Oklahoma job shop breaks into precision rifle manufacturing

Oklahoma job shop breaks into precision rifle manufacturing

December 11, 2013 11:10:28 AM

For a small job shop in central Oklahoma, tool and die work and prototyping are pretty common. But for Pritchett’s Machining, these types of jobs are only part of the equation. Preston Pritchett has found a successful niche for his company developing rifles and manufacturing them for the U.S. Military and Special Forces.


Because business for job shops often fluctuates between busy and slow times, Preston is always looking for opportunities to bring in new business and a more consistent workflow. Manufacturing rifles has given the company a lot of new opportunities.


Finding A Niche 


Although the company specializes in the development of rifle actions (the components of the rifle that are necessary to chamber and fire a projectile), Pritchett’s Machining assembles and supplies the total package.


“The action of a rifle is its most important component. It determines the overall accuracy and precision of the firearm,” explains Preston Pritchett, president of Pritchett’s Machining. “That’s why we focus so much on the details and development of this part of the rifle.”


For this reason, Pritchett’s relies on Mitsubishi EDM to develop the most sound and accurate action possible. In 2002, Pritchett’s became a Mitsubishi EDM customer after a test cut blew away the competition’s speed.

Pritchett_machining

 

A Superior Design

 

 
“In addition to speed, the Mitsubishi FA20V’s 18-inch Z-axis was long enough to accommodate our long action part,” says Preston. This longer Z-axis allows Pritchett’s to develop a more rigid action by machining all of its components from one piece of material. 


Unlike most designs, which combine separate components into one assembly, Pritchett’s has been developing a one-ofa-kind action that uses 3D machining to cut all components from one piece. Based on its performance and distance, this prototype has earned a great deal of interest from the U.S. Military.


The typical sniper rifle shoots one minute at 1,000 yards. Pritchett’s prototype nearly doubles that distance, shooting one minute at 1,760 yards. The new rifle gives a shooter a 50-percent chance of hitting the target. And, its design delivers the precision and distance the military requires. 


“If things continue to go our way and the military decides to go with our new rifle design, we’ll be pretty busy,” explains Preston. “It’s good to know that Mitsubishi gives us the ability to handle new business as it comes our way.”

 

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