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Notes from the 1989 SHOT SHOW.


Three days ain't enough! At least that's my experience with the SHOT SHOW. So next year, I am happy to report that the show will run for four days -- January 18, 19, 20 and 21 (1990). And it will be back in Las Vegas.

If one is good and two is better, then I presume three is best. At least that's what the catalogs tell me But I am not sure it applies to shotshell ammunition. For years I have been reading how brand "X" shotshells were superior to all others because of the uniform shot size and other magical properties. But when Remington came out with their Duplex load, where they deliberately used two different sizes of shot in the same shell, I began to wonder. Especially when I went back and reread Wallace Coxe's fine booklet on shotguns and shotshell ammunition called "Smokeless Shotgun Powders", published in 1933. Coxe discusses this under the heading "Mixed Shot -- Oftentimes a shooter forms the opinion that he might increase the effectiveness of a shot load by using mixed sizes of shot. As a matter of fact, this produces results which are inferior to those obtained were either size of shot used alone."

Coxe went on to explain why, using shot sizes 9 and 2 in his explanation. However, Remington has not used such extreme shot sizes in its Duplex loads, staying with BB-4, BB-2, 2-6 and such (like in lead), while in steel shot they now make BBB-1, BB-1, BB-2, BB-4, 2-6 and 1-3 combinations. Good heavens! It used to be difficult enough to decide whether you wanted to use #2, 4 or six size shot, but now with all these additional variations, it gets mighty confusing!

And to add insult to injury, Federal is now out with Triplex loads. If two shot sizes are good, three sizes should be better, right?

I haven't shot any of the Duplex loads, so I'm not in a position to comment. But the Federal people say, "By carefully balancing the proportion of each shot size to the total charge, it is possible to offer a true multipurpose steel shotshell. Other so-called dual purpose steel shotshells with only two shot sizes simply can never be as versatile as Tri-Power...Unlike some other dual purpose shotshells of this type, the pellets in Federal's Tri-Power are not layered by size. Rather they are mixed to promote more even pellet distribution through the pattern."

Tri-Power comes in two mixes, the 2-3/4" shell with 1-1/4 ounces of BB-1-4 shot and the 3-inch 1-3/8 ounces load of T-BB-2 steel. (Shot size proportions in each load are shown below.) All shot in Tri-Power are copper-plated. All steel pellets larger than BB are plated by Federal.

In case you have forgotten, here are some shot pellet sizes of interest:
 No. Diameter (inches)
 T .20
 BBB .19
 BB .18
 1 .16
 2 .15
 4 .13
 6 .11

Confusion reigns supreme. Remington boasts that they now offer a total of 48 different steel shot loads in 1989--in 10, 12-and 20-gauge. Trying to pick the exact best load gets to be a problem!

And the poor dealer who has to stock all these various loads in addition to lead shot loads in all their glory and all their sizes, from #9 skeet to buckshot and rifled slugs, must have a heck of a time finding room in the warehouse and on the salesroom floor for all these various sizes, shapes and kinds of shotshells.

I was checking the list of Activ shotshells, for example. They have 74 different lead hunting loads, many with nickel-plated shot. They list 20 steel shot loads, as well as 15 lead buck shotshells plus five slug loads. In their Red Hornet promotional loads you can find 36 combinations, while they list 27 tournament loads, for a total of 177 combinations. And they don't show any 10-gauge or 3-1/2" 12-gauge loads.

Many years ago the same problem arose, although not from the same causes. But there were many, many combinations of shells, powder, wads and shot sizes and no one could stock them all. As I recall it, during WWI a standardization committee was formed, to try to bring some sense to the shotshell business. What they did was to agree to eliminate many of the less useful and less popular combinations, which greatly simplified manufacturing, stocking and distributing shotshells -- apparently without doing any major damage to the shotgun game. You did hear some grumbling from time to time because someone's pet load was dropped from the list, but nothing of any consequence.

With the near duplication of loads now that the steel-shot requirement is upon us, I just wonder if it isn't time to establish another standardization committee to examine the shotgun ammunition field, to see if we really need all these various types. I'll bet you could drop a bunch of loads without doing any real damage. Yeah, you would again get some mumbling and grumbling from individuals whose pet load had been dropped, but I don't think there would be any real outcry.

"Hey, where are all those lions?"

Doggone, there must be a great superfluity of lions running around, judging by the recent enthusiasm for big cartridges and big guns for them.

Remington is out with a new .416 Remington Magnum cartridge and three versions of the M700 Safari rifle for it. The Remington .416 Magnum cartridge shoots a 400-grain bullet at 2,400 fps muzzle velocity, which gives it a muzzle energy of 5,115 ft./lbs, quite a bit higher than any previous U.S. commercial cartridge--even the .458 Winchester Magnum, with its not so inconsiderable 4,700 ft./lbs energy.

Federal is also loading the .416 Rigby in its "Premium Safari" ammunition. No, you don't have to shoot Federal's Safari ammunition in Remington's Safari rifles but I'm sure Federal would be glad to have you do so. In addition to the .416 Rigby, Federal is including the .300, .338 and .458 Winchester Magnum in the Safari line and tops it off with the .470 Nitro Express and its 500-grain bullet at 2,150 fps muzzle velocity, with 5,130 ft./lbs muzzle energy, slightly more than the Rigby cartridge. Both the Rigby and the Nitro Express were popular British cartridges for many years, being used for big game hunting in Africa and India, but over-powered for most U.S. hunting.

Not to be left out of the game, Weatherby is out with the new .416 Weatherby Magnum cartridge, which will be loaded with three different 400-grain bullets. According to their information: "Velocities of approximately 2,700 fps and over 6,400 ft./lbs of energy at the muzzle have been achieved." Just right for chipmunks, eh?

Weatherby has also jumped on the "Safari" bandwagon. Or perhaps it is the other people who have jumped on the wagon. Anyhow, the Weatherby "Safari" grade rifles are chambered for the .300, .340, .378, .416 and .450 Weatherby Magnum calibers. The .460, incidentally, will take up where the .416 leaves off, with a 500-grain bullet at 2,700 fps and 8,092 ft./lbs muzzle energy!

Marlin's 100-Year Celebration

That was a mighty handsome Marlin rifle on display at the show, with all its fancy engraving and gold inlay. It was noteworthy for reasons other than its beauty though. It was the second special Marlin rifle put up for sale at the SHOT SHOW. Actually, it wasn't up for sale, but was available to the highest bidder, with the money going to NSSF to promote their shooting activities. Thanks to Marlin's President, Frank Kenna, this donated rifle will greatly help the NSSF program. The rifle is also unique in that it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Marlin side-ejection rifle by L.L. Hepburn--and its wood, engraving, checkering and general finish are appropriate to the occasion.

Parker Guns Gone But Not Forgotten

Is Parker out of business?

That may seem like sort of a silly question. Everyone knows that Parker went out of business many years ago. Founded in 1832 to make a coffee mill, the Parker Company switched to making shotguns in 1868. Remington bought the Parker Company in 1934, by which time the Parker name was synonymous with class and reliability. Remington continued to make the guns at Meriden, Connecticut, but eventually moved the production down to Ilion.

By about 1940, Parker production was stopped for a number of reasons.

The last time I heard about the Parker shotguns, I saw them on display at the White Flyer booth at a past SHOT SHOW. White Flyer had bought the business from Olin. This time the guns were being made in Japan by the firm which had been making the Winchester under-and-over and side-by-side shotguns.

To make a long story short, I picked up literature at this year's show at the White Flyer booth that explained about the Winchester Parker. The folks at White Flyer told me this was about the end of the line, as the gunmakers had notified them that they were getting out of the Parker business soon.

Meanwhile, Remington has gone back into the Parker business at the Ilion plant and they intend to keep at it, as far as I know. Both the Winchester and the Remington Parker reproductions were (and are) fine guns and, logically, fairly expensive. But if Winchester drops the gun, as seems likely, this will reduce one more of the confusing situations in the gun business.
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Title Annotation:firearms exhibition, Dallas
Author:Crossman, Jim
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Mar 1, 1989
Previous Article:A view of the SHOT SHOW '89.
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