Think about how technology has changed the world in the past fifteen years. In 2006 social media was in its infancy and Myspace was king, the iPhone was still a year away from launching, and Netflix was only renting DVDs via postal service. Look at your own
habits and those of your family or walk into any airport, coffee shop, or restaurant and take note of what people are doing. Whether or not life was inherently better or worse before you became aware of the word “emoji” is debatable. Right or wrong though, the way recent technology has influenced our everyday lives is staggering.
Since 2006, shooting, and long range shooting in particular, has greatly benefited from technology. Fifteen years ago laser rangefinders were available and in their early stages of development. Most long range shooting solutions were developed from drop tables printed in books and then the needed data was copied to a small sheet of paper and taped to a rifle stock. Some websites had ballistic calculators, but as the first smartphone wouldn’t even launch until a year later, that wasn’t something you had access to in the field, so the same tape-it-to-your-stock solution was implemented. The vast majority of hunting optics had capped turrets so estimated hold-overs and various “long range” reticles were used. Getting a rifle and load to match up with those hash marks was a challenge. Rifle scopes with exposed turrets for dialing longer shots tended to be large, maximum power scopes used for benchrest or F-Class style competitions; and many of those did not have zero-stops or a way to keep the scope from accidentally being dialed while in the field. The 308 Winchester was the most popular long range cartridge and even the distance considered “long range” was arguably different than it is today. It was in that era, specifically 2006, that Aaron Davidson founded Gunwerks with an idea from the past but heart and mind set on bringing firearms into the future through the visionary application of innovation and technology.
That idea was building and selling complete shooting systems, not simply a rifle. The complete shooting system idea was borrowed from 150 years ago when hunters could purchase a rifle
with regulated sites, ammunition and all the gear required for their extended safari. At Gunwerks a shooting system includes much more than a rifle and ammunition. It includes the mounted optic, a customized ballistic turret, bipod, ammunition and much more. The whole shooting system together supports the company motto, “1000 Yards, Out of the Box!”
What makes up a complete rifle system?
This is the platform. Everything else is an accessory. Long range shooting is demanding and the tools you choose will define your success. It has to be precise. Consistency is the most valuable attribute. A stable platform and trackable recoil enhance performance.
This is a major component of a long range shooting system. Absolutely no point of impact shift is allowable, and the adjustment tracking has to be perfect. These features separate the best products from a large field of good ones.
To achieve the performance long range shooters require, a solid and strong scope mounting system is required. The best scope in the world is limited by the potential movement of the mounting system.
This customized feature offers fast ballistic correction for hunting and competitive applications. It’s the last component to be installed on the rifle system.
Most guys are looking for tight groups at 100 yards. Precision at long range requires more. Temperature stable powders and better bullets with high ballistic coefficients get on target more reliably.
A stable two point rest offering free recoil rifle movement is the secret to connecting the rifle's potential to the shooter’s ability. Gunwerks uses a bipod and rear bag to get a steady platform. It is lightweight, portable, and has a quick release mount for a picatinny rail.
To get first shot hits at long range, you have to know your distance. The only way to accurately measure it is with a laser rangefinder. With the distance measured, you can calculate a ballistic solution for elevation and windage that corrects for air density and inclination.
Rangefinding and calculating ballistic solutions has benefited greatly from technological advancements over the past 15 years and Gunwerks has been a leader throughout. In 2009 the Gunwerks G7 ballistics calculator was implemented as a mobile website solution and quickly experienced heavy, consistent usage. The quest for a ballistic solution for field use, especially when mobile coverage was unavailable, immediately became paramount. In 2011 the G7 Ballistic Rangefinder, the first in its class, was launched.This innovation allowed the shooter to range a target and account for environmental factors while displaying a shoot-to solution in MOA, MILS, or a Gunwerks unique BDC (bullet drop compensation) solution that worked with ballistic turrets. Simply stated, a ballistic turret cut for use at sea level could easily be used at 8,000 feet elevation with the G7 Rangefinder because it could account for the elevation of the cut turret and the actual elevation where the shot would take place, plus other environmental factors, and provide a shoot-to distance to dial the turret. The G7 BR2 Rangefinder was the catalyst for the improvements and innovation that brought about the BR2500 and now the new Revic BR4.
The new Revic BR4 Ballistic Rangefinder is the culmination of 15 years of ballistic rangefinding expertise and technological advancement. The BR4 will range up to 4,000 yards and provide a shooting solution to its maximum range, unlike its predecessors. It features the new Revic solver with advanced wind and earth based effects to provide accurate, ultra-fast corrections in MOA, MILS, or Shoot-To-Range for use with BDC turrets. It can be programmed via a connected Bluetooth device, and with Over The Air Update protocols it has access to the latest software improvements. Technology has come a long way from a small sheet of paper taped to a stock and this is the same vision and technological innovation that will continue to bring long range shooting into the future.
The gunsmith and custom rifle has been a fixture in firearms manufacturing from the very beginning. Quality work and craftsmanship is synonymous with most custom rifle builders, but most small shops are limited by resources and manufacturing capabilities. This limits the vast majority of gunsmiths to sourcing readily available components to assemble into a complete rifle. Gunwerks got its start on the same path, but with the vision to design, engineer, and eventually manufacture its own components without being beholden to status quo designs and manufacturers to supply components like actions, stocks, barrels, bottom metal and optics. The past 15 years have been a continuous quest to that effect. Starting with the LR1000 stock design the first year and the GLR rifle action introduced in 2014, 2018 brought the introduction of the ClymR, Magnus 2.0 and Verdict rifle stocks produced fully in house. In the same vein, 2021 holds in store one of the biggest paradigm shifts in Gunwerks rifle technology yet.
A tight shooting rifle is the easy part. Quality, repeatable, long range-capable optics are what make or break the long range rifle system. Gunwerks introduced the G7 line of riflescopes in 2010 and the BR2 Ballistic Rangefinder in 2011. A 5 year multi-million dollar R&D project culminated in the introduction of the Revic PMR 428 Smart Rifle Scope in 2018. The Revic PMR and forthcoming Revic electro-optic ecosystem represent the state of the art in optics and modern long range ballistic solutions, employing just the right amount of technology and mechanical reliability to put precise and efficient ballistic solutions in the hands of every shooter, from the beginner to the pro. The PMR is a whole new way of looking at long-range shooting. When you dial the turret, it calculates the bullet trajectory utilizing a full suite of sensors and an advanced ballistic algorithm–and it calculates the solution in real time. Just dial the elevation turret until the display shows the target range. It’s as simple as that!
Some cartridges have withstood the test of time in the hunting world. The classic 30-06 Springfield, 270 Winchester, 308 Winchester and 300 Winchester Magnum are prime examples. They continue to be manufactured and sold as primary options in most standard commercial hunting rifles. Competition shooters and long range hunters alike gravitate to cartridges that offer more efficiency or other forms of innovation. Over the years the primary cartridges of Gunwerks rifle builds have changed from initial offerings in rounds like 7mm Remington Magnum and 300 Winchester Magnum to more modern designs or popular wildcats that offered an increase in performance like the 6.5x284 and the 7mm LRM (Long Range Magnum) cartridge. Gunwerks founder, Aaron Davidson, developed the 7mm LRM to achieve balance over extreme performance. Getting away from the “faster is better” mentality and focusing on a cartridge capable of consistently firing a heavy and high BC (ballistic coefficient) bullet without punishing recoil was key. Modern technology from rangefinders, weather meters, and ballistic programs greatly increase the hit probability so the shooter can utilize consistent and efficient cartridges instead of relying on speed alone to combat wind and bullet drop for longer shots. Currently the 7mm LRM along with newer cartridges that were designed specifically for long, heavy bullets like the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and 300 PRC are primarily requested along with the capable 28 Nosler cartridge.
Gunwerks produces loaded ammunition with extreme consistency, which is a key component for their rifle purchasers. When a ballistic turret is cut for a certain cartridge/bullet combination at the time of a rifle purchase, the customer benefits by the ability to order more ammunition later that will still match their turret. That is something very difficult to consistently replicate with large commercial ammunition alternatives.
Long range shooting is an entirely different discipline from traditional marksmanship. While the mechanics and fundamentals of pulling a trigger and making an accurate shot are the same, the adjustments and compensation for bullet drop and wind deflection require a scientific approach and specialized tools. Long range shooting takes a discipline that has been learned “on the job” for centuries, to a skill best learned in an organized and structured environment. To this end Gunwerks set out, not only to build the rifle and accessories needed to shoot long range, but also founded Long Range University to teach people the skills and confidence needed to use these tools to their full potential. Gunwerks built a state of the art range and training facility in Burlington, Wyoming in 2013. Since then, they have conducted training and hunting experiences around the world and in 2021 secured the new Sheep Mountain property outside Cody, Wyoming to provide a realistic setting for mountain shooting training.
Innovation plays a large role in the manufacturing of Gunwerks products. Offering customers the ability to choose options and configure their rifle system results in millions of possible variations. Rifles with a choice of steel or titanium actions, different cartridge options, color schemes, barrel lengths, muzzle breaks, stock lengths, bottom metal, and various optics produces rifles matched perfectly to each customer’s individual needs, making for a better shooting experience and more successful hunters in the field.
This doesn’t come easy. Significant investment in CNC machining and enterprise resource management systems and processes has enabled Gunwerks to handle the massive amount of variability from rifle to rifle while maintaining quality and consistency. Although less visible to the outside world, this is one of Gunwerks’ key defining achievements.
Service & Support
Great products are only as good as the support offered and the brand standing behind them. Gunwerks prides itself in providing unparalleled service and support with the goal being unconditional customer satisfaction. Gunwerks customers are customers for life, with ammunition, technical support, and rebarreling services available to the rifle owner for the life of the rifle.
After 15 years of steady growth through innovation and technology, and no plans of slowing down, it’s hard to imagine where Gunwerks will be 15 years from now.
This article was originally published in Houston Safari Club's "Hunter's Horn" magazine