It’s January and I’m not predator hunting, so that means I’m at the SHOT Show. The unofficial start of SHOT is Media Day at the Range. It turned out to be the coldest day I’ve ever experienced in Vegas, so we had to keep warm by heating up gun barrels. I think we succeeded because my hands never got cold.
Now the doors are open at the Sands Expo Center and the show floor is booming with activity. My mission this year is to find exciting new predator hunting products and share my discoveries with you. Let's get to it.
Winchester Ammunition had a big presence at the range with several new offerings for varmint and predator hunters. Ron Spomer went in depth about the .17 Winchester Super Magnum in his blog a few weeks ago. It's a rimfire round that will drive a 20-grain bullet at 3,000 fps, setting a new high-velocity benchmark for rimfires. It’ll be an interesting round to experiment with this summer.
Winchester also introduced a new line of centerfire ammo called Varmint X with a prominent predator theme to the packaging. Calibers include .204 Ruger, .223 Rem., .22-250 and .243 Win. You can check out more details in this video with Melissa Bachman, but for me, any ammo with a coyote on the box is worth a try.
Winchester introduced two intriguing new predator/varmint rounds.
I know some guys carry both a rifle and a shotgun to a calling stand. Well, below you see a new twist on that concept—the TX-12 Special Task Weapon from Ten-X Tactical. OK, so it’s really intended as a tactical add-on, but with a few changes by the manufacturer or some gunsmith time, I can see predator hunting applications. It's a single-shot 12 gauge with a 10.5-inch barrel that mounts to the bottom of an AR (any Picatinny rail, actually) and the company assures me it’s legal in the U.S. This photo should get your mind spinning with possibilities …
Mounted below the primary barrel on this AR-15 is the TX-12 Special Task Weapon.
Another item I really liked is the Vanguard Uni-Stik. It’s a type of monopod that can be used conventionally, or reversed and attached to the firearm. It can also be used as a butt support when attached to one leg of a tripod or used to mount a video camera or spotting scope. It’s so new that it’s not on the Vanguard website yet. The price, I’m told, is a reasonable $29.95.
The Vanguard Uni-Stik monopod.
As predator hunters, we're in and out of vehicles frequently as we move between hunting locations. How to secure a rifle while driving can be a problem. Below is a product that I’ve already been using and it has been working perfectly. It’s called the Snap Rack and it's made by LUCID. This innovative accessory allows you to mount a rifle butt-end down behind the front seat of a vehicle (where law allows). It holds the rifle securely so it won't fall or bounce out and the simple design makes for easy release of the rifle. See the Snap Rack in action right here. This thing is slick and costs only $12.
The Snap Rack firearm holder.
MOJO has a new decoy for predator callers. Called the Super Critter, it’s an inexpensive option for the mouth caller who doesn’t want to invest a lot of money in a motion decoy. Set it out, turn it on and four AA batteries will provide the action until you retrieve it or a coyote rips it apart ... whichever comes first. If you already have an e-caller and it has a standard 3.5mm plug receptacle, you can add this decoy and get full remote control of the motion. It’s not on the MOJO website yet, but will be shortly. Retail price is expected to be less than $60 dollars.
The MOJO Super Critter decoy.
If you want to protect your trusty predator rifle, a great solution could be the Boca Shield gun cover. This is a neoprene cover that slides over the gun and is secured with integral hook-and-loop fastening. When you’re done hunting, it slides off easily and there’s no damage to your firearm. It comes in various colors, including white, and retails for around $40. Looks like a good idea to me.
The Boca Shield gun cover.