http://www.reuters.com/article/mark...081215?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=10272 SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Smith & Wesson Holdings Corp (SWHC.O) posted a quarterly loss on a non-cash accounting charge and reported a plunge in hunting rifle sales that offset handgun growth, sending its shares down as much as 25 percent. Sales of hunting rifles fell 41 percent in the quarter as cash-strapped consumers cut back on spending and distributors slowed purchases following a sales slump. "The burden that the hunting business places on the otherwise healthy majority of our business is a significant consideration as we plan for our future," Chief Executive Michael Golden said. The company has started cost-cutting measures such as extended holiday factory closures, support-function consolidation and job cuts. Known for its 156-year-old handgun business, Smith & Wesson said in September it had shed about 80 hunting-related rifle production jobs at its facility in Rochester, New Hampshire. The company's troubles reflect a broader trend as the percentage of Americans who hunt declines, though sales of other guns in the country remain strong. Smith & Wesson said quarterly U.S. revolver sales rose 13 percent on a year ago. Pistol sales grew 40 percent, driven by demand from U.S. consumers, police forces as well as international sales. "In fact, we shipped our first order to Iraq in the second quarter, consisting of M&P pistols for Iraqi military and security forces," Golden said, adding that 465 law enforcement agencies had chosen the same weapon. Smith & Wesson, whose rivals include Ruger and Taurus for revolvers and Glock, Ruger and Springfield Armory for pistols, posted a net loss of $76.2 million, or $1.62 a share, for the second quarter ended Oct. 31. It earned $2.9 million, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier. The Springfield, Massachusetts-based company made 1 cent a share excluding the $76.5 million charge related to the purchase of Thompson/Center Arms. Net product sales rose 2.7 percent to $72.7 million, which includes $5.2 million from non-firearm accessories such as handcuffs. Gross margin fell to 27.3 percent from 32.3 percent, partly hurt by lower hunting rifle production volumes and promotional spending on both hunting rifles and handguns. Smith & Wesson shares, down by two-thirds from their April highs, were trading at $2.01 after the bell before recovering slightly to $2.19. They closed at $2.67 on Monday on Nasdaq. ======= Is Obama going to bail out S&W?