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Long gun review: Fall 1991.

Although the SHOT Show is not always an indicator of the economy, it has to be reassuring that reservation space in the New Orleans Convetion Center is up over 12 percent this year exceeding 380,000 square feet of space. According to Tom Fagan at Cahners Exposition Group, the SHOT Show manager, this is an unusual jump in size.

Long gun manufacturers and importers have had their ups and downs over the past 10 months, but SI's conversations with dealers and manufacturers across the country indicate improving sales and expanding production.

Keep in mind, it's that time of the year. Fall is traditionally the best time of the year for promotions, sales and profit. But also keep in mind, there have been a huge number of frustrated sportsmen holding their hard-earned dollars. Now that it's hunting season, those bucks are starting to free-up and enter the gun shops of America.

Here is SI's look at the long gun industry for the fall season.

Earlier this year SI reported American Arm's acquisition of the Franch line of shotguns after FIE's sudden demise. This association has turned out to be real success story for American Arms. Constantly in demand, the 48AL often carries a "back-ordered" status. In addition, the Franch Black Magic Game Gun has been selected by Ducks Unlimited as the 1992-1993 Dinner Gun and the Franch O/U has been picked as the DU Sponsor Gun for 92-93.

Beretta has been busy turning out the 686 Ultralight over/under shotguns. In addition, the 686/687 English Course Sporting Clays models have created some excitement in the sporting clays arena. The English model uses a rib that increases in width from breech to muzzle. Beretta also has some new developments scheduled for the SHOT Show. Look for a long-standing Beretta scattergun to be replaced by a completely new design.

The Browning Model 52 Sporter .22 is now going out to dealers across the country. If you have to have one, do it soon or they will be sold out! The long-awaited Model 42 .410 is expected prior to the SHOT Show. The Model 42 comes in Grade I and Grade V versions. Browning's BLR Long Action recall is nearly complete

The Flat Top HBAR from Colt's Manufacturing Company is a limited edition from the Custom Shop. Officially known as the Limited Edition Colt Sporter Competition HBAR, it uses a Weaver[R]-style flat-topped upper receiver (including height extending base and Millet rings) and wil have an optional carrying handle with sights available later this fall.

The Cooper Arms Model 36 .22LR Sporter and the Model 38 Sporter in .22 Cooper Magnum may start to fill the gap left by Kimber's demise. The Cooper action, a front-locking bolt design requiring only 45 degrees of lift, is barreled with a Wiseman barrel. The centerfire model includes brass and dies for the Velodog-based Cooper Magnum.

The Steyr SSG line is still going strong from G.S.I. in Alabama. The new SSG-P4 (the shorty version) is gaining in popularity and the SSG-P3 with an H-S Precision stock) will be out soon.

H&R 1871 is up and running with the H&R and New England Firearms names in their stable. The NEF 10-gauge 31/2-inch Turkey gun is already out as is their new 12-gauge rifled slug gun. The Topper 098 Shotgun will be H&R's first foray into the firearms market in many years. We wish them well.

Heckler & Koch's Heym line seems to have found a home with the Virginia-based importer. Also added to the list this year is the Gamba line. The new Benelli Super Black Eagle 12-gauge 3 1/2-inch semiauto should please the bird hunters this fall. It shoots all 12-gauge shells from 23/4 to 31/2-inch and is currently available. The Black Eagle line has been transformed into competition with slug guns only for the upcoming year. It seems as if the association with Royal Ordnance will be good for H&K and good for the Shooting Industry.

Kimber of Oregon ?? Sources say that there are three people in the running including two industry majors for Kimber. Keep your fingers crossed for their resurrection.

Kintrek's unique bullpup design, the KPB-1, is offered in .22LR, and features a 17-round magazine, a grip safety, solid synthetic stock and bottom-routed ejection.

Lake Field Arm's new target rifles are doing well and sales of the Biathlon rifle should pick up as winter nears or as summer biathlon picks up in your area. The Biathlon model (90B) and the Target model (91T) are made in Canada.

The new competition rifle from Marlin, based on the 2000 design, appears to be doing well. The blue-stocked, iron-sighted, moderately priced tack driver fills a gap made by a lack of American-made target rifles.

Mossberg placed their emphasis on camouflage patterns in the 835 Ultimag. Ideal for bird hunting, the Wild Turkey Federation chose it as their "Gun of the Year." It sold out in September. If you want to assist the U.S. Shooting Team in the '92 Olympics, sell your customers a Model 5500 MK II. Endorsed by the Team, part of the 5500's purchase price is donated to the U.S. Shooting Team. The 20-gauge Youth gun, the Bantam, is also in high demand. Look for a new WTF 5500, new camo patterns, and dual comb stock options.

Navy Arm's Parker-Hale Midland rifle line is up and running in West Virginia. The heart of the Midland is a Springfield 03 bolt, modified for the "American-made" Parker-Hale rifle. Val Forgett at Navy Arms has plenty of bolts on hand so snap up a piece of history now. The nickel-steel bolts in the Midland are among the best ever made.

Remington for '91 has added many new models but one of the best sellers appears to be the Express Shotguns in 12- and 20-gauge. In the rifle line, the 700AS has been well-received and like the rest of the 700 line is an excellent performer.

Savage Arms' new stainless steel, Rynite-stocked 116FSS is becoming popular. Savage has been well-received in their efforts to promote safety in their 110FXP3 package that includes earplugs and a gunlock. Their Sporting Clays Model 312 has also been popular for shooters looking for an affordable over/under set up for the rapidly growing sport.

Springfield Army has placed the emphasis of their line on the venerable M1A series and the M6 Survival Carbine. All relationships with Daewoo, IMI (Galil, Uzi, Timberwolf) and the manufacturers of the SAR-8 and 4800 have been severed. Some are still in stock though. Now might be a good time for ordering before they are all gone.

Mid-year, Stoeger brought in new Sako and Tikka rifles. The Sako and Tikka line added Whitetail Battue models (short barrels with raised ribs). Stoeger also added the Sako Classic in four chamberings. The final Tikka offering is the Continental, a varmint gun in standard varmint calibers. The 6mm PPC Varmint is proving to be a success. With the ammunition already available from Stoeger, custom reloading is not as big a problem as it used to be for those desiring an exotic caliber but not reloading.

The Left-handed model of the Sturm, Ruger & Co. M77 Mark II are now available. The M77 Mark II Left Hand is available in .30-06 only. The Mark II line also has new All-Weather Sporting Rifle. The stock is molded from fiberglass-reinforced DuPont Zytel[R]. The third offering in the Mark II is the M77 Mark II Deluxe. An express rifle in appearance, the integral, solid sighting rib, medium-quality walnut, and other custom accoutrements make this a very special Ruger. It is available in a wide variety of American and European calibers. The Mini series was also updated with a new Mini-30 in stainless steel.

U.S. Repeating Arms is forging ahead this year. The reorganization which was announced at last year's SHOT Show has been implemented and plans are under way for modernization of the U.S.R.A.C. facilities. Those desiring the beautiful Winchester Model 70 Super Grade rifles should fare better now. The Custom Shop is busy turning them out at a much higher rate than in previous months. A 125th Anniversary Model 94 Commemorative is being offered through Cherry's Fine Guns in Greensboro, N.C. The 125-piece run is highly engraved and detailed in gold. Fine line hand-checkering on fancy walnut stocks adds to the beauty of this commemorative.

SELECTED MANUFACTURERS/IMPORTERS
MANUFACTURER CIRCLE #
American Arms 401
Beretta 402
Browning 403
Colt's Mfg. Co. 404
Coopers Arms 405
G.S.I. 406
H&R 407
Heckler & Koch 408
Kintrek 409
Lake Field Arms 410
Marlin 411
Mossberg 412
Navy Arms 413
Remington 414
Savage Arms 415
Springfield Armory 416
Stoeger 417
Sturm, Ruger & Co. 418
U.S. Repeating Arms 419
COPYRIGHT 1991 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Hillman, Bruce
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:Buyers Guide
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Words:1470
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