Issue #1 OF 2005

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Hello and Happy newsletter number ONE of 2005.....  And instead of snow on the ground it’s arriving just as the leaves are thinking of turning. 



NEW GUNS AND STUFF ON THE HORIZON……..  What would a new year be without a new Caliber? Smith and Wesson have come up with a 460 Caliber to go in their 500-frame revolver. What a steamer that is going to be. And what a turnaround for S&W in the last couple years.  Since they began running the company with their customers first and foremost in mind, their growth has made them just great.


     A new product that we think is going to be of great value for the rifle shooter. To set the stage for this: When a rifle is fired, the barrel vibrates. How much it vibrates is dependant upon the weight and stiffness of the barrel, and the speed and weight of the bullet. Heavy barrel guns exist to control that vibration more. Browning has a BOSS system, which changes this vibration on a controlled basis to make the barrel more accurate. So with this all said, here is the new product. Sims, The Limb Saver Company, famous for recoil pads that really soften the blow, has come out with an item called the “Barrel De-Resonator”. It is intended for rifles without sights and slips over the barrel. Inch and a half long, inch and a quarter in diameter.  Soft rubber. And it dampens the vibrations thus increasing accuracy. Not very pretty but not all that obtrusive, and slips off the barrel fairly easily, Sells for about 17 dollars and seems to work.


And in the ‘. 17”column...    .There continues to be a whole slew of firearms in both the 17HMR and !7HM2 categories. Virtually every soul who has one of these is having fun. A caution to those of you with an HM2. In Hornadys effort to develop a cartridge from the 22 long rifle, they could not be as choosy in powder. Obviously the case capacity is rather limited. So this “mini 17’ is much more likely to foul in the barrel. In essence, every 50 shots you have to clean the barrel well in order to maintain accuracy.

 Firearm Production in the United States…..  Every Year, the numbers are published for two years ago as far as what is built by whom.  I will try to give you a feel here for some of the numbers.

Handguns produced in the U.S.A. in 2003 totaled 1,121,024. Of these; semi auto pistols were 811,660. Revolvers were 309,364. The leading US manufacturer was Ruger with 209,316 total pistols and revolvers. Smith and Wesson was a close second with 198,634 total. This is a pretty good comeback for S & W after a couple of pretty lean years. We have the complete stats for all companies in the store if you want to stop in and take a look. We even have a breakdown by Calibers which is pretty interesting

Keep in mind please that these are US Made products only. Imported guns are not integrated into these numbers.

Total Rifles built in the USA are 1,430,434. Number one builder? Remington with 290,873. Number 2 was Sturm Ruger with 234,595. A close number 3 was Marlin with 233,759. Keep in mind too that these numbers include rimfire as well as centerfire.

Total Shotguns built right here were 726,078.  Remington was number one here also with 300,399 guns. MOSSBERG second with 178,931. H& R was 3rd with 114,044.

Some Import numbers.  Austria imported the most handguns to the US with Brazil second and Germany 3rd.

Canada imported the most rifles into the USA. Brazil was second and Japan was 3rd. Romania was 4th.

Imported Shotguns? Italy was first, Turkey second, Russia 3rd. China 4th. Brazil 5th.

Again, we have all these complete statistics here in the store if you want to stop in and study/look at them.  And imports versus exports?? The US manufacturers exported 80% less firearms than were imported by foreign manufacturers.


Turkey Season is upon Us.. And the numbers are looking very good. Nothing earthshaking in products other than some tweaks here and there. This is becoming what is called a mature market. In other words, huge numbers of us have been doing it, and new to it folk are showing up but in smaller numbers, because so many are already here, Keep in mind that there is still a Turkey or two out there and room for more you to go chasing them. And we have to tell you, this is a lot of fun. A LOT! And though the industry wants you to get a special gun and special camo and special this and that, you can go with what you’ve got and have a whale of a good time. Try it!


Airline Travel with Firearms and Ammunition……..  Here is a short version of current laws regarding this subject.  All Firearms must be declared to the Airline during check in.  Do not use electronic check in. All declared firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard sided container. Firearms will be in checked luggage (ammo also). Firearm parts must be treated the same way. Any ammunition must be in checked baggage and packed securely. Ammunition can be with the firearm is packed in its own container. For further information check with the actual airline or us you will be using.

If leaving the country with the above, you must first go to a customs office and get a certificate with your name, address and firearm description and serial number on it. This essentially proves you own the firearm.

Black Powder Shootin......  Every year more and more folks start doing this. Either getting a new rifle or dusting off the oldie smoke pole. With the advent of Sabots and Black Power substitutes, this gets a lot more streamlined to do. And for those hard-core traditionalists out there we still carry a lot of real black powder. You people are using Black Powder rifles for the Black powder season, the regular season, in rifle country and in shotgun counties.  If you have any curiosity about this just stop in and we’d be glad to answer any of your questions.

DNR Calendar …….  Here is the schedule as complete as we can get it, check your regulation book!!

Ruff Grouse  -A

Sept 17 to Dec 31

Deer Bow Early

Sept 17to Nov 17

Ruff Grouse  -B

Sept 17 to Jan 31

Deer Bow Late

Nov 28 to Jan 3

Ruff Grouse  -C

Oct 15 to Dec 8

Deer Gun

Nov 19 to Nov 27


Oct 15 to Dec 7

Deer Black Powder

Nov 28 to Dec 7


Oct 15 to Nov 6

Youth Deer

Oct 29


Oct 15noon to 12-31

Zone T Deer

Oct 27to Oct 20


Oct 1 to Nov 9

Zone T Deer

Dec 8 to Dec 11


Sept 1 to Oct 30


Oct 15 to Nov 15

Goose early

Sept 1 to Sept 15

Cottontail North

Sept 17 to Feb 28


Oct 15 to Dec 31

Cottontail So.

Oct 15 noon to Feb28


Sept 17 to Nov 17


Sept 17 to Jan 31


Jan 18 to Mar 20

Raccoon resident

Oct 15 to Jan 31

Deer Huntin Last Year…….. Here are some numbers from last year that are pretty interesting. 518,630, the total number of deer registered during all 2004 seasons. The second highest number ever harvested in Wisconsin history. AND the fourth largest annual harvest in the entire United States.

72,335 during Zone T
            93,346 in Early Archery
            10,145 in Late Archery
             7,074 in Muzzle loading

Virtually everyone disagrees with the DNR and Federal estimates of deer populations. Estimated Deer populations were 1,700,000 total in Wisconsin before 2004 seasons. 200,00 of those deer were estimated to be in CWD zones. So quick math indicates that there were 1,200,000 deer ‘left over’, after this year. In 1962 at season end there were an estimated 440,000 deer ‘left over’.  The DNR has a current goal of 709,000 as season end population. So I guess 500,000 deer escaped permanent retirement this year.


Coyote and Fox Folk......  All. Right you can relax. There are still a bunch left out there after last year. These critters are getting fatter and sassier and smarter and are waiting to match wits with you.

Hunting License News..   We were as surprised as you when the rates went up in the middle of the night for some tags.  The DNR has apologized for the ‘Midnight run”. First time a mid year price increase ever happened.  In any case, they must need the money. The license system has been working well. The ‘cleaning up ‘ of the assorted deadlines into just a few made life a lot easier for all of us. And the deer season seems to be a little easier to understand.  Reg books keep getting thicker though.

Shotgun Slugs: Rifled and Sabot……….. As of today there are approximately 80 different shotgun slugs available for deer hunting. 5 gauges, 3 shell lengths, rifled or sabot style, Magnum – regular – and light recoil. If that isn’t enough to drive us all a little bit crazy I don’t know what will. Anyway, we stock about 65 of these at least and we have a handy chart on the wall telling you the specs on each.  The secret here is to find one that works for your Shotgun and stay with it. Most that do get discontinued are replaced with something real close but with a changed name. Happy Hunting!!!!!!

Business Hours......

 Open 9 to 9 Mon to Friday

 9 to 5 on Saturday,

Closed Sundays and Holidays. 

And what is going on with CONCEALED CARRY? …..  At this point it is back in the preliminary mode. When it comes up again I think you will see more support from Law enforcement agencies. The main reason for this is money. The fee charged the public for being licensed would have been paid to the County and the work would have generally been done by the County Sheriffs Dept. BUT, the Sheriffs Dept would not have received any reimbursement for this work on their part.  So with that said, we will all have to wait to see what develops over the next few months.

Internet....  Thank you for using our website ( www.billssport),  You can e-mail us at .

 Optics...To include Scopes- Binoculars-Spotting scopes - and Range finding units...  The 100-dollar scope you buy today is as good or better than the 200-dollar scope you bought 25 years ago. (Now there is a statement bound to generate some argument). Scope lenses and seals and construction just seem to get better and better.

Insofar as Range Finders, the Laser wonders, they keep getting smaller and better. They still haven’t found (yet) a way to combine a good binocular with a rangefinder in a package that is at least somewhat compact. But I’m sure its coming.

Reloading............   Since we don’t want tears in the eyes of our faithful readers, we WILL NOT talk here about the price of shot. However please know that the price of primers and pistons and loaded ammunition have not changed nearly as much.

On the rifle/pistol reloading side of the ledger:  We carry bullets from Hornady, Sierra, Speer, Nosler, Barnes and Berger. If it’s a bullet we don’t have on hand we can get it for you in a week or so. A lot of folks who shoot lead bullets have been looking for a cast bullet instead of swaged. Am happy to say that this year we will be carrying Meister Bullets. Be it a rifle or pistol bullet, they probably make whatever shape and weight that your heart desires.

SAVE ON A GOOD GUN SAFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Gun Safes.......... We have about 14 safes on hand as of this Newsletter.  We bought these safes in a large quantity with discounts and great freight savings. We bought them before a large price increase. If you are looking for a safe in 30 or 40-inch width, fireproof, you should consider visiting us and seeing what we have in the store and in the back. If it trips your trigger, it will save you lots of money. Remember two that lots of your valuables and important papers will fit in one of these.

Crow Hunting... The last true sport left in America. The epiphany of the day insofar as the pursuit of same? Probably known to millions of you but I just recently discovered how effective an Owl call is for Crows. Makes them mindless and reckless and coming in your direction.

Fishing Department.....  Our fishin department is small but fully packed.  Lots of essential stuff you want we have.

Boots..... Shoes...Hip Boots ..  Final markdowns on about 30 pairs of boots, both light and heavy insulated (and in between). Stop in and save and by the way we have good sale prices on every pair in the place. Your tootsies will luv ya and you’ll be happy too!  As a matter of fact, c’mon in and get a pair of discount or closeout boots or shoes and we will include one pair of socks (or sox) with each pair of footwear. Can’t beat that with an odor eater now can you?

Hunters Safety...... The DNR put out some figures on Hunters Education. Would like to show here how this works. In 1980 there were 545 classes held versus 1119 classes in 04. 1980 saw 17844 students taking the class while 2004 had 34225 grads.  There were, in 2004, 4992 volunteer instructors. And in 1980 there were 84 instructors certified versus 614 new instructors certified in 2004.  That is one of the best looking and worthwhile government programs that you will ever see. Not to mention cost efficient. These instructors are all unpaid volunteers and they all go far beyond the call of duty in putting on these classes.

Gun Clubs...  Join one or 10. And remember by your support of your local or not so local gun club, you are helping ensure the future of the various aspects of shooting/hunting for yourself as well as generations to follow. And don’t forget to put in some work for the club beyond your dues. Remember, these clubs are owned by YOU.

Tech Tips..... Today’s point of importance is directed at those of you who have a semi automatic centerfire rifle. Specifically a Remington. A 7400 model. Late year and this winter we had way too many of these come in with rusty chambers. And if the rust is deep, your trusty rifle is in trouble. So climb out of your hammock and go clean that chamber right now. And leave a light coating of oil in there. Otherwise you will have to rely a lot more on prayer. And if you are using a Model 742, and it is still running well for you, and if you are using 180 grain bullets, consider going to a lighter bullet like 165 or 150. Your rifle will last longer. Stop in and we will show you the how and why of this theory. Chamber cleanliness is important in any firearm by the way. But especially so here.

Regarding firearms service. We try to get every gun back in desired working order as quickly as possible. Some things while you wait. Others a few days. Delays come from waiting for parts or accessories specifically applicable to certain guns. But please don’t wait til the last minute. We are as disappointed as you are when its not done in time. Thanks

 Outdoor Wear Department ...  Come on in and find a wide variety of many camos’,  orange, brown, green and who knows what else. We have shirts, jackets, coats, vests, shells, bibs, sox, hats, caps dickies, gloves, mitts and kerchiefs, (Oh yeah, and Kromers too!) 


Last Round.... This newsletter took forever to get out the door. Different stuff kept coming up to delay. We hope you all are having fun and finding success afield and afloat. Thanks for your patronage and lets all have great year.

And Thanks again......  Once

Ken. Joe, Oldie Richard, Al. Older Dick, Chris and Kathy

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