My Impressions of the Exhibit Hall at the
NRA Annual Convention in Philadelphia, PA, June 1998

I spent several enjoyable hours this weekend wandering through the exhibit hall at the NRA Annual Convention in Philadelphia. For those of you who couldn't make it, I thought I'd report on some of the highlights I saw. So, in no particular order, here we go:

Smith & Wesson was not there, which really surprised me. I heard a rumor that the company may be having financial difficulties, but you'd think they'd want to have an exhibit at this show. Go figure.

The S&W Collectors Association was there, however, with a nice display of historic Smiths. Roy Jinks, author of the standard history of S&W was there, and my dad managed to get his autograph, along with Col. Rex Applegate's who happened to be there when he stopped by the booth.

topped by the booth.

Springfield Armory had a nice setup. One of their neater guns was the M1A-A1 Scoutt Rifle, with a short barrel and LER Aimpoint mounted.

Colt had a large display, including revolvers, semiautos, their new CO2 pistols, hoglegs and AR15s. One item of interest was the new double action semiauto made for Colt by CZ.

I had to restrain myself from drooling at the Shiloh Sharps booth. The rifles that company makes are absolutely gorgeous, with beautiful wood, and fit & finish. Oh man, I need a Sharps.

I really liked the Winchester/USRA exhibit. Of particular interest to me were the reintroduced Model 1886 .45-70, Model 1892 .45 Colt (also in .44 WCF & .357), Model 1895 .30-06, and Model 63 .22 LR. I also got to handle one of the new left-hand Model 70s (it's about time!). Very nice. Also new from Winchester is the M9422 Legacy. This is the 9422 lever action .22 which has been around for 25 years, but fitted with a 24" barrel, pistol grip stock, and nicely done checkering. I own a (discontinued) 9422 XTR Classic, dating from the late '80s or early '90s, and it's basically the same, less the checkering. Also, I think the Legacy may have a slightly heavier barrel. Another cool rifle from Winchester is the Model 94 "Black Shadow." It's a 94 with a black synthetic stock and a half-magazine. You can get it with a 20" barrel in .30-30, .44el in .30-30, .44 Magnum, and .444 Marlin. It's also available with a 24" barrel in .30-30. It seems to me that in .444 this is just about the perfect rifle for knocking about in Alaska.

Marlin had a nice display, and I got to handle the new M1895G "Guide Gun" .45-70. Ported or no, there is no way you are going to get me to shoot a .45-70 that light!

Samco Global Arms had a booth with a bunch of really nice collectible Mausers and Schmidt-Rubins.

Glock was there in force with a big display, where you could handle all of their various pistols.

Likewise, SIG had a big setup in combination with Hammerli. I really want a SIG P225 now. This is SIG's single-column 9mmP service pistol. Because the magazine holds only 8 rounds, the grip is very slim and comfortable for my small hands. And, even though it's a service-size gun, it shouldn't be any trouble to carry concealed.

For the airgun shooters, Crosman's booth had on display a prototype of a single shot, bolt action CO2-powered, aperature-sighted .22 pellet rifle. Shades of the old 160 or the QB22! I had to ask the Crosman rep what it was, since it bore no markings at all. She told me that Crosman is considering introducing it, which I encouraged.

In contrast, Beeman had a small display. Having now handled a Webley Nemesis airWebley Nemesis air pistol, I can say that it is one of the gankiest guns I've ever picked up. Doesn't Webley understand the concept of rounding the grip at all?

Daisy and El Gamo were there showing off their airguns, too.

Remington's display was quite large, and showed off their rifles, shotguns, pistols (XPs, ammo and accessories nicely.

In the Browning booth, they had on display the M1885 BPCR rifle. It's their High-Wall repro chambered in .45-70 and .40-65. Beautiful guns with nice wood and color case hardening. I also got to handle a BuckMark Bullseye, which has the 7.7" fluted barrel. Makes me wish my Micro BuckMark had a longer tube.

Israel Armaments Industry (not IMI) had a booth. They make the Golan semiauto pistol, and down in Texas, are now making M1 Carbines.

IMI was there, too, showing off their line of ammo.

If you want a new Galil or Uzi you'll have to be a law enforcement officer, but they are available from Mossberg, who's now handling importation. They also had the Uzi Eagle pistols on display, which are the current production variants of the old Jericho 941. Mossberg also had the latest versions of the M590 shotgun, and their new "Jungle Gun," a military/law enforcement grade semiauto shotgun.

uto shotgun.

GSI, the importers for Steyr were there with the new Steyr Scout Rifle. Even though I'm a lefty, I can appreciate how nice this rifle is, and the virtues of the Ching sling. Really cool little rifle. However, I just can't see how it is worth the ~$2600 asking price. If Remington introduced the Model 7 with a scout scope, clip loading, and a three-point sling, I bet they'd sell truckloads and Steyr wouldn't sell too many Scouts.

I spent only a little time in Ruger's exhibit, since I have serious differences with Mr. Ruger re: RKBA issues. However, I did handle a Bisley Blackhawk. I think I like the regular style hammer better, but the Bisley's grip was very nice.

Savage's booth was a bit disappointing, since they didn't have any LH rifles. This is odd, since according to the Savage catalog, the majority of their bolt guns are available in LH persuasion. I'd particularly like to get a .308 Model 10FLP, a LH version of the new short-action tactical sniper rifle.

Savage is now selling air rifles, too. Judging by the flyer I picked up, they are El Gamos bearing the Savage name.

Brownell's had a flyer which I've sent away to get their catalog for free, and they were giving away free samples of JB bore cleaning past and a gun wiping cloth. Similarly,loth. Similarly, Hoppe's was distributing samples of the new Castrol gun oil.

I guess that's enough miscellaneous rambling. If you are ever able to get to an NRA Convention you should definitely make time to do so.

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