by NAAGA President Philip Smith
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- I recently had the opportunity to interview one of the “Professionals” of the firearm industry. Morris Peterson is Founder and President of Ashbury Precision Ordnance Mfg. (APO) he is an African American confidently leading one of the best small custom-precision-rifle manufacturing companies in the World.
APO produces high-end long range precision rifles that can accurately and consistently hit targets as far as one mile (1760 yards).
Have you ever thought about being able to shoot a target ten football fields away? Well APO is the company that can make that happen. APO works with some of the most skilled long gun professionals in the world from the military, and firearms industry. Ashbury is a long time contractor to the U.S. government and has an outstanding track record of delivering high quality – products. Over the past decade, Ashbury expanded from primarily defense and government work to now commercially offering high-quality firearms to the consumers thru firearms dealers and national retailers like Cabela’s nationwide starting at about $1,700.00 dollars. APO is best known for its patented SABER modular rifle chassis system, and for building handcrafted hunting, multi-sport competition and tactical precision rifles in calibers from .223 to .408CT
While specializing in custom precision rifles, the company builds some wickedly accurate pistols in the APO Custom Shop for personal protection, home defense, competition, tactical uses, and Snipers Field Tool Kit.
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Interview with Morris Peterson
How did you get into Firearms?
I was introduced to hunting and shooting by my father and uncles in the early 1960s. I was taught gun safety, attended hunter’s safety courses and went to the field to watch and learn before I was given the privilege of actually shooting my first firearm. I treasure my first experiences with firearms as they molded me as an adult.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born was raised in the inner city, on the east side of Cleveland OH in the turbulent 1960s later moving to the eastern suburbs. I was fortunate to have family, friends, and neighbors that allowed me the opportunity to spend many summers on Lake Erie fishing at Gordon Park or a farm off the Huron River and falls in the woods of Western PA traversing the Oil Creek. I don’t think there was ever a time when I was not fishing, hunting, and shooting whenever I could.
What was your childhood contact with guns?
I was shooting firearms from about the age of 9 under the supervision, direction, and leadership of responsible adults. My father ingrained in me, safe firearms handling when at the range or in the field hunting. I started hunting game birds, then squirrels and rabbits then big game. I taught myself to reload ammunition as a teenager and had stacks and stacks of hunting and gun magazines. I still own my copy of the 1968 Shooters Bible!
Tell me about your initial exposure to guns?
I can recall when department stores had gun sections and whenever we went shopping my mother could always find me at the gun counter asking questions. My Dad took us out to the Winchester Gun Club to target practice on weekends. I was indeed blessed! Our family relations had farms, so I have fond memories of using my first rifle, Beeman 22 pellet rifle on my first Bobwhite Quail hunt. I progressed on to a Mossberg bolt action 410, then a High Standard Fliteking 20ga pump action shotgun, a Remington 660 in 308Win and a very cool 5mm Remington Magnum that I chased woodchucks with for several summers (that rifle was excellent). I have been shooting and hunting as far back as I can remember…I can remember as a boy during the summer vacation living on a farm being handed a 22 rifle and a box of ammunition and told to be back at the house for lunch and not to do anything stupid! In the fall and winter, I hunted deer with other kids who were far less fortunate than we were. They hunted on the way to school and on the way home to put meat on the table, and this impacted me as a person. There was NEVER an issue with mishandling a firearm. Today, I am fortunate to lead a team of small arms specialists where we build precision firearms designed for application at the muzzle to more than 2500 yards. I am the proverbial “Gun Guy” at most every level and enjoy what I do for a living.
What has been your Military/Law Enforcement experience?
For nearly twenty-five years we have worked in support of the U.S. government, military and special operations customers around the world. We deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 training specialist US Armed Forces members on geolocation ground targeting systems that Ashbury helped develop. We have been blessed to serve the men and women of the US Armed Forces. We are also active internationally with allied foreign governments. Perhaps, more importantly, we hire US military Veterans as part of our workforce.
Additionally. Ashbury is very active with leading Veterans Service Organizations like Hope for the Warriors. Professionally we support the Army Sniper Association and the Marine Scout Sniper Association, and Snipers Field Tool Kit.
How did you start the company ….what was your driving motivations?
I am guilty of being a serial entrepreneur. I have been involved with firearms in some way shape or form throughout my entire career. I have owned and operated an ammunition mfg company; managed indoor and outdoor firing ranges. Been a factory sales representative for a leading international small arms mfg; owned a tactical/anti-terrorist training company providing training to a dozen or more nations. Now I own and operate Ashbury International Group Inc. having several business units one of which is a manufacturer of premium quality custom firearms. My only motivation is only to succeed professionally, as I tend to be rather single minded
What does your company focus on?
Ashbury Precision Ordnance specializes in building long range precision rifles in calibers from .223 to 408 Cheytac. We have been awarded 21 patents on our firearms technologies from the US Patent and Trademark Office. We also create and provide Rifle-Sports Lifestyle Experiences which are more or less premium “bucket list” activities: precision shooting, hunting, tactical firearms, and military adventures. If you want to learn how to properly “drive” a long gun, then our APORiflecraft precision rifle programs might interest your members. We work with first-time rifle owners to experienced extreme long range shooters. Our goal is to bring new blood into the shooting sports.
Price range of your rifles?
I will readily confess that our products are not inexpensive, but little in the world of precision shooting is. APO manufactures entry-level-production precision rifles that retail for $1,799 up to handcrafted precision rifles for $8,700+. While we are well known for our tactical styled chassis based rifles, our new American JAEGER all weather hunting rifles use beautiful premium grade English and Turkish walnut stocks.
Why do you like rifles so much versus pistols?
Your question reminds me of the statement that Matthew Quigly said after his gunfight with his nemesis at the end of the movie. We are in the firearms business to make money, not to necessarily profess devotion to our likes and loves. I enjoy handguns, hunt with them and use them for personal protection. However, there are very few “small” handgun manufacturers, and we make our living building exceptionally accurate long guns. We also, by the way, build some wickedly cool pistols in the APO Custom Shop on Glock, HK and M1911 platforms
What is it about your Precision Rifles that are so different?
“Only accurate rifles are interesting” according to Col. Townsend Whelen. Ashbury handcrafts rifles that shoot sub <1/2MOA 5-shot groups before they leave our factory. Competition at this level of craftsmanship is tough. We routinely shoot small targets at long range and enjoy putting our clients on steel targets consistently at one mile (1760 yds) or more frequently. This year we have hunters shooting APO precision rifles that harvested 170+ class Mule Deer at more than 700 yards and 450 yards respectively each with one round.
How do your rifles compare to the competition in the marketplace?
Ashbury has one of the fastest custom rifles build times in the industry at 8-12 weeks. We also offer a premium expedite service and have made them sooner, with absolutely no compromise in quality or accuracy. Our rifles are not for everyone; our customers tend to be very discriminating and demanding. The long and the short of it is that we deliver and we stand behind all of our work.
Do you work with any agencies yet…Seals? Special Ops?
Ashbury was a prime contractor for the US Army, US Marine Corps, US SOCOM and several of its subordinate activities for over two decades. We have worked for numerous government law enforcement, and OGA's. We were privileged to support and assist some of our nations finest specialist warfighters prosecute the Global War on Terror. We fielded some 15,000 laser based ground target location systems during OEF and OIF. I could not be prouder to be an American or to lead a dedicated staff who directly contributed to the security and safety of our great nation. May God bless our American warfighters!
What is the coolest thing about your job & company?
We get to work with some of the most excellent shooters in the world! The military, civilian, industry you name it we love what we do. We also get to build dream guns for clients and ourselves.
There is nothing like building a firearm, taking it to the field, learning it, mastering it and even harvesting game with it. We enjoy making our living in the shooting sports industry.
Additional comments and perspective on any issue?
We need to get our youth out from behind the computer screen and into the woods and onto the water. Video games that desensitize youth about the value of human life are disturbing to me as a father and firearms industry professional. I have personally seen how the positive influence of firearms marksmanship training can help young men and women develop, grow and mature into adulthood. Responsibility, discipline, respect, honor, and perseverance can all be learned through good firearms marksmanship and hunter training. I am the proud father of a World Cup Junior Shooting Champion that won his world title in his late teens and knew this to be true.
I wish you and all of NAAGA member's safe shooting.
Thanks and Great talking with you.
Send comments and suggestions to [email protected]
About National African American Gun Association (NAAGA):
The goal of the National African American Gun Association is to have every African American introduced to firearm use for home protection, competitive shooting, and outdoor recreational activities. We are a civil rights organization focused on self-preservation of our community through armed protection and community building. The National African American Gun Association provides a network for all African American firearm owners, gun clubs and outdoor enthusiasts. We welcome people of all religious, social, and racial perspectives. We especially welcome African American members of law enforcement and active/retired military.
For more information, visit: www.naaga.co.