By Rob Kay and RN Price
Every year at SHOT show we like to pick out items that strike our fancy. Some of the products are indicative of industry trends, some are indicative of nothing but our interests.
First up are the new HH762 (7.62 x 39) and HH458 (.458) SOCOM rifles from Headhunters Firearms, a Southern California based shop founded by Hawaii native John Nakagawa. They are both available as complete rifles or, the uppers can be purchased separately. Both have the standard gas impingement design. (See photo of HH762 (7.62×39) pictured above at Industry Day at the Range).
A custom builder of AR 15s, Nakagawa started his business making 80% lowers and soon customers asked him to make one-off guns which included cerakoting.
Although we met him last year at SHOT, this is the first year that his shop has participated in Industry Day at the Range, a separate event. (I had a chance to test out the 7.62 upper prior to SHOT and several hundred rounds were enough to convince me this is a solid upper).
The HH762 is built on Headhunters proprietary 7050 billet lower and includes a 16” barrel. Magpul ASC carbine stock or a Magpul MOE rifle stock are used. MSRP is $1299. Price for the upper is $599.
The HH458 is also built on a proprietary 7050 billet lower with a 16” Troymix barrel and matching bolt. The rifle utilizes a Mako recoil reducing stock or a Magpul MOE rifle stock. MSRP is $1950.
Both models are offered with or without optics depending on the needs of the consumer.
The HH458 has been engineered to lower the recoil by 40% which makes it much more manageable and fun to shoot. The 458 SOCOM cartridge provides the ballistics of the legendary .45-70 in a modern AR rifle. It’s capable of firing 250 to 600 grain .458 caliber bullets in a lightweight, controllable package. He claims that the rifle is capable of getting groups of 1.5” at 100 yards. Headhunter Arms will be producing its own custom ammo for 458.
Both guns come with a lifetime warranty. “If it breaks,” says Nakagawa, “we’ll send you a brand new one out. We want to know what went wrong and why in order to modify the next generation.”
Both models currently use Stag triggers but will be employing drop in style triggers in future versions. The barrels are made in a Southern California in a custom shop as are the BCGs. Troymix, which created the 458 round, makes the barrel for the SOCOM model.
Uppers for both models can be purchased separately but Nakagawa does not recommend buying the 458 upper separately because of the punishing recoil. He says his proprietary lower in combination with the Mako stock is the preferable route. For anyone interested in buying the upper he will put together a kit that will minimize the recoil for their lower. He added that he’ll customize the gun by providing a choice of cerakoted color at no extra cost. He emphasized that all guns are made to order.
On Target Hawaii will be doing a review of the new 7.62 x 39 upper in coming weeks so stay tuned.
Browe, which makes military grade tactical optics, is a company that I like to track. I liken the company to a high tech start up. They manufacture products that look similar to the ACOG but to call them an ACOG clone would be unfair.
The founder, Brian Browe, formerly worked at Trijicon but reckons that his technology has surpassed that of his former employer. New at SHOT is a forged 7075-T6 aluminum version of the company’s combat optic, the 4×32 BROWE Tactical Optic (BTO). The new 7075-T6 aluminum 4×32 Browe BTO uses the same technology and internal components as the 4×32 Browe Combat Optic but sports an integrated MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny quick release mount with an American Defense patented QD AUTOLOCK™ Lever System.
(We’ve used an American Defense QD mount on another rifle and can attest to its quality). Browe said that his company is working on a BTO scope designed for the AK market. The new 4×32 BTO will be available with 7.62×39 Chevron reticle (BTO-005). MSRP is $1250.00.
- Target Light Sensor Technology – A cadmium-sulfide photocell located in the optical path that measures the light transmission and automatically adjusts the reticle illumination to the proper brightness. This allows the operator to focus on the job at hand while faced with a multitude of target light conditions
- Single Intuitive Control (SIC) – Gives the user a single operation button, designed to stimulate muscle memory and expedite operation.
- BCO Microcontroller – Unique to the industry, the microcontroller is capable of being re-flashed with customized or updated operating firmware via a sealed utility port. This port can be used to import or export power for accessories or plug in a remote pressure pad switch for manual operation.
- Smart Electronics – The electronics are designed to conserve battery life by placing the optic into SLEEP mode when the optic has be left on or stored and not in use. The BTO has an average battery life of over 2000 hours and 775 hours at the max setting. In the sleep mode, the battery will maintain the full 10 years shelf life expectancy of a Lithium 123A battery.
Korth Arms based in Lollar, Germany, makes some of the finest (and most expensive) firearms in the world. (I had a chance to shoot one of their revolvers and one of their PRS 1911s at Industry Day at the Range and was very impressed).
Owning a Korth is equivalent to having a Philippe Patek or a top of the line Porsche. They are clearly not for the average consumer. These are hand-made to the kind of exacting tolerances that you would expect of Germans.
This year they highlighted their nifty (single and double action) revolver chambered in 9 mm. Dubbed the “Sky Marshall”, you would probably not get a lot of human Sky Marshalls carrying this little jewel but it’s an intriguing thought. It looks like a 21st century incarnation of a S&W Chief’s Special. It sports a picatinny rail and black hardcoated frame that should keep it pristine, even in tropical climates (like Hawaii). The rear sight is adjustable and front sight is actually removable. They also offer a speed loader. The gun weighs in at 1.23 lbs.
So what does this cost? Well as the old saw goes, if you have to ask…you can’t afford it. (At the time of publicaiton, I haven’t gotten a response yet from the Korth PR people).
In addition to their revolvers (including a 5″ .357) Korth also showed off their series of PRS, 4”, 5” and 6”, 1911 style pistols, which exude a Teutonic coolness that combines industrial design with art. Although they resemble typical 1911s, they are not your dad’s 1911. Instead of the tilting barrel, Korth has developed a fixed barrel, a roller-delayed blowback system.
What’s the advantage this technology you might ask?
Roller-locked guns typically cycle very fast and are said to have a sharper recoil. The Korth design is made to dampen the recoil. Honestly I didn’t find (or perhaps didn’t notice) that this was the case while shooting but I sure did note the precision feel of this finely tuned instrument. Maybe I was just shooting exceptionally well that day but I also found it exceedingly accurate. In crude terms, a fixed barrel means less slop hence more accuracy.
Do we want one? Of course. I’ll just have to sell one of my organs…
Stay tuned for more coverage…
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