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Stevens 350 Pump Shotgun

16 Sep

At the 2010 SHOT Show, Savage introduced a new pump shotgun under the Stevens brand called the model 350. It’s essentially a Chinese made copy of the Ithaca 37 complete with steel receiver and bottom eject. It’s available in both a field and security version. The security version is then available with a bead front sight or a ghost ring rear and post front sight arrangement. You can also get a field/security combo complete with two interchangeable barrels.

The 350 is gaining attention these days through some of the big box stores which are advertising the security version for $219. This price range has previously only been occupied by the H&R Pardner Pump (an 870 clone, also from China).

Stevens 350 Field

Stevens 350 Security with ghost ring rear and post front sight.

I’ve been looking for user reviews on the 350 without any luck. However I did have an opportunity to handle the base model Security version and it’s fit and finish seemed ok. Perhaps more importantly, the pump worked rather smoothly without excess rattle. The drop in the stock is rather dramatic, and while it shouldered well for me, I can’t help but think shooting full house 3″ self defense loads would be brutal.

Ipad vs. Shotgun

3 Sep

Interesting video of an Ipad taking a shotgun blast at short range.

Hat tip to Say Uncle blog.

Ruger Named 2010 “Manufacturer of the Year”

1 Sep

Congratulations to Ruger for being named the 2010 Manufacturer of the Year by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence. Named in the award notes were Ruger’s development of the SR-556 platform, their first compact pistol (SR9c) and an enhanced web presence.

The Shooting Industry Academy had this to say about Ruger and the award:

For diligently working to meet the desires of customers at all levels: consumer, retailer and distributor. For continuing the Voice of the Customer program, which has resulted in a new product category with the SR-556 and Ruger’s first true compact pistol, the SR9c. For ongoing efforts to enhance information access through a Web site that features expanded video content, up-to-date product information, customer input and an interactive online catalog. For expanding engineering and production staff and processes to support new product development and lean manufacturing.

Ruger also won Manufacturer of the Year honors in 2008, 2005, 1993 and 1992.

Premier Collector’s Firearms Auction of the Year

11 Aug

If you’re a fan of fine collectible firearms, then you must check out the Rock Island Auction’s online catalog for their September 10-12 auction.

There are hundreds of firearms to be auctioned off including one of the most desirable of all Winchester’s, estimated at $300,000 – 500,000! It is an extraordinary “One of One Thousand” Winchester first model 1876 lever action rifles. This fine gun is certainly above my pay grade but it’s fun to look at the pictures!

The 1876 is just one of 250 Winchesters to be auctioned off. There are also over 400 Colts, fine English and American doubles, and a array of American and European military arms.

There are even guns for those of us with a more modest budget. Consider this Smith & Wesson M&P model 10 revolver made between 1948-1951. It’s in excellent condition and is offered with the original box and hang tag. It’s estimated to be worth between $850-$1,200.

I’m going to be browsing through the catalog over the next few days and will post anything else that strikes my interest. Then I need to start convincing my good wife how much I need another gun 🙂

A look back at the 2000 SHOT Show

10 Aug

I ran across an article on the 2000 SHOT Show and I thought it was interesting, looking back a decade, to see what was new and exciting in ‘Y2K’. Like every year, manufacturers introduced some real winners and some losers. Below are just a few highlights.

Smith & Wesson introduced their “new” Schofield Model 3, a modern version of the 1874 Smith & Wesson Model 3. It reportedly received much attention during the show. Being a S&W fan, I can remeber this pistol being at the top of my wish list (right next to a Shiloh Sharps) for a number of years.

Taurus introduced a titanium slide version of their PT-111 9mm Millennium pistol. The Millennium series, first introduced in 1998, has gone on to become a staple in Taurus’ semi auto line. I owned a steel slide PT-111 for a time and found it to be a decent, reliable pistol. Today Taurus catalogs the Millennium Pro (13 models from 32 ACP to 45 ACP) which is incorporates a number of enhancements over the original Millennium.

Kimber’s Classic 22 rimfire rifles were announced in 1999 but started shipping in 2000. The rifles didn’t make it to dealers the year before because they “weren’t up to [their] standards,” according to Dwight Van Brunt, vice president of Kimber marketing and sales. He claimed “these guns are better than the old Kimbers”. The rifle featured a new Kimber rimfire action with Mauser claw extractor and two-position safety.

Remington’s EtronX electronic ignition rifle drew large crowds at the 2000 SHOT Show. The rifle fired rounds “nearly instantly” using a standard 9-volt battery. To be fair, it was a 99% reduction in lock time compared to a standard Rem 700 trigger. Remington claimed “the elimination of lock-time makes a tremendous difference in accuracy”. Perhaps but the EtronX required a key to turn it on and off, a battery (when battery technology wasn’t what it is today), special primers and had an MSRP of $2,000. Not many people were interested in buying one. The EtronX was offered initially in .220 Swift, .22-250 Remington and .243 Win.

Marlin introduced the Model 1895M lever action chambered for Hornady’s then new belted magnum, the .450 Marlin. Based on the .458 Win Magnum case, the .450 Marlin was meant to be a modernized 45-70. I’m sure the first debate about the need for a .450 Marlin cartridge vs. up-loaded 45-70 loads occurred shortly after (and continues to this day).

Buck Knives brought their new Strider tactical folder, the model 880, to the 2000 SHOT Show. Designed by custom knifemakers Mick Strider and Duane Dwyer, the knife measured 9 3/8 inches open with 4-inch tanto blade. It featured premium blade steel, titanium liners and G-10 scales. I have one of these knives and it is huge – way too big to carry in your pocket. It’s also a blocky design and not terribly comfortable in your hand. They introduced a smaller folder of the same design (model 881) a year or two later that is much more practical to carry and use. Buck continued their affiliation with Strider through 2008, introducing a number of tactical folders and fixed blade knives.

Schrade debuted a new Tough Lock folder designed by Ron Lake and Michael Walker. It featured a blade of BG-42 steel, titanium hardware and a precision bevel in the blade tang that increased the knife’s locking capabilities. It was a good knife, but perhaps too little too late for the company. Imperial Schrade only produced knives for a few more years before closing their doors in 2004. Taylor Brands LLC purchased the brand and imports a line of knives under the Schrade name.

So that wraps-up my look back at the 2000 SHOT Show. Are there any significant gun or knife related introductions from Y2K that I missed?

Russian Saiga 12 Gauge Shotgun Video Review

9 Aug

Dave Morelli over at Tactical Gear magazine just released a nice video review of the Russian-made Izhmash Saiga semi-automatic shotgun. In the video he discusses how to modify the shotgun to accept aftermarket mags and optics, plus ATF rules to consider when upgrading the Saiga. It’s a well done piece.

The Saiga is certainly interesting compared to all the more conventional semi-auto shotguns on the market.

Remington Versa Max Sneak Peek

26 Jul

Remington offers this sneak peek of their new VersaMax shotgun during a 250,000 round torture test.

I can’t see many details about the gun from the video clip, but they sure have a pile of spent shells there!

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7/27/2010 Update: Remington is continuing to build our anticipation of their new shotgun. Below is a banner ad from their web site indicating the gun will handle “any load, anywhere, every time.” The styling looks much like an 1100 / 11-87 which is a good thing in my opinion.

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Update 7/29/2010:

Remington loaded another quick video clip today of the new VersaMax. This time giving a closer view of the gun firing three quick shots of 3 1/2″ loads.

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Update 7/31/2010:

Remington added two more video clips of their new shotgun today and confirmed the name of the new gun as Versa Max (apparently two words).

Here is a quick view of the gun’s case with the Versa Max logo:

And here is a butt to muzzle close-up clip of the gun. Looks sharp:

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Update 8/4/2010:

Remington released a new video on the Versa Max introducing a self-regulating gas system they are calling ‘Versaport’. The Versaport system self regulates the number of open gas ports in the chamber/barrel area based on the length of the shell. So you can load and shoot any combination of 2 3/4, 3 and 3 1/2 inch shotshells without needing to adjust the gas system.

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Update 8/5/2010

The Shooters Log over at the Cheaper Than Dirt site has an in-depth sneak peek on the Versa Max with specs, models and MSRP’s.

One little tid-bit from their post: Remington engineers fired 250,000 rounds through the Versa Max in testing which would be an average of 425 every day for a year.

It has a hardened anodized aluminum receiver, a TriNyte coated barrel and gas system with nickel plated internal components providing corrosion resistance.

Stoeger Double Defense Shotgun

24 Jul

From the ‘love it or hate it’ department we have the Defense Double (DD) shotgun from Stoeger Industries. The DD is a short double barrel (20″ barrels) gun with a top rail for optics and a bottom rail for a light. It’s finished in matte black for a no nonsense look.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s post: do you love it or hate it?

From the ‘hate it’ side we have a number of good arguments ranging from “it’s just plain ugly” to “you’re limited to two shots before needing to reload”. Well, beauty is a subjective thing but the DD is certainly unconventional looking. (to fans of traditional doubles it must appear as an abomination!)

In a home defense situation, if two rounds don’t get the job done you’re faced with the task of reloading, maybe in the dark, under a great deal of stress. Not good.

From the ‘love it’ camp we have the idea of a double being able to fire two rounds with absolute reliability. No need to pump the action or rely on the mechanics of a semi auto, the DD will give you “two for sure”.

And what about the top and bottom rail? Why not! Rails have proven effective and reliable on defensive carbines and defensive pump and semi auto shotguns, so why not on a defensive double? It looks absolutely unconventional (maybe even a bit mall ninja) but it’s hard to argue with the ability to place optics, lasers and lights on a home defense weapon.

Personally I give Stoeger a thumbs up for bringing the DD to market. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but you have to credit a company that is willing to try new designs. In this realm I can’t help but think of the Taurus Judge. Introduced a few years ago it was certainly an unconventional looking revolver. But the Judge has been wildly popular for Taurus and recently several ammunition makers have introduced .410 loads specifically for the Judge line of revolvers.

Will the Stoeger DD become wildly popular? Maybe, maybe not but you gotta credit Stoeger for thinking outside of the box.

What is your opinion on the Stoeger Defense Double?

Remington VersaMax Testing in Argentina

16 Jul

Sheriff Jim Wilson posted an interesting note on Twitter (@sheriffjim) this evening about the new Remington VersaMax autoloader he is testing in Argentina:

“The shotgun that we are testing in Argentina is a new Remington autoloader, called the VersaMax. More info will be released shortly!!!”

There has been some specualtion about the design and specs of this shotgun on the web after being reported on last week by The Firearm Blog.

Tell us more Sheriff, my curiosity is building!
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Edit: sheriff Jim Wilson posted another update on July 18 on his testing of the new Remington VersaMax in Argentina:

“FROM ARGENTINA: In four days, I have fired 2,000 shotshells thru the new Remington VersaMax. Quite a shotgun!!!!”

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Edit: Another ‘Tweet’ from Sheriff Jim on July 18:

“The specs on the Remington VersaMax will be released by Remington about the middle of August. As soon as I get the OK, I’ll pass it on.”

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Edit: another tease about the Remington VersaMax shotgun tweeted today, July 21, by Sheriff Jim:

“BACK IN TEXAS: Yep, I’m back in the US of A. I think you’re really going to like the new Remington shotgun!!!”

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Related Post: Sneak Peek of the Remington VersaMax

Weatherby PA-459 Pump Home Defense Shotgun

16 Jul

I have a bit of a soft spot for the no-nonsense look and design of tactical or home defense shotguns. Thankfully there are a new offerings from a variety of manufacturers to be excited about (I blogged recently about the Winchester SXP pump defender). Another interesting new defense shotgun is the PA-459 pump by Weatherby.

Some of the ‘tactical’ features of the shotgun include a ghost ring rear and fiber optic fron sights, a Picatinny rail on the receiver for mounting optics, a rail built into the fore-end giving the user the option to mount a light or laser, and an enlarged slide release. Full specs include:

  • Weight: 7 lbs.
  • 12 gauge, 3″ chamber.
  • Comfortable ergonomic buttstock with rubber textured grip areas.
  • Shorter 13 1/2″ length of pull, 40″ overall length.
  • Features 19″ cylinder choke barrel with removable ported choke tube.
  • Mil-spec Picatinny accessory rail with adjustable rear LPA ghost ring sight.
  • Fiber optic blade front sight.
  • Extended slide release for fast handling.
  • Matte black metalwork.
  • Chrome-lined barrel extends useful life.
  • 5+1 round capacity (2 3/4″) or 4+1 capacity (3″).
  • It also has a removable choke tube, which allows the user to screw in an extra-full turkey choke for a decent Spring gobbler rig. I’ve used a similar HD shotgun for turkeys and it has proven quite effective. Just be mindful of game laws regarding magazine capacity.

    The PA-459 is made in Turkey but it’s backed by the Weatherby name and their solid warranty policy. MSRP is $459.00.