For the love of custom guns (3)

Number 3 in the series (and I think the last) is a .22 rimfire that I had Pete Grisel make for me. This one was a bit frustrating as life got in the way and it took me about 10 years to finally get the gun into my hands and then there were some problems that took a bit longer to resolve. By the time it was over I almost got rid of the rifle as it just had too many bad memories associated with it. But, as they say, time heals all wounds and I am glad that I didn’t, as it is a beautiful gun and shoots and handles very well.

My original intent was to build it on a Winchester Model 52 action and to that end I acquired an old beater of a target rifle in order to salvage the action. But in the interim, Pete had seen the new Kimber .22s that were just coming into production in Oregon and was impressed with them. He suggested that instead of using the old Model 52 action that I use one of Kimber’s, which I did.

The first rifle that Pete had made for me was a 280 Remington built on a lightweight Husqvarna action with a full mannlicher stock. So we decided to make the .22 in the same pattern and to that effect Pete found a blank of fancy walnut that very closely matched the wood on the 280.

I would hate to try and replace these guns today with the prices I see quoted for even semi-custom rifles. But the time was right and it fulfilled a long time urge that had festered in me since my early days of reading Jack O’Connor and Warren Page and the like. I also lay some blame at the feet of John Amber who always put several pages of beautiful custom gun work in his annual edition of the Gun Digest. It was their fault.


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