HomeNewsPrime Rifle Gunsmiths: What the Execs Use Receive US

Prime Rifle Gunsmiths: What the Execs Use Receive US

Selecting the gunsmith that you simply’ll belief to chamber your rifle is vital. This text will share which gunsmiths the perfect precision rifle shooters within the nation flip to for his or her competitors rifles.

It’s particularly vital with this subject to begin with a balanced perspective: If a gunsmith is on this checklist, they’re clearly able to constructing a bolt motion rifle that’s aggressive on the highest ranges. That’s each goal and apparent, proper? What if a gunsmith isn’t on this checklist? That does NOT imply they’re second-class, but in addition simply because somebody is a “gunsmith” doesn’t imply they’ll construct a world-class, precision rifle. Not all gunsmiths are created equal! Like all professions, some of us outperform others, due to consideration to element, degree of expertise, instruments/gear they use, processes they’ve established, and albeit whether or not they have the interior drive to at all times enhance and hone their craft. So simply because a gunsmith lives in your space, doesn’t imply he’s the most effective – that may be a bias we should always pay attention to. Additionally, simply because somebody ended up on this checklist doesn’t routinely make them higher than others – that’s one other bias we should always pay attention to.

Okay, with that out of the way in which – let’s dive into the information!

There have been really round 67 totally different gunsmiths represented amongst this group, however virtually 50% of these have been solely utilized by 1 shooter. Due to how lengthy the checklist was, I restricted the chart beneath to the gunsmiths utilized by 3 or extra of the highest shooters surveyed. Nonetheless, I present the complete checklist of gunsmiths that shooters listed on the survey later on this article.

On the chart above, the varied colours signify the place a shooter landed when it comes to season rank within the PRS. For instance, black signifies shooters who completed within the prime 10, the darkest blue is individuals who completed 11-25, and the lighter the blue, the additional out they completed in general standings. The chart legend itemizes the ranks every colour represents, however principally, the darker the colour, the upper the shooter’s general rating.

Stuteville Precision

Stuteville Precision was the preferred gunsmith amongst these top-ranked shooters, representing 15 of those shooters. That included 2 shooters within the prime 10 and a complete of 6 within the prime 50. Stuteville was additionally the preferred gunsmith once I final did this survey 5 years in the past (see the information), so that they have been capable of dangle onto that prime spot.

Wade Stuteville

Stuteville Precision is owned and operated by Wade Stuteville, who was the 2012 PRS Season Champion and a real OG legend on this sport. Earlier than Stuteville Precision, Wade was a founding associate, designer, and Basic Supervisor at Surgeon Rifles, who constructed lots of of high-end, {custom} rifles annually. When that operation was moved from Oklahoma to Arizona, Wade determined to remain in Oklahoma and open his personal store, Stuteville Precision. Wade additionally partnered with Tate Streater to design the Impression Precision motion, which dominates the PRS world (see the information). Frankly, you’d be hard-pressed to seek out somebody extra educated about precision rifles on the planet than Wade Stuteville. That’s why so many of those prime shooters put their belief in him for his or her barrel work.

Prime Rifle Gunsmiths: What the Execs Use Receive US Obtain US

Walls Rifles was the following hottest gunsmith, with 11 shooters from this group of prime marksmen, together with 1 within the prime 10. Joe Walls is the person behind Partitions Rifles. Joe beforehand did gunsmithing underneath the title Exodus Rifles, however over the previous few months, he launched Partitions Rifles. Like Wade, Joe is one other OG legend within the PRS. Joe Partitions has been one of many prime shooters within the PRS since its inception round 2012. He positioned eleventh general in that inaugural 2012 season, he’s positioned within the prime 5 within the season standings a number of years since then, and he’s additionally STILL represented amongst these professional shooters on this 12 months’s survey! Joe completed the 2023 PRS Season ranked 129th within the Open Division and is ranked eighth when it comes to lifetime PRS points. There can’t be greater than 5 guys complete which were acting at a professional degree from 2012 all over 2023, and Joe is amongst them.

There have been 9 shooters that mentioned they did gunsmithing on their rifles themselves. Wouldn’t or not it’s cool in the event you had the gear to try this?! These have been all individuals who didn’t run a gunsmithing enterprise.

Chad Heckler PRS Shooter

5X5 Precision was the third hottest gunsmith, with 9 of those prime shooters sporting a barrel that he chambered, together with 2 within the prime 50. Chad Heckler is the proprietor of 5X5 Precision. Chad has a mechanical engineering background and is a world-class PRS competitor. Chad gained the 2021 AG Cup, which is the match with the best money payout yearly (that means the competitors is excessive). He has completed within the prime 10 in general season rankings a number of years and landed twenty fourth general within the 2023 PRS Season Open Division. Chad can be the host of the Miles to Matches podcast alongside Francis Colon.

5X5 Precision Group Size

5X5 Precision hasn’t been round lengthy, so it’s spectacular how shortly they climbed to be some of the fashionable gunsmiths among the many pro-level shooters within the PRS. So, the place does the title “5X5 Precision” come from? Here’s what Chad advised me: “The time period ‘5X5’ is rooted within the communications inside navy forces by way of WWII to imply ‘I perceive you completely.’ The primary quantity represented the sign power of radio communication, and the second quantity represented the sign readability on a scale from 1 to five, with 5 being the most effective. Whereas the time period 5X5 isn’t used a lot anymore, it’s synonymous with ‘Loud and Clear’ – that means the absolute best transmission of communication and understanding. My clients are asking me to make one thing very particular, and it should meet their expectations for efficiency and reliability. I named the corporate 5X5 Precision as a result of I would like them to know that I perceive them completely and I plan to ship one thing that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Preece Precision additionally had 9 shooters represented amongst these prime 200 ranked shooters within the PRS Open Division, together with 1 within the prime 10. Garret Preece is the Grasp Gunsmith and proprietor of Preece Precision, and he additionally competes, putting 141st within the 2023 PRS Open Division. Preece Precision is predicated out of Ogden, Utah, which is simply north of Salt Lake Metropolis.

Subsequent up, now we have GA Precision (GAP), with 7 shooters represented and a pair of of these within the prime 50. GAP has been on this checklist of gunsmiths the highest professional PRS shooters have been utilizing longer than anybody else, all the way in which again to the inaugural 12 months of the PRS in 2012 (see the information). They have been the preferred gunsmith among the many execs for a number of years in a row and at all times has a number of shooters represented. GA Precision is a family title within the precision rifle group, so I doubt they want extra of an introduction.

Brian Allen PRS Shooter ATeam Precision

Brian Allen of ATeam Precision constructed the rifles for 7 of those top-ranked shooters, together with 2 within the prime 50. Like among the others, Brian is an completed PRS competitor who has been ranked as a pro-level shooter since 2014, along with his prime end at fifth general within the 2017 PRS Season. Brian is predicated in northeast Louisiana.

TS Customs had 6 shooters represented amongst these prime PRS opponents, together with 1 within the prime 50. TS Customs is owned and led by Travis Stevens in South Dakota. TS Customs was one of many prime gunsmiths the final time I printed this data, and I lined them intimately in that article. Travis has positioned within the prime 20 within the PRS Season standings in prior years. Travis is likely one of the youthful gunsmiths on this checklist, however as all the business appears to be shifting over to computer-controlled gear that wants a programmer as a lot as an operator – being from a youthful, tech-savvy era may very well be a bonus. Travis went to gunsmithing faculty but in addition went to highschool for CNC programming. So, TS Customs is a “full CNC store.” Travis has invested in some superior gear and instruments, together with an 8,000-pound Doosan CNC Lathe. It’s not simply the gear that’s superior although. TS Customs could be very agile as an organization, with a typical turnaround time on a {custom} barrel of simply 2-3 weeks.

Travis Stevens at TS Customs Chambering Barrel on CNC Machine
Keith Baker PRS Shooter

Keith Baker of ICE Rifles constructed rifles for five of those shooters, together with 1 within the prime 10 and one other within the prime 25. Keith Baker has shot 140+ PRS matches and has extra lifetime PRS points than some other shooter – by an extended shot! So, he’s one other OG legend within the PRS world. And Keith continues to be profitable national-level, two-day matches – together with a win simply a few months in the past on the 2024 MDT Frostbite. Keith is the Head Gunsmith and Design Engineer at ICE Rifles, which stands for Progressive Aggressive Engineering. When you requested Keith why it’s best to select ICE Rifles, here’s what he says, “A rifle constructed by ICE Rifles is a rifle constructed by me. I’ll use my experiences, my obsession with element and dedication to high quality, and my drive to continuously consider, innovate, and advance to construct the most effective rifle and gear I can. Each time.”

Roberts Precision Rifles additionally had 5 shooters represented, together with 1 within the prime 10 and one other 2 within the prime 50. That’s one other title that has constantly been on this checklist of prime rifle gunsmiths for 10 years. Aaron Roberts is the gunsmith behind Roberts Precision Rifles, and he’s received an extremely impressive resume, together with an intensive navy profession adopted by changing into a lead teacher on the world-renowned Blackwater Coaching Middle and the Captain of the Blackwater Capturing Staff. He’s a type of guys who has a excessive consideration to element and calls for lots out of his firearms – which sounds just like the making of a fantastic gunsmith! Roberts Precision Rifles is predicated out of Spring, TX.

RIP Precision Rifles had 4 shooters represented out of this group, together with 1 within the prime 25. RIP is predicated out of Leander, TX. It’s led by Wes Ripley, who has 20+ years of expertise in {custom} firearms design and manufacturing. Wes can be considered one of these prime 200 ranked shooters, ending 2023 at a hundred and thirtieth within the Open Division.

Mark Gordon - Short Action Customs

Short Action Customs (SAC) additionally had 4 rifles represented, with 1 of these ending within the prime 50. SAC was based by Mark Gordon in 2009, and so they’ve been a mainstay on this checklist since 2014. A few years in the past, Mark approached me to assist him analyze and publish a ton of bullet leap information that he’d gathered over years of constructing rifles and testing masses (see the bullet leap analysis right here). I received to know Mark as we labored on that challenge collectively, and I’ve by no means met anybody with the identical ardour and obsessive method to optimizing each side of the rifle system. He’s extraordinarily clever and brings a methodical and artistic method to troubleshooting points and figuring out root causes. For instance, one rifle that SAC constructed had occasional flyers. Via an exhaustive course of, Mark finally discovered that it gave the impression to be associated to inconsistent ignition. By merely swapping the set off, the bullets instantly all went into the identical gap. However, many gunsmiths would have stopped there – the rifle now shoots, ship it, and transfer on! As an alternative, Mark purchased a rail gun, rigged it up with high-speed sensors, and used his digital goal system to guage a wide range of triggers to be able to perceive what it was a couple of set off design that brought about inconsistent ignition. It wasn’t adequate to know that it labored or actually have a concept as to why; he needed to resolve it and show it with information and a scientific course of so he might keep away from that downside from ever cropping up once more on a rifle along with his title on it. That may be a excellent instance of Mark’s relentless and unconventional method to his craft of constructing precision rifles. For extra examples, simply go to the SAC YouTube Channel and watch his movies about processes and merchandise they’ve developed.

Ben Gossett AG Cup Champion Army Marksmanship Unit AMU Gunsmith

And I’ve to level out that the Military Marksmanship Unit (AMU) had 3 shooters represented, together with 1 within the prime 10 and one other within the prime 25. The gunsmith on the AMU is Ben Gossett, who has been excessive up on the leaderboard within the PRS for a number of years now. Ben gained the 2022 AG Cup in dramatic style by cleansing all of Day 3. That’s the match with the biggest money payout of the 12 months, and it solely consists of the highest professional shooters. So, the levels are designed to problem these top-tier shooters, that means they’re laborious! They’ve tiny targets and tight occasions, and Ben Gossett earned the nickname “Mr. Clear” by actually hitting each goal on each stage of Day 3 to win the AG Cup! You’ll be able to watch Ben killing it on the Capturing USA episode beneath:

Ben is the gunsmith who chambers AMU rifles. Whereas nearly all of those different shooters are doing this as a pastime, the AMU guys are competing as their full-time job. So I might wager that group of shooters could be very demanding, however clearly, Ben does a fantastic job on their barrels and organising their rifles.

Different Gunsmiths Used By 3 Shooters

Listed below are the opposite gunsmiths that have been represented by 3 of those prime 200 ranked shooters within the PRS Open Division:

Different Gunsmiths Used By 1-2 Shooters

Right here is the remaining checklist of gunsmiths that have been supplied by 1 or 2 of the shooters who completed within the prime 200 within the 2023 PRS Open Division:

  • Alamo Precision
  • Altus Capturing Options
  • Space 419
  • AxisWorks
  • Base Camp Customs
  • Billet Precision Rifles (Lane Shelley)
  • Bix’n Andy
  • Blue Mountain Precision
  • Buffalo Creek Precision
  • Caliber CGR
  • Central Utah Precision Rifle
  • Deep South Tactical
  • DI Precision
  • DW Customs
  • East Texas Accuracy Outfitting
  • Eazor Precision
  • Elite Accuracy
  • GCP – Gulf Coast Precision
  • Harless Precision
  • JE Precision Capturing
  • KI Precision
  • Kinport Peak Rifles
  • L3 Rifles
  • Manzella Precision
  • Masterpiece Arms
  • Meredith Rifles
  • Precision Capturing Companies
  • Quantum Gunworks
  • Purple Beard Gunworks
  • River Metropolis Rifles
  • Rollin Rifle Works
  • Rubicon Precision
  • Sage Nation Rifles (Steve Eames)
  • Salmon River Gunworks
  • Sawtooth Rifles
  • Snowy Mountain Rifles (Zane Kuhn)
  • South Texas Armament
  • Southern Precision Rifles
  • Straight Jacket Armory
  • Swift Creek Rifles
  • T-Field Barrels
  • Staff Summit
  • Unknown Munitions
  • WAR Rifles
  • West Texas Ordnance (Clayton Smith)

One of many fascinating developments in gunsmithing is said to pre-fit barrels, that are principally barrels which might be pre-chambered for a selected motion and could be put in by the top consumer. When you aren’t certain what a pre-fit is, I’d extremely advocate you learn this text: Pre-Match Barrels: All the things Your Gunsmith Needs You Knew.

Here’s a have a look at how lots of the 200 top-ranked Precision Rifle Sequence shooters are working pre-fit barrels in comparison with a barrel that was custom-chambered for his or her particular motion:

Pre-Fit Barrels For Precision Rifle

35% of the top-ranked shooters are utilizing a pre-fit barrel, and 65% mentioned their barrel was custom-chambered for his or her particular motion. There have been 3 guys who positioned within the prime 10 within the general PRS season rankings who mentioned they have been working a pre-fit on their competitors rifle: Austin Orgain, Austin Buschman, and Kyle Mccormack. These 3 guys signify 3 PRS Championships and a World Championship, so that they aren’t simply prime shooters – they’re the most effective of the most effective. And people guys are selecting to run pre-fit barrels! I don’t personally know all the prime shooters, however I do know these 3 guys and might say they’re extraordinarily aggressive. They need to win greater than most individuals can perceive. Don’t get me mistaken, they’re very good guys who assist different shooters – but when they thought a pre-fit barrel was hurting their precision one bit, they completely wouldn’t be working them.

So, it’s clear that pre-fit barrels are correct sufficient to win matches within the PRS. In a latest interview, I requested Austin Orgain, “What sort of precision are you trying to get out of a rifle earlier than you have got the boldness to take it to a match?” He mentioned, “Not less than 0.5 MOA at 900 yards. If I’m checking it on a very windy day, I largely simply have a look at the waterline and largely ignore left-to-right dispersion. I don’t need something that has greater than 2-3 inches of vertical at 900 yards.” 3 inches at 900 yards equates to 0.32 MOA. I additionally requested Austin Buschman what sort of teams his competitors rifle shot, and he mentioned his common 5-shot group was most likely round 0.1 mils, which is 0.34 MOA. Whereas their solutions have been totally different, it’s humorous they have been each round 0.32-0.34 MOA. Now, are pre-fit barrels correct sufficient to win a Benchrest match? Many would possibly argue no, however that’s not my space of experience, so I’ll keep out of that argument!

Let’s slice the information one other manner that can present perception into what number of of these prime gunsmiths are chambering pre-fit barrels, not less than in keeping with what the shooters mentioned on my survey. The chart beneath reveals each gunsmith that had 3 or extra shooters represented amongst this group, and you’ll see the breakdown of what number of shooters mentioned they have been working a pre-fit or a barrel that was custom-chambered for his or her rifle from every gunsmith.

Pre-Fit Barrels vs Custom Chambered By Gunsmith

It seems like each barrel from Stuteville Precision was a pre-fit, which was Wade’s plan when designing the Impression motion. TS Customs additionally had 100% pre-fit barrels. A lot of the others have been a mixture of pre-fit or a barrel custom-chambered. There have been additionally a number of gunsmiths the place not one of the shooters utilizing them mentioned they have been utilizing a pre-fit.

Lastly, we’ll slice the information yet another manner to offer some perception into the place the blokes working pre-fit barrels completed when it comes to general rankings. Have been all the blokes working pre-fit barrels decrease within the rankings? Once more, the information beneath is restricted to these gunsmiths who had 3 or extra shooters represented.

Most Popular Pre-Fit Gunsmith

You most likely observed that many (if not most) of those gunsmiths additionally compete at a really excessive degree within the PRS. That isn’t a coincidence. It jogs my memory of an article that I learn in SNIPER Journal again in 2014. Right here is the excerpt:

_______ heads up _______, and he likes to shoot. I’ve run into him a couple of occasions at numerous matches across the nation and at all times stroll away impressed {that a} man with a gun firm is on the market field-testing his merchandise in perpetuity. I don’t know what his ammo price range is, however I’m envious. … Aggressive shooters usually take day without work work and spend a whole weekend thrashing themselves and their gear whereas attempting to shoot small targets from numerous positions as shortly as attainable. They’ll shoot considerably extra rounds in coaching and competitors than the overwhelming majority of regulation enforcement officers and navy service members will in uniform. Typically, aggressive shooters additionally pay for every thing themselves. These are very devoted and demanding folks. _____ constructed his fame and his firm by promoting these folks rifles. If there was the smallest downside, he heard about it. … It’s the final strategy to take a look at and develop merchandise.”

Whereas that article was really speaking about John Paul of JP Enterprises, you may have simply as simply crammed within the blanks with lots of the names on this checklist. That’s the reality!

Certainly one of my very closest associates lately began capturing PRS and NRL Hunter matches, and he’s already run into some rifle points. He has owned high-end, {custom} looking rifles for years, however he lately advised me, “I’ve by no means run my rifles this tough – not even shut.” He’s now firing a number of hundred rounds, out for a number of days within the mud and wind, and expects his rifle to carry out completely each time he will get behind it – as he ought to! Whereas he’s owned the rifle he’s now utilizing in competitions for years, as he began competing, he’s shortly discovering all of the weak hyperlinks in his rifle system. I consider it’s best to completely anticipate lots out of your rifle, however that doesn’t imply all rifles can carry out at this degree. In truth, most can’t.

The reality is we’re a really demanding crowd. We put our rifles by way of lots, and we anticipate them to be excellent. We is perhaps the toughest group to promote rifles to! If now we have issues, the gunsmith goes to listen to about it. It’d actually be lots simpler to promote costly rifles to wealthy hunters who would possibly solely hearth 5-10 photographs per 12 months out of it. Most of these guys can’t shoot tiny teams at 800 yards – so even when the rifle was off, they wouldn’t comprehend it!

It appears evident that the individuals who serve this crowd of shooters the most effective are aggressive shooters themselves. They know what we demand from our rifles, and that first-hand data permits them to offer that degree of efficiency to their clients. Like Chad Heckler mentioned about 5X5 – gunsmiths who shoot competitively perceive these professional shooters completely, and so they’ll ship one thing that meets or exceeds their expectations.

So, for these on this checklist who’ve constructed their fame on serving a crowd of shooters like us – I tip my hat to you! Nicely performed, fellas!

Coming Up Subsequent

When you loved this content material, there’s extra to come back! Over the following few months, I’ll be publishing a ton of knowledge on what the highest precision rifle shooters are utilizing. Try the opposite “What The Execs Use” articles which have already been printed.

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