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Lapua Athlete of the week is today’s birthday boy, the ever-young Kevin Nevius of Lapua Team USA! Kevin is probably one of the kindest and most humble souls in competitive shooting, with a big heart and a great sense of humour. This guy is impossible not to like but nearly impossible to beat! Here’s his story:
“We didn’t have any firearms around when I was a kid, and you know what happens when you tell a child that they can’t have something, right? So as soon as I turned 18, I was like “Man, I’ve got to get myself some guns!” My brother, who was quite a bit older than me, had already done the same and gone and bought quite a lot of firearms. So we’d go out and do some long-range varmint shooting. We were out on my cousin’s farmland and shoot groundhogs to up to 1,000 yards, and we got pretty good. So that lead to competitions, which also lead to small bore competitions. I mean, high-power and smallbore are not that different. Of course, the recoil is different, but the holds and sight picture are the same, as well as settings and so on. And the real blessing of being a part of the Lapua team is that I have access to both sides.
2016 was a really good year – at the Nationals, I finished in the top ten in the High Power and the Smallbore Prone, so I’ll be going to Bisley, England in August this year to represent the U.S., so that’s a blessing. I also had the opportunity to do some load development using the new 6,5 mm 136 grs Scenar-L, and I got a really good load with it. So at the National Mid-Range match, I managed to shoot a new National Record with it! So I was really pleased. So far, this year’s also been a good year so far with some good results at regionals, which is good for building up for Bisley. And it’s always nice to check out new shooting arenas like Camp Atterbury, which is hosting the NRA National High Power Rifle Championships this year.
Regarding Lapua product favorites, I’ve got to say the 6.5x47, I just adore that. When it came out a couple of years ago, and I had the opportunity to build a couple of prone guns around it, it was just… wow. It is just an awesome cartridge. Low recoil, great bullet choices, great case cases. Awesome! Since all my high-power is between 300 and 1000 yards, that cartridge is right at home there, even at the 1,000 yards’ mark.
For young and upcoming shooters, I’d say focus on the technique. In shooting, most of the influence on the rifle comes from the hand and the finger that pulls the trigger, so it’s important to learn how to control that motion. And another thing, regarding the equipment, don’t waste your time and money on the not-so-good stuff. I wish someone had taken me aside a long time ago and said “look, I know getting this expensive rifle is a really painful, but you’ll have this for the rest of your life and you’ll get really good at competing when you use just this one.” That would be my second recommendation.
Without the Lapua sponsorship, I would’ve never been as marginally successful as I have been. I go through probably around 20,000 rounds of rimfire ammunition and 5,000 rounds of high-power ammunition every year. And you know, I’ve got two kids in college, so if I didn’t have the sponsorship, I wouldn’t be able to maintain a really aggressive training schedule, which I thinks is really important for maintaining your edge. Shooting is a repetitive process and function, so you’ve got to shoot a lot to get really comfortable behind a gun. There really is no replacement for it.”