February 25th, 2021

Shiraz Balolia Book Recounts Remarkable Business Success Story

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly Industrial F-Class

If you are a F-Class competitor or use machine tools, chances are you know Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz is one of America’s top F-Class shooters, an all-star competitor who has won major titles, including three straight Canadian F-Open National Championships. Shiraz also owns Grizzly Industrial Inc., a large, successful enterprise he founded in 1983. For 38 years, Grizzly has provided quality tools to wood-workers and metal workers. Grizzly’s catalog is now over 700 pages.

Shiraz’s life story is an interesting one. He came to the USA from Kenya, and then became a very successful businessman, building Grizzly Industrial into a major player in the tools/parts/machinery business. Shiraz also founded Bullets.com, which sold firearms accessories and reloading components for some years. Shiraz’s effort to start Bullets.com was an outgrowth of his desire to “give back” to the shooting sports, the hobby he loves.

To cover his noteworthy business career and life, Shiraz has written an impressive 288-page autobiography, entitled A Bad Case of Capitalism (referring to his love for the world of selling products). This book covers Shiraz’s early years though the present, providing a “tale of travel through war-torn countries, courtroom battles, success, failure, and everything in between.” It explains the challenges of starting direct-to-consumer businesses, first via mail-order and then adapting to the new online world.

We enjoyed the book because it provides a clear inside look at the challenges of starting a business. And we are grateful that Shiraz, through his businesses, has been a strong supporter of AccurateShooter.com for more than a decade. Balolia’s autobiography has been described as “equal parts business primer, history, and collection of life lessons”. The book shows how vision and determination can create a true American success story.

Readers have enjoyed the book and the lessons it offers on how to build a business:

“As someone who loves to create things with his hands, I was immediately drawn to this book, as Mr. Balolia is basically the father of machinery for woodworkers like me. It’s a great read that opens your eyes to a place and time I’d never heard of before, and it paints a great picture of determination and grit…. This book is certainly a motivating tale, and it shows that with a supportive family and vision (and a ton of hard work) you can do anything you dream.” — Jameson H.

“This is as much a story of Mr. Balolia as it is of Grizzly Industrial. In this book, and probably real life, the two are inseparable. From humble beginnings to a substantial empire of industrial equipment you have to admire and applaud the success story and this chronicle of hard work and perseverance. Impressive, very impressive.” — Own One

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Grizzly Lathes for Gunsmiths

In this video, Shiraz talks about Gunsmithing Lathes sold by Grizzly.com:

Shiraz Uses the Machines That He Sells
Shiraz is not just a talented business leader and ace marksman. He is also a very skilled fabricator and woodworker. He has crafted guitars, and worked on his own gunstocks. This shows an F-Class Stock Shiraz upgraded using Grizzly Industrial machinery. The modified stock has a significantly lower Center of Gravity, riding 1/2″ lower in the front bag. Shiraz says the modified stock performed great.

Shiraz Balolia biography book

Shiraz Balolia lathe press tools stock

Shiraz Balolia (left) and Norma Managing Director Paul-Erik Toivo.
Shiraz Balolia

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January 21st, 2015

Preacher Builds Stock the Old-Fashioned Way — with Hand Tools

Forum member Preacher recently crafted a nice varmint rifle for fellow Forum member Dave 0. (aka “Waskawood”). But rather than buy an off-the-shelf stock, Preacher crafted this stock all by hand, starting from a laminated blank panel. He calls this stock project his “Axe Job”.

CLICK for Full-size Photo
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

This stock is being used on a prairie dog rifle, chambered for a 17-caliber wildcat, the 17 VHA, which is based on an H&K 4.6x30mm parent case. With about nine grains of 300 MP pistol powder, the 17 VHA drives 20-grainers at about 3850 fps. (SEE details at end of article).

The ‘Axe Job’

Report by Preacher
I like carving with the laminates because all the lines are right there in front of my eyes, so it’s easy to follow along and get it just right, until it’s pleasing to the eye. I never use a template, I just keep checking the lines as I go along. I have all the needed equipment to power build one of these, but I really enjoy the time spent on the hand work. From start to completely ready-to-install, I’ll have about six (6) weeks into one of these stock projects. A lot of that is drying time for the clear coats.

A little work with the hand axe, after a trip through the band saw…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

The majority of the laminated blank panels I use for my gunstocks are purchased directly from Cousineau Wood Products or from Rutply.com. You have to buy at least four full panels at a time, all the same color, but that will yield eight (8) stocks. Seems like I have a little over $150.00 in a blank large enough to start making a full-sized, benchrest-style stock.

A little work with a chisel…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A little work with a rasp. (Before I was rich and famous and could afford really good rasps, I used a good old horse shoe rasp.)
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A little more work with the chisel…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Preacher’s Advice on Carving Your Own Stock
The one main advantage of being older that dirt, and tormented with MS the past 40 years, is lots of free time to enjoy what ever I can do these days, as long as I can set down to do it, and I can make a lot of wood chips setting down.

Any one can do this if they have the time to devote to it. All it takes is time and a good eye for details. I made a lot of firewood over the years, until I got the hang of it. Most all those problems were inletting, and screw hole spacing. Get those right the first time and you’re on your way….

A little more work with the rasp…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A few coats of Auto clear has it about buttoned up…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Micro 17 VHA Wildcat
Here’s the finished rifle built by Preacher for Dave, using the ‘Axe Job’ stock. Dave tells us: “Preacher chambered the rifle for the 17 VHA, a wildcat based on the H&K 4.6x30mm MP7 PDW case necked down to 17 caliber. There are numerous articles in the Varmint Hunter’s Magazine about it. This efficient little round shoots 20gr ballistic tips at 3850+ fps. That’s not too shabby for ‘nine point something’ grains of pistol powder.”

“My intentions for my 17 VHA rifle are to plop down in the middle of a PD town with my swivel bench and shoot prairie dogs. I also thought it would be a nice platform to test the accuracy of the cartridge. If I like the little round as well as I think, I plan to build a more practical rifle that I can carry. I really want to thank Preacher for his patience with me through this project, as it was my first custom build.”

hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

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September 4th, 2014

Rutland Plywood Plant in Vermont Burns to the Ground

Terrible news. The Rutland Plywood plant in Rutland, Vermont burned down last week. Rutland was a major supplier of laminated wood stock blanks. Now the plant is nothing but ashes. Sadly, in the aftermath of this terrible fire, we can expect shortages of laminated blanks for some types of stocks.

A massive, five-alarm fire engulfed the Rutland plant on the morning of 21 August, eventually burning the facility to the ground. 100 fire-fighters from six departments fought the fire, but the conflagration was too large, too fierce and the factory was reduced to cinders. Watch this amateur video to see the Rutland blaze in all its hellish power:

Rutland Plywood Plant Inferno

After combing through the aftermath of the blaze, investigators ruled out arson. According to David Sutton, a fire investigator: “It was in an area of some machinery that has been known to start fires in the past and the evidence we found in that room where that occurred, it appears that may have happened again.” Thankfully no one was killed or injured, but the plant was a total loss. The Rutland Plywood Plant employed 170 person in Vermont. Now those plant workers must find new jobs.

Richard Franklin Low-Rider Stock made with Rutland Desert Camo Laminated Plywood
Desert Camo Laminate

News tip from Shiraz Balolia, Bullets.com. We welcome reader submissions.
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December 29th, 2012

Christmas Cowboy Revealed — Yes, It’s Carl Bernosky

Yesterday we featured a “mystery man” in a old family photo from a 1950s Christmas. We challenged readers to identify the young boy in cowboy hat who later grew up into one of America’s greatest rifle shooters. Most folks thought our mystery celebrity was Texan G. David Tubb. Others, no doubt focusing on the hat, suggested it was benchrest Hall-of-Famer Tony Boyer. And there were votes for Mid Tompkins and trick-shooter Bob Munden (who recently passed away). But most of you guys guessed right — the “littlest cowboy” was, in fact, 10-time National High Power Champion Carl Bernosky.

Carl Bernosky

Carl BernoskyHow Times Have Changed in America
Carl tells us: “I think the photo was from 1959, when I was three years old. That was on Christmas with my family. Since then, I have upgraded the holster, switched from revolvers to pistols, and gave up the pipe!”

Carl misses the ‘good old days': “It’s hard to believe how much has changed in America. Things were really different in the 50s and 60s. It was great for a boy growing up. We spent a lot of time outdoors, and people trusted each other more.” Carl said: “I remember going on a hunting trip with my Dad. We had to fly from Pennsylvania to someplace out west. Somewhere I’ve got a photo showing my Dad and I carrying our guns in soft cases on to the aircraft. We just walked through the airport and carried our guns right on to the plane. You sure don’t want to try that today!”

Carl Bernosky

Now that he’s all grown up, Carl makes a living producing rifles and gunstocks for hunters and competition shooters. Carl’s company, Carl Bernosky Shooting Sports, offers a variety of stocks made from laminates and fancy woods. A highly-skilled woodworker, Carl can customize stock designs for any customer’s unique requirements. Shown below are some of his creations, prone rifles (in fancy wood) on the left, and an F-Open rifle in Rutland Laminate on the right.

Carl Bernosky

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