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Ihave been promis­ing my­self a trip to the SHOT Show in Las Ve­gas for a while now, and this year ev­ery­thing fell into place. Our dear edi­tor was in­ca­pac­i­tated with a rather poorly knee, so I was given the task of com­plet­ing a re­view through the eyes of a first-timer to the show. My trav­el­ling com­pan­ions were the guys from Scott Coun­try In­ter­na­tional, which made the whole trip an ‘in­ter­est­ing’ ex­pe­ri­ence – I’ve known these fel­las for some time and they’re very good com­pany. We had sep­a­rate agen­das whilst at the show; I gave my opinion on var­i­ous items that they looked at, and be­lieve me, we saw some ex­cit­ing things for the night-shoot­ing fra­ter­nity, some of which I will be se­ri­ously look­ing at for my­self. I am al­ways im­pressed by the way to­day’s shoot­ers in­ter­ests are con­sid­ered, and if all goes to plan you should be see­ing some of the new lines very soon. One thing I can spill the beans on is the Pul­sar Ac­co­lade ther­mal binoc­u­lars. I gave these a good go­ing over and they per­formed ex­tremely well. They’re very light and will be a great ad­di­tion to your night shoot­ing kit.


I warned about the size of this show, but I’m a sea­soned show-goer so I thought it would be maybe slightly big­ger – how wrong I was! The show is spread over five floors and ev­ery­thing associated with our sport that you can pos­si­bly imag­ine is here, to­gether with some even stranger non-associated items. My first day was spent fa­mil­iaris­ing my­self with the place– well, that was the plan. I checked out the top floor where the smaller sup­pli­ers had their booths, and slowly made my way down. I pur­posely missed the sec­ond-floor level be­cause this was where I’d be spend­ing most of my time, with the air­guns.


On the fol­low­ing day, the first stop was Air Arms to check out their dis­play, which turned out to be a non-starter be­cause their con­tainer had been de­layed by cus­toms, but in true Claire West fash­ion, they bat­tled on with­out their guns and dis­play. That’s another demon­stra­tion of cus­tomer care, in my opinion. It would have been so easy to spend the day in a ho­tel and wait for the de­liv­ery. Any­way, the gear turned up and the next day ev­ery­thing was in place and look­ing good.

The new Ul­ti­mate Sporters were on show and caused quite a bit of in­ter­est. I was ac­tu­ally in­volved in a con­ver­sa­tion be­fore go­ing out to Ve­gas about the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing a full wal­nut cheek­piece in­stead of the black syn­thetic one, and after men­tion­ing this to Claire, they are con­sid­er­ing mak­ing this an op­tion for the Ul­ti­mate Sporter. Even luck­ier, the dis­play model ac­tu­ally had a wal­nut cheek­piece fit­ted. The syn­thetic and lam­i­nate stocks looked very im­pres­sive too.


Next stop was Daystate, and the much talked about new Rosso and Wolver­ine mod­els; both sported beau­ti­ful lam­i­nate stocks and car­bon air bot­tles. I was wary of han­dling them be­cause they looked like proper works of art and would look great in a dis­play cabinet, but for me, be­cause of the num­ber of times I bump and knock my guns in the field, they would no longer look that good. Once I’d built up the courage to han­dle them the first thing I no­ticed was how very well bal­anced they are, and so light. Once peo­ple get their head round the price tag, it’ll win peo­ple round –this sort of tech­nol­ogy doesn’t come cheap. Day one had seen me put al­most 10 miles on my Fit­bit and the calo­ries were be­ing burned off at a stag­ger­ing rate, which was handy be­cause the calo­ries went straight back on again dur­ing the evening meals; this was Ve­gas after all.


Wed­nes­day had me trot­ting round and meet­ing up with the peo­ple from BSA and Gamo. There are some pretty im­pres­sive big-bore air­guns from these guys, in­clud­ing the Gamo TC-35 and TC-45 which are .35 and .45 cal­i­bre re­spec­tively, as the names sug­gest, and the Model 70-35 and 70-45 again in .35 and .45 cal­i­bre. My par­tic­u­lar favourite was the TC range be­cause I have de­vel­oped quite a taste for the tac­ti­cal look. The .35 ac­tu­ally has a shot count of be­tween 10 and 40, de­pend­ing on your set­tings and pel­let size, and pushes out around 170 ft.lbs with a 190 grain pel­let. The .45 cal­i­bre has the same shot count, but sends the pel­lets down­range at 408 ft.lbs with 350 grain ammo. Both have twin-stage ad­justable trig­gers, Weaver rails and car­bon bot­tles. The 70-35 and 70-45 have 135 and 197 re­spec­tively,

with beech stocks, dove­tail rails and ad­justable, two-stage trig­gers. These big bores run along­side the flag­ship R10 BSA range, al­ways a win­ner with their great looks and su­perb ac­cu­racy. There is also the quite hand­some Gold Star range and a com­pre­hen­sive se­lec­tion of scopes to com­ple­ment the guns.

I was cruis­ing now and begin­ning to take in ev­ery­thing around me, not just the air­guns, but some of the more ‘out of the norm’, like the sec­ond amend­ment Corvette, and a camo mo­tor­cy­cle with a pis­tol ma­chine gun fit­ted up front!

My at­ten­tion was caught by the AirForce/ Gun­power stand and the RAW Theoben air­guns on dis­play, and as you’ll see in this month’s news, these com­pa­nies have now com­bined. This took me back a few years to my Theoben Rapid days, and re­minded me of how much I loved these guns. De­mand for these are high in the States, and very few make their way over to us in the UK, which is a shame, but maybe that might change now. There was a plethora of fas­ci­nat­ing things here, and the Gun­power Hell­cat re­ally took my fancy, again with the tac­ti­cal look. Power was said to be from 400-900fps and it’s avail­able in .177, .22 and .25. It is also of­fered with ei­ther quick-de­tach or spin-loc air bot­tles. The only down­side for me is that it is sin­gle-shot, but many will not be con­cerned about that. The ever-present Stealth was also on dis­play, boast­ing 500 shots in .22 at 12 ft.lbs, which is some se­ri­ous shots right there.


Now, here comes some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent – a mo­bile pump to fill your air bot­tles and tubes. It runs off 110v, 230v and 12v, so it can be used and stored in your ve­hi­cle. It’s not a stor­age tank, just an elec­tric pump and will be badged up again as ‘Gun­power’. Tests have seen it run­ning for 300 hours con­stantly, and I be­lieve there is more to come from Gun­power prod­ucts, so watch this space. I won­der if we could get our hands on the Texan –‘The world’s most pow­er­ful pro­duc­tion airgun’, ap­par­ently. Now, that would be in­ter­est­ing! BKL mounts etc are also avail­able from Gun­power and are gen­er­ally known for their qual­ity and ro­bust­ness, and the range avail­able is quite im­pres­sive.

There is a definite theme oc­cur­ring, and this con­tin­ues on the Cros­man stand. The Ben­jamin Bull­dog in .357 cal­i­bre is an awe­some, if strange-look­ing airgun, and not some­thing for me, but I do know that they have a huge fol­low­ing, be­cause of their slab-sided look and full-length rail on top, but with a 10-shot ca­pac­ity, you might be need­ing a spare air sup­ply when hav­ing a good day.

Another one that caught my eye was the

Ma­rauder Wood­stalker, which looks very cool in camo, and with 30 ef­fec­tive shots it would make a great rat­ting tool. There are also a good range of break-bar­rel air­guns and one in par­tic­u­lar with the name, ‘Va­por­iser’ had me smirk­ing – ‘Iron­hide’ was another with a great name. The Cros­man cat­a­logue is packed with a wide and var­ied range, from air­guns to air­soft, and from archery to op­tics – well worth check­ing out.


My fi­nal drop-off point was to Sig, ‘the com­plete sys­tems provider’, ac­cord­ing to the brochure, but with only one break-bar­rel on dis­play, the ASP2 with two stock op­tions, the provider seems a lit­tle low, but the pis­tols were more im­pres­sive with four mod­els on show. There is a range of fast-fire air rifles – CO2 pro­vid­ing the power for the .177 pro­jec­tiles. The MCX and MPX are also part of the ASP range and utilise the trusty CO2 car­tridges for power. The brochure is full of var­i­ous pieces of mer­chan­dise, and is well worth check­ing out.

Well, as Elvis al­most said, ‘The Bright Light City cer­tainly set my soul on fire’. The SHOT show is an ab­so­lute eye opener, and be as­sured that I will be back and my plans will be bet­ter made to take in more of the mind-bog­gling dis­play. It’s so hard to im­press upon any­one the im­mense size of this place; the NEC would fit in here many, many times over and I re­ally do feel like I have only scratched the sur­face in the four and a half days I’ve spent walk­ing around. I’ve checked my Fit­bit and I’ve al­most cov­ered 40 miles, and I have still some to go – maybe it’s best to leave some­thing un­fin­ished. It gives me a good rea­son to re­turn!

The fan­tas­tic new Air Arms Ul­ti­mate Sporter XS with its soft-touch stock..

The BSA R10 range. Ev­ery­thing’s big­ger over here!

Travel pump from Gun­power – per­fect for the ve­hi­cle.

The hi-per­for­mance, tac­ti­cal Gamo TC range.

The per­fectly named Woods Walker, from Cros­man.

The Umarex Ham­mer could be some­thing truly spe­cial.

SIG pis­tols are un­doubt­edly beau­ties

I won­der if Mr East­wood knows about this.

Three of the best; the RAW Theobens.

So many big bore PCPs out here.

Oh baby – how I need this!

You’re go­ing to need three hands for that, mate!

Sec­ond Amend­ment Vette; you’ve got to love their com­mit­ment.

Never mind drones – I’m go­ing full aero ap­proach!

New from Pul­sar – the Ac­co­lade ther­mal binoc­u­lars.

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