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Q: How was the SHOT Show? A: In a word, FRANTIC!

Q: How Was The SHOT Show? A: In a word, FRANTIC!

The annual pilgrimage of virtually everyone in the gun business was held in Las Vega January 18-21. Many of us who were scheduled to arrive the day before, Wednesday, encountered flight delays due to horrible weather (I flew in circles over Dallas for over an hour).

The expansion to a four day format was met with mixed emotions. While everyone agrees that the extra time is needed in order to be able to cover the show thoroughly, the poor souls who are stuck in booths all day long deserve our sincere sympathy. The consensus winner for biggest news came from Smith & Wesson and was announced to the media at a press conference Wednesday evening. Behold, a new cartridge is born -- the 40 S&W which just may be the answer to a maidens prayer (I'm sorry I couldn't resist). It is just possibly the answer to the legitimate needs of law enforcement for a more powerful, non-magnum, cartridge in a convenient sized package.

The 40 S&W is NOT simply a scaled down 10mm Auto, although there are some distinct similarities. Nor is it the Centimeter wildcat (which is a cut down 10mm) that has received attention lately. Nor is it entirely new. The cartridge, which has a case length of 0.850" is a combination of the two with an added twist. The most visible difference other than the lenght is the fact that it uses a small size primer. This wasn't done simply to be different. The whole idea behind the cartridge is to allow the use of the smaller frames of 9mm pistols with a more potent cartridge. Let me hasten to add that this is NOT another .41 Action Express either which was intended, at least originally, to allow conversion of existing 9mm pistols to a more powerful cartridge. The rim diameter of the new 40 S&W makes conversion of existing pistols impossible.

What it is, is a cartridge to go in a new gun, the Model 4006, which will have a twelve round capacity, 180 gr. bullets at 950 fps, and be contained within the size limitation of existing S&W 5900 series pistols. Winchester has ammo in stock right now and S&W will have the Model 4006 available by mid 1990. Stay tuned.

After that, almost everything else was anti-climatic. There were lots of gorgeous guns and I was stopped dead in my tracks when I passed the Gun South booth and saw an assortment of double rifles and combination guns that came from the gunmakers guild in Ferlach, Austria. From plain Janes to ornately engraved pieces that sparkled with gold the Ferlach guns were awesome.

U. S. Repeating Arms showed the public the "new" (pre-64) Model 70 Winchester and Ram Line unveiled their new plastic .22 pistol that looks like a cross between a Nambu and a Ruger.

The big news for sellers of reloading equipment came from RCBS who showed a prototype of their new electronic reloading scale. The significance of this product will take a little time to be felt, but every serious reloader is a potential customer because the things are so handy.

If it seems as if S&W stole the show I'd have to agree and we aren't even through yet. Historian Roy Jinks announced the return of two classics. S&W and Winchester co-operated in 1934 to bring us the .357 Magnum and the first guns are now known as Registry Guns. They were accompanied by a certificate that detailed the special features and carried the owner's name in gothic script. The new "Magna Classic" .44 Magnum will follow the same practice, although only 3000 will be made (compared to approximately 5500 of the original Registry guns). The gun will be equipped with interchangeable front sights (eight) and will be neatly cased. The accompanying Registration Certificate will be signed by Steve Melvin.

The other "classic" announcement is the return of the Centennial, now to be known as the Model 640. It's a stainless steel hammerless .38 Special revolver that closely duplicates the original that was introduced in S&W's Centennial year of 1952 and discontinued in 1974.

I thought the mood of the show was upbeat this year and heard little of the grousing about "poor business" that has been prevalent at past shows. The manufacturers with whom I spoke were positive and a couple of dealers reported that 1989 had been their best year ever. One of the few negatives I heard was about the layout of the show, specifically the signs that identified the aisles and the seeming inconsistency of the numbers. I encountered problems finding some booths whose number wasn't where numerical logic would have indicated.

We frequently get complaints about the slowness of delivery of catalog material requested via the reader service cards included in "Shooting Industry." Although we've explained the process, some of you do seem to be having a problem getting needed material. We also get questions about various selling aids and I've just finished studying something that will be a great asset in both areas.

Ellett Brothers, the giant Chapin, South Carolina distributor has put together an informative and useful set of manuals that not only include catalog material, but also useful information that will help you or your employees better merchandise such things as reloading products and scopes and mounts. These two are the first in a series that will be expanded to include blackpowder, archery and other equipment.

The manuals are the first tangible evidence of a statement made by Ellett Brothers president Buddy Pilgrim who stated that they (Ellett Bros.) want to help their dealers make money. Sure that's a self-serving goal, but judging from some of the complaints we get it's badly needed.

The manuals are in loose leaf binders and supplementary material will be sent out from time to time. They contain catalogs from the manufacturers of products handled by Ellett Brothers and also useful supplementary information such as Hodgdon's basic data booklet and lists of top selling dies from some of the manufacturers. From Lee comes a list of their ten most often asked questions -- with answers, and there are also a couple of article reprints and material furnished by other companies. As new material becomes available it will be sent to those who have the initial offering.

Les Morrison of Ellett Brothers is responsible for putting the whole package together and he echoed Pilgrim's thinking, "We want to educate and help our dealers," he said. The manuals are available to any dealer with an active account with Ellett Brothers and provide useful, although basic, information. It's a great idea!
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Title Annotation:firearms trade show, Las Vegas, Jan. 18-21, 1990
Author:Petty, Charles E.
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:column
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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