CASPER, Wyo. — “I’ve been ripping guns apart and putting them back together for as long as I’ve run tools, I suppose,” Jadon Williams, founders of Deer Creek Arms, told Oil City News.
Williams is one of six finalists this year competing for up to $50,000 in the sixth Casper Start-Up Challenge. The final pitch night is Tuesday, April 19, at 5:30 p.m. At 22, he’s set to graduate this spring with his associates in engineering technology from Casper College.
With a recently acquired metal lathe, Williams is making muzzle brakes and compensators and shotgun caliber adapters out of space shared with a manufacturing shop in Glenrock.
Muzzle brakes reduce recoil and compensators reduce Y-axis muzzle climb, Williams said. He’s made about 50 brakes so far, and given plenty out for field testing.
“The consensus so far has been, ‘Clean,’” Williams said. “That’s the one adjective people have used more than any other.”
A shotgun caliber adapter is “basically a precision-made sleeve that fits neatly into the chamber of your shotgun of choice, and allows you to use twelve-gauge shotgun to shoot 9 millimeter or .22 long-rifle.”
Williams said the novelty of his work is not the originality of the devices themselves, but the reconfiguration of existing ideas to provide products that are safe, durable, and affordable (due to his low-waste manufacturing process).
Muzzle brakes proliferate the market, Williams said, but a lot is “cheap, foreign garbage that is not only ineffective but incredibly dangerous.”
The same goes for the shotgun caliber adapters: “I have scoured the internet, and I have yet to see another company making any of these adapters that are safe for use in an auto-loading shotgun.”
Williams said that winning Start-Up Challenge funding would help him make the next crucial step: purchasing one or several CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machines. With up to three of those, he could replicate his precise efforts without the somewhat fraught prospect of training someone else to do it to his specifications.
Williams said he has designs for his own proprietary rifle that he’s looking to develop as the company grows. Rolling these goals into his company plan was one just one several pieces of advice he’s gotten from the IMPACT Casper Director Eric Schlid and the rest of the business incubator team. He initial pitch was just the muzzle brakes.
“They said, rarely is a company just one product.” They’ve also advised him on seeking legal advice, soliciting market feedback, and trademarking his intellectual property.
“I really can’t even begin to overstate the advice that they’ve given,” Williams said.
Williams added: “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention [Casper College Engineering Technology and Design Instructor] Paul Brutsman by name,” Williams said. After introducing his concepts, Brutmans helped Williams secure a $500 grant to acquire reamers, carbide in-mills and drills.
Williams said he’s been shooting and hunting since the age of four. At age 11, he disassembled and rebuilt a Marlin bolt-action rifle. The engineering continued with the construction of a black powder cannon (“allegedly”) in high school.
“Guns are the absolute best,” Williams said. “All guns (except maybe Glocks) have their own little personalities. You hold that rifle up and pull that trigger and there’s this explosion of energy, and you can’t help but get the feeling that it’s alive.”