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Prescott AZ and guns

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by eastwood44mag, Aug 7, 2007.

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  1. eastwood44mag

    eastwood44mag Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    I'm noticing that there is a substantial presence of the firearms industry in Prescott, AZ, and was just wondering why that is.

    Off the top of my head: J&G Sales, Ruger, and Yavapei are all there. Seems like fairly high gun density. Anyone care to tell me what property values are out there?:D

    But seriously, what establishes the gun-meccas?

  2. mr_dove

    mr_dove Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    I've been wondering that myself. I've never been out to Prescott myself but I'm thinking that Flagstaff may not be such a bad place to live. I could feasibly commute down to Phoenix if I REALLY, REALLY had to.
  3. nplant

    nplant Member

    Dec 23, 2005
    My best friend's parents retired there recently. It has a very SF bay-area weather feel (except for the snow, obviously), and they enjoy the location very much.

    The real estate there seems to be higher-priced than much of the surrounding areas, as it has evidently become popular for retirement-aged folks. I don't get the impression from either of them that it's openly pro-gun (neither of them are anti-gun, but I don't think either is pro, for that matter).

    Seems like a nice place to visit, and I'm sorry I haven't had the time to go visit yet.
  4. HimNAz

    HimNAz Member

    Jul 23, 2006
    You Just Scratched the Surface

    Some of the finest gunsmiths in the world live and work in the Prescott area. Chuck Roger and Don Williams, for example. Gunsite is just up the road a piece. Louie Awerbuck, one of the premier instructors in the world, is near there somewhere.

    I had Mr Rogers work on four of my 1911 style pistols back when I could afford him. His last two pistols that I know of sold for about $5500 to $7500 - slightly out of my price range.
  5. JesseL

    JesseL Member

    Aug 26, 2004
    Prescott, AZ
    I think it's partly just the long standing western culture, and partly due to the influx of gun industry folks that came here in the '60s, such as Jeff Cooper. We've got nice weather year round and a very gun-friendly political climate.

    My grandfather, John Raymer, moved his family here around '71 after he retired from the USAF as a Lieutenant Colonel. He got a degree in manufacturing technology from Yavapai College and helped start the gunsmithing program there.

    The Prescott area also has:
    Ransom Intl., of Ransom Rest fame.
    Chuck Taylor, well known instructor.
    Gabe Suarez, well known instructor.
    Louis Awerbuck, well known instructor.
    Wolfe Publishing, publisher of shooting books and magazines.
    Davidson's, large firearms distributor.
    Jim Lockwood, well regarded holster maker.

    Until a couple years ago we the world famous gunsmith Fred Wells.:(

    A couple weekends ago there was an event held on the courthouse square downtown by a local historical reenactment group. Around a hundred folks were open carrying and I didn't see a single person bat an eyelash.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2007
  6. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    No. CA.
    The land of east coast migrants, I am told. Very much retired money and ideas. Not sure about the good, the bad, or the ugly.

    I was looking into that corridor myself years ago. Pretty, but found out, not to my liking. You have to get a paper and subscribe and read. It will help I am sure.

  7. JeffKnox

    JeffKnox Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Manassas, VA
    As an almost-native of Prescott...

    We moved to Prescott in about 1971 when I was in 5th grade.

    Our moving there was probably a major influence on Prescott becoming a gun mecca because when we moved there we brought Wolfe Publishing with us.
    Dad was Editor and Publisher of "Rifle" and "Handloader" magazines and was a partner in the business. At that time I think Joe DeSay had already relocated J&G there from Havre Montana (though I'm not positive) and there were a couple of excellent gunsmiths in town including Paul Marquart, Bill Atkinson, and Fred Wells. The presence of two major gun magazines and several prominent gun writers - including Neal Knox, Jim Charmichael, and Rick Jamison - meant that the local guys got some international exposure and became rather famous.
    One gunny visits another gunny and likes the neighborhood and next thing you know you've got a major gunsmithing program at the local community college (that's spelled Yavapai by the way and rimes with have a pie), Jeff Cooper buys a bunch of land just north of town and calls it Gun Site, that brings in all kinds of instructors and students which exposes more gunnies to the beautiful town and climate of Prescott, and you eventually end up with a very gun oriented town - though the town and town-folk are pretty oblivious to the thriving gun-culture under their noses.
    As I run it through my head, here's the list that I come up with:

    Wolfe Publishing
    J&G Sales
    Davidson's Distributors
    Gun Site
    Ruger (they make all of their autoloaders there - it's where I met my wife)
    Yavapai College Gunsmithing Program
    Paul Marquart (mostly Olympic style small-bore these days I think)
    Bill Atkinson (Chief designer for Ruger now)
    The Stidworthy high-power rifle dynasty (a family of national champions)
    Chuck Taylor
    Vang Comp Tactical Shotguns
    Bob Corbin (former President of NRA)
    Sandy Froman (former President of NRA)
    Jeanelle Cooper (Jeff's widow)
    Rachel Wells (world-class engraver and widow of master rifle builder Fred Wells)
    and a bunch of top-notch gunsmiths and firearms trainers that I can't keep track of as they spin-off from the establishment.

    There are probably some other gun interests that I missed.

    Property around Prescott is relatively expensive, beginning to rival the costs in California where most of the current residents came from. You can probably still find a small house for $200k, but it will be small and in a run-down neighborhood.

    I hope to get back into the area myself some day.

    When I was in College at Yavapai I worked at J&G and lived in rooms in the back of Bucky O'Neil's gun shop. I got employee discounts in both places, had full use of reloading presses and shop equipment, and got first dibs on trade-ins. I ran with the guys from the gunsmithing program and instructors or former instructors from Gun Site. We shot combat-style competition at least twice a week and spent hours sitting around listening to Chuck Taylor and other experienced trainers wax prolix about effective techniques with rifle, pistol, shotgun, and sub-guns. Man, what a life!

    Emory Riddle Aeronautical University also has a campus there so there were always a couple of trust-fund guys with plenty of money to make sure the noise and smoke continued...

    Boy, now you've got me all nostalgic and homesick.

    It is a beautiful area. Be sure to visit if you ever get the chance.

  8. Sheldon J

    Sheldon J Member

    Jul 11, 2005
    Cereal City, Michigan
    That is for sure, my friend Rich Eckert, can fix or custom build any gun, I've known him since HS and visit him regularly since he moved out there. A couple of the large machine shops have their roots in the Prescott area that could be a big part of it.:D
  9. eastwood44mag

    eastwood44mag Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    So it's heaven if you want your guns worked on?
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