The label “No. 2” is the newly coined term for a Ruger No.3 action that has been rebarrelled and restocked. (I didn’t come up with this, but it seems to have some internet traction.)
This, is not ‘lipstick on a pig’.
I like the .416×348 Win cartridge. I like the H&R that I built chambered for that cartridge. But… It’s still an H&R. Personally, I just can’t get past that. Good ‘truck gun’, but not exactly ‘elegant’. I also really like Ruger falling block actions. So…
I bought a Ruger No. 3 chambered in .45-70 Government to be used as the donor action. (I got it for $300 less than the cheapest I have seen on the auction sites.) I actually prefer the No. 3 to the No. 1 when it comes to the action. I prefer the No. 1’s wood and quarter-rib. The only difference between the two in the metal is the lever, and I much prefer the No. 3’s lever. Now I needed a .416 barrel.
I looked at Pac-Nor’s website (http://pac-nor.com/) for a barrel, and noticed that they installed barrels too, so, anticipating deal-killing “details”, I called and inquired. Turned out that they will:
1) Remove the factory barrel,
2) Install their new barrel,
3) Chamber it to .416x.348 Win, (and CUSTOM lengthen the throat for the Hawk 400-grain bullet),
4) Cut the extractor groove,
5) Install a new extractor, and
6) Copy the profile of the original barrel to the new barrel. (Actually, I asked them if they would copy the original profile to the end of the forearm and make it ‘straight’ from there to the muzzle. They said “No problem.” I said, “How much extra.” They said, “No extra charge.” 😮 That’s the way CUSTOMER SERVICE is supposed to be!)
All for $575.
The new (28″ finished length) barrel cost $275 (not exactly cheap), which makes the labor cost $300. That’s not great either, but it’s not horrible, and SEVERAL hundred less than the next competitor. What sealed the deal was that they would blue the barrel for an extra $50 AND the bluing would only take an extra “two weeks”. So, total cost to Pac-Nor is $625 plus shipping to and fro. I got the No. 3 last Thursday. It was on it’s way to Pac-Nor the next day. I received the barreled action back yesterday, 8 weeks later. (Six weeks for the ‘smithing, and two weeks for the bluing.)
I have no problem shaping, finish inletting, and finishing stocks. However, INITIAL inletting is another matter. Especially for a rifle that requires a hole to be drilled in the butt for a draw bolt like the Ruger falling block actions do, AND for the angled hole required for the forearm hanger. So, I went looking for ‘someone’ to inlet “my wood” for fore arm and butt stock. I found a couple of places, but, they REALLY ticked me off with all their whining and completely unnecessary constraints!
GOOD GRIEF! These places advertise CUSTOM gun stocks, but what they REALLY mean is “not factory”. You WILL do it “their way”, (which means just like every other one they do for everyone else, which is hardly “custom”), or they will whine and gripe and patronize you, and tell YOU what YOU want. I am SO sick and tired of people in the firearms industries. Especially the after-market businesses, and extra especially gunsmiths and stock-makers!
The first guy I contacted makes a BIG deal about NOT doing ANY metal work. NOT doing ANY fitting. Quote – These are only partially inlet and you have to do the finish inletting. Also there is a LOT of finish work to SHAPING the stock. Ok. I’m fine with that. His prices if he uses HIS wood (which he brags about being “Exhibition grade”) is $275 for the Ruger No. 1s and 3s. In our first conversation, I told him that all I wanted him to do was INLET the action and fore arm. He didn’t need to shape the stock or fore arm AT ALL. I would take care of that. He said $300 for MY wood. I told him I had to look at my wood and see what I wanted to use. I would get back to him. I sent him an email and told him I had found some wood I wanted to use, but the butt piece was pretty narrow. If he didn’t want to try inlet the “narrow” wood, fine. How much just for the forearm? I got a two-sentence response: $370 and that was “If you measured the butt correctly.” So $100 more for using MY wood and doing LESS work! I resisted the temptation to respond.
The next place was more amenable to “doing the work”, and the prices with MY WOOD wasn’t too bad – $100 for the butt and $85 for the forearm. (Using THEIR wood it was $85 for the butt and $65 for the forearm.) Using MY wood costs MORE. That makes perfect sense. NOT! Extra for drilling the draw bolt hole. Extra for attaching MY fore end wood to the forearm. AND…
My wood had to be 2 and a quarter inches SQUARE for the fore end, and the butt needed to be AT LEAST 2″ thick. Both of those dimensions were problematic for me. My forearm was only 1 and 15/16ths inches square, and the butt was only 1.815″ thick. The FACTORY forearm is not even 1.5″ wide, and the factory butt is only 1.7″ wide AT THE ABSOLUTE WIDEST. Their dimensional requirements were simply because they are too damn lazy to position the blanks carefully. I didn’t argue with them.
I called a friend and asked him if he wouldn’t mind going down to see them face-to-face with my wood. (He lives about 2 hours from them and he has some stock work he wants done too.) I thought that face-to-face he might be able to talk them into using my “small” wood. He agreed. However, the more I thought about it as I was preparing my wood to ship to Rick, the angrier I got. I finally just decided to quit putting up with GETTING GOUGED for using MY WOOD, AND, to add insult to injury, I had to listen to their whining and arrogance. All of that for a “custom” stock THAT WASN’T CUSTOM AT ALL!
MAN! I am TIRED of these arrogant, prima donna, firearms people! REALLY TIRED of them! Pac-Nor was surprising in their willingness to actually DO WHAT THE CUSTOMER WANTED!!!!
So… I’m doing ALL of the fabrication of the forearm and butt. Both will be of persimmon, and the fore end will be black-and-white ebony (hereafter BWE). What’s interesting (to me) about the forearm is that persimmon and BWE are the same genus. As I have mentioned before, persimmon is often called “American ebony” because it is the same genus (Diospyros virginiana) as the black ebony with which everyone is familiar (Diospyros crassiflora). BWE (D. malabarica) is great-looking stuff, having high contrasting yellow and black wood. The pieces I have THAT FIT are not that “black and white”. (You’ll see below.)
So here I am again, all too willing to PAY people to do work they ADVERTISE for, and again essentially forced to “do it myself if I want it done right”.
Here are two pictures of the factory forearm. The first is a closeup of the inletting required for the hanger. The second shows the whole forearm with all the inletting.
Because this is now a genuine “build” instead of just an “assembly”, I’ll be providing pictures as I go along.
I came within a cat’s whisker of using a very nice maple butt stock blank that another friend gave me. It would be perfect except that it doesn’t match the persimmon forearm I want to use. I’ll save that butt for my next ‘special’ build. (I should be able to get both butt and forearm out of that piece of wood.)
(I put the factory stock back on it for the picture.)
I’ll try to be conscientious about taking pictures, but no promises.