Buehler Custom Sporting Arms LLC

Maker of Fine Sporting Rifles

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Walnut stocks and hunting in Alaska

Wood vs Weather

by Mike @ Cariboo Lake, Alaska

“Heinous” is the only way to describe the weather during Alaska’s hunting seasons.

Oh, it is the land of milk and honey during the cruise ship, summer months. However, as those of you who have hunted up here know; “if you went to Alaska and did not wear hip boots, you did not go to Alaska.”  A hunt on Kodiak, the Alaska Peninsula, or in the Yakutat area, will develop a keen desire to include a photo of the sun in your hunting kit.

The terrain is equally inhospitable.  The summer slopes all look so garden pleasant with their pastels.  However, every experienced hunter knows only distance can inspire such enchantment.  To the cultured eye of every hunter/trapper such landscape, with it’s ten-foot alders, foretell of unspeakably wicked travel.

Alaska is tough on the body, and the equipment.  So, it would seem only prudent to use a composite stock right?  Not so fast flat-lander.

It has been my experience that a fine piece of walnut, on a high-grade gun is a great deal tougher than the credit we are inclined to give it.  This is perfect news for those of us who have a difficult time reaching past one of our favorites, in the gun safe, to grab a plastic stock rifle with all the metal luster of a frying pan.

It is true that if you treat a firearm like a shovel, it will look like a shovel.  In this area of misbehaver Alaska guides, pridefully excel.  Many are convinced there is some sort of macho scale of respect earned by having a neglected rifle.

When it comes to an earned score on the manly meter it is hard to surpass a Marine. The Marines are as proud of how they care for their rifles as they are of their reputations as marksmen.  My father was not only a Marine but was wounded in a Banzai attack on Iwo Jima.  He instilled in me a discipline that firearm care came before any personal comforts in camp, or at home.  He also schooled me to use the best gear (or tools) I could afford.

Rich Grozik, author of Game Guns, penned it quite correctly, “We do not really own high grade guns, we are only their curator for our lifetime.”  Yet these are built to be used.

We tend to discount the ability of a beautifully made rifle to deliver superb performance in the worst of environments.  At the same time, we over estimate the required care to keep up their exquisite appearance.  It really does not entail much more effort to hunt with something that you truly enjoy owning.

If you are thinking of having a custom rifle made for those hunts of a lifetime, whatever I could say to persuade you to use wood, consider said.  A skillful gunsmith, such as Reto Buehler, will deliver the protection you desire on a tack driving, elegant rifle.

The only exception to this is the English fancy to cover recoil pads with leather.  It is a hopeless cause to protect those in Alaska.

This Buehler CSA custom 7MM Mauser is my go-to caribou rifle.  If the weather is bad, it does not get the day off.

Rifle transportation Alaska style; inside this case is a Deluxe grade Holland & Holland

Additional note:

Thank you very much for your contribution, Mike!! I would like to invite my colleagues in the gun trade and my customers to contribute to this blog. Feel free to submit articles to me for consideration.

In the 90’s I had the great opportunity to work for Corlane Sporting Goods in British Columbia. At that time I was amazed how many British Lee Enfield rifles and Winchester 94’s where still in service up North. Most of those guns where used hard and neglected, yet they where still doing the job.

My friend Nick, hunting in Canada with his custom .30-06 rifle

Happy New Year

I can’t believe 2018 is already behind us. All in all it was a great year for my family and me and for my business. And I hope it was for you too.

Maybe one of your New Year’s resolution is to have a special custom rifle crafted, made to fit your needs and to your requirements. I would be delighted to discuss with you your dream rifle further.

The annual SCI convention is approaching rapidly. This year I’m not displaying at the show, but I will attend as a visitor on Thursday January 10th and on Friday the 11th. If you would like to meet, please contact me prior per telephone or email. The SCI show will be held in Reno, and I’m looking forward to seeing new and old friends.


Gun Digest 2019

I have the honor of being included in the 2019 edition of the Gun Digest. The link above will take you to it.

The picture and article below is an excerpt from the 2018 edition. Many thanks to author Tom Turpin for his kind words and review.

Reto Buehler Granite Mountain Arms .300 H&H Magnum

Reto Buehler Granite Mountain Arms .300 H&H Magnum

One of the younger members of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild (ACGG) is also one of the best, Swiss-born Reto Buehler. The rifle shown here is a perfect example of his exceptional talent as a gunmaker. This magnificent rifle began with a Granite Mountain Arms small-ring long action. Chambered for the .300 H&H cartridge, Buehler did all the metal and stockwork on this rifle, including shop fabricating H&H-type scope mounts. Charles Lee did the lovely engraving and Doug Turnbull did his magic color case-hardening on the action. As some wise person once stated, it just doesn’t get any better than this. Photo by Brian Dierks.

9.3×62 Buehler custom rifle


The metal work of this rifle has been featured on the blog a little over a year ago. I sent certain parts out for engraving, and as sometimes the case, it all took longer then expected. But here it is, completed at last.

The pictures where taken by local photographer Brian Dierks. Brian is a commercial photographer and does the photography for the Harry & David company.

The walnut for the stock came from Turkey. The rifle has a leather covered recoil pad, a trap door grip cap and is equipped with a S&B 1.1 x 8 power scope.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I can’t believe it is already November.

I love the Thanksgiving Holiday as it is such a good time for personal reflection and for spending time with loved ones. Besides my family, friends and good health I’m so very thankful to my customers. Thank you for your business, your trust and your patience! May God bless you as he has blessed me.

Another thing to be thankful for. I love it when things work out and everything goes smooth. The picture above is of a Buehler CSA rifle caliber .404 Jeffery. The 3 shot group was shot at 100 yds with Superior ammo, loaded with TSX bullets. The rifle is stocked with a 30 year old piece of French walnut.

The picture on top is of a nice fall sunset in Southern Oregon. What a beautiful country we live in.


Buehler CSA .300 Win. Mag. rifle continued.

There is much work left to be done on this rifle, but at this stage it is stocked and scoped and I tested it at the range for accuracy and function. I’m very happy how the wood is turning out. An additional couple of coats of oil finish will enhance the 3D effect of the Turkish walnut further.

The flat top checkering has been cut and I will go over it once more after the last coat of finish has been applied.

The picture above is of the rifle at the White City gun range. The 3 shot group at 100 yds with Hornady factory ammo speaks for itself.

My next step is to time the screws and prepare the metal for engraving and bluing. All will be disassembled and the barrel removed off the action. After the bluing and final assembly I will test the rifle again at the range for function and accuracy.




A rare Westely Richards deluxe .425 W&R rifle

Built around a Mauser action, this interesting Westely Richards rifle was once owned by Raja Bhuri Singh of Chamba (b.1869-d.1919, r.1904-1919) in northern India in Punjab as denoted on the case lid. I had the rare opportunity to inspect this rifle recently in my shop. It was sold in September at a gun auction hosted by the Rock Island Auction Company. More of the details in regards to this rifle are available on the RIA website.

It was built around 1911 and the caliber is .425 Westley Richards.  The stock work on this rifle was very well done. I only have seen a rifle like this in an old W&R catalogue, but never in person. The flashy checkering was really well executed.

The metal work and engravings has been done somewhat unrefined and is typical for guns made for the Indian market. Interesting is that the whole length of the barrel was struck with a file of sorts to apply a serration. Notably on the rifle is the take-down system and the extended magazine box.

The take down system on this rifle is tight and works smooth.  A spring loaded ball provides pressure between the joining plates. This gives it a very tight feel, but I would assume that the accuracy of the rifle suffers from the additional pressure.  Unfortunately just about all take-down systems I have seen on Mauser 98’s have one or another draw back and influence the accuracy negative over time.

Perhaps in the future the opportunity will present itself to re-create a rifle like this. That would be a lot of fun and I would enjoy that.




30 years of gunsmithing

Wow, has the time flown by. On August 2nd was my 30 year anniversary working fulltime as a professional gunsmith. I promptly forgot about it and just remembered it a few days ago. I started my 4 year apprenticeship with the company “Felder Waffen” in Switzerland in 1988 at the age of 16. As in many European countries, in Switzerland the apprenticeship system is alive and well, and I wish that we had something similar in this country. But this might be a topic for another post. During that time 4 days a week I worked in the shop at Felder’s, and 1 day a week I attended a trade school which was specific to metal working trades. As there are only very few gun companies in Switzerland that take on apprentices, I was very fortunate to land a position. I’m to this day very grateful to Mr. Felder for giving me a chance.

The picture above was taken in 1995 shortly before I left the company for a job in Canada.  I had a full head of hair back then and lot’s of confidence. My shop mates where a happy bunch and we had a many good laughs.

These pictures where taken in 1995 when I worked for  Corlane Sporting Goods in Dawson Creek, BC.

The picture above is from around 1999. At that time I worked together with stock maker James Tucker for a company in California.
This picture was taken around 2003 in New Hampshire. I left New Hampshire in 2005 and founded Buehler Custom Sporting Arms LLC in Oregon.

Enough of reminiscing, back to the present and back to work. I’m getting ready to ship this super accurate custom Kurz Mauser to it’s owner. The caliber is 6.5mm Creedmoor. What a great and fun caliber, just perfect for a vintage Kurz action.



.300 Win. Mag. rifle / Engraved floor plate


Summer is winding down here in Southern Oregon, but we are still shrouded in heavy smoke from the wildfires.  It’s busy in the shop, as always. I just prepared a barreled action for stocking. This one is a .300 Win. Mag and it is going to be a model “English Express”. The action on it is a GMA small ring square bridge action and I added a drop box magazine to give the finished rifle that cool African look. It will also closely resemble my clients .404 Jeffery rifle, but of course much lighter in weight.


I’m very curious to see how the stock will turn out. The client selected a fantastic blank. I never get tired of walnut and still get excited over nice wood. It doesn’t get much better then this.

On a completely different note: The floor plate in the picture below just came back from engraving. It was engraved by Lee Griffiths. This is for a Buehler “English Express” in the caliber .300 H&H and will add a nice touch.

Please check out my regular website at www.customsportingarms.com


(541) 664 9109


The .17 hmr rifle, part 2

It has been a hot and very smoky summer for us so far. The countless wildfires are having a huge impact on our air quality and it is nice to work indoors. The picture below is of the Wood River area and is a testament to the beauty of our State.

The little .17 hmr falling block rifle is ready for engraving and is awaiting to be send to Belgium for the embellishments. Here it is pictured next to a Winchester 70 in .375 H&H that I re-stocked for a client. I took these rifles recently to the range for testing, and the little gun is truly a ton of fun to shoot. The Lilja match grade barrel performed beautiful.

The scope on the rifle is a Leupold Alaskan. The steel tube is of 7/8″ diameter. It’s one of the few newer scopes that we thought was proportionally right for the gun.

I machined quick detachable custom rings for it. This rifle will stop any charging squirrel or dangerous rodent in it’s tracks.

This has certainly been a fun and unique project and I’m looking forward to similar commissions.

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