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October 17th, 2010

CNBC Attacks Remington in Upcoming Broadcast

On October 20th, CNBC plans to air a television “exposé” about Remington Arms. The hour-long show argues that there may be a safety issue associated with the Remington 700 series of rifles. We haven’t viewed the show yet, but Jim Shepherd of The Shooting Wire is familiar with its contents. Jim, a veteran journalist, recently wrote a cogent commentary on CNBC’s “investigation” of Remington. Given the important insights Jim reveals, his commentary is well worth reading.

Shooting Wire

Yesterday morning, I received a promotional piece from CNBC, touting an hour-long investigation into America’s largest firearms company. The promo piece teases “Remington Under Fire: A CNBC Investigation” a story that CNBC says will “take viewers inside a 10-month investigation of the world’s most popular hunting rifle and examines whether a company has gone too far in protecting their signature product.” That product being the Model 700 bolt-action rifle. With more than five million sold, it is hard to argue its domination of the bolt-action rifle market.

Shooting WireIt’s hard to argue with the idea that a serious safety defect — especially if it was deliberately downplayed-could cause serious repercussions.

Having spent nearly three decades in journalism, when someone says their exclusive “examines” rather than “exposes” — my first impression is always that the story didn’t come to the conclusion they’d presumed, so they’re leaving plenty of wiggle room in the story by “examining the question” rather than “answering it”. That doesn’t say it’s not interesting, whatever the conclusion.

According to the release, CNBC Senior Correspondent Scott Cohn traveled from Florida to Alaska, uncovering numerous complaints about Remington’s 700 model rifle. The most intriguing fact is Cohn’s having “tracked down” 98-year-old Mike Walker, the Remington engineer who designed the trigger for the Remington 700. The report purports to have an interview — and internal memorandums from Walker — that indicate he had repeated safety concerns about the trigger system — even after he left the company.

Video teasers for the program, however, don’t show Walker. Instead, they show Jack Belk “gunsmith, former cop” and expert witness in a variety of lawsuits against Remington. In the soundbite — admittedly designed to titillate, not answer questions — Belk says “no gun should fire unless the trigger is pulled.”

Not exactly the building of a rock-solid case. But in many cases — especially those tried in the fickle court of public opinion — emotion will trump logic.

I’ve not spoken to anyone at Remington regarding the reports — and CNBC says Remington only responded to their interview requests in writing.

For Remington, that’s prudent business practice. From CNBC, it’s couched as to leave the impression that a lack of willingness to go on camera and talk about six decades of business practices indicates there’s something to hide.

That’s not the case — it is impossible for current management to have first-hand knowledge of anything that happened nearly six decades ago. Consequently, when you don’t know what to say, the best thing to say — especially in a television interview — is nothing.

Remington Under Fire is scheduled to air on October 20. We’ll be watching and at that time, Remington officials will be offered the opportunity to respond to the program.

Article © 2010 The Shooting Wire, All Rights Reserved, reprinted with permission. “Grudge Match” graphic created by and not included in original story.

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October 17th, 2010

Hornady Introduces Superformance Varmint Ammo

In early 2011, Hornady will start shipping its new, “enhanced velocity” Superformance™ Varmint ammunition for four chamberings: 222 Remington, .223 Remington, 22-250, and .243 Winchester. This ammo uses proprietary, blended powder formulations to achieve faster velocities that most other factory-loaded ammo (for these cartridge types). In addition, the propellant burns more completely in the barrel, reducing the amount of ejecta (i.e. powder residue that exits the muzzle). By burning the powder more completely in the barrel, Hornady claims the Superformance ammo delivers higher velocities without increased recoil.

Hornady Superformance Varmint Ammunition

New 53gr V-Max for .223 Rem Ammo
All four types of Superformance Varmint ammo are loaded with polymer-tipped V-Max bullets. The .223 Rem ammo features a new 53-grain V-Max bullet with a decent 0.290 G1 Ballistic Coefficient. Hornady claims that: “This new bullet… enables this load to produce trajectory and wind drift equaling that of a conventional 22-250″. Well, it may come close to factory loaded 22-250 rounds from other manufacturers, but any competent hand-loader can produce 22-250 or 22-6XC loads that easily outrun Hornady’s 53gr V-Max load. As with any advertising claims, run the numbers yourself. The chart below shows Hornady’s claimed velocities for its Superformance Varmint ammo:

Hornady Superformance ammunition

Hot-Rod Ammo?
Hornady released a somewhat “over the top” video touting its Superformance Varmint Ammo. We chuckled at the drag-racing animation, but you will find some useful info in the second half of the video:

YouTube Preview Image
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October 17th, 2010

Garmin Nüvi 260W on Sale for $99.99 with FREE Shipping

Garmin Nuvi 260W on saleIf you don’t have a portable GPS yet, here is a great deal. The very popular Garmin Nüvi 260W with voice instructions is on sale for the next few days for just $99.99, with FREE shipping. This unit is easy to program, and instantly switches from Map view to a Trip Info view that provides current speed, average speed, miles to destination, and more. Click the lower right corner of the Map view at any time to bring up Next Turn info.

This Editor has been using a Garmin Nüvi for a year now and it works marvelously. I now take it on any long trip, and it has also been very useful when navigating to local locations. If you miss a turn, it will usually recalculate within seconds. The spoken turn-by-turn instructions are easy to follow — it’s like having a human navigator by your side. Click the link below right for best pricing and FREE Shipping.

Garmin Nuvi 260W

North American Maps are Pre-Loaded
The Garmin Nüvi 260W comes preloaded with City Navigator NT North America–road coverage for the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico and nearly 6 million points of interest. City Navigator North America NT gives you everything you need to travel North America. Powered by NAVTEQ, a world leader in premium-quality digital map data, City Navigator brings you the most detailed street maps available so you can navigate with exact, turn-by-turn directions to any address or intersection.

The battery will run a few hours, but I recommend keeping the unit plugged in via your cigarette lighter outlet or other DC power port. When the unit is not in use for a few days, I also recommend removing the battery. Even with the unit switched “off” Garmin maintains a “fast access” mode that draws a small amount of current.

Handy Vent Mount Secures GPS
i.trek GPS Vent Mount GarminI’ve experimented with a half dozen GPS mounts and my favorite is the i.Trek Vent Mount. This snaps on quickly and places your GPS in an ideal position to the right of the steering wheel. It is a little tricky to remove, but otherwise works great and only costs $6.50 at The Vent Mount can jiggle a bit on big bumps, but the GPS is normally plenty stable, and it is easy to adjust viewing angle. It’s a great little device — much better in my opinion than windshield mounts (which are illegal in some states).

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