January 29th, 2009

Barney Lawton, Action-Builder and Barrel-Maker, Loses Fight with Cancer

The shooting world has lost a noted designer, machinist, barrel-maker, and record-setting shooter. We’re sad to announce that Barney Lawton passed away earlier this week, after a long battle with brain cancer. As Forum member Barry C. wrote to us: “We have lost a great friend and contributor to the shooting world. A fine man is no longer with us. Not only us shooters here in Montana but all over the country will miss Barney.”

Bobby Lawton, Barney’s son, announced on the 27th: “This greatly saddens me, I dont know exactly how I can put this so I will do my best. My father Barney Lawton’s battle with cancer ended tonight. He was born March 26, 1946. He will be greatly missed by all his friends and family. When he was a boy he enjoyed racing his fast cars and working on them when he could. Fast cars was one thing he loved. He was so fascinated with them he quickly became a expert at automotive machining. He was know well for his amazing engines.

One of his other loves in life was guns…. He built his first long range gun in 1987. He used the manual machines at his disposal (he made the action) in his automotive machine shop. This 30-378 Wby was the first long range gun i ever got to shoot and enjoyed it ever so much.

In the early 90’s my farther went on a few hunts out west in Wyoming. He quickly decided that the west was the place he wanted to be. In June 1991 we made our big move. He worked for a local automotive machine shop for a few years untill he decided to start up his own business….

I will tell you one thing it did not take this brilliant man long to figure out what made things things really tick. Some of my fondest memories I have of this guys was our great hunting trips and just down right throwing those projos down range. I hope I haven’t talked too much. I would like everyone to know that he was a great man. I could not have asked for a better father. Thanks for your time…. God Bless. Bobby.”

To read comments from Barney’s close friends and associates, and view some candid photos taken over the years, visit THIS THREAD on the SnipersHide.com Forum. If you wish to send condolences to the family, you can write to:

Sue Lawton
580 ½ N. Montana St.
Dillon, MT 59725

As a Shooter, Barney Was Among the Best
Barney was more than a master machinist and barrel-maker. Barney was a great long-range shooter as well. In 2007, Barney used a Lawton Action and Lawton barrel (chambered in 6-6.5×47) to set a spectacular 1000-yard Light Gun record. Lawton’s 10-shot group measured 5.185″. All ten shots were in the 10-Ring for a perfect 100 score. Shown below is Barney with his record target.

Barney Lawton World Record 1000 yards

Rest in Peace, Barney. You may be gone, but you’re not fogotten.

Lawton Machine Will Stay in Operation
The operations of Lawton Machine, LLC will continue, despite Barney’s passing. Lawton Machine will still build actions and craft barrels. Over the past few months, during Barney’s battle with cancer, Bud Williams and Bruce Baer have visited the shop in Dillon, Montana to assist and train employees. Bud has announced: “All necessary arrangements are in place, assuring the continuity of Barney’s legacy. Lawton Machine is looking forward, with your patronage, to providing quality equipment and service to the shooting community for many years to come.”

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January 29th, 2009

Olympian Kim Rhode Recovers Medal-Winning Perazzi

Kim RhodeKim Rhode has competed in four Olympic Games for the United States, winning Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in shotgun events. She won those medals with a cherished Perazzi MX12 shotgun, a firearm used by Kim throughout her competitive shooting career. Rhode took her trusty 12-gauge Perazzi to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and became the youngest female gold medalist in the history of Olympic shooting. She won a bronze in double trap at the the 2000 Sydney Games and then won her second gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games. In her 4th Olympic Games, she won a silver medal in skeet shooting in Beijing.

Sadly, Rhode’s gold-medal-winning Perazzi was stolen last September in Lake Elsinore, California, when thieves smashed the window of her truck and grabbed the shotgun which was stored in a locked case.

The theft was highly publicized, and Perazzi generously provided Rhode with a replacement. However, she still missed the trusty MX12 that had carried her to so many victories. She told the media last September: “there’s just no words to describe what the gun means to me…(it’s) a part of me. I’ve traveled all over the world with it.”

Well, there is a happy ending to the story. This week, Rhode was re-united with her Olympic scattergun. On Jan. 27th, Rhode received a call from the Riverside, CA Sheriff’s Department. It turns out that, during a parole inspection at the residence of convicted felon Gergorio Macias, Sheriff’s deputies found the shotgun, still in the original case. The gun itself was undamaged — except for the fact that Macias (or the original thieves) had removed the stickers and decals Rhode had collected over many seasons of international competition.

Rhode was reunited with her Olympic shotgun at a press conference in California this week. She says she plans to use her “old friend” in her quest to compete at the 2012 Olympics in London. According to Jim Shepherd, of the Outdoor Wire, Rhode declared: “I’m planning on getting more stickers… and I plan to include one from London (the next Olympics). This has helped me decide that for the next Olympics, I’m sure going for it.”

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