Hey guys it’s your favorite viking from the Frozen Wastes again. This time I’ve loaded up my longship for another round of pillage, loot, burn….. Sorry I let my inner monologue out again. I don’t know why that keeps happening. Anyways this time I’m coming to you straight from Iowa. What can possibly be in Iowa I can hear you asking. Well it should be obvious from the image up top. I’m visiting Jard!
The Big Draw
So every year my family has a little get together down on the farm in a little town between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. This year with how busy I’ve been with Accuracy-Tech, and some of the opportunities that have come up because of that, my little family get together became so much more than normal. Some of you may remember in my article a while back that Jard Inc. is based out of Iowa in a little town called Sheldon. They were my first stop.
Sheldon is a very small town in North Western Iowa. For those of you that know generally what Iowa looks like, you’ll realize that this is about the opposite side of the state from where the farm is. You know what, not a big deal to me. Dean and his bunch down at Jard are well worth going out of my way for. The drive down was murderously humid. My car currently has issues where the A/C doesn’t work. Remember folks, I went through that for you. I love you guys that much. Anyways I was being chased by a rather nasty line of storms the whole way. I actually got nailed by them in Mankato on my way down, but for the most part I stayed ahead of them. After a good 4 hours or so of driving I finally made it.
Arrival at Jard
Arriving at Jard and walking into the entrance told me I made it to the right place. Just inside their doors they have displays of a number of different guns they’ve done, as well as a rather nice display box of all kinds of triggers they’ve done. Some of you might be saying they look a bit weird, but knowing what I do now means I’ve got a better appreciation for them. I’ll get in to that in a little bit however.
Dean was in the middle of a conference call when I got there. I waited by ogling the display in the entry way. After they finished that up, we got rolling. I was finally able to put a name to a face, and I’m sure Dean didn’t expect just how big and bearded this yahoo from Minnesota was. He definitely spent a few moments sizing me up, but we started right into the tour he had invited me out for. We started in the entry way going over a number of the guns they had on hand there. Now let me at this point make it clear that I’m not going to talk about everything we saw or talked about, mostly because I felt that certain parts of it are proprietary.
Some of the rifles they had in the front entry way were prototypes. Others were older generations of products they were doing. One thing I was definitely interested in was the bullpup 9mm carbine they had designed. I know this is Accuracy-Tech and we focus more on the long range aspect of things, but let me tell you this: I’ve handled many bullpup rifles in my time, and this by far and away had the best trigger I’ve ever felt on a bullpup. If you’re looking at getting a bullpup rifle, I highly advise you to look into Jard. Anyways we also went over some other things, including the .50 BMG prototype you can see in the pictures. It’s an older one of a design they had shelved for a number of reasons.
After that we went into the trigger assembly area. There I met the guy behind assembling the triggers. Alvin is actually Dean’s father and he was working on assembling triggers, with all the needed small parts in neatly organized drawers. Jard is a shining example of American small business.
Behind the Scenes
Next we actually started into the production area. I found out some interesting things about Jard and Dean’s work philosophy at this point. His workers are free to set their own hours, that is to say they can come in when they want, take as long of a lunch break as they want, work as long as they want, and go home when they want provided they get the work they need to done and get their 40 hours for the week. They also have the shop air conditioned as well so the guys working the shop floor are comfortable. It seems to be doing them a lot of good.
At about this time it came up that I had my rifle with their trigger in my car. There were a few things they wanted to try out by changing a few parts in it, and I was happy to let them try it out. They tried a couple of different springs in it and were able to find out what worked in it and what didn’t. Remember how I said they were able to bring the trigger pull down to 6 ounces for what they offered? Yeah. About that. I found out what it was like to have my trigger pull down to 3.7 ounces. No thanks, I was fine with the 20 ounces they originally sent me. Some of you however might think differently.
Dean and I also spent some time going over some concept designs they had. I’m actually really interested in trying some of them and I’d love to share with you all what they are, but I can’t. Right now they are in the pre-prototype phase, but let me just say that Jard is definitely a company to keep an eye on here. They’ve got some real winners in the pipe here as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to be bugging the crap out of Dean to send me what they’ve got when it’s ready.
Wrapping It Up
After this we broke for lunch with Kenton, and Luke one of the shop guys. We talked a lot about how the market was trending and where I thought it was going. If you’d told Dean 10 years ago there would be the explosion of interest in the bolt action market that there has been in the last few years he wouldn’t have believed you. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. We were still coming off the Assault Weapons Ban. I feel like I should almost add consultant to my resume after that lunch. For those wondering, it was a pork tenderloin sandwich with a side of fries. I can’t get them in Minnesota like they are in Iowa.
Lunch being over, and a short ride back to the shop, it was time for me to get back on the road. I was headed on to Des Moines to spend a night with family and rest before my next stop before the big family get together. Those of you that follow us on Facebook will know where that was. The rest of you will find out later. All in all I have to say Dean and the guys at Jard left a very positive impression on me. I’m definitely going to be talking with them for a few projects I have in my future. My Ruger Precision Rifle is definitely turning into The Best of the Midwest.