Tuesday, April 20, 2004

What I Saw at the NRA Convention

Four acres of booths is a lot of stuff to see. Most of the booths were packed with neat things to see and add to the wish list. There were even celebrities-- Gen. Craig Boddington, Tom Knapp, Ted Nugent, and Col. Jeff Cooper.

The four-inch S&W .500 Mag is a beast. I can't imagine packing it on my hip or shooting it, but then, I don't share the trails with big bears.

The Navy Arms Schofield is a cool revolver, but is not nearly as handy as a Ruger Vaquero. Maybe the triumph of the Colt SAA was an early victory for ergonomics.

The S&W 625 Mountain Gun in 45 Long Colt is a pure delight in the hand. I could easily imagine packing it all day long in the field.

S&W's new 22 Mag snubby is a gem.

Henry is bringing out their Big Boy in 45 Colt. The Big Boy is one slick little leveraction and the brass receiver is eye-catching. (Hmm, a Big Boy in the gun rack and a 625 on the hip, I could be the very model of a PA cowboy for the 21st century....)

EAA and Stoeger shotguns are nicely balanced and are a steal-- O/U and S/S shotguns for well under $500. Remington is also bringing out a value priced line of shotguns. (I think they are called Spartan Arms by Remington.)

Remington was also promoting a new line of ammunition-- Managed Recoil Loads. They claim they can make a .270 Win. kick like a .243. Essentially, they are dropping the bullet weight and velocity. Nice idea for people who don't handload.

The Secret Service by Eagle Grips are the best grips i've seen/handled for a J-frame snubby.

I checked out every .380 i could find. Not one-- not even the Walther PPK/S or the Sig 232-- made me want to switch from the J-frame.

As per usual, there was nothing new for us .41 Mag fans.

Colt was there with a full array of handguns-- Pythons, SAAs, and 1911s. Glad to see that they are back in the civilian market.

Colt, Kimber, and Firestorm all had 1911s in 38 Super.

The business end of a 4-bore elephant gun looks like it belongs on a field piece the Brits would have taken on a punitive expedition against a wayward colony. I can't imagine shooting it from the shoulder.

Judging by the number of models on display, we will soon reach a time when everyone will offer a version of the 1911.

This is the first NRA convention/exhibit that i've been to. It was well worth driving a couple hours to get to.