Sunday, August 6, 2017

Fun shop trip!

Yeeps, but it's been a while since I've been able to do the fun shop thing.  Got a chance to spend a short bit of time in the Sportsman's Warehouse in Soldotna, with the family up in town for a geocaching picnic...and on the whole, what I saw was pretty encouraging.

First and foremost, there was .22 ammo.  Both the sales guys seemed to confirm that it wasn't just an illusion, but a real sense of palpable relief and recovery from The Extended Stoopid of the last too many freakin' years.  Prices haven't quite dropped to what they were before, but that could mostly be explained by inflation, and hell, it was there!  Bricks too, although packaging is just different than it used to be, when a brick was a brick was 500 rounds on the nose, in ten 50-round boxes.  Today, I saw packaging in 200, 300, 400, and 1400 round quantities, at rational if not entirely reasonable prices:  okay, I'll take it.

Primers were available too, by the thousand, and simply priced a little higher than I'd think appropriate.  Component bullets much more available, and ammo in general looked healthy all around.  There were even a few boxes of 16-gauge shotshells, although nothing in the buck and slug formats.

Okay, so recovery is arriving, in a location which is usually last to see the national trends.  Long may it ride.

In guns, I was happy to get a chance to meet my first .45 caliber S&W Shield.  Very nice piece;  precious little larger than the .40, and boasting a 6+1 capacity flush mag (to the XD-S's 5+1 flush mag) that was luxuriously comfortable in the hand.  Today, the trigger on the Shield was much superior to the trigger on the XD-S, but I've seen enough examples of each to know that either could come either way--so I should shop around, when the time comes.  

And boy, I do like both guns.  I seem to be warming to the Shield more and more with time, but I've not lost any fervor for the XD-S either.  In an ideal world I'd have copies of each, and would see which one would prove more likely to get the call in true daily use.  :-)

They had a CZ 527 as well, in 7.62x39;  still love everything about that rifle but the stinkin' backward safety.  (Ergonomics, people!)  Of interest, that 527 also comes chambered in 6.5 Grendel now, for those who like that format.  (Every ten years or so, I go through a mental exercise that explores the viability of nonstandard cartridges, such as the Grendel, or the .35 Whelen, etc.--and after a delightful bout of number crunching, every time I seem to (re-)conclude that yes, some of these rounds do seem to offer something over their standard-fare stablemates...but the advantage is so slight, and specialized, that overall it doesn't seem to be worth the effort unless one has money to burn and simply wants to do it because he can.  I can support that idea fully of course, but honestly, there is not a whole lot that a .35-caliber 250 at 2400 is going to do, that a .308-caliber 220 or 240 cannot.  Keep the '06, load up the heavies when called for, and otherwise rejoice in the extra choice and occasional surplus quantities of the standard round.)

Took another look at the .22 rimfire Ruger American rifle.   I'd forgotten that I liked this the first time I saw one, and here again today I was pretty impressed with it as a platform.  The safety in particular (tang) seems to be well designed, and I think it looks like a good entry for a quality .22 trainer.  Will cogitate on that one further.

Finally, in addition to the Shield, I wanted to re-acquaint myself with the M&P service pistol's ergonomics;  in that regard I got to see one of the "2.0" designs, and was impressed.  I am not a fan of double-stack designs, but they are pretty ubiquitous, and this one is one of the very most comfortable I have ever run across.    The 2.0 in particular also had the manual safety on it and man, it felt very, very natural, positive and comfortable.  So, I think that by now I can conclude that the M&P platform is going to be the right choice to go to, to build an across-the-board stable of guns to work with for all sorts of training.  By which I mean, it would be fantastic if I could use, in the same holster for the 9mm/40S&W sized pistol, all of the following:
  • Airsoft M&P model with blowback
  • BB M&P model with blowback
  • M&P .22 rimfire model
  • M&P 9mm or .40 model
Similarly, in an open-bottom holster rig designed for the .45-caliber M&P, I could envision:
  • Rifled pellet M&P45 airgun
  • .45ACP M&P45 pistol
  • .460 Rowland conversion on M&P45 pistol
I do wish the airgun and Airsoft world would get on board with more slim-line pistol options such as the ASG Bersa BP9CC--by which I mean S&W Shield or SA XD-S, of course--but for now the best option is to go with 1911s in full size and the Bersa in compact...we'll see.

And finally, I did note that they didn't have any Benjamin Discovery airguns any more--but there were a lot more Gamo-Eff-Pee-Ess options for the credulous.  What a shame!  That Discovery was, is, pure genius, and I still need to acquire a few to put ideas into play.

Anyway, wanted to record a few notes--a pleasant discovery that things seem to be looking better for the nonce.  Yes, more of that, please!