounce, F151 FS: 12-gauge 3-inch, 3/4 ounce, and F154 FS: 12-gauge 2 3/4-inch 3/4 ounce. All travel at 1900 fps and feature Fusion technology and accuracy.
  • According to company literature, Ultra-Shok's HEAVYWEIGHT shot is "the densest shot on the market and is now approved for waterfowl -- this product will not feature the FLITECONTROL wad." Six loads will be offered:
    • PHW 133 2: 3-1/2-inch 1-3/8-oz #2
    • PHW 133 4: 3-1/2-inch 1-3/8-oz. #4
    • PHW 133 6: 3-1/2-inch 1-3/8-oz #6
    • PHW 142 2: 3-inch 1-1/4 oz. #2
    • PHW 142 4: 3 inch 1-1/4 oz. #4
    • PHW 142 6: 3 inch 1-1/4 oz. #6
  • A .460 S&W Barnes Expander handgun hunting bullet had been added to the Vital-Shok family.
  • CCI has added a 30-grain 22 Win. Mag. V-Max to its varmint line-up (220 fps).
  • CCI is also offering a primer designed specifically for in-line muzzleloaders. The CCI 209 Muzzleloader Primer is the first entry into a muzzleloader category.
  • ATK will co-brand the primer with the Fusion line, and will also offer three muzzleloader loads: 240-gr. 45 Cal., 260-gr 45 Cal., and a 300-gr. 45 Cal.

    Remember, these are products that are being introduced later this year at the NASGW (National Association of Sporting Goods Retailers) Show later this year. These items won't be on dealer's shelves until fall of 2007! More in-depth reviews of these items will appear later on in the various Primedia Publications.

    ROCK RIVER ARMS

    Black Gun representation was on hand with Rock River Arms. The Illinois based company manufactures various AR-style rifles and 1911 handguns. The company has a couple of new introductions for 2006, including two rifles that are targeted towards varmint hunters/shooters.

    For the one-stop-shoppers that prefer to purchase a firearm that's been fully accessorized (leaving the accessory selection to the professionals), the Pro-Series TASC and Pro-Series Elite are two rifles that feature the bells and whistles that you'd probably want to add anyway straight out of the box.

    The Predator Pursuit and Coyote Rifles were designed based on public feedback Rock River Arms had received over the years. The Predator Pursuit features a Wilson Heavy Match stainless steel barrel and both rifles are light enough for carry afield (8.1 pounds).

    The RRA LAR-15 Pistol Series is interesting to say the least. When shooting, I wasn't really sure how to even hold firearm, let alone hit something with it. The firearms are chambered in 9mm and .223 and are available in various length and accessory configurations.

    The RRA LAR-15 Pistol.

    Rock River Arms also provided several of its 1911s for shooting after its representatives presentation, even though there wasn't a portion of their discussion devoted to the handgun side of the business. Nevertheless, I wanted to note that they were available to shoot at the range and were shot often by everyone on hand.

    INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY

    Alan Howe and Samantha Millett were on hand for the Insight Technology presentation, which was the last of the day. The company has had presentations here before and split its time talking about the history of the company and some of the products that the company currently manufacturers for both law enforcement, military and civilian use.

    Insight Technology generally makes its bacon in manufacturing lighting and laser systems for firearms. They have been awarded several military contracts and have a couple of generations of various handgun and rifle lighting systems that have seen or are seeing extensive combat use in Iraq and elsewhere.

    The X2 Laser sub-compact lighting system is new for 2006 and is the natural continuation of the X2 Sub-compact tactical light. The Laser sub-compact allows the user to use both a light and laser aiming system in concert with one another.

    Insight Technology has also started manufacturing a night vision and thermal vision monocular for military use.

    The Mini-Thermal Monocular features 320 x 240 resolution and can store over 150 digital images. The MTM also features an integral visible aiming laser that can be used to pinpoint what the user is looking at for others looking on. The technology is amazing and it should be for the $19,000 price tag that accompanies each unit.

    (Left) Night vision technology (Right) Thermal vision technology...both from Insight Technology. The various illumination systems are amazing and its no wonder our armed forces are the best equipped in a lights out situation.

    The night vision and thermal imaging technology definitely got the "cool" award for the day for any of the writers or editors that ventured into the PASA Park Dark House. The technology allows the user to pinpoint exactly what they're looking at and does a heck of a job of illuminating a completely dark space.

    Make sure you check back tomorrow night for a recap of Day Two of the Primedia Outdoors Editor's Roundtable. Savage Arms, Olin/Winchester, Kahr Arms, BSA/Gamo, Battenfeld Industries and Blackhawk/Laserlyte are all scheduled to present.

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