The Stirling Ranges, photographed from Gnowangerup in Western Australia’s South
2018 – Beaton Firearms turns 40
A relatively typical story in the firearm world – a man with a hobby and a passion takes a chance, moves to the city chasing a dream of doing what he loves and to provide a better life for his family. From humble beginnings, over time Beaton Firearms became a major player in the firearms industry in Western Australia. Focusing on service, innovation, unique solutions and a “Can Do” attitude meant that while William Beaton (Bill) didn’t build the first company to offer world class customer service, firearm storage, expert gunsmithing, custom rifle design, safety training, laser engraving or CNC machining, he was definitely one of the first to offer all of these services from a small family business in Western Australia. My name is Zaine Beaton – the youngest child of William Beaton and the second generation of Beaton to work at Beaton Firearms. I’m going to outline the history of the company and its creator to give you an idea of the journey the Beaton family and Beaton Firearms has taken.
“Bill” Beaton – History
Gnowangerup is a small country town just North of the Stirling Ranges in the south of Western Australia. The economy at Gnowangerup, like many smaller towns in Western Australia, centers around two commodities – wheat and sheep. William Beaton spent most of his childhood in Gnowangerup where one his favorite past-times was trapping rabbits with his brothers. Working as a mechanic in the local garage and introducing himself by his nickname, Bill developed a name as an excellent shot and gunsmith from a young age. Farmers would commonly drop vehicles off to be repaired and remark the firearm kept under the seat was also faulty, to have Bill fix it while fixing the vehicle.
Bill’s talent for repairing firearms was so well known that the local Police would often send him clients. Unknown to them, there existed a requirement in Western Australia to possess a license to repair firearms. This was rectified in 1978 and Beaton Firearms was created.
For twenty years gunsmithing was a hobby that Bill did after hours from a shed on his property in Gnowangerup. During this time, he started his own agricultural mechanical business, raised two kids, was an active member of the local pistol club and enjoyed thinning out the local population of the endemic vermin – the red fox. But living in Gnowangerup had its restrictions – education for his children and bigger opportunities in the city meant in the year 2000 Bill closed his business, sold his house, packed up his family and moved to the city to start what is known today as the Beaton Firearm’s shopfront in Maddington.
A Special Thankyou
Typically, large wholesalers will not deal directly with smaller retail companies and “Backyarders”. In the early years, Ray’s Sports Power in Albany were happy to supply Bill with product he couldn’t get otherwise. If it wasn’t for this relationship Beaton Firearms could never have grown to the size it is now. Even to this day we maintain a close relationship with the guys from Ray’s and are grateful for their friendship.
We want to pay special recognition to Craig and David Lewis, as well as John Amos and Dave Sobik, from Ray’s Sports Power in Albany. I owe them all more beers than I can count.
– Zaine Beaton