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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for January 21st, 2011

Massad Ayoob


Friday, January 21st, 2011

The world’s largest trade show for the firearms industry wrapped up today with what the sponsor, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, called record attendance.  NSSF says that more than 57,000 people were there.

Remington announces their Versa-Max semiautomatic shotgun, which feeds a broad array of shotshells that spans the range between mild and wild. We old gunnies remember when we had to laboriously adjust the gas ports of an autoloading scattergun if we were switching between light trap and skeet loads to full power “express loads,” or to short Magnum shells. They have a patented gas operation system with two pistons and seven gas ports that they call VersaPort™, which Remington says will “self-regulate” for reliable feeding with any shell of any power level, from 2 ¾” to the heaviest 3 ½” Magnum load.  They promise that the sophisticated gas system will reduce recoil to a high degree, as well. Read more from Remington at .

Speaking of new shotshell dispensers, that Raging Judge 28-gauge revolver from Taurus has, according to rumor, been stepped on by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. I say “rumor” because I haven’t seen anything official on it yet from Taurus or BATFE. Can’t be a “sawed off shotgun” thing, since it has a rifled barrel; I suspect was the concern that a solid slug load for the 28 gauge would have a diameter larger than .50 caliber. Stay tuned for updates on that. There’s also scuttlebutt that the popular Saiga, a semiautomatic shotgun styled like the AK47 and feeding quick-change box magazines, may be banned by the Government as well. We’ll keep you posted on developments.

Shotgun fanciers who want something different can console themselves with a new entry from Mossberg, says Backwoods Home’s man on the ground there, Russ Lary. It’s a double barrel over/under with 18.5” barrel, and takes up to 3” Magnum 12 gauge. It has a Picatinny rail for a tactical light. Yeah, I know, a two-shot firearm sounds a little counterintuitive for “tactical” work, and I don’t think you’ll see SWAT teams adopting them anytime soon. However, its two shots are probably enough for  “farm gun” chores. The attachable light will work great for the midnight raccoon, or the proverbial “fox in the henhouse” after dark; and because a double barrel has a shorter receiver (frame) than a pump or semiautomatic shotgun, it’s shorter overall. Combine that inherent shortness with the “barely legal” (but definitely legal, at least in the USA) 18.5” barrels, and you’ve got an easy-handling gun that will come out of a pickup truck or an ATV with smooth alacrity, and will be less likely to smack against the vehicle while you’re doing so.  I spent some time with an 18 ½” over/under 12 gauge by another maker back in the ‘70s, and found it to be a remarkably nice, fast-handling quail and partridge gun.

Many thanks to Russ Lary for being Backwoods Home’s eyes and ears on the show floor and behind the scenes! Now that he’s retired as a police chief, he’ll have some time  to write, and I expect y’all will be hearing more from him as time goes on.

You get to meet pretty cool people at the SHOT Show. Here are two of them. Left, “The Gunny,” R. Lee Ermey; Right, our own Russ Lary.

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