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SHOT Show Vegas

09 Dec 2016
@ 08:14 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

From our blog page...

Hello all, I hope this blog post finds you well. I am just writing this short note to let customers and industry peers know that we will be attending SHOT in Las Vegas, January 2017.

We would not have considered going to this event were it not for the kindness of Dave Manson from Manson Reamers. For the past (seems like forever) years we have been committed to research for the global hunting / shooting community. Dave in turn felt that it was time we came up for air and let folk meet the people behind the research. To this end, he sponsored our visit to SHOT. This is such a kind, warm and supportive gesture.

We will be in booth 2308 if anybody wishes to stop by for a chat.

I have little else to report for now. As usual, we have been very busy with cartridge and bullet research. It seems that we are either hunting or compiling data which I hope to be able to pass on in the near future. There are many new bullets on the market now and it has taken a great deal of time to investigate their full strengths and limitations. Although I have posted my initial impressions of some of these new bullet designs on our site, it has taken a great deal more field time to truly understand them.

The website is nearing its typical quarter million hits for thirty days as happens at this time of the year as readers far and wide utilize the online knowledge base. It is good to see this being put to use however this has also put a huge strain on our mail. I simply cannot do the field work and answer this volume of technical questions. Please understand that I am of better service to you if I am in the field gathering data and can then take time to compile and publish this data. As the saying goes, the needs of the many… Having said this, I will always endeavor to make myself available to each of you as and when I can.

All the best, Nathan.

From Dave Manson Reamers:

SHOT SHOW 2017 – Special Guest Nathan Foster at our Booth

Posted on December 7, 2016

The 2017 SHOT Show, in Las Vegas, is just around the corner and we’re pleased to announce the presence of a very special guest who’ll be joining us in our booth — Mr. Nathan Foster, long-range hunting guru and bullet performance authority, from New Zealand.

Mr. Foster and his wife Steph operate Terminal Ballistics Research in Taranaki, NZ They should be no strangers to anyone seriously committed to improving their long-range hunting abilities and selecting the optimum bullet for various hunting situations.

He’ll be in our booth (2308) for all four days of SHOT, with his unparalleled expertise, samples of his many books and videos of long-rang hunting. If you’re attending the show, be sure to stop by and visit with him. We look forward to seeing you there.


09 Dec 2016
@ 10:20 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Awesome Nathan. You definitely have worked hard and shared so much of your knowledge and time again and again to help us all become better than we were. Go and enjoy some R&R. Enjoy the moment. Thanks for being honest and giving. Rip into it. Woo-hoo look out Vegas! I'm sure that Steph and Riley are excited about this trip. Take care and have fun.
09 Dec 2016
@ 10:32 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Thanks Warwick, much appreciated.
12 Dec 2016
@ 03:17 am (GMT)

john feyereisn

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
I bet you will have a great time! If you have never been there just seeing that city will be a trip to remember. Have you been there before Nathan?
15 Dec 2016
@ 01:01 am (GMT)

Garth Woest

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Awesome mate! Always said it would be the ultimate trip for me to attend SHOT ... Maybe some day, you deserve it and it's great to have a represent ice from down under
15 Dec 2016
@ 05:41 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Great stuff Nathan you guys deserve this for all your hard work.
i know it'll be daunting and its probably last thing you thought would happen when you started experimenting with projectiles and accurizing rifles for local guys but just relax breath be yourselves and the yanks will love you guys.
20 Dec 2016
@ 09:37 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Thanks again guys, I have never been to Vegas. Yes, it is daunting, I am more comfortable here in the hills. Yes, relax and breathe, be mindful.

Just have to decide who wears the bikini for our Booth. I wonder how good Dave is at arm wrestling.

Your support is truly warming.
23 Dec 2016
@ 05:14 pm (GMT)

john feyereisn

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
I generally aviod large cities like the plague, and i do not really get into gambling much if at all, but when my wife and i decided on a whim to gonto vegas for a long weekend a few years ago we had a good time just seeing the place and wandering around like a couple tourists. A few things that struck me was that there are people who are paid to get people into parties or casinos and they will come up and strike up a conversation with you like they are just shooting the bull with you, then they are offering you a some sort of free credit if you go to this casino or that bar, usually a free dring or gambling tab on a certificate or card, when a card that they give out gets cashed in they get a few bucks. Strange i thought but they really are not pushy or annoying, and certainly harmless. Another is that you will see delivery trucks deiving up and down the strip with advertisements on the side, well, they are empty, they deliver nothing, they just drive around in circles for advertising. Also, if someone offers free tickets to a show in exchange for listening to a time share presentation, i do not care how good of a deal it seems like, dont listen, their supposed 45 minute presentation will turn into 3 hours.
Vegas is a place everyone should see just once in their life, i have never been to shot, but I imagine that will be even better. Good luck and have fun, don't worry in the least about fitting in, there is no such thing in that town.
16 Jan 2017
@ 04:59 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Well, SHOT show starts tomorrow. As John said, quite a few hustlers here but we have managed to avoid it all (thanks John for the tips). Vegas is an eyeful. It feels like another planet, not another country or state. If we go to the front of the hotel, we can walk the strip and see the shops etc. If we go to the back, we can shoot about any machine gun you name. We can take a helicoptor tour- or why not cut to the chase and go dog fighting in a jet.

The buildings are massive, the marble and sculptured foyers are gigantic, something which pictures or movies cannot convey. I still cannot get over the utter extravagance. We have had a look at the layout for SHOT. To say that its big is an understatement. In Kiwi and Oz speak, you would have to put a good 4 or maybe 6 Warehouse / Target / Mitre10 mega's together to duplicate one of these convention centres.

We met up with Dave and Ann Manson yesterday. I am still pretty much gobsmacked by their kindness. Dave has a cheeky sense of humor and pulled the grandad card, the universal pass which allows men of a certain age to steer your kids off track only minutes after you have given them a lecture about proper behavior in public.

We will set up our booth later today, then into it tomorrow. It will be interesting to see whats new. I will of course be that asshole who is walking around with Vernier calipers if and when I get a chance to leave the booth. Riley is not allowed into the show so Steph will have to stay with her until we can swap over. Steph has booked a decent challenging horse trek (after SHOT) so she can really get into the back country here and get a feel for Nevada away from the city.

I just want to say thanks to everyone who has supported us along the way including folk like Lane Salvato checking on us daily to make sure we are OK. Very helpful thank you. I see what you mean John about fitting in. For a start, the locals are very kind but there also seems to be no set dress or conduct code, anything goes.

16 Jan 2017
@ 07:39 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Ah, Nathan. I see you have wandered out onto the strip. Regarding the dress code: there is something just horribly wrong with an elderly gentleman with absolutely no musculature parading around in a man-kini. I would not wish that sight on anyone.

Check out the roller coaster. Avoid the zip line over the strip. Red Rock canyon is ok. If you have time to get to the Grand Canyon, ride down to the bottom. If you have time check out Utah (one of my all time favourite states, although Arizona, New Mexico are right up there).
16 Jan 2017
@ 11:53 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
The man in black has to be a Kiwi Bloke. Lol Enjoy your stay guys.
The trip of a lifetime. Woohoo
17 Jan 2017
@ 02:43 am (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
It warms my soul to see you guys really moving forward after applying so much perseverance. Reaping what you have been sowing for so long now. Have a great time.
17 Jan 2017
@ 07:30 am (GMT)

Jon Short

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Onya Nathan, Hope you & your family are having a blast. Will be great for networking & business let alone a good eye opener & break from the daily grind. You guys deserve it, & Dave Manson is a bloody legend for getting you all there!

Awesome stuff!


17 Jan 2017
@ 10:14 pm (GMT)

Scott Trowbridge

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Heading to SHOT tomorrow. Hope to stop by the booth to visit Thursday.

Have enjoyed your books a lot!

Every time I visit LV I feel like I need to bleach.
18 Jan 2017
@ 05:23 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Good on you Mate....sure hope you fellas have a great trip and not to worry about the calipers thing.... someone has to keep them good ol boys honest and I cant think of anyone better.
look forward to the post trip writeup.
18 Jan 2017
@ 05:46 am (GMT)

Cor Nepgen

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Nice one guys! Nathan I had a good laugh imagining you walking round with verniers asking the tough questions.. Can just imagine haha enjoy every moment making people uncomfortable after all the hours you have spent fixing bad designs.

All the best and enjoy yourself! So good seeing good people getting a well deserved opportunity to experience this. From the little I have seen from American publications (and it is listed so I might be off) but I think your approach to barrel break-in and all round cleaning regime differs radically from the norm. Would be very curious to see how open people are to learning.

Cheers and enjoy guys!
22 Jan 2017
@ 12:21 am (GMT)

john feyereisn

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
I am very glad you had a good time!
Did you do much gambling?
23 Jan 2017
@ 09:04 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Hi guys, I need to write a full blog but in any case, I have a moment now to reflect while sitting in a hotel in Vegas. I will re-write this into a formal blog shortly.

SHOT was awesome, 65,000 shooters crammed in one building. When we first arrived, the security was tight with local police and inhouse security. There were also dogs on the hunt for explosives. This was not the place to cause trouble and no doubt half the attendees were also exercising their right to discreetly carry. In any case, it was a very safe environment.

The set up was in itself amazing, involving a huge labor force to turn an empty building into an exp, working around the clock to set up the show, the electricity and so forth. On the final day, the work crew came back in literally minutes after the show finished and disassembled the entire convention, crating everything including the carpet. This break down was in full swing within minutes. I am a nuts and bolts person so this behind the scenes stuff intrigued me as much as anything else.

Our hosts Dave and Ann Manson were wonderful along with the Manson reamer staff. For a time, I was overwhelmed by SHOT. The level of foot traffic and noise was a big change from the quiet of back country NZ. We had a good number of visitors to the booth and it was good to sit and talk with clients / site members / friends (was good to see you Scott, pity it all felt so rushed). It was also good to meet with the likes of Hornady and Sierra staff. However besides networking, it was also good to stand back a bit and get a feel for trends and so forth. As much as I expected some resistance to subjects I have written about in the books, the feedback / impression I received at the event was (somewhat to my surprise) more inline with my research. This tells me that folk are beginning to see through the BS. We had a lot of folk from Nevada, Texas, NM and AZ visit to chat. I very much enjoyed these talks.

As a booth attendee, it was hard to balance time. SHOT was so large that like most booth attendees, I only covered perhaps a third of it. I had to juggle time in the sense that I needed to spend time in our booth versus some time visiting other booth holders I wanted to talk to (e.g Sierra), versus a general walk around in very small 'dash' stints.

The days were fairly long, wake up at 630am, booth ready at 8am, knock off 530pm with senses overwhelmed / ears ringing, shuffle with the other thousands to the never ending taxi que, home, dinner, shower, sleep, repeat.

I cannot say whether SHOT was a 'financial success' for us as per the general goal of such things. Who knows and who cares. We went and we put ourselves on the radar thanks to Dave Manson who felt we had important information which needed to be shared. I was gob smacked at how well respected Dave is within the industry. Folk from every corner of the industry swung by to thank him for his contributions. I can however see why, he is kind, has a quick wit and is as sharp as a tack. It was interesting to watch him as customers asked questions about reamer dimensions. Dave is the type to retain numbers in his head and could answer tech questions on the fly, whether the punter was asking about standard cartridge dimensions or potential wildcat creations. Dave also introduced Riley to Silly Putty which I had heard of but never seen. Talk about hours of entertainment for kids.

We are still in Vegas, on the down slope now. Yesterday while waiting to check in to our next hotel, we had a couple of hours to kill. No problem. There is a indoor gun range out the back of the Luxor hotel called the Gun Garage so we got busy with a Glock, an S&W M29 .44 Mag, an Uzi, an AK and an M4. While I was busy trying to shoot a nice group with the .44 as far away as we could string out the target, a woman screamed out "50 cal" which was followed by a horrendous bone deep boom beside us. I don't know who the hell thinks its fun to fire a 50bmg at an indoor range with a rear gilled brake but there you go- only in Vegas. I backed off shooting until the others were done playing with the 50 and like the range officers, we held our hands over our muffs with each shot to limit the concussion in the tight space. After that, I was able to get back to it.

A few hours later it was time to check into the Luxor, we arrived liberally coated with and smelling of powder residues. The gun range was the 'Burger King end' of the shooting experience spectrum but in its own way a good proof research facility considering the volume of rounds fired each day (800-1000 rounds per gun per day). The guns were caked with carbon by 11am. The AK would not reassemble after we stripped it for inspection on my request, so heavy was the carbon fouling. After we finally got it back together, it carried on in its usual manner, rattling when fired and shooting all over the show as these do once the bores wear. The Rock River M4 was simply excellent, remaining accurate whether fired semi or full auto- provided very good and firm technique with an eye to optimum accuracy. The trigger on this rifle was standard and yet much better than other stock AR rifles I have come across with no creep. No doubt the barrels were stuffed on many of the weapons, their lives extended only via the use of chrome lining. The Gun Garage has two full time armorers cleaning and checking weapons and replacing fatigued parts as needed. Like I say, good proof research in its own way.

The girls are both OK. Riley is happy but Steph made the mistake of eating Sushi last night and was extremely ill. Lesson learned, never eat seafood in Vegas (Ann Manson had her dose a few days earlier).

Yes, dirty old Vegas where seasoned visitors wear hand sanitisor on a rope around their necks. There is seemingly no escape from the noise or lights, the food is rich and has you running for the nearest bathroom no matter what you choose to eat (I even tried vegetables only and still felt ill). The air traffic is indescribable, the planes come in and out of here like taxis while choppers go up and down the main street (the strip) all day and into the night. I am of course only relating the tourist side of Vegas which has no bearing on normal Nevada life. Away from the city are huge expansive mountains, abundant with wildlife and very few people.

As to your question John, no, I have not tried the slots. I put all of my change into the tip jars. I am just not into gambling apart from the game of Dehli belly you have to play here each day. I have not been to any strip venues either (there is one here tonight). I did nevertheless become distracted by a couple of gals wearing a sliver of material and got momentarily lost on the strip, only to be draggged back in the right direction by Steph as she muttered what a fkkg idiot I was.

24 Jan 2017
@ 02:34 am (GMT)

Dan Keene

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Great update Nathan!
So glad you are "Enjoying"? Vegas.
I can FedEx some Purex if you are missing it.
24 Jan 2017
@ 07:40 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Ha ha Foxglove leaves never felt so good eh! Go Steph!!! Enjoy some down time together guys relax and unwind. We aint going anywhere mate.
24 Jan 2017
@ 04:21 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
My favorite part of Vegas was the Departure lounge at the airport. Nice country around there though.....
25 Jan 2017
@ 02:29 am (GMT)

Scott Trowbridge

Re: SHOT Show Vegas

Getting to visit with you was the highlight of the SHOT show! I have enjoyed the books thoroughly and appreciate all you have done compiling terminal ballistics data. If you think you will be at SHOT next year we can see if we can’t get you into UT or AZ for a day or two of coyote hunting.

Some would say you have now seen the worst of the US (Las Vegas) now. We hope your flight home was safe and relaxing.

I will have to give the ELD-M 208 a go in the 300WM. The 178 Amax was sure a hammer for me out of a 308W (~100 animals).


I was lucky enough to visit shot again with Tony Nester from Ancient Pathways. Tony has forgotten more about bush craft than I will ever know.

Scot and Evan Hill from Hill People get continue to put out a lot of great gear and packs. A great company. I have used their UTE to pack out 6 or 7 Coues deer out of some awful gnarly country. The Serape in a stuff sack has made a great rear bag this year.

Got to visit Zak Smith from TBAC and Jimmy Holdsworth from Competition Dynamics. Waiting on two tax stamps for two Ultra 7 cans. Not to mention Zak being one of the smartest people I have ever met in my life. I will probably help Jimmy at the Steel Safari in June.

Bryan Litz from Berger was busy as ever but found the time to answer a couple Applied Ballistics app and bullet questions. I know the Berger 215 Hybrid has a poor showing here but it has sure worked well for me for ~20 animals.

The Vortex AMG 6-24x looked like a heck of nice piece of glass…but they are proud of it ($$$). At 28oz it is a lot of scope for the weight.

The NF 5-25 ATACR FFP looks like a winner, but it isn't light...

The latest generation Leica Geovid 10x42 HD 2200yd binos will one of my next purchases.

The XLR Carbon chassis look very promising.

The Bighorn TL3 action may be on my next build.

The Burris 1-8x FFP will probably get put on one of my general purpose AR.

Checked out the ESEE knives but think I will stick to my old reliable Moras.
25 Jan 2017
@ 02:37 am (GMT)

Grant Lovelock

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Bahahaha..... nice one Nathan..... bought back memories of a time in Hawaii when while walking down a very busy street in the evening a 6 foot plus blond bombshell wearing the slightest smear of bright red lycra hooked her arm in mine and suggested we sidle off to her room..... my eyes nearly popped out and I informed her the lady on my other arm was my wife..... without batting an eyelid she smiled and said she (wife) could join us for a threesome..... Wifes eyes popped and Im pretty sure she was lining up a haymaker for this interloper.... luckily I declined and hurried wifey away from a definite scene in the making....only in america huh?
26 Jan 2017
@ 12:52 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
26 Jan 2017
@ 09:24 am (GMT)

Hamish Gibbs

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
Thanks for the blog Nathan, travelling is good for the body sole but not the a#@e hole, one of mums good ol Dettol baths an a cup of wild nettle tea will have you guys sorted. They say Vegas has to be seen to be believed, I've been twice an I still don't believe it. Not sure where you are at but you have not missed any hay making weather until now, this next week is looking the best of summer so far just so you know. Safe travels;)
28 Jan 2017
@ 02:05 am (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: SHOT Show Vegas
The way I see it, we have so many pigs in the United States now there really is no reason for Nathan and his family to go back to New Zealand. I would be happy to make him an honorary Texan. We'd have him saying things like a true Texan in no time:

Anything you are about to do in the near future: "Fixin to". "Hey Nathan, you kilt any hogs yet?" "Nope, but I'm fixin to."

What you say when nothing comes to mind: "Welp" (Well) Nathan walks into a camp with a bunch of other hunters. "Welp"

The question, "Why don't you?" "Whoncha" "Hey Lane, Whonchya hold that forend like ma book says?" "Welp, I'm fixin to."

We could have him uncharacteristically friendly in no time too: "Hey uh sir, I'm a foreign exchange student from Denmark. Is there a train around here?" "No son, no trains here. Where ya goin? Well it's 30 kilometers south of here." "Really? Welp I don't know how far that is, but hop in I'll take ya!"

We will miss him only being two time zones away. Soon he'll have to go back to 17 hours ahead of us thundering that 7 mm Practical across those canyons. Hope America was good to you sir!


We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.