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.
Short and sweet. That would be the best way to describe the Savage presentation. Ernie Barriage and Mike Everham of Savage didn't waste any time in flying through their presentation by briefly touching on what the company had introduced in 2006 -- mainly the Long Range Precision Rifle and the addition of the AccuTrigger in all bolt-action rimfire rifles -- and then finished up with a few notes of what they were looking at towards 2007.
Look for a lighter trigger on the Long Range Precision Rifle in 2007. The Company is looking to add a six-ounce trigger to the rifle and Savage's Mike Everham gave a word of warning to the writers and editors in attendance.
"When you're at the range later today, after you load it, and get it where you want, be careful about taking up the slack, cause there ain't any," said Everham.
Savage is also working on a new recoil pad it's calling P.A.D (Personal Anti-Recoil Device).
The AccuTrigger is getting a little bit lighter. It was reported that the new AccuTrigger will weigh six ounces.
One item of interest was the sales comparison of the 17MACH2 to the .17 HMR. Savage has sold over 70,000 rifles chambered for the .17 HMR, but only 2,000 of the M2 chamberings. Everham reported that in speaking with dealers in the Savage network, many of the retailers still have ammunition from the original shipment that was sent almost two years ago.
The Olin/Winchester presentation, given by Media Relations representative Kevin Howard, was even shorter than the Savage presentation, which seemed appropriate given there weren't any mid-year introductions to speak of.
Howard touched on the XP3 bullet, the new offering from Winchester that was introduced at last year's roundtable.
"The XP3 bullet has been a real highlight," said Howard, "I was a real fan of the Fail Safe, but after seeing a couple of hunts with the XP3, it does some real damage."
The XP3 continues to sell well for Winchester Ammunition
The .270 loads will be out in a couple of weeks and 7mm will be available in the fall.
Winchester's Extended Range Waterfowl loads have run into a small hiccup. Canada hasn't cleared them for use yet, but the company is expecting clearance sometime later this fall.
Howard reported that in March he took a group of gun writers on a duck hunt in which the group was turning ducks "upside down" from 60 yards.
"It's an expensive load, but if someone is looking for the maximum in performance, this is it," said Howard.
Rumors about the .223 WSSM going away aren't true. While the load cartridge isn't a "super cartridge" according to Howard, the .243 WSSM, .25 WSSM and .223 WSSM will continued to be manufactured.
Howard also reported that Winchester would introduce a new .204 cartridge at the 2007 SHOT Show. No further details were given.
Keeping with the "short and sweet" trend, Kahr Arms representative Frank Harris dove right into his presentation with a few tidbits of what the company has done in the last 12 months and what was coming in the months to come.
One look at Kahr's lineup of pistols and it's fairly easy to tell that the Company's focus is on the concealed carry market. Three and half-inch and four-inch barrels are the norm.
The TP 45 from Kahr Arms
The TP45 is a new introduction for Kahr Arms. It's a spin-off of the all-polymer P45, only it features an all-steel slide. According to Harris, the company will begin shipping these guns later this fall.
There was a plan on adding a .40 caliber version this summer (CW40), but those plans have been pushed back as there hasn't been a summer slow period to free up machinery time. Things have been so busy for Kahr, that the company is adding 15,000 square feet to its Worcester, Massachusetts facility.
In 2007, Kahr is adding a .45 caliber its CW series. It will feature a 3-inch barrel, a five round magazine and is in testing right now.
You can also expect to see an all-polymer .380. Kahr currently makes a .380 for North American Arms, but it features a steel frame.
Harris also spoke to the Thompson brand of long guns (AKA Tommy Guns). The company is toying with the idea of adding a detachable stock to its Thompson long guns, something that was a part of the original Thompson long gun design.
Gamo is a Spanish company that manufactures adult precision airguns. I always find it interesting to see the consideration the airgun presentations get from a room full of gunwriters. For whatever the reason, plenty of attention and interest is shown with regards to the airguns.
The Viper Express is a new offering for Gamo Airguns.(Inset) the new non-lead gold plated Raptor pellets from Gamo increase velocity by 20 percent over traditional lead pellets.
ology has progressed tremendously in the last decade. There have been advancements in not only the guns themselves, but the pellets and accessories that are used in conjunction with the airguns.
The Viper Express is a shotgun/rifle combo airgun. It accepts .22 caliber shotshells or .22 caliber pellets. The Viper Express has a 12-inch pattern at 10-yards and delivers #9 pellets at 850 feet per second.
The Hunter Extreme fires a .177 caliber PBA pellet at 1600 fps (mv) and comes equipped with a 3-9x50 scope.
GAMO also has ventured into other arenas of the airgun market. The Moving Target System (MTS 1000) is a nifty airgun motorized target that operates with C batteries and runs at four different speeds. The target (a miniature animal shaped silhouette) automatically resets once its been struck.
Raptor Precision Ballistic Alloy Pellets are lead free and feature 18 karat gold plating. The PBA ammunition also increases velocity by 25 percent.
The BSA part of the presentation was just a recap of some of the items that are apart of the 2006 catalog. All of BSA's optics are manufactured in China and are at a very affordable price point.
The fifth presentation of the day got started when Blackhawk Representative Steve Hoffa stepped up to the podium and got his company's message for the day started.
Blackhawk is well known in the military and law enforcement communities for its tactical gear. The company has various arms that focus on a wide range of product. Holsters, knives, bags, backpacks, clothing, hydration systems, flashlights -- it's growing so much that the company has a deal with UPS in which all of the Blackhawk gear is stored in a Kentucky facility and the Blackhawk staff is moving into new corporate headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia in 2007.
The big news for Blackhawk in 2006 is that its entering into the hunting market with a product line that includes a couple of items and that will be sure to grow in the coming years. Currently Blackhawk manufactures six backpacks that range from small daypack like bags to full sized packs that would be good for use on longer, extended hunts.
Blackhawk also manufactures high quality hydration systems through its HyrdaStorm line and it's marketing these systems towards the hunting market. There are a couple of various sizes of both disposable and reusable hydration systems that are extremely durable and easy to use and clean. Each writer and editor in attendance also received a couple of disposable reservoirs that are pre-filled with a powder form of Accelerade, which is a high-end energy drink that not only replaces spent electrolytes but also protein and various other items your body needs to stay energy filled. Lance Armstrong used this drink in his last four Tour De France races, but kept it quiet to keep the extremely effective energy replacement fluid from being used by his competitors.
The Gladius is a new flashlight from Blackhawk. It's a high-end model that features multiple lighting positions, including: on, off, dimming, and strobing. The light has all the bells and whistles that you'd expect in a $250 flashlight, and of course it's backed by a lifetime guarantee. According to Hoffa, the only items that need replacing on the Gladius are the batteries.
Keep on the lookout for more entries into the hunting market from Blackhawk. If they attack this arena with as much vigor as they have other accessory segments, you can be sure to see many more items on dealer's shelves.
And it must be noted, that Blackhawk is still the king of schawg. Every writer and editor in attendance received a top-quality Blackhawk Mobile Operation Bag filled with hydration systems, a Serpa holster from its CQC line and couple of other goodies and items. It's all very appreciated.
Russ Potterfield of Battenfeld Industries presented the sixth and final presentation for the day. He opted to narrow his focus on three items that Battenfeld will be introducing through the Caldwell Brand.
Russ Potterfeld holds up the F.A.T. Wrench -- Firearm Accurizing Torque Wrench
The Lead Sled DFT (Dual Frame Technology) is the next generation of the Lead Sled shooting rest that's been in the Caldwell catalog for a few years. A mobile cradle has been added that can be slid back and fourth along the frame, allowing the shooter to easily adjust firing positions. Padding has also been added to the sides and there are two locations in which a shooter can adjust the height of the rest.
The F.A.T. Wrench is the first product in the history of the Roundtable to ever receive an ovation from the editors and writers in attendance. F.A.T. is an acronym for Firearm Accurizing Torque wrench and it's used for tightening scope rings screws, rifle guard screws, windage screws and base screws. In development of the product, engineers at Battenfeld spoke with various scope manufacturers to determine how much torque in inch-pounds should be applied in mounting base, ring and windage screws. The F.A.T. wrench allows the user to set the wrench to the proper torque setting (30-inch-lbs. - Base Screws, 10-15 inch-lbs etc.) and then tighten away. Once your torque reaches your pre-set inch-lbs setting, the wrench won't let you apply any more turns to your screw. It eliminates the question, "Is this tight enough?" Each F.A.T. Wrench comes with ten bits of various sizes. Very clever!
The last product that Potterfeld discussed was the Shootin' Gallery, which is a motorized (DC powered) rotary shooting gallery. Equipped with variable speeds, the Shootin' Gallery is a very affordable $150 and can be shot at from 40 yards and out.
Make sure you check back tomorrow for a recap of Day Three. CZ USA, Black Hills Ammunition, Traditions Muzzleloaders, Mossberg, and Bushnell Optics all will be presenting.