SURREY - Kelly Turneau recalls the first time he shouldered a working firearm. Since then, he's had a passion for shooting that has continued to grow stronger through the years "I started off shooting .22's with dad," said Turneau. "It was a single shot bolt action. I remember I was so small I couldn't manage the bolt myself. Today I still shoot a lot."
Turneau has turned those early lessons into a life-long quest to understand the finer aspects of shooting, most notably the varied components that go into the making of cartridges for rifles and handguns. His keen interest led to a study of reloading components and the acquiring of high-quality reloading equipment.
"As a kid in junior high I figured I could reload .357 shells for four bucks a box. They were 12 dollars then, fairly expensive. I didn't save money. I just shot more," said Turneau. "After school and college I began buying more and more equipment."
Turneau has become an increasingly familiar face at gun shows in the region, selling reloaded ammunition to shooters who shoot a lot. Hoping to capitalize on a growing reputation for producing quality ammunition, Turneau recently began a retail operation near Surrey under the name Nodak Arms.
"It probably took six months to finish all the appropriate federal paperwork. Then it was time to see what I could do," said Turneau. "I can load thousands and thousands of rounds."
Turneau estimates he has a "million rounds" of brass on hand that is suitable for future reloading. The business also boasts a substantial investment in reloading components and equipment.
Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or Managing Editor Kent Olson at 857-1939. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It's kind of what I do for fun," explained Turneau. "Nodak Arms has been open for less than two months, so we'll see how it goes."
Shooters attending gun shows where Nodak Arms has been present, have shown a willingness to give Turneau's ammunition a try. Turneau says shooter satisfaction with his loads has been very high, not an easy achievement considering all the variables in magazines, extractors and firearms in general.
"It shoots very well compared to other ammunition. Some buy a box and come back and buy a bunch more," said Turneau. "Our ammo functions in everything. It does just fine. There are significant variations in powders. We are very strict about that. One of the things we do with pistol ammo, the last stage, is that we run it through full-length sizing."
Turneau says popular loads he produces includes 9mm, 40 Smith and Wesson, .45 caliber, .223 Remington, .308 Winchester and .30-06. Customers can choose from a variety of bullets and weights. Turneau estimates shooters can save approximately 25 percent by shooting reloads as compared to the shelf price at some retail stores. Further discounts are available to those who supply brass suitable for reloading.
Nodak Arms is located at 601-104th St. SE, just south of the community of Surrey. According to Turneau, the hours of operation for the fledgling business are "roughly noon to 7 p.m. daily."