Custom rifles

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Ray Atkinson, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    No threads on this subject so thought that I would inject some possible interest..

    I have been building custom rifles for about 50 years as a hobby..My best work brings in the neighborhood of $9500 per gun and most bring about $3500 to $4500..

    I can send pictures to interested parties but cannot post pictures on these blogs, don't have the knowledge and too old to learn! :) I don't take a lot of outside work but will build someone a big bore from time to time..I mostly make them to suit myself then if someone wants it, I'll sell it and make another for myself..

    I would be glad to discuss any gunsmithing issue with anyone interested and will offer advise for what its worth if I can..

    I would like to see this thread become more active so this is my contribution to it...

    I always have a gun or two that I will sell...
     
  2. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Ray, If you ever wanted me to post some pictures for you I would be happy to do so, just email them to me at info@africahunting.com...
     
  3. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    Jerome,
    Thanks and I will send you a couple of rifles I built and maybe we can stir up some interest on this forum...
     
  4. hound_hunter

    hound_hunter AH Member

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    I'd be interested in seeing a couple.. Probably out of my price range for a gun, even though for these kind of guns that is a good price, but it never hurts to have some more pictures to look at
     
  5. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Looking forward to seeing the pictures Ray.................won't do me a lot of good as importing rifles from the US is a PITA for me, but I always like to look.
     
  6. derekwest

    derekwest AH Member

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    Hello Ray,

    I would be interested in both your finished product and how you would recommend a newcomer may enter the field. I have, through passing of our older generation, come into possession a number rifles and had fun refitting them, replacing their stocks/triggers and refinishing the barrels but would love to take it a step further, for hobby sake and not commercially; can you recommend any good sources?

    Thanks!
    -Derek
     
  7. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    [​IMG]

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    This is a .404 that I just finished and it is for sale if anyone is interested..It is one of my more expensive rifles as it is on a full size magnum action and they are bloody expensive.
     
  8. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff AH Senior Member

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    If I was to do another rifle I would like to have the barrel contoured with the octagonal to round (with the change just at the end of the forearm). A integral rib and front sight ramp, a half band swivel stud and a Rigby bolt aperture. Skeleton butt and grip cap. I close my eyes and I can see it now. The skill I see on some of the forums is the stuff of dreams. Will look forward to seeing some of the good ones on here.

    Von Gruff
     
  9. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    Von Gruff,
    The last barrel such as you described was purchased from Lothar Walthar and cost ran about $2300 for the barrel alone. It was a piece of pure art when the rifle was finished with a exhibition piece of Russian Circassian from Bill Dowtins Old World Walnut done in English/Barvian cross styling with side panels, round bull sack grip and a 8.5" short schnable forend, and the metal was rust blued..Caliber was 7x57. weighed 7.5 lbs with a 24 inch barrel.
     
  10. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff AH Senior Member

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    Ray I emailed you a few months back to ask about the wrist circumference for a my 404.Taking grain layout out of the equation as propper layout should be a 'given' and acknowledging your reply that you have built them as light as 4 1/2 inches what would you consider a dimension that would give a "lively in the hand" feel to a big bore as some of the best guns are reputed to have. I also know that there are a lot more factors involved but this could be a starting point to an interestring discussion. I had played with a friends 375 and 458 being generally dissapointed in the "feel"of both.I also know that a persons build will influence dimensions but are there any generalities that might be starting points for discussion and of interest to those uf us who like-build-apreciate personalised rifles.

    Von Gruff.
     
  11. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    Von Gruff,
    IMO, a lot of gunsmith seem to try and conserve wood, are afraid to wack it off, I am just the opposite....

    The grip should be directly related to the size of the hand..In my case I wear a size large glove and 4.5 to 5 inches suits me just right and I want the grip more of an egg oval or on the flat side. I lean towards the smaller grips of 4.50 to 4.75, and 5 is a good average size that will suit most anyone..

    I want the forend at 8.5 inches with a barrel band swivel on a big bore and I don't want an ounce of extra wood on the stock..I like the Egg cheek piece but stictly from a cosmetic standpoint.. I will tell you outright a cheek piece is little more than decoration and serves little if any purpose, I do like a bit of cast off on all my stocks, I prefer to do this more by try and feel as I go rather, than picking a number.

    I don't particularly go with the real wide butt that is supposed to absorb recoil, in therory that sounds good, but frankly I don't think it does and it just adds bulk to the rifle and rifles IMO should lean towards mean and lean..

    I only express my personal views on stock making, and everyone should form their own opinnons of fit and finish of a stock. I think the English had it right all along.
     
  12. dharding

    dharding AH Member

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    Hopefully this thread will get some life again...

    I'm quite keen on carpentry, and having had some time on my hands came upon Old Tree Gun Blanks - Fine Gunstock Blanks For The Discerning Gun Wood Lover . They've got some beautiful wood, and I'm going to try my hand at making a rifle stock or two. Now, from the outset, I've got to admit that I may be biting off more than I can chew here, but I'm quite willing to give it a go, and learn.

    I'm planning to first have a go at making a replacement stock for my air-rifle out of some scrap wood I have at home. Probably oregon pine. This is just to see if I have the tools and what else I may still need. Oh, and see if I have the talent ;)

    Hopefully I'll have a worthwile pic to post in a month or two.
     
  13. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

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  14. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    ray sent you a PM.

    out of state at a trap shoot.

    leave me a message and i will respond.
     
  15. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    DHarding,
    You can make about every tool you need for stock making short of the rasps and files. I heat screw drivers (old ones from pawn shops that have good steel and cost about 50 cents) bend them wherever they need, then grind and edge on them and finish with a stone..In some cases they cut best with a wire edge, depending on the steel, keep them sharp!
    As I build rifles I come across the need for a particular angle or size cutting surfice, I stop and make that scraper on the spot..I now have several hundred scrapers of various shapes and sizes..

    Inletting is childs play that is overplayed..you black the metal very lightly stick it in the stock and remove the black marks, simple as that..No magic here just time and patience, don't rush it. The tough part is the detail work on the outside of a stock, the use of the scraper and paper to cut clean sharp edges, then dull them so they don't tend to splinter or dent but still look sharp..Checkering is another story, that takes time and effort to get good at.

    James Grage,
    I got your email and you were going to call when you got home, but never got that call.
    Ray
     
  16. Rob44

    Rob44 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    How about Tutoring us on Finishing a Gun Stock
     

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