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June 3rd, 2021

Kelly McMillan Has Passed — Sad News for the Shooting World

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

In Memoriam: Kelly McMillan, 1954-2021
Kelly McMillan has left the range. He passed away on June 1, 2021 from rapid, unexpected medical issues. This is a great loss for the shooting community. Kelly was a major figure in the shooting sports world, one of the greatest supporters of competitive shooting and rifle Team USA. Kelly was the son of Gale McMillan, founder of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks. Kelly was the driving force behind McMillan Stocks for decades, but had sold the company earlier this year.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

Kelly’s successors at McMillan Fiberglass Stocks posted: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kelly McMillan. Kelly spent most of his life putting his unique mark on the firearms industry. His influence and efforts expanded beyond the famed McMillan Stocks…. We are forever grateful to Kelly for what he built. We are grateful that he poured his heart into his many interests. We will celebrate his legacy and see that his lifelong pursuits will continue to grow. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

Anyone who ever interacted with Kelly knew him as a strong, forthright, ethical, and generous man. He gave so much back to the shooting community — through sponsorships, by providing stocks to shooters, and by helping shooting teams.

This Editor can also say that AccurateShooter.com owes a debt of gratitude to Kelly. His company was one of the very first sponsors of this site when we started as 6mmBR.com 17 years ago. As he supported us, he also helped many notable shooters such as Derek Rodgers (F-Class World Champion, 2017 K02M Champion), and Paul Phillips, the 2019 K02M Champion. On learning of Kelly’s death, Paul Phillips posted:

“I have no words to express how saddened I am today. We lost an icon in the shooting industry. Kelly McMillan was not only a great friend but the most generous and giving man I knew in the industry. There is not enough space to write about everything he did for competitive shooters, military snipers, hunters, and shooting enthusiasts.

You were one-of-a-kind Kelly and I will forever remember your friendship and how big an advocate you were for shooting sports. RIP my friend. Prayers go out to Kelly’s family for this tragic loss.”

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly’s Wall of Honor in Phoenix proudly displayed McMillan-stocked rifles used by U.S. Military marksmen.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly was also an avid hunter. Here he is with Derek Rodgers (left) and Paul Phillips (center).

Derek Rodgers wrote of his friend and hunting partner: “It is difficult to tell you how deeply saddened I feel about the loss of Kelly. What started as a shooting relationship quickly became a close friendship so many years ago. It was a privilege to know Kelly on a personal level and I will never forget his generous, caring nature and the never-ending kindness he had for others. My heart goes out to his family and he will forever be missed.”

Members of the Shooting Sports Industry Remember Kelly

“We mourn the passing of an icon in the precision rifle community. Rest in Peace Kelly.” — G.A. Precision

“Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat…. The shooting industry lost a legend today. You were a critical piece to the Marine Corps Sniper Program and the shooting community. Kelly McMillan, you will be greatly missed and your legacy will continue.” — Bravo Delta

“Kelly did a lot of things in the sport that were not profit driven. He was a real force in where we are today. He will be missed.” — Wheeler Accuracy

“Dad, Grandpa, Husband, Businessman. Pioneer in the firearms industry for over 30 years. Advancing and pushing the limits of composite rifle stocks. Avid supporter of the NRA, NSSF, and Youth Shooting Sports. The industry has lost a Titan. You will be missed.” — Grayboe

“We lost a great man in the shooting industry. Thank you Kelly McMillan for imparting your leadership, friendship and knowledge to the shooting community.” — Sheila Miles

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly (left) with 2016 K02M Winner Mitchell Fitzpatrick, and team-mates Paul Phillips and Bryan Litz

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly (far left) with F-Class Team USA.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

Remembering Kelly McMillan — How He Helped Shooters
by David Joe, Texas
Kelly McMillan often proudly referred to his father Gale McMillan’s early pioneering work in fiberglass stock production. He assumed that family mantle and moved it forward, for very much of his life, with an energy and dedication few sons match. Kelly was part of a real American family business success story…

He was especially proud of the military’s adoption and deployment of several McMillan stock models. He described to me once how he, himself, was the one who mixed the green camo colors for those early military stocks. I could tell that Kelly really loved stock building for competitions. I think those were his proving grounds for new ideas, but more importantly, his people — the competitors he supported.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly with F-TR World and past USA Champion Derek Rodgers and Nightforce’s Sean Murphy.

Kelly enthusiastically and generously helped a large number of F-Class teams, ELR teams, and individuals. I recall dinner in 2018 in Raton with Kelly and some 40 grateful members of teams, including the team my young daughter was on. Kelly was the honoree, but he picked up dinner and then defrayed costs for the teams — what a gentleman. Kelly treated people really well, and that leaves such a lasting impression.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly was an original sponsor of the first All-Women F-class Team, X-It Strategy. That was just one example of the many teams he sponsored.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

Permalink - Articles, Competition, News 6 Comments »
April 16th, 2018

‘The Gunny’ Has Left the Range — Rest in Peace R. Lee Ermey

R. Lee Ermey RIP death pass away Gunny Mail Call History Channel Full Metal Jacket

Decorated U.S.M.C. veteran, competitive shooter, and actor R. Lee Ermey has passed away at age 74, due to complications from pneumonia. Known to friends and movie fans as “The Gunny”, Ermey will be missed. He was the real deal who exemplified the Marines’ motto: “Semper Fi” (Always Faithful). Earning fame as the Drill Instructor in the Hollywood movie “Full Metal Jacket”, Ermey appeared in over 70 films along with popular television series*. Even after becoming a famous actor, Ermey remained a serious marksman, shooting at Camp Perry and other venues with friends such as fellow Devil Dog Dennis Demille and Hornady’s Dave Emary.

Ermey won a Golden Globe nomination for his signature performance in “Full Metal Jacket”. That launched a new career as a Hollywood actor. Ermey eventually appeared in dozens of popular movies, including “Se7en,” “Prefontaine,” and “Toy Soldiers.” He also hosted successful cable television shows — the “Mail Call” and “Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey” series on the History Channel, followed by “Gunny Time” on the Outdoor Channel.

R. Lee Ermey RIP death pass away Gunny Mail Call History Channel Full Metal Jacket

R. Lee Ermey RIP death pass away Gunny Mail Call History Channel Full Metal Jacket
R. Lee Ermey was a competitive shooter. This photo shows Dave Emary (left) and Ermey (right) shooting the Vintage Sniper Team Match at Camp Perry. (Photo: NRA Blog)

Philip Schreier, NRA Senior Museum Curator, said Ermey’s “support for the U.S. military was legendary, in particular, the Young Marines program, as well as his advocacy for veterans and their treatment at VA Hospitals.” (Read More). Ermey’s friend Bill Rogin said that “He will be greatly missed by all of us. Please support your men and women in uniform. That’s what he wanted most of all.” Rogin noted that while Gunny’s characters were often hard and principled, the real Ermey was a family man and a kind and gentle soul who supported the men and women who serve. (Source: Fox News Report).

A member of the NRA Board of Directors and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, Ermey spoke to Fox News in 2016 about being “blackballed” from Hollywood over his political views. “I’ve had a very fruitful career. I’ve done over 70 feature films,” he said. “I’ve done over 200 episodes of [History and Outdoor Channel Television Series shows]”.

Born in Kansas, Ermey joined the USMC right out of high school, enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1961 at age 17. He served for 11 years, including 14 months in Vietnam, before being discharged in 1972. Ermey began his Hollywood career in 1979 as a technical adviser to Francis Ford Coppola, working on the Vietnam War film, “Apocalypse Now”.

Here are some comments from our Forum members, many of whom knew Ermey personally or met him at shooting matches:

“It is a sad day to lose someone who did so much for children behind the scenes. He was a great guy and a patriot. Semper Fi Gunny — may you rest with our lord Jesus Christ.” — J. Bearman

“I shot a mid-range match at Camp Pendleton where he and Donald Jr. were shooting on a team with Dennis Demille. They were pretty sharp! Nice guys every one. Sorry to see R. Lee go so young.” – Watercam

“29 Palms CA, I had the the pleasure to meet and shoot with Gunny Ermey. First class, all the way… Semper Fi and Godspeed Gunny.” — BPD 459

R. Lee Ermey RIP death pass away Gunny Mail Call History Channel Full Metal Jacket

U.S. Marine Corps Service History
In 1961, at age 17, Ermey enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went through recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. For his first few years, he served in the aviation support field before becoming a drill instructor in India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, where he was assigned from 1965 to 1967.

Ermey then served in Marine Wing Support Group 17 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, Japan. In 1968, he was ordered to Vietnam with MWSG-17, and spent 14 months in country. The remainder of his service was on Okinawa where he was advanced to staff sergeant (E-6). He was medically discharged in 1972 because of several injuries incurred during his service. On May 17, 2002, he received an honorary promotion to gunnery sergeant (E-7) by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James L. Jones.

Commendations: Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Meritorious Unit Commendation

* Many biography statements say Ermey has “over 60″ film credits. Ermey himself told Fox News he appeared in “over 70 feature films”, so we use that number.

Permalink News 4 Comments »
November 10th, 2016

In Memoriam: Mike Dillon, Founder of Dillon Precision

Mike Dillon Precison death passing

We are saddened to report that Mike Dillon, founder of Dillon Precision, has left the range. Mike, whose progressive loaders revolutionized the reloading industry, passed away just before Election Day. His company issued this notice:

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Mike Dillon. Mike left us on the morning of November 7th, 2016. He leaves behind a large family including wife Carol, sons Stephen and Christopher, daughter Stephanie, and 9 grandchildren. Mike’s legacy has touched the lives of countless people worldwide. He revolutionized the ammunition reloading industry and made it what it is today. Mike also redesigned and manufactured the M134 Minigun that is now in service in the United States and foreign military forces. As a passionate aviator, he worked for TWA as a Second officer for 13 years and later made a name for himself as a writer for Air Progress Magazine. He is recognized by some as being the one who started the warbird restoration movement in the 1960s.

Mike’s dedication to his family, his customers, and this country was exemplary. We hope to continue the legacy that Mike Dillon worked so hard to build and we will never forget the impact that he has had on us all.

We take comfort knowing he is flying in the blue skies of heaven above.”

Leading figures in the shooting sports mourned Mike’s passing:

“Mike Dillon is a true inventor and pioneer in the shooting community. Shooters everywhere have benefitted from Mike’s affiliation with the best people and listening to their suggestions.” — Michael Voigt

“Since Mike Dillon has been involved with the shooting community, it is impossible to estimate the impact of his incredible ingenuity and generosity.” – Brian Enos

“This is very sad, Mike was a GREAT man. I had the privilege of photographing him in the mid 90s, he was very humble and generous soul. Mike changed the reloading industry FOREVER.” — Yamil Sued

Mike Dillon Content on Facebook
During the coming months Dillon Precision will publish many of Mike’s articles, videos, and photographs on the Dillon Precision Facebook Page. One of the first items released was the classic Machine Gun Magic video, showcasing the M134 Mini-Gun Mike Dillon invented.

Permalink News, Reloading 3 Comments »
November 18th, 2014

In Memoriam — Forum Member John Adams

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of John Adams of Fallbrook, Calfornia. One of our very first Forum members, John has been a stalwart supporter of this site for nearly a decade. He generously donated funds, reloading components, and equipment to our site, year after year, asking nothing in return. A modest man, John was also an innovator, who developed his own wildcat cartridges, designed reloading tools, and put together some great-shooting rifles.

John Adams Pala Silhouette

On Saturday, November 15, Johnny Adams (John’s son) sent out this message to John’s friends and acquaintances in the shooting community: “I have to inform everyone of the sad news that my father, John Adams, died unexpectedly this Saturday Morning. He has been battling cancer for a number of years and has finally succumbed to the disease. He has asked me to include this photo of him and asked that his friends remember him in this way.”

John was a very active benchrest shooter in Southern California, and one of the dedicated organizers of the monthly Varmint Silhouette Match in Pala, California. Shooting that match with John as my mentor was one of the most enjoyable highlights of my shooting career.

John Adams Pala SilhouetteThose of us who knew John would tell you he was a generous, good-hearted man who had a real love for shooting. I am honored to say John was my friend, and I will forever be grateful for the things he did to help this site get off the ground, and to help many new shooters get started. When I had a chance to shoot at the Pala Varmint Silhouette match, John took the time to help practice with me, and he even provided the rifle (a wickedly accurate 22 Dasher) and the ammunition!

Many years ago, John was involved as an owner of the SAECO company that made presses and other reloading equipment. He had a vast knowledge of shooting hardware, and he never gave up his avid interest in shooting-related product design and engineering. He remained interested in new products and new techniques until his last days. Just a few weeks ago he called me to chat about new developments in spotting scopes.

John, Rest in Peace old friend. We’ll miss your presence at our matches in California. You were a generous soul and a true friend of the shooting sports. The shooting community is much diminished by your passing….

John Adams Pala Silhouette

John Adams Pala Silhouette

Permalink News 4 Comments »
April 14th, 2011

Shooting Community Mourns Passing of Ferris Pindell

Ferris PindellWe are sad to announce the passing, on April 11, of Master Gunsmith and cartridge designer Ferris Pindell. Co-inventer of the 6 PPC cartridge with Louis Palmisano, Pindell was a legendary figure in the benchrest community. A member of the Benchrest Hall of Fame, Pindell was revered as a great machininist and a true pioneer in the pursuit of ultimate rifle accuracy. The short, fat PPC cartridge he helped design has proven to be the most accurate cartridge ever created. For decades it has dominated the sport of Benchrest for group and the PPC holds virtually all the major 100- to 300-yard group accuracy records.

We are all diminished by the passing of Ferris Pindell. As Tim Oltersdorf wrote on Benchrest Central:

“I wish to express my sadness at the passing of Ferris. He was a great innovator and master craftsman. His time on earth was too short for someone with so much to give. He is either wildcatting with God or giving Satan lectures on machining; come to think of it — given Ferris’ gifts — probably both.”

Palmisano is in Poor Health
Lou Palmisano, shown below (on left) with his friend and colleague Ferris Pindell, is ailing. Patti Palmisano posted this request on Benchrest Central this morning:

Palmisano and Ferris PindellJust to let everyone know that Lou is in extremely poor health. I know it would mean a lot to him to hear from shooters. He loved shooting and shooters more than anything throughout his lifetime. Please…just [send] a card or note… or even a call in the afternoon. He is 80 now and very frail… asking you to please reach out to him at this difficult time.

Thanks so much — Patti

CLICK HERE for Lou Palmisano address.

Permalink News 2 Comments »