Buehler Custom Sporting Arms LLC

Maker of Fine Sporting Rifles

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 3)

Accuracy matters

Over the years I’ve purchased rifle barrels from several different companies. All in all, the barrels made today are of excellent quality and it is not very often that accuracy problems related to the barrel occur. I prefer hand lapped barrels as they have a shorter break-in time. In regards to the rifling being cut or button pulled, I’m not too concerned, as long as the barrel has been stress relieved and no integral machining is being done to it.

During the building of a custom rifle, I try to eliminate as many variables as possible. It is really important to perform step by step to tight tolerances. Should later accuracy problems occur, a lot of possibilities for the cause have already been eliminated. On a bolt action, preparing the receiver is the first step. This consists of facing the receiver ring on the lathe and making sure that the bolt lugs are making good contact and that the bolt face is aligned with the action.

There are different approaches to turning a barrel in the lathe. I prefer to clamp the chamber end and muzzle end in what we call “spiders”.  Each end is held with 4 screws and the bore of each end is precisely dialed in with a dial indicator and a proper fitting plug gauge inserted into the bore. This way the barrel will spin in the lathe true to the bore and subsequent the treads and chamber will be true. After dialing it in, I usually start the lathe and look through the bore. At this point I have a really good idea how straight the barrel has been made by the barrel maker.

After facing the breech and rough cutting the barrel shank, I usually double check my set up with a dial indicators.

The picture above is of single point tread cutting. The tool is moving towards a shoulder and close attention must be paid. The lathe carriage has to be disengaged and simultaneously the tool has to be retracted at the right point. For a beginner, this can be nerve wrecking.

I’m a firm believer that sloppy threads can impact the barrel accuracy. As I get close to the tread depth, I start to double check with the receiver after nearly every pass. The goal is that the receiver will screw onto the barrel without any play.

The next step is the cutting of the chamber. I drill and then ream the chamber in several steps, making sure the pilot of the reamer always guides the tool. I get the chamber pretty close on the lathe, but prefer to ream the last few thousands by hand, as I have a better feeling for it.

Once the breech end is finished, I will remove the barrel from the machine and cut it to length. The barrel will then be re-installed in the lathe the same way as before, but flipped, so that the muzzle can be machined. Again both ends are carefully dialed in.

After the machining the receiver can be installed onto the barrel with the help of a barrel vise and action wrench. The final step is the head spacing and polishing of the chamber. Depending on the type of action,  the breech end might require in addition an extractor cut.

I like to take my time for these operations. A job well done will provide the basis for an accurate shooting rifle.

 

 

Regulating of double rifles

The regulation of double rifles seems to be an issue of interest to many gun enthusiast.  A double rifle has one set of sights and two barrels that are regulated to the same point of impact, so that the sights are aligned with either barrel. The regulation is accomplished with a tapered wedge between the barrels at the muzzle end. When building the barrel set, the barrels are brazed together at the rear and meet, when looking through each, at a point of impact determined by the experience of the barrel maker. They are therefor not parallel aligned, but angled to each other. When regulating, the barrel set is heated up until the solder melts. Depending on the caliber, I apply heat with a torch from the muzzle to about 6 -9″ back. Once the temperature is reached, the wedge can be driven in to spread the barrels further. Or pulled out to bring the muzzles closer to each other. These adjustments will have a direct impact on the grouping of the two barrels. The barrels literally are getting slightly bend during this process. This is normal. Ideally the barrels are joint at the breech in a way that only very minor adjustments have to be made.

The goal is that the barrels group at 50 yds as close as possible together without them crossing. It is wise to verify the regulation before bluing also at a longer distance.

The picture above is of a .470 NE barrel set that I put together a while ago. The chopper lump barrels are brazed together, the hooks machined and the ribs are fitted and await soldering.

This barrel set is ready for regulation. In this case it is prepared to have the wedge pushed in further, in order to slightly spread the barrels. I have seen many different regulation fixtures from different shops. This set up works for me, and I can adapt it easy for different regulation situations. Careful measurements are taken before and after regulation. The elevation of a individual barrel I change with feeler gauges laid under the muzzle area of the barrel.

The regulation is really not a complicated undertaking. But it requires time and labor and several trips to the shooting range. Large calibers are easier to regulate and are not very sensitive. Small and fast calibers can try a regulators patience. I remember having difficulties years ago in Switzerland with a .22 Hornet double rifle. I must have lost a few hairs then already 🙂

It is always advisable to purchase a lifetime supply of ammo with the same lot number. If the ammo is changed, more likely then not the regulation will be off for the new loads.

These days I have become a bit recoil shy, so I usually don’t take on re-regulation work.

 

 

A .505 Gibbs rifle in progress

This post features a few pictures of a .505 Gibbs rifle that I have in the works for a client. I just finished the checkering of the rifle and prepared the metal for the rust bluing.

This Mauser style rifle is built around a large Granite Mountain Arms action and a PacNor barrel.

It’s always a great moment when the metal is all polished and ready for bluing. The rust bluing is the only aspect of the gun building, besides engravings, that I outsource. A  friend of mine does it for me and I consider his bluing the best in the country. I’ve experimented on doing it myself but my results couldn’t match his. And therefore I’m very glad he is doing it for me.

The stock started from a blank of flat sawn English walnut. Many people prefer quarter sawn wood for custom stocks. From a perspective of strength, I don’t think there is much of a difference. But with quarter sawn blanks it is much easier to predict the looks of the finished stock.

 

Buehler CSA Ruger #1 Fallingblock rifle, cal. 404 Jeffery

A little belated, but still: Happy New Year to all. I hope it started off very well for you.

2018 will be a busy year for me. I have a lot of wonderful projects in the works and ahead of me. For once I’m skipping the gun shows in January and February, and I must admit, it’s nice to take a year off and work in the shop instead.

I recently delivered a Buehler CSA Ruger#1 custom rifle to a happy customer. This has been the second rifle of a pair. The first rifle was delivered earlier last year and was in the caliber .303 British. This one is in the caliber .404 Jeffery.

The Ruger #1 action has been altered with a number of modifications. I machined a steel trigger and a new sliding safety for the rifle. Also the receiver has been modified and you might notice the absence of the big and ugly screw on the action. A few esthetic changes where also made.

The rifle stock was made of English walnut. The flat top checkering and the escutcheons on the forearm are certainly patterned after  vintage British falling block rifles. Also the short forearm and tear drops on the side panels.

The barreled action has been rust blued. The simplicity, strength and gracefulness of a falling block rifle really appeal to me. Can you tell?

A new W.J.Jeffery double rifle

Former W.J.Jeffery director Charles Williams and gunmaker Mark Mitchell of Scotland are the architects of this beautiful and brand new W.J.Jeffery rifle in the caliber .450-400. Mark Mitchell is a veteran of the British gun trade and worked for many of the prestigious British gun firms before re-locating to Scotland where he resides today. He does work for the gun trade, primarily as actioner.

After receiving the green light from Mr. Williams, Mark went to work and created an exact copy of a vintage W.J.Jeffery box lock double rifle.  The action on this rifle is not a replica of a bulky Webley & Scott action that so often was utilized in vintage British double rifles. Rather it is based on a more appropriate sized and more re-fined action made by the Lenard shop of Birmingham. I have seen in the past double rifles by this maker and the handling is usually superb. Some of you may have seen pictures of the famous Jim Corbett double rifle, which was also created for Jeffery by the Lenard shop.

As often which such projects, a number of craftsmen had a hand in it, such as the barrel maker, machinist, stocker, engraver and finisher. However, Mr. Mitchell oversaw everything from start to finish and I think the result speaks for itself.

It is important for a craftsman to have a network of colleagues where advise and sometimes encouragement can be had. I’m very happy to have Mr. Mitchell in my network and to have as a friend. These days people of his caliber are increasingly rare.

For more information about this rifle, pricing and availability, please contact Mark Mitchell directly at markmitchell178@gmail.com

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Time flies. It already is Thanksgiving day again. One of my favorite holidays. It always is a great day to reflect on life and on all of the blessings my family and I enjoy. Blessed we truly are with good health, a great life and each others company. I appreciate having my own business which allows me to be creative. And I do appreciate so much all of my customers. I don’t take you for granted and am truly honored to work with you. Thank you so very much!

While my wife is preparing a beautiful Turkey I try to stay out of the way and am awaiting the arrival of our dear friend, Mike the Cop. Mike is a crime fighter, passionate hunter and all around good guy. It will be great to share this day with him.

I hope many of you had or are having a successful hunting season. The picture below was sent to me recently by a customer. I know he is happy:-)

This buffalo was taken with a left handed Buehler English Express rifle in the caliber .404 Jeffery.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

9.3×62 rifle, ready for stock making

The pictures attached are of a barreled action that I just prepared for stocking. This is a model “Buehler English Express” Mauser type rifle in the caliber 9.3×62. I love that cartridge. The mild recoil, solid track record, good accuracy and versatility makes this one of my favorites. The cartridges fit nicely into a standard size receiver. The action on this rifle is a Granite Mountain Arms small ring, light weight standard length square bridge Mauser type. I added a few touches of my own to the receiver. Modified square bridges for my scope mounts to start. I also shortened the bolt handle somewhat, cut a thumb cut into the receiver and re-contoured the shroud to give it a more appealing appearance. The magazine was replaced with a drop box, to give it that great African look. The quarter rib, front sight ramp and barrel band where machined from bar stock.

 

 

Fall season at Buehler CSA

November is national gunsmith appreciation month.  After a successful hunt take your favorite gunsmith out for lunch or coffee and let him know that he is appreciated 😉

In October I made a short trip to Switzerland, mainly to visit family, but some business was involved as well. The fall colors in the middle of October where very pretty. My oldest son accompanied me on the trip.

Here a picture of the Rhine, with the view towards the Safienttal, in Graubuenden. That’s where I grew up.

That’s me on the last day. The weather started to turn and it snowed in higher elevation.

It was great to visit with some colleagues. Peter Kammermann (right) and I apprenticed together and he has a shop in the Kanton of LU. I also had the chance to visit with Peter Brun, who was during that time my supervisor and is today the Godfather of my youngest son and still works in the workshop at “Felder Waffen”.

Now I’m back and hard at work again. Bellow are pictures of projects in the works. Top: Milling of custom scope rings. Bottom: Preparing a new rifle in the caliber .404 Jeffery for finishing.

 

 

 

 

The “Gunmaker” and the ACGG

The American Custom Gunmakers Guild (ACGG) is an organization who’s main function is to promote craftsmanship, artisanship and skill in building fine firearms, and promote awareness of custom gunmakers and their craft. It is a fine organization and I have been a professional member since 2007. In order to become accepted, a craftsman has to submit certain aspects of his work for evaluation by the membership. The ACGG has an ethics comity that follows established guidelines and can benefit those who create and those who use custom guns. It can mediate in disputes between client and member. I would like to encourage anybody who enjoys fine firearms and craftsmanship to become an associate member of the guild. The guild publishes quarter yearly a magazine named the “Gunmaker”. I’m thankful to the guild for publishing several times guns of mine on the cover page of the magazine. And also for publishing several articles. A subscription of the magazine is included in the basic membership.

In the current issue of the gunmaker, the front and rear cover feature 2 of my rifles. The rifle up front is a .300 H&H rifle and the rifle on the rear page a 6.5×55 rifle.

Front cover of a left hand .416 Rigby rifle that I built several years ago.

Fall 2009 issues, featuring on the front and on the back a .500 Jeffery rifle I built. That was a great project and the rifle has extended top and bottom tangs.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the articles that was published in the magazine.

Check out the ACGG website for more information. And I would like to encourage you to browse the gallery pages. There are numerous pictures posted of work by the members.

https://www.acgg.org/

On a side note, the rifle pictured in the ad is a Buehler CSA .404 Jeffery rifle that I built several years ago.

 

Treasures for sale

Through good fortune I have been contacted by a client who’s grandfather was a great collector of custom guns. When he passed away, a number of unfinished projects and rifle actions where left behind. I am selling these items on consignment. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing any of the actions. Or perhaps you are interested in a project. Let’s discuss it, I would be delighted to build a custom rifle for you, tailored to your ideas.

  1. Westley Richards Falling block action. $3500

You just don’t find something like this. A beautiful vintage British falling block action in top condition. This rifle is perfectly suited for nitro powder cartridges up to .500 NE. A new oversize extractor has been fit to accept any rimmed cartridge.

    2. Miniature Farqhuarson action by Clayton Nelson. Please contact me for price.

This action was build in the 80’s. It is perfectly suited from a .22 hornet to perhaps a .30-30 Winchester and would make just a gorgeous custom gun. I have also an identical action for rim-fire cartridges.

3. Hagn action. Medium large. $3300

Mint Hagn falling block action. Perfectly suited for modern cartridges from medium rimmed or rimless cartridges to about a .404 Jeffery size. The strength and quality of these actions is second to none. This action has the older action shape which I like better then the shape on the new models.

4. Remington Hepburn action. $1500

Beautiful, clean action. With small firing pin, ready for nitro powder cartridges. Very professionally polished action. I have another available. That one is in original condition with 75 % bluing, set trigger and black powder firing pin, priced at $1000.

5. Winchester High Wall take-down action. $2500

What a find. Totally restored action with single set trigger. It has interrupted threats and is ready for a take down barrel. The firing pin is original and would need to be modified for modern cartridges.

6. Winchester Thick Wall action. $1500

Wow, original thick wall action, none modified. The main flat spring is missing but can easily be furbished. With double set trigger.

7. Various Winchester High-wall and  one Low-wall action. From $700 – $2500.

Please contact me for more information at reto@customsportingarms.com or call at (541) 664 9109

I have also several barreled actions for sale. I will post these very soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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