Montana Rifle Company DGR 505 Gibbs review

ActionBob

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ActionBob

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Velo Dog

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The 458 Lott is magical, but lacks the history of the Gibbs.

I've never been a fan of the CZ 550 (even though having thought of one in 416 Rigby, off and on, over the last couple of years). Winchester I have liked, but the wheels having fallen off the cart with regard to the brand (which is today anything but), I'm feeling left with Ruger or maybe one or two other makers . What I should do is go out and find me a Guide Gun in 416, and call it good. But, something about laminate and stainless (not to mention a butt ugly butt-end, on the stock), just doesn't sit right (plus, there's the whole 416 Ruger starving for case capacity thing...something like the 458 Win Mag, that way...load it to the gills, and you still come up just a little bit short).

Whatever I buy, it is going to very likely be a final purchase in the realm of gundome. In the past I've owned many big bores, up to 460 Weatherby, but this one will be the last.


Hello CTDolan,

Welcome to the best forum.

I mostly agree with others here that you probably should consider one of the excellent but sadly discontinued Ruger RSM rifles if going for a .416 that you do not want to have any work done on (however, if I ever trade into one, I plan to have that tiny bolt handle cut off and a proper stopping rifle size bolt knob welded on plus, a larger "Safety" tab would be to my liking as well).

That being said, I have a CZ in .416 Rigby that has always worked like a sled dog for me, right out of the box (bought it new at Cabela's store in Rogers MN, on sale almost 10 years ago now).
Since then, I have had it modified by a proper Gunsmith to my taste (welded on a larger bolt handle, Mod 70 type safety, cut the barrel to about 24", large white front bead sight, barrel band swivel stud, etc., etc.) but again, it needed no modification for function sake.

Likewise, I have several other CZ 550's in various calibers from 6.5x55 through .500 Jeffery.
All but the .500 have worked flawlessly right from the beginning.
In more than one thread here on AH, I have gone into tedious detail about CZ's "Custom Shop Scam" that I fell for.
However, if you do not mind paying over 3K for a rifle that will likely need work to function correctly, the CZ is at least built to adequate dimensions for your .505 and the .500 Jeffery, plus built of proper steel so, it can be made to work very well by professional gunsmithing (not some goober with a work bench and a drill press next to the washing machine in his garage).

Incidentally, here in Alaska, the best gun store around (Great Northern Guns) had a run of .505's made on the huge Ruger RSM actions and stocks, quite a few years ago (10 or a dozen rifles total?).
And although nobody seems to be selling theirs (sort of a small scale collector's item), it shows that you could have an RSM converted to .505, no problem.
Perhaps you might find one with a bit of rust or other cosmetic damage or that some simpleton has cut the barrel off to 18" or gouged it up with Magnaports or some other form of drunken vandalism, at a low enough price to make converting it to .505 not so cost prohibitive.

As for the .458 Lott, I agree that it does not have the length of history that the .505 Gibbs has however, I'd bet a pizza that the Lott has taken way more dangerous critters, not to mention non-dangerous ones, than the Gibbs ever did or ever will.
And, I predict that the .458 Lott will become justly famous and historic, both in Africana as well as in the pages of Australian buffalo hunting history.
I am a shade tree rifle collector primarily but, I also hunt (as an excuse to own proper rifles) and if I was to be stuck with only three center fire rifles, (and I couldn't afford any of the three to be a double), I'd have a .300 H&H, a .375 H&H and a .458 Lott.

Matt85,

Very sorry to hear that yet another rifle purchase of yours has ended in disappointment.
Having experienced total function/feeding failure with my very expensive CZ .500 Jeffery (as you well know from my rants about it), I truly sympathize.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 
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CTDolan

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Velo Dog, ActionBob,

Thanks for the welcome. I'm returning to the fold after a long departure. My history has mostly to do with doubles and falling blocks, but they've long since risen to well beyond my means (not that they ever were within reach). Some time ago I designed a falling block of my own, borrowing ideas from Fraiser, H&H, and Farquarson. Quite elegant, it was, but only did one, in 600 NE, and sold it many years back. I also did a re-do on the famous Boss single trigger, converting it to a linear mechanism (same exact principle, but linear in operation and therefore easier to make, even though equally reliable).

As for past experience, with big bores, I've owned (and shot extensively) the 375 H&H (one a Browning, which I hated, the other a Ruger No. 1, which I loved), 378 Weatherby (easily the most abusive rifle from the shooting side...always gave me a headache and a heavily bruised shoulder), 458 Win Mag (Winchester Super Express...a pure joy to shoot), and 460 Weatherby. All but the 460 saw time in the field (Africa, no...always a dream, but always too much $$$).

Anyway, looking for one last rifle to buy and have been pining for a 505. And, for a time is looked as though MRC might have the answer (within my budget, and designed principally for the 505); however, with all Matt has had to tolerate, I've been put off the idea.

For a while I was hot on Winchester, mainly for a 416 Rem Mag, but after having seen a few it seemed they were nothing like the Winchester I remember. But, maybe I was unlucky and caught a batch of early transition rifles. Not sure...just know that I never saw one that I liked.

The thing about the Ruger rifles (bolt guns) which have never interested me are the bolt handle, the two-piece bottom metal, and the general, all-around lack of traditional charm. That said, though, I have thought of the pragmatism of a Guide Gun because what I do buy is going to get used and used hard, in all conitions. Does it need to be a 416? Of course not. Is the 375 better? Absolutely. But, if I were appealing to logic alone I'd buy a 30-06 and call it good.

As for the Ruger RSM, for the price it's no doubt nice. I've held many (back when they were still on the market), and wished I would have bought one. The trouble at the time was, they were all 416 Rigby (or 375 H&H), and back then I wanted a Lott! The only Lotts I ever saw were in Loveland, CO and Lakeville, MN, and at the time I could afford neither (which is a shame because the one in Lakeville had lots of extras (it was used), but was selling for the usual price). At the time there was no internet (or at least not for me), so what was on the rack is what was available. Today? Oh my God, the www is your oyster!
 

CTDolan

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The RSM would make a good 505 conversion, though. That idea has crossed my mind and I would do it, were it not for the cost (and would, in the process, change the bolt handle to something more traditional and the bottom metal to one-piece, adding an extra round in the process).
 

CTDolan

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This is what got me to thinking of the conversion (and with the way Ruger does the left lug, there's plenty to support the left side of the case, something I always wondered about with CZ and the 505, seeing how the Rigby chambering leaves precious little as it is).

http://www.morrisonarms.com/2014/11/

Matt, I sincerely hope this works out for you, and that you end up with a functional 505. MRC obviously owes you this much (and then some, given all the headaches to date). Yeah, a refund would sort it, I guess, but then you're left without a 505, and MRC gets let off the hook. To my mind, this isn't a proper solution.
 

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i sent another (rather angry) email to MRC and they said to take it back to the dealer i bought it from. i called the pawn shop and they agreed to take it back and work out a refund with MRC.

hopefully i manage to get my money back!

i will save my pennies and either buy a AHR DG rifle in 505 Gibbs or buy a basic CZ in 505 Gibbs and have AHR work on it to get it sorted out. either way, i will have a 505 Gibbs but it wont be anytime soon.

-matt
 

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i sent another (rather angry) email to MRC and they said to take it back to the dealer i bought it from. i called the pawn shop and they agreed to take it back and work out a refund with MRC.

hopefully i manage to get my money back!

i will save my pennies and either buy a AHR DG rifle in 505 Gibbs or buy a basic CZ in 505 Gibbs and have AHR work on it to get it sorted out. either way, i will have a 505 Gibbs but it wont be anytime soon.

-matt


Matt,

Sorry your having all the problems. Glad they are taking it back though.

All the best in your quest. Hope you get it sooner than later.
 

matt85

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no garantee of a refund yet... but im keeping my fingers crossed. thats $2200 i could put towards a $6500 AHR or $3000 CZ.

-matt
 

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no garantee of a refund yet... but im keeping my fingers crossed. thats $2200 i could put towards a $6500 AHR or $3000 CZ.

-matt


Did you check out post 182. If you get your refund your about there.
 

matt85

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yes, i did see that Wheels.

if i get a refund then i may put an offer on that rifle. then save my pennies a little longer and have AHR perform its #2 upgrade on the gun and it should be good to go.

-matt
 

CTDolan

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Is MRC struggling financially, or are they just very poorly managed (or both)? Normal companies do not behave like this, especially in an industry where the customer base tends to be a small, close-knit group.
 

MRC

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No CTDolan, we are not struggling financially, nor are we poorly managed. Normal companies do not behave in what way? Not responding to forums? If you can show me where other firearms manufacturers (not gunsmiths but actual manufacturers) respond to issues on forums on a regular basis I would be more than happy to review our policy on forums. I do try to get on many forums and at least listen to issues. After all, it is my belief that the only way to get better is to find the issues and figure out how to solve them. The problem is that sometimes the solutions do not meet up with the customers expectations. At that point all you can do if agree that it didn't work and move on.

You have all listened to one side of the story and come up with your own opinions which is fine. But that IS the reason manufacturers will not respond to forums. Its easy to jump to conclusions when someone posts partial responses from the company, but not their own correspondence. And please don't be offended when you call or email our company and try to get information about someone else's situation and don't get it. We don't share information with random people not associated with the purchase of the rifle.

Matt, we have been cordial with you the entire time and have tried to do everything we can to please you, obviously we failed in that. I think everyone here can see that. But you and I both know, that was going to be the case from the moment you got the rifle the first time.

Was there an issue with the rifle? Yes,which is why we got it back. Are we embarrassed by that, absolutely. The reason it took so long getting it back to you is because we could not exactly mimic the problem you were having. You see EVERY single person works a bolt action different, because of the PH action's size, the way each person works the bolt is exaggerated differently. And because of the different types of ammo, that too can create more problems. That's just physics. I personally worked the rifle with no problems. My Head Gunsmith worked it and could get it to do what you were seeing "if" he forced the issue. An assistant Gunsmith could get it to do what you were seeing quite often. So we decided to fit a brand new bolt to the receiver and refit EVERYTHING. We did that. And it took some time. We can't shut down manufacturing to fix one rifle, we only have so much time in a day to work on repairs, I am sorry but we have to continue regular production.

About the time that we were finishing the rifle we received your letter of demands and how you personally will test it and we knew at that time our "Production Rifle" was never going to fill your needs. But we tried anyway. We are not offended if you don't keep the rifle and ask for your money back from the dealer, we will work it out with the dealer, that's just business. What I, as well as every other manufacturer gets offended at is when you take to forums to complain and "rally the troops" rather than work with the manufacturer on the issue at hand. Unfortunately, I guess that's pretty much what firearms forums have turned into.
We are growing and doing the best we can. Do we make mistakes, yes, we are human and sometimes things get through that maybe shouldn't. Because of that, in the last 5 years we have continued to add more and more QC stations throughout the manufacturing processes. In fact in the last three months there are now three different people who work each finished rifle before it is boxed up and shipped to a customer. We do our best to address any issues that do come up and work with the customer to make sure they are happy with the end result even if that means it wasn't in the best interest of the company. I am not on here to create more arguments, I am here to give the companies perspective.

Matt, I am truly sorry for your experience with the DGR. It obviously did not live up to your expectations. Again, take the rifle back to your dealer that you bought it from and we will work it out with them. If there is ever another chance we can earn your trust, please call on me personally and I will do my best to help.
Jeff
 

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Matt,

My unsolicited advice as this point is to rather than respond further, take Jeff's offer to have your money refunded. Get your money back and move on.
 

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Jeff,

In the past I've applauded MRC for what they've done with the DGR, and for having the courage to bring a 505 Gibbs into the market. This is as niche as niche can get. But, there are those of us who do love such things and have longed to see a company do what you have done (I've been waiting for more than 30 years, literally). From the moment I first saw the rifle, it hit the top of my want list. And I realize, when purchasing such a specialty item, extreme in nature and low in production volume, the chance for issues is greater. This I acknowledge. And it is true that we've only heard one side of the story. So, you have my apology and I, with this in mind, will temper my thoughts more so in the future. I guess I was echoing Matt's frustration. For a guy such as myself (and perhaps Matt as well), $2,200 is a huge investment easily requiring a few years of hard-earned savings to realize. And to have it all come crashing down in such a manner, and then to have to wait so long, only to in the end wind up basically right where it all began? Not good. But, now we know more, now we know a bit of your side of the story. What would have killed all of this, though, all of the speculation (which has been by and large to your firm's disadvantge), would have been to remain in communication with Matt. As I see it, the guy was basically left in the dark, wondering. I guess this is what I was really confused about, when I replied as I did, above. For he to know what you were doing, on his behalf, would have gone a very long way toward defusing the situation, as well as keeping MRC on more solid public footing.

You are right, we all talk, and are maybe too quick to jump on any one wagon. All the more reason to keep the lines of communication open (maybe not on a forum (as you state) because such a place has a habit of falling into decay, but certainly with the customer who has placed so much of their hard-earned cash (and therefore, trust) in your hands).

Chris
 

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Jeff,

I'd just like to say welcome to AH.

I hope you'll find the time to contribute here once in a while in the firearms section, or anywhere else. You'll find this is the friendliest forum on the internet and we'd love to have your input.
 

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Chris,
Thank you very much. As to Matt's communication with our company, he has never contacted me personally so I can't attest to his and my communication. I have spoken to both individuals who have helped on this project and both agree we can do better to communicate with our customers, but that it goes both ways. If we are not getting communication from the customer its hard to know where the problem is or if there is a problem...until its too late. We will definitely make a better effort to address this in the future and I hope Matt can take our apology serious and understand there was never a personal issue with him. We just needed to communicate better.
Jeff
 

matt85

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Matt,

My unsolicited advice as this point is to rather than respond further, take Jeff's offer to have your money refunded. Get your money back and move on.

thats the plan.

i will say this, despite how MRC may make it sound. i have made up nothing and did not create this post to "rally the troops" or any such nonsense. my intention of making this thread was to tell every one about a rifle that isnt often seen or written about. every part of the purchase both good and bad can be found in this review, nothing was left out.

when my refund is complete, i will not continue on this thread.

-matt
 
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spike.t

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About the time that we were finishing the rifle we received your letter of demands and how you personally will test it and we knew at that time our "Production Rifle" was never going to fill your needs.

hi jeff @MRC welcome to AH . just wondering why your "production rifle" was never going to meet matts needs. i dont know how many rifles you make, but with these type of calibres i would have thought they would all have been more of the custom build type? if i was going to buy one of your rifles i would hope it would work in different circumstances where you might not be cycling the bolt in the same manner each time. i know the long bolts can "wobble" around when you cycle them but i wouldnt have thought that would make any difference in the feeding, extraction or of bullets jumping out.......not having a go , just seemed a strange comment to make. cheers mike
 

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