2016 SHOT Show – Day End Wrap Up
January 19, 2016
Well, the noise level is dropping by a few dozen decibels as the crowds are filtering out toward the taxis and shuttle buses. Day One of the 2016 SHOT Show is pretty much winding down, although probably not as fast as I am. I didn’t have high hopes of accomplishing much today, but I actually got around to more than I’d expected.
Apologies for the use of Press Pack images, but as mentioned earlier, I left my camera in NC. I did take photos and video with the GoPro, but my USB port is being finicky. In other words, real-time photos just aren’t gonna happen right now.
It started in the New Products room, which is usually one of the best places to get a feel for what I’ll see on the floor. Well, unless you want one more of a million ways to customize your AR, I can’t say that this visit was particularly productive. Scattered in and amongst the uppers, actions, barrels, and accessories, there were a couple of products I thought might be worth following up. Unfortunately, a technical glitch cost me my list of products (you use a bar code scanner to mark the things you want, and then there’s a printer at the exit where they print out your list). I’m pretty sure, for example, that I did not flag a $3000 thermal imaging weapon sight or the Century Arms C39v2 AK pistol.
Since the New Products list provides something of a map for my visit to the floor, I was left a little rudderless (and yeah, I could have shouldered my way through the khaki clad hordes to try another list, but really?). So I wandered. I had a couple of specific things in mind, so I figured while I looked for those, I’d just see what stood out to me.
First of all, I slid by the Garmin booth to see what they’ve done with the Rino. The Rino, for those who don’t know, combines a FRS radio with a GPS navigation system. If you’re talking with someone else on a Rino, it will post their location on the map, which is a cool feature when you’re in big country or out on the water. The latest version, the 650t, still does this with many performance improvements and extra features over the many years since I bought mine, and still lists for about the same MSRP, $549. I do like the USB port for upgrades and updates, as well as charging. I also like that it allows you to upload files to other Garmin users. So when you tell your buddy to bring the horses, you can send a picture of the big bull you just shot, while the Rino transmits your coordinates for the pick up.
Earlier, I was bemoaning (again) the absence of nice wood in gunstocks. Yes, the synthetic stocks are great stuff, but it’s still nice to enjoy the beauty of a well-finished piece of lumber. Purely by accident, I stumbled into the Ithaca booth. On display, right at the front, was one of their new bolt-action rifles, stocked in an classic piece of maple, tiger stripes and all! When I spoke to the rep and complimented the beautiful work, he informed me that not only are they offering fine wood on their rifles and shotguns; they are offering custom stocks for other firearms as well. Who knew?
Many years ago, I found a customized version of the Marlin Guide Gun, manufactured by a company called Wild West Guns. They’d turned an already solid rifle into a really cool (in my mind) piece of weaponry. It was designed, initially, for bush pilots and Alaskan hunters who needed something portable (did I mention it’s a take-down rifle) in big bear country. I think the one I looked at was chambered in .50 AE. Anyway, the company has done a lot since then, and when I saw their sign on the booth, I had to slide by and drool a little bit. The guns have gone through some iterations, but something I thought was really cool was that they now have their own chambering… the .457 WWG. This is basically a magnum 45-70. According to the rep I spoke to, it will also shoot standard 45-70 ammo, as well as (in single feed operation) .410 shotshells. That’s a lot of versatility, and if you think of this as a backcountry survival rifle, that’s a lot of options available for everything from smacking small game and birds for the pot, to keeping the grizzly bears at bay. It doesn’t come cheap, though, at $2979.00. But what good things do?
There are a few other things that I will get to later, because they’ll take more than a few hundred words. But if you want a teaser, one of those things is a new offering from Morakniv. You may (or may not) remember I reviewed their Bushcraft knife a couple of years back. This new knife, the Garberg, promises to be even stronger and more versatile.
I also spoke with the folks from DRT ammo about their non-lead, controlled expansion, frangible bullets. I wasn’t all that thrilled with my previous frangible experience (it was not DRT ammo), but the rep told me that they’ve made some improvements specifically to resolve some of the issues I had.
Finally, I stopped by the NSSF Project Childsafe booth. I’ve written about this project before as well, but I think it’s time to take another look. I’ve planned an interview with a representative from the organization this time, and hope to offer a little more insight into what they are all about. In the meantime, check them out for yourself.
That’s it for now. They’re running us out of the Press Room.