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2013 Las Vegas SHOT Show Coverage — Part One
Guns and ammo

SHOT Show 2013 in Las Vegas started off with an event at the Boulder City Pistol and Rifle Range and it was a true outdoor experience. Most every major manufacturer of guns, ammo and shooting accessories were at the range to host "Media Day at the Range." Similar to Raahauge's Sports Fair, members of the working press could shoot a wide variety of firearms, check out scopes and optics, fire pistols and shoot many different calibers.

That cold front that hit Southern California last week pushed right through Las Vegas and outdoor writers from all over the world would face some of the coldest weather that Mother Nature could throw at you during an outdoor venue. The temperature dipped into the low thirties, but when you consider winds gusting in excess of 35 mph, the wind-chill factor was down in the very low twenties.

It was impossible to load rifles, pistols, hold targets steady down range and it was tough shooting on shotgun ranges as targets danced around in the wind making it difficult to get on a clay. It was more a day of endurance rather than a fun day at the range, but the outdoor scribes were there and all got to shoot on the many ranges, but many opted to interview reps in the warmth of a tent or behind a buffer spot protecting against the wind. It was so cold that this writer had a difficult time taking notes and keeping my eyes from watering. WOW what a day!

This writer’s main focus for covering Media Day and SHOT Show was to check out new products for 2013that are currently being shipped to retail stores. Browning has a new hunting rifle that is ideal for hunting western big game. The AB3 is a new bolt-action rifle that Browning introduced at the show and it will be ready for shipment in late spring. This new rifle is designed after the original Browning A-Bolt was introduced to the hunting world over 30 years ago. This rifle has forged a reputation for accuracy and dependability and now you can add extra value to this firearm with a suggested retail price of $599.

BROWNING'S NEW AB3 — Browning's Paul Thompson shows off the new Browning AB3 bolt action rifle to WON's Jim Niemiec at SHOT Show. This rifle has the same basic design as the A-Bolt but its features have been updated and it retails for just at $599. WON PHOTO BY TONI NIEMIEC

Western  Outdoor News spent a lot of time with this rifle at the range shooting a wide variety of targets from the bench. My choice of caliber was the 306 and it preformed great. Available in barrel lengths for the calibers 306 and 270 Winchester is 22 inches and there is a 26 inch barrel for the heavier calibers of the 7 MM Rem.Mag and 300 Winchester Mag.

The AB3 shot on the range was matched to a Bushnell 3200, 3x10 scope that was dead on with each shot taken. Cartridges cambered smoothly, there was very little kick to this rifle and the feel was well balanced. The AB3 features a new bolt and action design, integrated trigger design, top-tang safety, 60 degree blot lift and an inflex technology recoil pad. Hunters really need to check out this rifle at Sports Fair in June at Raahauge's Shooting Enterprise in Corona.

WON then headed over to the Ruger tent and shot a number of rounds through the new Ruger Mdl. SR556VT, a varmint rifle in the .223 caliber( 5.56 NATO). This light-weight rifle was fitted with a Burris E1- 4.5x14 scope. This rifle performed flawlessly with all targets hit at 100 yards and the action was extremely smooth.

This new Ruger is styled after many of the new sporting and tactical rifles now being manufactured by companies all over the world. The SR556VT has a capacity to hold 5 rounds, with a barrel length of 20 inches, weighs in at 8.5 lbs. with a 1:8 inch twist and retails for $1,995.

RUGER ON THE RANGE — WON ‘s Jim Niemiec shot the new Ruger Mdl. SR556VT during Media Day at the Range, a venue set up to field test firearms, ammo and accessories prior to SHOT Show. This new varmint rifle from Ruger performed flawlessly even though conditions were extreme that day. WON PHOTO BY TONI NIEMIEC

Weatherby stepped up production and has added the Mark V Accumark RC to its line of fine hunting rifles. This hunting editor has hunted with a Mark V for many years in the 7 MM Mag caliber and it has always functioned perfectly. This new rifle features hand-laminated, raised Monte Carlo composite stock, factory-tuned adjustable trigger, button-rifled, #3 contour free-floating stainless steel fluted barrel with recessed target crown and is topped off with a Pachmayer Decelerator pad. The MSRP starts at $2400 for most calibers and with a suggested selling price of $2,700 for the .30-378 Wby. Mag., .338-378 Wby. Mga. and .338 Lapua. Additional calibers and left hand models are available though the Weatherby Custom shop.

Also from Weatherby for 2013 is the Vanguard Series 2 Back Country that weighs just 6.75 lbs., features chrome moly metalwork with Cerakote Tactical Grey finish for exceptional weather and corrosion resistance along with a 24 inch fluted barrel.

Mossberg probably introduced the most shotguns and rifles at SHOT Show for 2013. Most of the firearms were additions to the tactical line of products but there were also a number of new shotguns in the auto-loader, pump and Silver Reserve II series of over/unders and side x sides.

Benelli USA and Beretta USA introduced new products as well for 2013, which included new tactical models from Benelli and Stoeger brands. Also new from Benelli this year are the Vinci Speed Bolt and tactical models for the M2 and M3, Nova and Super Nova lines of shotguns. For Beretta it was the ARCTOS long range, varmint and big game models that caught the attention of this writer.

Although Charles Daly was not at the range, Western Outdoor News did visit their booth at the show. It appears as if things are shaping up for hunters and shooters who purchased a Charles Daly auto-loader a few years back at a retail shop and the gun failed, even with its lifetime warranty. Unfortunately Charles Daly closed its doors a few years ago and today a new company has taken over the distribution of this line of shotguns.

Of great news to those that own a broken Charles Daily shotgun the new company (SAMCO Global Arms., Inc.) will be offering a repair service. As of this date details are still be worked out on what the cost of having an older model Charles Daly repaired. According to the representative in the booth the company is working on details for the service department located in Miami, Fl. WON will keep readers informed as soon as more information is available.  

There were lots of firearms at the show and some pretty high priced Italian shotguns and double rifles were on display with fine checkering, inlays, elegant engraving  and fantastic stocks and fore-ends. The highest priced shotgun(s) were on display in the Perazzi both with a set of 4 shotguns in 12, 20, 28 and .410 gauges with a price tag of $233,724.00.

Of interest to note both at the Media Day and while walking the show it appears as if 70 per cent of the show is now tactical guns, rifles and accessories with a minority display of new rifles, shotguns, pistols, accessories or ammo for the hunting and sporting market.

There was a lot of discussion on the show room floor about pending gun legislation and the future of the gun industry and sales at the shop were extremely high.

Western Outdoor News caught up with Tim Bailey of Tim Bailey and Associates, one of the top rep groups in the United States, to get his thoughts on what the future holds.

"Sales have over taken production. There are more orders being written at this show than manufacturers can expect to produce this year. These brisk sales of guns and ammunition is being pushed by pending legislation, but also by the involvement of more people in the shooting sports. Today we have family, women and kids all participating in shooting sports as witnessed by over 40 per cent of those attending Sports Fair. This is terrific for the industry and their appears to be no end to this trend in the immediate future," said Bailey.

There wasn't that much new in ammo for 2013, although Federal Ammunition (ATK) continues with its wide selection of sporting and target shotgun shells and new Fusion big game loads. Federal has be leading the market in shotgun, rifle and pistol ammo for a long time and they are also supporting many conservation and education groups by partnering up to help support these organizations. Winchester has kicked up the speed of its Blind Side shotgun ammo to 1675 fps in their 3 and 3.5 inch, 12 gauge loads that feature HEX-shot that is deadly on ducks and geese at longer ranges.

Also from Winchester is the new .17 Win Super Mag pushing out a 20 gr. bullet at 3000 fps in the S17W20 load and also at 3000 fps in the symbol X17W20 for the Super X bullet. Winchester also has a new varmint load (WON shot this load during Media Day at the Range) and it performs well in the X243P caliber with a bullet weight of 58 gr. and a muzzle velocity of 3850 fps.

Rio Ammunition has also added some new loads to its selection of shotgun shell ammo for 2013. Using different tubes, wads and CSB powders, and shot sizes in specific combinations, Rio can now offer shot shells that are tailored to specific game and specific shooting conditions. Western Outdoor News will be checking out their turkey load this spring which the new M50 shotgun shell with a magnum load. The new ammo is manufactured for a 3-inch chamber with a load of 1.75 oz. of steel shot, a muzzle velocity of 1260 fps and this shotgun shell is available in sizes 4/5/6/7.5.
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