You’ve seen the gear, but who is Salmon River Solutions? Co-owner Ken Trapp joins us to share his story.
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About Salmon River Solutions (SRS)
Salmon River Solutions produces a number of quality, lightweight products for hunters and precision shooters. We’ve featured a variety of their products on the channel including their rails and brakes across several rifle builds.
From Salmon River Solutions:
Salmon River Solutions was founded in 2020 by Ken Trapp and Zach Lester. With each of us having over a decade of experience as CNC machinists, we wanted to establish our own business following our passion for hunting and shooting sports.
We started the business when Ken’s father was retiring and selling his machine shop, and we got our first CNC machine. From there, we acquired a few more machines and started launching products! We go from a vague concept of something we want to make to a design, prototype, and finally, the manufacturing, all in-house.
On top of the products we manufacture and sell ourselves, we also offer contract manufacturing. We have multiple companies that we work with where we transform a vague idea they have into a fully functional part that we manufacture for them.
BORN OUT OF A PASSION FOR HUNTING.
I’m a second-generation machinist. I started machining when I was 19, working for my father. I always wanted to own my own business, but my father’s mold-making company wasn’t what I wanted to pursue. After bouncing around to a few shops over about a decade and working with Zach at two of these jobs, we decided we had similar goals and wanted to start SRS!
I spend a lot of time in the field, hunting, and shooting. I love that it’s my job now to develop and sell products that help people be successful, whether it’s on a hunt, in a shooting competition, or just a day out at the range.
THE JOY OF DESIGNING AND CONCEPTING.
Having worked in the machining industry for a decade I was tired of working for someone else. Having met Ken who felt similarly, the perfect opportunity arrived for us to start our own company. A little over a year later we were able to walk away from our current jobs and start Salmon River Solutions; working full time for ourselves. I have always enjoyed innovating and creating things. Our company gives me the enjoyment of designing, and bringing a design concept to life.
When I am not working, I spend most of my time with my family and dogs. A wife, 3 boys, and two German Shepherds keep me busy. I’m looking forward to what the next few years bring to our company, and we appreciate all the support we have gained so far!
As a hunter and machinist, Trapp combined the need for products that didn’t exist and his desire for entrepreneurship to form SRS. Weary of his day job, he started with a single design (ARCA + Pic rail), his dad’s CNC machine and his business partner Zach Lester’s shop.
On a fun note, the shooting community is small in general, but the precision rifle community is especially small. Trapp’s father worked with Bruce and Daryle Thom of BAT Machine back in the 1980s. Now I’m combining their actions with Trapp’s products on multiple rifle builds. It’s not just me.
Ken Trapp’s personal rifle he brought to the UR Ranch was chambered by Bruce Thom.
Now with three CNC machines, SRS continues to create innovative and versatile designs. We recently upgraded a Bergara 6.5 PRC by adding the SRS Hunters Rail, making it both ARCA and Picatinny compatible.
When considering new products, Trapp and Lester first look at their own needs and consult fellow shooters and hunters. Once they have a fully-formed idea, a prototype can be designed, programmed and produced within a day using a combination of Solidworks and other Cad-Cam software.
Trapp admitted the process starts with wild enthusiasm, but can become disheartening when he hits a typically minor snag. He then invests considerable time improving and perfecting the original “table napkin” design.
As a small business producing everything in-house, Salmon River Solutions is in a unique situation to very quickly innovate without worry of corporate politics. I’ve been fortunate to have been part of their beta testing, offering my feedback on new designs.
The customer is an important part of the business and SRS always puts the customer first. On occasion a customer will find the rail doesn’t exactly fit the gun they want to use it with. In these cases, SRS has been known to bring the part back in, do some extra machining specific for that model, and send it back to the customer. Trapp explained it’s important to him to always support shooters and hunters as well as he can, especially when so many in the world want to threaten the lifestyle.
SRS produces a number of ultra-light titanium brakes, opting not to work with steel or aluminum for these purposes.
They have a range of options varying in size, thread, and bore, but pride themselves on having the two lightest self-timing brakes currently on the market, the Chub and Ti Pro. We featured the lightest, the Chub (1.4 oz.), on our 22 GT build.
Brakes have the capability to offer hunters and shooters peace of mind. Worrying about enduring heavy recoil can upset the shot process and undermine accuracy. We’ve previously used the recoil rig to show exactly how much SRS brakes reduced recoil compared to bare muzzle.
The extensive SRS line includes something suitable for just about every gun. SRS offers both self-timing brakes and non-self-timing brakes. Non-self-timing brakes require gunsmith installation as they need to be timed to have the ports horizontal to the gun. (Take a look at our 6.5 PRC upgrade story to see the SRS Ti Pro 2 and 4” ARCA rail in action.)
Keeping with tradition, SRS produces the smallest, lightest ARCA rail on the market, the SRS ARCA Mini, as well as a number of other rails of various sizes and configurations.
One especially interesting thing about SRS rails is that most have a center cut-out to better work with stocks with rounded profiles. This allows for better transitions from the rounded sections to the flat sections of a stock for better points of contact.
SRS uses 7075 steel instead of the industry standard (6061). This makes it 60% more rigid than 6061, allowing SRS to cut weight without losing rigidity.
Other SRS Products
Though known for brakes and rails, SRS also offers bolt knobs, forend weights, and machining, design, and prototyping services. Their bolt knobs are designed around BAT actions, but will work with other guns as well. Coming soon is a two-piece titanium scope rail!
SRS designs come from needs in the field and on the range. SRS forend weights came from Trapp’s need for them in a precision rifle competition. Contrary to his business partner, hunting is Trapp’s passion. He admits he is already looking forward to pursuing elk and deer next hunting season, with a bow of all things! If he had drawn a different elk tag, Ken would opt for his 300 Norma improved. This rifle is heavy, so he isn’t eager to take it to some of the distant spots he has access to. For hunts involving long treks, he recently had a 300 RUM built with plans to put it in a folding chassis.
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