I need to awaken this long dead thread. I am Evan Whildin’s son, Dave, and had to laugh stumbling on to this page while searching for threads that mention my father. In this particular instance I was googling his name incorrectly spelled with an “en” (because you just never know). To set the record straight, my father passed in 2000 shortly after his 7th brain surgery. He did have a tumor that was most likely the result of exposure to Agent Orange. Bob Olsen was one of his dearest friends and he would tell people Bob was who he wanted to be when he grew up. Most, if not all, ballistic development for the 50 and 41 AE were done at ODL (Olsen Development Laboratory) by both Bob and my father. Bob was contracted by Action Arms as a consultant on a piece by piece basis (I have my father’s files and there are MANY ODL contracts).
As for my father, he was not just VP and COO of Action Arms. He testified as an expert witness in small arms multiple times for federal court, he developed training manuals for the Secret Service, he trained FBI, DEA, and State Police in full-auto fire. When he went to Colt he was head of Marketing Advertising and New Product Development. They even went as far as to make him a ream of business cards that simply stated “mad scientist.” Even while at Colt, however, my father talked to Bob on the phone nearly every day.
I say all that because to try and argue that one of them did more than the other is crazy. I think my Dad knew more about what would sell and what he could market and Bob knew more about how to achieve superior ballistics, but they were working together. The development was truly achieved by constantly bouncing ideas and designs off each other. My dad drove Bob, his wife Helen, and our Siamese cat (chan-two) who they adopted after it bit my little sister, to Arizona. Helen was sick and they were hoping the dry climate would help. It was the last face time they had together.
I appreciate this thread mostly for even mentioning the name Bob Olsen. My father got lots of attention (and ate it up) but Bob was in the shadow (where he wanted to be) but needs to be remembered for the sake of accurate history, if nothing else.