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October 12, 2010
By Mike Deming
Shane Adair grew up in the southwest desert of Arizona and was the son of a school teacher. He spent every summer living in the White Mountains of north-eastern Arizona building cabins with his father. His father was an avid outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish. Shane developed the same outdoor gene of his father, but on steroids. The majority of his youth was spent with a weapon or fishing pole in hand searching for a critter to catch, shoot, or skin. He says, “The late 70s and 80s was a great time to be a kid growing up in the west. You could pack a BB gun on your bike or a 22 rifle on your motorcycle and be on your way for an adventure.” Spending the summers in the White Mountains and watching the deer and elk in his backyard was awesome experience which made the western big game rooted deep in his soul. At the age of ten, thanks to the state of Arizona where you can legally hunt big game with a hunter’s safety course and supervision of an adult, he was able to pursuit big game for himself which was intoxicating. The rest is history and he has spent every day possible in the pursuit of trophy critters.
For years, Shane worked as a tradesman with a background in mechanics and steel fabrication. He has always had the knack for assembling things and paying close attention to details, which has been one of his strong points in life. He has never been the type of person that is ever satisfied with things the way they are which means he is always striving to make things work better or go faster. His philosophy has been, “If someone else can do it then why can’t I?” and this attitude has driven him to become one of the best in the business.
After owning all kinds of weapons and being pretty good with most of them, he got frustrated with trying to find perfection. Working and testing the multiple hand loads on multiple calibers as well as the various optics choices became exhausting. It was just too much to keep up with. He felt it was time to focus on a couple of good setups and become really proficient with them. He was always a pretty good shot but he was now more focused on paying closer attention to the details of his weapons. He says “As a tradesman you had better be proficient with your tools or you will get left in the dirt. I felt it was the same with my weapons.”
After a rough couple of years of hunting and waiting years to draw covenanted tags, he was discouraged by watching huge mule deer and elk get away from him because they were slightly out of his range. As with many hunters, he was really good out to 400 yards, but these awesome trophies were at 425 to 550 yards away. One particular trophy was in the last couple minutes of daylight with not enough time to close the distance. These tags were way too hard to come by and too expensive to purchase on a regular basis. A couple years of do it yourself hunts in Sonora Mexico watching huge rutting mule deer walk away slightly out of range was all that Shane could take. He went home and sold every weapon that he had except for the sentimental ones and purchased the finest custom rifle he could find. He expected it to be the game changer he was looking for, but found the gun which just exhausted his entire savings on was no different than his other rifles. It shot great but didn’t give him the advantage he needed. He was still crippled by mediocre optics and if he didn’t take the time to hand load, he was forced to use lousy and inconsistent factory production ammo that changed from every box which made him no better off.
Better optics was going to be the answer, so he bought a great scope which allowed him to see the animals better, but did not help with bullet drop compensation. It was money wasted on products which didn’t get him any closer to his end goal of being efficient at longer ranges. His research was endless and he was diligent in his efforts to better himself as a long range shooter. He finally tapped into the right products and figured out what it took to get it done. A custom rifle was a great idea but not an absolute necessary to shoot long range. The optic is where he needed to start. Shane says, “with a balance of good ammo, and the right optic, most of us have the right weapon in our gun safes to get the job done.” His goal was the 500 yard mark because he felt that was as far as you could expect to make an ethical shot. He laughs at his old philosophy today. He says “I’ll never forget the day I reached the 1000 yard mark with my 8lb hunting rifle. I jumped in the rhino to go look at the target having a pretty good idea that my shots were good. It was just as exhilarating as going to retrieve a mature mule deer buck. Seeing a three shot group out of my .300 Remington Ultra Mag at less than 8 inches was awesome.”
His pursuit of long range shooting has been long, costly and painstaking, but the satisfaction is overwhelming. It is his true passion and he enjoys sharing his knowledge with everyone. Friends, family and hunting buddies all needed what he had discovered. After taking many rifles and assembling them into shooting machines by developing great hand loads, pairing them with good optics mounted appropriately, he started to gain a lot of attention. This new venture became so productive that he was able to sell his tradesman business and start shooting and assembling rifles full time under the name Adair Precision.
During all of his shooting with different ammunition, he came across an over the counter hunting load which was produced by Double Tap Ammunition from Cedar City, Utah. This ammunition was shooting 4 inch 3 shot groups at 800 yards just as his custom hand loads. The precision that Mike McNett puts into his ammunition was the same precision which Shane put into his business which developed a long term friendship and business relationship.
Years later, Mike McNett presented Shane with an opportunity to be the lead person at Double Tap Ammunition in charge of ammunition sales. It is truly a match made in heaven. Shane now pairs the best off the shelf ammo on the market with highly tuned precision rifles put together by Adair Precision.
Shane says, “while 1000 yard shots are not the focus for most, a good setup will extend your range out to 400 to 500 yards and beyond. Quit watching those trophy animals walk away because you can’t confidently make that shot.” Shane can make it easy for you to make these shots. Good products, good teaching, and some practice can make you a pro. He can set up your rifle with the correct ammunition and accessories and within a reasonable budget.
Shane has agreed to share his years of experience in developing Adair Precision and all he has learned with us on a monthly basis in the pages of Sportsman’s News. We are thankful to have such a knowledgeable long range shooter joining the ranks of the Sportsman’s News team.
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