McMillan CS5, Chiappa Zombie Blaster, Lyman, More …

TUFF1’s new grip covers caught our eye. This type of product has been on the market for many years, but this one is for dressing up the looks of your gun as much as it’s for functionally giving you a better gripping surface.

Mel Forbes (r.) has teamed up with Jonathan Brawn (l.) to form Forbes Rifles, LLC. The company is headquartered in Maine and offers a less expensive commercial version of the legendary New Ultra Light Arms Model 24 rifle.

The workmanship on the Forbes Model 24 rifle is every bit as good as the custom guns from New Ultra Light Arms that they emulate.

Lyman’s take on handloading data this year includes manuals specific the categories of cartridges such as “Big Bore” and “Historic Military Calibers.”

The Chiappa Zombie Blaster is a 1887 Winchester lever action shotgun, cut down to Zombie status.

The new KleenBore CableKleen uses standard disposable cleaning patches. Patches attach on either side of the brush so you can wet, brush, and re-wet with one pass.

McMillan’s CS5 “Shorty” is a .308 Win.-chambered bolt action with a 12-inch barrel that is only 23 ½ inches long when disassembled. The “Standard” is a non-NFA gun with an 18 ½-inch barrel.

By Scott Mayer

There is so much to see that it’s simply not possible to report on all of the new and interesting products at SHOT Show. Because of that, there are countless cool little things readers will probably never hear about. Here then, are a few of those items we were able to catch between scheduled appointments.

With 15 SHOT Shows under my belt, I can tell you that there is a lot of planning that goes into covering the show from an editorial perspective. You have to schedule your meetings ahead of time so the person you want to talk with is available. If you’re smart, you consult the exhibitor map ahead of time and line up your appointments so you progress from one end of a hall to the other instead of running from one end to the other. Hopefully, you have good industry contacts who trust you and provide new product information prior to SHOT so all you have to do is go by to say hello and verify and finalize your report. But even with all of that planning, there are always countless products you hurry past and never see, or that you only catch a glimpse of on your way to another booth. This year was no different, but this time I made a conscious effort to try and snag a snippet or two on some of the things ordinarily not covered.

TUFF1 Grip Covers

The bright pink grip cover on a Chiappa Rhino caught my eye as I rounded the corner on the way to Ruger’s booth. I paused to take it in and was amused to see the grip cover had little skulls molded into it. Grip covers have been around for years, so they’re nothing new, but until that moment all of the grip covers I could recall were black and either had finger grooves or a simple texture. There are probably others like these, but this was the first time I had seen grip covers used to aesthetically customize your handgun in addition to provide a more positive gripping surface.

TUFF1 have several different texture options including snakeskin and zombies in addition to the skulls and come in several colors so you can customize the look of your handgun. If you haven’t tried a grip cover, they provide a slightly “tacky” surface that I find my hand sticks to a lot better than checkering. Some shooters say they help take the “sting” out of hard-kicking guns, but I don’t have covers on any guns I consider hard-kicking and can’t comment from experience.

These covers simply roll onto the grip frame and you can even cut them to length. They give you that one-of-a-kind look without permanently altering your gun and a better gripping surface for increased controllability. One safety note—don’t install any type of wrap-around grip cover on a gun with a grip safety. It effectively disables the safety.

A $3,500 Rifle for $1,399?

Mel Forbes is the father of the modern lightweight sporting rifle. When you speak with him, he rattles off dimensions and tolerances like a sports reporter recites batting averages and other athletic stats. His guns were originally sold under the name of Ultra Light Arms, and now as New Ultra Light Arms (NULA). He’ll make a rifle in any chambering, profile or length of pull you want, but plan on forking over a minimum of $3,500 for one of his feathery rifles that shoot bug-size groups and seem to recoil a heck of a lot less than even heavier guns in the same chambering.

Every SHOT Show I make it a point to have a pop-in at “Uncle Mel’s” booth for a few minutes to catch up on what has been happening and what new problem he has solved in the world of ultra-light, ultra-accurate hunting guns. This year, instead of showing me a gun in his booth, Forbes introduced me to Jonathan Brawn in the neighboring booth and showed me a new rifle there. Forbes and Brawn recently teamed up to produce a commercial version of Forbes’s famous Model 24 rifle, but at about half the price. The new guns are sold under the Forbes Rifles, LLC brand, with the metal work done in Westbrook, Maine, and the stocks from NULA in Granville, West Virginia.

Forbes showed me one of his custom guns side-by-side with one of the commercial guns. He interchanged parts and when shouldering the two of them I couldn’t tell the difference. When asked why I’d get on a waiting list to buy one of his custom NULA guns instead of buying the less expensive commercial version, Forbes replied that the commercial versions are available in only one configuration, one color, and chambered for .270 Win. or .30-’06. NULA guns continue to be completely custom, chambered in any cartridge you want, with different lengths of pull, barrel lengths, profiles, and finishes. Granted, at $1,399 a Forbes rifle isn’t cheap, but if you’re like me and have always wanted a do-it-all high-end gun but couldn’t swing the several thousands of dollars, this might be the gun we’ve been waiting on.

Chiappa Zombie Blaster

The Chiappa Zombie Blaster is a clever twist on their Italian made 1887 Winchester lever action shotgun. It has an 18 1/2″ barrel and a cut down, polymer stock. If you don’t want the zombie graphics but you like the gun, they do make a “T” model that is the namesake of the famous appearance of the 87 in the first Terminator movie. Fast forward to 2012 and zombies, not robots from the future, are the threat, so it was a natural evolution for this to become the next big zombie gun. The 87 copies aren’t inexpensive, over $1,000 street price, but they are ten times the gun that the Chinese Norinco 87 guns are, and they have a special 2 round loading system for SASS. We hope to get a Zombie Blaster in at some point. It is a neat gun from Chiappa.

Subject-Based Loading Books

If you’re a handloader, you’re probably familiar with the “Loadbooks USA” series of handloading manuals that take a single cartridge and give you a compilation of loading data from several bullet and powder makers. They’re great little booklets, and having them caliber-specific is great if you shoot only that caliber. But what if you shoot a “family” of chamberings?

New this year, Lyman introduced a series of loading booklets that consider cartridges as groups, or families. Some of those groups are what you’d expect, such as one manual covering .24-, .25-cal. and 6.5mm rifle cartridges. The really cool ones though, I think are ones that group cartridges differently from what I’ve ever seen like the one on “Big Bore Rifle” or “Old Military Rifle Calibers.” Think about it—one manual dedicated to loads for your World War I collection of ‘03 Springfield, Moisin-Nagant and S.M.L.E. rifles—and being Lyman, the manuals also cover cast bullets. While enthusiasm for shooting cast bullets in centerfire rifles less than .40-cal. mostly died with with the late Col. Harrison, there are still some of us who do it, and if this economy doesn’t turn around, more shooters will try cast bullets.

KleenBore CableKleen

Every year, Matt Foster over at KleenBore almost never fails to give me one of those “Ah-ha!” moments when he’s showing me something new at SHOT Show. This year it was their variation on the pull-through type of bore cleaner—the CableKleen.

Pull thorough cleaners are pretty useful tools, but some need to be washed occasionally while others need specially cut patches. The CableKleen doesn’t need washing and it uses standard disposable patches. The cool thing is that you can configure a CableKleen to have a patch on either side of the bore brush. That arrangement lets you lay down a little solvent to lubricate the brush, and with the same pull, wipe out the loosened fouling and lay down a new layer of solvent to work on the fouling for the next pull.

There are several variations of the CableKleen kit, including one specifically made to cover all of your cleaning needs in 3-Gun competition. There is also a dedicated rimfire CableKleen with a brush that actually fits through the tiny ejection port on .22 semi-auto pistols.

Concealable Subsonic/Supersonic Suppressed Sniper System

I was taking a shortcut through McMillans booth when the sight of this gun stopped me like a clock. A picture really is worth 1,000 words on McMillan’s new CS5. The one shown here is the “Stubby.” It’s a .308 Win.-chambered bolt-action rifle with a 12-inch barrel that’s only 23 ½ inches long when disassembled. Put all of the pieces together, and the Stubby spans a full 38 inches. These guns are modeled after the Tubb 2000 and are sold as compact and concealable precision tactical rifles. You can especially see the Tubb influence on the buttstock that is infinitely adjustable to fit any shooter from any shooting position. When not in use, the buttstock latches onto a section of rail near the ejection port.

The CS5 is set up to use SR-25-type magazines and fire either supersonic ammunition or subsonic ammunition with a suppressor. Since subsonic loads tend to use heavy-for-caliber bullets, the Shorty’s barrel has a 1:8-inch twist to stabilize longer projectiles. Both loads are guaranteed to produce 0.75 MOA groups. At $6,500 the “Stubby” comes with a suppressor and all NFA rules apply. Clearly the targeted market for the Stubby is military or law enforcement where space is limited and there is even less room for compromise.

Even if you’re not military, LE, or have your NFA paperwork, you can get close to the Shorty via McMillan’s CS5 “Standard.” At $5,500 the suppressor on this model is optional and the barrel is increased to 18 ½ inches. Reasoning that the Standard will see more supersonic than subsonic loads fired through it, the barrel has a 1:11-inch twist.

{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Jarrod April 12, 2012, 8:49 am

    Actually it is in the Mayan Calender the on December 22 2012 the dead will rise and the world will face apocolypse
    pardon my spelling

    • Administrator April 12, 2012, 9:06 am

      yea the mayans were smart bevis

  • coloradocam February 18, 2012, 10:14 am

    OK Guys, For those of you that are a little slow…Zombie = Any terrorist, rapist, child molesting, home invading, daughter stalking, drug addicted SCUMBAG out there. Oh and it also means Zombies! One word says it all!!! Now! Do you get it?

    • UNNAMED February 27, 2012, 12:23 am

      yes they should.

  • Bill Handy February 8, 2012, 6:09 pm

    I have come to look forward to these GunsAmerica news blurbs! Keep up the good work.

  • Bill Handy February 8, 2012, 6:07 pm

    I refuse to buy any product (knife, gun, clothing or accessory) that has a SKULL or ZOMBIE on it.

  • JR February 8, 2012, 5:04 pm

    Awh… come on guys, It’s all a Hollywood marketing scheme. They have literally beat the bloody pulp out of Vampires, Werewolf’s, and Aliens that Zombies fantasy nuts were getting jealous. Hollywood is so out of original ideas that mutants and zombies were bound to surface. Think about it, who are buying these Zombie rounds…the same people that follow every fad and trend that someone dreams up (can you say Pink pistols). These people are looking for bragging rights and fashion statements. How their lives would change if they ever had to shoot someone (or a bystander, because they missed). Firearms are precision tools and not toys.

    Now to comment on the video game comments. Yes there are a lot of people that think that kids who play these video games that numb them to the actual horrors of battle, making it easier to pull the trigger. I would say “Yes” if they are fighting from a monitor screen somewhere, but not when they are in the real world. The majority of those that commit crime in the real world with a gun are sociopaths that don’t play video games anyways. The US Army has stated that the learning curve went way down (shortened) for the trainees when they started making weapon systems that use a play station type paddle for the controller instead of the traditional controls currently deployed.

    I say that it’s probably a good thing that Hornady and others are taking full advantage of this hysterical fad as it is increasing the awareness of everyone’s 2nd amendment right and sending gun sales through the roof creating additional jobs in this type of industry. Yes there will be some posers that get caught up in the frenzy and will end up selling their guns once they realize that they just might shoot themselves or can’t afford to feed them. Eventually they’ll end up selling them to someone that finds the “Good deal” in the local gun auction houses. I love a bargain.

  • Dale W. Logue February 8, 2012, 4:37 pm


    John Wayne? Do you mean Marion Morrison? True American…welll, pahdner, you had better take a gander at this here website before you spout off at the mouth…John Wayne PLAYED THE PART of many TRUE AMERICANS in FILMS…the rest is DEFINITELY debatable…
    I’m not saying Arnold is any better, I’m just saying you MAY want to tone down your lovefest a bit…

  • sls4ak February 8, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Unrelated inquiry on the SHOT show.
    Did David Rice Clay with DRC firearms show up at the show? I am interested in when we can expect to start seeing .460 S&W lever guns being delivered. I have the Freedom Arms ,454 casull with elephant ivory grips, and am looking forward to the ,460 as a long arm.

    • sls4ak February 8, 2012, 1:02 pm

      Is anyone making the 1887 in 10 guage like the original?

    • Administrator February 8, 2012, 5:53 pm

      Sounds really cool, but we have no idea. Nobody told us that it was our turn to watch him. 😉

  • Paul B February 7, 2012, 2:50 pm

    But now, back to the gun in question: Please advise, why is the Chiappa 1887 “10 times the gun” of the chinese import. I have not tried either, and have only handled the chinese import once or twice at a gun show, so I’m speaking from a novice position on these guns. At first blush, most of the Chiappa products that I have seen and handled (but again, not had the experience of shooting) don’t seem to be significantly better than any other brand. Is Chiappa actually a manufacturer? Or just an importer of “others” products? Thanks for your insight !

    • Administrator February 7, 2012, 4:35 pm

      They are just tighter and feel better, and they don’t fall apart like the norinco guns are known for. Chiappa is the old armi-sport company and an old Italian gunmaker, owned by the Chiappa family.

    • leo bourne February 7, 2012, 7:16 pm

      If you would like to see the norinco model 1887, in action or the lack of action. See the video on youtube by Iraqveteran8888 at this link

  • Paul B February 7, 2012, 2:43 pm

    Phil and Dan are correct: Zombies (so far) are Not politically protected groups, and this is a chance to get motivated for personal and family protection, and even club or neighborhood strength activities, to prepare for whatever natural or man-made or un-natural disaster may occur. Whether it’s a LA Riot, or a Katrina collapse of law, or a civil defense drill in case of tornado or massive wildfires, or terrorist dirty bomb attack in a major metropolitan area, the family that is prepared is the family that survives. We all have our ideas of what we’re “preparing for”, by using Zombies, we don’t have to get into debates over “what or why” and we can focus on being prepared. If “zombies” can add a little fun and creativity to the preparation and training process (for old and young) then that’s not a terrible thing in my humble opinion.

    • Dave K January 30, 2014, 6:15 am

      Agreed. Some of these uptight finger-wagging moralists on here would apparently have a problem with their children playing cowboys and indians, because it’s not “realistic”, and might lead to violent behavior when they grow up. And to the Richmond gun dealer above; you won’t get one scintilla of business from me, and I’ll be sure to spread the word that your shop caters only to Fudds. Wouldn’t want you haranguing some poor SOB who comes in asking about AR’s. You just wait until they come for your “sporting” rifles and everything else, because you were too weak-willed to stand up for other shooters who don’t share your narrow view of which firearms belong under the aegis of the 2nd Amendment.

  • hugh g February 7, 2012, 2:22 pm

    Regarding the article for: Concealable Subsonic/Supersonic Suppressed Sniper System from

    If it came in .338 lapua magnum I would definitely place an order. My NFA paperwork is complete and this would fit the niche of two to three other rifles in one tidy package for me.

  • Claude Hill February 7, 2012, 12:21 pm

    At 67, I think it has to do with some people wanting a justification to shoot humans and for it to be an extension to the gory combat and monster video games and movies.

    Now it is being driven by Marketing Dollars from Hornady and others out to make a buck.

    I am a Christian, Conservative, Patriot who strongly supports and actively exercises our 2nd Amendment Rights but all this Zombie Mania is repulsive to me.

    Guns are for defense, hunting and competition and not for fads and overtly destructive applications.

    • DaveP326 February 7, 2012, 6:35 pm

      This stuff is just like Mortal Kombat and those other video games that show violence,blood and carnage. People want to feel like Ahhnold Schwarzennegger, John Wayne and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who blow away bad guys, ithout having to actally do it themselves. They are like Walter Mitty – they want to feel like a super hero without getting down and dirty. ANYBODY who has ever actually gone to war will tell you it was nothing like what they thought it would be like. Blowing a zombie’s brains all over a screen is in no way comparable to actually watching somebody getting his brains blow out. Claude, like you I am a Christian, conservative patriot/veteran and I also strongly support our 2nd amendment rights. Many of the ranges I shoot at prohibit any kind of humanoid target. When I was a police officer we qualified twice a year. We used targets that resembled bowling pins. This was to avoid any implication by any bleeding heart liberal defense lawyers that we we were being trained to kill people. The Bowling pin shape represented the “center mass” area and hits outside were misses. The point being that playing violent video games numbs the mind to violence and could make it easier to drop the hammer on a live person, and THAT is a life-changing event no matter who you are.

      • RICHARD ZIMMERMANN February 7, 2012, 11:35 pm

        MY FELLOW AMERICANS: The biggest problem wit using Arnold the Phoney for any real life applications in the Gun World is that he is a Treasonous Dog that subverted the Constitution and the 2nd Ammendment when He was govenor in California. He made a fortune since his body building days as a Weapon toting Hero,underneath it all he was just a Coward and a Sheep for the Gun rights activists in their efforts to take away Our Rights and Freedoms, He never lived up to His “OATH of OFFICE” he should be criminally charged and punished for that alone.!!!! AND NEVER REFER TO HIM IN THE SAME BREATH AS JOHN WAYNE,who was and always will be a TRUE AMERICAN……..Thanks,Rick

      • UNNAMED February 27, 2012, 12:17 am

        um.. i hate to say but that doesn’t add up. i don’t think ur son plaing gta means he going to be a gangsta or a killer, and the same goes for people who prepare for zombie? no, in fact, i KNOW it does make you a killer. why? because I am one of the zombie survivalist ! and to be straight honet, im a horrible shot, and have never even killed a deer! and even though their are people who do in fact become like how youexplained, then you should know how hard it is to hit a target.

    • leo bourne February 7, 2012, 7:05 pm


      I agree with you completely. This shows a definite lack of morals and a complete failure of the parents. I am a firearm dealer and I believe in the 2nd amendment. But, I am starting to feel that there should be some sort of test to be able to purchase a firearm. This fascination with zombies, high caliber, high capacity weapons and clones of military firearms is out of hand. I only sell competition and hunting weapons. One of my suppliers called me a dinosaur and asked me if I watched Andy Griffith every night.

      I tell the people asking for this type of weapon to join the military service. They can get the weapon and all the ammo they need for free. That is if the service will even take these people. I don’t know if the public started this craze or the manufacturers but I know almost every manufacturer is benefiting from it.

      Leo Bourne
      Secret Spot Gun Shop
      Richmond, VA

      • RICHARD ZIMMERMANN February 7, 2012, 11:41 pm

        Hey Leo, It sounds like you need to retire and keep Your lack of knowledge to Yourself,.

      • john January 20, 2014, 10:37 am

        Right on Leo!

    • ted February 15, 2012, 11:20 am

      I just want to AMEN your comment Claude Hill.

  • Dan Galbreath February 7, 2012, 12:09 pm

    Doubt not the impending zombie apocalypse naysayers!!! For when the world is in the toilet we may not be fighting the un-dead, but those who would take from us what is rightfully ours. What works on a zombie will work on some crazy trying to put me and mine a rung lower on the ladder or into a permanent dirt nap. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

  • Robert February 7, 2012, 11:20 am

    I guess I am “out of it” can someone explain this whole Zombie thing?

    • Administrator February 7, 2012, 11:31 am

      No you are not out of it. Very few of us understand why this craze has taken over right now, since the rash of zombie movies came out years ago, but most likely it is just a case of Hornady deciding to do something clever and all of the sheep just lining up behind them.

    • Phil February 7, 2012, 12:35 pm

      It is a politically correct enemy. Can’t be the Russians anymore, or the Indians, or the Germans. Terrorists are getting so last year now that Bin Laden has been taken out. And aliens…well some think they are real, so maybe they are becoming a protected group as well. Or it could just be a great marketing spin by Hornady…

  • John Anello Jr JD February 7, 2012, 6:58 am


    A new book has been published by John Anello Jr JD called HISTORIC GUN PATENTS, which is a collection of the original patents first issued to the interviors of famous guns. Included are the original patent (Original drawings and texts) from the original inventor and includes work for the first Colt Revolver, 1st Winchester, 1st Smith & Wesson revolver, 1st cartridge bullet, Gattling Gun, Remington Cane Gun, and more.
    $29.95 from Cexton Press.
    IF YOU would like a free copy to review for your Blog, please send a mailing address and we will send you a complimentary copy for review.

    Cexton Press

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