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Character and Rifle Building

 
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  #1  
Old 10-10-2007, 04:50 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Juneau, Alaska
Posts: 213
Character and Rifle Building

About 16 years ago I had a famous rifle builder put a switch-barrel "dream rifle" together for me. He had an unquestionable reputation and claimed to build the world's most accurate rifles. Imagine my disappointment when I couldn't get it to shoot, kept getting fliers. He offered to buy it back from me which I declined, thinking I'd try different load combos and find something it liked. Never happened. I sent it back to him and he fitted two new barrels to it on his nickel, just charged me for the chambering and machine work. Wasn't much better but I could get 3/4" to 1 1/4" groups @ 100 yds. so I continued to hunt with it.

When I'd had enough and decided to rebarrel again, I approached Kirby Allen, whom I'd "met" on LRH. I sent him the rifle and he diagnosed the trouble. The receiver had not been trued, the lugs had been over lapped and a few other things were not up to his high standards. This was a Rem 700 LA. Kirby said the threads would have to be recut and new barrels fitted. I presented his findings to the original 'smith and although he admitted the receiver probably should have been scrapped from the get go, he said, "well it's been a long, long time and obviously it shot well enough to hunt with." He refused to help me out and would not commit to a figure to perform the needed work.

Selling the rifle to recover some of my losses wasn't an option for me. I can't sell a rifle built by a renowned 'smith that I know won't shoot no matter how many new match grade barrels it's fitted with. That's just making my problem someone else's problem.

Kirby still has the rifle due to problems getting barrrels in a timely manner and partly due to my changing my mind on an item or two.

I want you all to know that I have the utmost faith in Kirby. He is not only a talented 'smith, which you don't find on every street corner, but he is honest to boot. With Kirby you don't get one without the other. I've had a 'smith with all the talent anyone could ask for but he was less than honest. Character trumps talent every time and Kirby has both.

I have never met Kirby, though I hope to someday. He has never built me a rifle, though I hope he does someday. Through email, phone conversations and here on LRH, I've learned of his character. If you know Kirby, I'm surely preaching to the choir. If you don't, you can take this as my opinion. I'm sure my opinion will be matched by many that know him. I'm not defending Kirby, he does a better job of that than I can, I just wanted y'all to know he is the real deal and a perfectionist, which isn't necessarily a good thing when it comes to feeding his family. I'm sure that has cost him plenty over the years. He can't help it, it's who he is.

Good Shooting, Festus
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Old 10-10-2007, 11:19 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Yakima, Washington
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Quote:
If you know Kirby, I'm surely preaching to the choir.
I'm a member of the choir then.;)

I've had a lot of people do a lot of work over the years but the only place I'd ever send a gun anymore is to Fort Shaw Montana. There's a gunsmith over there, out in the boonies, that does an amazing job of gunsmithing.

I've had a lot of dealings with Kirby over the last few years, from the highs to the lows, and I've never met a more talented or honest man in this, or any other, business. I'd also put Richard Graves of Wildcat Bullets in the same class with Kirby. They'll do everything humanly possible to get you what you want and do it to a level that most never dream of reaching. They're a couple of friends I'm sure glad I've got in my corner when it comes to Long Range Hunting.;)
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Old 10-10-2007, 09:44 PM
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Please, tell us who this bad smith is. I don't wont to send my project to him.

P44
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Patriot44 View Post
Please, tell us who this bad smith is. I don't wont to send my project to him.

P44
Don't worry about who the bad smith is. Just send it to Kirby and then you won't have to worry.;)
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:34 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: SD
Posts: 33
Have heard nothing but good about Kirby but my comment is about human nature in general.

It never ceases to amaze me as to what little value many people put on their honor/integrity/honesty or word. Being honest and forthcoming although not probably real profitable at present is so much easier in the future reputation wise and financial wise. Have just never understood why misleading someone either with cost, time frame, errors/mistakes in workmanship is difficult for many. Not only referring to gunsmith but the human race in general. Have encountered several somewhat local smiths that just cannot seem to help themselves with either outright lies or attempts to mislead to shift blame etc. There work in most cases is on par with their honesty.

Will have to put a plug in also for 308nate in that I always find a visit with him to be enjoyable and educational and Sept 30 at the Bismarck,ND gunshow was no exception but rather the rule.

So many of any occupation or business would realize how much more enjoyable and less stressfull their life would be by being forthright to people they do business with or deal with. Honesty is GOoD!!!!!

From everything I read Kirby Allen deserves the kind words spoke about him and to him. Hats off Kirby. Hope you have a super week.

Respectfully,
Dennis
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2007, 10:42 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 77
I will keep Kirby on my list of Smiths, he sounds like a good one. I still would like to know who the smith was.

I saw a post on here that was titled top gunsmiths. There were many excellent smiths mentioned on that thread, including Kirby. If the smith that Festus mentioned was really bad and dishonest, I really would like to know he is.

P44
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  #7  
Old 10-11-2007, 12:45 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Juneau, Alaska
Posts: 213
P44,

Not wanting to puke on Len's livingroom carpet, and not wanting to get sued for slander by the 'smith, I'd prefer not to disclose the name of the 'smith on this forum. I gave enough clues for many, I am sure, to identify the guy. But here's another one...he is a pioneer of longrange hunting rifles.

To be clear, I never said he was a bad 'smith. He is a very talented 'smith. He wouldn't have the reputation that he does had this not been the case. The fact is he let a sub-standard product out of his shop and won't stand behind his work because of the time that has elapsed. Or because my zip code is a long way from his.

Kirby will treat you right should you choose him. Just don't send him any projects until he's through with mine. (grin)

Festus
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