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American Handgunner Jul/Aug 2011 Digital Edition - Page 38
J.D. Jones HANDGUNHUNTING TIPS, TECHNIQUES AND POLITICALINCORRECTNESS friend And innovator I Larry KeLLy of Mag-Na-PorT f you are fortunate in life you will have friends, Larry Kelly received the Outstanding good friends and a very few special friends who American Handgunner award in become lifelong soul mates. With those few Larry loved hunting and testing his 1985. Left to right: Hal Swiggett, people a relationship forms and exists like none handguns all over the world. Larry, J.D. and Harlon Carter. other. It’s indescribable but recognizable. In that regard I’ve been very fortunate. My true best friend is of recoil. Since EDM removes course Jane, my wife of over 50 years. Next was Larry molecules of metal by electrical Kelly, in a relationship that lasted well over 40 years. He is current there is no problem gone now and I miss him badly. with “burrs” left by convenKelly’s life, like most others, was a series of triumphs tional machining methods, so a Larry’s wife, Barbara, and tragedies. As a child he roamed the streets of inner city bullet or shot charge can pass and Larry at an SCI awards banquet. They were lifeDetroit instead of going to school because the teachers beat the holes in the barrel without long companions. him badly. He could have followed the path of many others damage and allow gasses to and simply become a criminal. Instead he became determined vent and do their job. to make something of his life, and through a lot of hard work Stepping back a bit, Kelly found and married his soul mate, became an EDM operator. Barbara, early in life and began a family during hard times. Electrical Discharge Machining was a new technology Dogs, rabbits and a shotgun provided a lot of grub for the at the time and eventually Kelly and two friends started and new family for years. Handguns were always interesting and successfully operated Apollo EDM. Early work involving eventually became his main interest in guns. He bought his first the space program nurtured the idea of slotting gun barrels to .44 Magnum, a Ruger Flattop, on time-payments at a K-Mart. vent high-pressure gasses and control muzzle lift and reduce Hunting with a handgun developed early. Deer were the quarry. Mag-Na-PorT W hile a partner in Apollo EDM he began experimenting with various ports in gun barrels and settled on a couple that worked better than others. Mag-Na-Port was born and a patent applied for. They lucked out and graced the cover of a major gun magazine at the time, complete with phony airbrushed gasses rushing from the ports in a M-29 S&W. Nonetheless, I bought the theory behind it. I previously had a few articles published in our own GUNS Magazine and called Kelly. After introductions, I asked Larry if this was more magazine BS or did it really work as well as the article stated. His answer was simple. “Send a gun up, I’ll port it and you can make up your own mind.” That kind of directness appealed to me and I picked one of a pair of revolvers and sent it up. Direct comparison shooting hooked me. It wasn’t long before I was taking time exposures of muzzle flashes in the dark of various types of porting. That ended up with over 600 photos and a bit of knowledge gained, and the beginning of that special lifelong relationship. Our friendship took us into many different avenues in life, and places in the world hunting with handguns for some exotic animal or experience. Mag-Na-Port didn’t become an overnight sensation in the shooting world. Hard work, good marketing, good business practices and a product that worked showed a steady gain in sales. After a few years Kelly asked me if I thought he could make a living with Mag-Na-Port. I thought it could happen and told him so. A few months later he called and said he got out of Apollo and was going into At White Oak Ranch in 2004, Larry showed he still had what it took to handle a handgun on a hunt! Mag-Na-Port full time. My reply was, “What the hell did you do that for — you’ll starve!” I’ll leave his comment to your imagination, but we often laughed about that incident over the years. As the company grew and the bucks started coming in, Larry’s passion for hunting increased, and our first hunt together was a hog hunt in Tennessee. Big game was Larry’s forte in hunting and it soon evolved into worldwide trophy hunting, with Africa and Alaska favorite haunts. But his favorite place in the world, to his dying day, was his place near Libby, Mont. A hunting life arry spent his earlier days hunting with mainly Mag-Na-Port tuned Super Blackhawks and was very successful with them. This led to his becoming the first to take the Big Five with revolvers. Some of them were taken with .44-caliber turned brass bullets I cored with Tungsten to bring the weight up. That evolved to the 320-gr. JDJ cast bullet, which Kelly proved in Africa. His African hunting led to the introduction of his famed “Big Five” series of limited edition custom revolvers. In the late 1970s when I became established, he Continued on page 88 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JULY/AUGUST2011 l 38