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I have been selling gunstock wood for as long as Iíve been shooting. Beginning as an area of casual interest and occasional dabbling during the 1960s and 1970s, blank buying and selling developed into an adjunct to the business offerings of the company that I founded in the 1980s, Double M Shooting Sports. I imported a line of tournament shotguns as part of Double M and simply didnít like the unattractive wood that was supplied as a standard, even on the higher grades of shotguns. I wanted better wood on the line that I imported and started buying quantities of English Walnut and Black Walnut from suppliers like Larry Lynch in the Marysville area in northern California and Jack Burris from the Los Angeles area. I sent these high-grade sets to Italy and had my manufacturer, Dr. Franco Beretta, build four grades of tournament trap and skeet guns with wood that an American shooter would be proud of. During the eighties and nineties I was a vendor at the SHOT Show and the Grand American World Trapshooting Championships and developed many long-term relationships with custom makers from all over the country. These makers came to rely on me to satisfy their customerís requirements for exceptional quality wood for their high-grade guns. I was the original bulk importer for specialty machines and clay targets at the beginning of the sporting clays boom in the United States, and developed many lasting relationships, especially on the Maryland Eastern Shore and in New England.

After moving to southwestern Oregon in the late 90s, my affinity with the native Myrtlewood (Bay Laurel) developed quickly. Since then Iíve been steadily adding to an inventory of both dry and freshly cut Myrtlewood until I now have what I believe is the largest ready-to-work inventory of Myrtlewood on earth. In the late 2000s, I worked with several teams of millers to harvest the bulk of a commercial walnut orchard in northern California. I wanted to experience the complete and utterly exhausting task of starting with the standing tree and finishing with the rifle and shotgun blank in the hands of a stock maker who then carries the blank through its final steps on the way to immortality as a finished stock. I can now say that Iíve done it and I have a keen grasp of the requirements and demands of every step in the process. Along the way, Iíve added a huge inventory of Royal Walnut and Franquette English Walnut blanks to the racks in my drying barn here in southern Oregon.

I am constantly travelling the coast of northern California and southern Oregon looking for that special Myrtle or Big Leaf Maple log that deserves to be in my inventory. In addition to the gunstock blank industry, I also supply luthiers and major suppliers to the instrument maker industry. I have no illusion of becoming a major bulk player in the industry, but I am committed to finding the very best quality Myrtle, Maple and Walnut for stock blanks and offering it to my fellow shooters at a price that helps their dreams come true.

Mike Mann
White Creek Gunstock Blanks, LLC

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