Two nationally renowned contributors to the shooting sports have recently passed away this week. Ed Shilen, founder of Shilen Rifles Inc. and an exceptional precision barrel maker passed away recently. Jim Clark Jr. continued his father’s legacy with his Clark Custom Guns business in Lousiana, also making a number of precision parts for a variety of firearms in addition to working custom firearms.
Shilen was particularly known among benchrest competition circles because of the barrels and actions he made. In addition to actually participating in many competitions and holding a number of records, to include being in the Benchrest Hall of Fame. He also works with a Spanish barrel company to improve their rifle barrels. The word from his family is that there will be no official funeral service.
A member of the Benchrest Hall of Fame, Ed Shilen set many records during his long shooting career. Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez, wrote: “Ed was always in your corner always wanting to see you succeed. He was one of our sport’s great gentlemen, innovators, and promoters of accuracy to the end. Thank you Ed for building me the barrels that allowed me to complete a dream and life’s work. Your family and friends are in my prayers. God bless them all!”
Speedy, who earned all but one of his Hall of Fame points with Shilen barrels, added: “Ed was one of my mentors. I have owned almost every type of Shilen action Ed ever made — from the early Ross Sherman/Shilens, to the SS&D (Shooters Service and Dewey), to the 2″ round unlimited actions of which only 10 were made, to the round big bolt Shilens and DGA & DGA-S.” Here is one of Speedy’s older Shilen actions, beautifully engraved.
Jim Clark Jr. continued the company started by his father in 1950, Jim Clark Sr. Apart from producing highly sought after custom firearms, to include 1911s, Clark participated in a large number of competitions from 3 Gun to long range shooting, and taking multiple awards and nominations for his shooting. In addition to many of the firearms and parts coming out of Clark Custom Guns being used by a number of competitors to win multiple awards. Clark’s body will be escorted to his local range for one last time before he is interned in a local cemetery.
“We will have a service at the church, then we will go to the range and do something a little differently,” said Clark’s sister, Kay Miculek. “All of his shooting friends are coming and instead of having a 21-gun salute, we’ll have like a 50- or 60-gun salute.”
Clark Custom Guns was founded in 1950 by Jim Clark Sr., Jim’s father, a former United States Marine-National Champion Bulls-eye shooter. In the 65-plus years since its opening, the Clarks have produced guns that have won national level championships, while making high quality guns affordable to the average shooter.
Clark’s sons, Jec and Logan, both champion shooters themselves, are expected to carry on the family business, according to Lori Clark.