East Coast Gunsmith
Howdy everyone, as my title suggests I am a gunsmith in Maryland and have been fulltime for almost two years now. I have been a member of this site for years as well but until I was a little more involved, and especially more informed, I just wanted to read and learn. However, now that I am I have a million questions for the broad range of customers and the many ways they can be involved in shooting and the outdoors; but I will leave that for other posts. I hope to ask many questions and I will voice my personal opinions openly with everyone, but I will do so with respect and courtesy and I hope everyone will do the same in return (this is all in effort to learn). I know there are many great products out there and I know there are many great smiths, and builders around the country, I'm not in the business or on this site to step on toes or use sales pitch methods. I'm in it for my love of the precision involved in shooting, the art and uniqueness of firearms, the creation and history, the evolution of firearms and accuracy capabilities; just to list a few. So please, let's all understand there are many "shooters choice" decisions, but that doesn't mean any ONE is correct, and many combinations work.
That being said let me cover a quick background of me and the people who have influenced my short career so far. Shooting and hunting has been a staple of my entire life, it has been one of many connections between my father and I since I was born 27 years ago and my recent partnership with our life long gunsmith has now opened many pathways we've always wanted to walk. My business partner is a third generation smith and we still run the shop that his father built in 1948. My introduction to Browny was when I was eight years old and with my father picking up my newly built 25-06 that Browny built on a Mauser action and put it on top of a walnut stock, chopped so the length of pull would fit me and installed a personally designed muzzle brake; great times. Years later our families are still great friends and I was lucky enough to be trusted to come in his shop to learn, and learn I have. It would take a very thick book to include everything I've been shown already and hopefully a few more will be needed by the end, so let me just give a short rundown of Browny's resume. As mentioned before he is a third generation smith, since he was eight he was learning the art. As a youth he was a hunter for survival, he served in the military in the Korea War era and reached a very respectable rank before continuing his service in the government, after which he ran five desiel plants and the shop part time in Maryland until retirement, after which his fulltime attention was in the shop, where his ability is mythical in my opinion. He can fix and customize anything that "goes bang", and has built incredibly accurate custom rifles his whole life. On that list is three custom builds for the Maryland State Police SWAT team, that took titles for them in competion. His shooting and hunting career ranges all across the world and his den is filled with the many trophies taken, whether it be his local and national trap and skeet shooting championships, or the far ranging big game mounts that fill the room up to and on the ceiling. Hopefully this is enough information to describe us without boring the readers, if anymore is in need please feel free to ask.
Before I finish though I would like to post a description of my first build that has turned out a beautiful, and accurate firearm. I started with a throated Remington 700 BDL chambered in a .243 Win. Obviously the first concern was barrel replacement, and I went with a 28" 1:9 six-groove Lilja #7 blank bored for 6.5mm. While I waited I accurized the action by truing the locking lugs, dial indicating and truing the receiver shoulder, and polishing the ways for smooth and proper funtion. I practiced the machining on the barrel by chopping the threads off of the old barrel, re-threading and re-chambering it twice for a .243 AI (just to get some experience with fire-forming as well), before the taper on the barrel wasn't thick enough to leave a shoulder after turning and threading. After the barrel showed up I repeated the process to very tight tolerances, added a 11 degree target crown, and chambered it for the 6.5x.284. Then my attention turned to stock replacement, I went a lot of ways with this decision but in the end I built one for myself. Starting with a English Walnut blank and after roughly 110 man hours put in I have a custom stock built specifically for me and the use of my rifle, from the combination of multiple stock designgs. To make it even more one of a kind I added an inlet and end cap of Ebony Walnut; the inlet runs from just in front of the bolt knob to a few inches in front of the recoil lug. Part replacements include an oversized recoil lug, a Tubbs titanium firing pin, Badger Ordnance oversized bolt knob, and a Timney trigger group set at 1.5lbs. On top of it I have a Leupold VX-3 6-24x40, medium height Leupold rings and a one piece long range STD base. After proper barrel break in and only four testing loads in it produced a five shot group of .320" at 100yds, with the first four measuring only .140" and the fifth being pulled due to my excitment and relaxing too early. It recently got a new bi-pod installed and an adjustable buttplate, so I'm hoping to keep that fifth one in next time.
Thanks for the time, and keep shooting everyone.