New firearms, ammunition, optics, gizmos and gadgets are all apart of the Primedia Outdoors Editor’s Roundtable held at the Pike-Adams Sportsman’s Alliance Park (PASA) in Barry, Illinois.
Designed for the editors and writers that make up Primedia Outdoors, the Editor’s Roundtable is held twice a year and provides magazine, internet, and television staff an inside and hands on look at different products and gadgets the shooting and hunting sports industry has to offer for the current year and beyond.
Editor’s and writers woke up a blue-edged foggy morning that would soon give way to clear, sunny skies. After a hot breakfast and the required two or three cups of coffee, Day Two got under way when Thompson/Center’s Neil Sanders took to the podium to begin the day’s events.
Sanders kept it short and to the point as there wasn’t anything that he was debuting or hadn’t been seen at the 2006 SHOT Show. The recap included another look at Pro Hunter rifle, muzzleloader, and shotgun.
The Pro Hunter rifle features a 28-inch stainless steel fluted barrel and is available in 18 different calibers. Considered T/C’s “next generation Encore rifle”, the Pro Hunter looks it with its stylish FlexTech recoil absorbing system that reduces felt recoil by 43%. The Pro Hunter also features a swing hammer that enables the hammer to be swung left or right, allowing easy access to the hammer spur.
Rimfire barrels are now available for the Encore. Calibers include .22, .22 LR, .17 HMR and .17 Mach2.
Two other muzzleloaders of note are the new Z5 and X7.
The Z5 is “the answer to the Wal-Mart trend,” according to Sanders and, “is basically an Omega with a bit less machining.”
The X7 is a lightweight mountain-style muzzleloader that weighs a full pound less than the Omega. It features a 24-inch barrel and has relatively tame recoil despite its lightweight.
The new T-7 Line of cleaning products from Thompson/Center is a collaborative effort with Tetra Gun. The cleaning products were designed specifically for muzzleloaders and the cleaning issues associated with them.
“We worked with Tetra Gun on coming up with a line of cleaning products that are made for blackpowder only. We wanted to know what works best. Working with them, we came up with some items that work really good,” said Sanders.
ATK generally has some representatives on hand at both roundtables of the year as a result of the diverse collection of products offered by the various arms of the company. While Federal Ammunition is perhaps their best-known brand, it was the family of accessory companies (Champion Traps & Targets, Gunslick, Outers, Shooters Ridge, Weaver Mounting Systems, and RCBS) that gave a detailed presentation on some of their new offerings for 2006.
Champion’s Jackie Gamez started off the presentation with a look at the new VisiColor targets that feature multi-colored impact locations for easy shot placement indication. The slick animal shaped targets have different impact colors that represent the various vital areas that allow a shooter to easily identify what part of the boiler room they’re hitting.
A couple of new targets, the Coyote and Elk, have been added to the popular X-ray line.
The Match-Grade Gun Maintenance Center from Gunslick would probably be the last gun vice cleaning/scope mounting apparatus you’d buy in your lifetime as it has pretty much everything you’d want or need. Multiple storage areas, that include slots, bins, drawers for everything you could think of having around and then some.
Be on the look-out for Outers new packaging at your shooting supply store. The line has been upgraded with a fresh new look. One of the items from the Outers line that didn’t receive the treatment is a 31-piece cleaning kit that comes in a Realtree camo case. The kit features odorless non-toxic cleaner and oil and has cleaning tools for 17 through .30 caliber rifles, .22 through .45 caliber pistols and a 12 gauge shotgun.
Shooters Ridge has got into the 10/22 magazine and 10/22 magazine loader business for the first time. A new design from the ground up, the clip features a trap door cleaner and will jungle clip on the left side of the 10/22 as opposed to the right.
The Grand Slam Windage Adjust Rings and Sure Grip Windage Adjustable Rings are Weavers first entrance into the windage adjustment market.
RCBS’s Kent Sakamoto spoke briefly about the few new offerings from the reloading arm of ATK. The Hand Case Neck Turner with Quick Change Shell Holder has a micrometer adjustment of .0005, can zero the cutter to the pilot/mandrel, can be used by right or left-handed users and will be on dealers shelves by the end of this month.
Needless to say I’ve but touched on a few of the many products that were featured from the ATK family today, so make sure you check out all that they have to offer at their various websites folr more information.
MTM MOLDED PRODUCTS
MTM Molded Products Vice President of Marketing Al Minneman had a very concise and clean presentation that touched on only a couple of the many new products and offerings the almost 40 year company has to offer.
The Shoulder Guard is a weight stabilized shooting rest that’s designed to absorb much of the heavy recoil that accompanies sighting in a magnum caliber rifle. The four-point, flex base shooting rest utilizes a recoil-reduction sling that allows shooters to “relax into their natural shooting position.” MSRP $44.98.
The MTM Front Rifle Rest is designed to be the “affordable all-around shooting rest” (MSRP $26.76)
“We saw a need to get into this category, but we didn’t want to come out with just anything. We wanted something that would take a benchrest gun or a varmint gun and most people that have rifles also have handguns, so this rest will work with both.”
The Spot & Shoot is a very cool tripod adapter that allows a hunter/shooter to utilize either a spotting scope or a video/digital camera with a rifle. For a hunter that’s using a ground blind, this rig would work perfectly for getting the video of your hunt if you’re by yourself. MSRP is a very affordable $21.98.
The Predator Shooting Table weighs a scant 17 pounds and folds to two inches flat. The extremely portable table would be ideal for a varmint hunter or a guy that needs a steady/sturdy platform for sighting in a gun.
The Para-Ordnance team of presenters took a very different approach to their roundtable presentation during their allotted speaking time. They requested to visit with only the people in attendance that would have a vested interest or needed to hear more about their new products and offerings and literally had a “roundtable” discussion (circle of chairs) with the select group of editors and writers in attendance.
The main focus of the discussion seemed to center on how to get the Para-Ordnance LDA message out to die-hard single action 1911 fans that had either reservations or no experience handling the double-action LDA firearms. There were mixed opinions on the matter and many suggestions were given to the Para team on what could be done to help win over the non-LDA fans or to reach out to those that had little experience with them.
Kerby Smith also touched on a few items that are new for Para-Ordnance. The PXT logo is being added to the Para-Ordnance magazines. According to Smith, the PXT is going to serve as sort of the “Nike” swoosh for Para-Ordnance. Smith also mentioned that there would be several new announcements on Para offerings at the NRA show in the near future…stay tuned.
In my opinion, the presentations that provide the most interesting day-to-day comparisons are those from the optics companies. Each day, you hear about the latest and greatest an optic company has to offer with claims about having the brightest, lightest, clearest, best glass riflescopes and binoculars on the market BAR NONE. Then the next day, you hear the exact same message from a competitor and you have to really assess for yourself who’s telling it straight and who’s blowing smoke by analyzing the scopes and binoculars in question. In most instances there are degrees of truth to everything, it’s just a matter of how’s it phrased and shared.
Nikon’s big news for 2006 was the introduction of the Omega Muzzleloading riflescope. Designed to be used with either a muzzleloader or slug gun, the 3-9×40 riflescope features a BDC-250 reticle and will “give hunters an extra season of hunting” according to Nikon Assistant Production Manager Ed Friedman.
Like Zeiss, Nikon is offering a riflescope with a built-in laser rangefinder. The Nikon Laser IRT (Immediate Ranging Technology) is a 4-12×42 riflescope that is different in a couple of way from the Zeiss version discussed in Monday’s update. With the IRT, when the user pushes the button that engages the laser rangefinder, they’ll have a continuous ranging capability for 10 seconds, enabling the user to range multiple objects in that time frame. The price ($700-$770) is also significantly less than the Diarange.
Tune in for coverage of day three from the Primedia Outdoors Editor’s Roundtable. SIGArms, Hornady, Stag Arms, Meade/Redfield, Battenfeld Technologies/Midway USA are all scheduled to present.