I really want to get the benchrest rifles out this weekend and try to finish developing some new loads in preparation for next month’s Firearms Industry Super Shoot. What’s been holding me up is the same thing I’ve complained about in the last few editions of Reloading Press: an Iowa winter that still has not let go! In the last few days, we’ve had temps dipping into the 30s and even some snow flurries. It’s looking like a warm-up is finally starting as I write this, so I’ll be able to get out to the range and continue working up a load or two using the new Accurate Arms LT-32 benchrest powder I talked a bit about a couple of Reloading Presses ago.
LT-32 duplicates the old IMR 8208/T-32 mil surplus powder much loved by 6mm PPC aficionados in the 80s and long unavailable – except from the stashes of benchresters who stockpiled it back in the day! Our initial supply of LT-32 screamed out of here in a few weeks, but don’t worry – we have more coming in soon.
I’m also eager to give a try to Berger’s 6mm “Column” BR bullets. These are bullets designed so that balance, rather than weight, is the critical factor determining performance. Slight variations in lead and copper density means that a Column bullet can weigh 64.8 gr. or 65.1 or 64.6 gr., but it won’t affect performance as long as the lead column inside is the correct height to achieve the correct balance. It’s a fascinating concept, and I’d really like some hands-on time with these bullets.
All of this is in preparation for the 41st Annual Firearms Industry Super Shoot, which will be held on May 21-24, 2013, at Kelbly’s Rifle Range in North Lawrence, Ohio. The event usually draws more than 300 competitors, including a lot of Sinclair friends and customers, all vying for the Two-Gun title. Here’s a little sample of what it all looks like. The Super Shoot will really kick off the summer competition season, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy already.
Some other Sinclair folks and I again took part in the Brownells Gunsmith Conference & Career Fair, held at the end of March in Downtown Des Moines. Brownells started this event seven years ago as a way to bring together gunsmithing school students, recent graduates, and practicing gunsmiths with prospective employers looking for talent. While the first GCCF drew a handful of enthusiastic attendees, this year netted more than 400, including 155 gunsmithing students, packing the Des Moines Marriott.
It’s an amazing opportunity for students and gunsmiths to meet, learn from, and just socialize with industry leaders and legends, including Jason Hornady, VP of Sales at Hornady Manufacturing; Mike Tulowitski, gunsmithing school instructor and owner of MJ Tulo Gunworks; Ron Power of Grand Masters LLC (aka Power Custom); and American Handgunner editor and publisher Roy Huntington. The keynote speaker was master stockmaker Joe Balickie. And two guys from Sinclair International – yours truly and Senior Reloading Technician Phil Hoham – did a presentation on the benefits for the gunsmith of serving the reloading market.
The list of event sponsors reads like a who’s who of various parts of the firearms industry: Aero Metals, Cylinder & Slide, Ergo Grip/Falcon Industries, FMG Publications, Gander Mountain, Grand Masters LLC, Gradient Lens Corporation, JP Enterprises, Kick-Eez, and Turnbull Manufacturing.
As with previous GCCFs I’ve attended, the most important “takeaways” for me were real optimism about the future of the industry that supports our shooting sports – and a renewed appreciation for the great people involved in both. I feel so privileged to work every day with people like our customers and vendors.
Details are still being ironed out for the 8th Annual Brownells Gunsmith Conference & Career Fair, but it’ll be April 1-2, 2014, again at the Des Moines, Iowa, Downtown Marriott. Keep an eye on www.gunsmithcareerfair.com for news.
Immediately on the horizon is the “NRA Show,” formally called the NRA Meetings & Exhibits, in Houston, TX, next week – May 3-5, at the George R. Brown Convention Center. A bunch of Sinclair folks will be there in Booth #3433 and looking forward to talking shop with our customers. It’s a great venue to get face-to-face feedback from our customers on our new products – and for getting ideas for future products.
Speaking of new products, we’ll be unveiling our new Sinclair Heavy Varmint Rest at the show (photo below). Attendees can enter a drawing to win one of three shooting rests. So drop by, say “hello,” and sign up for your chance to win.
A final note before I sign off… Availability of some key products, especially consumable reloading components, is still very tight. We’ve yet to see any signs of the market slowing down, and while suppliers are making deliveries to us, we’re only receiving a small portion of what we’ve ordered. If you have extended backorders with us, please hang in there. We haven’t forgotten about you, and we are steadily filling orders. We truly appreciate your patience in these unprecedented times.
Until next month…Good Shooting!
Sinclair International, Inc.