Friday, November 16, 2012


Phil Shoemaker sent this photo to us recently of one of his rifles that we put some elbow grease into a while back. It is chambered for 9.3x62 and made on a Pre-64 Model 70 action. The stock is a Legend with an Edge shell. This rifle was assembled as a light backup rifle and as a petri dish of sorts for us. The barrel is stainless and coated with Cera-kote, the action and other small parts are caustic blued. The  bolt is rust blued the floor plate and trigger bow are aluminum and covered with the Winchester factory anodizing.

Phil does not abuse his equipment nor does tend to baby it either. This rifle is used like any good tool and due to the location of Phil's zip code is exposed to a bit more environmental abuse in one year than most rifles see in the many years. Our interest in this rifle has been the exterior finish and how well the surface coatings have held up. To date the rust blued surfaces look pretty good. The caustic blued action looks good as well but is now beginning to show some wear. The Cera-kote barrel appears, well Cera-koted except where it's scratched and then the stainless shines through. Despite what we are led to believe not all coatings or applications are all they're cracked up to be and others will surprise you with their durability.

I took a Legend on a Yukon sheep hunt 6 years ago and the Model 70 action was purposely polished to a 400 finish and left in the white. I was testing the protective properties of a lubricant called Corrosion X that was recommended by non other than Phil. This oil was developed as an aircraft lubricant and is now our # 1 go-to gun oil. For 12 days the rifle was pulled in and out of sweat soaked scabbard, drenched with rain, pelted by hale and carried with my grimy hands. This abuse can be tough on any surface finish much less a receiver in the white. I wiped the rifle down every morning before we left camp and every evening when we got back. Laps time per day, 5 total minutes.The Corrosion X kept the action rust free in the areas that I could wipe. The metal under the stock line where I could not wipe did begin growing a very, very fine film of rust in certain small areas. Proving that maintenance in the field is just as important as the coating on the firearm. Having spent more than a few hours in hunting camps I can honestly say I can hardly remember seeing anyone wipe down their rifle after a long hard day on the hill. This disconnect with daily rifle maintenance and how it relates to performance just boggles my mind.

Friday, November 9, 2012

404 Jeffery Classic at the Range

This last weekend we had a client stop by after finishing up a Utah deer hunt to see the progress of his 404 Classic. This left hand Model 70 chambered for 404 Jeffery and another left handed Hagn 300 H&H single shot are in the final construction stages and are presently the center of my attention . We then took the 404 to the range so the owner could run a magazine or two through the rifle to see how the stock fit, felt and handled.

Its early career was in the guise of a Legend that has toured both Botswana and Zambia and showed great service on all accounts. With its French Walnut stock and new barrel the rifle has taken on a whole different look. This rifles hold 5 total rounds and does not require a drop magazine. Complete with our scope mounts, trigger bow & floor plate assembly, loaded and topped with the S&B Zenith 1-4 it tips the scale at 10lbs.

The owner requested that the stock be made without an ebony forend tip installed and I myself have always preferred this tip-less look. With the last 3 rounds the owner hit 3 clay birds at 25-30 yards shooting as fast as he could work the bolt. All 3 clays turned to dust. Now it's on to sanding, finishing and checkering.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Zambian Buffalo and the Legend 375 Ruger

Not to many years ago we were asked if we would consider building a Legend chambered for the 375 Ruger? The query came from Athol Frylinck a veteran Zambian PH and a shameless rifle collector. His request were pretty standard, the rifle had to hold 5 rounds, function under duress, be accurate and had to be made on a Pre-64 Model 70 not the current G series action. We ordered the reamer, found an action and began making the punch and die required to build the 4 round magazine assembly. While the project did present some challenges before it was completed the results met the goal 100%. Over the past 2 years the rifle has become a favorite with his clientele and he has been asked if he'd consider selling it more than once. Despite the perceived limitations of the S&B 6X scope and A4 reticle this Legend will consistently shoot Woodleigh 350gr Soft points and FMJ's into a ragged hole exceeding even our expectations. Pictured above is Athol and John Oosthuizen another PH of considerable reputation and Legend owner and the very rifle laying on it's most recent victim. The lower image is of the same buffalo and the hunter that took the buffalo. One might question Athol's choice of optics yet over the years we have learned to pay attention and keep an open mind to request that are based on experience derived from the trenches everyday. For Athol this rifle had specific guide lines to meet specific situations. The number of buffalo, cats and of plains game taken with this 375 is beginning to mount up. The skinning team can count on overtime whenever this rifle is in tow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Legend Long Range reaches out twice

Bret Wursten shot this respectable Mule deer buck today in northern Utah. The buck was taken on a ranch managed by Todd Black of Black Timber Outfitters 435-770-9302. Bret used his Legend 300 Wtby and a 180gr TSX. While he freely admits he didn't allow for enough wind to begin with the proof as they say is in the pudding.  Then Brady Roth used the same rifle to take his first Mule deer a management buck with one round at 589 yards. Apparently the snow that blew in 2 days ago has the deer on the move

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Just another manic monday

                     On any given day the following is taking place. Please do not try this unsupervised

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Legend 300 Wtby and a recently taken Yukon Moose

Bret Wursten just returned from a Moose hunt in the Yukon. His outfitter was Dan Reynolds of which he gave high marks for the logistics, camps, equipment, etc. Bret took this bull at about 200 yards in a typical Canadian downpour with a 180gr TSX hand-load of his own construction. In the 10 days Bret and his guide only saw one other Bull Moose. Both were called in by the guide from quite a distance. Bret's Legend has a switch barrel chambered for 375 Wtby which he has already put to good use in Africa. Beware of the one gun man, especially if it has 2 tubes.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I took a gun for a walk today

I took a gun for a walk today, it was of a trial of compatibility to see how well we might work together. The gun was an older Model 12, 16 gauge, solid rib, lacking blue and finish in all the right places, a veteran of someone else's time afield. Outside of  Turkeys I haven't really hunted birds since my shorthair died and my daughter Lexi was born. That would be 12 years now. I've wanted to get back into it, find another dog, get a shotgun I liked, get in better shape.

The 16 was sent to me by a friend that has the same passions and time constraints. Once in a conversation I mentioned my first gun was a standard grade Model 12 in 20 gauge that I shot my first Virginia grouse, bob whites and even my first whitetail buck with. My brother now owns that gun and I'm sure it's rusting away in a closet in Georgia. Over the years I have owned, borrowed and used a surprising number of shotguns. Like my rifles I kept them only long enough to use, evaluate and then sold or traded them off to try another.

The 16 arrived with a note " it's yours if you want it, but promise me you'll use it" and that was all. It sat in the safe until a few weeks ago when I decided to pattern it. The feel, the unmistakable sound of the action being cycled brought back some dusty memories. Later that week I was comparing shell and shot selections at the local Hook & Bullet hangout. The choices were pretty limited but I'm use to limitations.

Today I picked a route up a ridge that was steep and high. The lower area of the trek would take me through some cover that should hold some western Ruff grouse and the higher slopes might hold some Blues. It was a power walk with ammo. I never saw a bird but that hardly mattered. The sweat pored off my body and my lungs reminded me that the steel in my legs is no longer titanium. At 55 I'll need to really work out a plan to maintain these kind of walks.

The 16 felt solid, comfortable and familiar the whole day. It was neither too light nor too heavy. The rounded Winchester receiver felt great in my hands just as 20 gauge had 40 years ago. I began to wonder why I hadn't pursued this idea years ago and with the very same shotgun. I going to bust some clays this week. Then I'm planning another weekend route and might even start looking for a pup.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Robb Report, Collection Edition, The Great Outdoors

We should have a link from this blog page to our web site for those that wish to read the text in this article very shortly.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Troy Martin's Northern Utah Bull

My good friend and CPA Troy Martin ended his elk hunt last night that was 10 years in the making. He and another friend Bret Wursten pulled this bull away from other elk hunters in the same canyon and then closed the deal with Troy's Legend 300 Wtby Long Range. The shot did not require stadia wires or lasers and was up close and personal. Troy, congratulations on this fine bull and job well done.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

375 H&H Classic is on the short list.

We're about to complete another 375 H&H Classic and needed to make a final trip to the range to
Re-zero both the detachable peep sight and scope as well as put the rifle through it's paces one last time. This 375 is fit with the last set of Burgess detachable 1" rings I had in inventory. While we have a replacement design in the works they are not quite ready to test drive.

This rifle shoots very well with the Woodleigh 350gr Soft Points & FMJ's and puts them into the same point of impact. Our Photographer Kevin Dilley of Klik Photography will take few studio pictures later this week and then the 375 makes the anticipated trip to the owner in Michigan.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dr Murray takes yet another B&C Pronghorn

Dr. Pepper Murray is without a doubt one of the most dedicated trophy antelope hunters I have ever had the pleasure to spend time with. He has once again pulled a rabbit out of the hat and killed a 86" net, green score, buck from northern Utah. No matter the shrinkage after the 60 day drying period this buck will net into the all time B&C record book. With 16" plus length , 7" plus base and first quarter circumference's,  6" prongs and great mass above the prongs the numbers just add up quick.

He used his tried and true Legend Long Range 300 Wtby to take this fantastic buck. Way to go Doc !

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On the road again

So far his year I have given a power point presentation in three locations that span our great states. One hosted by Terry Niegel in Eugene OR. Another in San Antonio TX hosted by Hamlet Newsom and the most recent one along the historic lower Potomac River in MD. This last event was put together by Joe Coogan and Capt. Bob Wetherald. Like most of these events it was attended by a small but dedicated group of rifle enthusiast and big game hunters.

The presentation gives the audience an uncensored look behind the curtain at building a best quality big game rifle. The program is less than an hour in length and covers the entire construction of a rifle from commission to completion. I have offered this presentation to interested parties for over 20 years and it has allowed me to travel the country and meet some very dedicated hunters.

For further information on arranging such an evening in your area please feel free to call us at 435-755-6842 or through our e-mail address at

Classic 505 Gibbs in the field

Bryan Walt just returned from a hunt in Botswana that fulfilled a life long dream. Hunting with John Oosthuizen of Hunters & Guides he took an excellent bull elephant. The rifle he used was a Classic 505 Gibbs assembled in our shop. The bull was taken with one round and killed with a newly designed Barnes 525gr Round Nose solid. Congratulations to both Bryan and John.

The .30-06: Still killing sheep after all these years...

One of our clients took this beautiful Stone's ram while hunting with Collingwood Brothers in northern British Columbia last week. He hunted the ram with a rather unique .30-06 Legend rifle built on a modified left hand Granite Mountain Arms G33/40 action.

Congratulations on a great hunt and a great ram!

Two Standards of the World: The Stinson Gullwing and the Echols Legend .375 H&H

We recently had the pleasure of delivering a Legend rifle chambered in .375 H&H to Mr. Michael Boren.   Our usual procedure for delivery involves lots of packing tape, foam nurbles, and a visit from the UPS truck.  So we were pleased when Mike indicated that he wanted to pick up his rifle in person.  After a quick tour of the shop and short stop at the range to zero the rifle, we dropped Mike off at the airport for his trip home in his "old plane".

The "old plane" turned out to be a gorgeously restored Stinson Gullwing.  Built in 1939,  the Stinson was the depression-era equivalent of today's Gulfstream V.  Spacious and powerful,  Mike's Stinson was sent to England as part of the Lend/Lease program, and served as a coastal patrol aircraft.   Repatriated in 1943,  it moldered for years until Mike bought it and began the 6 year restoration process.  A medalist at the Oshkosh fly-in, this Gullwing isn't a "hangar queen" and is flown regularly.

Brian, Mike, and two Legends

The Stinson takes us back to another time.  A time when quality in design and execution was the norm, and not the exception.    Stinson's motto, "The Aircraft Standard of the World",  embodies what we strive to achieve in our shop.

Variety of groups fired from Mike's .375 with 300 gr. Barne's TSX/Solid and Woodleigh 350 gr. PPSN/FMJ

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Real Men Shoot Them In The White"...

Or "How to Stop Worrying and Love the .375 H&H".

I've always had a soft spot for the .375 H&H.  It is just one of those cartridges that performs.   Adequate power for most anything on Earth with the proper bullets.  Excellent accuracy.  Mild recoil. No muss, no fuss.  So I was a happy camper when one of our clients ordered up a Legend sporter chambered in this grand old cartridge.

Upon completion of the required metal work and stock bedding, Matt and I proceeded to take our creation down to the range for its maiden test firing, barrel break-in and load development.

The results were adequate for most purposes, don't you think?

These were the results with two different powder charges of R15 and H4895 and the 300 gr. Barnes TSX.  The group on the left measures .566".  The group on the right measures .166".  The scope was our trusty Leupold MK-4 16x test scope.

Brian Bingham
D'Arcy Echols & Co.

Friday, June 15, 2012

African Dangerous Game Cartridges by Pierre van der Walt

Recently a good friend of mine called to say he was sending me a book with a modern look at African rifles and cartridges that he felt I would enjoy. I thanked him profusely and politely tried to get him the cancel the order as I had not read a book on this subject in years that wasn't a re-hash of the same old tired themes. He said it was to late to cancel as the book was in route.

The book arrived in due course and I have not been able to put it down, it is that good. My favorite time to read or re-read a chapter is at dawn with a fresh cup of coffee. Some pages are already becoming dog eared.

To say Pierre van der Walts book African Dangerous Game Cartridges is "refreshing" is like seeing Victoria Falls for the first time and saying, gee that's nice. The work and effort that went into the text is extensive to say the least. The opening chapters on rifles, optics and related equipment is worth the cost of the book alone. The following chapters on cartridges and the load data comprised for each cartridge is a treasure trove of information.

I cannot recommend this book enough for those interested in African hunting, rifles and caliber selection in general.

You can contact author directly by e-mail at

Thursday, June 7, 2012

2 more Legends head for home

Karl D and his lovely wife drove 12 hours on Tuesday to pick up another pair of Legends. One was chambered for 270 Winchester and the other for 300 Winchester. Both are in out standard sporter configuration. We spent some time at the range shooting these at 200 and 300 yards. As the session came to a close and they were facing the long drive home Karl wanted to shoot a 458 Lott we had and try and compare it to the recoil of his Legend chambered for 416 Rem. He has another Elephant coming up the this fall and just needed to see for himself if this caliber was a real man killer in the recoil dept.

So we set up his shooting sticks about 35 yards from the target frame and he fired 3 shots in very rapid succession as one might be required on such a hunt. He wanted to see what the recovery time was like  from shot to shot. As the third case hit the ground he turned and smiled and said, "Hell that's not bad !"

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bucks & Bulls in Cold Bay Alaska

Travis Adams and I have known one another for some time. Both of us guide for Bucks & Bulls Guides and Outfitters and together have had the pleasure of working with this team of true professionals for many years. Travis just returned from Cold Bay Alaska with a Bear we just had to include on this blog. While it was not killed with one of our rifles the hunt deserves attention and a shout out for a job well done. As this may be a spring bear season that most will try and forget I think Travis will always consider the hardships and bad weather a necessary price to pay for such a great experience. Travis had booked a 16 day hunt and took this Bear as the sun was going down on the 14th day.

The bear taped 10' 2" with a  27 & 7/16" green skull. He may not "best" this first bear in a lifetime of  trips back to Cold Bay. He and his guide from R&R stalked the bear until they ran out of cover and spent hour's laying in the snow waiting for the lounging bear to present a favorable shot. As the sun began to set the thermals shifted and blew their scent right at the bear. Having caught their wind the bear came out of the snow as if launched by springs and ran directly away from them. At 376 yards the bear slowed to a stop and turned broadside. Years of guiding under pressure for trophy Mule Deer and Elk was now about to pay off as Travis told the guide he was definitely taking the shot.

I imagine the guide was wondering how he was going to explain to his boss why he let anyone even consider such a shot when the 375 bellowed. The bear took the first round in the center of the rib cage, spun 180 degree's and Travis handed him another one placed in the same spot only this time from the other side.

The bear began to loose his footing and tumbled down the hill with Travis firing whenever a vital spot  rolled into view. He fired 7 times and hit the bear 7 times. The dream of a life time had just come to fruition. I have no doubt the next several hours were filled with a lot work compared to an elk but I'd be willing to guess Travis can't remember the sweat required to get the bear to camp.

110% effort to the end, typical performance from a Bucks & Bulls guide. I would have expected nothing less.