by Hap Rocketto - Friday, May 19, 2017
Champion shooter Kevin Nevius grew up in a household that did not allow firearms, an unlikely beginning for one of the United States’ premier prone rifleman and gunsmiths. Once out on his own he fell in with his brother who enjoyed long-range varmint hunting. His natural bent for things mechanical (he is a professional structural engineer) soon had him tinkering with rifles, which eventually led him to building his own.
In the late 1980s, a hunting companion, who shot smallbore rifle competitively, dragged Nevius into the gallery to shoot in a three position league. Badly bitten by the smallbore bug, he was frustrated and struggling with standing and eventually gave up position to focus on prone. Soon afterward, he discovered long-range high power prone. The transition was easy, for belly shooting skills are the same no matter the caliber or distance. All it really required of him was to build a center-fire prone rifle. He soon became quite adept at both disciplines.
Living in the heart of Ohio, Nevius was fortunate to be associated with a host of great rifleman such as Paul Gideon, Carl Jooss, and Gerald “Mouse” Wise who advised and encouraged him. By 1996. he won the first of his numerous Ohio State Conventional Smallbore Prone Rifle titles. which include a record-setting run of eight consecutive wins. The smallbore championships were on the horizon when he shot his way to the first of his many Ohio State Long-Range titles in 1998.
Nevius broke onto the national scene in 1999 when he finished in the top 20 in the metallic sight championship at Camp Perry, and was named to the U.S. Dewar Team—a feat he has since accomplished several more times. He was also a firing member of the Ohio State Team that won three prone titles at Camp Perry.
Living in a small hamlet close to Camp Perry, Nevius found it easy to shoot both smallbore and long-range nationals. He made the short ride home from Perry in 2005 with two trophies safely belted into the shotgun seat of his Corvette: The Sierra Trophy, emblematic of winning the 1000-yard Palma aggregate, and the Doc Aitken Trophy, which was won at 1000 yards with a match and shoot-off total score of 398-11X. The following year, the Sierra Trophy again made the same trip.
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