The Gunwerks LR-1000 shooting system at the Peacemaker National Training Center
While in West Virginia for an NRA Electronic Target event, we had a chance to try out a CarbonX rifle from Wyoming's Gunwerks.
Gerrardstown, West Virginia
- There's a sense of accomplished derived from hitting a target at 1,000 yards. Even more so if you make it into the ten ring. While I can't boast the latter, I did go five for five on the Peacemaker National Training Center's
Patriot Range a few weeks ago in West Virginia. Full of vigor and pride, I approached the Center's President (Cole McCulloch) for information on the rifle.
"Don't ask me," said McCulloch. "Ask Mike there, he's the one who makes them."
Standing in the shadows, taking it all in, was Mike Davidson of Gunwerks. And he was smiling like a jack-o'-lantern.
"That's the LR1000. Liked that gun now, did you," he asked. Yes. Yes I did.
Seems Mike and his brother Aaron started the company about six years ago. A hobby that turned into a career, Gunwerks was quest to do just that ... make a gun that works.
"Aaron was studying Engineering at the University of Wyoming," Mike started. "He started getting into guns ... dabbling here, dabbling there. He had a few made and then thought why not buy some machines and make our own. Just started from there."
What it's turned into is more than a pair of brothers tinkering around some warehouse garage. Using a proprietary collection of designs and codes, they have been developing custom fit rifles for big time hunters and competitive shooters throughout the nation.
"There are a lot of manufactures out there who make nice rifles," said Mike. "But we assembled a unique medley of state of the art equipment that allows us to be pretty innovative with the design. Using our technology, and a Nightforce Optics scope, we gather a whole bunch of field data and basically turn that into a ballistic profile and build a turrent to make that specific rifle perfect."
The genius that makes it all happen
Gunwerks' LR-1000 rifle ready for packing
There are always questions surrounding a new business. Do we have a good product? How long can we survive? And, to steal from Field of Dreams, if we build it will they come? For Gunwerks, they have come a running.
"We've been growing and we're still growing," said Mike. "There are four times as many people working for us right now as of this time last year. Course that means four times as much traveling. That can be difficult.
"We're located just east of Yellowstone park, right up there in God's country. So leaving that for the concrete jungle is always a challenge. But business is good. We get to meet some pretty cool people and visit some pretty cool places."
It's the demand that demands the travel. Not necessarily for the rifle I shot (that was the CarbonX Model ... popular with the Rifle Golf crowd at places like Utah's Spirit Ridge), but for the LR-1000.
"That's our flagship shooting system. It's the name we coined back in 2006 when everything started. Probably accounts for about 90% of our sales."
Though I can't tell you anything about the LR-1000, I can point you to their webpage with the description, specs and a few videos including one where Mike nails a 20x20 target from a mile away in two shots. Pretty incredible when you think about how it all began. A pair of brothers holed up outside of Yellowstone Park making rifles.
"It's about division of labor," Mike smiled. "He's the genius behind it all. I'm the workhorse who tries to makes it happen."