Mike’s interest in aviation and love of flying didn’t stop with fixed wing craft. He also had a few helicopters in the hangar and his restored UH-1 “Huey” is always a showstopper. We hope you enjoy these fantastic pictures of the Huey in action as well as the somewhat grainy video below.
There is a reason that Dillon Precision backs up onto an airport and it isn’t so that we can be close to the air freight providers. This video, hosted by renowned shooting enthusiast and television host Jim Scoutten, showcases one of Mike’s many airplanes, the TT-1 Super Pinto. This plane currently resides at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola Florida, just in case you want to see it in person.
Some big names in the shooting world share a small part of their own connection with Mike Dillon.
2014 SMM3G Match Dedication
The 2014 Superstition Mountain Mystery 3 Gun is dedicated to Mike Dillon. In 1995 I had this crazy idea that we could put on a great three gun tournament at Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club. I got a small budget from the club and started pitching the idea to several potential sponsors. I went directly to Mike Dillon at Dillon Precision in Scottsdale. After about 30 minutes in Mike’s office, he evidently saw the potential of this match and came in as our original Overall Match Sponsor. For the next nine years Dillon continued to support and help promote the SMM3G as the Overall Match Sponsor.
Sponsors come and sponsors go, but because of Mike Dillon, Dillon Precision has always been either the match sponsor or at the very least one of our top sponsors and supporters of this match. Without Mike and his direct support this match may have been lost in the shuffle and faded into history.
From the entire SMM3Gun Staff, the match participants over the past nineteen years and me personally, we give you a sincere “THANK YOU.”
Daniel R. Furbee,
SMM3Gun Founder and Match Director
Some of the guys that influenced the shooting sports also got a helping hand from Mike Dillon. Here are comments from a few people you may have heard of before:
“I can’t remember when I first met Mike as he and my father were friends my whole life. Dad would tell stories about Mike as they were both into aviation, Mike a commercial airline pilot and Dad a hobbyist. Mike had a bright red P40 War Hawk, and one day we went over to Mike’s and he showed us the lead ballast he had pulled out of it to make it lighter. Lots of lead. All I could see was bullets! I was casting my own at the time and that would have been enough lead to make thousands… Mike commented on how it had made the airplane very scary to fly.
One day Dad told me Mike was building reloading machines, and that he was going to change the shooting world. Turns out Dad was right about that.
I have tons of stories but one that stands out as most significant is the time Mike and his son Steve, My Dad and I drove from Phoenix to Prescott where Dad was doing a story on a guy who was opening a firearms training facility. We spent the day with the owner shooting pistols, Mike’s Thompson submachine gun and a .22 rifle off the porch of the owner’s house. The person in question was Jeff Cooper and the facility Gunsite. It was about 1975 and at the time Mike was very much into practical pistol shooting. Little did I know that in just a few years I would be hot and heavy into the sport and Mike would be one of the guys making it possible for me. I still have Mike’s autographed copy of Cooper On Handguns.
As I became more and more interested in practical shooting, ammo became the limiting factor to my advancement. Brian had worked out a deal with Mike for components and was using one of his new loading machines. Mike let me in on the same deal as Brian, and that changed everything for me. No more skimping for bullets and loading on a single line press! This single event, second only to my fathers support of my shooting led to my becoming competitive in practical shooting.
Over the years Mike has helped me in so many ways. The video “Shooter Ready” was a project Mike dreamed up. I think he wanted to be a director. He organized the whole thing and oversaw every scene and shot. It was still for sale last I checked, and it was made in 1987! By a bunch of shooters… Like I said, a lot of stories about Mike.
Mike was always there aiding my career before I even knew I was going to have one. Sponsor, mentor, family friend, I cannot over emphasize the importance of Mike to me. Sometimes I feel like Forest Gump, and knowing Mike is one of the significant events I have been lucky to have witnessed.”
“I clearly remember the first time I met Mike Dillon. In 1981, I won a Ruger Redhawk at a match. Not a fan of that revolver, my plan was to sell it to raise cash to buy more bullets. I mentioned that to Robbie Leatham’s dad, Nyle. He said he knew a guy that would trade it for a progressive reloading press. I liked the sound of that, so we were off to meet Mike Dillon.
We met at Mike’s small workshop. He pointed to a lineup of every model of reloading press, and said, “All these manufacturers have been selling the same presses for fifty years – I’m going to blow this market away.” He went on to do just that.
As he rolled the Redhawk around in his hands, I could tell by the expression on his face he was thinking, “What in the hell am I going to do with this thing.” Still he offered to trade me an RL 300 press for it. Looking back, it was clearly his friendship with Nyle that compelled him to make such a ridiculous deal.
Soon after that Mike offered to sponsor me and Robbie with a thousand bullets a month, each. That quickly changed to all the bullets we could shoot. Which was a lot. Without Mike’s generosity I’d probably still be turning wrenches as an auto mechanic.
Since Mike Dillon has been involved with the shooting community, it is impossible to estimate the impact of his incredible ingenuity and generosity.”
“Mike Dillon is a true inventor and pioneer in the shooting community. Through the years I progressed from a single stage press to a Dillon 300, 450 and 1050. These machines tripled, quadrupled and then did a 15x increase in production rates on my handgun ammo with no sacrifice in quality. I have used Dillon loaded ammunition from Alaska to Zimbabwe and many points between for competition wins and hunting success. Mike has never allowed his ego to say “it is good enough”. I am thankful for the opportunities Mike Dillon gave me over the years. Shooters everywhere have benefitted from Mikes affiliation with the best people and listening to their suggestions.”
“The first week I came to work for Mike Dillon he told me something I have never forgotten: “Never bother me with good news. Only when something is wrong can we make things better!” This is what Mike Dillon is all about and thousands of customers will always appreciate it”. I only wish there were more business owners out there like Mike Dillon.”