SHOT Show 2016 Part One


The 2016 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from January 19-22 with attendance of over 64,000 people, with some 1600 exhibitors filling up about 630,000 square feet of booth space. It was an extremely busy show, with this year's show ranking second on the all-time attendance list. Additionally, this year marked the 150th anniversary of Winchester and the 200th anniversary of Remington. An international industry-only show, it is attended by folks from one hundred countries.

Monday was the 11th annual “Media Day At The Range,” also called “Industry Day At The Range,” held at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club located south of Boulder City, NV., about twenty miles out miles from Las Vegas. It turned out to be a pleasant, slightly overcast day that was only slightly breezy. It was certainly pleasant by my standards, for when I flew out of O'Hare it was 2 degrees F. with a -28 degrees wind chill.

On the shotgun side of things, it was the new Browning A5 “Sweet Sixteen” that gathered the most attention and the most comments. It is an under six-pound, blazingly fast inertia gun completely resized from the A5 12 gauge, with a true 16 gauge barrel and receiver. I found it to be pleasant to shoot: it was surprisingly soft considering the ammo used was all 1-1/8 oz. loads. The 16 gauge market has been largely ignored except for Browning, and this is first new 16 gauge autoloader in decades. Browning should do well with this model, for it is the 16 gauge that every 16 gauge aficionado has claimed they always wanted. Browning is busy launching their Browning-branded line of Olin ammunition.

Benelli introduced the ETHOS 28 gauge, with a 3 inch chamber. I liked it the best of all the ETHOS models, easily, 12/20/28, shooting them side by side. There has been some chatter about the 3 inch chamber, a move by Benelli that I think is brilliant. Nothing precludes anyone from shooting the common ¾ oz. 28 gauge 2-3/4 inch loads for quail, short-range dove, clays, and so forth . . . so, quit your whining, Harvey Keck. For the 28 gauge fan that hunts wild pheasants only a couple of times year, the 1-1/4 oz. Fiocchi 3 inch lead loads scheduled for release later this year will be a godsend. It will also make the 28 gauge a good short-range spring turkey gun with factory ammo.

It is a great way to somewhat future-proof the 28 gauge, for as more and more areas are "no-tox," you'll still be able to use your 28 gauge with similar payloads to the std. 3/4 oz. lead load in steel. Right now, a 2-3/4 inch 28 gauge is generally limited to 5/8 oz. with steel, or at least that general area. Federal, for example, catalogs only one 28 gauge steel load: FRS283, which is 5/8 oz. at 1350 fps, available only in #6 and #7 shot. Choices are a good thing, as is versatility, and this is something that should have happened to the 16 gauge long ago.

Stoeger did a fine job with their M3K 3-Gun 12 gauge autoloader, an easy-loading model that is a lot of inertia gun for about $600. Aside from attention to the loading gate, the M3K gas an extended bolt handle and a very generous bolt release.

The LHR Redemption .50 caliber muzzleloader is back as the T/C Strike, a very good thing to see. It is essentially the striker-fired Redemption with the addition of the traditional T/C QLA at the muzzle.

We hit some bowling pins with a Browning AB3, while the most prominent Browning bolt rifle we shot was the new X-Bolt Hells Canyon Long Range McMillan, X-Bolt Stalker Long Range, and X-Bolt Hell's Canyon SPEED models.

For those interested in long range custom rifles, Gunwerks makes it a lot easier to hit a target at 973 yards than you might think. Later on, we paid a visit to Machine Guns Vegas for some brass-making with the KRISS Vector Gen II 9mm and the Kriss USA line of Sphinx SDP handguns. There may not be any less zombies around, but there are a few less zombie targets left at the moment.

Expect full-length reviews on these products later on in the year.

Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.



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