2005 SHOT Show Web Log -- Part II

Take a look at the 2005 Shooting and Hunting Outdoor Trade Show through the eyes of Dan C. Johnson, a Intermedia Outdoors gun writer, who reports on things new, old and controversial.

Smith & Wesson has redesigned the Model 99, now called the SW990L, and given it a lighter, crisper trigger pull and shorter trigger return for faster follow-up shots.

Second only to the term SHOT Show, Smith & Wesson was the most prevalent name at the show this year. I'm not sure how many booths bore the blue and white Smith & Wesson logo promoting everything from gun safes to clothing but I could have sworn I saw a Smith & Wesson tea set in one of the booths. Maybe I was mistaken.

Seriously, the list of products is rapidly expanding and I discussed this recently while chasing wild hogs with some of the S&W folks. A pet peeve of mine, and I have a vast collection of pet peeves, is the trend by some gun companies whereby they allow their legendary brand name to be applied to cheap products for a quick buck. They call this branding. I call it prostituting American icons.

For some reason it bugs me to see legendary firearm brand names on foreign made junk at discount retailer. This is not the case with Smith & Wesson and some other reputable outfits I could name. The guys at Smith & Wesson tell me they are very particular about the quality of products branded and I believe them. Everything I have used with the S&W logo has been top notch. A quality accessory, a watch for example, not only reflects well on the company but also allows the wearer to proudly display the fact he or she is a firearm enthusiast.

Smith & Wesson's main focus remains on producing firearms and they proved it by introducing several interesting new handguns this year. The 460XVR is the most talked about of the new handguns and likely the most misunderstood. As usual, we have our facts straight on the ODB Shooting Forums but if you peruse some other Internet gun forums you'll find comments claiming S&W was foolish to introduce a light 200-grain load in the new .45 caliber hand cannon.

Fact is it makes perfect sense for revolvers to take advantage of the advancements in bullet technology. There is no reason not to use more streamlined polymer tipped bullets of premium construction in order to extend the range of the hunting handgun. These light bullets are not ideal for all game but deer hunters will be able to take advantage of a flat trajectory heretofore unheard of in a wheel gun. The best part is you can still shoot the heavy slugs when needed.

There's always plenty of ornate firearms on display at the SHOT Show and the Smith & Wesson booth was no exception. Here's a couple of hand engraved gold-inlaid models to drool over.

I was well into day two of the Show when I began to reassess my initial opinion that there wasn't much new and noteworthy. It's a big show and sometimes it takes awhile to find the gems among the sequins. Following are some photos and brief comments on items I found of interest.

Mossberg introduced a new line of bolt guns in various finishes. Top is the Marinecote silver model with synthetic Dura-Wood stock. Bottom is a matte blue version with black synthetic stock. A Mossy Oak camo stock model is also available. This is a basic rifle designed, as are all Mossberg firearms, to provide good value at a low price. Weaver type bases are mounted by the factory.

Sako unveiled their new Quad rimfire rifle that allows users to switch barrels in as little as twenty seconds. One receiver handles barrels in .22 Long Rifle, .22 WMR, .17 HMR, and the .17 H2. You can buy the caliber of your choice and add other barrels later or buy the complete package with all four barrels. The catch is each barrel will require a different scope setting but Burris has addressed this problem by introducing a new rimfire scope that allows for four preset and repeatable windage and elevation adjustments. Yes, the Sako Quad rifle comes with a bolt but I don't know where it was when I took this photo.

As Savage continues to upgrade their main line of bolt-action rifles they felt it necessary to continue to produce a bare bones economical gun. The answer was to introduce the Stevens line of plain Jane models. These are basic blind magazine models similar to past Savage rifles only without the unsightly barrel nut and with a better looking stock than some we've seen from Savage.

Marlin introduced a selection of side-by-side and over/under shotguns bearing the legendary name LC Smith. These are Italian made and very nicely done.

Taurus has jumped on the 1911 bandwagon.

Charles Daly has introduced some left-handed versions of their Mauser based actions. Charles Daly rep Casey Clifford is holding a Deluxe left-hand version of the Mini-Mauser in .223. In-the-white lefty actions are also available.

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