Bamboo: Strong, Light, and Sustainable

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Our “Natural” bamboo engineering sample
Our “Natural” bamboo engineering sample

Earlier this month I posted Going green & Rutland Fire and vaguely outlined a number of upcoming updates, the most significant of which is the change in stock material due to the availability issues with stratabond/spectraply.

A lot of time has been spent investigating alternatives to the laminate materials we’ve been using, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve landed on an engineered bamboo product which is going to enhance our product, be better for the environment, and ultimately makes more sense for us because our supplier is here in California as opposed to Vermont or Maine.

Bamboo? You bet. Bamboo is pretty amazing when you get into it’s material specifications. From a stock making point of view, biathlon is unique because in addition to all of the fit/feature requirements for shooting, it also must be carried while racing. As bamboo is both lighter and stronger than the products we’ve been using in the past, its qualities are only going to enhance those that we’ve already designed into the G3R and ultimately make a better biathlon rifle.

Not an ESA stock
Not our stock, but a good example showing the Beauty of a “Natural” Bamboo stock.

Function aside, I think all stock makers are aware of the environmental toll that traditional material sources take. Our resources are finite, and quality solid hardwood pieces of the size needed for a gunstock have declined to the point where engineered laminates have become the industry standard.

While LEED certifications aren’t relevant to what we do, they do provide insight into sustainability. The bamboo product we are using carries a certification of MRc6 as a rapidly renewable resource, which means that it must have a harvest cycle of ten years or less, and bamboo is typically half that.

By switching to a supplier that is a couple of hundred miles instead of a several thousand, we’re reducing our carbon footprint for material transport in addition to our freight costs. While this cost savings isn’t significant enough on a per unit basis to warrant a price drop, it is one factor that is helping us to control long term costs and keep our pricing stable going forward.

The brilliant colors of the previous stratabond products are going away, but we are very excited about the changes that bamboo is going to bring to our biathlon stocks. Due to our unique dimensional requirements, our supplier has to custom manufacture our material, but we are hoping to see it before the end of December, and will carve up a biathlon stock and post pictures as soon as possible.

Two colors will be available, the natural bamboo color as seen in these pictures, and a darker coloration that we are hoping will approximate the brown stratabond that we’ve used in the past. Both of these options are now available as choices when ordering a G3R.

In the end, the benefits of bamboo’s unique characteristics along with a distinctive and unique beauty make this a very exciting and unexpected turn of events for us!