The story of Sierra unerringly follows a pattern of development that began back in 1947 when three keen shooters began a chain of unique accomplishments in the jacketed bullet manufacturing field that produced a low-cost perfect product that outdid the finest accuracy of any other factory or commercial bullets of the day.
In 1947, three friends formed a small company to make rivet sets for the aircraft industry. Frank Snow, a police officer and part-time gunsmith; Loren Harbor and Jim Spivey, both machinists, were the three principals and sole employees of what amounted to a shoestring outfit operating part-time from a garage.
In the true American tradition, business thrived, so much that the small company soon outgrew its garage facility. The entire operation was moved to a quonset hut in nearby Pico Rivera in late 1947. At this time, serious consideration was given to expanding the product line. All three principals enjoyed shooting and reloading, but found suitable bullets were hard to come by, so they decided to manufacture component bullets for reloading as a sideline to the rivet business. The first bullets they made were .22 calibre, and their first customer, the Hollywood Gunshop, purchased their entire output.
The bullet business became so big that rivet making was dropped. Soon all three men were forced to quit their jobs in order to concentrate on bullet making. Additional machinery was purchased and the bullet line expanded. Art Hancock, their first employee, was hired. Demand grew at such an unprecedented rate that in 1951 they were obliged to move into a larger facility in Whittier, California.
Sierra’s reputation received a well deserved boost in 1949 when two famous gunwriters, Harvey Donaldson and Col. Townsend Whelen, praised their excellence in various shooting magazines.
This story was first published in the April 2012 issue of Sporting Shooter > April 2012.
The video follows the making of a beautifully crafted, lovingly customised, and extremely accurate benchrest rifle in 6.5x47 Lapua ... and it's one well worth seeing.