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I've been hearing reports that Don Allen, pilot, hunter, cartridge designer, gunmaker, and President & CEO of Dakota Arms passed away last Saturday. Don is probably best known for introducing the Dakota 76 action, a bolt action that combined the best features of the Pre-64 Winchester, the Mauser 98, and extremely high quality with today's best technology. Don has been a strident supporter of the 2nd Amendment and sponsored numerous shooting groups, centers and activities.

Apparently he had a long struggle with cancer and will be buried near his home in Sturgis, South Dakota.

One the best is gone.
 

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A nice tribute to Mr. Allen on Dakota's website:
http://www.dakotaarms.com/don_allen.html

Excerpted from their site:
Donald LeRoy Allen was born December 16, 1941, at St. Francis, KS, to Melvin Earl "Pete" and Mary Fern (Ostrander) Allen. He grew up in the Beecher Island, CO, community where he helped on the farm, attended Sunday school and attended Armel elementary school and high school in Idalia, CO, but graduated from East High School in Denver, CO.
Don and his parents were baptized together on June 24, 1951, at Landsman Pond by the Rev. Gene Winfree.

On August 29, 1959 he marred his high school sweetheart, Norma Jo Davis at Glenwood Springs, CO.

Don graduated college from the University of Northern Colorado in Greely. He was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in June of 1964 and graduated from pilot training on July 30, 1965. He flew RF-4's in Vietnam and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and many other honors. He also flew F-100's in the Iowa National Guard. There is a display of Don's military memorabilia at the Veteran Memorial Museum in Branson, MO.

On March 3, 1969, Don was hired by Northwest Airlines as a pilot. He flew 26 years with Northwest and retired as a 727 captain on May 6, 1995.

Don was an avid hunter and this interest led him to become one of the top custom gun makers in the world. He was the founding President of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild. In 1986, his expertise in gun building resulted in the founding of Dakota Arms in Sturgis, SD with his wife, Norma. Dakota Arms grew into one of the most successful high-quality rifle and shotgun manufacturers in America. His designs have received national awards and much recognition. Just recently, the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce named Dakota Arms "2002 Employer of the Year". Don also served on the Sturgis Airport Committee and worked diligently for the Sturgis Industrial Expansion Corporation

Don died at his home on Saturday, May 17, 2003 with his wife and children at his side. Survivors include his wife, Norma, Sturgis; one son and his wife, David and J.J. Allen, Myrtle Beach, SC; one daughter and her husband, Dana and James Lasnetske, Whitewood; his parents, Pete and Fern Allen, Wray CO; two brothers, Larry Allen and his wife, Mary, Idalia, CO, and Dennis Allen, Seattle, WA; one sister, Mary Ann Harwood and her husband, David, Colorado Springs, CO; and seven grandchildren.
 

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Mr. Allen sounds like a kindred spirit who excelled at several interests shared with many of us here on this forum. Clearly his passing is a sad loss.

Fireplug
 

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I just got a Dakota 76 in .25/06 with the #2 English walnut for my graduation present. I haven't shot it yet but I plan to this weekend, I will remeber Don Allen forever. This gun is awesome.
 

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Mattsbox,
That's a heck of nice graduation present. I wish my father had been as generous.

I've looked at the rifles on Dakota's website many times and figured I couldn't justify the cost of such a piece of art. Too nice to drag into the bush. I hope the tradition of excellence and workmanship will be carried forward. I imagine I'll buy one some day if they are still available. This is a true loss to those of us who appreciate true craftsmanship and function.
 

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I am pretty sure that the factory will continue to make rifles. I was really surprised when he gave it to me and I don't know if I will hunt with it but it seems to be a waste to not use it. Dakota rifles never depreciate in value. I have seen dinged up ones go for $3000. which is what I figure my dad paid for mine. I am going to take good care of it though.
 

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Matt,
You've have got an extraordinary rifle there. I bet Don Allen would want you to take it hunting. I would. Be careful, but hunt! Its what Mr. Allen and the staff at Dakota made that rifle for.;)
 

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I think I will use it for some varmint hunting out here before I move to maine in the fall.

p.s. Anyone know how long it takes to get one in #1 walnut?
 
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