John Noveske was a shooter and rifle-smith. His company, Noveske Rifle Works, supplies extremely well-made weapons designed (and used) by spec ops and professional “harms way” shooters as well as enthusiasts. John died on Jan 4th 2013 in a car accident in Oregon.
I met John shooting the Thunder Ranch High Angle Rifle Training class in 2010. This HART was not a simple range-based class. Under normal conditions it’s a challenging class with very steep mountain climbing combined with challenging shooting positions, and you have to hump all your gear up and down cliffs each day.
In 2010 a spring storm came in and hammered the ranch for days before we started and was still at it when we arrived, so at times we were shooting in blizzard conditions. Far targets on the lower rifle range were sometimes obscured for seconds or more at a time, meaning we had to range or even shoot them using dead-reckoning off of trees or other landmarks (which was a learning experience in itself). Just the hiking would have been non-trivial, but with 60 pounds of shooting gear it was even tougher. To see the conditions we worked in, this photo shows the two of us on the line (on day one I think):
And yet, there was John Noveske, climbing with a vanilla latte. I think that’s just how he rolled.
John was incredibly smart, a total smart-ass, a great shooter and while he didn’t insist on inserting himself into things he was not in the least bit reluctant to share his opinions once you were engaged with him. We spent some time riffing on things that we could do together someday and he remained one of those guys I always meant to call and get together with, but life got in the way. He was a really special man.
I wish I had made that call.