In 1969, Ralph Stolle, an active benchrest competitor, designed and built an unlimited steel action that he called the Stolle Grizzly. It was a round action, over 14 inches in length, 1.700 in diameter, with a blued finish. He built somewhere between 25 and 30 of them, mostly for unlimited bag guns. In 1970-71, Stolle manufactured the first aluminum Panda action, which was 11 inches in length with a long barrel thread area. Stolle suffered a heart attack in 1979, and moved to North Lawrence a year later. In 1981 he produced his first actions at Kelbly’s facility.
Production has come a long way since. Today, Kelbly’s is averaging over 500 actions yearly with 30% sold to overseas customers.
Benchrest is about 60% of our business, with the rest split up between hunting, Palma and others.
George Kelbly and his 3 sons, George Jr., Jim, Michael and 8 full time employees continue making precision benchrest firearms today. The use of aluminum in rifle actions has been the ultimate goal of many people for a number of decades. First developed by Ralph W. Stolle in the late 60’s and the early 70’s, the Stolle line of actions emerged after many changes in design and techniques. The rigidity and light weight characteristics are highly desirable features, a must in today’s competitive benchrest rifles. Made entirely of 7075-T651 aircraft aluminum and 4140 alloy steel, they insure the optimum in stiffness and durability