Issue #1 OF 2003

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Hello and Happy newsletter number One of 2003..... And we hope your fall was enjoyable and successful. May your winter be warm and exciting. Mild one that it is proving to be thus far. This ‘issue’ is either the belated 4th issue of 2002 or the early one of 03. So we’re going to get wordy to try and make up. We were just too busy last fall to do one. We’ll try and make it up to you.


Rebates and Rollbacks....... A hot topic of discussion since these are for some real money. BUT, as of this day we are at the tail end of many of these offers, and the new years ‘deals’ are yet to be heard of for the most part. The Big Browning Gold Auto Shotgun Rebate is ending but next year there will still be a 50$ rebate in effect. They don’t want us to go cold turkey.. Franchi prices are rather friendly this year. And Benelli price rollback on their Nova pumps remain in effect.


Chronic Wasting Disease.... It has been almost a year since we began writing about this. And every day you can find tons of print about this. But what I am going to do here is list just the facts about this, and how it relates to real life. If you want background on a particular part, look on our website or DNR website or call.

As a thought here, for years, you/we have been told or have said that hunting is our right and privilege. Well, that is quite true, but this year, to hunt is also our responsibility.

On the CWD front, some early January news is as follows. Two points here. Ist is that the projected rate of infection WAS 2.5 percent in the ‘Horeb Zone". It is now projected to be 1.5 per cent or even less based on actual tested deer. The second point is that the most legitimate theory as to how the disease is spread that it happens genetically and this is good news from the standpoint of the diseases future, And a further barrier between mankind ever possibly getting the disease thru consumption.

The Deer Count........ We want to spend a few words here with some deer season numbers. You may recall headlines last fall about license sales being down 20 or 30 percent? Well yes they were down by the end of September. But on October, many who were sitting on the fence trying to figure what this CWD stuff was all about, jumped off the fence and bought tags. And by the opening day of deer gun, license sales for us were up about 10 percent over the year before. And now to talk a little about deer kill numbers. Please remember that we have quite a few seasons. Deer Gun, Muzzleloader, Early T and Late T Zone seasons, Early and Late Archery, and the several "Horeb Zone" Seasons. The kill numbers as of this newsletter..

Early & Late Bow  est.  83,000
Early Zone T  26,000
Late Zone T  2,600
Deer Gun Regular 260,000
Muzzleloader Season est.    5,100
All ‘CWD Zone"  est.    7,500

What we see as this ’meaning’ is that the opportunity to hunt deer has expanded a great deal. And that the deer harvest is pretty good. Remember that a deer is not a guaranteed thing. That’s why its called ’Hunting".

New Gun News..... The new ‘stuff’ for this year is starting to be announced. And sure as dawn, there are 2 new calibers coming. A Winchester Browning collaboration. The 223 WSSM and the 243WSSM calibers. For those of you that haven’t guessed. WSSM stand for Winchester Super Short Magnum. And are they short. And those bullets do whistle. Now for the really big news from Browning. Left handers pay attention here. Browning is building about 8 different short action calibers in a left handed A bolt. You lefties are no longer out in the cold. Previous to this Savage was the only one who cared.

And in the ‘. 17"column, they are becoming a little more frequent. Actually about 14 different models of this gun from 6 or 7 manufacturers. Even a slew of handguns. Ladies and Gentlemen this is definitely a caliber that will survive. And virtually every lucky owner of these is having fun with em. And that is the primary reason for life.

Remington has some neat stuff. For those of you old enough to recall the vent rib rifles of 30 plus years ago. They are back. Short action, big calibers, and a bit prettier as well as a better trigger than in olden days. Remington has also taken the 7400 Rifle and is making in a brushed nickel all weather mode. AND Remington will also be producing 17 rimfire ammunition to help meet that demand. Savage Arms, a sleeper, is coming out with a new trigger for their Centerfire Rifles that is incredible.

Ruger has some of their stainless shotguns coming in "Target Gray" color, and these look really neat. Some tweaks in their rifle and pistol line to make great things better.

Election Time AGAIN. is over..for now.... And if you’re reading this it means the election is over. Maybe it is old age, but watching and listening to all the election ads sure left me feeling insulted. Insulted that the various candidates have that little respect for the voter. That they would spew out that garbage and expect us to fall for it. But it’s over, for now. And we have a new Governor who is famous for being unfriendly to the sportsman and gun owner. However, to the plus side, we have a Legislature and Senate that are balanced on the positive side. The same call for vigilance is made here. Make sure that your wants and needs are made known to your elected officials. Talking to the TV may make you feel better, but it doesn’t get your feelings heard. Voting bumps up credibility. In this time of transition make certain your legislators know your views.


Federal and State Gun Laws... For this one we have to spend a minute to offer up some kudos to the state and fed agencies that administer the check programs. These people do a really good job of trying to make your life and our life easier in buying and selling. Let the epithets be hurled at those who propose and pass all these laws some of which are pretty bizarre. But those Fed and State people in the trenches do their best to get the job done. The process by or under which you may purchase a firearm has had no real changes for a few years. Still a 48 hour wait for Handguns and no wait, just a phone call for long guns. You CAN buy a firearm for your mom, son, husband. What you can not do is buy a gun for someone who can’t buy one themself because they have lived outside the law. Please take note of the following section cause its a gonna cause some confusion as we go thru the next several months.

Attention Black Powder Shooter and Reloaders........ There is a new law out called the "Safe Explosives Act". and there will be some confusion in coming months about this. Please know that you do not have to have any kind of special license to use these reloading components. Got it? When the headlines hit, just relax and laugh at the way the media got this one wrong. Call us if you have any questions.

Black Powder Shootin...... Among the exciting guns of last year was the H & R Huntsmen. And for this year to come there is the same gun but in stainless. Such great shooting for so little money. America, what a country! The new triple 7 powder from Hodgon will also be in pellet from this year. As said before, what was Clean Shot is now "American Pioneer Powder". And with 45 as well as 50 caliber sticks. I am not going to say a word about Thompson Center Guns here cause you might call up or come in and want one. And they are tough to get. Maybe by February end things will become more available.

A Little Firearms History Then and Now...... Smith and Wesson, now as an American owned and operated company, is experiencing happy times once again. Last year they had almost a 100 percent sales increase . And Tasco, which was a long time scope company, went out of business last year and was acquired by Bushnell. Look to see a revitalized Tasco soon. The venerable Marlin has now made NEF and H & R part of their family. It means great things for everybody.

Huntin License News.. First off, we have not had a license price increase in 7 years. There is talk that DNR may be raising prices. Other than that, right now we don’t even know what color your 2003 tag is going to be. But I am sure it will be tasteful and elegant. (kiddin here). There is talk now of an increase on license fees. Can’t tell you if an increase can get enacted and in effect for this year. We will all know in the next two months. We will try and put together a comparison of our rates and other states around us.

Concealed Carry.... Where is this ? Only the shadow knows. We are thinking that the House and Senate are going to try and figure out the new Governor and work from there. A lot of issues that have to be dealt with. Keep in mind that Right to Carry Laws have had very positive results in every state (44 States to date I believe) in which these laws are in effect.

Business Hours......

Open 9 to 9 Mon to Friday

9-5 on Saturday,

Closed Sundays and Holidays.

Internet.... We are seeing our website as primarily an information source or index. If you go to it and hit our links page, you should be finding a huge number of places to go. And these different gun companies, who have a heck of a lot more money than we do, have some pretty foxy web sites. www.billssport. but it doesn’t get anything done. And if you voted, your credibility is increased a lot. So in this time of change, make certain your legislators know your We are found at for talking to us.

Reloading............ Right now we know nothing about what’s new in Red or Green or Gold (Forster) machinery. but I am sure that that news is forthcoming. Regarding shot for shotshells, It looks like hard shot has dropped to the same price as regular shot. That’s nice but strange. Four or five new loading manuals for you pistol/rifle folk. Our in stock bullet assortment is getting pretty broad and deep. Any of you not reloading but considering just stop in and ask what the story is and we’ll be thrilled to run it past you.

Knives........ We have continued to expand this area bit by bit, or blade by blade. From 5-foot swords to teeny little engraved beauties. C’mon in and get hooked. No, wait, that's the line from the fishing dept.

Now there is a segue into the Fishing Department..... If I ever heard one. Yes, slowly but certainly we are getting more stuff to hook the big and not so big ones. Take a day or part of one out on the sm/med/or lge. waters and regain your sanity. You can’t live in bliss by spending all your time........

Crow Hunting..... The last true pure sport left in America. Smarter than Grouse. Longer memories that Ducks. Cover more ground than Deer. Tough as Badgers. Faster than .... . Enough said. Go Crow huntin , have fun.

Boots..... We are putting our best foot forward here. Great line of boots in stock for you. In a host of sizes. We are in the process of bumping up our reasonably priced boys and girls boots. Browning, Georgia and LaCrosse brands for the greater good of your tootsies.

Hunters Safety...... Is the future of all of hunting. And these programs ensure a VERY positive future. Hunter’s Safety makes certain that the young hunters of today are better trained in safety and arms awareness than we were. And in so doing, creates a stronger and stronger foundation for hunting and shooting sports. Sort of like our very own 50 million man woman boy and girl march. Support your local Hunters Safety Programs and you’ll be doing something good that will make you feel real good.

Gun Clubs... This goes hand in hand with Hunters Safety. And you might look at your gun club or clubs and realize that these organizations give a huge amount of support to these. And your Club needs your support to thrive. Don’t allow it to merely survive. The biggest thing we hear, the biggest complaint, is that only a few people do all the work. Please remember that Gun Clubs are non-profit

Gun Safes... new colors, some new models and some new specifications. Browning has some of their models carrying a higher fire degree rating (1500) than before. We feel this is driven mainly by competition. The ‘old’ rating for 1200 degrees was and is a very reassuring standard. Browning does have a new safe model that is built to go in the corner. Some of you may need this but please remember that it does not have quite the capacity of the rectangular box. Stop in and we will be thrilled to answer any questions you may have.

Tech Tips..... We will touch upon a batch of odds and ends here. Do not use Hoppes #9 to wipe down your gun. Use it to clean and when done, wipe it off and use an oil for protection. Hoppes #9 is great as a cleaner, but it ‘varnishes’ and will goof up operations..... Please don't store your gun is a case as it doesn’t get a chance to breathe. And rust occurs....... If you have a firearm with the matte or parkerized finish on the metal, when you get a brown rusty tinge to the metal, it is a mild form of rust and easily cleaned off..... Waxing your gun? Lots do it and are happy with the results. Even have a customer who waxes the inside of her trap gun barrel and swears it stays clean for weeks.... We have long thought about how legitimate the theory was that guns should be stored muzzle down for the following reasons. One the oils don’t seep into the stock. Two there is less pressure on the recoil pad. Valid Theory? dunno,

Bowhunting..... Was pretty good for those guys and gals. Even without baiting. The New Year has a new line of bows (surprise) with a greater range of adjustment. And don't forget that if your age 65 or older you can hunt with a crossbow without a permit. This reopens Bowhunting to a lot of people.

Hunting and Sporting Togs.... About 4 months ago we went through this department and started hanging sale tags on everything. Many of you have shown approval of this method to our madness. So we have kept this in ‘place’ and expanded it a bit. You keep on coming and we’ll keep on "Saleing".

Last Round.... The month of January is bringing us a new and rather comprehensive computer system. And frankly right now we are living in terror. But we will have it figgered purty soon. And it should make us able to serve you more efficiently. C’mon in and have fun. We look forward to the year.

Thanks...... From us at Bills on the Hill. We had another busy year and despite all the uncertainties, it was a good one. We will work hard to make this a better one. Thanks for your patronage.

Ken. Paul, Joe, Olde Dick,

Al, Older Dick, Kathy, Mike

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