Rick Brevig, owner of Wild Country Gun Shop sits at his work desk where he prepares to re-blue a gun barrel.
Rick Brevig, owner of Wild Country Gun Shop sits at his work desk where he prepares to re-blue a gun barrel.
Guns have been the topic of heated debate and tragic events of late. Despite this, it is sure that Fillmore County will continue to boast a very strong hunting and outdoor recreational culture. At least that is what Rick Brevig, owner of the newly opened Wild Country Gun Shop in Preston, is hoping will not change in the area.

Located in the Rustad Building on Fillmore Street West and across from city hall, Brevig's new gun service and retail shop officially opened for business on Feb. 20. However, he has been servicing guns for people by word-of-mouth for over two years. The move to become an official business has followed a slow, but steady path that fits Brevigs' style.

Brevig grew up in Chatfield and graduated from Chatfield High School in 1972. It was around the same time of his senior year that he started hunting. His dad hunted, so he found himself getting more into hunting with both guns and bows. Today, he enjoys hunting mostly for deer and lake fishing in other parts of Minnesota.

Collecting guns has also become a hobby of his. Brevig owns several American and British guns from the early-20th and late-19th centuries. He said he attends gun shows and gun auctions as well.

"I go and look and see what the prices are," he said.

Brevig isn't into purchasing assault weapons, saying those weapons' purposes are for wartime. He is knowledgeable about many different kinds of guns and their inner workings, having bought many repair-worthy models himself.

"It helps when it comes to helping actual customers," Brevig stated.

Brevig credits his son-in-law, Tracy Roesler, for getting him interested in gun smithing and selling guns. Roesler is currently in active duty with the Marine Corps and has been in the armed service for the past 15 years. He has only two more years in the service before he can retire and Brevig said he is looking forward to sharing and eventually passing on the business to him.

Roesler was the one, Brevig said, who saw the need in the area for a gunsmith. "Tracy got me really involved," said Brevig, who was always used to cleaning his own guns. The Rushford flood in 2007 also helped prepare Brevig to open this business when his father's house was flooded, damaging several of his guns. Brevig cleaned and re-blued them, which is a process of removing rust on the gun and then protecting it against future corrosion.

As his skill progressed over the next four years, Brevig decided to officially get a gun smithing certification through the online Penn Foster Career School in April of 2011. From there he built up his clientele until he felt getting his own business space was necessary.

"I wanted to make sure this could work," he commented. Brevig has heard plenty of positive feedback from his clients and was working on around six to seven guns at a time, a number that will probably increase come deer season.

His new business provides gun repair, cleaning, re-bluing and scope mounting services in addition to other retail. Brevig said he wants to focus more on providing services to his clients and then slowly build up the retail side of the business.

The current hubbub over gun regulation has Brevig erring on the side of caution. "It's hard to see where they are going with it," he said. "Hopefully it doesn't affect us more than it should."

When things are clearer, Brevig plans on selling guns, but only those strictly for hunting. He also hopes to be able to start selling ammunition as well.

While visiting Roesler out in North Carolina last August, Brevig acquired some army surplus products, which he thinks will be incorporated a little bit into his shop. However, he would like Wild Country Gun Shop to evolve more towards the hunting culture. He mentioned getting suggestions from people in the area will help him continue to develop the business in the future.

Contributing to economic growth in Preston is another benefit he thinks he can provide. "I'll give friendly, quality and efficient service," he shared, stressing the local gun smithing option he now can provide to people who would normally drive a long way to have their guns serviced.

The range of hunting accessories such as hunting knives, gun socks and back packs, also provide a local place to pick up a necessary replacement item before heading outside again. The direct connection to the outdoors is something Brevig appreciates. "When you hunt, it's a quiet time."

According to Brevig, gunsmiths are getting harder to find. "It's almost like it's a dying business," he explained, "Hopefully I'm the one to bring it up again."

Being a new business owner and his own boss is a new adventure in Brevig's life and one he is excited to continue. "I didn't think being a business owner was a part of me, but I guess it's getting to be."

If one would like to contact Rick Brevig and the Wild Country Gun Shop, call (507) 765-4758.