Not only did the Kelbly’s Inc. team compete at the 2016 Vegas Precision Rifle Challenge (VPRC), but for the second year in a row, it has been the Premier Sponsor of the match! Travis Ishida talks with Ian Kelbly about how they got their start in competitive shooting and what’s in store for the future of Kelbly’s.
In 1969, Ralph Stolle, an active benchrest competitor, designed and built an unlimited steel action that he called the Stolle Grizzly. It was a round action, over 14 inches in length, 1.700 in diameter, with a blued finish. He built somewhere between 25 and 30 of them, mostly for unlimited bag guns. In 1970-71, Stolle manufactured the first aluminum Panda action, which was 11 inches in length with a long barrel thread area. Stolle suffered a heart attack in 1979, and moved to North Lawrence a year later. In 1981 he produced his first actions at Kelbly’s facility. Today, Kelbly’s is averaging over 600 actions yearly with 75% sold to overseas customers. Benchrest is about 30% of our business, with the rest split up between Tactical, Hunting, Palma and others. George Kelbly Sr. and his 3 sons, George Jr., Jim, Michael and 11 full time employees continue making precision firearms today.