Thursday, August 12, 2021

It took a Texan to state the obvious

The year was 2011 and I was standing in front of an interested crowd giving a power point presentation in a Country Club just outside of San Antonio Texas. I was doing my best to visually show those assembled the steps required to modify, blue print the receiver, then fit and chamber a barrel. The next images showed me modifying the underside of a current production Model 70 receiver to except one of my floor-plate, bow and magazine assemblies. Then I did my best to described the art of surface grinding the receiver to install a set of my scope mounts. Fitting the stock came next and then going over the final finish work to turn the project into a finished Legend rifle. 

When the presentation drew to a close I asked if there were any questions from the audience. A gentleman in what looked to be his early seventies rose to his feet and asked me the following “ Son, if it takes that much work to make a Model 70 into what a Model 70 should be, why in the hell don’t you build your own action ? ” 

I can't remember what response I gave, I’m sure it was vague at best. He was polite sat back down and listen to me field other questions for another 45 minutes. As everyone stood up to go he walked up to me and said “Young fella you ought to think about what I said” he then shook my hand, winked, bid me safe travels home and walked off. You gotta love Texas. 

To this day I do remember I didn't sleep much that night nor was I smugly content on the flight home. The gentleman did have a point. 

Through a series of similar events I was eventually recruited to design a receiver for the CorBon Bullet Company. The CAD design and manufacturing of this receiver was done by Central Valley Machine. I flew in Steve Wickert who's background is pretty deep in this area for some consulting advice to round out the brain pool. While most of my "blue prints" both mental and physical were drawn on napkins the CVM team looked at the process as standard machine work and not as a black art. 

Soon we had a handful of prototype receivers and waited for approval of the overall design. Then the anticipated go-ahead to start the 1st run of production. One receiver went to the Shot Show early that year and another one of these receivers was auctioned off at the 2012 SCI Convention in Las Vegas. During that convention a the steady stream of interested parties came by my booth to ask me about the CorBon Model-1 receiver. My impression was the bullet company was sitting on a winner. 

Sadly some ideas never make it off the cutting room floor or the launch pad. Over the next two and half years I received a lot of phone calls from those interested in purchasing this receiver and I dutifully referred them to the Bullet Company as directed. Production never began. 

Sadly the Model-1 stuttered, stalled and eventually died a quiet death. No one ever heard the tree fall.

Remember that one receiver that was auctioned at the 2012 SCI Convention ? It was purchased by one of my clients that was then sold to another one of my clients. The new owner wanted a 375 H&H and below is how it all turned out. This first attempted at a receiver for both myself and Central Valley Machine laid too rest the the reservations any of us had. The barreled action fed like a shark from the 1st dummy rounds that entered the magazine and all the combined metal work operated as designed. The accuracy with this Model-1 was simply outstanding. You could load a tuna can over a case filled with charcoal briquettes and  it would shoot at the 1/2"or under mark, this barrel will literally shoot anything. I give Kudos to both Krieger and William Hambly Clark Jr as this was the first barrel I ever fit using his # 4 technique as described in his book Centerfire Rifle Accuracy. 

Despite the untimely death of the project it was evident what we had was a solid platform to begin with, All the ducks were lined up at CVM, but still, I held the reins tight.

One thing was sure the fire had been lit, all thanks to a Texan that had a lot more common sense than I did.  Make an action indeed, the nerve of that guy.

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