The 6.5 Guys attended Industry Day at the Range kicking off their first day of SHOT Show 2017. Industry Day at the Range is only open to media attendees and gives an excellent overview of where the industry is heading. Industry Day at the range allows attendees to get behind firearms and engage in live fire providing a first hand perspective. We had the opportunity to meet up with Paul McMenamin of Accurate shooter and share perspectives as we visited with vendors.
As has been the case in previous years, SHOT Show is attended by a who’s who of industry personalities. We witnessed Jerry Miculek set a new world speed shooting record – 10 targeted shots in 1.59 seconds! We saw Hicock45 as well as Top Shot season champions Dustin Ellerman and Chris Reed. We also hung with the folks at RECOIL Managzine and editor Iain Harrison who was also the winner of the first season of Top Shot. We chatted with Michael Bane of the Outdoor Channel’s Shooting Gallery which is now in its 17th season.
Our main takeaways
- The industry is listening to long range precision shooters – A number of major vendors now provide offerings aimed at the PRS production division. In one case a vendor actually lowered their price in order for their product to qualify. We were particularly impressed with the quality of the offerings in both handling and accuracy.
Ruger has introduced their Gen II precision rifle based on feedback from competitors. Modifications include a revised hand guard allowing for larger objective scopes. A muzzle brake is now included. The polymer bolt shroud has been replaced with a metal bolt shroud. .243 Winchester has been dropped in favor of 6mm Creedmoor giving similar performance but better barrel life. Available in 6mm and 6.5 Creedmoor as well as .308, Ruger offers a true turkey platform for those getting into the sport. Unfortunately, it is not clear if or when they will be offering a left hand version.
Bergara has in-sourced chassis and triggers to produce very high quality offerings at a very competitive price. Handling, shooting and cycling the bolt on the $1150 MSRP Hunting and Match Rifle would lead one to believe the price tag was a mistake (maybe the first digit should have been a 2). We felt the same when we got behind the $1,699 MSRP Bergara Match Precision Rifle. Left hand versions will be available but no date has been set.
Legacy Sports International, the U.S. distributor for Howa, introduced us to the Howa Chassis Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor. This is another example of a high quality rifle catering to long range precision shooters. Howa also has a Miniaction Rifle available in a number of cartridges but most interesting is the availability of 7.62.×39 and 6.5 Grendel. We shot the 7.62×39 which would make an excellent utility rifle. Left handed shooters are advised to learn how to shoot from the other side if they ever want a Howa rifle.
- 6.5 Creedmoor is the new standard – Just about every rifle we encountered was chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. As we’ve heard some folks say, 6.5 Creedmoor is the new .308. There is plenty of reasonably priced commercial ammunition available. New shooters who don’t reload are strongly advised to start with this accurate cartridge that provides good barrel life.
- Proliferation of suppressed firearms and continued innovation – Roughly half of the rifles and pistols on display were suppressed illustrating the rising popularity of suppressors. Silencerco’s Maxim9 is illustrative of purpose built suppressed firearms and is a blast to shoot. The Silencerco Hybrid suppressor is an all-in-one suppressor from 9mm – .45-70 GOV. We can’t wait to hit the SHOT Show floor tomorrow to see what other suppressor companies will be offering.
Editor: Ed Mobley (firstname.lastname@example.org)