Getting a bead on 2021

Submitted photoLarry Case getting a bead on 2021 with an old Model 31 Remington.

OK, can we just decide here and now that 2021 is going to be better than last year? Good. I’m glad that we can agree on something.

Mountain lion sightings, coyote origin and the best deer rifle aside, we as sportsmen (remember, that includes the girls) need to agree on some things! As usual, there are several things swirling in your outdoor, guns and hunting world, so let’s look at a few of them.

Remington. If you are like me, it pretty much broke my heart last year when Remington Outdoors was split up and sold at auction during bankruptcy proceedings. In 1816, Eliphalet Remington II entered a shooting match with a flintlock rifle he made himself and left the match with so many orders from other shooters that he entered the gunmaking world. Remington is the oldest firearms company in America. Speaking for myself, I would love to see it survive.

During the breakup of Remington, the ammunition side of the company was bought by Vista, the company that owns Federal ammunition, and from what I can tell Remington ammunition (known as “Big Green”) will soon be cranking out ammo in the green box. Word on the street is that the Federal people mean business and Remington will be making ammo under its own name.

For the firearms manufacturing side of Remington, things are not so clear. The gunmaking part of Remington was bought by a group of investors who did not appear to have previous firearms manufacturing experience. There are many issues with getting the plant in Ilion, N.Y., up and running, and it is unclear when we will see new Remington firearms in the store. I, for one, say it can’t happen too soon. I would not want to see a day when Remington was not producing the 870, 1100s and V3 shotguns, along with Model 700s, Model 7s and any of its .22 rifles in the rifle line.

You may know that Marlin firearms was under the Remington umbrella and it was bought by Ruger during the breakup. Ruger seems to have taken the bit in its teeth and it appears it will not be too long before you will see Marlin lever action rifles again.

Covid-19 and hunter numbers. Among all the mess from the coronavirus, there was a positive result in the outdoor world. Hunter numbers increased, dramatically in some areas. Wildlife managers saw increased visitation on many state and federal areas and increased harvest numbers on some animals. There was some “the sky is falling” speculation (my opinion) on wildlife management areas as to the number of turkeys taken in the spring season of 2020, but I don’t think enough to warrant the alarm raised by some managers. Time will tell.

A related issue here is that between the Covid pandemic and the unrest felt by many in 2020, there was a general “get back to the land and hunting” movement by many citizens. Staying isolated because of Covid, and the feeling of unrest that many felt last year as some of the cities burned, a lot of people wanted to be more self-sufficient. Being more self-sufficient in terms of where your food comes from has led many to start hunting or rekindle their relationship with it.

Eight million new gun owners in 2020, and where is all the ammo? Going along with the theme in the previous topic, because of a lot of social unrest and Covid craziness, over eight million American citizens saw fit to become new gun owners in 2020. How this will fit into the general landscape of gun ownership and gun control laws, how many of these will become new hunters remains to be seen, but as a Second Amendment rights advocate, I see it as good thing.

As experienced gun owners and hunters, the best thing we can do is embrace these new gun people and offer them all the help we can. If you have a friend or acquaintance new to the firearms world, offer advice and a trip to the range. For the uninitiated, delving into the guns and shooting realm can be very intimidating. Be patient, offer to teach the basics and listen as much as you speak. The vast majority of new gun owners will greatly appreciate this.

As for the ammo shortage, this has been a hot topic for several months. Think about what went on last year and you can see a perfect storm for the shelves being emptied of guns and ammo. As much as anything, the Covid-19 fiasco contributed to the ammunition companies running low on supplies. Production was obviously hurt with employees not being able to get to work for long periods of time. Ammunition manufacturers, like any company, rely on other companies for supplies. When these companies get bogged down, the whole process is slowed.

There is no doubt that hoarding by firearms owners causes some of the problem. We have seen this before, and the problem is self-perpetuating. You hear about an ammo shortage, you go into the gun shop for some .22 and .308. If any is available, you get eight boxes of each instead of the two you went in for. It doesn’t take long for this to catch on and everybody is scarfing up the ammo.

No, the ammunition companies are not selling all they produce to the government. Look for these shortages to ease up later this year.

OK, we can talk about other issues later. Keep the faith, brothers and sisters in camo.

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