Shot Show Showcase 2000
By: Tom Armbrust
The largest "Shot Show" ever, took place on January 17-20 at Sands Expo and Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV. Ranking as the 35th largest trade show in the United States, the "Shot Show" continues to reign at the worlds biggest showcase of firearms and ammunition, outdoor apparel, sports cutlery, optics, camping and archery equipment, and shooing and hunting accessories. Some 465,600 square feet of exhibit space have been filled at the convention center by more than 1400 companies. Add to that some 35,000 professionals from the shooting sports plus 17,000 buyers, including 1900 overseas buyers from 85 countries are expected to attend Shot Show 2000.
I will now try and cover some new items that may be of interest to readers of Trap & Field. Please bear in mind it was impossible for me to cover all the many hundreds of new and interesting items available at the Shot Show in my two day attendance.
On January 16th Winchester Ammunition, US Repeating Arms, Browning, White Flyer clay targets, and Nosler Bullets held a breakfast and new product shooting seminar attended by many outdoor writers from throughout the country and abroad. Then after breakfast a very interesting and informative new products seminar was unveiled. They transported the writers by bus for hands on shooting of new guns and ammo by the manufacturers.
Alan Corzine, who coordinates and oversees all research and design work for Winchester, did an excellent job telling us about new ammunition developments. A number of exciting new developments in the Winchester lineup were presented.
Many of our readers will be very pleased with Winchester's new AA target load design change. The AA hull now incorporates a new straight walled configuration designation named High Tensile. As its base has a curved interior, so the AA wad forms a snug fit on its insertion over the powder charge which eliminats any possibility of powder migration past the overpowder cup, even with fine grained ball propellants. Morris Buenemann, the engineer who worked on the AA hull design change, assured me that existing reloading data for the Winchester shells will not change in any way. So the same primers, powder charges, wads, and shot can still be used without fears of any ballistic changes. Reloading life of these new AA shells has really been extended by the updated case design process. We were shown AA shells that had been reloaded up to twenty times in the test lab. Crimps and case mouths still looked very good after all those repeated firings! This increased reloading ability with the new AA shells will be a boom to cost conscious reloaders as their case life has doubled.
We had a great time shooting the 12 GA 3-1/2" Super X2 shotgun and Winchesters new Supreme sporting O/U shotguns. Travis Hall, of US Repeating Arms Co and Browning, was the man describing all the new features and configurations of these new shotguns. I was really pleased at how well the 12 GA 3-1/2" Super X2 handled on sporting clay targets, a very responsive and versatile shotgun. This shotgun performed flawlessly with 1 oz 2-3/4" AA target loads to extra heavy 2 oz. 3-1/2" turkey loads. Now that's versatility.
Winchesters new and improved AA Super-Handicap loads featuring the new High Tensile (HT) tube using all the same Winchester components as before. Velocities are 1250 FPS for the 1-1/8 oz load and 1290 FPS for the 1 ounce load. We also shot new AA sporting clay loads called Supersport. The 1-1/8 oz load has a velocity of 1300 FPS and the 1 oz load a velocity of 1350 FPS.
Kim Rhode, our Olympic Gold Medal champion trap shooter, will be shooting a new AA International 24 gram target load in either 7-1/2 or 9 shot at 1335 FPS. Kim told me she shoots between 500 to 800 rounds of clay targets daily to keep in practice. She is a remarkable little gal setting an excellent example for our young people staying focused on her goal and not giving up. All her very hard work resulting from countless hours of practice and determination have paid off for her by winning the Gold! Kim and her father, Richard Rhode, rode on our return bus trip. I had a wonderful time visiting with them as they were fun to talk with, telling me great stories that may be featured in an upcoming story in Trap & Field.
Two real Winchester heavy weights in 12 GA 3-1/2" and 10 GA 3-1/2" loads were put into Winchesters lineup. For the turkey hunter, a 2 oz offering of high antimony extra hard 4, 5, or 6 lead buffered shot at 1300 FPS. These turkey loads are the ultimate in pattern density with many test patterns breaking the 90 percent mark at 40 yards in a 30 inch circle. They simply smother the head and neck of a big gobbler.
Deer and predator hunters have not been left out either. Winchesters new 12 GA 3-1/2" and 10 GA 3-1/2" loads host 54 pellets of extra hard 0.24, 4 buck diameter buffered lead pellets at 1150 FPS. Pattern sheets were set up at the test range and I shot a number of 40 yard patterns through a 12 GA 3-1/2" Super X2 with a tight full choke. Almost all pellets clustered into the 30 inch circle.
Normally, I would not touch on shotgun slug loads in Trap &mp Field, but this new Winchester Supreme partition gold sabot slug is so awesome I just could not resist. Steve Meyer, product development engineer, spent nearly two years on this project. Winchester started the development of this load by designing a new 50 caliber Partition Gold slug, specifically adapted to shotgun rifled barrel usage. Like other partition products the new slug used a center partition to separate the front and rear lead cores of the slug. The 385 GR slug is designed to expand over a wide range of velocities increasing its effective range. The expanded slug provides an impressive mushroom yet provides deep penetration for ultimate performance. The Partition Gold slug is nestled in an unique shotshell sabot designed by Winchester. Using advanced technology and experience gained through sabot development for military use, Winchester produces a totally new concept for shotgun slug use. Using a sabot, which incorporates a patented area multiplier or reinforcing disc, Winchester has improved accuracy stability and increased velocity. The sabot design has allowed Winchester to increase velocity of this load to 1900 FPS at the muzzle without negatively affecting accuracy or slug integrity. The real benefit in terms of performance is a very flat trajectory for sabot slugs that help the shooter hit his target consistently at various and unknown ranges. With the new slug zeroed at 100 yards,it is only .7 inches high at 50 yards and 4 inches low at 150 yards. This is remarkably flat trajectory for a shotgun slug. The other impressive characteristic of the new Partition Gold slug is the amount of energy it generates at the muzzle and ranges out to 150 yards and beyond. At the muzzle, the new slug has 3086 foot pounds of energy. At 150 yards, it still maintains 1825 ft pounds of energy, more than many slugs of any other type or manufacturer have at the muzzle.
Browning's 12 GA Gold Deer semi auto shotgun with special cantilever scope mount and 22" rifled barrel, plus their Browning A Bolt rifled shotguns were shot at various ranges and targets. Accuracy was excellent with the new Winchester Supreme Partition Gold sabot slug. Groups of three inches at 100 yards are not uncommon. We had no trouble hitting steel gongs right out to 200 yards once our slug drop was figured out from out 100 yard zero on the bench. Whitetail bucks in our part of the country might have to reconsider maximum safe slug zone distance when hunters hit the field with this wicked new Winchester sabot slug!
Winchester has improved and expanded its Super-X shotshell line. The original name was Super Excellence, a name coined by John Olin its founder in 1921. For 2000, Winchester's Super-X line covers four shotshell categories. They are game loads, heavy game loads, heavy field loads, and high brass game loads. A plastic wad system has been incorporated into all the 12 and 20 GA loads.
Winchester's high velocity theme expands with new Supreme High Velocity lead field loads. The new Supreme High Velocity field line will include rounds in both 12 and 20 GA. Each load will feature copper plated hard shot for improved pattern performance. The shotcharge is cushioned and protected by a one piece plastic wad that increases pattern consistency and produces uniform dense patterns.
New steel shot sizes are available in Winchester High Velocity Supreme and Drylock Super Steel line. Around waterfowl areas wherever you go they're known as Winchester's Black Box waterfowl loads. The Supreme High Velocity loads combine advancements in propellant technology with Winchester's patented Drylock Super Steel two piece wad system. This combination delivers powerful shot patterns needed to give consistent performance under the wet conditions of waterfowl hunting. In the 10 GA round Number 2 size steel shot has been added. This 3-1/2" load uses 1-3/8 oz of shot and has a muzzle velocity of 1450 FPS. Hunters now have the option of shot sizes of BBB, BB and 2 in 10 GA loads. Owners of 12 GA 3-1/2" chambered guns will have two new sizes to pick from, Number 3 and BBB. These are in addition to shot sizes Number 2 and BB now available. These loads also use 1-3/8 oz of shot and have a muzzle velocity of 1450 FPS. For hunters who have guns chambered for 3" 12 GA loads, Winchester is also offering two new sizes Number 3 and Number 4 size shot. This rounds out the 3 inch line that already has shot sizes of Number 2 and BB. The 3" loads have 1-1/4 oz of shot and also have a muzzle velocity of 1450 FPS.
Last, but not least, Winchester reintroduces its 1 ounce 20 GA AA target load due to clay target shooters demand. Like all Winchester AA loads the 20 GA round uses high antimony shot in sizes Number 7-1/2 and Number 8, the famous AA one piece plastic wad for consistent pattern performance. Clean burning ball powder propellant delivers the load with a muzzle velocity of 1165 FPS. The 1 ounce AA 20 GA load will be popular with all types of clay target shooting, especially with 12 GA over and under tubed to 20 GA wanting to compete in 20 GA skeet and sporting clays events.
I would like to take the time to thank Winchester, Browning, US Repeating Arms, White Flyer targets, and the Nosler Bullets people for a very informative and exciting hands on new products shooting seminar. These dedicated employees many hours of hard work in research and design are passed onto us the shooters of all these various new fine products available in both shotshell ammunition and shotguns.
Contact Travis Hall at US Repeating Arms Company phone 801-876-3440 ext 406, US Repeating Arms Company, 275 Winchester Avenue, Morgan, UT 84050-9333. He can also be reached at Browning, One Browning Place, Morgan, UT 84050-9333, phone 801-876-2711 ext 406.
For further information on Winchester ammo or reloading components contact Kevin Howard, Howard Communications (289 HWY CC, Elsberry, MO 63343, phone 573-898-3422, fax 573-898-3407 or www.winchester.com.
After 108 years of making clay targets a revolutionary new concept is introduced. White Flyer Targets updates us on their new White Flyer Bio biodegradable target for trap, skeet, and sporting clays. Produced in Japan, Missouri, at the White Flyer Target plant, this target has been enthusiastically received by shooters all across the US and Canada. The White Flyer Bio target, which is totally non-toxic and friendly to the environment, is currently available in all-orange. The target has been thrown off all types of throwers with no difficulties; and smokes as well, if not better, than its pitch counterparts. How long does it take for your White Flyer Bio targets to biodegrade? It should take 1-1/2 to 2 years to degrade. The agent that assists the breakdown process is water, as the targets are in contact with it. This biodegradable target concept is an excellent one as it is environmental friendly, eliminating possible pollution problems and the unsightly look of clay target litter on an otherwise good looking outdoor setting at your local gun club. For further information contact: Phil Murray at White Flyer Targets, 1300 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 680, Houston, Texas 77056, phone 800-322-PULL.