This is it for dedicated SHOT Show reports from the Predator Professor. Not because I'm out of material, but because I'm back home and it's time to go hunting again. Here's a quick rundown on some more intriguing gear from SHOT.
As you'd expect, a sea of AR rifles were on display at SHOT. But to this predator hunter there was one that stood out like the beacon of a lighthouse. Would you believe an AR in .22-50 Rem.? Many people consider that caliber to be the ultimate coyote round, and if you're in agreement, you can now run it in an AR platform.
Olympic Arms is the creator of the UMAR (Ultimate Magnum AR), and it's not just available in .22-250 Rem. You can also get it in a trio of WSSM calibers, namely .223 Rem., .243 Win. and .25. One of the problems in shoehorning any of these rounds into the AR platform has always been the magazine. To overcome that, Olympic Arms has made their own, and it looks rock solid. Specs are all in their downloadable catalog and there's a video here.
Olympic Arms is now chambering an AR in .22-250 Rem.
To feed this rifle, you might want to try Barnes' new .22-250 Rem. ammo in their VOR-TX line. This load features a 50-grain, flat-base, all-copper bullet from their TSX family. I haven't tried this bullet myself, but it should be excellent for the really big varmints that require reliable expansion, good penetration and 100 percent weight retention.
Barnes VOR-TX will be offered in .22-250 Rem.
Of course, you'll need to put a good piece of glass on this baby, and I'm sure Leupold would be willing to help you out with that. They have several new models this year, but what interests me most is a coming-mid-year introduction of a 4-24X scope in their VX-6 lineup. Among other features, it will have side-focus and their varmint hunter reticle will be one available crosshair option. No pictures of this one yet, but it should be a great varmint/predator scope.
With a setup like that, you'll be able to shoot far enough that you'll need the new Bushnell Fusion rangefinding binocular. It's been available for about a year now, but they've improved the 2013 model enough to claim it'll range reflective targets out to one mile (1,760 yards). It will compensate for incline and even display holdover data based on your load. It's available in 8X32, 10X42 and 12X50 for about $1,000. It looks like a great example of continuing technological improvements.
The Bushnell Fusion rangefinding binocular has been improved.
Naturally, for really long ranges you'll need to know wind and other conditions, and that's where the Kestrel Horus ATrag Ballistics Meter comes in. I carry one every time I go hunting, and it appears I might have to upgrade because this new model will be available with Bryan Litz' Applied Ballistics software. Users will be able to select from either G1 or G7 ballistic coefficients when calculating a trajectory. Additionally, users will be able to “train” the software to match a specific rifle based on observed impacts at long range with the ballistics calibration feature. I sat in on a demo Bryan did of this unit and there's far more than I have room to describe here. It really is amazing. Watch for it to be available later this year.
The Kestrel Horus ATrag Ballistics Meter.
I've lined up some cool stuff for testing during the course of the next year, and I'll tell you about all of it as it passes through my hands. In the meantime, be sure to catch up on my previous blog posts if you haven't seen them yet.