Here are a few more topics of note that I observed at this year’s SHOT Show.
1. Bushmaster is working with Iron Brigade Armory to produce “Custom Shop” rifles under the Bushmaster brand name. This includes a couple accurized AR-15 rifles and a bolt rifle built on a Remington 700 action. The bolt rifle is dubbed the Bushmaster Custom Sniper Rifle (BCSR). It is your ‘typical’ accurized Remington 700 action in .308 Winchester. The BCSR is configured with a 20″ 1:12″ stainless steel barrel with a SureFire muzzle brake (suppressor adapter), custom tuned match trigger, BCS 1000 stock, tactical bolt knob, and heavy duty recoil lug. Bushmaster guarantees sub-MOA out to 600 yards and provides a limited lifetime warranty. The rifle includes a scope base and rings that are built to Bushmaster specifications. Bushmaster included a scope mounting system that meets their specifications, because they have found that the single point of failure for many precision bolt rifle platforms is the optics mounting system.
2. Aimpoint has a new product known as the Corner Engagement Unit (CEU). It is an add-on that fits on on a standard 1913 picatinny rail (such as on a flat top AR-15 upper) and goes behind the existing Aimpoint optic. The CEU allows for the operator to position the weapon platform around a corner and viewing what the muzzle end is pointed at through the CEU. The CEU angled body can be rotated to allow for varying positions as necessary (viewing around left or right corners and above or below obstacles or walls). The CEU is compatible with night vision devices. This specific item is currently in limited production for military deployment. Civilian market availability of the Aimpoint CEU is unknown.
3. Remington’s venture into the AR-15 rifle world could be viewed as moot by many considering the fact that there are already several well established manufacturers more specialized in the AR-15 platform (such as Bushmaster and Rock River Arms). But Remington’s position in the market does make sense because the company is more angled towards hunters. Creating an AR-15 product line helps to legitimize the AR-15 as a hunting rifle given the strength of the Remington brand name. This is a much needed effort considering the impact of Jim Zumbo’s statements that AR-15 rifles are “terrorist rifles [and] have no place in hunting.”
4. Bushnell Outdoor Products is becoming a huge company in terms of their product lines. Most are familiar with Bushnell’s extensive line of optics (riflescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, range finders) and GPS units. But very few know the parent company of Bushnell also controls the Uncle Mike’s, M-Pro 7, Hoppes, Gunmate, Butler Creek, and Stoney Point brands as well. Bushnell’s new addition to their optics line is the new Elite 6500 rifle scope series. The Elite 6500 series scopes will use 30mm bodies with push/pull turret designs. The first run of Elite 6500 scopes will be in the form of three base models: 2.5-16x42mm, 2.5-16x50mm and 4.5-30x50mm. Each model has side parallax adjustment and will be available in either the Multi-X or mildot reticle.
5. The Hodgdon Powder company is releasing a new powder dubbed the Hybrid 100V. It is supposed to be a spherical powder with an extruded shape, hence the ‘Hybrid’ name. According to a Hodgdon representative at SHOT Show, Hybrid 100V should have a burn rate similar to Hodgdon 4350. It will be sold in 1-lb and 8-lb containers and should be available in Spring 2008. It is worthy to note that at this time, Hodgdon is a major importer of smokeless powders. All Hodgdon brand spherical and black powder comes from a Stateside plant. IMR Powders are imported from Canada and Hodgdon brand extruded powders are imported from Australia. Also, Hodgdon is officially an importer/distributor for Vihtavuori powders. Speaking with a Hodgdon representative, this arrangement with Vihtavuori was made because of Vihtavuori’s difficulties in getting powder supplies into the United States. Hodgdon has an effective infrastructure and system for importing powders from foreign sources.