A few weeks ago, I flew up to Wyoming to shoot with the guys and gals at Gunwerks, Hopefully, you’ve read my class and range reviews here, here, here, and here. I also sat down with Aaron Davidson for about 35 minutes while I was there to pick his brain about Gunwerks, long range hunting and a variety of other topics. Aaron is a seriously sharp guy who has forgotten more about long range hunting than I will ever know. So sit back with a  beverage and give this a read. Nick and I are working on uploading the audio to a podcast soon, too . . .

Tyler Kee:  So, these aren’t in any real particular order.  The G7 scopes are based on the Nightforce NXS?

Aaron Davidson:  Basically, we went to Nightforce and said we would like you to build a configuration of your very tried and true, very popular, NXS configuration. Essentially, the main things that we have right now that are different is a capped, low-profile windage.  Most guys that are hunting are out in the field and not turning on the windage knob, they want to cover that up to protect it from getting inadvertently adjusted.

So, we’ve got a capped, low profile windage and we also have a G7 reticle; which there are two improvements that have been added to that NXS platform that weren’t available at the time we made this product with Nightforce. One minute of angle spacing on a reticle and at the time, all Nightforce turrets were 10 minutes per turn and we wanted 20 minutes of angle per turn, so that high speed adjustment that Nightforce has standard on all of their scopes was originally on our scope first. Those were two improvements we made.

TK:  They brought that out on the new NXS stuff?

AD:  All the new NXS scopes are high-speed, 20 minutes per turn and they do have the new MOAR reticle, which is one minute spacing.

TK:  O.K. So, someone could buy that NXS and the only difference between the NXS with the MOAR reticle and the standard is just the low-profile windage turret?

AD:  Yes, the low-profile windage and if you look at the reticles, there are some differences. We’ve got that quick holdover that corresponds with our G7 ballistic program.  We’ve got the quick hold over, Christmas tree style reticles set for half power; so wide field of view.  So the reticle is slightly different.  We talked about some vertical wind deflection for horizontal winds and our reticle has the tapered step, so it kind of helps you adjust for that.

TK:  Why would somebody buy the G7 over the regular NXS?

AD:  I think I’m happy to support any normal Nightforce product because the scopes are so good. They offer the great features that everybody wants. If the reticle is what you want, and the turret configuration is what you want, buy the Nightforce. We offer our product at a MAP pricing schedule, so you shouldn’t be able to buy Nightforce products with the same features for any less money. So, we should be competitive on price and we build turrets.  We build ballistic turrets for Nightforce scopes, so we’re happy to build turrets for this as well.

TK:  On that note, why did you pick Nightforce and not another manufacturer?

AD:  When we started Gunwerks in 2006, we also started a company called,  Huskemaw Optics.

TK:  I heard about that.

AD:  We had windage compensation added to a ballistic turret we wanted to develop, we contacted one of the manufacturers in Japan and asked them to build a scope for us. They had a model they had just developed that nobody had picked up and we were able to do some very slight modifications to it and create a scope package for that platform.

We started that company; we put it into play and brought some partners in and kind of made a go out of it. One of the things I noticed as we built that company was we weren’t able to put the effort in to develop the intellectual property; the testing and quality control; the ability to design and bring new product or new adjustment features or new mechanics; new models to market. That was pretty frustrating. We were spending a lot of our startup cash flow on things I didn’t believe were adding a real value to our customer’s bottom line.

We basically decided to split up a group of companies and we walked away from the Huskemaw product and pulled our Gunwerks company out and chased after Nightforce because they have probably the most rigorous testing and quality control process that any American company has. They are bringing in some product from overseas, some of it they make from scratch. So they’re building product at their factory and then they do bring some components in and do some light assembly or some quality control.

But, if you go to their shop and take a look at what they do, they test every single scope that goes to a customer; up to… I think one of the scopes, has 160 points they check and test before they send it out. Many of those tests are related to point of impact shift. So, if you go into their shops, you can see the guys swinging their scopes like a hammer, beating these little test stands and placing the scope in a test fixture. We’ve got one of those collimators out here and you can set up in a “v block” and you can see… do you get point of impact shift if you have a side impact? Do you get point of impact shift for actual impacts?  Do you get point of impact shift if you change the magnification or do you have backlash?

You start looking at a bunch of these little items and a lot of scopes start falling down when you start testing the parts, stuff like that. That would simulate like you’ve got your gun out in the field; your rifle leaning up against something, it tips over… you pick it up… is it going to shoot where it’s supposed on the next shot?  The Nightforce product is tested and proven to do that. If you test to a rigorous specification, pretty soon you get tired of rejecting or fixing stuff; so you evolve and develop manufacturing processes and designs that pass the Q.C. So, Nightforce, bottom line, is a tested and proven product.

TK:  O.K. I guess, kind of explain… shifting gears a little bit… the difference between G7, Gunwerks and you guys did the Huskemaw project… What other projects have you done before and what’s in the portfolio right now, because I just know about G7 and Gunwerks.

AD:  Sure. We used a company called Best of the West to market product and we actually did a lot of the technical and hunting elements in that company and I learned a lot about how to sell product and how to educate people. We did videos, we did shooting tips, etc.  So, when we decided to split up Best of the West, Huskemaw and Gunwerks group of companies that were all kind of partnered up, essentially we took Gunwerks and set out.

We needed to market our product, so we did a television show. A television show called “Long-Range Pursuits” and the focus of that show is education. So if you watch our show right now, we’ve got a hunt segment that’s maybe a third of the show. You’ve got some long-range ballistics type stuff where we educate you on how to do this or talk about shot placement of some other long-range shooting tip.

Then we’ve got a “tough shot” segment where we do a demonstration on some long shooting. Mike will pick up a muzzleloader and make a tough shot… a muzzleloader at 500 yards or he’ll break out the 6XC or the 6.5 and shoot a mile and see what it takes to hit a mile target. So he’ll just go through and do some demonstrations. In our prior season, we did very specific shooting tips. All those are available at longrangepursuit.com. All the episodes and then almost all the little shooting tip videos are available on our You Tube channel at Gunwerks.

TK:  So, “Long Range Pursuits” is still going on… still a current project, you guys are still putting effort into that?

AD:  Yes. There are basically three companies, or three brands there. You have Gunwerks and Gunwerks focuses on building rifle systems; calibrating them with scopes and the whole manufacturing process.  “G7” is essentially evolving into a ballistics consulting business… development business and we’ve kind of blend in a little optics platform with it and right now we have a line of scopes through Nightforce that feature our ballistic compensating reticles and turrets.

We also have the G7 ballistic rangefinder, which was a culmination about four years of development and design work. Basically put together a hand-held device that combines a weather station, a ballistic computer and a range finder in one. We’re pretty proud of that project. We do consulting work through that G7 brand for Leica. They have an IBS reticle system and an online ballistic calculating program that we provided for them.

We’ve done the same project for Vortex Optics. They have an online ballistic calculator that we provided for them and we do all the ballistic turrets for that company.  We do ballistic turrets for several other scopes under that G7 brand. So, G7 is kind of an optics/ballistics company. “Long Range Pursuits” is focus driven on videos, DVD’s, education product and TV show.

TK:  Between all the businesses, what kind of growth are you seeing and where?

AD:  We basically double every year.

TK: Double in revenue?

AD:  Yes. And for this year, a big source for our growth is the G7 Rangefinder. That’s a new product for us that hit the marketplace last fall.

TK:  Do you have a lot of people buying just that rangefinder or are they buying as part of a package?

AD:  We do have a lot of people who buy just the rangefinder.  We’ve built the rangefinder so that it works with any system, as long as you’re MOA or BDC.  So, if you’ve got a standard Nightforce scope or a Schmidt & Bender or you’ve got a Leupold, it has an MOA calibration on the reticle or a turret, and you program the ballistics into the range finder, it spits out an MOA correction. So one button press gives you the MOA, you dial it on the turret and hold the reticle and you make the shot.

TK:  O.K.

AD:  So guys are buying to put with their system.

TK:  On that note about the range finder system, I remember somebody sent me a link awhile back to the Barrett BORS system. That’s a totally weapons system mounted thing right?

AD:  Yeah, so it basically takes all of the things that the range finder does as far as correcting for a ballistic trajectory, you plug it into the computer and you program your ballistics from whatever weapon you’re mounting it on, into the device and that device is mounted on a scope. So, you’re provided the range to your target and then you dial that range onto the turret and it corrects for things like cant, shot angle and your air densities.  So it’s providing a similar functionality, but I think one of the negatives especially for a hunter is that it’s big and bulky and two, it’s for one, single weapons system. So, if you buy one and set it up on your gun, it is not easy to use on another rifle system.

TK:  Whereas this [G7 Rangefinder], I think they said, can do five profiles?

AD:  Yes, five profiles.

TK:  On the business aspect, you say you guys are doubling revenue every year. How much is the employee growth scaled with that? You told us you have 17 employees?

AD:  Yes, I’ll have to look at some trends and see, but I’d say we’re pretty close to that same type of number of employee growth. About four years ago, we were only about four people here, then eight, then sixteen, so close…we’re tracking really close to that.

TK:  So, I guess, why Burlington? And I know we talked about it some in class too…

AD:  Well, I think for us, this is “hometown.” It’s a very small town and I believe that Cody is a very nice place to do business. It’s a nice place for people to come as a destination, so it fits in really well with our shooting school. We have a lot of clients that come to our shooting school and their wives stay in Cody and shop, or go to the museum or do whatever, and then they spend some time visiting the park or whatever… it makes a nice destination for people.

The problem with the business on a bigger scale is the people element.  Right now, we’re too small for this shop and we’re basically trying to decide where the shop goes and the question is, are we better served in a bigger city that has more access to people with experience or do we go to Cody and fight the human resource battle of trying to recruit people and bring them here.

TK:  Which you guys are already fighting now…

AD:  Yeah, we’re fighting that battle, plus a little bit more, because we’re in Burlington.

TK:  It’s what…forty miles?

AD:  Yeah, so housing is non-existent in Burlington.

TK:  Do pretty much all of your employees live in Cody and drive every day?

AD:  Well, we have probably about 30% of them are commuting.

TK:  Oh, O.K.

AD:  But, we do still have some guys that live in Utah and they’ll do a week on here and then a week off… we have some guys that live all over, basically.

TK:  Funny we should talk about headaches; one of the questions I have here are what are your biggest headaches, what’s keeping you up at night, what’s giving you heartburn?

AD:  We’ve been in business for over six years and we’re still fighting supply chain, design specification. So one of the biggest hurdles that we have right now, overcoming in our shop is putting in enterprise systems to handle material resource planning. So what exactly is the model in part? What are the specifications for creating or making that part?  Who are the suppliers for that part and when do we need to order them to get them in place by the time we manufacture them. So it’s turned into a pretty big chore. We’ve spent a lot of effort in trying to develop some ERP systems and put some ERP systems in place and that’s a lot of work. That’s a full-time job.

TK:  On that note, how much of Gunwerks guns, like the LR-1000 is built in house and how much of it is…how much or what parts of it, or whatever it is you want to use to quantify it is outsourced?

AD:  I would say the three major components; the stock, the action and the rifle barrel.  Those three major components have some level of outsourcing in our company. We do not drill barrel blanks and cut rifling. We bring in a pre-turned blank from one of our top suppliers, whether it’s Broughton, Rock Creek. We’ve used a lot of Bartlein barrels; we’ve used Hart barrels, Benchmark, Shilen barrels. All those guys are trying to make very good product and, for us, we partnered with some of those guys who always send us good product; very consistent.

We don’t know if our barrels are going to shoot good until we’ve completed the whole system. There’s nothing worse than tearing down a rifle and then trying to figure out why it’s not working or why this barrel is broken. All those guys that we use will back it up with a replacement barrel, plus another barrel to cover the cost. They don’t like doing free barrels, so they’re going to try to make their stuff work the first time. So the barrel, we do outsource.

The stock shells, we just moved the manufacturing of our stock shells to McMillan; just barely. We’re just starting see our first shipments from them, so we to move all of our tooling and molds and patterns and designs over there; they developed a new gel coat process to match our color scheme. We are very excited to work with McMillan because they are an enterprise company. They build thousands and thousands of stocks. Stocks have always been a bottleneck in our production. Obviously, we don’t have room to make stocks in this facility so we are outsourcing that component.

Now when I say, “stock shell,” that’s a filled, cast stock shell that still requires all the finish work, all of the CNC machine inletting. We fit, we manufacture and fit a CNC bedding block in those stocks and then we do the recoil pads slings, swivels, and the attachment hardware, etc.  So the final manufacturing step for the barrels on our CNC equipment is handled here and then our actions, Dave Kiff is making a one-piece bolt and Jerry Stiller in Texas is making an awesome, Remington-style action body.

We’re just finishing projects with Jerry on a new design for an action that is a three-lug action design that takes a detachable magazine box. We’ll continue to let Jerry provide us with actions; he does a really good job, a very high quality product. That action body, barrel blank and stock shell are the components that we bring in, all the final CNC work, fitments, the design work, molds, tooling, etc., for the stocks and specifications on barrels, we provide all that.

TK:  Do you guys ever work on suppressed guns? Are you seeing that a lot?

AD:  I see a demand for it. A lot of the Western States are anti-suppressor for hunting.  I think if we could change the laws to allow suppressed hunting…

TK:  Texas just did…

AD:  Those laws are so silly because using suppression doesn’t mean you’re going to do anything wrong, not that you’re going to do anything wrong anyway. But, I think that’s a great thing to do for safety, for hearing protection, etc. I think it’s an awesome tool to use when you’re hunting, especially varmint hunting – predators and stuff. That suppression can possibly give you a follow-up shot where un-suppressed rifles don’t.

I’m very intrigued by suppressors. We don’t spend a lot of effort, we’re not a class three dealer, and most of our customers are out of state, so the logistics of handling that is quite a hassle. Usually what we’ll do is thread a barrel, provide a thread cap to a specification for either like a GemTech or a customer’s desired manufacturer, then we’ll ship them the rifle and they’ll order or procure the suppressor separately.

TK:  We did a story a while back with AAC…

AD:  AAC? Yes?

TK: That was back when Kevin Brittingham was the owner of AAC and he was still involved. He talked about how suppressed hunting has really changed things for him. He’s got kids and being able to take them out and he’s hunting with sub-sonic, you know, with a 300 Blackout round and he and his kid aren’t having to wear hearing protection, they can…his kid zipped one over the top…

AD:  I think guys are recoil sensitive, but also sound sensitive. Both of those have an effect on “shootability.” If you can get rid of the sound and get rid of the recoil, it’s a win-win.

TK:  Why did you guys start building your own gun systems rather than “accurizing” something else?

AD:  That’s a good question, actually. I believed that the ability to provide the complete package would allow us to compete against everybody else. Guys that have been in the industry for dozens and dozens of years and that we could have quality control, we could source the components that we want and we could put together the package exactly how we wanted it.

That element of combining the rifle and the ammunition, the optics and the aiming system, that’s something that some of the British guys and the continental guys figured out a hundred – plus years ago. They would package up these hunting rifles for the guys that were travelling the continent, hunting all over the place.  They would have calibrated sights, special ammo loads, everything’s in the box.  That whole aspect of providing to a customer a complete system that’s ready to go – ready to shoot a thousand yards out of the box, as our mantra goes – that’s pretty attractive…to have that control.

TK:  You mentioned the package, right?  If I buy an LR1000 from you, what do I get when I get that?

AD:  All of our rifle systems are finished rifles with mounted optics, and calibrated ballistic compensation. That means that the guns are broken in, that means we’ve shot our ammo or a custom-load development for a client in the gun. So you would essentially get, in the box, you would get the rifle with the scope mounted with a custom ballistic turret. Most of our customers are adding the G7 rangefinder to the package and then, say, the customer buys a couple hundred rounds of ammo. So you would essentially have this kit that you can take out of the box, load a shell, dial the range and pull the trigger and hit your target.

TK:  Why… I think the LR1000 is what, $7000? There’s obviously a delta between buying all of the individual components and then buying the LR 1000. Why? What do you tell somebody when they’re sitting across from you and you have to hard sell them?

AD:  We clean up a lot of rifle purchases that other clients have made. They can’t get anything to work so they send it to us and we’ll mount scopes, calibrate, get the loads worked out, etc. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide the whole kit, then he’s always got an out for why his gun didn’t shoot good, why the accuracy is not there, the first shot point of impact is not correct.

So, if you look at a company that provides the entire package, you essentially get that assurance, that guarantee that this package works. You don’t have to know how to mount a scope. You don’t have to buy your lapping bar. You don’t have to figure out what pre-load to put on the action screws. You don’t have to figure out how to pick the right cartridge or which stock design is the best for long-range hunting.

We basically put together an entire kit that works. We make guns that work. Bottom line.  That’s different from a manufacturer that says, “Here’s a gun, go figure out how to shoot it, figure out what scope you want and we hope you can work up a load that actually matches this barrel’s tube. That’s different. That’s why we compete. If you look at the price, I think we actually are very competitive on our price.

TK:  Do you think you should not look at it from a component cost standpoint, but more of a total cost standpoint and say to yourself, “You’re going to spend this money, one way or another”?

AD:  I think so. If you look at a list of services that we offer, we can start at the very bottom on chambering a barrel and crowning and fitting it to your action for $250. If you take our a la carte services – which match up with any gunsmith anywhere in the country – take those a la carte services and add up an entire gun build. A barrel, chambering, Cerakote finish, bedding, fitting a stock, etc. Take all of those services and add them up and you will end up with the same dollars or maybe just a little bit more. So, if you tried to piece the components together yourself, you should spend that much money.

TK:  I definitely got that feeling and I doubt you need validation on why your products work, but I definitely got that feeling when I showed your website to people at work and told them, “Hey, I’m going to go do this.” They said, “$7000? That’s a ludicrous sum of money!” Then I sat here shooting and starting thinking, “To get to this level…this is out of the box!” You know, because you saw that I wrote that. In ten rounds, I was putting rounds on steel, almost every time at 950 yards. That’s ridiculous. To go do that on my own is probably comparable in cost and wasted time…

AD:  There are some ways to get there and spend less money. Let’s say you start with a Remington Sendero. You’ve got eleven, twelve hundred bucks in a gun. You start there, you break it in, you put this scope on it, you calibrate it. You can end up with a system that can shoot that far, but it’s not the same shooting experience. The product doesn’t perform the same.

Start looking at some small, subtle things about rifles. Accuracy is just scratching the surface. How tight is the group? What does the gun do when you shoot it first thing in the morning? What’s it do in the evening? What’s it do when the barrel is clean? When it’s fouled? What’s it do when it’s hot, you know after ten or fifteen shots?

You guys [in class] didn’t see the point of impact change shooting these guns and the barrels get so hot you can’t touch them. So you have to ask yourself as far as the performance goes, how does it perform across the board in all situations? Look at the coldbore performance, look at the little things like the shootability.

Compare that rifle to like a seven-mag chambering to a factory, say Ruger, which I think is a great rifle. All the big manufacturers make awesome rifles for the dollars that they charge, but you compare how easy and how comfortable it is to shoot. Look at the stock design, look at the way it pulls away from your face, minimizing that moment, reducing that barrel vibration and just some of those little things that we do to try to make that rifle as easy to shoot accurately and precisely as possible. That adds some value.

You take that Sendero, $1,300 bucks, and let’s say we do a scope mount, that’s $2,500 bucks. You’re at $3,800 and you want to put a trigger in it, you got a couple hundred bucks there, there’s four. You’re not happy with the stock, let’s upgrade the stock so it shoots a little better. If we do like a Bell and Carlson style like with variable precision and end up putting $400 or $500 into a stock, you do a McMillan style; you’ve got $700 into a stock.  So, pretty quickly we’re at $5,000.

You’re at $5,000 and you’ve got a very basic, factory barrel and action. The action is not true and on center and the barrel chamber was cut on a milling machine with multiple tools, not piloted, so it’s not true to the bore axis. If you look at the barrel finish, it doesn’t clean up as nice, it fouls quicker, your not going to get the same coldbore performance, the hot barrel performance. So you’ve got $5,000 into a gun that does not offer that exceptional level of performance.

TK:  And you still haven’t done any load development at that point.

AD:  True.

TK:  Switching gears, what is your typical customer like? How often do they hunt? How much do they spend with you? How much do they spend on hunting? Is what they spend with you a drop in the bucket or is this…

AD:  It would be easy to say that all the guys that are customers are wealthy, that have a lot of money, that spend a lot of money on hunts. We do have a lot of customers that are like that. What I see – if I could generalize and put all of our customers in the package – all of our customers are serious about being able to shoot long range.

Most of our customers are hunters and whether they’re investing a lot of time off (a couple of weeks on a serious hunt) or they’re investing a lot of dollars (like a minister’s tag in Alberta) could be two or three hundred thousand dollars. Both of those types are attracted to our product because our product allows them to get a payoff on their investment. Whether it’s in their time or their money.

So we see the construction worker that hammers nails for a living, he’s interested in buying the product.  We see the oil field executive that works 100 hours a week and has a very small window to be successful in the hunting field. Both of those guys are our type of client. We see the hard-core mountain hunters. We see some guys who spend some time in Africa. But I would say, classifying them all together, they’re serious about being effective in the field.

TK:  How big is your customer base? How many people do you serve now? How many people can you count as Gunwerks or G7 customers?

AD:  As far as a touching rifle or scope systems, we’ve probably touched 7,500 clients in the six years we’ve been in business.

TK:  How many people would you say are…in the US, how many people are doing long range hunting seriously? It is a thing they’re committed to, that is the way they hunt, it’s not a passing fad for them. It’s a hard core… I don’t want to use the word obsession, but…

AD:  I have never seen statistics from like the Shooting Sports Foundation. You figure there are fourteen or fifteen million hunters in the States, right…for hunters?  I figure my market is less than 10% of that. So, we’re chasing after about a million guys who are potential long-range shooters. You know, guys that are doing mountain hunting or are interested in long-range shooting. That’s a fairly small market. But on the other hand, we only need to take 10% of that to be happy.

TK: All right, personal time… what’s the longest shot you’ve ever taken that’s resulted in a kill?

AD:  In my opinion the only shots you can count, for long shots, kill shots are the first shot kills. My longest is 890 yards on an elk.

TK:  How about second shot kills?

AD:  I’ve never had one.

TK:  Never had one?

AD:  No.

TK:  All right. You mentioned something in class about sighting… shooting a “sighter.”

AD:  Oh, yeah. I’ve never been in a situation where I wanted to risk a shot. Our requirement for good shooting is different than most guys’ because we usually have a camera rolling and our whole purpose for being out in the field is to capture that event on film. Many times we’ve partnered with an outfitter to promote his outfit or we’ve invested time away from our families to be on this hunt to capture this film.

So for us, it’s a business proposition. We can have no failures. So we take shots we know we’re going to make. Now, on the other hand, we do spend some time with other people hunting so I’ve seen missed shots before. I’ve filmed people make poor shots. I’ve seen the breakdowns and the failures, so it’s been good exposure to see those. But our shots…we make first shot kills or else we don’t take a shot.

So, that “sighter” shot? That “sighter” shot is for the ultra long-range shooter trying to reach out beyond the 1000 yard mark, where the wind is so difficult to determine and he wants to take a shot at a rock, say 40 or 50 yards to the side… try to figure out what his dope is. See if there’s any vertical push. If his 10 or 15 mph assessment of the wind speed holds true and he can make that correction, get back on target and take a shot. For me, again, for what we do, there’s still a little too much variability in that. It reduces that hit probability just enough that we don’t take those shots.

TK:  What is your favorite varmint cartridge?

AD:  That one’s easy. I’ve already pitched that hard to everybody.

TK:  6XC?

AD:  That 6mm XC is so cool because of the way it handles the wind, because of the recoil factor and, for me, I don’t like just to kill things. I mean, I like to shoot stuff and I like to see that proven performance, but for me the goal is not out to be killing stuff.  The goal is to execute perfect shots. So, when I talk about varminting, I want to hit stuff at 800 yards.  Prairie Dogs at 800 yards is not happening with .22’s, .250’s, or .223’s. You’ve got to be doing something different. That cartridge offers the least amount of recoil with the least amount of wind deflection out there.

TK:  Favorite big game cartridge?

AD:  I’m going to have to do a little sales pitch on this 7mm long-range magnum.

TK:  We know it’s not something that’s .30 caliber.

AD:  Right, it’s not .30 caliber. The goal is to get consistency, minimal recoil. The most velocity delivered down range. So you can extend your terminal performance and have the least amount of wind deflection and to do that with hunting weight bullets, a bullet that we’re confident will kill when it hits the other end. So for us, that 160 grain to 180 grain, 7mm is the ideal bullet to build a cartridge around.

The question is, how fast do you want to push it? We haven’t had favorable experience in consistency with the high velocity cartridges and VLD style bullets. It was 3500 to 3600 feet per second, a little too fast. Sooner or later, you see flyers and we can’t handle that when we talk about hunting and taking animals. It has to be consistent. So, we’re looking for somewhere in that 3000 to 3100 feet per second range.

I’m not a real big fan of the belted case. We made a big push and a big resurgence on the 7mm Remington Magnum. That’s a phenomenal cartridge for a factory cartridge. I don’t like the headspace control we have on the belted case. There are some things that you can do with a cartridge when it headspaces off the shoulder.  We’ve partnered with Hornady to develop a cartridge case that fits in a standard magazine box that has no belt. It’s called the 7mm Long Range Magnum. We have 100,000 pieces of brass sitting in our warehouse right now that Hornady manufactured for us. That is the long-range hunting cartridge for North American big game – 180-grain bullet, 3100 feet per second.

TK:  What’s the BC on it?

AD:  BC is .674 on a hybrid, 180 grain.

TK:  Last question:  Do you still have the first gun you ever built?

AD:  I do. In fact, it kicks around at the shooting school. It’s serial number 1, it’s a 6.5-284. Its on its fifth barrel, second stock. So it’s seen some changes and some evolution.

TK:  Cool.  Is there anything else you want to add?  Anything our readers should know?

AD:  I think the common perception is Gunwerks is expensive. I want the perception to be Gunwerks offers value and that’s our goal. Not to be the most expensive and not to serve the high-end clientele. Our goal is to offer value no matter where you’re coming from. If you look at the list of services that we offer, we’ll start from scratch. We’ll start with just education videos, a ballistic turret for your scope. We’ll teach you how to shoot long range, whether you buy our products or not. That’s what I want to be known as. We’re the guys that help you shoot long range.

8 Responses to An Interview with Gunwerks Founder Aaron Davidson

  1. I have a NXS -8X32X56 NIGHTFORCE SCOPE CALLED THIS AM TO BY A G7 TURRET AND RANGE FINDER BUT YOU WOULD NOT SELL ME THE TURRETT OH WELL DISAPOINTED !

  2. I have called them and spoke to Aaron and he was very helpful. I really appreciated the time he took to explain what I wanted to know. super videos on youtube, very helpful about long range shooting.

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