“And the envelope please … .” Forget the Oscars, the long-awaited winners of the American Rifleman 2016 Golden Bullseye Awards have been announced. For the editors of American Rifleman, NRA’s original “Official Journal” and “The World’s Oldest and Largest Firearm Authority,” the Golden Bullseye Awards represent an opportunity to identify excellence in quality and innovation. And this year, as in years past, the competition was stiff for the magazine’s staff editors to settle on the most extraordinary products evaluated in the pages of American Rifleman, on americanrifleman.org and on “American Rifleman Television” during the past year.
“We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Golden Bullseye Awards,” said Doug Hamlin, Executive Director of NRA Publications. “This year's winners exemplify what NRA members want in their shooting and hunting equipment—outstanding performance, innovative design and value. We congratulate those who have created the industry’s best new products and look forward to recognizing them in Louisville.”
American Rifleman 2016 Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award
Whereas the Golden Bullseye Award acknowledges the finest products available in the shooting sports, the Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award specifically honors outstanding personal achievement. The Pioneer Award spotlights the exemplary achievement and cumulative body of work of an individual, or members of a family, team or partnership, responsible for the development and introduction of shooting equipment that has made a profound, positive and enduring impact on the way Americans shoot and hunt. And this year’s Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award is Randy Brooks, Former President/CEO, Barnes Bullets.
Brooks grew up as an avid shooter and hunter in his native Utah, and in the 1970s took up custom-loading ammunition to help support his young family. At the urging of friend Fred Barnes, founder of the namesake component bullet company, Brooks acquired what remained of the firm after new owners had allowed it to languish. Soon the family’s basement became the company workshop, where Randy, his wife, Coni, and daughters Chandra and Jessica seated bullet cores in jackets.
Brooks’ development of a new dangerous-game solid won favor with gun writers, including American Rifleman Senior Field Editor Charles Askins, who wrote, “… let me assure you, these slugs really get the job done!” Even so, the company struggled until Brooks devised the product that would forever change big-game hunters’ expectations for bullet penetration and terminal performance, the all-copper Barnes X Bullet. Although it took three years of trial-and-error experimentation with homemade hand and machine tools, Brooks perfected the process for manufacturing X Bullets. Then over the next two decades, he continually improved the design and modified it to fit a host of new applications. Today’s Barnes TSX and related variants are among the world’s most highly regarded and oft-imitated hunting bullets.
After selling the company to Remington Outdoor Corporation in 2010, Brooks continued to develop new products, including the well-received Barnes VOR-TX loaded ammo and new projectiles intended for military use. As an Army veteran, he is proud that Barnes bullets are now serving with American troops and security officers around the globe. Brooks is an accomplished big game hunter, particularly experienced on dangerous game in Alaska and Africa. He is a staunch supporter of NRA and the freedoms protected by the Second Amendment. Though much of his success can be attributed to lead-free bullets, he steadfastly refused to cooperate with anti-gun and media forces that repeatedly sought his validation for banning lead projectiles.