Catalog Time

No sooner have we dealt with Christmas and New Year’s Day than we start to get a bit of stimulation in the mail – new seed catalogs! There is no better antidote for the dark winter blahs than pages and pages of colorful, succulent green beans, radishes, tomatoes, and sweet corn. Joyful anticipation comes back into the lives of us drab, shivering folks who have little plots in back of the house or next to the barn. We will soon dig in the dirt again and life will go on.
Now I have nothing against fresh vegetables, in fact, I love ‘em, but while the hoe and fertilizer folks are busy sowing their corn and beans, I have other projects and I want to be sowing bullets in the berm behind my target stand. Sure enough, to help me with my anticipation I recently received a Shooting Catalog from one of the best-known suppliers of outdoor sports equipment. It is equally as colorful as the best seed catalog and has enough great gun gear to make any gun nut’s mouth water.
I am not going to use the name of this catalog purveyor but I bet you will recognize who it is. If you don’t, don’t worry. It is not important. I am simply going to call them “Acme, Inc.” Acme is a very large company with many large and often fancy retail stores across the country. They issue many, many, slick catalogs per year, catalogs covering various specialty areas, such as shooting, and a master catalog, a couple of which would make a good medium for bullet expansion testing. If you get them, that is what you should do. Don’t throw them away until you have riddled them with pistol bullets. Perhaps all of this might suggest that Acme’s overhead is comparable to the GNP of many small countries, and that fact will have something to do with their pricing structure. On the other hand, they are able to deal in bulk quantities of nearly every product, and if you order a catalog item, it will be in stock.

I have not purchased a large amount of stuff from Acme, but whenever I have favored them with an order I have been entirely satisfied. The picture shows a Colt 1860 Army replica, made by the Italian firm of Pietta, that I received recently. It was a sale item and the price was right, as is often the case with Acme’s sale items. The Colt 1860 Army, a .44 caliber percussion revolver, was the sidearm used in largest quantity by the Union side in the Civil War. The Pietta replica shows good workmanship, with nicely polished and blued barrel and cylinder, color case hardened frame, polished brass grip frame, and walnut grips. The action is smooth and tight and the trigger seems good, which I will verify when I get around to shooting the piece. Not a thing to complain about here for a price of about $200, but if your taste in Italian gunmakers runs to Uberti, Acme has those, also, for more dough.
In the early catalog pages you will find that Acme offers a brand new version of the Winchester Model 94, the iconic lever action that keeps dying and being resurrected. Acme’s offering has a 24” octagon barrel, a half-magazine, a case hardened receiver and lever, and very fine walnut. It is a very spiffy rifle, indeed, and the asking price is $1,699.99, which shows that 94 Winchesters have moved to a new level of existence. Well, it costs money to be resurrected. Others Winchesters brought back to life in Acme’s pages are a similarly finished Model 1886 and several grades of the Model 70.
One outstanding feature of the Acme catalog is the ammo section, a full 25 pages of handgun, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. If you think folks in America are not going nuts in buying ammo, have a look at this section. Bulk amounts are advertised and you can get up to 1200 rounds of .223 Remington for $419.99, or 1000 rounds of .308 Winchester (full metal jackets) for the same price. You get dry storage boxes for free when you buy bulk amounts. Hunters can still buy reasonable cartridge amounts, and good ammo in the popular chamberings will cost in the range of $35 – $50 for a box of 20. A box of one of my favorites, the obscure .30-40 Krag, will cost me $37.99. Can you understand why I shoot only 3- or 4-shot groups in testing factory ammo?
Acme winds up its catalog with over thirty pages of optics. Plenty of scopes, dot sights, binoculars, spotting scopes, and rangefinders. If you need really fine glass, you can choose a Swarovski 3.5-18X variable scope, a Z5 Model, for $1,549.99 or, if the portfolio has done well, maybe a Z6 model for $3,099.99. If these are a little too rich, Acme has a house brand of riflescope that they call the Euro, which they advertise as offering “Superior European optics at unbeatable prices.” A 6-18X can be had with fancy reticle for only 649.99. Must be the 1% folks who are buying these scopes. For the 99% I hasten to say that Acme does offer the Bushnell line of scopes, and a 6-18X Bushnell Trophy will set you back $199.99. I have found the Bushnell Trophy to be a scope of excellent value.
America is a great country. I am glad Acme is in business, and I hope they stay in business. I am also glad they are not the only purveyor of shooting equipment. It always pays to shop around for such things as ammo and scopes. Now I must rest and ponder what my shoulder would feel like after 1000 rounds of .308.

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