We didn't see as much of the Expo side of this as we might have, but there was a lot of military surplus for sale, dating back to the "usual" turn of the 20th century-vintage rifles like '03 Springfields and '98 Mausers. Between the outdoors surplus sales and the indoor gun show, I saw more M1 carbines and M1 Garands than I've seen in one place before (I obviously haven't been to the CMP). This included a Garand chambered in .308 and rebuilt on a garish laminated stock.
On the unexpected side I saw and got to play with ("coon finger" to use Tam's evocative phrase) a Ruger Precision Rifle, which I've been wanting to see for at least 18 months. In fact, there were two of them there, one in .308 and one in 6.5 Creedmoor. It really is an impressive rifle. The one I played with was the 6.5 Creedmoor and was brand new, being offered by a dealer. I didn't mess up the adjustments, at least not much, but was interested in the hardware and general fit and finish. Excellent, as expected, with a great feel. The quick release hardware was like those used on bikes, which I haven't seen on a gun before. To be honest, I was a little surprised at its weight, although they do list it as a 10.7 lb rifle. Guess that didn't work its way into my subconscious. It was comfortably (25%) under MSRP, which was nice to see, but no, I didn't give it a new home.
I'd like to see comparisons between the RPR and the Savage BA Stealth, which appears to be designed as head-to-head competition with it.
Those who follow Michael Bane's shows and especially his podcast know that he believes that PCCs (as he calls Pistol Caliber Carbines) are the next big thing. We only saw one there (as three rifles at two sellers), and they were Hi-Point 9mm carbines. Neither one of us has ever handled one of those before and Mrs. Graybeard surprised us both by really liking the feel of it. Now Hi-Point, bless their hearts, doesn't exactly have the most sterling reputation, but we determined to go track down actual user feedback. Our almost-neighbors up the road have very well known PCC, and they need to be considered as well. On that subject, Bane writes:
The venerable Kel-Tec SUB-2000, available in 9mm or .40 S&W with magazines for multiple platforms and a low-ball price of $500, remains the first choice for a first pistol caliber carbine — if you can find one! GunBroker is your best bet.Things I probably almost definitely would have bought if I found one: A decent 1911 for under $500; mostly to use as a model when I finally get to machine one. A Savage Mark II in 22LR, especially if it was that model or on a good wood stock without the thumb hole stock. A Ruger American Predator Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor. None were found. 6mm Creedmoor? When it was introduced, the RPR was available in .308, 6.5 Creedmoor and .243. This year, they've dropped the .243 in favor of the slightly smaller 6mm. If I look at this article, 6.5 and 6 are virtually identical, with a "perfect shoot" just 1% better with the 6.0. The article says the 6mm Creedmoor does that with much less recoil, but at the cost of slightly less barrel life. I could see going with 6 in a long distance rifle as long as I'm not trying to humanely hunt at those distances.
Feedback from those of you who actually shoot these combinations, or anything I've speculated on is always, always welcome.