About the Author
My name is James A. (Jim) Boatright. I grew up on the Texas gulf coast and graduated from Texas City High School in 1960. I attended Texas A & M University and was a member of the Aggie Band and the Corps of Cadets for two years, and took a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics with a minor in mathematics in 1965. After a year of postgraduate work at A & M, I joined Philco, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, in Houston as an electrical engineer to work in NASA’s Terminal Landing System at Ft. Hood, Texas. By the early 1970’s, I had a responsible role in the earth-bound processing of the wide-band data tapes brought back from the experimental earth-looking instruments aboard the orbiting Apollo/SkyLab space station project, and then I went on to specialize in Earth Resources image processing work for NASA. I worked to implement a computer-based system to utilize NOAA weather satellite images to aid in the joint NASA/USDA Screwworm Fly Eradication cooperative project in northern Mexico. As a systems engineer for Philco, I designed and helped to build a Landsat Ground Station for India, and traveled to Hyderabad, India, to commission it. After changing employers to Lockheed (Houston) in 1982, I worked for several years developing computer systems to utilize remote sensor data to support the monitoring and prediction of worldwide crop yields during the Cold War. In 1986, I hastily assembled an image processing system to support the Challenger Accident Investigation Committee.
Aside from shooting, my own hobbies have included, over the years, an interest in sports cars and competition in chess tournaments and in lunch-time bridge games. In our 35 years together, my wife Sharon and I have enjoyed sailboat racing, bicycle touring, alpine skiing, backpacking, canoeing, river rafting, and nature photography. We enjoyed the Big Bend area of West Texas as often as we could get away from the gulf coast. We also share lifelong interests in classical music and enjoyment of our household pets. We share our home with two intelligent, talking African Grey parrots, two good dogs, and three cats. Our home is in the middle of 80 acres of woods, on a ridge overlooking 5 miles of the White River valley. My two younger brothers and their families live on adjacent parts of this same property. For the past 10 years, I have volunteered part-time as a Reserve Deputy for the Baxter County Sheriff’s Department. Nowadays, I mostly transport and extradite prisoners and serve as bailiff in Circuit Court.
After we retired to rural Baxter County, here in north-central Arkansas in 1992, I took up again my life-long interest in increasing the accuracy capabilities of the several types of rifles in my collection. I joined our local gun club and started regularly competing in rifle and pistol matches of many kinds. I quickly determined that my interests and abilities were best suited to club-level benchrest competition with centerfire IBS/NBRSA Varmint and Sporter Class rifles and with IR50/50 Rimfire Rifles, but I also enjoyed informal, fun matches with antique military rifles including a Model 1911 Schmidt-Rubin and a Model 1896 Swedish Mauser. I subscribed to Precision Shooting Magazine, and soon found that I most enjoyed competing with the benchrest (BR) rifles that I had built or modified, myself. Shortly after shooting in my first IBS-sanctioned BR match in 1997, family responsibilities took me away from the BR circuit for a full year, and deteriorating vision has since kept me from returning.
Instead, in 1998, I built a nice machine shop with attached 100-yard enclosed firing range here on our ridge, overlooking the White River, and opened for business as Boatright Custom Guns, Inc. Over the ten years ending December 31, 2008, BCGI built several hundred accurate target, varmint, hunting, and tactical rifles for many customers. I believe that I learned a lot over that brief period, and since 2003, I have been publishing my findings in Precision Shooting Magazine. I made use of my scientific training and engineering experience to make sure that I didn’t just get one year of gunsmithing experience ten times. I no longer build rifles, but continue my research and writing efforts.
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