Local company an industry leader in manufacture of firearm actions

Print Article

  • Defiance Machine manager Mike Lee takes aim with a rifle built using one of his company’s actions. Based in Columbia Falls, Defiance is an industry leader in accuracy and reliability. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 1

    Defiance Machine employee Logan Chamberlain keeps a close eye on the production of an order. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 2

    Custom rifles built on Defiance Machine actions have dominated the Precision Rifle Series for the past four years. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 3

    A finished Defiance Machine Deviant action sits on top of the raw steel is was manufactured from. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • Defiance Machine manager Mike Lee takes aim with a rifle built using one of his company’s actions. Based in Columbia Falls, Defiance is an industry leader in accuracy and reliability. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 1

    Defiance Machine employee Logan Chamberlain keeps a close eye on the production of an order. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 2

    Custom rifles built on Defiance Machine actions have dominated the Precision Rifle Series for the past four years. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 3

    A finished Defiance Machine Deviant action sits on top of the raw steel is was manufactured from. (Jeremy Weber photo)

Precision is the name of the game at Defiance Machine in Columbia Falls.

Since 2009, the manufacturer of high-end precision rifle actions has been making a name for itself across the country and beyond with its products that are renowned for their accuracy and reliability.

“Making rifle actions is all about accuracy first. People don’t buy our stuff because it is pretty. It’s all about accuracy and consistency,” founder and owner Glen Harrison said.

A former bench rest shooter, Harrison made a name for himself as a competitor before deciding to try his hand at rifle manufacturing. Harrison wanted a more accurate rifle action, but believed it could make one better than what most manufacturers were producing at the time. Becoming a pioneer in using computer aided design to build his rifle actions, Harrison bought the needed machines, taught himself to use them and set out to prove he could make a better rifle. More than 26 years later, he and his company are industry leaders in the design and production of precision rifle actions, producing actions for their own label as well as for more than 150 other companies across the country.

“I thought there was a better way to make a rifle action so I could make a more accurate rifle. So, I designed one and made a few of them and it snowballed,” Harrison said. “It started as a hobby and grew from there.”

For the past four years, Defiance’s actions have dominated the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), an organization that tracks how more than 2,000 competitors place in major rifle matches across the country. PRS matches are tactical/practical long-range rifle matches shot using in-the-field conditions. Typical ranges for steel targets are from 300 to 1,200 yards, which are engaged from prone and improvised positions, often under extreme time pressure.

In 2017, a full 30 percent of the top competitors in the series were using rifles built on actions manufactured by Defiance Machine.

So, what is it that makes Defiance actions so great? It is a combination of factors.

“There is not a simple answer to that, it a combination of a lot of things like design, how we machine things and how we process and handle the materials,” Harrison said. “It’s a lot of things and an attention to the details. It all plays in to how accurate the rifle is.”

Harrison’s first dive into precision action manufacturing was his business Nesika Bay Precision in western Washington. After selling the company to Dakota Arms in 2003, Harrison moved to the Flathead Valley to pursue another opportunity before starting Defiance Machine in 2009. Originally housed in a 1,200 square foot building near the Kalispell International Airport, Defiance made the move to its current home just west of Columbia Falls in 2011. What was a 12,000 square foot facility has been expanded to 20,000 with further growth expected in the future. With 22 employees producing 5,000 actions in 2017, Defiance is still growing.

“We are growing and expanding and we are profitable. We have a bunch of new equipment out there are we are looking for people to operate it,” Harrison said. “We have had an aggressive but steady growth.”

While Harrison admits that Montana’s tough property tax laws are not exactly friendly to his, or any other, manufacturing operation, he is encouraged to see a growing manufacturing industry in the Flathead Valley and beyond.

“The community doesn’t realize the scope of high end manufacturing going on in this area, in western Montana, at all. There is some really neat stuff going on around our area, not just what we do. There’s some really high tech, cutting edge, world-class stuff going on,” he said. “I don’t see a lot of training in the schools around here for that kind of stuff and I think that is a huge missed opportunity. Manufacturing creates a lot of jobs in the community. If you add jobs in manufacturing, you are adding value to the whole community.”

As for the future, Harrison says business is good, and he expects it to stay that way.

“The bolt action market is always going to be there. I’ve been doing this for 26 years and each year there has been an average of a 17 percent increase in the bolt action market each year,” he said. “The AR market goes up and down depending on who is in the Oval Office, but bolt action sales never seem to suffer.”

Print Article

Read More

A host of prescribed burns planned for area

September 19, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Hungry Horse News Folks may see plumes of smoke in the next few weeks as a host of prescribed burns are planned for the area the Forest Service recently announced. Here’s a look at those planned in the Columbia Falls...

Comments

Read More

Yesterdays: TV on Teakettle

September 19, 2018 at 8:30 am | Hungry Horse News 70 years ago Sept. 17, 1948 The Tally Lake Ranger District was selling 370,000 Christmas trees along Wild Bill Creek. The sale would require six miles of new road and the trees cost 25 cents a bale...

Comments

Read More

The Great Bear: Wilderness at 40

September 19, 2018 at 8:25 am | Hungry Horse News Story and photos by Chris Peterson The Great Bear Wilderness will see its 40th anniversary next month. It was codified into law on Oct. 28, 1978 and added 286,636 acres of wilderness along the Mid...

Comments

Read More

For the outdoor enthusiast, the Great Bear has a lot to offer

September 19, 2018 at 8:25 am | Hungry Horse News It was just a rustle in the leaves below the trail, something that barely caught our attention. It was a subtle noise, but one that suggested something in the bushes below that was bigger than just a...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2018 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X