June 16th, 2014

SHOT Show Will Stay at Sands Convention Center Through 2020

Grim news — SHOT Show will be held at the Sands Expo through year 2020. That means six (6) more years* at this “dog” of a facility infamous for its inadequate parking, confusing floor plans, and nightmarish ingress/egress through the Venetian hotel. Then there are the wonderful food courts (NOT). Oh and it’s hard not to think about the scores of people who get sick every year attending SHOT Show at the Sands. If you have been there, you know what we’re talking about. So SHOT Show fans, steel yourselves for six more years of the same sad situation.

Previously, NSSF, the show’s organizer, had agreed to keep SHOT Show at the Sands through 2017. That was bad enough. Now they’ve contracted for even more years at this place. That makes for six additional years of headaches, confusion, disorientation, and general discontent. Oh well…

Sands Expo Shot Show 2020

Anyway, to our great dismay, here is the official notice:

Sands Expo Shot Show 2020LAS VEGAS-The National Shooting Sports Foundation and Sands Expo and Convention Center have followed up the 2014 record-setting Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) by adding another two years to their agreement.

Under the new terms, the SHOT Show will be presented at the Sands Expo through 2020.

The 2014 SHOT Show, which ran Jan. 14-17, attracted more than 67,000 in total attendance, an all-time high, and was the fifth consecutive SHOT Show held at Sands Expo. NSSF had previously announced, in February, that it was extending its stay at the venue through 2017.

“We’re pleased with the multi-million dollar investment that the Sands Expo has made in order to meet SHOT Show’s needs,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “The 2014 SHOT Show was the highest rated by both attendees and exhibitors alike, and we want to continue to build on our success here in Las Vegas.”

SHOT Show is the fifth largest trade show in Las Vegas and the largest trade show of its kind in the world.

“As one of the largest events we host at Sands Expo, it has been exciting to watch SHOT Show grow every year,” said Ashlyn LaPorte, Sands Expo Executive Director of Event Management. “We are proud of the partnership that has developed between our venue and show management, and look forward to continuing this relationship through the rest of the decade.”

The Sands Expo and Convention Center houses more than 2 million square feet of meeting and event space. The SHOT Show generates more than $73 million for the Las Vegas economy.

*The press release says “the SHOT Show will be presented at the Sands Expo through 2020″. In the English language, “through” is inclusive; e.g. “Monday through Friday” includes Friday. But then the release says the current contract, which runs through 2017, has been extended by “two years”. That would push the contract out to 2019, not 2020. Maybe you can figure this out… it doesn’t make sense to us. But then having SHOT Show at the Sands in the first place doesn’t make any sense to us at all.

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June 16th, 2014

How Barnes Bullets Are Made — Views from Inside the Factory

Barnes Bullets FactoryMany of our readers have been interested in learning how modern bullets are made. While a “boutique” bullet-maker, supplied with appropriate cores and jackets, can craft bullets using relatively simple hand dies and manual presses, factory production is different. The major bullet-makers, such as Barnes, employ huge, complex machines to craft their projectiles on an assembly line.

Modern hunting bullets are made with a variety of sophisticated (and expensive) machines, such as Computer Numerical Control (CNC) lathes, giant multi-stage presses, and hydraulic extruding machines that draw lead ingots into lead wire. Barnes offers an “inside look” at the bullet production process in a series of videos filmed at its Mona, UT factory. We’ve embedded four videos from the series here. These videos can also be viewed on the Barnes Bullets YouTube Channel.

Milling Slots in TSX All-Copper Bullet
This video shows how the slots (between the drive bands) in the TSX all-copper bullet are cut. The slots reduce the bearing surface that contacts the rifling. This helps reduce friction and heat, extending the life of barrels used with all-metal, drive-band bullets:

Varminator Bullets Produced in Jumbo Transfer Press
Here is the transfer press used in the production of Varminator and MPG Bullets. The process begins with a giant spool of flat copper material. The copper is stamped into jackets and eventually the formed Varminator bullets are ejected one by one into a bucket.

CNC Lathe Turns Bullets Automatically
In the video below, a Bar-Feed CNC crafts mono-bloc bullets from metal bar stock. Barnes uses a small CNC lathe to turn .50-caliber bullets from brass bar stock. We’re not sure which bullet is being made in this video. The material looks to be sintered metal. In the close-ups you can gold-colored shavings from when the machine was previously used for CNC-turned brass bullets.

Accuracy Testing in 100-yard Tunnel
Barnes regularly tests bullet samples for accuracy. In the video below, a Barnes technician loads sample rounds and tests them for accuracy in a 100-yard tunnel. The rounds are shot through a special fixture — basically a barreled action connected to parallel rods on either side. This allows the testing fixture to slide straight back on recoil (see it move back at 1:07-08 minute mark). Note how the tester actuates the trigger, which is oriented upwards, just the opposite of a normal rifle. The technician taps the upward-pointing trigger shoe lightly with a metal rod. Could this upside-down trigger orientation be useful in benchrest shooting — perhaps with railguns? It could make for an interesting experiment.

Story suggestion by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 16th, 2014

ARs by the Numbers (Stats on Modern Sporting Rifles)

Who is buying ARs and AKs, and in what quantities? Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s Director of Industry Research, answers those questions in the May 2014 Issue of AR Guns & Hunting. In this interesting article about “Modern Sporting Rifles” (MSRs), Curcuruto provides answers to questions such as “How many Americans own an MSR?”, “Why are they being purchased?”, and “Who is buying them?”.

What the Heck is a ‘Modern Sporting Rifle’?
The term “Modern Sporting Rifles” is used to describe “AR- and AK-Platform rifles” — semi-automatic rifles with detachable box magazines. These are generally derivative of the original AR15/M16 or AK47 designs, although Modern Sporting Rifles may have different furniture, modular components, and scope rails in place of iron sights. Note: The “AR” in “AR-15″ rifle stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”

Modern Sporting Rifle AR15 AK47

MSR Questions and Answers

Q: How may AR-type and AK-type rifles have been sold in recent years?

We don’t have an exact sales number. However, since 1990, over 8,200,000 MSRs have been “brought to market” in the USA. This is based on manufacturing stats, ATF sales records, as well as International Trade Commission (ITC) import numbers.

Modern Sporting Rifle AR15 AK47Q: How Many Americans Own MSRs?

A: 4.8 million American have an AR-type or AK-type rifle, according to a consumer survey and ATF and ITC statistics.

Q: What Kind of People Purchase MSRs?

A: MSRs are purchased by successful, educated people: “The average MSR owner is 35+ years old, married and has at least some college education. 54% of MSR owners have a household income of more than $75,000 and they are spending approximately $1,060 on each MSR[.]” Roughly one-third of MSR owners are active or former law enforcement or military personnel.

Q: Why Do People Purchase ARs and AKs?

A: The main reason Americans purchase MSRs is for “recreational target shooting”. The second most important reason is for home defense.

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