Longtime WVU rifle maker dies at 78

Morgantown gunsmith Marvin Wotring makes the rifle for the West Virginia University Mountaineer. (WCHS/WVAH)

The West Virginia University community is mourning the loss of longtime rifle maker Marvin Wotring.

Wotring died at his home in Morgantown Sunday at the age of 78.

While the WVU Mountaineer mascot has gone through many changes over the years, one thing has remained the same- the Mountaineer rifle.

Every Mountaineer rifle used since 1977 has been handmade by Motring.

In 1977, Wotring was asked by the university to repair the Mountaineer rifle, which at that time was a foreign design.

The rifle is passed down to the next Mountaineer when the next student takes over the position, but Wotring makes a new rifle about every four years. The retired rifles are put on display at West Virginia University. Wotring also has developed longstanding friendships with the 27 Mountaineers he has worked with and actually taught several of them how to load, shoot and care for each rifle.

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