SHOT Show 2019 is wrapping up, and the new products being introduced this year seem to pop up around every corner. We’ve been busy prepping a list of goods we’ll take deeper dives into throughout the coming year, but for now, here’s a small sampling of some of the many items that have caught our eyes…
Vortex Fury HD Rangefinding Binoculars
We’ve always had a soft spot for Vortex optics for several reasons—key among these are the excellent price-to-performance ratio of the products and their unshakable Vortex VIP warranty. So, we were excited to hear that Vortex has just released the Fury HD rangefinding binoculars. We’ve used both Vortex binos and the Ranger series rangefinders with great success. Now the company has merged the two technologies to help lighten the mobile hunter’s load. Why carry binos and a rangefinder when you can enjoy both in a single package?
The Fury HD is a full-size roof prism bino offered in 10×42. It is built on a high-definition optic system with the company’s XR lens coatings and offers the usual (expected) performance features, such as gas-purging and O-ring seals for fog- and waterproofing and shock-proofing. The ArmorTek exterior coating reduces the possibility of lens scratching. All of this is housed in a rugged, slip-proof rubber armor coating.
Built into the binos is a ranging system that’s good for 5- to 5,000-yard ranging on reflective surfaces and out to 1,600 yards on game animals. Rangefinder functions are controlled via two pushbuttons located on the right side, which is where you want it if you have a bow or rifle in-hand.
Vortex has set the MSRP at $1599.99, but we’ve already seen street prices in the $1,200 range. That might be a bit stiff for some rifle hunters and bowhunters, but when you consider that this combines both quality optics and a rangefinder, it’s an easy decision in our book.
Traditions Crackshot XBR
This is from the “Something Different” files. For several years now, Traditions has been selling its single-shot break-action .22LR or .17HMR as a lightweight plinker, truck gun, backpack rifle…call it what you will. This year, the company has put an uncommon twist on this fringe firearm.
The Crackshot XBR delivers the same rimfire performance as the legacy Crackshot lineup, but this one comes with a second barrel that is engineered to shoot a standard 2216 aluminum crossbow arrow. In short, it converts to a rifle that can launch an arrow with exceptional accuracy and at lethal velocity. We’re talking 385 FPS, which puts it in the speed zone of the leading crossbows on the market. In other words, big-game hunting speeds.
The arrow-launching configuration consists of an external barrel shroud with an internal barrel that is slightly smaller in diameter than arrow shaft ID. The arrow, which is a standard aluminum crossbow bolt without a nock or nock receiver, fits over the inner barrel. For propulsion, the XBR uses the Traditions .27 caliber XBR Powerload—basically, a blank cartridge that delivers enough gas expansion to launch the arrow at 385 FPS. Included in the kit is a 3-arrow, forearm-mounted quiver and scope.
The Crackshot XBR’s legal hunting status is uncertain, since this represents a hybrid platform that may not fit neatly into various state hunting regulations. That will be something for state officials to decide. In states like Texas or in places like Florida, where hog predation on private lands is wide open as far as weapon choice is concerned, the XBR offers an interesting and fun alternative to conventional rifles and crossbows.
Stay tuned for a full write up on this exciting model in the near future.
Winchester 350 Legend
The folks at Winchester have created quite a buzz with the release of their new cartridge called the 350 Legend. This is an all-new cartridge in search of some rifles with compatible chambering. Kind of a cart-before-the-horse scenario, but that’s how many of our more interesting cartridges have come to fruition. In this case, Winchester identified the need for a cartridge that would deliver optimal terminal performance for those hunting states with shorter-range, straight-wall cartridge regulations. The result is the 350 Legend.
So, what do the numbers say? The 350 Legend offers some impressive energy in the 200-yard range at 903 ft-lbs. from a 20-inch barrel. Compare that to the 200-yard energy retention of a .300 Blackout (16-inch barrel, 790 ft-lbs.), .30-30 (20-inch barrel, 781 ft-lbs.), or a .223 REM (20-inch barrel, 603 ft-lbs.). Recoil is similarly favorable toward the 350 Legend—a bit less than the .30-30 or .223 REM, and a significant reduction from that of the 450 Bushmaster. As for penetration, the 350 Legend gets the nod with its 11.7-inch 200-yard gel penetration versus 9.5-inches for a .243 WIN or 7.3 inches for the .223 REM.
For its 2019 launch, Winchester is offering the 350 Legend in five bullet flavors: Deer Season XP, Super X, USA, Super Suppressed, and Power Max Bonded.
Understandably, the new 350 Legend opens new opportunities for rifle manufacturers who are always looking for the next niche to fill. We heard rumors of at least one top-end manufacturer in the AR space that is burning to get a few of their models spooled up for this cartridge, and we expect more to follow in short order. For now, Winchester Repeating Arms has worked up its bolt-action XPR to bring the 350 Legend to the playing field.
CVA Paramount Long-Range Muzzleloader
We know that dedicated muzzleloader fans take their hobby seriously. If you are equally serious about hunting with a muzzeloader, you’ll want to hear about this one. CVA has just released a long-range rifle called the Paramount. This is what happens when new-school long-range and old-school front-stuffer mingle DNA.
The Paramount is a 26-inch barreled muzzleloader featuring a bolt-style breech opening that CVA calls a “Remington 700 short-action footprint.” As such, the first-blush impression is that of precision long-range rifle. You can credit the PRS-style adjustable stock for most of the confusion. Featuring an internal aluminum chassis for strength and rigidity, this polymer stock includes both length-of-pull and cheek riser height adjustability along with an acutely angled pistol grip. It feels more like a bench shooter than what we’re used to carrying in the field, but then again, this platform is designed for way out there shooting, boasting a 1- to 1.5-inch MOA accuracy in the 100- to 200-yard range and 1.5 MOA when you stretch your skills out to 400 yards.
How does the Paramount pull those kinds of numbers? A gator-choking powder load to the tune of 140 grains (by volume) of the recommended Blackhorn 209 and CVA’s own PowerBelt ELR .45 caliber bullet in 280 grains. To ignite that massive powder column, CVA advises use of a large rifle primer (instead of the conventional 209 shotgun primers) with its VariFlame breech adaptor. Key to accuracy, though is the 26-inch free-float Bergara barrel with its 1:22 twist rate. It all combines to deliver an average muzzle velocity of 2250 FPS yet with recoil more akin to shooting a 3-pellet charge.
With its hefty build, 9.65-lb. overall weight and MSRP just a few bucks north of $1,000, the Paramount isn’t for every muzzleloader fan, but if long-range steel dinging or hunting in wide open spaces is your game, this rifle is ready to play.
Real Avid AR-15 Armorer’s Master Kit
The AR is, without doubt, the ultimate DIY rifle platform. Thanks to its generally universal build dimensions and modular component design, building your own rifle or significantly modifying one for specific shooting applications is well within the grasp of any shooter. The key to building or hot-rodding your AR, though, is having the proper tools.
Real Avid, manufacturer of specialized tools for AR, AK, and assorted pistol platforms, is now offering a one-stop tool shop for the AR with their new AR-15 Armorer’s Master kit. This kit has everything you need to work up the AR, right down to the torque wrench. Contents include:
- Armorer’s Master Wrench replacement hammer heads
- Lug-Lok upper vise block
- Smart-Fit AR-15 lower vise block
- AR-15 Master Bench Block
- Torque wrench
- Easy-grip handguard tool
- AR-15 pivot pin tool
- AR-15 pivot lock
- Ar-15 pin punch set
- Pin alignment tool
- Accu-Grip picks
- Bore illuminator/safety flag
- Front sight adjuster tool
- Durable tool case
In addition, the kit includes instructions to walk you through the top 18 AR modifications.
SHOT Show Quick Hits
Springfield 911 .380 ACP Alpha – Springfield expands its line of diminutive 911 semi-auto pistols based on the 1911 platform with the release of the 911 .380 ACP Alpha. The Alpha comes to the 911 stable as a “price-value” variant. Key features include a short-reset 5-lb. trigger, extended thumb safety, fiber-optic front sight, and stainless or black nitride finish. And that pared-down MSRP…how about $429?
Remington Hog Hammer Pistol Ammo – Remington is feeding the hog-hunting craze with their new Hog Hammer handgun ammunition. Available for six popular hunting handgun chambers, the Hog Hammer delivers the Barnes TSC all-copper bullet downrange for maximum rapid expansion and nearly full weight retention.
MagLula 10/22 Reloader/Unloader – We love the Ruger 10/22 in all its varied forms, but we’re not the only ones who get sore fingers from loading the rotary magazine during extended range sessions. A company called MagLula, Ltd. has come to the rescue with their .22LR Lula magazine loader/unloader. It’s easy to use, works as advertised, and is compatible with the BX-1, -5, and -10 rotary mags, as well as the BX-15 and BX-25.
Wildgame Innovations ZeroTrace – Ozone is the latest approach to scent elimination, but there are concerns that it can degrade certain materials over time. Wildgame Innovations has taken a different spin with their new ZeroTrace. According to the company, ZeroTrace uses PureION technology to dispel odors when on a deer stand. We’re not quite sure how it works or how effective it is compared to ozone generators, but we’ll let you know when we get a chance to test it out.
Buck 110 Slim Pro – Arguably the most popular hunting knife ever, the Buck 110 gets a diet this year with the introduction of the all-new Buck 110 Slim Pro. It’s an everyday carry version of the original 110, boasting the same clip blade but with upgraded S30V stainless steel. The handle is a sleek Micarta or G10 construction.
Federal Syntech Ammo – Federal adds to its Syntech pistol ammunition lineup with three ammo types. Syntech ammo utilizes a polymer coating to encase the lead rather than copper to reduce bullet-to-bore contact and minimize fouling. New for 2019 is Syntech Defense (designed for optimal penetration in heavy clothing and for maximum wound channeling), Syntech Training Match (offering velocity and POI equivalent to Federal HST ammo), and Syntech PCC (developed for pistol carbine platforms).