Little things can become big problems when taking aim from more than 100 yards. A miniscule flaw – even one-thousandth
of an inch – inside a rifle barrel can determine the outcome of a marksman tournament, a big-game hunt or a shooting by a military sniper.
Richfield-based Krieger Barrels Inc., a manufacturer of after-market barrels used in target shooting, by military and police snipers and by big-game hunters, specializes in avoiding those problems.
During the manufacturing process, each Krieger barrel requires several hundred passes for boring and rifling, with each pass removing .0001-inch of material at a time. Krieger Barrel makes its high-precision rifle barrels from 17-caliber to four bore (also known as an elephant gun).
“Most of them are for competitive shooting, police and military snipers,” said John Krieger, president and founder of the company. “They’re also used in the high-grade sporting market, for someone who is highly knowledgeable about guns and shooting. (Our customers) are usually builders themselves who would be building a rifle for someone.”
Some of Krieger Barrel’s customers are ammunition companies that need highly specialized, precision barrels to test their ammunition with. The company routinely sells to ammunition suppliers such as Federal, Remington, Winchester and Lake City Arsenal.
Krieger’s manufacturing process begins with raw steel bars. The company uses several different types of steel, depending on the finish, caliber and performance level the customer wants.
To properly align the steel’s crystal structure, each piece is first subjected to a chilling process. Using an industrial cooling machine, the metal pieces are taken well below negative 100 degrees. After, they are heated in a separate kiln, before machining can begin.
While some of the processes at Krieger Barrels look modern – it uses CNC machines to cut and do some basic milling, and its cooling kiln uses liquid nitrogen – its machining is decidedly low-tech. Many of the machines that bore holes in its rifle barrels, and the machines that cut the rifling into the barrels, were built before World War II, Krieger said.
Many of the tools, techniques and machines used to build Krieger’s barrels are not in common production any longer, so Krieger and the company’s machinists frequently need to build their own tools and systems.
“I am now building two machines that will build the tools which will make the rifles,” Krieger said.
Krieger Barrels has an approximate five month backlog of work, but recent changes at the company may help it process some jobs more quickly. In January, the company completed the installation of a new computer system that tracks individual orders and plots the most effective production schedule for those orders.
The software should help prevent internal backlogs on specific machines or processes, Krieger said.
Krieger Barrels has averaged 10 to 15 percent annual revenue growth in recent years. The company believes it will be able to handle continued growth inside its 20,000-square-foot facility because of its new mapping software.
The company is planning to install a mechanical target retrieval system, a shock-absorbing rifle mounting system and a state-of-the art bullet tracking system, Krieger said.
Krieger Barrels also is hoping to introduce a new trigger system to the marketplace later this year. Krieger recently sent sample drawings to the U.S. Patent Office. The company already holds several patents for previous innovations.
“We want to get this one out as soon as possible,” Krieger said. “I think it’s a really good system.”
Krieger Barrels Inc.
2024 Mayfield Road, Richfield
Industry: Manufactures rifle barrels for target shooting, sniper rifles, big game hunters and ammunition manufacturers
Web site: www.kriegerbarrels.com