This year’s Shot Show saw some gun companies still holding back from introducing new products in favor of making minor improvements on their old lines, but some companies had the courage to introduce new things at the Las Vegas event. It was bitterly cold on Monday at the Media Day At the Range event at the Boulder City Pistol and Rifle Range which was held before the show opened on Tuesday. The weather proved to be a challenge for some of the semi-auto guns which balked at functioning, but it was an interesting experience for all.
This company from Brescia, Italy, was one of the most talked about at the Shot Show with its Siamese-twin version of the Colt 1911 which consist of two 1911 semi-auto pistols joined in a side-by-side configuration with separate magazines and operating components, but fired with a single trigger and hammer. Each pull of the trigger shoots a round from each pistol. I cannot see why one would wish to, but it is possible to have one half of the gun shoot the Colt .45 ACP while the other barrel blast off a 9 mm Parabellum or .40 S&W. The grip is unusually wide to accommodate two magazines.
Cabela’s – Classic Winchester Pre-64 Rifles
Cabela’s is having Pre-64 Winchester bolt-action rifles reproduced in their exact Pre-64 styles with cut checkering, good American walnut, fine metal finishing and interior box magazines. Last year guns were sold in the .257 Roberts and this year the 7mm Mauser will be offered. These guns are available only through Cabelas, are produced in relatively small numbers each year and advance orders are encouraged. Delivery will be in about six months for the 2013 guns.
Last year Chiappa introduced their .357 Magnum revolver which fired from the bottom chamber of the cylinder which help tame the recoil of this potent round. This year new variations and finishes were introduced including a gold-plated one, should anyone have any desires in this direction. The buzz with this year’s gun was their 3-barreled 12-gauge shotgun with the barrels arranged one above and two below which is the opposite of the usual drilling pattern. There have been 3-barreled shotguns before, but more commonly these were side-by-side-by-side which was most useful in 16 and smaller gauges. A shorter version is known as the “Home Defender” and has a pistol grip. The gun has a non-selective trigger, but with interchangeable choke tubes so that the first-shooting barrel may be either an Improved Cylinder or Full choke, as the user desires. These tripple-barreled guns are made in Turkey, but have every indications of being good, reliable guns. I would own and shoot one.
The Iver Johnson name has been revived and the new Florida company makes 1911 pistols which impressed me with their smooth functions and relatively reasonable retail prices. They also offered new .22 L.R. and 9 mm Parabellum conversion units that will fit any standard Colt 1911 frame as well as a line of pump self-defense shotguns. Several styles and finishes are available on the company’s 1911 pistols.
Mossberg introduced its Flex system to its line of shotguns last year. This allows buttstocks and forends to be easily replaced with a variety of components. This year they extended this line to a bolt-action rifle. Previously the only rifle that had Flex stocks was the 94 Winchester lever gun.
Last year Remington introduced a copy of the 1911 Colt .45, and this year has done a semi-custom version of the same pistol with extended grip safety, adjustable sights and tuned action as a utilitarian carry self-defense pistol. This proved to be a good-looking and good feeling version of the 1911-platform guns. The gun shown had gone through a lot of shooting at the range as witnessed by the powder stains on the muzzle.
Smith & Wesson
Continuing their work with the 1911, the Custom Shop of Smith and Wesson had several variations of the Colt 1911, including the two pistols shown above. This is the first time that I have noticed a round-butted 1911, although it is entirely possible that someone beat S&W to this particular modification for a more nearly concealable handgun. The cuts in the slide are sexy, take off a shade of weight, but are more cosmetic than functional. Nonetheless, these guns do SHOOT.
Although nothing was new in the muzzleloading side from Thompson/Center in 2013, the company continued to develop its line of Dimention Interchangable Bolt-Action Platforms which allows different-caliber barrels for the same case lengths to be interchanged. This includes chambers in the .308, .30 ‘o6, and 300 Winchester Magnum families of cartridges. Although first only available in black stocks, camo stocks are now offered for their 2013 Models.
This company offers a variety of traditional and modern-style muzzleloading guns and introduced this year a line of Colt 1873 Peacemaker-style single-action revolvers with both a blued steel and matt-finished components. The dull-finished guns sell for about $100 less than the bright-finished blued models. Of most interest to me was their new hammerless muzzleloader that cocks with a sliding thumb piece on the frame which is something akin to a much-enlarged safely slide on a conventional double-barreled shotgun. The German firm of Krieghoff introduced this for their double-barreled African rifles a decade back, but this is the first application of this technique on a muzzleloading gun. This video with much better sound recorded for my radio show and spliced in may be seen at: http://youtu.be/PYsRAd0qCjU. There is still some background noise, but it is considerably improved over the camera-recorded sound.
I love the little Winchester Low Wall, and I had a chance to shoot one in the new .17-caliber rimfire cartridge introduced by Winchester. This is everything that you might expect to be in a small-caliber, flat, low-noise rimfire that can pack a real punch on small animals. I once owned a .22 Hornet and had fun with it. This rimfire will do all the Hornet will do, and you do not have to worry about reloading the cartridges. Good on Winchester for introducing this cartridge. The problem is that .17-caliber cleaning rods and tools are hard to come by. To get a really good set your may be forced into having your machinest buddy turn down and retap a .22 brass cleaning rod for you. This is a simple task for one “skilled in the art.” The most difficult part is supporting this thin rod during the machining process. It may have to be done in 6-inch segments. So be it. The gun and load are worth the trouble of having special tools made for it.