The State of the Shooting Industry: With a few standout exceptions, American gun makers seem to be innovating less and copying

One of the great shocks in our online gun survey was the complete ascendancy of Remington rifles and shotguns over everything else—particularly Winchester guns. The reason for this was made clear at the 2006 SHOT Show, where Remington unveiled the Model 105 Cti shotgun, a truly new design with a titanium and graphite receiver. It had everyone gibbering to themselves, so great a gun it is.

Winchester, on the other hand, was offering a bargain-price Russian-made .22 bolt-action, the Wildcat. A good, sound rifle, and a great value, but an old gun in every sense of the word. (It even looks like the Moisin-Nagant military rifle, which dates to the First World War.)

Browning, Winchester’s Siamese twin, introduced the T-Bolt .22, a re-done (and not nearly as nice) version of a rifle that was discontinued in the 1960s. The new T-bolt is a perfectly good little rifle, properly priced, and there’s no reason to get angry at it.

But you have to wonder: Why can’t some gunmakers innovate more? The Europeans seem to be far ahead of us in this respect. Tradition is great, but when that’s all you have to sell you find yourself out of business. Just ask Winchester.