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January 29. 2019

In spite of good intentions of posting my SHOT SHOW experiences each day as they happened, that obviously didn't work out.  I guess Little Heifer and I enjoyed our after SHOW hours excursions to favorite eating places and other activities too much for me to be on the keyboard every evening.

First let me go back to the Venetian Hotel check-in process and the new "No Firearms Allowed In The Guest Rooms" policy.  As I went about my walks through the hotel, back and forth to the Shot Show venue, and Ann ventured out and about on her treks, it became more and more apparent that the system is full of holes!

In addition to the checked luggage X-rays, there were card readers and security personnel at each entrance to access the elevators to guest rooms, along with a sign that read, "All backpacks and luggage subject to search," or words to that effect.  So, while a room key card was necessary to trigger the green light on the card reader before being allowed to pass the checkpoint, I saw innumerable backpacks (including my own) and roller bags pass through with nary an inspection!  No metal detectors either.

It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to simply carry a backpack or roller bag through the check-in line
with gun and ammo enclosed.  Since I hand carried my computer through check-in, if the case had contained a gun instead of a computer, that's exactly what would have happened.  Chances of being caught near zero.

So this, like most all so called 'gun free zones' does little more than disarm those who would do no harm anyway, and doesn't affect those most likely to cause problems.  Again I editorialize; Without TSA-like procedures and equipment, 'gun free zones' are entirely ineffective and dangerous!

The hotel checkout process, along with picking up my Sig and magazines did, as advertised, go without a hitch, although it required a lot of extra footsteps.  Luggage to the valet parking area; security escort to the 'armory'; check out gun; security escort to the valet vehicle delivery area; load car and get the hell out of Dodge!

Enough soapbox!

After the Hotel check-in fiasco, first step at the SHOT SHOW was picking up my media credentials at the press room location in the Sands Expo Center.  Credentials were not mailed out ahead of time this year, so this was a step not experienced before.

Press Room for Media attendees.  Amenities included charging stations, internet access, coffee, juice, pastries, and fruit.

I should mention that the SHOT SHOW App for Ipad is a welcome time saver and guide when visiting the SHOW.  With over 13 miles of aisles on two levels of the gigantic Sands Expo Center, it would be virtually impossible to find a particular exhibitor by just walking around.  With the SHOT SHOW App one can scroll to the exhibitor of interest, tap the booth number, and a floor map comes up with the booth highlighted in red.  You can also bookmark various exhibitors, and their booths show up in yellow on the maps.

Here are a couple of general scenes from the show.

One of hundreds of aisles that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Hallway in front of the Press Room on opening day.  Vendors who are on a waiting list for space on the main floor are allowed to set up small booths here, called the "Next" exhibitors area.

On my first visit to the main exhibit floor on Tuesday, I sought out the big green 'Remington Arms' sign hanging high above their booth.  Remington is the US's oldest firearm company, and is now part of Freedom Group, which, in turn, is owned by Cerberus Capital Management.  If you think that's a mouthful, take a look at some of the other brands now under the Remington umbrella.  As I walked the area, I observed signs for: Marlin, Dakota Arms, Nesika, DPMS, Storm Lake Barrels,TAPCO, AAC, Barnes Bullets, Bushmaster, and I'm sure I'm not remembering all of them.

DPMS AR platform rifles.

Dakota Arms and Nesika rifles.

Bolt Action handguns reminiscent of the old XP 100 of times past.  Note that both right and left hand bolts are pictured.

My question of the day for Remington, concerned the many thousands of Model 700, Model 7, and other models of bolt action rifles that are eligible for upgraded trigger groups by virtue of a class action settlement of lawsuits alleging the original triggers are faulty.  The triggers reportedly can cause an inadvertent discharge without a trigger pull when the safety is clicked off.  Remington has maintained for years that the triggers are not faulty, but meanwhile have settled many lawsuits concerning them, all with confidentiality agreements that kept them private.

Finally in March of 2017 a Federal Court approved a class action settlement that provides replacement triggers or other relief for those allegedly defective models.  My question for the booth's floor manager was, "How many of the affected rifles have been repaired, and how many are still out there?"

The answer, "I don't know, but I'm guessing that only about 3% have been taken care of."  Beyond that, I was advised to contact Remington's customer service for more information.  Owners have until April 23, 2020 to submit claims for relief.

If you think you might own one of the rifles affected by this settlement, click HERE for more information.

One of my plans for this year was to interview Brian Pearce, a writer for Wolfe Publishing Company.  Brian is one of Rifle and Handloader Magazines' experts on all things reloading, rifles, and handguns, with emphasis on traditional lever and bolt action rifles and revolvers.  I admire Brian's writing, have wanted to do an article about him for two or three years, but have not been able to connect with him for an interview.  He was in the Wolfe booth the first day of the show, but was busy with a guy in a suit, that I'm guessing was one of Wolfe's executives.  I did give Brian my card and asked him to give me a call sometime, but as one of the unknown little guys with only a web presence in the writing world, I doubt I'll hear from him.

One of my next stops was at the Otis Technologies booth for a bit of catch-up from last year.  I was promised some samples of Otis's latest gun bore cleaning stuff which I never received, so I talked to one of the nice ladies behind the counter this year to see if we could remedy that.  She took my card and promised to make it happen, so we'll see.

Beth Sussey of Otis Technologies

I continue to be amazed at the amount of consolidation of brands under one conglomerate umbrella in today's world.  This is nowhere more evident than observing the SHOT SHOW exhibitors from year to year.  Big changes since my first visit in 2015.   This trend was particularly notable at a booth displaying a large picture of a Caldwell 'HYDROSLED' shooting cradle.  Nearby was a list of brands displayed in this booth, all owned by American Outdoor Brands Corporation.


American Outdoor Brands Corporation.

I am awaiting some press materials from the Company to learn more about the HYDROSLED.

For me, no trip to the SHOT SHOW would be complete without a visit to both the Cimarron Fire Arms Company and Taylor's & Company booths.  Both are makers of replica historical firearms and both always have people dressed in period clothing manning (or womaning) their displays.

Bryce and Jamie of Cimarron Firearms.

Deke Rivers of Taylor's & Company in 'gunfighter' mode.

Do you suppose Deke likes posing for the cameras?  There were several focused on him at this point.

A quick trip to the Kimber booth allowed me to pose a quick question to one of the staff.  My understanding is that almost any of the Kimber pistols, not already so equipped, can be altered to accept an ambidextrous safety.  Rick's 9MM compact has the single right hand safety and he wants to get the ambi.  I was hoping that the safety could be ordered and installed at home but was informed that the gun would need to go to Kimber to have the work done.

A discussion with a staff member at the HI VIZ gun sight booth determined that they do make sights that will fit my Sig Sauer P938, so I'll be looking into that further as I want to replace the factory sights on the pistol.

Troy at the HI VIZ booth who looked up which sights would fit my P938 Sig.

The Sig Sauer booth displayed literally hundreds of semi-auto pistols of all types, finishes, and sizes.  Some of them highly decorated and engraved.  That was a very popular place, as getting pictures of the displays without people blocking the view was virtually impossible.

Two among dozens of rows of Sig Sauer pistols on display.

Beautifully engraved Sig P938 with the 'Rose Gold' finish.

The last report for this year will be my visit to the Lyman booth.  Lyman continues to come up with innovative and useful products for the reloader and gun enthusiast.  A number of new products were featured this year and filled an entire display.

New Lyman lineup for 2019.

My interest in the Lyman digital bore scope was renewed after last year's experiment with the Carson Universal cell phone mount.  Unfortunately that did not work out well for capturing images of the inside of a gun barrel which the Lyman Bore Scope is reputed to do quite well.  Staff member, Alex, went over the fine points of the scope with me and discussed getting me a sample for review.   Writer's price on the scope will keep the purchase price in a range that should fit my budget.

Another product marketed by Lyman is a brass catcher for AR's.  The bag attaches to the picatinny rail atop the receiver and prevents scrounging the spent brass off the ground.  An AR does spit brass out and about with authority, and I'd bet you won't find them all after shooting a couple of 20 round magazines.  I'll need to check if the catcher will attach correctly along with the  scope mount on my Bushmaster before investing in one of those.

TACSTAR Shellcatcher from Lyman for AR platform semi-automatic firearms.

After two days wandering about the SHOW, I'd had about all the walking I wanted.  So we checked out of the hotel on Thursday morning the 24th.  After a short run to St. George, UT Thursday, we hit the road hard to Pocatello, ID on Friday, Missoula, MT on Saturday, and Home by about noon on Sunday.

I'll follow up with more information on some of the products I saw at the SHOW in future newsletters.  Thanks for reading!

January 21, 2019

Told you we could make it to Las Vegas without the Yukon's navigation system working.  Yes it had quit again when we loaded up at the St. George Hampton Inn to head to Las Vegas.  A stop for another conversation with an OnStar representative resulted in a diagnostic test that said "The navigation system and GPS ain't workin', or words to that effect.  "DUH."  We were advised to take the car to a dealer when we could do so.  Again, "DUH."

We weren't the only people having troubles.  A serious wind storm battered southern Utah, northwestern Arizona and southern Nevada overnight and was blamed for some widespread power outages in those areas.  We can attest to the fact there were issues.  Several stretches of Interstate 15 in this part of the world incorporate public rest areas with some major truck stop operators.  Not sure what the arrangements are, but Flying J, Love's, AM/PM, and others, double as fuel stops/convenience stores along with hosting public rest areas.

So, in addition to GPS issues, the first two or three of those 'rest areas' were locked up with 'no power' signs on the doors.  No need to explain the necessity of these stops for older guys like yours truly!  Finally found a Union 76 fuel stop just outside North Las Vegas that had lights on.  What a relief!

Travel on to the Venetian Hotel occurred without major mishap until our arrival and getting checked in turned in to quite the circus.

First some background.  Little Heifer and I have discussed that this will likely be our last trip to the SHOT SHOW.  This is number 4 over 5 years, and that's probably enough.  The main attraction has been seeing all the new stuff and maintaining contact with a few other people in the business.  Then, of course, testing and writing about some of this new stuff.  Well, I don't do as much Shootin', Huntin', and Reloadin' as I used to, and intend to slow down a bit more.

Anyway, since this may be our last SHOW, we decided to go first class and stay at the host hotel, the Venetian.  A bit more expensive, but an easy inside walk to the SHOW and handy to the few things we like to see and experience when in Vegas.  Not our favorite city by any means, but there are some things we like.

Now for the circus.  We pulled into the valet parking area and some nice gentlemen unloaded the car and managed to get all our junk on a luggage cart.  We left the car with the valet, and proceeded to the check-in area with the Bellman following behind.  We were given luggage tags and told our stuff would be delivered to our room after check-in.

Shortly after examining our suite, the phone rang.  A nice lady said, "Just wanted to make sure someone is in the room, and your luggage will be delivered shortly."

The phone rang again in a few minutes.  This time a male voice said, "This is Sergeant Robinson with Hotel Security.  We now x-ray all luggage coming into the hotel and discovered some ammunition in your suitcase." "No ammunition is allowed in the guest rooms and you'll need to come down and check it in to our armory."  "You can check it out any time for use outside the hotel."

After receiving instructions where to meet the Officer, I proceeded to the casino wondering, "How much trouble am I in?"

The wait seemed quite long, so I called Ann on the cell phone to see if she had heard anything.  She had received another call, wondering if I was on my way down, and was asked, "Is there a gun for this ammunition?"  Ann responded perfectly, with, "I have no idea."

In the meantime all the rest of our luggage was delivered to the room, along with the suitcase containing the Sig matching the magazines and ammo.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, a couple of security officers showed up where I was waiting.  They were very respectful, and informed me that in the aftermath of the recent shooting from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the Venetian now prohibits firearms and ammunition in the guest rooms.  Thus the x-rays of the luggage and the check-in/check-out process for guest's firearms.  Finally, seeming a bit embarrassed, the Sergeant asked, "Do you have a weapon with you?"

I could have said that the ammo wouldn't be worth much without something to shoot it with, but opted for, "Yes, but it's in another suitcase already in the room."

Back to the room with my escorts, collect the pistol, carry it in my pocket to the armory, check it in along with the ammo.

In theory, I have no problem with this process.  I have often editorialized that 'no firearms' zones enforced with nothing more than signs on the door, are shootings waiting to happen.  My theory is that any business that places signage prohibiting firearms, should be obligated to provide security procedures to assure that the prohibition is real.

All I can say, is the Venetian is trying to do that.  Obviously the system didn't exactly work as it should, but then even TSA let a loaded handgun get on a plane a few days ago.  We can just hope that the process works exactly as planned when I go to check out my gun and ammo on Thursday

Here's the way it used to work:  I have concealed carry permits from Washington, Oregon, and Utah.  On our normal route of travel from Spokane to Las Vegas, the permits are good for loaded concealed carry in the car in every state but Arizona and Nevada.  Before leaving Utah, I unload the gun, put the ammo in one suitcase, the gun in another, and they are then being legally transported.  To the best of my knowledge most all Las Vegas hotels have a safe in each room.  I transfer the gun and ammo to the room safe and retrieve it when we check out.

Enough of that!  On to one of the few things we enjoy in Las Vegas; a meal at Gilley's Las Vegas.

What's one more little batch of neon in Las Vegas?

Always good advice

Good home style cookin'!  Tonight Ann had fried chicken salad and I had chicken fried steak with sides of grits and baked beans.  YUM!

Ann's Fried Chicken Salad

Chicken Fried Steak, Sausage Gravy, Grits, and Baked Beans

Before dinner we sat in the nearly empty bar/dance floor area and enjoyed a beer and a pop sitting on some of the saddles that have turned themselves into bar stools.

Ride 'em Cowgirl

Now back in the hotel for relaxation and getting the camera charged up for the opening of SHOT SHOW tomorrow.

January 20, 2019

Ann and I left on Wednesday the 17th for our first leg of travel to Las Vegas for the annual SHOT SHOW.  This will be my 4th show since 2015.  We missed the 2017 Show because of my stint as Lodge Secretary for the Elks.  Glad that's behind us!
   For those not familiar, the SHOT SHOW is not open to the public but just to the manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and others of those connected to the firearms and outdoors industries.  Fortunately, writers, even those of us with only a web presence and no related paycheck are invited too!
Anyway, we left home about 10:00 AM and had a short, easy day to Missoula, MT.

Thursday was not so short and coupled with some snow and slush on the highways, made for both a tired driver and passenger when we finally made Pocatello, ID.  Somehow I think the days of 'pedal to the metal' for those 10 or 12 hour days, stopping only to pee and gas up, are behind me!

Friday at mid-afternoon found us in Provo, UT where we checked in to the Hampton Inn in the south part of town.  We have stayed at this hotel on every trip we've made to the SHOT SHOW.  On two of those trips we stayed 2 nights because we were snowed in!  Not this time though.  We headed for our next stop, St. George, UT, on a wet but mostly bare Interstate 15.  Sunny skies and 50 plus degrees greeted us at a brand new Hampton Inn a few miles south of town.

As a bit of a side note, we actually tried to stay at this hotel last year.  It was shown on the map and the Yukon's navigation system took us directly to it, only to find it was still under construction.  We had to backtrack a few miles to a Hampton that was actually open.  Anyway, this new hotel is very nice, although to my untrained eye, pretty cheaply constructed.

Speaking of the Yukon's navigation system, we noticed part way to St. George, the compass indicator on the instrument panel and display screen was blank.  Also the GPS icon in navigation mode was crossed out.  What is going on here???  After we arrived at our hotel, I deleted all the destination information from the system and contacted the local GMC dealer.  By now it's Saturday afternoon, so no service department available until Monday morning.  (Ain't it amazing how we get used to those modern features and get upset when they don't work!)

As we drove into town for dinner Saturday evening and again on a sight seeing jaunt this afternoon, the GPS's voice kept giving us nonsense prompts, even though the system was supposedly purged.  I usually call the navigation system's voice the 'Automated Woman,' but was beginning to think more along the lines of one of our female friends who calls her the 'Bitch in the Box.'  In the midst of all this, I tried the 'locate vehicle' function on the GMC app on my Ipad, and discovered we were in the middle of a swampy field near Provo, UT.

Then, suddenly as we were driving along today, the compass started working, and the speed limit icon began registering again????  Part of the plan when we left on our sight seeing drive was to stop and talk to OnStar to see if they could help.  Of course, when asked to ping our location, the lady informed us we were exactly where we were sitting in St. George!

Guess we'll just keep going and worry about the navigation system when we get home.  Believe it or not we can find our way to Las Vegas and back on our own.