Character and Rifle Building

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Festus, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. Festus

    Festus Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  2. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    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.:);):)
     

  3. Patriot44

    Patriot44 Well-Known Member

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    Please, tell us who this bad smith is. I don't wont to send my project to him.

    P44
     
  4. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Don't worry about who the bad smith is.:rolleyes: Just send it to Kirby and then you won't have to worry.:);):)
     
  5. SDWhirlwind

    SDWhirlwind Active Member

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    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
     
  6. Patriot44

    Patriot44 Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  7. Festus

    Festus Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  8. Slopeshunter

    Slopeshunter Well-Known Member

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    I find that so many people in todays world just want to get the job done fast so they can move onto the next one.
     
  9. NYLES

    NYLES Well-Known Member

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    I hear ya, I dont have my AM just yet, Ive done my wait and the end is near, and I have to say Kirby is "Johnny on the spot" with every issue, delima, or question not only from his customers but evreyone he has an opportunity to give educated answers or advise.

    Here is one nobody has noted on but I have not seen him OFFER to build anything for anyone. We have gone to him, He will tell you what his rifles will do and what he expects but not once have I seen him offer his services. Everyone ASKS for his services. All his advertising is by word of mouth from information gained right here on this forum.

    I will post a critique on my AM when it gets here on the AM page.....I intend on nitpickin it from one end to the other on craftmansship alone....then I m gonna do the same on performance. WHY? because thats how much confidence I have in him based on pictures and his reputation on this site.

    Just a note, I had enough confidence that I paid 100% up front on my rifle (that will not get you special attention or speed up the process) because I believe he puts 100%++ in his rifles and builds them as if they were gonna be his own!

    KIRBY ITS OK TO GRIN I BELIEVE EVERY WORD I WROTE! and like I said "we gonna make you famous one day!" And no need to Thank me for these words YOU EARNED THEM!
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2007
  10. Festus

    Festus Well-Known Member

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    My last post on this thread is a good example of how the written word can be misinterpreted. I re-read my post and it sounded like I meant that saying the name of the 'smith would make me puke. This is not the case. I was using a metaphor (probably not very well) to say that I didn't want to disrespect Len by slamming the guy on his forum (in his living room).

    Further, I meant to add in my original post that Kirby adds a lot to this forum for which he is uncompensated. He doesn't have to contribute so much but does it selflessly to help others. It takes time from his busy day that he could spend in the shop or with family. Thanks, Kirby!!
     
  11. Patriot44

    Patriot44 Well-Known Member

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    Festus, no problem, I totally understand about not wanting to put his name on this site. I think I know who it is. Thanks for the hint.

    P44