This month we are going to talk with Jim See of Center Shot Rifles llc., located in Pittsville Wisconsin.
Jim has operated his custom rifle
business full time for 3 years, opening the business in January of 2008. Jim has been a forum member for 6 years and a Sponsor for the past 2 years. Jim has also written feature articles and reviews for the online magazine. As a relative newcomer to the business, Jim has successfully vaulted his reputation for building first class custom rifles
. He has also brought to market the wonderful line of Muscle Brakes
, and is currently working out the bugs in a line of gunstocks
Jim what got you started in the rifle building business?
I had been a long time shooter and reloader, and I guess my interest in hunting and shooting had always drawn me to home gunsmith my rifles for better performance. I was a successful Plumbing foreman, and frankly was quite bored with the job. After 14 years I decided I needed a change.
Once I decided I wanted to build rifles I dove in head first. I enrolled at a tech school in the machining department and excelled. I was driven and motivated and it had shown. My instructors had noticed my enthusiasm and new my goal, since 3 of them had worked in some sort of weapon system manufacturing prior to teaching, they were eager to show me everything they could to help me perform. From there I spent 6 weeks in NRA sponsored classes in Trinidad Colorado, the gunsmithing instructors there are first rate.
My mechanical ability was natural and well honed from the commercial plumbing trade and that made the transition very easy. The organizational skills I honed expediting commercial plumbing contracts, aids the day to day business requirements of the rifle shop.
The Muscle brake has been a huge success for you, how are the gunstocks coming along?
Yes, the Muscle Brake has done really well, I hope I served Neal Cooper well developing his idea into a line of brakes that he envisioned. What started out as one has turned into 4 distinct sizes, and from the feedback I have gotten customers are very happy.
Gunstocks, well, slow, I have a cutter making the industrial laminate stocks, sealing the product and then base painting with two part enamel. From there they are shipped to me. Initially I was only going to supply the blanks to gunsmiths for their use, but the interest for raw blanks from individual do-it-yourselfers has been good, so I will continue with that as long as my cutter can hold up his end. That has been the biggest challenge so far.
I am expecting 18 stocks this week with about half of those spoken for. From the blank form the stocks are fitted to the barrel action and pillar bedded. At that point they are sent for film dipping, or painted in any number of camouflage patterns in house.
Jim, you have some impressive one shot long range kills on your record. What can you tell the new guy getting into long range hunting to get on the fast track to success?
Well, I am no expert; many guys have done much more than me. I guess the most important thing is to first be a good hunter. Regardless of where that experience is garnered, you still need to know game habits and how weather affects your target animals behavior and movements. Know your equipment well, and have a sound understanding of external ballistics and the effects on your shooting.
Since I take most of my long range hunting shots on a bipod and my belly, I feel, f-class matches are a great way to learn how conditions affect our projectiles. If thatís not available a fellow just needs to get out and practice; ranging, form, and wind reading, under as many conditions as possible during the months leading up to hunting season. Predetermined stand sites are also an important consideration, to prevent excessive packing around the country side.
How many years have you been hunting in western states?
My first western hunt was a Colorado archery hunt for elk in 1998. A friend and I went out blind, and packed a camp 2 miles into a wilderness area. I shot my first elk on that trip, a cow. I have been going west ever since.
Your wife must be very understanding?
Cindy is great; she understands my need to go off on hunting trips. Itís a little harder for me with leaving my 3 kids for extended periods of time. Right now Samantha is 7, Danny 5, and Garret is two. In a few more years Iím sure one of them will want to tag along, that is something I am looking forward to.
What are your plans for this summer?
Well the annual family fishing trip is in June. I look forward to this every year. Cindy gets some well deserved time off, and the kids love it. I will spend my one and only week of the year chasing a trophy Musky
. I will be attending the Varmint Hunters Jamboree in Pierre SD again in July. Last year was my first time and this year I plan to actually shoot in it. It is a great little event to meet people in the industry, and meet up with some good friends. I also hope to get a few more f-class matches in this year and shoot in the Nationals in Lodi this fall.
Thank you for your time Jim, is there anything you would like to add?
Well, thank you for the opportunity to be the first sponsor in your profile interview. You run a great site Len, and I hope it continues to grow. The interest keeps growing and that is a good thing for fellows in this line of work.