Primers Exist! Here’s The Proof…

Blackhawk! is making primer trays for ammo component manufacturers 24x7. Here's some fresh out of the molding machine.

Blackhawk! is making primer trays for ammo component manufacturers 24×7. Here’s some fresh out of the molding machine.

If you reload, or have been looking for ammunition anytime during 2013, you know that supplies of primers are scarce. In case you don’t know, primers are those little metal “caps” that go in the base of a cartridge to make it go bang. They’re sort of like those newer style caps for toy guns except they’re made of metal, not plastic, and have a lot more juice.

Last week I had the great pleasure of touring the Blackhawk! factory in Manhattan, Montana where all sorts of polymer things are made: holsters, gun stocks, magazine carriers and primer packaging trays. Since primers have a tendency to go bang, they’re packed very, very carefully. They come in boxes filled with plastic trays so each individual primer is isolated from everything else. Kind of like a heavy-duty egg carton.

Boxes like this one are filled every couple of minutes. Yes, we're using that many primers!

Boxes like this one are filled every couple of minutes. Yes, we’re using that many primers!

A couple of the 30-ish very expensive molding machines at the Manhattan facility have been 100% dedicated to the manufacture of primer trays seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for just about as long as folks there can remember. While molds in other machines are frequently changed out to make different products, these machines continue pumping out primer trays day after day after day. Blackhawk ships them to ammunition companies as fast as they can make them.

So, primers are manufactured in record numbers. It’s just that panicky people like us are continuing to stockpile them in even greater numbers.

I’m starting to see light as the end of the tunnel, as at least some primers are now available at local suppliers. What are you seeing out there?

Cool Products From The Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational Media Day

Some of the shooting industry’s leading vendors teamed up with Crimson Trace to sponsor the Midnight 3 Gun Invitational event in Bend, OR. While I can’t cover all the new products displayed here, a few stood out.

Colt Competition Rifle 1424

Colt Competition Rifle

During daylight hours when shooting was not deemed challenging enough, we had the opportunity to talk guns, gear and new offerings from a dozen different companies.

There’s some cool stuff out there, with more on the way this fall. Here’s a quick rundown of a few of our favorite finds:

OTIS Technology

OTIS Technology MSR / AR-15 Kit with B.O.N.E. Tool and Ripcord cleaner

OTIS Technology MSR / AR-15 Kit with B.O.N.E. Tool and Ripcord cleaner

We’ve been big fans of the OTIS system longer than Barney Frank has been cheating on taxes. The big news for this fall is the OTIS Ripcord. Similar to the Bore Snake cleaners in only the most cursory of looks, the Ripcord brings a lot of improvements. The cleaners are semi-rigid and made of Nomex, so they are far more durable and a lot less likely to get caught in the receiver when pulling them through your rifle or pistols. The helix pattern serves both scrubbing and dirt gathering functions for thorough cleaning. Ripcords have threaded caps on both ends so you can attach a wire brush for extra cleaning power, or perhaps a solvent-soaked patch in front of the cleaner. Oh, and they’re heat-resistant to 700 degrees. They’ll be released this fall in .223/5.56mm, .308, 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP calibers. I suspect we’ll see that list grow.

In the relatively new category is the OTIS MSR / AR-15 cleaning kit. Contained in one of the OTIS small zip cases, it contains everything you need for thorough AR cleaning. The B.O.N.E. Tool is beautifully designed to clean carbon gunk from the bolt carrier, bolt and firing pin. It’s especially handy for that impossible to clean bolt tail area. Lot’s of scrapers, brushes and picks help you reach all the other hard to access places in the AR rifle.

HH Bauer Custom Case

HH Bauer Custom Case

HH Bauer Cases

Traveling with one gun is challenging enough. Traveling with three, and all the assorted gear for an event like this is a supreme test of logistics and packing skills. HH Bauer makes custom foam inserts for Pelican and other cases. As a Pelican dealer, they can equip you with gun and gear cases to make the pros envious. Already got a case? No worries, they can whip you up custom inserts for your specific gear.

Danner Boots

Danner Tachyon Boots

Danner Tachyon Boots

In addition to generously outfitting Media participants with Rivot TFX Hot Military boots for the event, Danner displayed a variety of their products in the vendor fair. The ones shown in the photo drew my attention, and when I picked them up, I quickly found they were anti-gravity boots! The Tachyon Hot Military boots are the lightest boots I’ve ever seen, bar none. Wow, it was pretty amazing. Want to go run some trails? Try these.

MGM Targets

MGM 22 LR Spinner target

MGM 22 LR Spinner target

MGM has a new line of .22 rimfire targets. The one that got my attention was the MGM .22 Rimfire Spinner Target. The idea is to hit top, bottom, or alternate between both to get the target to spin a complete 360. It will take multiple, perfect hits to succeed. It gets really challenging when the target starts rocking back and forth and you have to hit it on the move to increase the momentum. It’s more addictive than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. And that’s saying a lot. Want to burn through 1,000 rounds of .22LR? Get a Ruger 10/22 and one of these!

Warne Scope Mounts

WARNE RAMP Scope Mount

WARNE RAMP Scope Mount

I was able to shoot a Colt Competition with the new Warne RAMP mounting system. Two things stood out here. The shooting scenario had us taking a shot with one scope mounted in a Warne RAMP, then removing the mount and scope and replacing it with a different scope mounted in a different RAMP mount. The idea was point of impact repeatability. Yep, it worked like a champ.

The second neat feature of this mount is the integrated 45 degree mounting rails. They are detachable, so you can use them on either side or both. Mount a short-range optic like an iron sight or Trijicon RMR to complement your primary optic. Cool.

Leatherman

Leatherman Rail

Leatherman Rail

Leatherman showed us a bunch of gear for all sorts of tasks, but I was particularly keen on the Leatherman Rail. Made specifically as an AR platform range tool, the Rail includes a sight adjustment tool, a pin punch, ⅜” wrench and bits and driver for rail, scope and other adjustment tasks. It also features and oxygen bottle wrench in case you get a little woozy at the range! Are you a shotgunner or bowhunter? No worries, check out the similar Leatherman Pump and Cam tools for those platforms.

Colt Competition Rifles

We saw these at SHOT Show and wow they are sweet, sweet AR rifles. You can count on somewhere in the ½ MOA accuracy range. I shot a .223 at a 500 yard gong with great success. Check them out at your earliest opportunity!

Crimson Trace

Crimson Trace MVF-515 Light Laser Foregrip

Crimson Trace MVF-515 Light Laser Foregrip

We we able to test out the Crimson Trace MVF-515 vertical fore grip for rail-equipped rifles. This unit features a green laser and a 200 lumen light. Pressure pads on both sides of the foregrip allow you to control light and laser independently. Wow! The stability of the laser on a rifle, combined with the strong light, allows amazingly fast target acquisition and aiming. I was shocked at how effectively I was able to shoot a rifle in zero light conditions.

The Cody Firearms Museum: More Guns Than You Can Shake A Gun At

Which of the following statements are true?

A. Cody, Wyoming is the most pro-gun city in the United States. You’ll see people open carrying freely and most every business prominently displays pro-Second Amendment messaging. Oh, and not coincidentally, murders in Cody for the years 2002 through 2011 (last reported dates) were measured at zero. Yes, that’s zero each and every year.

The Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Photo: Sean Campbell

The Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Photo: Sean Campbell

B. Winchester motorcyles look a lot like Harley Davidson motorcycles, but historians have found no evidence that notorious biker gangs like the Warlocks, Hell’s Angels, or Galloping Goose Motorcycle Club (founded 1942 in Los Angeles–really!) ever adopted the Winchester bike as club standard equipment.

C. The finest and most protein-enhanced breakfast on the planet can be found at Our Place Home Cookin’ restaurant in Cody, Wyoming.

D. Perhaps the most extensive and impressive firearms display in the United States can be found just about six blocks from the Silver Dollar Bar in downtown Cody, Wyoming.

If you guessed “all of the above” you are correct!

At the recent Shooting Industry Masters event, attendees were invited to a welcome reception at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. This amazing museum is an overflowing buffet of artifacts, guns, and stories that helped shape the American West.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub.com!

A Brief History of Guns, The Early Years…

Here’s an excerpt from our brand new book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s part of the Insanely Practical Guides series and is loaded with light-hearted education, lots of helpful photos and some comedic relief. Hope you enjoy!

Before there were guns...

Before there were guns…

Guns have been annoying politicians longer than you might think. Before we jump into modern day firearm knowledge, let’s take a look at the long and winding road of gun history…

1,100 BC

Legends of the earliest known uses of guns have been passed down through generations of Zoran women. Historians believe that many women folk of Zorah, then near Philistine, gushed and swooned at the sight of Samson’s guns. According to the folklore, Samson had two guns, of exceptionally large caliber. Also according to history, he used those guns on more than one occasion – smiting at least one lion and many Philistine warriors. Sadly, the Zoran Congress, led by Senator Delilah of Timna, Philistia, soon enacted an assault hair ban and Samson was stripped of his guns.

 

1250 AD

Most historians believe that the key ingredient required to make all those useless guns work was invented around this time. In fact, NRA National Firearms Museum Director Jim Supica claims that Franciscan monk Roger Bacon wrote of the mixture shortly before 1250 A.D. That was an awfully long time ago – just after the birth of Joan Rivers.

Anyway, according to Bacon’s ancient texts, the lute and dulcimer trio of Guns and Roses discovered gunpowder while searching for better ways to wow the crowd at outdoor concerts. The forward-thinking band found that a mixture of charcoal, sulphur and salt peter provided plenty of noise and flash for bitchin’ stage theatrics. Salt Peter, Saint Peter’s long-lost stepbrother, was not at all happy about this recipe and he immediately started work on development of smokeless powders that did not require any of his bodily parts. Progress was slow as smokeless powder was not invented until the late 19th century.

 

1300

The earliest cannons appeared on the scene. After all, what good was the newly invented gunpowder without something to shoot it from? Early cannons were quite simple – nothing more than a tube open on one end and closed at the other. A small hole near the closed end allowed cannoneers to light a powder charge inside. Crudely constructed from iron, wood and sometimes Mighty Putty, these weapons applied the same basic principles used by guns today.

 

1350

While loud and impressive, early cannons did little to meet self-defense requirements. Since gun holsters had not yet been invented, concealed carry was not feasible. Hunting with the newly invented firearms was also problematic as many animals were reluctant to stand in front of cannons long enough to be converted to SPAM. In response to complaints of supermarket butchers everywhere, the “hand-gonne” was invented. Simply a downsized cannon mounted on a pole, the hand-gonne struggled for popularity mainly because no one knew how to pronounce the word “gonne.”

 

1400 to 1639

Clearing up name confusion, people stopped making “hand-gonnes” and replaced them with matchlocks and wheellocks. Matchlock guns featured an exposed flash pan filled with fine – and easy to ignite – priming powder, which would light the main charge to fire the gun. A dangling, and lit, fuse was suspended over the flashpan. A mechanical linkage was used to lower the smoldering fuse into the highly combustible flash pan. Occasionally, the matchlocks would fire when the user wanted, but usually before, after or not at all.

 

1526

The gun company Beretta is founded in the Foccacia region of Italy, in a town called Brescia. Having made guns prior to this date, company founder Ben Cartwright achieves his first commercial success with production of 185 Arquebus Matchlock barrels for the Arsenal of Venice. The British Secret Service, Double-0 branch, is issued the 186th Arquebus. England quietly canceled the Double-0 program when it was discovered that matchlock rifles concealed poorly under dinner jackets.

 

1640

The first kinda, sorta reliable flintlock was built. Some astute marketers even guaranteed their flintlocks to be 31% reliable, 67% of the time. Offering major advancements in luxury and comfort, such as heated drivers-side seats, the flintlock allowed shooters to carry their guns pretty much anywhere, except schools and government buildings, of course. As the flintlock features a covered flash pan for priming powder, users could even take their guns into rainy conditions. No longer would major World Wars endure rain delays, thereby minimizing network television scheduling challenges.

As a side note, the phrase “keep your powder dry” came into vogue during the flintlock era. As guns of the time relied on ignition of two separate powder charges – one in the flash pan and one in the barrel – keeping powder dry and flammable was a requirement of guns going bang instead of fzzzlpphhtt.

Stay tuned for the the next phase in firearm history…

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition is available on Amazon.com now!

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition from Insanely Practical Guides

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition from Insanely Practical Guides

About Derringers: Pocket Guns, Sloopy and Hoochie Koo

Even though the word “derringer” sounds French, it still manages to sound tough doesn’t it?

Bond Arms Derringer Barrels

The Modern Derringer with interchangeable barrels by Bond Arms. Photo: Rick Arnold

Technically, a derringer is a pocket pistol, and for any given caliber, it’s about as small a gun as you can get. Derringers typically are not repeating firearms as the mechanism to support a repeating action would make the gun too large and bulky to classify as a derringer.

Original derringers were single shot muzzle loaders – you know, like the pistols in Pirates of the Caribbean, only much, much smaller. Modern derringers tend to have two barrels, with each loaded with a single cartridge. Even though many modern derringers can fire two shots, it’s not because they have a repeating action. They just have two single shot barrels duct taped together. Well, only the really cheap ones are duct taped. Higher quality models use staples. Nah, still kidding. Modern derringers are actually really nice guns that are the pocket gun equivalent of a nice over and under shotgun with two barrels carefully machined or welded together.

Because the history of derringers is such as fascinating tale, we’re going to take a quick diversion here.

A Brief History of The Derringer

Coincidentally, the derringer pistol was invented by an American gunsmith named Henry Deringer. Imagine the odds of that! But back to the story. Deringer ran a thriving business in Philadelphia, manufacturing Model 1814 and 1817 Common Rifles for military contracts. Of course, the real cash cow for Derringers business was running guided tours of Rocky V film locations.

Back to guns. Deringer was famous for his small pistol designs, which were all single shot muzzle loaders, usually of large-caliber. In 1852, he started making the pistols pocket-sized and they became known as derringers. Henry Deringer did not think of his derringer pistol as anything particularly noteworthy and therefore never patented his invention. Seeing market opportunity, Apple quickly launched the iDerringer to capitalize on the design’s popularity. As a result, Henry died leaving only a modest estate and was never invited to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

As the derringer gained in popularity, specific designs for women, called muff pistols, became fashionable. No, we’re not making this up. Muff pistols were popular as the small derringer could easily fit in hand muffs, thereby offering concealment and quick access should an urgent self-defense need arise.

After President Lincoln was assassinated by a bad actor, John Wilkes Booth, with a Philadelphia Derringer in 1865, Henry Deringer was overcome with anguish. Leaving the life of guns behind, he decided to change not only his name, but his life’s work. Adding another “R” to his last name, and assuming the first name of “Rick”, Derringer was confident this bold new identity change would hide his past. He helped form a pop band called The McCoys and played lead guitar and a little bass on occasion. Success came slowly for Derringer and The McCoys and they released their first hit in 1965 – a single titled Hang on Sloopy. At the age of 179 Derringer had managed to reinvent his life. Hang on Sloopy paid homage to the importance of small, personal defense weapons as the song tells the story of Sloopy, who lived in a very pad part of town, where everybody tried to put her down. Many also put down her daddy, but Derringer didn’t care what her daddy do.

Rick Derringer continued to drift away from his gun-making past and launched another hit single in the 1970’s titled Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo. However, Derringer’s songwriting continued to drop hints of his more tactical past with lyrics like “lawdy mama, light my fuse.”

During Rick Derringer’s absence from the gun industry, derringer pistols declined in popularity. The advent of small revolvers and even smaller semi-automatic pistols diminished the advantages of one or two shot derringers.

Until the advent of Cowboy Action Shooting…

In 1995, Greg Bond, custom derringer maker and half-brother of James, officially founded Bond Arms. Never one to enjoy tuxedos and that silly accent, Greg parted ways with his brother and headed west across the pond to Granbury, Texas. Insistent on his belief that modern gun design could be applied to the derringer, Bond brought several innovations to the classic derringer design. In addition to easy locking double barrels and a safer rebounding hammer design, Bond introduced the idea of interchangeable barrels. Now, one derringer frame could use barrels from the lowly .22 long rifle all the way up to .45 Colt. Even when pressed, Bond would not comment on rumors of his brother’s custom 40mm grenade derringer.

Continuing to distance himself from the family spy business, Bond and his Arms became ingrained in the Cowboy Action Shooting competition circuit where models like the Snake Slayer helped good guys and villains alike win 10 consecutive titles.

Derringers continue to be popular today, where they are a mainstay fixture on the World Poker Tour, Except of course in the City of New York, where some New Boy King banned playing cards.

Top 10 Shooting Products from NSSF SHOT Show 2013

Doing a Top 10 list for SHOT Show is ridiculous. Kind of like trying to fit all the amazing things that have spilled out of Joe Biden’s mouth into a single leather-bound book. It simply can’t be done.

But as you probably already know, we’re kind of ridiculous around here, so we’re going to highlight our Top 10 shooting gear finds of SHOT Show 2013.

Here goes:

 Trijicon 300 AAC Blackout ACOG
Trijicon 300 AAC Blackout ACOG Optic. This is cool, cool, cool. We’ve a got a 300 Blackout rifle coming in for testing and can’t wait to spend more time with this optic. We shot it at the Media Day event and loved our first experience. The neat thing about this optic is the graduated reticle. It’s got normal elevation hashmarks calibrated for supersonic 300 AAC Blackout loads out to 600 yards. It also has indicators for subsonic rounds. Just zero the optic with supersonic ammo and everything falls into place. You’ll also notice the scope is slimmer than standard ACOG’s.
 Kestrel Meter 4500 Ballistic Bluetooth Nightvision Kestrel Meter with Horus ATRAG Ballistics Software. This is one cool device. You may be familiar with Kestrel’s pocket weather meters that provide instant data on humidity, temperature, wind, etc. This one adds a full ballistic computer to the mix. You can store multiple gun and load configurations with bullet type, ballistic coefficient, weight, and velocity. This information is combined with automatically collected atmospheric data to calculate a perfect long-range shooting solution. A new model is coming out soon with even more advanced ballistic software and load storage capabilities. Technology is cool.
 Black Rain Ordnance AK-47 Black Rain Ordnance AK-47. What’s the big deal about another AK-47? Look closely at the photo. This baby is a MILLED receiver, not a piece of metal stamped out like a Yugo fender. If memory serves, it’s going to be called the Freedom Fighter when it’s available in a couple of months. Oh, and we found out that one of Black Rain’s Pro Shooters, Sandra Orvig, lives virtually across the street from us. You’ll know a couple of other Black Rain Pro Shooters from Top Shot – the always energetic Gabby Franco and really huge guy Greg Littlejohn. This gun shot like a dream. Solid, heavy, and gentle. Fun!
 Tracking Point Laser Targeting System Tracking Point Networked Tracking Scope. Why yes, that is a laser targeting system on my .338 Lapua Magnum! I have no long-range shooting skill. Mainly because there’s no place nearby with a long-range facility. So when that crazy guy from Tracking Point asked me if I wanted to shoot a .338 Lapua Magnum at a steel gong 967 yards away in a freezing, howling wind, I thought he was a little nuts. With the Tracking Point, you simply lase the target with a red dot on the reticle using a button near the trigger. The system already knows your load ballistics and gathers atmospheric conditions for trajectory calculation. Once the target is lased, you can move the rifle around in an moderate-sized zone around the target center. Just press and hold the trigger and try to cover the laser indicator again. When your scope passes over the exact spot, the rifle fires automatically – you don’t have to hold on the target, just pass over it. A secondary benefit is there is no trigger flinch. You don’t know exactly when the gun will fire. And yes, I did hit the steel gong ⅔ of a mile out there on the first try. Through no fault of my own.
 NSSF First Shots Reception SHOT Show 2013 Crazy Fun People. Ok, so this isn’t actually a product, but most of our shooting industry friends are more or less products of insanity. That’s what makes the people so great and all of this so much fun. Here’s a photo from the First Shots reception, run by the NSSF’s always entertaining Tisma Juett. She’s coordinating First Shots events all across the country and getting thousands and thousands of people introduced to the shooting sports. You might recognize some of those wild and crazy huntresses from The Women’s Outdoor News, Stephanie from XS Sights, Kelle – the better half of Hot Caliber Jewelry, Team Archangel – tactical trainers extraordinaire, and @GlamGunGirl.
 Flashbang Eva Holster and others in the Pin Up Collection women's holsters Flashbang Eva Women’s Holster. A number of companies that are more dude-oriented are making hybrid holsters like the Galco King Tuk and CrossBreed. Lisa and Bart Looper have some up with a model just for the female form. The Eva has an exceptionally well made leather backing, gun-specific kydex shell, and best of all, a colorful suede backing. Fun and functional!
 Blackhawk AR Rail Thumb Shelf Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest. Sometimes the simplest products are the most valuable. This is a nifty accessory for virtually any rifle with a forward side rail. The thumb shelf helps you achieve a perfectly consistent and firm grip with your support hand every time. Reversing it creates two different thumb shelf heights. A lower position is great for rifles with a vertical fore grip. The upper position is better if you don’t use one. You have to try it to believe the difference it makes.
 US Optics SR8 Rifle Scope U.S. Optics SR8. This is one gorgeous optic. It’s obviously built like a tank. It offers 1-8x zoom with a true 1X so at closer ranges it works like a red dot. It features two different ranging reticle options which are in the first focal plane so ranging is not affected by zoom level. It also offers a red dot in the second focal plane which can be turned on or off. The red dot features variable intensity controls. Or you can get a not-red dot as the optic is orderable with your choice of red, green or blue illumination. Can’t wait to spend some quality time with this one.
 SilencerCo Saker 5.56mm silencer SilencerCo 5.56mm Saker. This dedicated 5.56 / .223 silencer was just downright fun to shoot. Less blast, less noise, accurate, and light. What’s not to love? The neatest part of the Saker design is the MAAD, or Multiple Accessory Attachment Device. This simply means that the attachment mechanism is not proprietary. Which means you can mount this over other vendors flash hiders. The end cap is removable, so if you manage to blow the end off, you can simply replace the end cap and there is far less risk of damage to your suppressor.
 Slidefire 22 Stock Slidefire .22LR Stock System. Here’s a great way to clean out your local Wal-Mart’s supply of bulk .22LR ammunition. Last year, SlideFire introduced bump-fire stocks for AR-15 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles. This year, they’ve managed to get the system to work on certain .22 rifles. Available soonish is a trigger set for the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. The stock is the basic AR-15 stock. The lighter trigger set is required to make the SlideFire system work with the reduced recoil impulse of .22 ammunition. Soon, SlideFire will introduce a solution for the Ruger 10/22 platform. We shot the M&P 15-22 system at Media Day and it was a hoot! And affordable :-) Get one.

Brownells 2012 Gunsmith Career Fair: Does Rifling Really Make Demons Fly Off The Bullets?

Continuing momentum for the gun industry was evident at the Brownells 2012 Gunsmith Career Fair. Attended by nearly 200 current and prospective gunsmiths and 50 exhibiting companies, Larry Weeks of Brownellscalled the event a great success. “I was particularly impressed by the professionalism of the attendees” noted Larry. “Many participants from various gunsmithing schools showed up dressed in official school shirts – the sense of pride was evident.”

Brownells hosts the annual event to help match prospective gunsmiths and employers and to provide cutting-edge educational seminars to the gunsmith community. Dozens of big name gun, reloading, tools, and accessory companies all gathered at the Des Moines Marriott Friday and Saturday, almost certainly sending local Department of Homeland Security staffers into apoplectic shock. Fortunately, no hospitalizations have been reported. Among others, representatives from Hornady, STI International, FNH, Caesar Guerini, Les Baer Custom, DSA, Berry’s Manufacturing, Cylinder and Slide,  Lauer Custom Weaponry, Forster Products, and Barrett exhibited at the event. And generous giveaways were abundant. Paul and Sharon Dressel put together a mountainous prize pack from their suppliers and their own stocks of premium gun stock blanks, Krieger Barrels brought over a dozen barrels, and Hawkeye gave away a $2,000 video Borescope system to one lucky gunsmith – just to name a few of the donations.

According to Larry, three major themes emerged during the event. First, nearly everyone was looking for CNC talent. That’s Computer Numerical Control. Sort of like HAL 9000 for guns. It’s a fancy way of defining the combination of computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing that allows gun makers to automatically link design and milling processes. Second, companies are hiring gunsmiths in record numbers. Some of the participating companies were looking for hire a dozen or more gunsmiths – each – and that’s a great indicator of the continued health of the industry. Last, the professionalism of the students continues to increase with each passing year. More and more people are getting into gunsmithing as a vocation and the serious commitment shows. Another great sign for the shooting industry.

As an example of the type of content featured at the event, the folks from Hawkeye Precision Borescopes put on a session showing students how Borescope technology, integrated with personal computers, allows today’s gunsmiths to create a customer ready video showing the interior of their rifle barrels. What a great way to sell barrel conditioning or replacement services. Please use these devices for gun barrel analysis only, no medical procedures allowed! Oh, and Hawkeye generously donated a $2,000 video Borescope setup. Sometimes it’s nice to be a gunsmith.

Perhaps the most important item learned at this years event came from John Krieger of Krieger Barrels. During his keynote speech, John  confessed that when you get right down to it, no one really knows why one barrel shoots better than another. They can use the same metal stock lot, air gauge the barrels, find perfect matches, and one will somehow shoot better than another. Fortunately John offered up an explanation for this. Back in the day, somewhere around 17,358 B.C. or thereabouts, when rifling was invented, some believed that the rifling spun the demons off of the bullets, thereby making them more accurate. Apparently some demons hang on with more gusto than others. We still use that excuse here when accuracy suffers…

If you are interested to learn more about the annual Gunsmith Fair, check out the site.

Hornady Announces Really Really Hairy ‘Situation Critical’ Situation Ammo

Following a special encore screening of the classic action thriller film Escape from New York, Hornady President Snake Plissken introduced the company’s latest line of premium tactical ammunition – Really, Really, Hairy ‘Situation Critical’ Situation.

“Over the past couple of months we’ve introduced a couple of really innovative defense loads” noted Plissken. “The Critical Defense product is aimed squarely at the personal defense market. Well, not literally aimed as that would probably be illegal. At minimum it would be bad for business I think.”

Hornady’s Critical Defense is designed to provide for reliable expansion performance in a broad variety of situations. While traditional hollow points can become clogged with material and fibers from clothing, Critical Defense uses a custom FTX tipped bullet that won’t clog and expands reliably.

Close on the heels of the Critical Defense launch, the company introduced Critical Duty ammunition which offers enhanced barrier penetration characteristics without sacrifice of bullet expansion. “Once we had bullets that performed well through clothing and harder barriers, it was only natural to look at the worst case scenario and design for that,” commented Plissken. “And call me Snake.”

Plissken admits that inspiration for Horandy’s Really, Really Hairy ‘Situation Critical’ Situation ammunition came from a recent DIRECTV binge. “We had about a week straight of rainy days and I must have watched every single 1980’s vintage action movie at least twice. I can’t provide details now, so let’s just say that if you are ever threatened by exceptionally persistent liquid metal villains, we might have a solution for you soon.”

Hornady’s Vice President of Marketing, Don Draper, admits the target market segment is somewhat limited, but remains optimistic about the new product.

“Our primary target market consists of one-eyed former war heroes turned bad who are abandoned in violent maximum security prison cities of the future filled with bloodthirsty dregs of society intent on killing or at least maiming anyone who happens to cross their path. We are having a bit of a problem meeting our sales objectives, but we’re going to be trying some new social media advertising to find more folks who fit the ideal customer profile,” opined an ever-optimistic Draper. “We hear that Twitter might be a good place to start. Do you have any scotch?”

CYLYNDRA – The new shape of wasteful spending

CYLYNDRA - The new shape of wasteful spending

CYLYNDRA - The new shape of wasteful spending

410HandGuns.com – Judging the .410 Handgun

hCharter Arms El Presidente 40mm Grenade

What’s the effectiveness of your 40mm handgun?

Ever-vigilant in our efforts to bring you the latest shooting industry scoop, we recently crashed the POMA Annual Conference in Ogden, UT. In addition to learning that POMA is a front for a top-secret Zombie Apocalypse Preparation Society, we met some interesting folks with new ideas.

One of those was Gil Horman, frequent contributor to AmericanRifleman.org. In his spare time, Gil has designed and built a new standard testing methodology for the slew of .410 handguns and ammunition now entering the market such as the Taurus Judge, Smith & Wesson Governor, Magnum Research BFR and Bond Arms Snake Slayer. This new performance measurement philosophy is highlighted on a new site, 410Handguns.com.

As long as we can remember, standard testing protocols for standard handguns have been widely abused used. Set up targets at 25 yards, shoot at them from a free-handed hold position, report two or three inch groups, and not-so-subtly hint to the world what a great shooter you are while claiming to have ascertained the mechanical accuracy of the gun in question. Right.

But we digress. Whether or not the standard handgun testing protocols are horse-hockey or not, there is no real standard of any value for objectively measuring .410 handguns with various loads. Enter 410Handguns.com.

According to Horman, the idea is to establish meaningful measurements for different types of loads – bird shot and buck shot pellets – while documenting performance at varying real-world combat distances. The FIST Test Protocol establishes both percentage of strike and group size standards depending on the load type.

410Handguns.com does not only propose standardized testing methodology, it puts it to work. Having tested hundreds of gun / load combinations, 410Handguns.com presents tabular results that allow site users to see how various loads perform in their handgun, or vice-versa. Handy stuff.

Pressed to share in about future enhancements to the site, Horman was reluctant to offer details. However, we’ve learned that work is already under way on development of Huge@ssHandguns.com where the Charter Arms El Presidente Model will be tested with a variety of high explosive, incendiary, and armor penetrating loads. Horman refused to confirm or deny speculation that the site would launch at SHOT 2012 Media Day. Calls to the Las Vegas High-Explosive Zoning Commission have not been returned.

Horman was able to confirm some details of 410Handguns.com short term plans. Next on the testing agenda is .410 Rubber Buckshot. 410handGuns.com will be validating the relative effectiveness of the classic  “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you shoot bounces off me and sticks to you” defense. Results should be published shortly after infinity plus one.

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