The Friends of NRA National Sponsorship Series is back for 2021 with seven ways for you to join a select group whose commitment to the shooting sports will ensure its vitality for years to come. This year’s series includes the final chances at an exceptional premium, the Major E.J. Land Signature Edition Tactical Rifle. In collaboration with Friends of NRA, Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO) built 50 customized and specially marked bolt-action SABER M700s. Providing input was the rifle’s namesake, former U.S. Marine Corps sniper instructor and long-time NRA secretary, Maj. Edward J. “Jim” Land, Jr. Only three of these unique rifles are still available, and will be included in a raffle conducted by the Richmond, Va., Friends of NRA committee. For details, go to: friendsofnra.org/eventtickets/Events/Details/48?eventId=58143.
With proceeds going to the NRA Foundation, tickets for the Land Signature Rifle raffle are $100 each, with only 200 tickets available. Participants need not be present to win.
Land is regarded as the father of the modern Marine Corps Scout Sniper program and has a long history with NRA. He began his military career at the age of 17 in 1953, and he was later commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the 4th Marine Regiment stationed in Hawaii, where he started shooting competitively with the Marine Corps team.
In the 1960s, Land was instrumental in revamping the Marine Corps sniper program and subsequently led tactical field training for snipers in Vietnam. After the war, Land served as the Marine Corps Marksmanship Coordinator and worked again in its sniper program until his retirement in 1977.
Land built a relationship with the NRA through his time at Camp Perry and involvement with NRA state associations, and also served as an NRA field representative and as a director of two NRA divisions. Land was then elected to the NRA Board of Directors and served as the NRA secretary from 1994 to 2015.
Friends of NRA chose APO to create the Land signature rifles based on its presence in the military sniper community, as well as its connections to Land. As a gunsmith for the Marine Corps shooting teams, APO’s former ordnance production manager, Gary Gregory, once worked with the major.
“He’s the only person that I trust to sign my name on something,” said Land, as Gregory provided the final inspection on all 50 signature rifles. APO’s custom shop built them using hand-selected Remington M700 receivers, which were paired with match-grade 22" Proof Research barrels chambered for 6.5 mm Creedmoor and fitted in SABER RSA-A3 MOD-0 chassis systems. The rifles come with Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18x44 mm M5C3 riflescopes, and each was test-fired by Maj. Land for final approval. Each also has Land’s signature etched into the chassis. Sequential “EJL” serial numbers grace the rifles, which come in a dark-wood display case along with a framed picture of Land, a letter and a 6.5 mm Creedmoor case fired by Land.
Since the sponsor program’s inception in 2002, more than 115,000 people have become Friends of NRA sponsors, totaling more than $50 million in gross dollars raised for the NRA Foundation.