Maker of Fine Sporting Rifles

Author: Reto Buehler Page 3 of 8

Two craftsmen, one rifle.

Forgive me if I’m stepping one more time onto my soap box. I’m very concerned about the direction we are going us a country, and I have no doubt it will greatly affect us as gun owners and sportsmen. No matter if you are a Democrat or Republican, it is time for us to get involved into politics. If we have surely many disagreements between us, we can hopefully agree that as honest men we must ensure fair elections. And I hope we can agree that the Republic and the Constitution that has given us such a high standard of living is worth preserving. A bird needs two wings to fly and honest people need to get involved and start listening to each other again. When I was a kid in Europe we had the impression that America was the land of unlimited opportunities for those that work hard and have visions. In the last 24 years I’ve witnessed the change where we went from an attitude of “Yes, you can do that, go for it!” to the attitude “Sorry buddy, you can’t do this, because I don’t like it, and you don’t have the right permit.” Let’s not forget, but we hold these truths to be self evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

The global elite is trying to implement the “Great Reset” across the world, and it seems to me we are in step with their plans. Please do your own research on it The Great Reset | World Economic Forum (

We have seen this movie before and it is called communism. It is high time to be active within our parties, to volunteer, to re-connect with our churches and to support financially the organizations that help preserve freedom and liberty for all. At my naturalization ceremony I swore an oath of allegiance to the constitution of the United States, and I believe that it is my duty to speak up. And that is what we do as free men.

Okay, let’s move on.

This rifle was built around a 1909 Argentina Mauser 98 action and is in the caliber .30-06. My client had bought it from a dealer and it came from an estate in un-finished condition. Steve Heilmann had done the metal work on the rifle and Steve had it bedded in a well executed pattern stock of his own design. I had the privilege of making the actual stock off the pattern and of finishing the rifle after stocking. I made no changes on the metal work, except a final polishing, and we had Bruce Farman do the checkering on the bolt handle.

Steve is an excellent craftsman and my customer very much liked the pattern stock. We made just a few minor changes to it. I tried my best to honor Steve’s design and to execute his vision fully.

The rifle has a Jerry Fisher round bottom metal and Steve also had made the scope bases and the custom trigger. It also is a very accurate shooting rifle. I hope that Steve approves the end result. But more important, we both have a very happy client.

The finished .300 H&H Bavarian style rifle

January 2021 is almost over and while we all have looked forward to leaving 2020 behind, we are facing new challenges going forward. These days I often look back to the 90’s when I immigrated from Switzerland to the United States. Wow, has this country ever changed since! I leave it at that. Gun owners in New Zealand, Canada and other countries have seen heavy attacks on their rights. We must assume that we are going to face unprecedented assaults on our second amendment and our liberties as well. Therefore I urge you that you as a gun owner keep yourself informed and engaged. If we don’t get involved at this point, gun ownership will be soon a thing of the past. There are many organizations worthwhile supporting. Here are a few:

NRA-ILA | Home

GOA | The only no compromise gun lobby in Washington (

Second Amendment Foundation (

Oregon’s Only No Compromise Gun Rights Organization – Oregon Firearms Federation

I don’t think gun shops have been doing a good job in educating gun buyers about the never ending and deceitful attacks on our rights by zealous politicians.

Alright, I get off my soap box and move on to happier things. I’ve had the privilege to built and finish a few very diverse rifles this past year. I will start off in this post with this unusual rifle. Well, for North America anyway.

This rifle has been in the works for a long time. The engraving held it up considerably but at the end it was worth it. I posted pictures of this rifle in progress before in a previous blog post. It is a Bavarian styled rifle in the caliber .300 H&H. The foundation was a 1909 Argentine action that my client had provided. A new bottom metal, trigger, bolt handle and shroud where added.

I modified the action for the long cartridge and incorporated the features that my client requested, but still tried to make it my own. In doing so I stayed away from the more aggressive and typically hooked Bavarian grip and gave the stock less of a hogs back. This with the shooter’s comfort in mind. The rifle has a detachable swing mount and a Leica scope.

Lisa Tomlin performed the engravings. I thought she did a wonderful job. I can’t take credit for any of the design, that was between her and our client.

The .300 H&H has been a popular cartridge in my shop. Thus far the accuracy has been outstanding with every rifle, this one no exception. I’m a fan.

Buehler Custom Sporting Arms LLC

For more information please feel free to contact me at, and I invite you to visit my website.

.318 Westley & Richards makeover

Once in a while I get inquiries to do a complete makeover of a vintage rifle. In this case my client had been offered a 1920 Westley & Richards rifle for sale, together with a new stock blank and a duplicated pattern stock. The original stock had been oil soaked and cracked and was completely worn down. The barrel had some corrosion on the inside, and the outside had a thick patina on the metal. Everything was in pretty rough shape. My client considered buying the rifle, then have me re-stock and re-store the rifle to original condition. Is it worth to do a project with a rifle gone that far? My advise was, yes, if it shoots well, and no, if the accuracy is bad from the start. If re-barreling would be required it would be smarter to build a custom rifle from scratch. The original proof marks would have been lost and at that time in my opinion the Westley Richards association would have been pretty minimalized.

My client was given the opportunity to test fire the rifle before purchasing it, and low and behold, the accuracy was a very pleasant surprise. The decision to go ahead was made.

We expected having to re-cut the letterings on the rifle by an engraver. Bead blasting of the metal revealed however that the lettering was deep enough to be left alone.

The stock was carved from the supplied pattern and it is very closely made to the original. I did add about 1″ of length of pull to the stock to accommodate my client better. On the original stock a horrible ventilated recoil pad had been installed. We assumed that the stock originally had a steel butt plate. I was able to locate a period correct trap door steel butt plate. New screws and a drill guide had to be made for the butt plate.

The original grip cap and diamond inlay on the forearm where used, but new screws had to be made and timed. A horn forearm tip was added to the stock.

The checkering of a vintage W&R rifle presents a further challenge and difficulty to the stock maker. Typically on those guns the rear borders of the grip checkering are the master lines and go over the top.

Here are a few pictures of the finished project. I made a period correct sling swivel stud and a new ivory front sight for the rifle as well. Some of the parts where then sent off for case color hardening and the barreled action was rust blued by my friend Stan Tabasco. I really had fun shooting this classic. The accuracy was impressive and dare I say, unusual for an old gun like this. The trigger was a typical Mauser 2 stage. We left the original trigger in the gun. But I blocked the first stage and changed it to a single stage trigger.

It always is wonderful when the client is able to pick up his gun in person. I truly hope that he is happy with my work and I hope the rifle will be a great companion and play an important role in his future adventures. There is a great sense of satisfaction to doing such a project, and I hope to get similar commissions in the future.

Here is a brief history of this rifle in my clients words:

“The rifle was built in 1920, sent to a British officer by the name of J. F. Dobson, who served served in India. No one knows how and/or when the rifle made its way to the hands of an unnamed professional hunter in Africa. Basil Bradbury, of Boone and Crockett fame and former editor of Peterson’s Hunting magazine, brought the rifle back from Africa. By this time, the stock had two cracks in it and the checkering around the pistol grip and foreend had been worn completely smooth. In March of 1993, Basil Bradbury gifted the rifle to my friend Jay Lesser, founder and former owner of Wyoming Professional Hunters and former Boone and Crockett member. Shortly thereafter, former shooting editor for Guns and Ammo magazine, Ross Seyfried, gave Jay a box of Nosler Partition 250 grain .338 bullets, which had been centerless ground to a diameter of .330 so that good hunting ammunition could be made for the old rifle. It should be noted this all happened before the internet and the wide distribution of Woodleigh Bullets, which the rifle currently shoots very well. I bought the rifle, including the Ross Seyfried Nosler bullets, a fine stock blank, a pattern stock, and RCBS loading dies from Jay in November of 2015. I promptly shot two 1.5 inch-100 yard-3 shot groups with the rifle, and delivered the rifle to Reto Buehler for resurrection. An elk hunt with Jay and the Ross Seyfried bullets is being planned for fall of 2021 or 2022”.

Current projects on the bench

This has been a very long summer for us. The ongoing covid mess has not been easy and the kids are pretty restless at home. Heavy wild fires all around us and the mediocre on-line schooling the kids are receiving have presented further challenges.

I have a few really fun custom rifles in the works. Several guns have been out for engraving for some time. The engraver Tim George shared a picture with me of a Buehler CSA .375 H&H rifle that he just finished.

Another project currently awaiting engraving is the 7×57 Mannlicher rifle mentioned in a previous post. The following are some pictures taken of the rifle in process. The picture on the bottom shows off the metal ready for engraving.

Another really fun project is a .505 Gibbs rifle I’m working on. At the heart of this rifle is a very large Hagn action. The barrel started off as a heavy pre-turned blank, weighing over 8 pounds before the contour milling.

I will post further pictures and information about this rifle in a future post.

Oil finish for gun stocks

Some of you are probably stuck at home because of covid19. Perhaps you are attempting to do a do-it-yourself project during this period. Or you are taking the time to clean and inspect your gun collection. In any case, I thought a little article on gun stock finishing might be of interest.

High grade custom guns usually have an oil finish applied to the stock. Production guns often have a polyurethane finish sprayed on. While that holds up great, it is difficult to re-finish a section on the stock without stripping the entire finish. It also is very bland and deadens the warmth and natural color of the wood. The stocks on most high end custom guns are usually finished with a hand rubbed oil finish. A good oil finish for gun stocks will bring out the natural color and 3D effect of the wood grain. It will hold up well in the field. And it is easy to touch up small areas on a stock and blend it back in with the existing finish. Most oil finishes are linseed or tung oil based and have added driers in it.

There are a ton of finishing products available. I’ve tried many of them, and have a closet full of products.

Many of them work just fine and I think it is important to stick with a procedure for a while and learn to work with it. While working in the old world, we primarily used a product named “Schaftoel”. I think it was a walnut oil. Until I came to America, I never even heard of filling the pores on a stock. Back then we applied the oil onto the stocks until a desired color was achieved. Then with cotton balls dipped in varnish we polished the stocks with a clear coat to give it some shine and protection. The results where never very satisfying and the cotton balls where suspect to spontaneous combustion.

I use a wood sealer for the inside of the stocks. Currently the outside I completely finish with a product named TimberLuxe.

After sanding and whisker a stock up to 320 grit, I raise the pores and apply Timberluxe with a brush until the wood does not absorb it anymore. After at least a day of drying I fill the pores per wet sanding and with the same product. The oil and sanding mud is left to dry on the stock. A day later it can be sanded off, and the procedure is repeated if the pores are not completely filled. Once the pores are filled, I apply one coat of finish per day, rubbing it into the wood with the palm of my hand. At one stage the finish usually needs to be sanded back slightly again with 400 grit. Thereafter more coats are applied. After the stock sits around for a while, the pores tend to sink in slightly and I will give the stock a final sanding with 600 grit. After this more coats are applied until the finish feels smooth and silky to the touch. I find Timberluxe to be one of the easiest products to get great results with. And it seems to hold up very well over time.

To maintain a nice finish on on your rifle I would recommend to wipe the stock after use with a soft cloth. The finish should be occasionally nourished. A drop of boiled linseed oil on a cloth will do fine. I’ve found that guitar polish/cleaner that you may find in music stores works very well too. Careful with the checkering. A designated tooth brush works well to clean the checkering and it will benefit too from a very small amount of oil.

Buehler CSA .30-06 custom rifle

After my client received the pictures of this rifle he told me that this is his dream rifle. He thought that it had turned out nicer then he could have imagined. It’s currently in transit and he will shortly receive it. It’s a privilege to make dreams come true and I’m honored that he chose me for this project.

The rifle in the picture is in the caliber .30-06. I’m surprised how popular this caliber has been in my shop over the years. But then again, the overall style of my rifles is very traditional and mostly based on pre-war made rifles. I guess naturally I attract more traditional minded clients and calibers such as the 7×57, .30-06, .300 H&H, .375 H&H, .404 Jeffery continue to dominate my orders.

This rifle is based on my model “English Express”. The pictures where taken by Brian Dierks, an outstanding local commercial photographer and friend of mine. He does all the commercial photography for the Harry & David company. I strongly recommend him for any type of commercial photography. Guns are particularly difficult to photograph, having all these round and shiny surfaces.

The following pictures will provide insight into several of the typical steps I take when building a bolt action rifle. The pictures show the .30-06 rifle in process :

First the action is prepared for barreling, which includes trueing of the receiver ring and the lapping of the recoil lugs. After the barrel is installed the sight ramps are fitted and soldered to the barrel.

At first I fit the quarter rib with in-letting blue, and for a final fit with smoke.

The front sight ramp after soldering, but before cleaning off of the solder and the final shaping.
The quarter rib after soldering and ready for the rear sight installation.

The stock started its journey from a beautiful Turkish walnut blank. This particular blank was purchased and shipped directly from Turkey.

I usually glue the barreled action into a pattern and then carve the stock on a Hoehnig duplicator machine. The picture above shows the stock rough carved, the metal inlet and the ebony forearm tip installed. The outside of my stock patterns are pretty crude and oversize and allow me to shape the actual stock to the dimensions required by the client. I don’t spend much time on pattern work, but rather spend the time on the actual stock.

After hours of chiseling, filing and sanding the stock is ready for the first coat of the finish.

After about 10 days of daily finish applications, the wood is ready for checkering. In this case we chose flat top checkering. The picture above is of all of the tools I used on the checkering.

For this particular stock I think flat top checkering was preferable. It doesn’t cloud the beautiful grain of the wood as much as diamond points . The next step was to prepare the rifle for bluing, but before disassembling everything I tested it one more time for accuracy at the range.

After bluing and final assembly, the rifle was tested once more for function and accuracy with several brands of ammo. I shot it with the Swarovski scope installed and with the open sights. I also tested the accuracy of the scope mount with taking the scope off and on between shots.

My job is done, and I hope it will accompany my client on many future adventures.

Current custom projects amidst a world in crisis

Wow, how quickly the world has changed. The personal impact on all of us is going to be immense during the covid-19 crisis. Unfortunately our politics and News coverage is so politicized, it is often difficult to get honest reporting. I’ve been following the News from my birth country of Switzerland for some time and have been aware that this is going to be serious.

The Swiss army has been deployed to assist. On Monday the 5th hospital battalion has been mobilized (picture above) and put into active duty. On a side note, the Swiss citizens army can partially be mobilized within 24 hours and fully mobilized within 48 hours. This is only possible because the personal gear is stored at home. (In my days inclusive 50 rounds of ammo.)

Times are serious but this too will pass and I hope that despite everything a lot of good will arise from this . New business opportunities will emerge and the economy will recover. And perhaps faith into a higher power will experience a revival. Maybe families grow closer and neighbors will help neighbors.

I’m currently finishing up a caliber .30-06 custom rifle and am planning to post some pictures of it once I receive the pictures from my photographer. Usually I have several projects going at once. One of my projects is a Mauser 98 in 7×57 and it is going to have a full length Mannlicher style Germanic stock.

The action is a re-worked German 33-40 small ring Mauser 98 and I added modern parts and components to it, such as a new magazine box, bolt handle, 3 position safety and a Timney trigger. The trigger bow on the Timney I replaced with an original Mauser 98 trigger, to give it a vintage Mauser vibe.

The barrel in the pictures above is turned oversize and ready for milling into an octagon contour with raised quarter rib, integral front sight ramp and full length rib.

The pictures above are of the barrel in process. I still have the draw-filing and polishing left to do. And the sight installation. I’m planning to a add a few further refinements to the barrel. I’m looking forward to starting on the stock soon.

Another project I have in the works is a .308 Win. custom rifle. This one has a modified Mexican Mauser 98 receiver, with new parts added. The trigger was made by Alaska Arms and is in the Winchester 70 style. The peep sight is only temporarily mounted. The cocking piece mount is a prototype that I will re-do.

I hope seeing some of my work in progress offers you a welcome distraction from the daily News, and I will try to post shortly some more articles.

.375 caliber barrel and stock blanks for sale

Here are a few items I would like to sell:

.375 caliber barrel, 1:12″ twist, with integral machined sight ramps, recoil lug and sling swivel.

The barrel blank was manufactured by Krieger, the contour machining was done by Granite Mountain Arms. It has been Magna-ported by the Mag-Na-Port company. The barrel has never been installed, is un-chambered, and the overall length is 24″. $1000

Stock Blank:

This blank has been dry for at least 30 years. It is California English walnut and has a stunning natural color.

It’s best suited for an English style two piece stock with straight grip. It would be particularly well suited for a lever action rifle or American shotgun. The feather flows beautifully towards the heel. I don’t often work on those types of guns, so it’s time to let it go. $650

Stock Blank:

This blank is from the same tree as above.

This blank is also best suited for a straight-grip stock. It has that awesome feather grain flow that is so often desired for traditional American custom guns. These two blanks would make a beautiful pair of lever actions or shotguns. $600 (or $1200 for both blanks together)

(541) 664 9109, or email to:

.300 Win. Mag. Buehler CSA rifle

As 2019 is coming to an end I’m looking back at a productive year. The rifle in this article is my latest creation and it was shipped out last week. A high grade Turkish walnut stock blank and a GMA action served as the foundation for this gun. I installed a PacNor barrel with a custom H&H style contour to it. By the way, the PacNor factory has had a terrible fire in October and is currently out of business until further notice. I sincerely hope that they will be able to re-build the company and re-start production. I’ve had excellent results with their barrels over their years. Fortunately we have a good number of excellent barrel makers in the US.

The .300 Win. Mag. is one of my all time favorite calibers. Inherently accurate and with enough energy for all types of North American game. And ammo is available just about anywhere. I installed a Swarovski Z6 1.7-10 x 42 with my custom scope mounts onto the rifle. By the way, I am a dealer for Swarovski and Zeiss. If you are in the market for one of these scopes, let me know and I would be happy to get you a quote. I like this particular scope a lot. It is not overbearing on a rifle, has good dimensions for mounting and the optic is excellent.

The rifle performed fantastic with Hornady 200 grain precision hunter ammo, and shot right away a 3 shot group of 1/2″ at 100yds. I tested it also with Barnes TTSX 165 grain and it performed just as good. I have received great feedback from clients using TSX bullets. A fantastic performing bullet, and yes, legal for use in California.

The “Express” 7×57 rifle

I can’t believe Thanksgiving day came and already went. As always a good day for some reflection and for appreciating the blessings we take so often for granted. I’m so very thankful to all of my customers for your trust and for your business. Thank you!

I’ve had the privilege of building a very cool custom rifle in 7×57 for a client of mine. It left here just before Thanksgiving.

The client and I both enjoy the looks of the drop box magazines. Perhaps in a practical sense I doubt a good shooter will require the extra magazine capacity in a small bore rifle. But it does lend a rifle that awesome African look.

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The action used is a GMA “Kurz” and I ordered it in a 33-40 style. Basically it has a few additional cuts in the receiver to reduce weight. I also added a thumb cut to the action. This to give it more of that original Mauser look. A problem was the un-availability of a drop box magazine for the 7×57 cartridge. So I shortened a Blackburn 30-06 size drop box almost 1/4″ and welded it back together. The floor plate then required also shortening and re-fitting. The magazine capacity extended to 5 rounds.

Magazine box after shortening

The stock wood is Turkish walnut and has some exceptional figure in it.

At the shooting range the rifle performed wonderfully. The Swarovski 1.7-10 x 42 scope contributed greatly.

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