I’m sitting on the plane winging my way home from the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, and as usual found the exposition interesting and the chance to meet with all the airgun related businesses very interesting. As I’ve mentioned before, I quite taking my video equipment or writing product releases a few years back. My reason was that there are so many people doing this these days, without actually having the field experience, I don’t think there is a lot I could add.
Having said this, there were a few guns that caught my interest, and a couple of trends and observations worth commenting on. This is in no way a comprehensive report on the show, and over the balance of the year I will be shooting (and more importantly hunting) with most of the guns that I found interesting. Videos, articles, blog posts to follow.
One gun I will mention, because it is related to enhancements to a rifle that I’ve been shooting and like, is the Brocock Bantam. This bottle forward sibling to the Compatto already had a lot going for it: adjustable power, accuracy, high shot count, fast cycling and reliable magazine, and a very compact and ergonomic semi-bullpup design. The news at the show is that a regulated version of the rifle will be released in the near future. I am especially looking forward to using this rifle on one of my upcoming hunts in Texas or California. The rifle I saw was the prototype, and outside of the regulator gauge it looked like it retained all of the ergonomic design of the standard rifle..
One of the trends I noted, was that there were a number of lower cost PCP’s being released that looked quite interesting. Ones that I am looking forward to shooting (or shooting mores) include the Umarex Gauntlet, a prototype of which I brought to South Africa, the Diana Stormrider, the Hatsan Flash. Hatsan also had a bullpup version of the Flash that was lightweight, ergonomic and positioned at a very competitive price point. The entry level rifle from Evanix that was shown on their booth really piqued my interest, it was a scaled down version of their AR 6 double action platform. What impressed me was that even though cosmetically based on an older design, they have managed to lighten the double action to about 3 lb which makes this a practical double action. I was told that the gun is producing 30 joules when shot single action and 20 in double, and I saw some double action groups hot at the factory in Korea that were excellent. I have the 25 version on the way. And lastly, even though the Compatto is at the high end of the price range, for this quality of gun it is still an exceptional value.
The news on the big bore front was the Umarex Hammer .50 caliber: this represents the most powerful production big bore on the market at 700 fpe. The gun is regulated, had a two shot linear magazine, and after using this gun a couple weeks ago to bag a fallow stag, I can attest to it’s knockdown power! I wasn’t able to get out for range day this year, but was told that over 300 shots were passed through it by the media attendees. Also on the bigger bore front, I noted that AirForce has (finally) come up with a carbine version of the Texan in .308, .357, and .457. This happens just as my .308 Texan was at the gunsmith having the barrel cut down, but I was on the phone canceling that work once confirming I could order the shorter gun right away.
A high point of the SHOT show actually takes place away from the exhibition floor, and that is the Thursday evening dinner that AOA headman Robert Buchanan hosts. It was attended by the movers and shakers from many of the airgun related companies, and some media folks from Europe as well as the States. It was a great time to meet a lot of old friends, get some insights on the airgunning world through their eyes.
Anyway, back to the real world for me this week, I am going to catch up on some video edits from last weeks trip to Texas where I hunted with Chacho Gonzales, and where I’ll firm up my 2018 travel and hunting schedule. I know that I’ll be in Texas, Arizona, Indiana, South Dakota, Virginia, and Mexico this year, and am think about another run down to Puerto Rico. Let me know if you can suggests a new place or a new quarry you’d like to seed me hunt and film this year.