Sharp Shootin’ Shiraz

You’d think running Grizzly Industrial, the wood- and metal-working machinery company, would be enough to keep its owner, Shiraz Balolia busy. After all, he’s a “hands-on” guy who founded the business, and to this day he’s involved with everything from machinery design to the company’s catalog design.  

And, he builds amazing guitars , you may have seen them in the print catalog or at one of the shows where Grizzly is exhibiting. Guitar making must be what Balolia does in his “spare” spare time.

For the past couple weeks Balolia has been competing in Bisley, England as Vice-Captain of the USA F-Class Open Rifle Team, where he finished in the top 10 of the Grand Aggregate (multiple shooting ranges) World F-Class Championship. His USA F-Class team took the gold medal.

Just what is F-Class shooting? F-Class is shot prone at distances of 300 to 1,200 yards. Competitors may use almost any caliber rifle, a scope, and a front and rear rest or bipod. That’s right up to 1,200 yards , well over 6/10ths of a mile. The “bulls-eye” target at these distances? Just 5″ in diameter.

Balolia, age 57, has been shooting for more than 30 years and is just one of 24 shooters in the United States who is qualified as a National Rifle Association High Master marksman in the medium-range (500 yards) and long-range (1,200 yards) categories. He has documented his experiences during the recent competition on his blog.

What does it take to shoot at these distances? More than a steady hand, apparently. In a story about Balolia for “The Bellingham (Washington) Herald,” Doug Huddle wrote, “It is a world where the slight swelling of blood vessels from a shooter’s heartbeat at the moment a bullet exits the barrel can result in a monumental miss at the target end of the range.

“In his quest for the string of perfect shots, among those things under his control, Balolia strives to leave nothing to chance. And to overcome all the variables in the bullet’s intended path that can jibe its trajectory over which he has no control, Balolia focuses a Zen-like concentration.”

In addition to his recent success in England, Balolia is also the current Washington State Champion and holds several national records in F-Class. His rifle is a single-shot, bolt-action 6.5-284 caliber rifle built to his own specifications.

- Steve Shanesy

Photo courtesy of the US F-Class Open Rifle Team

One thought on “Sharp Shootin’ Shiraz

  1. Marcus

    Getting to finally see the owner of Grizzly tools is nice. For years I’d assumed he was the Grizzly Adams looking guy in the catalog. Shiraz looks like a really good guy. He has some fun hobbies to boot.

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