SHOT Show Day 1 kicked off at the Las Vegas Sands convention center and it was packed. The 6.5 Guys had a chance to visit with 15 different vendors to understand what they have in store for 2017. If you want a sound bite from us, we were impressed with the number of reasonably priced yet high quality options aimed at the precision rifle shooter. You would also think that the 6.5 Creedmoor is the most popular cartridge on earth by the number of times we heard those two words spoken today. For the beginning shooter, selecting a cartridge is now an easy choice – all roads seem to point to the 6.5 Creedmoor.
We will be releasing videos in the next couple of weeks, but here are the key takeaways:
- Seekins Precision – They will be releasing their own rifle action featuring a removable bolt face. It will accommodate cartridges up to 3.2″ OAL allowing folks to shoot some of the increasingly popular wildcat cartridges.
- US Optics – New for this year are the USO B-Series scopes. They retain the same magnification as their previous product line but new functionality such as zero stop and additional flexibility in setting zero. New reticles are also being introduced including one specifically designed for long range competition shooting.
- Accuracy International – AX rifles and AX AICS kits are now available with CERAKOTE ceramic polymer coatings to improve corrosion resistance. Colors include Dark Earth, Green, Pale Brown, Elite Sand and Elite Midnight. We discussed some of the safety features associated with the .50 BMG rifle in the form of pressure release ports than remain covered to eliminate the intrusion of dirt.
- Badger Ordinance – We discussed a streamlined M-LOK mounting system for the Harris Bipod as well as some modifications to the Harris Bipod that will be available as a package. We also discussed the AR-15 Universal Safety Selector, machined from hardened billet steel that can be installed in either right or left hand configuration, preventing selector obstruction for the left handed operator.
- American Rifle Company – We discussed a soon to be released double stack center feed magazine that can work with a standard Remington 700 footprint.
- Nightforce – We discussed two offerings aimed at PRS style shooters – the ATACR™ 5-25×56 and the ATACR™ 7-35×56 F1. These come with integrated yet removable throw levers as well as Tenebraex scope covers. We really liked the Mil-C F1 Recticle, available on the ATACR™ 5-25×56, with its center aiming dot.
- Shadowtech – We discussed a new PRST Carbon Fiber Tripod system that is purpose made for precision rifle shooters – gone are the days of modifying a camera tripod. They also have a Kestrel ATI Wind Wrap that is certified by Kestrel as some of the hard mounts on the market might void Kestrel’s warranty. Feedback from the field has resulted in improvements to the SS Loophole sling which will be available soon.
- Hodgdon – They have released a new powder (CFE BLK) that is designed expressly for the 300 Remington AAC Blackout and other smaller cartridges. We also discussed their IMR Enduron powders which make excellent substitutes for difficult to obtain powders such as Varget and H4350 and are very temperature insensitive.
- HS Precision – Known for their stocks, they can produce a custom precision rifle within 6-8 weeks (that’s not a misprint). We discussed their complete in-sourcing of every aspect of manufacturing. Literally every part of every HS precision rifle is made by them allowing for quick and predictable turnarounds.
- Decot Sport Glasses – Known best for the stylish and functional shooting glasses worn by the 6.5 Guys, we discussed considerations around lens materials applicable to the purchase of any pair of shooting glasses whether they be Decot’s or a competitor’s. Before you purchase a pair of prescription shooting glasses, you will want to watch this video once released.
- E.A.R. Customized Hearing – We discussed the availability of a lower cost electronic hearing option that can be used alone or in conjunction with electronic ear muffs. This allows somebody to wear double hearing protection yet hear everything. If you shoot an obnoxious muzzle brake you really need double hearing protection.
- Proof Research – Known for their lightweight carbon barrels, we discussed the upcoming PRS gas gun series and certain considerations that shooters should contemplate. If you are thinking of getting into the gas gun series, you should explore their Caliber Matched Gas System (CAMGAS).
- Savage Arms – Their new MSR 10 Long Range Rifle is chambered in .308 or 6.5 Creedmoor and appears to be a terrific option for those wanted to compete in the PRS Gas Gun Series. It is built on a compact frame with a non-reciprocating side-charging handle that is particularly useful for left handed shooters. Its BLACKHAWK!® AR Blaze™ two-stage target trigger was light and crisp. It features an upgraded Savage barrel, which features 5R rifling and a Melonite QPQ finish.
- Bushnell – We discussed their Elite Tactical line of scopes which were updated to include features aimed at the PRS shooter such as integrated throw levers and 10mil per revolution turrets. They have augmented their selection of reticle choices to reflect the practicalities of match shooting.