Leaders Unloaded: A Journey of Innovation with Big Horn Armory Founder and President Greg Buchel

By Ashley Burgess Gall, Laura Burgess Marketing

In a world where tradition often intertwines with innovation, Big Horn Armory has carved its niche as a trailblazer in the firearms industry. Founded by Greg Buchel, a visionary leader with a diverse professional journey, the company is renowned for pushing the boundaries of conventional firearm design. In an exclusive interview, Greg sheds light on his experiences, the challenges faced, and the compelling vision that propels Big Horn Armory forward.

Greg’s journey from a classically trained architect to the founder of Big Horn Armory is a testament to the unpredictable nature of career paths. He recalls the early 1980s when high double-digit inflation and interest rates crippled the construction industries, which in turn affected architecture. This period was also the genesis of the personal computer industry. It was during this tumultuous time that Greg found a new opportunity in producing distributable software media—a Plan B that proved highly successful. The success he saw in this venture eventually led to the creation of his current endeavor, Big Horn Armory. This journey laid the foundation for the company’s commitment to excellence.

The genesis of Big Horn Armory was fueled by a fascination with firearms, particularly the idea of creating a lever gun chambered in the powerful 500 S&W Magnum—a feat many had attempted but failed. Greg’s vision was to succeed where others faltered, and the result was the creation of the Model 89 lever gun that became the cornerstone of the company’s identity.

Model 89 Prototype

Model 89 Prototype

The design for the Model 89 was born with the realization that the right thing to do was shrink down the Model 86 to the dimensions of the 500 S&W. The Model 86 had some internal geometries that were thought to be very difficult to manufacture, so Model 92 internals were adopted. The process of shrinking the 1886 to 500 S&W dimensions took many a twist and turn until finally in 2009 the first shooting prototypes were produced in time for hunting season. Elk, antelope, and mule deer were taken locally.

The company’s original focus was to produce mainstream production lever guns. This evolved into the higher-end custom guns that are produced today. All Big Horn Armory firearms are built to exact fit and finish standards, using different grades and species of walnut along with different metal finishes to create truly heirloom firearms that will last for generations. Choices of wood and metal finish are all geared to give the customer the ultimate in personal customization.

An example of Circassian Wood and a Color Case Hardened finish.

An example of Circassian Wood and a Color Case Hardened finish.

For Greg, essential leadership qualities include audacity, perseverance, and tenacity. Having a backup plan, as demonstrated in his own career, is crucial for navigating unforeseen challenges. This resilient approach has not only shaped Greg’s professional journey but has also become ingrained in Big Horn Armory’s corporate culture.

The company’s culture is defined by the devotion of its employees to firearms and their craftsmanship. Greg emphasizes the importance of paying attention to employees, as they often provide valuable insights into areas of improvement. As Big Horn Armory grows, finding new employees who share this passion remains a priority.

Big Horn Armory makes no compromises. They never have, and they never will. Fit and finish are as good as handwork can make them. Their craftsmen are trained in old-world hand finishing which is almost unknown in today’s world.

In terms of product development, the company tends to make products that interest them, so the creation of new products is an outgrowth of several hundred years of experience among its employees. The company also constantly reviews and improves its offerings as part of its quality control mechanisms. This helps to find flaws in the internal processes and allows the company to correct them. New products are also considered with the same thoughts in mind. Big Horn Armory has numerous new products in the works at any given moment. Some are extensions of current products, while others are completely new for the brand.

The product lineup, including the iconic Model 89 and the innovative AR500 rifle, reflects the company’s commitment to diversity. Customization options, such as different grades of walnut and metal finishes, allow customers to own truly unique firearms. The AR500 chambered in 500 Auto Max was a logical progression for Big Horn Armory. The AR platform is a long-term trend, especially among younger customers. Big Horn Armory developed in collaboration with Tim Sundles of Buffalo Bore Ammunition and Robert Hayden of Starline Brass to create a rimless version of the 500 S&W. The rimless configuration allows feeding from the box magazine required in the AR platforms.

The AR500 uses an AR10 as its basis due to its larger bolt and barrel extension. This combo was tested far beyond the 60,000 psi pressure for the cartridge without any deformation. This makes the AR500 stand out as the most powerful AR platform on the market.

User feedback plays a pivotal role in product improvements. Customer suggestions, such as the addition of red dot sights and take-down lever guns, are examples of Big Horn Armory’s responsiveness to consumer needs. Collaborations with industry partners, including Buffalo Bore, Starline, and Lehigh Defense, showcase the company’s dedication to innovative solutions.

As Big Horn Armory looks to the future, Greg emphasizes the importance of adaptation to industry trends. The firearms industry has been one of continual change for hundreds of years. Adaptation is more of a way of life than a specific turn of events. When it comes to creating products that customers want, it is always a matter of adapting or failing. The legacy envisioned for the company is one of continued excellence in firearm production—a legacy that hinges on being remembered as a producer of fine firearms contributing to the industry’s rich history.

In closing, Greg’s advice to young innovators and entrepreneurs is simple yet powerful: pursue dreams with vigor and tenacity. Enjoy what you do and the rest should take care of itself. As a leader in the firearms industry, Greg Buchel and Big Horn Armory continue to leave an indelible mark, ensuring that their legacy is one of innovation, quality, and passion for firearms.

The post Leaders Unloaded: A Journey of Innovation with Big Horn Armory Founder and President Greg Buchel appeared first on Laura Burgess Marketing.

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