Author Profiles

Gordy Gritters

Gordy Gritters

Gordy Gritters is a full-time professional gunsmith who has been gunsmithing since 1987. His business was in Pella, Iowa from 1987 until he moved his shop to Kansas City, MO in 2011. He has now settled in Florida. Gordy has done a lot of general gunsmithing, repairs, refinishing, and rebluing over the years, but his primary focus all these years has been on accurizing factory rifles and building extremely accurate custom rifles.

Gordy got involved in competitive benchrest shooting soon after beginning his gunsmithing career. He started Iowa’s first BR-50 rimfire benchrest range. Then he was instrumental in starting and operating a 200 yard club benchrest match at the Marion County Sportsman’s Club range, which is still going strong today. He has been the Rangemaster for all of the Varmint Hunter Jamboree matches in Pierre SD.

He then wanted to get involved in 1000 yard benchrest competition, and since there were no 1000 yard ranges in the Midwest, he founded the Iowa 1000 Yard Benchrest Association in 2002, which held registered IBS 1000 yard benchrest matches until 2010. The Iowa club hosted two IBS 1000 Yard National Championships during this time.

Gordy has built rifles that have set many club, state, national, and world records, and that have won numerous State, Regional and National Championships in a number of disciplines, including 1000 Yard Benchrest and F-Class competition.

Gritters helped Grizzly Industrial design their line of Gunsmith’s Lathes, which are designed for chambering high-accuracy rifle barrels. He then worked with Grizzly to produce an instructional DVD called “Chambering a Championship Match Barrel” to show how to use his chambering techniques.

Gordy was frequently one of the featured speakers at the Varmint Hunter Jamboree symposiums, and has written numerous technical articles that have been published in Varmint Hunter Magazine over the years. He has some of these articles posted on his website under the “Published Articles” tab. Gordy has been on Varmint Hunter Magazine’s “Gunsmith Advisory Panel” since the mid-1990’s, and has helped many people over the years with all aspects of their gunsmith training, questions, or problems since then. He has been instrumental in helping a lot of new gunsmiths around the world set up shop and start their own businesses.

He has taught NRA summer gunsmithing classes for three years at Murray State College in Oklahoma. These classes were in precision rifle smithing with an emphasis on accurizing AR-15 type rifles. He now teaches precision rifle-building and accurizing classes several times a year in his shop in Kansas City, as well as being available for teaching private classes at other shops around the country. All his classes and instructional DVD’s are geared toward both do-it-yourselfers and professional gunsmiths.

His most recent project is developing the “Extreme Accuracy Series” of instructional precision gunsmithing DVD’s to help others learn the fine art of building and accurizing rifles. These DVD’s are available through his website, as well as through other vendors in the US. See what Gordy is doing today:

Sherman L. Mays

Sherman was born in Southern California and raised in the agricultural area of the Northern Sacramento Valley where hunting the canals and rice fields with a single shot Winchester bolt action rifle brought about the love of guns and hunting. But it wasn’t until he was in the Army that he sought to explore stock work and checkering and began learning his chosen craft. Now, some forty years later, he is identifying the problems he had in learning, and with his writing and illustrations, hopes to assist others in not having to make the same mistakes.

Visitors will likely hear Sherman explain his cluttered work space is organized chaos, but he knows where most everything is. His three ring binders full of tracings of checkering on shotguns and rifles reflect a long history of his interest, and ability to duplicate factory checkering on many makes, models and grades of firearms he has come across.

An active supporter of new shooters, he is a constant fixture at SCTP, NSSA and ATA AIM competitions, offering assistance on stock fitting and modifications. Sherman lives in South Central Tennessee and having retired several years ago, he continues crafting gun stocks and creating elaborate checkering patterns in his small shop.

Sherman L. Mays

Stuart Otteson

Stuart Otteson combined both his profession (mechanical engineering) and his avocation (marksmanship) in producing his writings about Bolt Actions. An engineer with the U.S. Department of the Navy (retired) in his spare time Stuart engaged in Bench-rest competition and groundhog hunting. He spent six years compiling and illustrating volume one of “The Bolt Action” originally published in 1975.

His second book, “The Bolt Action” Volume II arrived in 1985. Stuart also served as a technical editor for Rifle Magazine from 1983 to 1993 and design consultant for Remington Arms (1988-1993). Now long retired from his day job; designing submarines and even longer from the avocations of gun writing and firearms consultant, Stuart lives in Southern Maryland enjoying his retirement.

Fred Zeglin

Fred Zeglin

Fred Zeglin retired from building custom rifles after 30 plus years and specialized in wildcat designs for his clients. He still dabbles in wildcats for fun. In 2005 his first book was published, “Wildcat Cartridges”. Since that time he has written six more books including “P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith”.

Fred Spent many years as the Firearms Technology Coordinator and the Short Term Gunsmithing Program Coordinator for Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, MT. He wrote and implemented the curriculum for the firearms program at the college and still serves in an advisory capacity for the program. He currently owns 4D Reamer Rentals Ltd. so he deals with more reamers and headspace gauges than any other gunsmith you will ever meet.

He has taught NRA Gunsmithing courses in Wildcat Cartridge Design at Murray State College in Oklahoma, Flathead Valley Community College in Montana and Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado.  Fred also worked with AGI to create a Wildcat Cartridge lesson and Reloading instruction on DVD. Fred has written articles for Precision Shooting Magazine, Guns and Ammo, and many others. He hosted an award winning podcast about gunsmithing (past episodes are archived) at:

Fred also writes a gunsmithing blog, that can be found at:

He assisted with “Cartridges of the World” 16th edition from Gun Digest. And in 2020 he updated the “Gun Digest Book of Exploded Gun Drawings”, 4th edition. Fred is writing and editing the “Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series”. Titles include:  Understanding Headspace, Chambering for Ackley Cartridges, Chambering Rifle Barrels for Accuracy and Gunsmith Tools, Cutters & Gauges, A-Primer. Look for other books in the:   “Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series” coming in the near future. Visit:

Ken Howell

Ken Howell

Dr. Kenneth E. Howell was a long time gun writer and was friends with just about every famous gun personality you can name from the 1950’s to 70’s. He was a long time Editor for Rifle and Handloader Magazines.

Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges For Rifles and Handguns, by Ken Howell, ended up being Ken’s Magnum Opus. It is unique in that it contains dimensions and drawings of hundreds of cartridges. Most important of all there are darn few errors in the tome.

At his passing in December of 2015 Howell left an unfinished work he titled “Inside the Rifle” in which he was using documents from his old friend Homer Powley to give a layman’s explanation of internal ballistics in modern rifle cartridges. This would have been a great read, maybe some day the manuscript will surface? One can Hope.

We acquired the rights to “Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges for Rifles and Handguns from Huntington’s Die Specialty when they retired. It’s strange how life works as we consider this book to be a treasure that needs to be curated for the shooting community and it almost fell in our laps. We take great pride in keeping Ken’s work alive.


“This book has earned the reputation of being THE authority in the field of reliable dimensions for small arms cartridges. The author [lists] which cases are useful in making other cases which may not be available. This is the bedrock technical book for this subject area and is a necessity for any hardcore reloader. It is worth more than the price asked.” — Gene C.

“This is an absolutely incredible [book] for wildcatters, ballistic students and serious cartridge handloaders. It provides the critical dimensions (imperial and metric as well as displacement) for about 1840 cartridges[.] The first 100 pages explain the mechanics of cartridge forming. The cartridge drawings are in B&W, very legible and easy to copy or scan[.] Especially on the metric side there are a few notable cartridge ommissions… but it does not detract from the overall importance of this magnificent work, which I consider the best of the genre. A great buy for serious cartridge students at any price.” — Pierre Van W.