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Thursday, January 24, 2019
Jr. waterfowl hunts next weekend

(Part 1 of 2) Shot Show was all it aimed up to be
Despite a bitter cold temperature and howling winds blowing in gusts well over 30 mph, SHOT Show 2019 in Las Vegas, Nv., was a total success for tens of thousands of attendees. This annual event started out with Industry and Media Day at the Boulder Pistol and Rifle Club, where the latest and greatest in firearms, ammo and accessories were located in lines of shooting bays. Every major firearms manufacturer and representatives were on hand to help introduce new products and set up down-range targets up to 500 yards from the bench. While winds kicked up desert dust and blew tents and flags all over the gun range, it did make for a pretty good day to test one’s outdoor endurance in less-than-hospitable conditions. The blustery conditions really challenged a shooter’s ability to hold a rifle steady and on target or swing into a stiff wind at a dancing clay target.

ON TARGET WITH BROWNING — WON hunting editor Jim Niemiec enjoyed shooting the new Browning X-Bolt Mag chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor at the media day range in Boulder City. WON PHOTO BY TONI NIEMIEC

Western Outdoor News had a list of new rifles, shotguns and ammo to check out so it was off to the Browning canopy to check out the newly introduced X-BOLT MAX Long Range rifle chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor ammo. The ammo selected was 120 gr. lead-free bullet with BXS solid expansion and fitted with a high-power scope when hitting targets 300 yards down range.

This rifle featured a removeable muzzle brake that made for less recoil and very good performance. Most of the rounds fired hit a series of gongs and bullets that missed the target didn’t miss it by much, as wind gusts moved that light-weight bullet around pretty good.

The X-BOLT MAX rifle features a three-lever feather trigger that provides a clean, crisp pull with no take-up or creep. The alloy trigger housing contains hard chromed steel components and are highly polished on all critical contact surfaces. With a free-floating barrel bedded into the stock, both in front of and at the rear of the action, which makes for a maintained barrel to stock spacing, providing consistent accuracy.

Browning’s new rifle was a pleasure to shoot and the range person was very accommodating when this hunting editor asked for a couple of more rotary magazines to shoot at different silhouette targets and at various ranges. The popularity of long-range hunting has more shooters than ever honing their ammunition and rifle setup to help ensure that their shot at a once-in-a-lifetime big game animal finds its mark. The new Max stock found on select Browning X-BOLT rifles is designed to help improve shooting confidence to match the optics and get a repeatable stock fit. Outfitted with factory fiberglass stock this rifle retails for $1,199 and there is an optional McMillian stock available with a MSRP of $2,399.

While the bulk of the rifles being shot were AR-style black guns and those for tactical shooting and combat, down the row of shooting bays was booth #SR-53, and that’s where Brenton Premium Hunting Rifles was set up with boxes of Hornaday 6.5 Grendel ammo to test fire this new hunting rifle.

BRENTON’S NEW AR HUNTING RIFLE — Tanner Brenton was helpful in pointing out the many features of the new Brenton AR hunting rifle to WON’s Jim Niemiec. This new rifle, featuring a Leupold variable scope, shot very well at distant silhouettes and gongs. WON PHOTO BY TONI NIEMIEC

WON met up with the Brenton family and we talked AR rifles and their use while hunting. The following is what the Sr. Brenton had to say about the Brenton AR hunting rifle.

“Some AR manufacturers have taken their current Mil-Spec tactical rifles, decorated it with camo and labeled it as a hunting rifle. However, these attempts to disguise their tactical rifles in camo confuse their other-wise tactical-orientated customers. In order to satisfy the demands of serious hunters looking to leverage the benefits of the AR platform is the main reason I founded Brenton USA,” said Brenton.

Brenton went on to add, “Our rifles begin with what the serious AR hunter needs to be more successful and efficient afield…we are concerned with sound engineering principles and genuine improvements that add functionality when hunting, which differ from other rifles on the market that are based on tactical applications. We call this approach HuntSpec.”

The Brenton rifle this editor test fired a whole box of 6.5 Grendel ammo through was the highly accurate Stalker 18-inch Carbon Hunter fitted with a quality Leupold long range scope and gong targets were set up some 200 yards down-range from the bench. This rifle was one of the softest shooting rifles that I have shouldered in a number of years. According to Brenton, the 123 gr. bullet put down a 6X6 elk on a recent hunt in Colorado.

The Stalker 18-inch Carbon Hunter is the original tried and true hunting rifle used by successful AR hunters across America. The rifle features a camouflage free-floating match grade barrel threaded for suppressor use, hunting handguard, HunterSize controls and an MOE fixed stock. A bare rifle weighs 7.2 pounds and features a 5-shot stainless steel magazine and includes a soft case. Calibers currently available are 450 BM, 6.8 SPC II, 6.5 Grendel (LBC) and 223 Remington (WYLDE). At SHOT Show Brenton was working with a number of distributors and retailers to get this Michigan manufactured based rifle okayed for California sales.

New from Legacy Sports (HOWA) for 2019 is the introduction of the Pointer PhenomA semi-auto shotgun. Western Outdoor News checked out this shotgun with Andy McCormick, VP of Sales/Marketing.

“This new shotgun from HOWA is sure to be a real turkey slayer come the spring turkey season. Our pro staff has field tested this auto-loader, which is available in a number of different camo patterns, including an original Realtree camo pattern. Remarkably, the Pointer 410 shotgun will make for an ideal turkey load for junior hunters and those looking to challenge a big gobbler with a smaller gauge shotgun. We know for sure that the 410, loaded with new Federal TSS shot, can kill a tom running away at a distance of 50 yards. This shotgun weighs only 5.9 pounds, comes with a selection of 5 chokes and has a MSRP of $529.”

Retay USA unveiled the new Masai Mara waterfowl shotgun at SHOT Show, featuring a patented inertia plus bolt system, a very simple push button removable trigger group (Ed. Note: I have never seen a firearm that is designed so simple in taking the trigger and bolt out of the receiver for gun safety and regular maintenance). This shotgun is designed for the dedicated waterfowl hunter and built to perform even under the most extreme conditions. The bolt ejector knob is oversized and easy to operate even when its wet or a hunter is wearing gloves.

Savage/Stevens is celebrating it’s 125th year being in the firearms manufacturing business and for 2019 they will deliver more than 40 new firearms in many caliber or gauge options. This company is expanding and improving their popular XP scoped rifle line, have added a new lineup of AXIS and AXIS II rifles, expanded in the next generation their MSR 15 and MSR 10 rifle lines with new options built for long range, precision and competitive shooting and the new 110 APEX Hunter XP is fitted with a Vortex Crossfire II scope, features a floating bolt head and is available in 17 calibers, include the 6.5x284 Norma.

BUSTING CLAYS WITH FEDERAL’S NEW MINISHELL AMMO — Despite very windy conditions the new minishell performed very well shooting a Steven’s O/U 12 gauge. WON PHOTO BY TONI NIEMIEC

VISTA Outdoors, representing Federal Ammunition, CCI, Alliant Powder, Speer and many other hunting and shooting accessories filled a huge booth with new products including: rifle, pistol and shotgun ammunition in newly designed boxes, big bore and 22LR ammo, reloading powder, new Speer bullets with high coefficients and a polymer tip that improves low-velocity expansion.

Federal Premium introduced for 2019 a new minishell shotgun shell for clay target and small upland game bird hunting. This new ammo is a very short version of a standard 12 gauge shot shell and a whole box can fit in a pocket, taking up very little room and has a lot less weight. Got to be an ideal load for jacksnipe hunting wherever lead shot is still permitted.

WON had an opportunity to shoot this new Federal shotgun shell on the range with very gusty winds howling over the clay target course. Shooting a Savage O/U 12 gauge, this shooter was able to bust 70 percent of the clays thrown even though they flew irradicably. This new shot gun shell is currently designed for O/U supplication, measures only 1¾ inches, is loaded with 15/16 ounces of lead pellets and has a muzzle velocity of about 1100 fps. This new ammo should be available at dealers later this spring.

Hevi-Shot show cased four new ammos for 2019. The new Hevi-X Strut and Magnum Blend MO Obsession NWFT edition ammo should be killer shotgun shell ammo on spring turkey hunts, Hevi-X Mossy Oak should bring down big puddle and diving ducks at greater distances and the newest centerfire Hevi-Duty pistol ammo is sure to be popular on the range.

Aguila Ammunition is expanding into the US market with new rimfire, centerfire and shotshell products. This company has been producing ammo for decades at its factory in Mexico. This Western Outdoor News hunting editor has shot it well while gunning for ducks around the estuaries of Los Mochis, MX with outfitter Bobby Balderrama of the Sinalo Pato Duck and Dove Club. Currently Aguila ammo is being sold by Big 5 Sporting Goods retail stores.

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