A Dying Art

The art of custom gunmaking in the United States is slowly dying off. We only have a handful of artisans left that are doing some incredible work. There are a few younger people starting to fill their shoes, but not enough to sustain the trade in my opinion. For the last 30 years, I have had the honor of being part of the family. They are truly some of the most talented craftsmen in the world. If you want to see some of their work, the American Custom Gunmakers Guild is a great place to start. There are also a few guys and gals that are not in the guild displaying their work on social media.

I recently ran across this simple but elegant gun. This is a gun by Jerry Fisher. He built this gun in 1965. I’m pretty sure it has never been used. This is a .338 Win made on a pre 1964 Winchester Mod 70. I am going to copy the letter that was with the gun. The letter below was written by Mr. Fisher and tells the story of a custom gun.

“The .338 is a rifle I put up about 1965. The rifle has a factory barrel. I remodeled the barrel by cutting down the back sight and dog knot. The rear sight is a Marbles folding open sight. I did replace the front sight with a an old steel Williams steel ramp. This ramp does have a gold bead and hood. I remodeled the rear tang on the receiver for looks. I did checker the bolt stop release and the bolt. The bolt has a fine 2 panel pattern.  The telescope is a Weaver K3E. Its mounted in Griffin and Howe side mount that I installed myself. By the way that old Weaver has a steel tube with a fine crosshair. A darn good scope. The inside action rails are polished bright. I made the trigger guard and floor plate from scratch, the floor plate release is inside the guard bow. The stock is handmade from a very hard and well grained English walnut blank. The wood came from Joe Oakley. He was an old wood cutter from Sacramento, CA. I’ll bet the tree was grown around Chico, CA.  Joe cut a lot of trees around Chico. The stock has an ebony tip and one of Al Biesen’s 2 hole grip caps. The checkering is about 24 lpi and has a red English pad.”

Good luck this hunting season. I look forward to seeing you in the field.