A little change of topic. Most of us that like high end guns have wider interests than just that. Art, craftsmanship of all kinds, objects of beauty and function, the beauty of nature, mechanical devices, those are things that spark so often our interests. As we are made in His image, we can’t help but admire creation.
My cousin in Guthrie had told me about a custom boot maker who is making high-end cowboy boots. I had the pleasure of hosting my dear friend, gunmaker Lee Helgeland, for a few days. I wanted to show him the neat town of Guthrie. Guthrie is such a time warp, and you feel like you are back in 1910 when you walk the town.
We walked the town a little and walked right by the boot maker’s store. Spontaneously we decided to knock on the door and despite not having an appointment, Lisa Sorrell opened up her workshop graciously to us. It was a pleasure to meet her and to see all of the cool vintage leather sawing machines. Her shop is full of hand tools and equipment of old. It too reminded me of a bygone era. Lisa has a wealth of knowledge and experience and if you consider having a pair of real Oklahoma cowboy boots made, look her up. Her craftsmanship is impressive. Here are some samples of her work:
I like the names she gives to her creations. Very creative!
In an earlier blog post, about a year ago, I showed pictures of the machining of a 7×57 octagon barrel. This rifle took some time, and the engravings held the rifle up for 12 months. But here it is, all finished. I believe this is the first bolt rifle I’ve built with a full length Mannlicher style stock. This really was a fun project. After all the work I was so relieved to get good accuracy. The cheap S&B ammo with soft points shoots fantastic.
My customer and I agreed, we both are more attracted to the typically longer barreled Mannlicher style rifles of old, over the more contemporary shorter barreled rifles. At an overall length of 22″, some may think the barrel too long.
Perhaps notably amongst the other custom touches is the front sling swivel. I made that and it is attached to a lug on the barrel. The Timney trigger was altered and received a vintage Mauser trigger shoe. The scope mount is a German swing mount, appropriate for a rifle like this.
We have moved from Oregon to Oklahoma! We will miss the Oregon scenery and our friends very much. But Medford has an increasing homeless and drug culture, and it does not seem to get any better. And as they did in the past years, I assume the Democrat majority in the State will further infringe on the gun laws. Also, I’ve been renting an industrial unit for the business for 17 years. We’ve wanted to move out of Medford for a while and purchase a house and with a free-standing shop building. After checking out some properties in ID and MT and much of research, we settled on Oklahoma. We have distant relatives here and appreciate to live in an area that has similar values and a State that is very much pro-gun. I will miss most my shop mate of 20 + plus years, James Tucker. I hope he decides to follow us to Oklahoma.
The new address is:
P.O. Box 413
Stillwater, OK 74076
The phone number is remaining the same, (541) 664 9109
I very recently sent out this rifle to a client. It’s a Buehler model English Express in the caliber .404 Jeffery. This rifle has extended top and bottom tangs. A quarter rib with 3 folding express sights and banded front sight ramp. A vintage Lyman peep sight was installed to the cocking piece. This peep sight can swivel down and be locked in place, in order to clear the scope.
The rifle stock was made from a vintage piece of French walnut. It has a beautiful natural color. The checkering is 22 lp” flat top. The metal was color-cased by Turnbull Restoration. I was pretty worried about possible warpage on the tangs, but they really did a great job and the metal dropped right back into the stock and did not require any adjustments. And yes, it is a shooter!
I just sent off this rifle to a client. It is a large single shot rifle in the caliber .505 Gibbs. The action is a large Hagn, the largest made by Martin Hagn. I will write in an upcoming post more about this rifle, as it is rather unique. This is a big rifle and weighs around 12 pounds with the scope.
A few days ago I received some wonderful feedback from a client who used his Buehler English Express rifle in the caliber .404 Jeffery in South Africa. This was his second trip and like on the first trip he was most pleased with the performance of his rifle. This is what it is all about for me. My rifles are built for hunting and shooting. And my hope is that they will eventually turn into treasured family heirlooms and be associated with great memories.
This rifle was featured on my blog before, on 5/10/2018
The pictures are a testament to the performance of the .404 Jeffery. It continues to be my favorite big game caliber. The design of the cartridge is well suited for smooth feeding, the .400 grain bullets carry a punch, and the recoil is manageable for most people.
This was a straight forward project. My client inherited this pre 64 Winchester 70, cal. .458 Win. Mag., from his father. Once the father shot a giant Alaskan brown bear with this rifle. I had the pleasure of re-stocking it with a beautiful piece of Turkish walnut. The factory trigger guard and floor plate got replaced with a Sunny Hill magazine box. Talley bases, rings and a scope were added. The 1″ recoil pad I leather covered with pig skin. Other then that we left it in it’s factory condition. Currently the rifle is put to the test in Africa. Unfortunately the dad never had the chance to visit the dark continent, but I’m pretty sure he would be well pleased. The rifle is very accurate but the .458 Win. Mag. has a hefty kick to it.
Living in a Democrat controlled State is not easy for a gunmaker. Oregon has had fantastic gun laws. The hunting, fishing and shooting culture flourished in this State and is deeply ingrained in the rural communities. Despite the left leaning politics of the State, a streak of libertarianism used to prevail. But here comes the modern Left that has taken over the Democrat party. In every session of the legislators new anti gun bills have been introduced by Democrat politicians. In Oregon the Democrats have by now the super majority. That means they control the house, the senate and the governorship. Over the years many left leaning and agenda driven judges have been appointed. There are a few freedom loving Republican politicians at work and they do what they can, but their leadership is ineffective, unorganized and it lacks vision and imagination.
A few months ago the Democrats introduced SB554. This bill makes the concealed carrying of handguns by licensed and law abiding citizens very difficult and expensive. Included in the bill also are incriminating storage mandates for guns at home and during transport. Worst of all, if a firearms has been stolen, the gun owner is liable for the loss and will be fined. The goal of the bill is to infringe on the use of guns for self defense under the pretense to reduce crime. The ultimate goal of course is to incrementally disarm the public. Keep in mind, this bill was introduced and passed by the same politicians that allow the riots in Portland to go on daily and turn their backs to millions of dollars of property damages incurred. Reducing crime certainly is not on their radar. It is being estimated that up to 2.5 million crimes annually are prevented by the use of firearms by law-abiding citizens. Of course this will never make the News outlets.
So why do I write this? Yes, I do know that mixing business with politics is stupid. But can you really blame me, if my livelihood is being threatened by the enemies of freedom on a daily base? Of course I never should post words like this on my blog. But can you really fault me for caring about my beloved country, for trying to bring awareness to my brothers and sisters? And for how I fear for my children’s future? Lately I often ponder how much longer a simple blog about craftsmanship and traditional hunting guns will be tolerated by our overlords! Let me show you this:
As you can see, the counties in Oregon are primarily red (conservative). Yet the population centers in Portland, Salem, Eugene and Bend control the State. Bill SB554 was introduced in a committee consisting of a majority of Democrats. We the citizens of the Sate could weigh in on the bill per oral and written testimony for or against the bill. I did both and testified against the bill. The ratio of the citizenry opposing the bill was about 4:1. There where hundreds of testimonies given. Therefore, in a representative Republic as we supposedly have, this bill should have been dead in the water at this point and should never have made it out of the committee. Not so, the Democrats passed it in committee and rammed it through the house and the senate. Currently it is on the governors desk for signing, which Kate Brown will do so gladly.
It begs the questions: Do we still have representative government? Are the majority of counties still represented? If you live rural, do you count at all?
I did what I could. What troubles me however is that most of my friends and colleagues didn’t lift a finger. There should not have been hundreds but thousands of testimonies. We will certainly lose the Republic if we don’t engage and instead watch Netflix and read silly posts on Facebook. You may disagree with me, and that is fine. We do so politely and without malice and perhaps we can engage sometime into an interesting discussion. I would like to close with a quote from our State Senator Dennis Linthicum:
“We must stand against the absurdities that are demanded daily. We must stand for the self-evident truth that we witness, the common-sense we utilize, and our own just pursuits and economic enterprises regardless of the crushing weight of the statist bureaucrats. To pursue justice without regard for the individual is statism and statism requires, “a certain kind of universe: a universe of non-fact, non-thing, non-identity,” which is a self-annihilating lust for power known as, Utopianism.”
A while back I posted a little article about the machining procedure of a .450-400 barrel with integral features and an octagon profile. The rifle finally has been delivered to my client. Lisa Tomlin performed the engravings and Turnbull Restorations did the beautiful color case hardening. It took a while to complete this, and I hope my client is well pleased with the outcome.
I’m pretty happy with everything and the gun performed well on the range too. The Hagn action is really a wonderful and strong base for a custom rifle. I created a forearm metal for this rifle to give it a little more weight, and mainly for looks. I’ve always loved the Boss style forearms on O/U shotguns and desired for a while to incorporate it into a falling block rifle.
The picture was taken by Brian Dierks. I have a .505 Gibbs single shot rifle in the works and I will feature it in a future post.