Tucked away in a quiet corner of Canberra’s light industrial precinct in Hume, GC Precision Developments (GCPD) has been quietly making world-class rifles from scratch.
The very definition of a micro SME with five people on the books, based around the father and son team of Gareth and David Crook, the company has been kicking goals in the commercial/sporting shooter world for a few years but now has its sights set on Defence work.
For a company that started only five years ago, they have built a solid following in the commercial shooting world for their products.
The business began as Gareth, a keen sporting shooter, could not find a rifle to meet his own high standards. With a background in manufacturing and engineering design, a backyard business was born when he could not find a company able to machine his designs to the specs required. The CNC machine he bought (formerly used to make replacement hip parts in the medical industry) now stands in the Hume facility but has a lot more capital around it than a few years ago.
GCPD has a range of roughly 30 Australian suppliers for steel (built to their spec), aluminium, coatings, and other products. They also plan on looking into plastic injections moulding as the business expands. Gareth found that since the demise of the car manufacturing industry in Australia, finding local companies able to handle their tooling requirements had been tougher.
“They’re still around, but they’re harder to find and are busier because there’s fewer of them,” he said.
While the carbon fibre wrapped barrels for their range of arms are imported (they can source Australian stainless steel barrels), everything else is done from scratch in Canberra; design, development, modelling and finite element analysis (FEA) simulations, engineering certification, machining, prototyping, testing.
Working with ammunition developed for extreme ranges (rather than medium or long range) like the 375 Cheytac, the sniper rifles developed by GCPD are built upon a solid foundation of accuracy and weight savings.
“That round allows us supersonic flight to get the distance and accuracy out to 2,000-3,000 metres,” Gareth Crook explained to ADM arguing that weight does not have to equal accuracy and durability with the advent of new materials paired with great design. The muzzle brake technology employed by GCPD along with materials and design features that absorb the force means that 45 per cent of the rearward recoil force is absorbed.
The extreme range AMAP Ti (Titanium receiver, carbon fibre wrapped barrel) is 7.3 kilograms (the mid range HT steel receiver, carbon fibre wrapped barrel) comes in at 8.7 kilograms) and full weight HT steel receiver, stainless steel barrel comes in a 10 kilograms compared to a 14.1 kilogram Cheytac M200 intervention and produces the same performance at barely half the weight, something the company aims for in each of its rifle offerings.
The long range MSP magnum rifle system has exceptional accuracy that has been proven well beyond that required by the Australia-NZ (ANZ) Counter-Terrorism Committee Marksman Standard. Providing advanced ergonomics, light-weight construction (at 4.3 kilograms) and perfect balance. This is achieved through advanced materials, manufacturing and design technologies and ensures precise operator interface.
Despite the lightweight nature of this platform, design innovation has kept felt recoil to an absolute minimum. The medium range CWS rifle family also adheres to the key tenets of GCPD designs; low recoil, lightweight, durable, and provides ultimate precision in a discreetly deployable system.
GCPD’s modularity means that each rifle type can be user configured without the need for an on base armourer. The company specialises in bespoke designs for individual end user units, specific to their operational requirement. Everything from barrel length, calibre, materials, and weight can also be customised in the Canberra workshop.
The company has demonstrated their gear at Singleton with the Defence customer and is very much looking forward to seeing Defence’s Lethality program under Land 159 and Land 4108 (see P40 for more on this program), along with local Special Forces programs such as Land 1508, as they come together in the medium term.
While the father and son team were at Land Forces for the first time last year on the ACT Government stand with their sniper rifles on show, they have been receiving international interest in their sniper rifles from US, the Middle East and the Indo-Asia- Pacific regions and the UK MoD.
“Honestly, there’s a good chance we’ll sell to international military customers before we sell to the ADF,” David Crook said, confirming that the company will feature in the next round of the Australian Military Sales catalogue. Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo recently launched the newest version of the annually updated catalogue in support of the push to become a Top 10 exporter.
This article first appeared in the March 2019 edition of ADM.