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.