One hobby, passion, or activity doesn’t define a person. From the outside looking in, people often look one-dimensional, but experience says this is rarely the case. Jon Pynch is a classic example. He carries a bevy of labels depending on what crowd you run with. Some may know him as an accomplished hunter, a renowned competitive long-range shooter, a podcast host, a devoted father, a small business owner, or an Oregon native. But we wanted to know more; what makes Jon Pynch tick?
What fascinates you about long-range shooting?
A lot of things, but ultimately, I love precision. Only accurate guns are interesting to me, and I love the challenge of figuring out the wind. Placing a first round hit on a long-range target is so satisfying!
How does your preparation for a match differ from a hunt? What is the same?
When it comes to the gun, preparation for a match and preparation for a hunt are very similar. I want the rifle to be hammering, from load development to drop, everything needs to be perfect. But aside from gun prep, not much is the same. Matches require mental preparation and practice drills, while hunts require getting in shape and making sure all my gear is good to go.
What is your rifle setup for hunting?
I have a handful of hunting guns, but the one that got the nod this year was my 6.5 PRC. Specs are Curtis Custom Axiom action, Mesa Precision Altitude carbon stock, Triggertech Diamond trigger, Proof Research carbon 24" barrel, Area 419 muzzle brake, and a Leupold Mark 5 HD 3.6-18x44 with TMR reticle.
What scares you?
Failing. I think fear of failure is a big deal because I know great things are often on the other side of failure. As I’ve grown older, I’ve made a point to try and face my fear of failing every chance I get. I'm not good at it yet, but it’s a work in progress.
You compete in a lot of NRL and PRS matches – but have you ever wanted to compete in matches like the Mammoth Challenge?
I'd love to compete in a variety of competitions, I just need more time. It would be great to shoot more team style matches, Competition Dynamics matches, Mammoth Sniper Challenge, Guardian Long Range matches, etc. But right now, the two biggest, most competitive leagues are the PRS and NRL – so that's where I focus my time. Hopefully I figure out how to fit in more matches at some point.
If you were a match director, what is the first rule you would enact?
I’d do two things: 90 second stages, and tripods must be deployed on the clock.
When your long-range shooting career is over, what will the next chapter of your life look like?
I'm not sure how long I can compete at a high level, so it all depends on that. I've met a lot of great people in this industry, and I'd like to continue to contribute to it for a long time. But the next chapter of my life will focus on family, probably more travel time, and golf. I enjoy golfing and would love to work on it a little more someday.
Do your sons shoot with you?
Off and on. I never push them to shoot, but when they want to, we’ll break out the .22's and have mini comps between them and their mom. I'm not allowed to compete with them though. My oldest just turned 9, and we're planning a spring bear hunt this year he's really looking forward to. Because of the upcoming hunt, I'll be working with him more through the winter to get him prepared.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Don't be afraid to fail. You learn the most when you do.