August 8th, 2019

Jesse Kaufmann — The Art of Engraving

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering
Impressive engraving by Jesse Kaufmann. Note how the scope rings have been engraved to perfectly match the engraving pattern on the Remington 547 action.

Who says fine craftsmanship is dead? There’s a fellow up in South Dakota, Jesse Kaufmann, who produces some of the most handsome engraving we’ve seen. Jesse, who operates Black Hills Gunstocks and Engraving LLC, is a true master at metal engraving and he also does superb stock checkering. Here are some examples of Jesse’s engraving work:

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering

Jesse Kaufmann engraving stock checkering black hillsAbout Jesse Kaufmann, Master Engraver
Jesse Kaufmann was a professional stockmaker for Dakota Arms for over a decade. In 2009, he was inducted in the American Custom Gunmakers Guild as a checkering specialist. In January 2017, Jesse was awarded his Master Engraver certification by the Firearms Engravers Guild of America. With his broad skill set, Jesse is able to offer his clients a unique and complete package of stock work, finish, checkering, and engraving for a custom package that is all completed under one roof by his own hands.

Jesse Kaufmann’s work has been featured in American Rifleman, American Hunter, FEGA’s The Engraver, Sports Afield, Waidmannsheil Journal of German Gun Collectors Assn., Gun Digest 71st Edition, Modern Custom Guns Volume 2, Dangerous Game Rifles 2d. Edition. For more info, visit, email blackhillsgunstocks [at], or call Jesse at (605) 499-9090.

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May 1st, 2015

Stunning Hand-Crafted Walnut Tactical Stock for the ‘Hide

Sniper's Hide Trophy Rifle Black Hills gunstockszoom photo

Even in the “tactical” world, hand craftsmanship is not dead yet. Chad Dixon of Long Rifles Inc. (LRI) is building the lastest Sniper’s Hide Cup Trophy Rifle. These photos show the exquisite stock crafted by Chad and Jesse Kaufman of Black Hills Gunstocks & Engraving. Chad cut the stock on his CNC mill and Jesse did the final sanding and finishing on the wood. Here’s what master craftsman Kaufman had to say about the project: “We delivered the Long Rifles Inc. Mausingfield today! I was so very pleased that Chad and the staff at the shop thought it looked great. It means a lot to be able to support my family and household with the income I receive from my labor. May the Lord bless you all. — Jesse.”


Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical 5 Comments »
March 9th, 2014

Black Hills MK 262 Mod 1 5.56 Ammo — Now for Civilians Too

If you shoot Service Rifle, or use a .223 Rem at medium to long range, you should read J. Guthrie’s review of Black Hills MK 262 Mod 1 ammunition. Originally developed for military applications, this very accurate ammo is now available for civilians to purchase. It uses a special Sierra 77gr MatchKing bullet with cannelure. Black Hills did extensive testing to develop this ammunition, shooting over 250,000 test rounds with various propellants and projectiles. Eventually, the Sierra 77gr MK bullet was chosen, with a powder that delivers 2750 fps MV (from a 20″ barrel).

Black Hills MK 261 OTM Mod 1 Sierra MatchKing MK
READ Full Review of Black Hills MK 262 Mod 1 Ammunition

Sierra’s 77-grain bullet delivered great accuracy at long range. Guthrie explains: “Several bullets were used during the development process, including the 73-grain Berger, 77-grain Sierra MatchKing, and 77-grain Nosler HPBT. Black Hills finally settled on the MatchKing when Sierra agreed to put a cannelure on the bullet. In test fixtures Sierra’s bullet proved slightly more accurate. Accuracy was exceptional, certainly an improvement over M855 [military 5.56x45mm ammunition].”

Guthrie’s article explains that this ammo design started off as target ammunition developed for the USAMU. That was followed by a 1999 request from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division for a round that would work with a suppressed, short-barrel M16 variant. Over the years, as Black Hills produced more ammo for the U.S. military, this ammunition continued to be improved. Guthrie notes: “The name changed with each modification. MK 262 Mod 0 was adopted in 2002, Mod 1 came along in 2003 with the cannelure, and an improvement to temperature sensitivity came along in 2005.”

According to Black Hills President James Hoffman, the MK 262 ammo “developed a cult following… so [in 2011] we started offering it to the public. The only difference is the packaging — it is the exact same ammunition as is delivered to the U.S. Military — loaded to the exact same specs”. The commercial version is sold in black/red 50-count boxes labeled “5.56mm 77 GR OTM”. The exact same ammo is issued to American war-fighters in 20-round, brown cardboard boxes labeled “5.56mm SPECIAL BALL, LR MK 262 MOD 1.”

Field Test of Black Hills MK 262 Mod 1 Ammunition

About J. Guthrie: Last April, at the much-too-young age of 37 years, outdoor writer J. Guthrie passed away in his sleep, leaving a wife and two young children. Field & Stream noted: “Guthrie was already a major player and a pro’s pro, but he wanted to be more. He wanted to be a Gun Writer in the old style. It’s a terrible loss for all of us that his run was cut so short.”

Story idea from Grant Guess. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 24th, 2013

New Colt “Hunting and Defense Match” Ammo from Black Hills

Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC (Colt) is introducing a line of ammunition for Colt tactical and competition rifles. This new Colt-branded “Hunting and Defence Match” ammo will be manufactured by Black Hills Ammunition. The initial offerings are designed for rifles chambered for 5.56×45 NATO and will feature 55gr and 77gr Sierra match bullets. According to the Blog: “The 77-grain cartridge may strike a few people as somewhat familiar. It is for most purposes Black Hills MK 262 77-grain ammo… considered by many to be the best factory-loaded 5.56 NATO ammunition on the market.” Colt Black Hills ammunition 5.56 Triple Nickel .223 Rem

Colt Claims Ammo Will Shoot 1-MOA Groups at 500 Yards
Colt says its ammunition will deliver long-range accuracy. During the development process, this line of Colt ammo was ballistically tested in Colt rifles with a requirement of consistent five-shot, one-MOA (5″) groups at 500 yards. Colt calls this the “triple-nickel” standard (5 shots, 5″, 500 yards). Colt claims that the “Triple Nickel” capability of its ammo “assures the experienced shooter incredible performance right out of the box, with no need for load development or experimentation.”

Holding 1-MOA at 100 yards is not that exceptional. But maintaining 1-MOA groups at 500 yards would be impressive indeed. This would require consistent powder charges and tight bullet-seating length tolerances to keep vertical dispersion to a minimum. It will be interesting to test the Colt-branded ammo when it hits the market and see if it works as well as claimed.

“We’re very proud of the ‘Triple Nickel’ requirement of this ammunition,” said said Joyce Rubino, Vice President of Marketing for Colt’s Manufacturing: “Our goal with Black Hills was to bring to market a superior line of ammunition for sport shooters to use in Colt rifles, and we feel we have achieved this through the partnership with Black Hills.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 2 Comments »
February 24th, 2012

New .204 Ruger, .300 Whisper, & .223 Rem Ammo from Black Hills

Black Hills has announced three new types of loaded ammunition for 2012. (This is all-new factory ammo, not commercial reloads.) The first caliber is the .204 Ruger. The new round uses the 32gr Hornady V-Max™ projectile that has proven to be one of the most accurate and effective bullets available for use on varmints.

Black Hills 2012 Ammunition

125gr and 220gr (subsonic) Options in .300 Whisper
The second is the .300 Whisper. This cartridge is the brainchild of JD Jones of SSK and has been around a long time as a proven wildcat cartridge. This versatile 30-caliber cartridge is designed primarily for use in M4/M16/AR-15 family of rifles and allows for use of a wide weight range of projectiles. Initial Black Hills loads for this cartridge are a 125 grain load that essentially duplicates 7.62×39 ballistics, but with far superior accuracy, plus a 220 grain Sierra MatchKing at subsonic velocity.

New 69gr SMK load in .223 Rem for AR15s
For use in AR15s with 1:9″ twist barrels, Black Hills’s customers have asked Black Hills to provide factory ammo loaded Sierra’s highly accurate 69gr MatchKing. In response to customer demand, for 2012 Black Hills will be offering the 69gr SMK loaded to 5.56mm pressures and velocities in military specification brass. In this new ammo, Black Hills has utilized modern temperature-stable, flash-suppressed propellant.

New Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
February 18th, 2011

Black Hills Offers Lead-Free Hunting Ammo and New 5.56 Ammo

Black Hills Ammunition (BHA) produces high-quality new and remanufactured ammo. Black Hills remanufactured .223 Rem and .308 Win ammo is popular with tactical shooters because it is cost-effective, yet very accurate since it is loaded with premium match-grade bullets. Black Hills has now come out with a line of hunting ammunition using the very accurate Hornady GMX (Gilding Metal eXpanding) lead-free projectiles. New loads include: 80gr .243 Win; 120gr .260 Rem; 120gr 6.5-.284 Norma; 130gr 270 Win; 150gr .308 Win; 150gr .30-06; 139gr 7mm RemMag; and 165gr 300 WinMag.

5.56 mm ammo SMK

The GMX (Gilding Metal eXpanding) bullets are constructed of gilding metal, the same material used for bullet jackets. GMX bullets expand quickly and reliably upon impact, and retain nearly 100% of their weight. These GMX bullets contain no lead, making them a good choice for areas that restrict use of lead-cored bullets. To learn more, contact Black Hills Ammunition at (605) 348-5150.

5.56 mm ammo SMKNew Black Hills 5.56 Ammo
For 2011, Black Hills is releasing two new 5.56mm offerings for commercial sale. First, it offers a new match load with 77gr Sierra MatchKings (SMKs). The new 5.56mm ammo pushes the 77gr SMKs at 2750 fps from a 20″ barrel. According to Black Hills: “this load delivers sub-minute accuracy consistently from 10-shot groups.”

Next, Black Hills is making its 50gr police 5.56mm load available to the public. The BHA 5.56mm 50gr TSX load was developed for U.S. law enforcement. This load utilizes a specially-built version of Barnes Bullet Company’s TSX bullet. It provides expansion to .50 caliber immediately upon impact and consistently penetrates to an ideal average penetration depth of 14″ in ballistic gelatin. Black Hills calls this “an ideal civilian defense or law enforcement patrol-rifle round” that works well through a variety of barrel lengths.

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February 12th, 2009

TechShooter's Black Hills Prairie Dog Adventure

Site contributor Chris Long (aka “TechShooter”) has crafted a report about his July, 2007 Prairie Dog Expedition in Wyoming. Ralph and Lenora Dampman of Trophy Ridge Outfitters served as guides for the trip. Trophy Ridge runs ‘Dog hunts near the town of Carlile in the NW range of the Black Hills, near Devil’s Tower National Monument. Primarily big game outfitters, Ralph and Lenora have access to thousands of acres of private ranch land. They run guided prairie dog hunts during their off-season. Chris reports “The terrain is beautiful, a welcome change from the South Dakota prairie, with lots of hills and Ponderosa pine trees. [These] ranch lands are home to some prodigious dog towns.”

Chris continues: “The goal of this trip (besides having a great time) was to get in some long range (1000+ yard) opportunities, and possibly even a shot over 1500 yards, in order to qualify for the VHA 1500 yard certification. I had worked up some really good loads for the 6.5-284 TubeGun and the .260 AI using the new 130 grain Berger VLDs, and wanted to see how they performed at these extreme ranges. I also wanted to see how the trusty 6 Dasher performed as a long range varmint cartridge.”

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Chris Long was joined by two friends who came all the way from Virginia. Chris reports, “Our plan was to get in four days of intense, long-range shooting. We were not disappointed! The shooting was from 100 to over 1000 yards, and the dogs were everywhere. There were plenty of targets close in, so there was a lot a variety. It is especially challenging to move in and out in range by these extreme amounts. It gave me a lot of practice estimating range and wind conditions, then seeing if I could get the come-ups and windage right on the scope for the first shot at the new range. By the end of the trip, I was getting it pretty close, with some 1-shot hits out to about 600 yards.”

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Chris’s primary long-range rifle was his 6.5-284 Tube-gun (photo above) running 130gr Berger VLDs at 3165 fps. Chris reports the 130s can be shot at 3165 fps with no excessive pressures, and “scary, one hole, 5-shot 100-yard group accuracy.” With a B.C. of about 0.6, the 130s shoot flatter and exhibit less wind drift than the 140gr class bullets at 2950 FPS.

Chris’s second gun was a more conventional bolt-action in a Franklin LowRider stock, set up with both 6mm Dasher and .260 AI barrels. Chris notes: “The Dasher has proven itself in spades as an extremely accurate cartridge for F-Class Open competition, and I was anxious to see how it performed as a varmint cartridge. The performance was excellent, with many hits out past 1000 yards. This rifle is set up as a switch-barrel rig, and is the platform for the 260 AI. I made a portable barrel vise that mounts in the trailer hitch receiver on the Suburban. That, with a rear entry action wrench, makes barrel changes a 5 minute affair. I would shoot until the barrel got a bit hot, then switch and proceed with the other caliber.”

CLICK HERE to read the complete story. It contains more load data, details of hits made out to 1330 yards, and many great photos of the Wyoming scenery. For .260 AI and 6 Dasher tech tips, visit TechShooter’s Shooting Pages.

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Photos and quotes copyright © 2007 Chris Long, All Rights Reserved, used by permission.

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