Tuesday, January 14, 2014

SHOT Show Media Day at the Range

Since I am a brand new blogger, obviously, I am also brand new at being "media". Honestly I feel a bit like a fraud, but having been accepted by the Women's Outdoor Media Association, and accepted by the NSSF SHOT Show as internet media, I guess I'll take their word for it. LOL - no self-esteem issues here. I also need to apologize in advance for the formatting of this post. This is my first attempt at blogging from my ipad mini with a bluetooth keyboard, from the media room at SHOT. It's not the same as my laptop at home on my kitchen table, blogging in my pajamas -- LOL I think everyone here is glad that I'm not in my pajamas with bedhead!

So since I am officially "media", here is my official media report on SHOT Show's Media/Industry Day at the range.

First of all, I guess I need to explain to my non-shooting friends what this is, and why it's a big deal. NSSF is the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is "the" trade association for America's firearms industry. According to their website, their mission is: "To promote, protect, and preserve hunting and the shooting sports". NSSF sponsors a yearly industry trade show called SHOT - for "Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade" Show, which is an event restricted to trade and media only and is not open to the general public. It is reportedly the largest trade show of its kind in the world, and according to SHOT's website, it attracts over 63,000 industry professionals. So, you can see why for me as a beginning blogger, this is a big deal for me to be permitted to attend as "media".

Traditionally, the day before the Show officially opens, a local shooting range is set up where manufacturers of all kinds have booths and displays allowing media a hands-on look at new products coming to market this year. What that means is that "I" - the mild-mannered pediatrician - got to shoot cool new stuff !!!!

Of all that cool new stuff, I have to say that my favorite was the new Benelli ETHOS Shotgun. I had seen pictures of it posted online a few days before SHOT, and boy did the pictures look pretty. I had made a note to myself to check out this shotgun at the Benelli booth on the show floor, but being a neophyte, I had no idea that I would actually get to shoot it. That is, until I walked under the Benelli canopy at Media Day at the Range, and shook hands with Mike Leeds. Life seems decidedly unfair that more experienced shooters than I, did not get the opportunity I did - based on a blog. But - life isn't fair - and yay for me! LOL

Let me say first of all, that the ETHOS is as pretty in person as it was online. That may sounds strange to talk about a gun as "pretty", but there it is. My Benelli M2, while it has nice clean lines, is easy for me to handle, and I LOVE it -- is not "pretty". It is black machinery that I have dressed up with a pink bolt handle and release button.

The ETHOS, on the other hand, looks more like my father's shotguns that I remember - beautiful walnut woodgrain and engraving on the nickle-plating. It has more of that "classic", "traditional" look that I always used to associate with shotguns. Remember when I posted about the little bit of skeet I got started in, and how out-of-place my tactical black, extended magazine tube 3-gun shotgun was? Well, this ETHOS may be my perfect solution, not only because it pleases my inner sense of tradition, but also -- because it shoots like a Benelli.

I often have problems with length of pull with a gun out of the box, but the ETHOS was pretty comfortable coming right off the table. I would probably put a lower profile recoil pad on it to give me just a little bit more room to get it to my shoulder, but it felt pretty natural right off the bat. It was also VERY lightweight. I almost couldn't believe that a walnut shotgun could BE that light. I'm a fairly robust woman, and I noticed the difference, so women of a slighter build than I will probably really appreciate the difference.

Now, as far as test-firing, I need to remind you that I am a neophyte with clays, and have no upland game experience at all, but this was a SWEET gun to shoot! The clays were almost a joy to break!LOL

I'm still new enough, that I won't pretend to understand all the technicalities of what they did to make it feel that sweet. (I don't have to understand how a fuel-injector works in order to enjoy driving my car, after all - HA!) But they managed to incorporate their inertia-drive and recoil reduction system into that European Walnut stock. The only wooden stock gun I own is my 30-30 deer rifle, and although it's manageable, it pounds me pretty good. This ETHOS on the other hand, was not only beautiful, but it gave me very little felt recoil at all. I think there may have even been less recoil than in my M2.

The Benelli guys let me run a couple big fistfuls of shells through the ETHOS, and I only stopped because I was afraid I was being a booth hog. I could have stayed there all day. That is how you know you have me hooked. I was there so long that they took pictures "for" me LOL!

So here are some generously provided photos of yours truly busting clays with what I think is going to be my birthday present to "me" this year. Yay Me!!

Thanks to Mike Leeds of Benelli for taking these awesome "clays AND shells in the air" photos for me!

(Post edited to add photos, now that I figured out the formatting snafu)
But you can still see them on my Facebook page at Boostershots by Dr. Latebloomer.

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