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January 5th, 2012

New Lightweight Rimfire Semi-Auto from Magnum Research

Magnum Research .22LRMagnum Research has released a new semi-auto .22LR rifle, the MLR22AT, that should be good for plinking, walk-around varminting, and rimfire gun games. MSRP for the MLR22AT will be $562. The rifles will start shipping in spring 2012.

The MLR22AT features a .22LR Benz target chamber optimized for semi-automatics. The black anodized receiver is CNC-machined from a 6061-T6 aluminum forging. The MLR22AT has an approximate weight of 4 ¼ lbs, barrel length of 17 inches, and OAL of 35.5 inches. This rifle utilizes the 10/22 trigger group and Ruger 10/22 rotary magazines — that means you have a wide choice of aftermarket upgrades.

Magnum Research .22LR

The MLR22AT features a lightweight, ambidextrous thumbhole tupperware (polypropylene) stock. The stock material incorporates fiber stiffeners, but we still bet this stock is too flexy. Magnum Research claims the comb is high enough to shoot with optics. We just wish the fore-end was stiffer and came with a sling swivel stud for mounting a Harris bipod. Then this compact rifle would be good for rimfire tactical matches as well.

Magnum Research .22LR

Graphite-Sleeved Barrel is Light, Stiff, and Runs Cool
The most trick feature on this rifle is the graphite-sleeved bull barrel, a Magnum Research exclusive. The barrel’s patented uni-directional graphite fibers, parallel to the bore axis, produce a lightweight barrel with exceptional stiffness. (Magnum Research claims the barrel has six times the stiffness of steel.) The graphite construction definitely saves weight — this barrel tips the scales at just 13-16 ounces, depending on barrel length. Magnum Research also claims the composite barrel dissipates heat up to 43% faster than steel. Sounds good, but heat isn’t as much of an issue with rimfire barrels, as compared to centerfire tubes.

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January 5th, 2012

Americans Purchase 10.8 Million Guns in 2011 — A New Record

Americans of all walks of life are purchasing more pistols, rifles, and shotguns than ever before. Based on NSSF-adjusted FBI background check (NICS) records, American purchased 10,791,275 firearms in 2011. That’s an all-time record, and a 14% increase over 2010. Gun sales hit a new high in 2011 after a decade of steady increases (see chart). In 2002, ten years ago, slightly less than 7,000,000 firearms were sold. The 2011 sales figure represents a 54.1% increase over 2002 sales. And the NICS figures are conservative, because they do not report multiple gun sales made with a single background check.


Gun Ownership Becomes More Universal
The increase in gun sales over the last ten years reflects growth in the ranks of gun owners. A significant percentage of recent sales have been made to first-time gun owners. And more women are arming themselves. Gun ownership is becoming more universal, not limited to the traditional groups of male hunters and sportsmen. A recent Gallup Poll found that: “47 percent of American adults currently report that they have a gun in their home or on their property”.

Kapap Combative Women ShootersFirst-time buyers and women are driving the spike in gun sales. USA Today reports: “Some gun industry analysts attributed the unusual surge to a convergence of factors, including an increasing number of first-time buyers seeking firearms for protection and women who are being drawn to sport shooting and hunting.” Confirming that view, states that more women, liberals, and Democrats are buying guns. Multiple factors are at work according to “Uncertainty in a presidential election year. Warriors returning from the battlefields. The comeback of the hunter. These are just some of the reasons… why firearms makers are ringing in 2012 like gangbusters.”

Gallup Gun Ownership Poll Summary
“A clear societal change took place regarding gun ownership in the early 1990s, when the percentage of Americans saying there was a gun in their home or on their property dropped from the low to mid-50s into the low to mid-40s and remained at that level for the next 15 years. Whether this reflected a true decline in gun ownership or a cultural shift in Americans’ willingness to say they had guns is unclear. However, the new data suggest that attitudes may again be changing. At 47%, reported gun ownership is the highest it has been in nearly two decades — a finding that may be related to Americans’ dampened support for gun-control laws. However, to ensure that this year’s increase reflects a meaningful rebound in reported gun ownership, it will be important to see whether the uptick continues in future polling.”

The NSSF adjusts NICS data by subtracting out NICS purpose-code permit checks used by several states such as Kentucky, Iowa and Utah for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions of firearms sales and transfers on new and used handguns and long guns. For more NICS info visit the NICS website.

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