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SHOT SHOW Volume Two
Hornady Reveals Detailed Info and Production Schedule for New 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge.
Hornady's Dave Emary was one of the principal designers of the new 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge. This was designed to provide outstanding ballistics for High Power and cross-the-course shooters in a readily available cartridge. Dave discusses the impressive ballistics and lists the factory 120gr A-Max and 140 A-Max loads. 6.5 Creedmoor brass and loaded ammunition should be available in about 4-6 week. DPMS will be building 6.5 Creedmoor rifles on the AR10 platform and McMillan will offer Tubb 2000 rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Dave stressed that this is a forgiving, medium pressure cartridge that will be ideal for both hand-loaders and shooters who prefer factory ammo.
Sightron Debuts Impressive, New 8-32x56 and 6-24x50 SIII Scopes.
We checked out the new Sightron 8-32x56mm and 6-24x50mm SIII Scopes. They look great. Fit and finish are excellent. The controls are very positive with nice large zoom and parallax rings. The view through the glass was startlingly good. The scope is very bright all the way to the edges, and the image is razor sharp, with no perceptible distortion. We saw no evidence of vignetting at the corners even on full power. Sightron believe the new 8-32 "is a winner" and we tend to agree. This is a very impressive new offering, as is the new 6-24x50mm.
Glen Harrison (Nesika Founder) Discusses his New Phoenix Custom Actions.
Glenn Harrison is the highly respected action designer who founded Nesika Bay Precision 16 years ago. He has launched a new company, Phoenix Machine Technologies, to produce a variety of custom actions in Kalispell, Montana. We viewed some prototypes Glenn had on hand, and the machining quality was every bit as good as the classic Nesika actions. Glenn has a few tricks up his sleeve. He understands there are many very high quality custom actions now available, but he believes his new products, slated for initial release in late spring/early summer, will have some special features that will set them apart from the competition. He also plans to produce a variety of types, ranging from a Rem 700 clone, to big, highly customized actions for heavy guns.
First North American Sighting of the Mighty New Schmidt & Bender 12.5-50x56mm PMII Target Scope. S&B Raises the Bar Again.
We finally got our hand on the new Schmidt & Bender 12.5-50x56 scope--at least an "early production model." S&B reps said this is more than a prototype. A few of these scopes have already been sold in Germany. Controls are large and very clearly marked. The scope seems rather massive with its 34mm main tube, but it was more compact overall than we expected. It really doesn't look much bigger than the 5-25x56 PMII. The optics... well, they are just superb. None of the dull cloudiness found in some ultra-high magnification scopes. The S&B is bright, very bright. At 50X is was about as bright as some 36x fixed power scopes I've reviewed. At 30X, you'd think the scope is set on 20 power. Those who can afford it will love this scope. Unfortunately, S&B could give no details on price or availability. It may be late fall before units arrive on our shores. By then, expect the price to nudge the $3000.00 level--but this is just our speculation.
NEW SKB Roto-Molded Rifle Cases in Three Colors.
SKB rifle cases are known for their durability, production quality, and superior warranty. For 2008, SKB has introduced a new series of roto-molded cases that will provide traditional SKB performance and ruggedness, but at a lower price point. The new "Roto" line-up will be offered in three colors, black, tan, and olive drab green. We were impressed by the TSA-compliant hinges and the double-sealed interiors that make these cases fully waterproof. The "bunk-bed" design of the two-rifle case provides ample protection for a pair of expensive rifles in an overall size that is not too unwieldy.
Hodgdon Adds New Hybrid 100V and Win Supreme 780 powders. New FREE Load Manual.
Every CEO should be a knowledgeable and helpful as Chris Hodgon. He took the time to review his lineup of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders for us. He also noted that Hodgdon will be distributing Vihtavuori powders in 2008. The big news for 2008 is the addition of two new powders. The first, Hybrid 100V is a very innovative, American-made propellant that combines both spherical and extruded powder properties. It's unique kernel design allows it to feel very well through powder measures while offering the consistent burn properties (and consistent velocities) of a stick powder. With a burn rate similar to H4350, this new powder should be useful in many benchrest/target/varmint chamberings, including 22-250, 6-6.5x47, .243 Win and 6.5-284. The second new powder in Hodgdon's 2008 line-up is Winchester Supreme 780. This very slow burn rate ball powder will allow hand-loaders to exactly duplicate the loads of Winchester premium magnum ammunition.
As a last note, Chris emphasized that Hodgdon has released a new FREE reloading manual for Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders. This manual conveniently provides load data for all three powder families in one convenient resource that is free for the asking.
SHOT SHOW Volume One
Reamers and Machine Tools -- Dave Kiff Talks.
We visited the Pacific Tool & Gauge booth and chatted with Dave Kiff. He explained that PT&G is producing a wide variety of products now, not just reamers. We viewed some beautifully machined bottom metal sets for bolt-action guns, available in both steel and aluminum. The aluminum sets seem almost feather-light. Dave also produces replacing bolts for Rem actions along with firing pin sets. The bolts can be customized with spirals and special fluting. Dave is also producing new bottom metal sets for detachable magazines in a variety of calibers. He showed us a new set for .338 Lapua Magnum.
As a final note, Dave told us that he will offer $10 off both piloted and non-piloted reamers to 6mmBR.com readers through 2/12/2008 (one week past the end of SHOT show). Just ask for the Shot Show Special. NOTE: This is for direct orders only.
Leadership Change at Anschutz as Dieter Anschutz Retires. Company Continues to Produce 2000 Series Actions.
Anschutz has been a family-run business for over 150 years. Company President Dieter Anschutz used our interview to reveal that he is stepping down as the top executive. Dieter will turn over the reins to his son Jochen, who previously ran the Anschutz Sport Division.
There have been rumors in the USA that the 2000 series Anschutz actions, which use an innovative clamping block, will be discontinued. Dieter told us those rumors were 100% incorrect and he has no idea how they originated. Both Dieter and Jochen assured us that the 2000 Series actions and 2000 Series-based rifles will remain in production.
Battenfeld Unveils New $250.00 Joy-stick Front Rest and One-Piece rests.
Battenfeld Technologies, manufacturer of the Caldwell "Rock" front rests, revealed a pair of impressive joy-stick shooting platforms at SHOT Show. Battenfeld has created a front rest which appears similar to a Farley, though the external controls are somewhat different. In addition, there is a one-piece unit that connects a co-axial type front rest with a polymer stock cradle in the rear. The rear cradle is V-shaped with a radius along the bottom so it should fit most conventional hunting and varmint stocks, regardless of the drop angle. The separate front rest seemed rugged and obviously a lot of work went into making such a unit available for about $220.00 retail. Battenfeld estimates the new rests will be available from MidwayUSA and other suppliers by the end of March.
Savage Displays NEW .308 Palma Rifle with High-quality Stock Adjustments.
On a rack of factory Savage rifles I was amazed to see a nice laminated stock with deluxe, metal cheek-piece and buttplate adjustments, plus a metal accessory rail. The cheekpiece adjusts vertically with metal riser shafts and a central elevation wheel. The Buttplate was adjustable for length and angle with nicely machined spacers. This looked like a custom rifle with deluxe hardware. We've never seen anything like this before from a large American manufacturer.
Right now, the Palma rifle is still in the "planning" stage. It will only be offered in .308 Winchester, and Savage is still finalizing the stock shape and accessories. But what I saw looked very impressive for an estimated price around $1000.00 to $1,100.00.
LAPUA Introduces New Ultra-Accurate Rimfire Ammo.
Lapua rolled out a whole new line-up of rimfire competition ammo in three grades, X-ACT, Midus Plus, and Center-X. The ultra-premium X-ACT ammunition, which may be the most expensive rimfire ammo ever produced, is designed to out-shoot the best Eley has to offer. At lower price levels are new Midus Plus, followed Center-X. Center-X replaces the previous Master Lapua rimfire ammo. Both the new Midus Plus and Center-X employ X-ACT production technology, but in more affordable products.
Lapua's reps emphasized that this is all-new ammo, the product of seven years of development, including extensive testing by benchrest shooters in the USA. The new ammo features new materials, new production machinery, and more advanced quality control processes. Those who have shot the new X-ACT ammo say this stuff is amazing--setting new standards for uniformity and velocity consistency. Respected benchrester Charlie Scott says the X-ACT ammo represents a "quantum leap" in ammo quality. He does caution, however that it will require different tuning setups than with existing premium Eley or Lapua rimfire ammo.
Barnes Unveils New Lead-Free MPG Bullets
This is truly "breaking news". Barnes just announced a new series of lead-free, frangible, jacketed bullets which should satisfy the most stringent range, LEO, and public lands environmental requirements. This product is so new, according to Barnes' SHOT show reps, that Barnes just added the MPG bullets to its website today.
Two sizes are currently offered -- a 55gr .223 bullet and a 140gr .308 projectile. Both share a highly frangible, powdered-metal copper-tin core inside a guilding metal jacket. Unlike frangible bullets lacking a protective jacket, MPG bullets remain intact under the rigors of handling, feeding and firing. This eliminates the primary cause of jammed actions and plugged barrels often experienced when firing frangible ammunition.
Barnes claims the Multi-Purpose Green bullets are ideal for shooting steel targets, competition, plinking, varmint hunting and home defense. "Green" is military shorthand for "lead-free", a requirement in many military and LE practice environments. California also recently passed legislation banning lead-core bullets in thousands of acres of hunting lands. Barnes' MPGs may be just what California hunters need.