American Rifleman - April 2011 - 38

Larry Kelly, 1935-2010

L

arry Kelly, a handgun hunting pioneer and the
inventor of the Mag-na-port recoil-reduction
system, died Dec. 21, 2010.
Kelly's life epitomized the American success story.
He was born in 1935 and grew up in the outskirts of
Detroit. He dropped out of school after the eighth grade
to have more time for hunting, trapping and fishing.
By the time he was in his 20s he had a wife and three
children, so he took advantage of a new job opportunity
from a hunter he had guided. It wasn't long before he
found himself working for a company that was making fuel guidance control valves for the Apollo space
mission. Through the years Kelly learned the machinist
trade and became an expert with EDM (electric discharge machining), which uses an electrical "erosion"
process to make precision cuts in metal.
Always a devoted hunter and handgun shooter, Kelly
recognized that the same principal used in those valves
could apply to reducing recoil in firearms. He thought
that if he put a series of metering ports in the end of a
gun's barrel, the jet action of the gases exiting might
help to counter recoil. From that the Mag-na-port company was born, and Kelly became the leader in recoilreducing technology.

The success of his company
provided him the resources to
do what he really wanted to do:
hunt the world with his handguns. Kelly was the first person
in history to take the African
Big Five with a handgun, and he even faced charging lions armed with only his sidearm. He worked on
several culling operations and probably had more
handgun hunting experience with dangerous game
than anybody in history.
Kelly was one of the innovators of the sport of handgun hunting, helping to modernize the guns, optics and
cartridges. He hunted extensively in 14 countries and
holds more than 100 record-class trophies. Fifty-nine of
those trophies are in the top 10 of the SCI record book.
In 1983 he founded the Handgun Hunters Hall of Fame
and Museum.
Kelly won the Outstanding American Handgunner
Award in 1986 and was inducted into the Safari Club
Hall of Fame in 1989. He was a prolific writer, introducing several generations of readers to the challenge
and adventure of handgun hunting.
-Bryce M. Towsley, Field ediTor

Photo courtesy of Mag-na-port

in memoriam



American Rifleman - April 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - April 2011

American Rifleman - April 2011 - 1
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