One thing that many do not realize is that its not only the major componants that can cause delays but the accessary items can also be a serious pain in the rear. I have found this out personally over the last year. Since Washington decided to stir up the gun control pot early this year, not only has the ammunition and reloading component supply disappeared, but accessary items have also dried up.
Also, these companies that sell high volume items have put nearly 100% production into those specific items which leaves no production resources for other lesser volume sale items.
One example is jewell triggers. When this mess hit, all the larger custom rifle
manufacturers and custom receiver manufacturers that offer the Jewell trigger as an option quickly bought up the remaining supply of standard Rem 700 style Jewell triggers. As a smaller shop, I just do not have the capital to make these huge purchases and have 100 jewell triggers sitting here on the shelf. As such, I purchase 5-10 at a time to cover the batch of rifles I am currently working on, then when those are finished, the final payments from those rifles pay for the overhead on the accessary items for the next batch of rifles.
Well, the standard Jewell trigger supply dried up and jewell put nearly 100% production into that specific trigger to try to cover back order demands.
That's all good and well but for my Xtreme Heavy Sporter rifles I have to use the Jewell trigger with the bottom safety. This is a relatively low volume sales item for them so they were not putting any production effort into these triggers. Was not long before there were no bottom safety jewell triggers anywhere and those that were around were just a few on the retail market and were going for $100 more then prices I had quoted customers. Still, the projects need triggers to ship or the cash flow stops so you eat $100 to get a rifle project out the door.
It has been that way with triggers, DM systems and especially custom loading die sets. Stock shipping times have increased DRAMATICALLY from some makers. Receiver and barrel shipping times have stayed relatively consistant, at least within a couple weeks of normal for the most part.
Still, you have have a receiver, barrel and stock sitting on the bench and if you do not have a trigger or a DM system of a set of custom dies for a wildcat rifle, none of the other parts do much good.
Currently I have over 20 projects just sitting here waiting for one of the listed accessary items to get in so I can finish them and get projects shipped. Parts are starting to come in a bit better now. Just a couple months ago, I had twice this many projects sitting here in limbo.
Just mentioned this because for a custom rifle
manufacture, we are the only connection between the customer and component suppliers but we are where the buck stops.
We fully understand the frustration our customers feel when we have to reply to them and say we are still waiting on parts we are already several months overdue on our estimated shipping times. Most customers are really good about this and understand, some however simply do not understand that some things are out of our control.
It is very stressfull for us as manufacturers, especially the smaller manufacturers to deal with overdue projects. We want nothing more then to get every project out the door ahead of time but when something like this happens, it snowballs dramatically. You have the initial projects that are delayed by slow arriving parts, so you start other projects to at least be getting some work done. Then when parts do start to trickle in, you have to stop what your doing and pick back up on those old projects so the current projects, the ones that you really should be working on timeframe wise, sit and get delayed even more while the VERY old projects get the priority and finished up. Just a snowball effect and before you know it, its such an organizational mess that its hard to keep up or keep anything straight when you have 50 projects in partial finished status all the time.
Hopefully we will all get through this without to many really pissed off customers but we totally understand your frustrations and we feel the same, only multiplied several times over with all the projects we are working on at one time.
This time of year is the rush for big game season anyway so its even more complicated then normal.
Luckily, most customers in the custom rifle category are the best people out there.