Crimson Trace

SUBSCRIPTION    SUBMIT RELEASES    ADVERTISE    ARCHIVES    CONTACT                                  FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2015
— TOP STORY
The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs reports Cumberland County, New Jersey, Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae is dismissing charges against 72-year old retired teacher and military academy graduate Gordon Van Gilder. Van Gilder made international news after being arrested and charged by Cumberland County Sheriff Robert Austino for possession of a flintlock pistol dating back to the 1700's - a "crime" carrying up to 10 years in prison under the state's gun laws. | For More...

— BOATING
Legendary marine manufacturer Ranger Boats brings its acclaimed line of performance saltwater fishing boats and industry-best sales incentives to the 21st Annual Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo & Boat Show, February 27 to March 1 inside the Expo Hall of the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Fla. | For More...

— COMPETITION
The University of North Alabama holds number one position, Universities of Alabama and South Carolina are second and third, respectively. | For More...

— COURTS
Despite being disappointed at what they call a sidestepping a clear violation of the Second Amendment rights of California citizens, the Calguns Foundation says it remains "absolutely committed to litigating the case as far as necessary to reverse this incorrect ruling and restore the right to keep and bear modern handguns in the Golden State." | For More...

— EVENTS
The thirteenth annual Shooting Industry Masters kicks off July 24 at the Claythorne Lodge in Columbus, Kansas, jump-started by solid industry support. | For More...

The 2015 Cabela's Collegiate Big Bass Bash Presented by Berkley is set for another year on Kentucky Lake in Paris Landing, Tennessee on March 13-15. | For More...

If you love nature and wildlife, join us on March 14 in celebrating the 112th birthday of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the world's premier network of public lands dedicated to wildlife conservation. | For More...

— GRANTS
The Spirit of Blue Foundation has awarded a Safety Training Grant to the Gainesville (Florida) Police Department (GPD) to obtain valuable Police/Youth Dialogue training. | For More...

— INDUSTRY
Brownells has released the eleventh edition of its very popular catalog specifically for the 1911; devoted entirely to John Browning's timeless pistol design. | For More...

Southwick Associates' AnglerSurvey.com announced the brands and products anglers purchased most frequently in 2014. This list has been compiled from the 15,685 internet-based surveys completed in 2014 by AnglerSurvey.com panelists. | For More...

Former New England Patriot and Light Foundation Founder Matt Light recently visited the Smith & Wesson manufacturing facility in Springfield, Massachusetts to show his appreciation to the company and its employees for helping to raise funds for The Light Foundation programming and outdoor experiences for at-risk youth. . | For More...

XS Sight Systems, the leading manufacturer of hunting and tactical sights, is excited to announce a new functioning wholesaler relationship with Green Supply, Inc. | For More...

Moon Shine, LP, designer of Moon Shine Camo, announces their partnership with Napoleon Motorsports. Napoleon Motorsports competes nationwide in the Trans Am Racing Series. | For More...

Savannah, Georgia-based company PolyCase Ammunition has signed on as a custom sponsor of NSSF's 2015 Industry Summit. | For More...

Dead Air Armament, distributed through BPI Outdoors announce sthe 7.62 Sandman™ product line-up of suppressors is now shipping to distributors nationwide. | For More...

— INDUSTRY UPDATE
Outtech announced that Justin Blouin and Ryan Dusek have joined Outtech as Regional Managers for the Outdoor Division. | For More...

— JOBS, JOBS, JOBS
Sellmark Corporation, a leading manufacturer of outdoor products headquartered in Mansfield, Texas, is seeking a marketing communication specialist. Knowledge or interest of outdoor consumer products is a major plus. (MORE) | For More...

— MEDIA
For shooters, choosing the right carry gun/holster combination can be a difficult decision. FMG Publications Online Editor Mark Kakkuri anticipates reader questions regarding the Bersa BP380, which is the company's first polymer frame pistol in .380. This Q&A-style, online-only exclusive can be found at www.gunsmagazine.com/exclusive-bersa-bp380-concealed-carry-my-questions. | For More...

The big female largemouth bass have moved shallow on Amistad and Falcon International Reservoirs, and anglers are catching the big fish in good numbers this month on these two great lakes. Read about what is working to put the big bass in the boats in this issue of Lone Star Outdoor News, available today on newsstands and online at LSONews.com. | For More...

— NEW PRODUCTS
The new TORQ VLE off-road electric vehicle offers of silence, safety and performance, as well as an accessible design, which makes it ideal for outdoorsmen and women with limited mobility. | For More...

Bass Pro Shops Extreme Baitcast reels feature a seven-bearing system with Powerlock instant anti-reverse and 12 pounds maximum drag. The Dual Braking System has a centrifugal brake controlling the spool at the beginning of the cast, and a magnetic brake that takes over through the rest of the cast for the ultimate in controllable, smooth, and accurate casting. It is available in either left or right-hand retrieves. | For More...

As the idea of warmer, longer days looms closer, women who love the water are already plotting an escape to their happy place, be it beach, lake or river. Costa's new sunglass styles, Boga and La Mar, give their journey a stylish look without compromising on performance. | For More...

Parker Bows introduces the Upgraded Tornado F4 for 2015, loaded with high performance accessories to enhance the hunting experience. | For More...

— NEWS
The Outdoor Wire Digital Network announces the Spring installment of Outdoor Wire's Special Edition: Concealed Carry. On Friday, April 10, 2015, a special, consolidated wire broadcast will go out to nearly 600,000 email boxes – the owner of each signed up for one or more of our wires. Like previous editions, this consolidated broadcast will be an examination of one topic – Concealed Carry. Due to the political atmosphere, it's an area of the industry that continues to be strong and this is an opportunity to get your new products announced on the first day of the NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits. | For More...

— ORGANIZATIONS
The forty-third Safari Club International Hunters' Convention in Las Vegas, February 4-7, 2015 brought together hunters from around the world to support conservation and celebrate hunting. | For More...

The FishAmerica Foundation (FAF) is, once again, the recipient of a generous donation from the American Snuff Company (ASC) to further the foundation's mission of fisheries conservation and habitat restoration. | For More...

— PASSINGS
Eugenie Clark, an American marine biologist who fell in love with sharks as a child with her nose pressed against an aquarium tank died Wednesday morning in Sarasota, Florida. | For More...

Longime "Kentucky Afield" television host Hope Carleton Sr., 89, died yesterday at his home in western Kentucky. From 1957 until his retirement in 1980, Carleton hosted the broadcast, helping teach a generation of young Kentuckians a love of the outdoors. | For More...

— PRODUCTS
As CORE Rifle Systems progressed with its own vertical integration, culminating in the manufacture of our own precision barrels, we saw the need to bring the final piece of the accuracy puzzle under our control. Enter CORE Ordnance | For More...

— RADIO
It's a campus carry bill hearing in Nevada; a 15-time Bianchi Cup winner; a world-class pistol smith; and more, this week on Tom Gresham's GUNTALK® Radio, the original nationally-syndicated radio talk show about guns and the shooting sports. | For More...

— RESEARCH
A report released yesterday by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership features prominent water conservation efforts from around the country led by sportsmen that are models of success in achieving on-the-ground results. | For More...

— SCHOLARSHIPS
The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education and welfare of Coast Guard members and their families, has kicked off its scholarship season. Until March 15, children of enlisted Coast Guard members may apply for scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per year. | For More...

— SPONSORS
The Outdoor Option is pleased to announce that Vanguard, global leader in sporting optics and accessories, will be its exclusive optics sponsor in 2015. | For More...

— SPONSORSHIPS
Atlanta Arms finest commercially remanufactured and match grade ammunition manufacturer is proud to announce their sponsorship with the 18th Annual Smith & Wesson International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) Indoor Nationals. | For More...

— STATES
Youth hunters can apply for a reservation to hunt one of 21 Indiana DNR properties during the special youth wild turkey hunting season, April 18 and 19. | For More...

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has awarded 20 grant projects a total of more than $4 million, under the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program. | For More...

Ohioans are invited to offer public comment regarding the proposed and future hunting, trapping and fishing regulations at open houses scheduled across the state. | For More...

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the results from its 2014 Master Angler program - a program that has been in place since 1973 to recognize large fish caught by recreational anglers. | For More...

California's successful north coast steelhead and salmon anglers could catch a $10-50 reward for returning their fish tags this season. | For More...

Georgia's newest state historic site, Hardman Farm in White County, opens for tours March 5. The beloved landmark in north Georgia is best recognized for its gazebo-topped Indian mound and field of black-and-white cows. | For More...

Ohio's annual release of rainbow trout begins Friday, March 6, at Adams Lake in Adams County. In all, more than 98,000 rainbow trout will be released into 63 public lakes and ponds on selected dates through May | For More...

State parks and recreation areas across Michigan (managed by the Department of Natural Resources) offer lodges, cabins, mini-cabins or yurts that'll give you a warm place to spend the night when there aren't a lot of other campers around. | For More...

Boat motor horsepower restrictions have been lifted on eight Kentucky -owned lakes. | For More...

A total of 225 regular firearms moose season permits and 40 archery moose season permits would be issued for Vermont's 2015 October moose hunt under a proposed regulation approved by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board at their February 25 monthly meeting in Montpelier. | For More...

Volunteers, Louisiana Division of Wildlife and Fisheries staff, and members of the commercial fishing industry assisted in retrieving more than 400 abandoned crab traps in the annual LDFW Derelict Crab Trap Rodeo. | For More...

— TECHNOLOGY
Just Ahead (www.justahead.com) introduces a new smartphone app that turns your phone into a hands-free audio tour guide of your travels. | For More...

— TELEVISION
The Union Sportsmen's Alliance's award-winning hunting and fishing TV series, Brotherhood Outdoors, will feature Oswego, Illinois, resident Stephen Lefaver as he attempts to harvest his first Montana buck at 11 a. m. ET on Sunday, March 15 on the Sportsman Channel. | For More...

Bullets & Broadheads TV, featuring Michael and Sonia Hendrick, is excited to announce a new partnership with Excel Arms for 2015. | For More...

World Fishing Network airs the latest episode of its signature monthly magazine format show, World Fishing Journal, with three new segments showcasing unique stories from across the angling community on Sunday, March 1 starting at 11:30 a. m. ET. | For More...

On this week's episode of Bill Dance Outdoors, Nashville songwriter Dallas Davidson fulfills a childhood dream and joins the host for an action-packed, educational bass fishing experience in Tennessee. Bill Dance Outdoors airs Sunday, March 1 at 3 p. m. ET on Sportsman Channel. | For More...

This week on Outdoor Channel, Iraqi veteran, husband, father and Fort Hood shooting survivor Patrick Zeigler shares his tale of recovery, strength and determination on the Outdoor Channel TV series, "RMEF Team Elk." | For More...

— WASHINGTON
The U. S. Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments on its interim final rule for the new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), designed to help producers protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. | For More...

n testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell cited five focus areas for the President's proposed $4.9 billion Fiscal Year 2016 budget for the agency: restoring resilient landscapes, building thriving communities, managing wildland fires, promoting safety, and building diversity and inclusiveness. | For More...

— WILDLIFE
Houston Safari Club (HSC) has provided a $30,000 grant to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in support of the Desert Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer and Desert Pronghorn Restoration Projects. | For More...

FEATURE
Ruger Offers Industry Insight
Yesterday's 2014 earnings call with Ruger CEO Mike Fifer was another of those revealing glimpses into why some public company CEOs dread question and answer sessions with stock market analysts. As an observer to the process, the frequent accounting and Wall Street jargon will remind you why you didn't go for an MBA.

But the analysts' sometimes pointed questions make you appreciative of the broad knowledge base any CEO for a public company must have - and call up on demand. It's not enough to know the industry, their company and its products. They have to be able to tactfully deal with analysts whose recommendations can impact their company's access to investment capital.

And it will help you appreciate there's a lot of studying of the industry, consumer trends and other variables that go into the manufacturing process -before the manufacturing process goes into gear.

In a nutshell, Ruger's 2014 performance didn't match 2013.

That's not saying the company didn't make money, just that Ruger is the latest company to affirm what everyone in the industry has known for some time: 2013 was one of those boom years that skews all your projections and forward planning- if you don't put it into historical perspective.

Put into perspective, 2013 isn't a fair comparison to 2014, but 2012 is. And by those standards, Ruger -and the industry- appears to be doing fine.

But that "fine" assessment wasn't without its bumps for Ruger. Fifer candidly stated that some of the shortfalls in sales in Q3 and Q4 '14 were the result in delays in new product introductions.

"So," an analyst asked, "are you looking for more research engineers?" After thinking a few seconds, Fifer responded that while Ruger had "a couple of open slots" he might be looking for Project Managers before engineers.

Reasoning? "Brilliant engineers might not be up on what he needs in his planning," Fifer mused, "he may need springs and discover that the spring supplier needs four months lead time. A Project Manager considers those things throughout the process and prepares accordingly."

The conference call also reminded me that while distributor shows are critical to the manufacturing side of the industry, they're not exactly the direct indicator of what gun makers can expect to sell in 2015. That's because the orders written at distributor shows are from retailers. Those orders don't directly translate to orders to manufacturing because of the distributors' own inventory. A distributor sitting on excess inventory is going to deplete that inventory prior to reordering. For a company like Ruger with broad and deep product lines, that's not such a frightening proposition. For some single-line companies, like small ones that only make modern sporting rifles, that may trigger a lot of incentive programs in order to encourage distributors to keep their stocks higher.

It bears mentioning that Ruger took a big chance several years ago when it fundamentally changed the its products were brought to market. Rather than announce a product with an availability date somewhere in the future, Ruger produced thousands of new products before they announced them. When they were announced, the actual products were available, not only to look at, but to purchase.

As Fifer explained, "that process ties up some of your capital and you have some of it just laying around- that happened to us in Q4 as we were getting ready to announce our new products." That, in turn, impacts your balance sheets- although the forward looking process he's championed has worked well to this point.

Ammunition supplies were also discussed, with Fifer telling listeners that while a major ammo manufacturer (ATK) and powder maker (unnamed) had invested millions in meeting the added demand for rimfire ammunition, there was a wild card in the supply-and-demand equation: the BATFE.

The ATF's decision to go after heretofore legal ball ammunition was characterized as "a bigger issue than sales" -heading the industry toward a "slippery slope" where we didn't need to go.

Analysts also have a way of opening topics that seem pure business, but also have a broader implication. Yesterday, one question concerned Ruger's "mini foundries". With two "minis" up and running, the question was "are you at the point you're considering closing your main foundry in Newport?"

If you're in the Newport business development business, that's a red flag. If you're an analyst, it's just another business process hypothetical. If you're the CEO of the company, it's a question that has more than one answer. "Interesting question," Fifer responded, "we're at the point we're considering what to do- do we expand the load on the mini-foundries and idle the main one, or do we invest in a third mini foundry- it's a question we're still looking at."

One unexpected note in the call, however, concerned Ruger's Red Label shotgun line. Revived in 2013, Fifer told callers that while he wasn't certain if it had officially been announced or not, the company had removed the Red Label from the 2015 catalog and the company website. "We'd hoped we could get it to a favorable point," he said, "but we didn't and we have discontinued the Red Label."

Like I said, you can learn a lot on an analyst call. And as always, we'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd
Feb 26-28
Smith & Wesson Academy 299 Page Blvd. Springfield, MA
Feb 28-Mar 1
Harris Chain of Lakes, Florida
Mar 4
Mesa, Arizona
Mar 7-8
Lake Conroe, Texas
Mar 14
Blue Ribbon Pavilion, Indiana State Fairgrounds
Mar 14-15
Cody Shooting Complex, Cody, Wyoming
Mar 21
Fort Benning, Georgia
Mar 21-22
Ankeny Izaak Walton League, Elkhart, Iowa
Mar 28-29
Clarks Hill Lake, Georgia
Apr 10-12
Music City Center, Nashville, TN
Apr 17-18
World Shooting and Recreation Complex, Sparta, Illinois
Apr 18-19
Lake Norman, North Carolina
Apr 25-26
Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Apr 25-26
Lake Guntersville, Alabama
May 16-17
Table Rock Lake, Missouri
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