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Posted: 3/12/2002 8:52:57 AM EDT
Manufacturers are well-armed this year The Detroit News Sports; D ; Page 12 March 10, 2002 Byline: Lynn Henning Upland birds and North American big game enjoy a kind of vacation as winter gives way to spring. It's the world of firearms that rarely gets a breather. Twelve months a year, rifles and shotguns are eyed by hunters and sport-shooters who seem never to have met an attractive, technologically appealing model they didn't like. "We've even sold quite a few black-powder guns," said Greg Yourst, group sales manager for the hunting division at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Auburn Hills. "And they've been out of season for a couple of months now." Manufacturers seem bent on making 2002 a particularly irresistible sales year for a consumers group that hardly needs prodding. Winchester, Browning, Remington, Benelli, Knight, Thompson/Center -- major names in gun-making -- are clear winners as shoppers either latch onto models already in the stores, or clamor for new gun-lines. Firearms-shoppers also tend to be equal-opportunity buyers. Rifles, shotguns, black-powder weapons -- all categories have their best-sellers as spring nears. Rifles The hot story so far has been Winchester's short magnum (WSM is its catalogue acronym) rifles and loads that have been been extended from .300 magnum to .270 Winchester and Remington 7-millimeter magnum. The WSM lines shoot cartridges that are a half-inch shorter than standard magnum loads, have faster downrange speeds, and pack comparable, or better, muzzle energy. "And there's not as much recoil," said Jason McClure, firearms manager at Gander Mountain in Waterford. Minimal recoil is one of the key reasons why Ruger's Model 77, in 17-caliber Hornady, is one of the most difficult to find firearms anywhere in Bass Pro Shops' retail system. "Let me put it to you this way," Yourst said. "I've received a (shipment) of two -- and before they even got into the store they were sold. It's a flat-shooting varmint caliber, great for (woodchucks), or coyotes, or for guys who go out West prairie-dog hunting. "They can shoot 700, 800, 1,000 rounds, and not burn out their shoulders." Shotgun Another model retailers can't keep in stock is Winchester's Model 9410, a lever-action shotgun in .410 gauge. It is a novel firearm, all right. The 9410 -- a take-off on the classic Model 94 rifle -- has a 24-inch barrel, a nine-shot tubular magazine, with a smooth-bore barrel and a suggested retail price of about $570. Benelli, an upper-end shotgun manufacturer, has drawn serious attention with its Super Black Eagle HD (high-definition) Timber, a semi-automatic with a vibrant camouflage pattern. It's a hot gun for waterfowl or turkeys -- even at a retail price of about $1,200.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 8:54:47 AM EDT
Turkey shotguns are, naturally, one of the season 's more consistent sellers. Mossberg, a brand name that has developed a following because of its affordability and reliability, has been selling well in its 500 and 835 models. The same holds true for Benelli's lower-end Nova model, along with Browning's mid-priced Stalker. Remington 870s are a mainstream choice for turkey hunters who opt for a shotgun that can handle heavy loads up to 3 1/2-inches. Black powder Measured in proportion, probably no category of long guns has had a run quite like black-powder rifles. H&R has ignited something of a marketplace brushfire with its entry-level black-powder rifle, The Huntsman, which has a telescoping brass ramrod and retails for a stunning $129. It uses 209 primer and is manufactured in .50 and .45 caliber. Finding the rifle in stock is the challenge. "They are few and far between," said McClure of Gander Mountain. Thompson/Center, a noted black-powder firearms manufacturer, is also advertising a lever-action muzzle-loader -- The Omega -- that retails for about $300 and is something of a counterpart to the new Knight Disc model, which has unusual waterproof features. Ammunition The story three months into 2002 is Remington's adoption of Hevi-Shot -- a trademarked nickel-and-tungsten shotgun blend that is described as being 1 1/2 times denser than lead. "Nothing on the market patterns like this," said Brad Gerber, a product specialist at Cabela's, in Dundee, Mich. "It hits like a ton of bricks. We were using 3-inch, No. 6s, and it was incredible. We can't find a lead load that will shoot like that." Yourst used the Remington Hevi-Shot loads while duck-hunting in Arkansas last fall, and agreed with Gerber that the load is "phenomenal." "I took a shot at a duck at more than 70 yards and nailed it," Gerber said. "With steel I wouldn't have come close." The Remington Hevi-Shot shells retail at $20 for a box of 10. "As fast as we get the boxes in, they're gone," Yourst said. "The longest we've gone with a single box is two days."
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