Your story sounds a lot like mine. Makes me wonder if by chance it is the same gunsmith. I have had guns built by local smiths that do a whole host of other projects. Basically this smith does not rely on custom builds. They are associated with a dealer of all major brands of firearms. Using this smith I have had projects run into months and even up to a year to get a project finished. I have also delt with smiths that only deal with custom rifles. The one that comes to mind is Surgeon Rifles.
I had done the same thing. I to took a Remington 700 rifle to the first smith and wanted them to strip the action and build a gun off of my specs using the action. Aftercone year the project had not been started due to another project of mine that they had. This project that held up my custom 700 was to bed and install a stock from McMillan. I got the run around on why it had not been started. Anyway, I decided to make call to Surgeon Rifles. Keep in mind Surgeon has all components on site for most builds. I talked with them and told them what I wanted. They did not have the barrel I wanted but they did have on that was fluted. Other than that, it was perfect. Now I am not sure what all they had to do to get the rifle ready, but I had the completed rifle in one week. When I went to pick the rifle up I asked them how long does it take to build a rifle from the ground up, as long as all the parts are on site? I was amazed at what they told me. They said that if everything was on site and the build went smooth, aprox. 2 weeks to get the gun out the door.
I do know that McMillan is about 8-9 weeks out to get a stock ordered. Most barrel makers are four to five months for a turn around. I have heard of some barrels taking up to a year to get. Not sure on this, but that is way to long for me.
If the smith you are using has other priorities like the smith I had used, I could see it taking a longer period. If the smith is limited on man power could also pose a problem. I to thought that to get a quality piece of work it would take a considerable amount of time, that is until the process was explained to me while I was talking with a member of the Surgeon Rifle staff. I really don't think anyone here will argue the quality that Surgeon is turning out their doors.
I personally think that one year for a rifle is way to long and I would be very upset if it did take that long. If the turn around for the barrel and stock is around four month, I would expect to have the rifle completed and in my hands with in 5 1/2 months. Keep in mind, if this smith is a dedicated builder like Surgeon, I would expect the rifle a whole lot sooner.
Whatever happened to your build that was taking so long to complete? This is my first custom build and I too am unhappy with the lack of communication from the Smith I hired. I made the mistake of not getting an actual completion date before I put down the deposit. I wonder if Smiths are concerned that if they told you upfront that it will take 18 months for your build, you would go somewhere else. I for one would like to know an approxinite date so I can relax in the interim and not bother the Smith. I actually thought the Smith had gone out of business or got blown away by this Summer's storms. We re-established contact, after almost cancelling order, but still no completion date, 7 months into project. Lesson Learned!
charliehorse, I have not heard a single thing about this rifle. At this point it is just a waiting game. It is pretty upsetting but what can I do? They don't even have the courtesy to drop me a 10 second email. I talked to the smith himself about last March and told him that I would be fine with just getting my money and stock back so I could go another route and he almost begged me to give him a little more time. I could not have been nicer to him but after that call he totally cut me off other than an email april 11th from his wife saying they have had family for a couple of weeks so it has been really buisy for them and that he had a few more ahead of me then I would be up (NICE) I wish I could go back, I would have picked one of these excellent smiths on this site, a real man that would drop me a line now and then good or bad just something.