I am not sure about others but I have worked with several custom bullet makers that had the exact same money back garantee on their bullets. Hell, Richard Graves would not even charge for the bullets until they arrived and the customers were happy with them.
As far as custom rifle
makers...... I have to take a bit of offense to your comments about us in general. 95% of my customers are out of state. I would say 50-60% of those I never speak to over the phone just because of my lack of time to spend on the phone. That said, I have gained a reputation as having very good customer service.
The notion that you have to shake the hand of your gunsmith to be able to trust him and get a world class rifle made is simply 100% false, in fact it has little to do with anything.
Point is, there are those in all professions that are less then ethical, I have and I am sure you have shaken hands with some "professionals" that turned out to be very unethical.
My personal policy is that I will do everything humanly possible to make my customer 100% happy with rifles that I build for them. If in the end they are not happy with the rifles, I will certainly refund every penny they have into it as long as their issues are based in fact. That is why I take so much time during the rifle design process to make sure that I am building the rifle rifle that the customer really wants.
I would certainly hope you do not class all out of town smiths as not worthy of your trust or that they are not 100% ethical in their business dealings.....
Most bullet makers will offer some form of load data as most have shot their own bullets before they begin selling them. May not be included on the package but a simple phone call or e-mail will generally get you all the information and tips you may want for a product.
As far as getting a twist rate wrong, or barrel recommendation wrong. These things do happen, especially when your pushing the envelope. Hell, when I came out with the 270 AM and 7mm AM using the very long Wildcat bullets, I contacted Lilja barrels and asked them what barrels they would recommend for these new bullets which noone else had worked with to our knowledge. I even sent them bullets to take dimensions on to make the perfect, we thought, rifle twist and design for these bullets specifically.
I trusted the expert barrel makers recommendations and we had custom barrel tooling made for the barrels he recommended, 1-8, 3 groove in 270 and 1-7, 3 groove in 7mm. I would do the same thing today, trust others that know more then you.
Turned out, after a few hundred rounds, the 195 gr 270 and 200 gr 7mm bullets were coming apart. Why, to much barrel compression. We all gave it our best go and we did extensive testing, in fact I had three test barrels for each caliber made and sent to me long before I made any customer rifles. I had well over 200 rounds down each barrel in ballistic testing, load development and field testing. Everything went perfectly, accuracy, load development and those barrels even killed well over a dozen head of big game in terminal field testing.
Started building rifles, customers were all happy as can be until they started getting over 300rounds down the barrel and the problem started rearing its head. We were all at a loss as to why this was happening. It was like someone flicked a switch and the barrels just started tearing the bullets apart. In the 7mm, it was the 200 gr ULD that was having problems, and the Berger bullets. IT was clear that the problem was in the very thin J-4 jackets used in both bullets. From extensive testing, it was found that the 1-7 twist was more then needed and the 3 groove wide land rifling had far to much baring surface compression.
Ordered in four new test barrels in to test these problems, Lilja 1-9, 6 groove, groove, 1-9 4 groove, Pac Nor 1-8 and a Rock 1-8.7 5R barrel.
It was proven that these bullets needed less then 20% baring surface compression or they would have problems after the barrels got a bit of wear to them. IT was also found that the Lilja 1-9, 4 groove and a specially designed 1-8.7 thin land 5R Rock barrel worked the best.
In the end, every customer was contacted that had a 7mm AM and the offer was simple, get the barrels to me and they would be replaced on my dime no questions asked.
The 270 AM was a bit trickier. While the 195 gr ULD RBBT would not handle the 1-8, 3 groove Lilja barrels, it would still shoot the 169.5 gr ULD RBBTs very well which was the standard bullet when I designed that wildcat. Why did it survive, it used a much thicker jacket.
I did not contact those customers that owned the 270 AM for one reason, most were already shooting the 169.5 gr ULD RBBT which was the bullet this wildcat was designed around. Some did contact me when they tried the 195 gr ULD RBBT and again we did some testing to see if this was the same problem. It was and for those that contacted me, I made the same offer to them if they were not happy shooting the 169.5 gr ULD RBBT.
I did have one customer that never made contact with me again until I was contacted by a guy that bought the rifle second hand and was told this rifle was designed to shoot the 195 gr ULD RBBT but when he took posession of the rifle it did not shoot them well. I told this second had buyer that I could not tell how many rounds had been down the barrel but that was likely the reason for the pour results with the 195 gr pills. I did not offer to replace this barrel on my dime for a couple reasons, 1. It was not the original owner and 2. I had no accurate means of telling how many rounds were down that barrel. As these chamberings are not terribly barrel friendly, I could not stand behind that one example. I believe that made the second hand buyer unhappy but I did offer to replace the barrel for a reduced price. Never head back from him but did see that he put that used barrel on the market for sale which in my opinion is not overly ethical as it was a barrel with ALOT of rounds down it.
Later I asked the original owner why he did not contact me and he said he had been using the 140 gr Accubonds with good results so did not have any real complaints and just needed to sell some rifles.
Had he contacted me, he would have also been given a new barrel for his rifle.
Point being, when you start something that is this extreme, not only do the customers have some risk, the gunsmiths do as well, at times much more then the customers themselves. Perhaps some down time is a real risk but other then that there really is no risk if they use an ethical smith which most of us are.
In total, I replaced 21 Lilja fluted barrels and installation plus return shipping on my dime. This nearly put my small business under at the time and for nearly a year later but it was the right thing to do no matter what the cost. The smiths I know here on LRH would do the same thing.
You can see why I take offense to someone making a general comment about this. My customers are not risking anything. In the beginning, all were informed we were doing brand new things and that they had not been proven long term and that I was with them to the end. Anyone else that puts out a quality product and backs it up will also be very successful. If you are not ethical, you will not last.
You may not have ment to offend, you may have, hard to tell from a post on a chat board but you really directed your comments toward rifle builders and I must stand up to that and say that not only are your general comments about rifle builders offensive, they are flat out wrong.