The American-based SHOT Show is operated and sponsored each year by the US National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and acts as the valuable conduit between manufacturers, retail merchants, wholesale buyers and the media. Attendance is not open to the general public, but each year in January individuals from those various worldwide qualifying groups come together for four days in order to advance shooting sports and to assist the military and police.
This show is held annually, most often in Las Vegas, at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Someone once speculated that if an attendee simply walked past every booth a single time they would likely have covered 27 miles (44km). Seemingly, every year the show grows bigger with the 2017 attendance approaching 65,000, making it the second largest SHOT Show in the history of the event and the biggest trade show of its kind in the world. More than 500 new products were on display from 338 companies and 1600 exhibitors participated.
While the show typically begins on Tuesday and runs through to the following Friday, a select few participants meet on the prior Monday to be involved in the Industrial Day at the Range. This event is open only on a limited basis to manufacturers, product buyers and the media and is held at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club outside of Las Vegas proper. Here the participants have an opportunity to gain some hands-on exposure with the new firearms and other various shooting related products.
While it would be an impossible herculean task to cover each and every new and impressive product being showcased, the following are a few select items that I found particularly noteworthy. For more information regarding their availability in Australia, speak to your local gunshop.
The LTO-Tracker (Leupold Thermal Optic) is a hand-held thermal observation and retrieval device that has the ability to greatly assist hunters when it comes to locating and recovering their game. It features a 20-degree field of view and 6x digital zoom magnification. Being capable of detecting heat sources out to as far as 300 yards, the LTO-Tracker has tremendous versatility. More than 10 hours of continuous use is produced from its single CR123 battery. I found it particularly interesting that it could actually detect where I had stood a few moments earlier. The heat produced by my feet and shoes was enough for the LTO to identify the residual heat that remained on the floor. Swarovski Z8i riflescopes New to the Swarovski market is its Z8i series riflescopes, which are the first switchable reticle designed scopes to be produced by the company. Four models are available within the Z8i series: 1-8×24, 1.7-13.3×42 P, 2-16×50 P and 2.3-18×56 P. The new Flexchange 4A-IF feature is offered on either the Z8i 1-8×24 or the Z8i 1.7-13.3×42 P models and allows the user to freely be able to switch from a 4A-I- to a CD-I-style reticle.
Power to the scope is provided by a single CR2032 battery. After about 36 minutes of inactivity, the power is automatically shut down in order to conserve on battery energy. Like all Swarovski optics, the Z8i riflescopes are built to be fogproof, waterproof and shockproof. I had an opportunity to see for myself how effective this scope was during the Industrial Day at the Range and found accurate shot placement out to 200m was almost too easy. Virtually every single shot from the 6.5 Creedmoor rifle struck precisely where I wanted it to.
Gamo purchases Daisy
Whenever two impressive companies merge, it often benefits those firms as well as their consumers. A perfect example of that is when Gamo recently purchased Daisy airguns. This union expanded both companies’ ability to adequately cover the market, essentially with Gamo concentrating on the adult airgun sales and Daisy on the youth market.
Gamo’s new Swarm Maxxim air rifle
Gamo was also showcasing a brand new air rifle, the Swarm Maxxim, which is a break-barrel design with a unique removable 10-shot magazine. While the rifle design still requires the shooter to break the barrel to charge the rifle prior to each shot, the pellets are automatically fed into the chamber each time. Additional magazines can be purchased from the company to facilitate faster follow-up shots. Some of the features of this new rifle include the Whisper Maxxim noise reduction system, a CAT (Custom Action Trigger), SWA recoil pad, an installed 3-9x40mm Gamo scope and a three-year warranty. This rifle is available in either .177- or .22-calibre with the .177 producing a muzzle velocity of 1300fps and the .22 sending its pellet out of the barrel at 975fps when using PBA Platinum ammo. I had the pleasure of shooting one of these rifles at the range and found it to be extremely accurate and the trigger to be a vast improvement over some of the earlier trigger models.
Annealing Made Perfect
Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) is a machine built in New Zealand and used for annealing cartridge brass. It was first introduced at the 2016 SHOT Show and immediately became a popular item for many handloaders (see the September 2016 Australian Shooter).
AMP is now developing a similar machine that will be capable of annealing .50-calibre cases and automatic feeders that can be mounted on the current machines in order to speed up the already fast AMP process. Both of these new designs will soon be available on the open market.
Metallic reloading from MEC
Most people associate MEC with shotshell handloaders, but now MEC is offering its first press for loading metallic rifle and pistol cartridges. The MEC Marksman press is a single-stage design made from ductile cast iron for superior quality and durability and is compatible with all 7/8-14 thread reloading dies. It can effectively be used for handloading shells from .22 Hornet up to and including the big .416 Rigby. It comes with the company’s patent-pending self-centring shell holder system and includes various reloading accessories and essentials.
Dillion reloader and electronic scale
Dillion’s new RL 550C metallic cartridge reloader includes an increased frame cross-section and additional structural features all working to add strength to the machine. Its thread-in arm pins offer a grease port for easy lubrication and simple disassembly for cleaning and service, and there is no need to remove the shaft and platform when taking off the link arm.
Also new to the Dillion line of fine handloading products is the D-Terminator electronic scale, which makes weighing both quick and reliable by virtue of its load cell technology. It features a 1500-grain capacity, anti-static wind shield, large backlight LCD display, improved powder trickling capability, AC/DC operation (AA batteries included), a universal 110-240V adaptor, and it is adjustable in order to display the weights in grams, grains, pennyweight, carats, ounces or troy ounces.
RCBS’s new ChargeMaster Lite electronic scale features an LED touch-screen display that ensures accurate data input. This is a lightweight, compact scale that holds nearly 1lb of smokeless powder in its hopper and can dispense anywhere up to 300 grains with a +/- 0.1-grain accuracy.
Also new is the company’s Ultrasonic Case Cleaner-2, which includes significant changes and improvement over the previous model. It is nearly 100 per cent larger with a 6.3-quart (6-litre) capacity and comes with a second ceramic heater and transducer to produce a more thorough cleaning of your brass cases and firearm parts. The LED is easily programmable and the timer can be set for up to 30 minutes of continuous cleaning.
CZ rifle and shotguns
There seems to be very few over-and-under shotguns possessing a 3½” chamber in 12-gauge, but the new CZ Swamp Magnum Camo has broken though that barrier in a big way by giving you the maximum amount of power for bringing down those high-flying waterfowl. This is the only over-and-under within the CZ line that comes with an automatic safety, which engages every time the action is opened to provide an extra level of shooting safety. This shotgun is being offered with a polymer stock in either black or Realtree Max-5 camo and with all-metal work blacked out.
Also new at CZ is the Model 557 Varmint rifle, which is available in either .243 Win or .308 Win. This is a short-action rifle with a stout 25.6″ (650mm) barrel with a heavy profile that tapers to 0.86″ (22mm) at the muzzle. The ergonomic stock is walnut and possesses a healthy palmswell, laser-out stippling and flat forearm. The pistol grip is cut in a vertical fashion to provide a higher degree of comfort when shooting from the prone position.
Nosler has recently announced two new AccuBond long-range bullets: a .308-calibre 168-grain and a .338 265-grain. The .308-168-grain ABLR was designed to maximise downrange performance in cartridges with less-than-magnum case capacities, while the .338-265-grain ABLR was developed to complement the .338 cartridges with its large case capacity. The .308-168-grain carries a G1 ballistic coefficient (BC) of 0.598 and a G7 BC of 0.298, while the .338-265-grain carries a G1 BC of 0.778 and a G7 BC of 0.380. In addition there is a new Nosler ballistic tip subsonic offering, a .308 220-grain round-nose bullet with a green tip that has a BC of 0.472 and a sectional density of 0.331.
A super light from Cyclops
Cyclops continues to light the way for outdoor enthusiasts heading into the outback who demand reliability and performance in headlamps, spotlights and specialty lighting. And the company’s new rechargeable CYC-300WP spotlight is a perfect example of that philosophy and dedication. This versatile, lightweight light is waterproof and fully submersible down to a depth of 1m and if dropped in the water it will float. Its powerful LED illumination is adjustable to three setting intensities: High, Low and SOS. Depending upon which setting you choose to use, the burn time varies from three hours up to eight hours without needing to be recharged.
Norma’s new Eco Strike ammunition is now available in a wide range of cartridge choices. The goal in developing this new factory-loaded ammunition was to produce cartridges that possessed a higher degree of penetration, reliable expansion, could maximise velocities and be geared to all climates. The polymer tip boat-tail lead-free bullets have been nickel-plated for reduced bore fouling and designed to produce 100 per cent weight retention at all distances.
Weatherby Vanguard rifles
Weatherby has added several new rifles to its Vanguard series rifles. The Camilla was designed specifically for women shooters and comes stocked in attractive walnut. The Vanguard Adaptive Composite (VAC) was designed to provide Benchrest precision and flexibility and comes complete with a composite target-style stock and is available in .223, 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. The Vanguard H-BAR RC is also available in those same calibres and comes with a Monte Carlo stock with a beavertail forearm. The Vanguard Modular Classis is built on a CNC machined 6061 aluminium chassis and has a black hard anodised finish. The Vanguard Weatherguard H-BAR comes with a moulded Monte Carlo Griptonite stock, adjustable match-quality two-stage trigger, fluted bolt body and a three-position safety, while the Vanguard Synthetic Compact comes in .243, 7mm-08, .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor calibres.