Cartridge Boxes by Open Range Creations
By Chuck Hawks
Jon Bomarito, owner of Open Range Creations of Chico, California, recently sent me three of his rifle cartridge boxes for examination. These are not what you (or at least I) think of when I hear the words "cartridge box."
Everyone on the Guns and Shooting Online staff, including me, normally carries our factory loaded hunting ammo in the cardboard boxes in which it was sold. We carry reloads in plastic Case Guard (or similar) boxes, just like most shooters and hunters.
However, Jon's ammo boxes are something different. They are custom made from very fancy, presentation grade walnut and receive either a lacquer or a hand rubbed oil finish, whichever the customer prefers.
Inside, the holes drilled for the cartridges are sized for the specific cartridge the customer requests. I requested mine for .358 Winchester. I have rifles in .358 Winchester, .338 Federal, .308 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, .260 Remington and .243 Winchester, all of which are based on the .308 Winchester case necked up or down. I figured if the block of wood was drilled to accept .358, it would also accept all of the other calibers and I was correct.
The bottom of the Open Range Creations cartridge box, which actually serves as the lid, is precisely aligned on two locator pins and held firmly in place by recessed magnets. It is made from some sort of hard, black polymer similar to bakelite and fitted perfectly to the box. These are simply beautiful cartridge boxes!
Jon sent me three and five cartridge, single row boxes for .358 size cartridges. He also included an additional, 10 round, double row box sized for .30-06 cartridges. It measures 4" long by 3-3/4" tall and 1-1/4" wide. The three round box is similar in size to a pack of king size cigarettes and easily fits in an average size shirt pocket. Since individual holes of the proper diameter are drilled for each cartridge and each cartridge is fully enclosed in solid wood, they do not rattle in the box. For a hunter, this is a convenient, virtually silent way to carry spare cartridges and protect them from denting or damage.
If you want to impress your hunting buddies, Open Range Creations cartridge boxes will certainly be admired around the campfire after a day of hunting. You may never be able to afford the finest rifle or the most expensive riflescope, but you probably can afford the world's finest cartridge box!
When my sample cartridge boxes arrived, the top of the smallest (three cartridge, single row) box was personalized with my initials, "C.H.," apparently cut by a router. The top of the longer, five round box was marked "C. Hawks."
The largest (.30-06 size) double row box bore a gold Winchester medallion inlayed into its top. This is presumably the same medallion Jon uses in his custom Model 70 grip caps. Yes, in addition to custom cartridge boxes, Jon also offers custom pistol grip caps for Winchester Model 70 rifles.
Jon can craft cartridge boxes with an ammo brand (Weatherby, Winchester, etc.), caliber, name, or pretty much whatever the customer wants on either the top or side of a cartridge box. These are truly custom, made to order, cartridge boxes. They are perfect as an accessory for a high grade or a custom built rifle.
Feel free to contact Jon Bomarito at 831-917-9173 or firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about Open Range Creations products.
In March 2017, a couple of months after I wrote this article, Jon sent new "prototype" 12 cartridge and 20 cartridge boxes for my inspection. They are made in the same style and of the same high grade walnut as the smaller boxes featured in this article, but with greater cartridge capacity.
Another variation is a mid-box magnetic closure, rather than a removable bottom. (Note the box at lower left in the photo at top of page.) They retain the black bottom of the previous boxes, but it is fixed. I consider this an improvement, as the cartridges are easier to remove.
The 12 round box is about 5/8" longer than the 10 round box, just enough to add two .30-06 size cartridges side by side. The 20 round box, also made for .30-06 size cartridges, measures 5" long, 3-5/8" tall and 1-15/16" wide.
It seems to me that 10 or 12 rounds is about right for a hunter's pack, while 20 rounds is about right for the rifle range. I think these larger capacity boxes will prove a valuable and popular addition to the Open Range line.
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.