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500grains
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Loc: Salt Lake City, Utah USA
Best quality bolt guns?
      #36215 - 21/08/05 06:05 AM

Who do you guys think builts the best bolt guns? Feel free to name individual gunsmiths if that is who you think does it.



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Mike_McGuire
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36218 - 21/08/05 06:28 AM

With Mauser and 375, 404 type calibres probably Rob De Vries and Gabe Gatti in Australia and at far less cost then American stuff that is not half as good.

But would prefer Echols if a rehashed Model 70.

Purdey for the best combination of everything except there missing their own calibres like H&H and Weatherby.

Top end Weatherby for function, eye appeal and converting non shooters to a positive view on guns.

Best function/accuracy for the money, HS Precision.

Mike



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DPhillips
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36305 - 22/08/05 03:07 PM

Duane Wiebe

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ALAN_MCKENZIE
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36315 - 22/08/05 09:42 PM

I own a Husqvana bolt action in 358 NM.
Ballanced ,smooth as silk and shoots better than me..
Not an expensive rifle however everything about it is a class act.
Al

--------------------
"Dogs always bark at their master"
Sir Seretse Khama.25th June 1949


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bonanza
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: ALAN_MCKENZIE]
      #36323 - 23/08/05 12:33 AM

Dakota Arms, period.

--------------------


"Speak Precisely" G. Gordon Liddy.

"Life is absurd, chaotic and we must define its purpose with our actions" Abert Camus

"I''m the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude."

"Yo! Mr. White"


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starman
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bonanza]
      #36366 - 23/08/05 05:55 PM

Fisher,Heilman,Martini/Hagn,Gatti,Echols,and others,this is not a order of priority list. All have something great to offer.
Martini/ Hagn definitely have the best takedowns I have seen,threads are square form,tight,smooth,precise,chromed,no wobble. Great integral barrel feature work as well.
H&H would not get my money,unlikely I would ever buy one,considering what work is avail from these other great individual craftsmen.
Rhiemer Johannsen I was not over the moon about, But Hartmann Weiss do some fine work, However you could get their premium 98 action,sent to one of the guys above, get a damn fine job, and save $000s' over what H&W would charge.

Edited by starman (23/08/05 06:25 PM)


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JTOMLINSON
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36369 - 23/08/05 09:24 PM

Dan

For me its Trevor Proctor in Wilmslow England

Classic sporting lines, built tough and only a fraction of London prices


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Velopex
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36423 - 24/08/05 08:56 PM

Rolf Bachnick (Safari Arms, Melbourne)...Conservative and a traditionalst ? Yes... Thank God! Yet extremely gifted with steel, bluing and a steady hand. But be warned - the bolt action starts and finishes with Mauser !


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foxfire
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: Velopex]
      #36426 - 24/08/05 09:23 PM

I'd have to say of all the guns I own, when I open the gun safe I always stare and drool over my Heym Sr20 Classic.
It's pretty, functions well and I bought it years ago from Paul Jeager. All of what is refered to as tweeking was done by him. He added the iron sights, tweeked the action, etc etc.
I like the gun and would buy one again.
It's certainly the best bolt gun I own, for now

--------------------
No good deed goes unpunished


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cr500
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36428 - 24/08/05 09:50 PM

Gatti ,Echols ,miller.
I,m no expert on this sort of thing ,but from what Ive read and heard about ,these are the ones I would go to in this order


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Mike_McGuire
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36434 - 25/08/05 12:34 AM

If someone reads this thread looking for an answer they will have plenty of variety to pick from

Mike


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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36484 - 25/08/05 04:15 PM

I can't afford any of the best guns and stick to hunting with my second hand custom 8mm Mauser from an unknown gunmaker. However, these are some nice guns on the net - the companies are reputable from what I have heard from people who know.

Theo Jung

Harry Baelder

Kesslerin lightweights

Alfred Schilling

Good hunting!



--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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500grains
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mehulkamdar]
      #36490 - 25/08/05 04:40 PM

Mehul, I was hoping to hear from you. Thanks for posting.

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vikram
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36539 - 26/08/05 09:17 PM

500 Grains,
This is one post I have long been planning. Thanks for making this post.

Always had this dream to have a Bolt action rifle, in 30/06, custom made for me.I want a rifle that gives flawless function and accuracy and most of all aesthatic in the traditional sense.The name stamped on it is immaterial to me.I am in search of one.When I find that, I will get that.And of course at the moment a H&H or Purdey price tag is out of question.

Mehul, the rifles by Waffenjung look absolutely fantastic.How and where you find these little known makers beats me.I am almost all the time on the net in search of gun makers etc. I am going to pester them for more details on their rifles.Thanks for the great links.

Best to all-
Vikram.

--------------------
"Routine is death to Heroism."- P.G.Wodehouse

Edited by vikram (26/08/05 09:36 PM)


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Safarischorsch
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36544 - 26/08/05 11:45 PM

If you have a lot of money:

Hartmann& Weiss

Very good bolt action guns for less money:

http://www.heym-waffenfabrik.de/english/indexeng.html


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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36578 - 28/08/05 10:31 AM

500 grains,

My pleasure.

Vikram,

Theo Jung is a well known riflemaker in Germany. Several of the European magazines feature his rifles from time to time. I'll send you a mail shortly.

BTW I agree with you 100% on your choice of the 30-06 as a chambering for a fine custom rifle. It may seem old fashioned to many friends outside India, but I love it as do all the other Indian members here.

Best wishes,



Mehul.

--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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starman
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mehulkamdar]
      #36580 - 28/08/05 12:10 PM

Looking at Jungs' takedown version, I notice that he has a longer front reciever ring than the Reimer Johanssen takedown. I do like that longer feature.
Does anyone know who makes Jungs actions? himself?
Is that extended reciever ring made like that from new, or is it a mod. that he has done to an exhisting action?
Mighty fine looking rifles!


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rgp
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36588 - 28/08/05 02:40 PM

500grains,

Best quality in the USA starting at the typical over the counter prices most people are wiling to pay is likely an old Sears aka JC Higgins FN Mauser chambered in .30/06, if you can find one. I had one once...I paid $300 and the price included a brand new Leupold 3x9 on top and it did 3/4 MOA 3 shot groups from a bench with I forgot what Federal factory ammunition...I gave it to my neighbor's son who will probably be able to use it for a lifetime.

For the "money is no object" rifles, as you probably already know, I've been studying that myself to decide what .375 to buy to use for the rest of my life. The conclusions I've come to are that the bolt actions built by Johannsen and Prechtl are as good as you can get, but I am thinking I may purchase a bolt rifle from Butch Searcy to avoid the import mess. The Ryan Breeding rifles you mentioned appear to be too short or too blocky for my personal taste but seeing and handling one in person could possibly change my opinion fast. I was decided on a Johannsen, but after checking importers, NECG and GSI told me they no longer import them, but NECG says they will order a custom built Johannsen for a buyer.

Also for "best" rifles, I don't consider anything that has a cheap "custom" plastic stock spray painted to the customer's choice of color to be desirable...the stock should be virtually waterproof oil sealed wood and built to fit the customer...nor do I think that any rifle is desirable if the maker chops off machined portions and welds new parts on, or if the maker builds a gun so that all parts that may need to be replaced at some point have to be custom made...unfortunately this rules out several big name gunmakers.

I want most of the "best quality" work to be done to improve function and the work of that sort is usually done on the inside, where it isn't visible to the world, whereas most of the "best" work frequently appears to be done on the exterior as eye candy.

Richard.


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500grains
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: rgp]
      #36590 - 28/08/05 02:59 PM

rgp,

There is a new Johannsen 375 for sale at www.hallowellco.com that will likely cost you less than importing one, assuming the features are what you want.


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rgp
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36592 - 28/08/05 03:22 PM

500grains,

The .375 Johannsen at Hallowell's is almost ideal and I've considered buying it, although for the price I am thinking I want a rifle with a stock built to fit my measurements.

Also of note, in case anyone is looking for a Johannsen in .416, GSI (as of about 3 days ago) still has a couple of Johannsens chambered in .416 Rigby and there are I believe two in .416 Rigby at Griffin & Howe in New York. I think GSI also still has one chambered in .458 Lott.

Richard


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500grains
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: rgp]
      #36609 - 29/08/05 07:59 AM

Is GSI running a sale, or are those regular price rifles?

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rgp
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36613 - 29/08/05 11:37 AM

500grains,

I don't know if they are having a sale or not and did not ask prices because they didn't have what I wanted.

When I called GSI, I asked specifically about any Johannsens chambered in .375 H&H, and the .375's were sold out. The person I spoke to was checking the rifles in inventory while telling me what he had available. Their phone number is 205 655 8299.

Also I asked them if it is possible for a potential customer to actually go to their shop and see their inventory, he said yes but to let them know a week or so before being in the area so that they can make certain someone will be there to show the products.

Richard

Edited by rgp (29/08/05 11:39 AM)


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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: starman]
      #36659 - 31/08/05 11:04 AM

Starman,

As far as I know, Theo Jung does not make his own actions. There was an article about him making the new WSMs on Mauser Kurz actions for an American client, but I cannot remember where. Apparently he uses whatever action his clients desire.

Best wishes,

--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #36660 - 31/08/05 11:08 AM

And, of course, there is that other great action - the Mannlicher Schonauer and it's revival by former Steyr employee Erich Schoder.

--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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bwanabloke
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mehulkamdar]
      #36769 - 02/09/05 09:54 PM

Its great news to see that they are making NEW Mannlicher Schonauers !!!! be interesting to see how much one would cost ! no doubt expensive ,but would be fantastic to have one ! but at least they are available again !

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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bwanabloke]
      #36783 - 03/09/05 05:27 AM

Bwanabloke,

The Schoder company are bad in responding to requests for information though they always send you mails wishing you a Merry Christmas or a Happy Easter. I am sure that the rifles would be as expensive now as they were in the past - the Mannlicher was always a stylish rifle for aristocrats.

Wish I could afford to buy one!

--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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nitro476
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #37652 - 17/09/05 08:14 AM

Steve Heilmann, hands down! The guy is truly an artist.

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iqbal
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #37719 - 18/09/05 01:23 AM

Anschutz and Carl Gustav surely deserve a mention in this category of best bolt action rifles.

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vapodog
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: iqbal]
      #37747 - 18/09/05 02:17 PM

ME.....I'm the only one I can afford.....

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bwanabloke
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: vapodog]
      #37764 - 18/09/05 06:34 PM

Does anyone here own a Dakota rifle ?if so what are your thoughts on it ?Its good you can get a take down model with a couple of barrels ,and they are not as pricey as some of the other rifles which run around 10k.For me it would be a take down with 300 and 458 barrels which i think would take care of most everything

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500grains
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bwanabloke]
      #37803 - 19/09/05 01:09 PM

I have not voted yet, so let me put in a good word for Ryan Breeding, Reimer Johannsen, Ray Branigan and Duane Wiebe.

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starman
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #37807 - 19/09/05 02:15 PM

Bwanabloke,
Had look at D76 t/d at SCI. They seem ok for the price. Two barrels is about the practical limit (they all have to lapped to the same bolt). Going to 3 barrel set is pushing it.
What I did not particulary like was the thin reciever wall that accepts the barrel. There did not seem to be much metal for the scope ring base screws to hold onto.I am not saying theres anything wrong with it,just that it does not strongly appeal to me the way it is. I asked them if they would make an integral squarebridge version,they did not seem interested. Moral of the story is,if you want egg or a slice of pineapple with your burger,dont go to Mcdonalds.
I would probably have one in 9.3x62 if it came up at a bargain 2nd hand price.
Look at the Theo Jung wesite posted earlier. That TORNADO is what I call a T/D!

Edited by starman (19/09/05 06:42 PM)


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Poacher
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bwanabloke]
      #37907 - 21/09/05 07:00 AM

I have been a gun dealer and shop owner for over thirty years and needless to say have owned most of the "great guns" from doubles to bolts to single-shots and have never found a bolt gun as satisfactory as the Dakota 76 Safari Magnum. In .450 Dakota it has been and still is the work horse of my dangerous game battery. I trust it completely when at close quarters, and hey, it's nice to look at also! Regards, The Poacher

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starman
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: Poacher]
      #41243 - 11/11/05 11:30 AM

Mehulkamdar,

ealier in this post you gave us a website for Theo Jung rifles(fantastic!). If you have a look at his "repetier buchse", there is a photo of a rifle and it mentions the 300wsm/intermediate below it. In all the searching that you do,do you know who makes that particular newly manufactured large ring intermediate 98 action that is shown? If the action can handle a 3.1" magazinebox,then I may be inspired to build a 7x57.

Edited by starman (11/11/05 12:02 PM)


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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: starman]
      #41382 - 12/11/05 05:12 PM

Starman,

If I remember right, Theo Jung uses Hartmann & Weiss actions. They are phenomenally expensive in the US but also considered the best post war Mauser actions of all. Theo Jung was the first fine gunmaker in Europe to start making rifles for the WSM and WSSM calibers though others may have started doing the same now. Why don;t you send him an e-mail and check with him?

Best wishes and do post pictures of your rifle when it is ready.

--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #41384 - 12/11/05 05:19 PM

500 Grains,

I wonder if you or any other member know about a California ACGG member gunmaker called Larry Amrine who, I am told, specialises in big bore rifles? There are references to him in both Krause books on custom guns, the forst by John Amber and the more recent one by Tom Turpin though none of the major forums seem to have any post about him.

Thanks for the information, everyone!

--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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starman
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mehulkamdar]
      #41519 - 14/11/05 02:48 PM

Mehulkamdar,
A few months ago I did enquire with MartiniHagn about a special order for a H&W Kurz squarebridge action with large ring. The responce was that it is available only in small ring.
The Hagn lads probably have the best relationship with H&W. If they cant get one at their request, i dont know who can. However the Theo Jung site shows a large ring action that is definitely shorter than your regular 98.

The magbox is 2.8" on that H&W Kurz action. Ralf said it may be streched a little,(0.1") but 3.1 does not seem likely.

The only two new 98actions H&W make are Kurz and Magnum length. As you say, they are truelly magnificent actions, and after handling afew at Reno,I lost interest in just about everything else. I may just have to settle for something on the H&W magnum(300h&h) if I cannot find what i am looking for. Could also cut and weld a magnum to intermmediate length. !!



Edited by starman (16/11/05 12:20 PM)


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577Robert
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mehulkamdar]
      #41522 - 14/11/05 10:24 PM

Starmen
the large ring intermediate action you see on the Theo Jung webpage as .300 WSM started live as an original intermediate Mauser 7x57 action. A friend of mine sold his original 7x57 rifle to him, which was used for this project ( what a shame ).

To this moment of time, I know nobody who manufactures a new intermediate one. Even Hartmann & Weiss uses Mauser Modello 1909 Peru action for this job. For small cartridges the can ground the large ring to a small ring configuration. The magazine lenght is 79 mm or the requested 3.1 inch this action is perfect for a 7x57 Mauser.

Mehul Kamdar
someone must have misguided you on the assumtion that Theo Jung is using Hartmann & Weiss actions.
He has introduced, together with the German distribitor "Alberts" a magnum action which is a direct copy of the Hartmann & Weiss action in terms of look and design a couple of years ago. The two major differences what H&W invented against the original Mauser magnum ( longer thread 21 mm against 16 mm , and thicker left lug ) are also find on the Jung / Alberts action.
There is mayby a possibil difference in the manufacturing methode casting against milling but othervice they are very close looking.
Robert


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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 577Robert]
      #41776 - 17/11/05 09:30 AM

577 Robert,

Thanks again for a very instructive post!

Best wishes again,



--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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starman
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mehulkamdar]
      #54102 - 04/04/06 11:23 PM

This deserves to be added to the list for consideration of Best quality bolt guns:

www.satterleearms.com

Someone who goes to the effort of building an action himself to begin with before doing all the other work as well,is truelly in the gun "making" class.
It is something they can really call their own trademark feature, and be uniquely distinguished and regarded by.

It is a product of true Pedigree,rather than some high (overly)priced English brand that cannot/wiilnot tell you the quality /origin of the military reciever they use when selling you a $40K rifle. Why would you give them that money when so much more can be had for so much less.

Edited by starman (05/04/06 01:20 PM)


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8x56mn
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: starman]
      #54107 - 05/04/06 12:12 AM

Well I would have to say hands down best form and function gun ever produced were and are the pre was Mannlicher Schoenaurs, 1903, 05, 08,1910, followed closely y the post war 1950's era guns. You could get the 1929 model in many high pressure loads including 35 Whalen and Win. .458 . They are I believe Americas best kept secret. Once you pick one up, and cycle the bjutter smooth action and throw it up to your shoulder and feel the lightning quick response, you have a hard time setting it down. Truly a fine old world craftsman ship. :


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allenday
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #54108 - 05/04/06 12:16 AM

The David Miller Company, D'Arcy Echols & Company, Gene Simillion, and John Bolliger are at the top of my list.

D'Arcy Echols has built the very best rifles that I've ever owned or used, period.............

AD


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Judson
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #54953 - 16/04/06 11:32 AM

Are you guys talking true custom jobs or semi production line guns like Dakota? If you are talking true custom jobs then price is not in the picture as the action alone may well run as much as $3500 for a Joahnason which is really made by Orbendorf (SP) or so I was told by Rigby. The custom rifles we build are built to fit the customer and start at around that price and go up from there however we are not using double square bridge actions made by Orbendorf.
Who or what is the best is really a personal thing. I do not for example care for the Dakota offerings for the most part. On their dangerous game rifles for example, I feel the sights are too fine and there is more drop in the stock which increases muzzel jump and recoil. Then again this is what custom is all about!!!! A custom rifle should be built to your likes and requierements and each builder has their own style and you must find the builder who can give you what you are looking for.
I did an article on this subject which you can read at our web site if you want, the site is http://www.customguns .us/

--------------------
It is the small calibers that are the biggest bores.


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ErikDAdministrator
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: Judson]
      #54974 - 16/04/06 04:12 PM

Judson,

FWIW, Johannsens actions are made by Gottfried Prechtl ( www.golmatic.de ).

Erik

--------------------

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bonanza
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bwanabloke]
      #55062 - 18/04/06 12:42 AM

BwanaBloke,

I own a 76 safari in .375 H&H. I've never been a huge fan of a bolt gun, but this rifle is faultless. At $5000.00 it is not cheap, however IMHO you can buy a more expensive rifle, but not a better one.

Funny, I reluctantly took this rifle as a partial trade on my chapuis double sale. Today, I would not part with it for anything.

I think I've reached rifle Nirvana. I have a glorious 1906 Jeffery 450 No. 2 double and the Dakota 76 .375 H&H. If I sold every firearm I own except these two - I'd still be in gun heaven.


--------------------


"Speak Precisely" G. Gordon Liddy.

"Life is absurd, chaotic and we must define its purpose with our actions" Abert Camus

"I''m the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude."

"Yo! Mr. White"


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allenday
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bonanza]
      #55152 - 19/04/06 01:30 AM

I'm sorry to differ with you, but I just don't agree. Certain Dakota's are very good and reliable rifles that delight their owners to no end. Personally, I've owned two Dakotas that were dogs, and I'll never own another one.

But the truth is, as I see it and in my experience, a Dakota is not in the same league by any stretch of the imagination with a true custom bolt gun made by a top America custom riflemaker. And there are even some guys, such as Roger Biesen, who produce a better rifle that Dakota does for about the same money as Dakota charges..........

Great custom rifles can't be mass-produced, or even semi-mass-produced............

AD.


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bonanza
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: allenday]
      #55158 - 19/04/06 02:10 AM

Allen,

Iíd like to know what sort of problems you had with your Dakotaís, please elaborate. Insofar as not being in the same league as a true custom bolt rifle, how do you qualify that; function, mechanical, longevity or presentation? Are you making the kind of comparison one would make when comparing a Merkel to a Purdy double? Certainly the Dakota is plain in finish (I call the look Ďno frillsí), but mechanically it feeds and extracts flawlessly, and ultimately, if it works every time I donít see the point in a so-called custom bolt rifle.

Blair

--------------------


"Speak Precisely" G. Gordon Liddy.

"Life is absurd, chaotic and we must define its purpose with our actions" Abert Camus

"I''m the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude."

"Yo! Mr. White"


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allenday
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bonanza]
      #55339 - 21/04/06 12:30 AM

The biggest single problem I've had was in terms of accuracy, and I mean near minute-of-foot accuracy. It was horrendous, and I think the pistol grip is misshapen as well, and the oil-type stock finish wouldn't protect the stock from an April shower around here.

Best-quality custom bolt guns offer better fit, finish and finishes, better tolerances, better quality wood (or non-wood!), better stock designs, fittings, etc. You're paying also for the experience of a single artisan of team of artisans, and the consistency of the finished product is much better as well. Most of these guys break-in the barrels, thoroughly test for accuracy and function, and send out only truly tested and proven products. Nothing is mass-produced or even semi-mass-produced, and it shows the minute you open the case and take delivery.

For fun, get a copy of Tom Turpin's great book, "Mastery of Wood & Metal - David Miller Company" from SCI, and you'll see what I mean.

And visit:

www.biesen.com

www.rbbigbores.com

AD


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smicha6551
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: allenday]
      #55349 - 21/04/06 01:40 AM

The Waffen Jung take down rifle looks really appealing - I've considered the Dakota takedown but I'd like another option. Are they imported to the US? Any idea on pricing? In the article they have on their site one of their non-takedown rifles is listed at 5500 Euro, somewhat more than Dakota but not vastly more - I'd rather not have a scope fall off during recoil while shooting a .416 Rigby.

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JPK
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: allenday]
      #55350 - 21/04/06 02:06 AM

Allen Day,

Your comments about your experience with Dakota are interesting. I have two Dakota 76's and both are excellent shooters and one, a 375H&H, is really exceptional. The rifles are nearing ten years old now and function has been perfect. The stock finish has held up really well, better than I would ever have guessed, blueing is holding up OK, but not as well as expected so far as wearing from handling. Both rifles are glass bedded and have aluminum pillars as well. Fit, checkering, etc is excellent. Personally, I like the grip on the Dakotas and the drop suits me well. I had the stocks made to my length so that works too. If the rifles were truely custom I would have had the forearms made slimmer. The barrels were broken in at Dakota and targets supplied that had been shot with factory ammo of my choice.

When I first got the rifles they were unaceptable in fit and finish and quality of wood and they went back. They went back a second time as well and for the same reasons. After a couple of long and difficult conversations, and a year and a half of sending rifles and eventually stock blanks back and forth I got the rifles I wanted, at the price I was willing to pay. I would never do it again, and I suspect that the resolution I finally got from the Allens is no longer available.

On the other hand, if I found a used Dakota that suited me, at a fair price, I would snap it up. They are generally very good rifles, but, as you point out, they aren't in the same league as a really good custom rifle.

JPK


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JPK
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: JPK]
      #55352 - 21/04/06 02:13 AM

Smitch6551,

Another option for a takedown rifle would be Duane Weibe. 500 Grains mentioned him earlier in the thread. The phone number that I have for Duane is no longer good. Maybe 500 Grains has contact info. More money than Dakota, but worth it.

JPK


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bonanza
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: allenday]
      #55356 - 21/04/06 03:55 AM

Allen,

I see your point. However Iím going to disagree on some points. True mass produced rifles like Remington and Ruger in safari grade are bumping the 2K mark. Itís not unreasonable that the 76 is a 5K rifle. But, on safari in Africa or hunting in the good ole USA, I seriously doubt a custom rifle will out shoot or out last the Dakota. Iím a double man and picked up the Dakota as a backup/scoped rifle; I wanted something nicer and more exclusive than a Ruger.


--------------------


"Speak Precisely" G. Gordon Liddy.

"Life is absurd, chaotic and we must define its purpose with our actions" Abert Camus

"I''m the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude."

"Yo! Mr. White"


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mrlexma
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Loc: Massachusetts
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bonanza]
      #55360 - 21/04/06 05:31 AM

I have seen three big bore Dakota 76s with stocks split behind the tang, and one of those (a .450) was splintered irreparably.

All with double cross-bolted stocks. The cross-bolting was not tight against the action bearing surfaces and the tangs had not been properly relieved. The barreled actions were simply moving rearward an excessive amount with each shot. All three of these rifles had very nice wood, too.

I have seen other big bore Dakota 76s that did not have these problems. But before buying one, and definitely before shooting one, I would pay particular attention to the stock and its bedding.

--------------------
MR

Trouble is the one thing that you can be quite confident of receiving in this life if you persist in asking for it.


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JPK
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mrlexma]
      #55362 - 21/04/06 06:58 AM

I wonder if these Dakota problems are all post Allen. The bedding on my rifles couldn't be better, even if there wer problems getting the rifles done correctly.

JPK


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wffHein
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Reged: 23/12/03
Posts: 17
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: JPK]
      #55408 - 21/04/06 11:50 PM

Best Quality Bolt Guns????

HMMMMMMM......... I am going to have to think about that one for a while.......
I'll get back to you.

--------------------
Karl Webber
Waffenfabrik Hein
www.rifleactions.com
karl@rifleactions.com


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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: wffHein]
      #55414 - 22/04/06 01:29 AM

Karl,

While thinking, would you post some pictures here for us? I am sure many of us agree with your choice though you could give us some clinching photographic evidence as you do elsewhere.

Thanks for posting and do post often!

--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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wffHein
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mehulkamdar]
      #55427 - 22/04/06 02:40 AM

Since you didn't ask for photos of anything in particular, here are a few random samples.









--------------------
Karl Webber
Waffenfabrik Hein
www.rifleactions.com
karl@rifleactions.com


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bonanza
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Reged: 17/05/04
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mrlexma]
      #55429 - 22/04/06 03:10 AM

Thank you for contacting us.
Dakota rifles are manufactured one at a time through an assembly line. Each of our 50 employees specializes in a specific job such as machining, checkering, oil finish, etc. Most have been with us for 10 to 15 years. We start with a block of steel and CNC machine the receiver bolt and small parts. We make everything ourselves including the sling swivels. The only thing we buy are the barrels and some of the screws and springs. We make the action from hardened chromoly steel so there is no heat treating after the machining. The barrels are purchased from major manufacturers such as Lilja, Douglas, Lothar Walther, Kreiger, Pacnor, etc. Barrel selection can be from you or we can choose for you. All the metal work is done buy hand, fitting, feeding, extraction and the final finish. The bluing is done one barrelled action at a time in a hot dip blue system. The walnut is hand selected by either the client in person or by email or the stockmakers can make the choice for you . The initial shaping is done by CNC computers and then detail work and final shaping and sanding and bedding are done by the stockmakers. Again, one at a time. Sanding and oil finish is done by hand. It is a week long oil finish - wet sanding repeatedly. The checkering is hand cut - 23 lines per inch unless tighter checkering is requested as an option. Final assembly is again one rifle at a time. The adjustments are made and final inspection is done. The client sends their scope and it is mounted and shot. The barrel is broken in and a 100 yard target is supplied on every rifle. If open sights are chosen, they are filed in and a target is supplied for those as well. Each employee signs off on their portion on every rifle and the records are stored for future reference. The first round of brass shot through the barreled action is engraved with the serial number of the rifle and they are filed for future reference. When Dakota provides an accuracy guarantee we need a permanent record of the chamber in case someone has been in there. All screws are indexed so again we can tell if the rifle has been taken apart. The actual time to build a basic rifle is about 8 weeks. Our current lead time is running 8 to 10 months.

We make and use
One piece trigger guard assembly
Mauser claw extractor
CNC machined actions on hardened steel
No casting or forging
Model 70 style trigger, crisp
Three position safety
Dakota bolt release and gas shroud
We buy and use match grade barrels

Hope this helps. The 375 HH Safari Grade has out sold all other calibers for over 15 years. You have a fine rifle that will only increase in value through the years to come. A complete refurbish of both metalwork and woodwork is available for $500 when you are ready to make it look like new again. Some folks never do as each mark is a reminder of great times in the field. Let us know if we can help in any way. Be sure to contact us before buying on the second hand market as we can tell you if the serial number you are looking at was sold as an action and finished by someone else or if it was made here in the factory and when and who worked on it.

Regards,
Paulette


--------------------


"Speak Precisely" G. Gordon Liddy.

"Life is absurd, chaotic and we must define its purpose with our actions" Abert Camus

"I''m the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude."

"Yo! Mr. White"


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DPhillips
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bonanza]
      #55435 - 22/04/06 06:09 AM

The Dakota rifles I've seen and shot have all been nice rifles, but are not what I would consider to be "BEST" guns in the traditional term.

There's no way they match up to a Wiebe, Ottmar, Echols, Miller, Heilmann, Hensley, Huges, Stratton, etc... rifle. They are less expensive, though. BEST rifles do have a price tag to reflect the work that goes into them.


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ErikDAdministrator
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: DPhillips]
      #55580 - 24/04/06 05:43 AM

FWIW, I borrowed a Dakota 76 a few years ago in 375H&H from a friend, to check it out as I was thinking of buying it from him. It functioned perfectly, the stock fit me, and the price he offered was reasonable. However, although it wasn't "Minute of foot" as Allen mentioned, it wasn't far from it. I tried out a great variation of factory and handloaded ammo, and it just wouldn't shoot well. I mentioned this to my friend, and he had to admit that it never shot very well for him either...

I have heard the same from a few other (previous) Dakota owners here in Norway. Which leads me to believe that Dakotas can shoot just fine if you're lucky and get a "good one", or really crappy if you get a "lemon". I see no reason to pay that kind of money on a gun that I'm not 100% sure will shoot as it should without going back to the factory numerous times.

Erik D.

--------------------

Cut along dotted line, discard top part.


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allenday
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bonanza]
      #55583 - 24/04/06 06:28 AM

I've had D'Arcy Echols build for me a total of eight custom rifles, and all of them have been stellar, the best I've ever owned, and accuracy and function are absolutely flawless, and the best of any rifles I've ever owned, period. As a reference point or experience, I ordered my first custom rifle in 1980, at the age of 23, and I've owned a slew of such rifles ever since.

In contrast, both of the Dakotas I owned (circa 1985) were inaccurate, the wood quality was lousy, the pistol grips felt like they belonged on a shotgun rather than a rifle, and the "oil" finish they wore was ineffectual as a weather barrier, but was more than up to the job of making the rifle look good in the gun cabinet .

Now contrasting those two widely divergent sets of experiences, how would you feel if you were me in terms of comparing the quality of a Dakota to a true best-quality custom bolt-gun?

In effect, comparing a Dakota to a true best-quality CUSTOM bolt gun is about like comparing one of the 1980s-era Japanese-made Parker reproductions to a Purdey -- it might look similar at first glance, but it's hardly the same product, either inside or out.

Dakotas seem to appeal to the guys who like the FORM of a classic best-quality custom bolt-gun, but who aren't actually experienced of the SUBSTANCE of a true best-quality bolt gun. Big difference......... And I guess if I thought, based on my experience over the course of many years, that Dakota was equal with a Biesen rifle, or a Miller rifle, or an Echols rifle, I'd be a Dakota client to this day, but I'm not.

Once guys get started with the true, high-end custom product from the smaller makers, they stay away from the the semi-production/semi-custom rifles, such as Dakota, for good. It bears repeating, but true best-quality custom rifles simply can't be mass-produced, or even semi-mass-produced, by a crew of people who tend to turn over on a regular basis, and who are semi-trained in many cases, and not career craftsmen for the most part.

With the smaller true custom makers, you get the same man or the same team of men, and you get career craftsmen who put a big part of themselves, plus many years of experience and training, into their product. Their name is on the line every time they send a rifle out, the buck stops with them, and that shows in the end product. These guys really deserve the business..........

I don't know how things are done today at Dakota, I'll assume everything's now on the up and up, but some years ago, so many guys got totally ripped-off on wood quality with Dakota, even after paying for "select" or "exhibition grade", and so many guys had running gun battles over accuracy and other function issues that they were totally turned-off (to put it mildly) as Dakota customers for life.

I'm one of those guys, and all I can say to the custom, or semi-custom gunmaking community it this:

"YOU CAN GIVE A GUY A LOT OF HAIRCUTS, BUT YOU ONLY SCALP HIM ONCE!"

AD


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bonanza
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: allenday]
      #55629 - 25/04/06 12:38 AM

I guess I'd have to see a "Best" bolt gun in person to be convinced. I remain open minded.

--------------------


"Speak Precisely" G. Gordon Liddy.

"Life is absurd, chaotic and we must define its purpose with our actions" Abert Camus

"I''m the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude."

"Yo! Mr. White"


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smicha6551
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Reged: 09/08/05
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bonanza]
      #55631 - 25/04/06 01:04 AM

Any thoughts on either the Empire rifles or Dumoulin-Herstal? I'm still leaning toward Jung right now but I'm a bit short on information on them, so I'd like some other options.

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k80
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Loc: San Antonio ,Texas, U.S.A.
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: smicha6551]
      #55807 - 26/04/06 02:22 PM

The FNs and Browings from the
50s and early 60s were hard to
beat for quality.

--------------------
Ken
San Antonio

Welcome to South Texas


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smicha6551
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: k80]
      #56018 - 29/04/06 01:59 AM

OK, if Dakota is out, who can be recomended for a takedown rifle? I know about Waffen Jung, is there anyone else?

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DPhillips
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: smicha6551]
      #56033 - 29/04/06 07:17 AM

In reply to:

OK, if Dakota is out, who can be recomended for a takedown rifle? I know about Waffen Jung, is there anyone else?


Duane Wiebe

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smicha6551
.275 member


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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: DPhillips]
      #56103 - 30/04/06 10:04 PM

I can't find any contact info for Duane Wiebe online, does anyone have it? Waffen Jung hasn't replied to my email - then again neither has Dakota. Is anyone familiar with VO takedown rifles (www.vovapen.se)?

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MopaneMike
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Reged: 03/01/06
Posts: 147
Loc: So Cal USA
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: allenday]
      #56113 - 01/05/06 12:17 AM

Allen,
I'd have to agree with you.. I had dakota build me a African 450dakota. All custom(to them) right down to I picked my own blank by hand.. Most of their smithing is a hodge podge of parts that you can get in Brownells. They offer only one stock dimension "Their's" Not that there was anything wrong with their gun, just not as right as a "Custom" gun should be.. I would call Dakota more of a Hi grade production rifle than a true custom gun, or at the very best, a entry level custom rifle.. If anyone truely cares enough I supose they can do a search from some time ago and see pictures of my Dakota 450 in the Classifieds... My member name back then was 450Dakota... BTW, their stocks beat the snott out of you in heavy calibers..

--------------------
MopaneMike


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mehulkamdar
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Reged: 09/01/04
Posts: 3503
Loc: State of Ill-Annoy USA.
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: smicha6551]
      #56118 - 01/05/06 02:10 AM

Steven,

Ask Johan about Vovapen. They used to build rifles on both Mauser actions as well as on Husqvarnas (the actions are now made by Zoli in Italy after Husqvarna sold them the amchinery) but these days they don't seem to make the Mauser based TD rifles. If it is a TD you want, then you could contact New England Custom Guns who are the US representatives for Reimer Johannsen. They would import one for you made on any of the Johannsen actions (which are made by Gottfried Prechtl at their plant in Estonia.)



--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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DPhillips
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Reged: 09/10/03
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Loc: Alaska
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: smicha6551]
      #56132 - 01/05/06 05:29 AM

In reply to:

I can't find any contact info for Duane Wiebe online, does anyone have it?



Duane Wiebe
1111 157th St Ct E
Tacoma, WA 98445
duane@directcon.net
(253) 535-0066


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bonanza
.400 member


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Posts: 2325
Loc: South Carolina
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: MopaneMike]
      #56212 - 02/05/06 11:41 PM

Mopane,

Not quite true. Dakota manufactures everything in house except the barrels and triggers. Also, nothing on the rifle is made from cast parts.

--------------------


"Speak Precisely" G. Gordon Liddy.

"Life is absurd, chaotic and we must define its purpose with our actions" Abert Camus

"I''m the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude."

"Yo! Mr. White"


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smicha6551
.275 member


Reged: 09/08/05
Posts: 88
Loc: NYC & Kuwait
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bonanza]
      #56224 - 03/05/06 01:49 AM

I will give Dakota this, they're the only one yet to respond to my emails.

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500grains
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Reged: 16/02/04
Posts: 4732
Loc: Salt Lake City, Utah USA
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: smicha6551]
      #56289 - 03/05/06 01:41 PM

Joe Smithson of Provo, Utah makes best quality takedown bolt guns on Granite Mountain actions.

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mehulkamdar
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Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: bonanza]
      #56303 - 03/05/06 04:39 PM

Bonanza,

A well known PH in Africa told me his horror story with a Dakota African model in 450 Dakota whose stock broke at the grip after just a few rounds fired following which he sent it back and it was replaced for this to happen again. I guess there is a possiblity that he may have been unlucky, but, I am not sure. There are other stories out there which, though not as catastrophic, are sad including with a very good friend of mine and a popular member on these forums as well as on AR. I shall send him a link to this thread and he could post if he wishes to - he won;t buy a Dakota product again.

I am not sure that they would come under the "best" bolt rifle list though they do make some very nice rifles to my inexpert eye, no doubt.

Best wishes,

--------------------
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts built the Titanic.

Mehul Kamdar


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500grains
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Loc: Salt Lake City, Utah USA
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: mehulkamdar]
      #56342 - 04/05/06 02:18 AM

I know of a Dakota that did not feed worth a hoot when the customer received it. Dakota makes production rifles with a few options, but they cannot be considered best quality, unfortunately.

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smicha6551
.275 member


Reged: 09/08/05
Posts: 88
Loc: NYC & Kuwait
Re: Best quality bolt guns? [Re: 500grains]
      #56403 - 04/05/06 08:17 PM

I can't understand how a company like Dakota would let a rifle that won't feed out. Then again I'd have an issue with a Winchester or a Remington too.

Johannsen also emailed saying they'll have an offer in a week on building a rifle for me - all the others (besides Dakota) never got back to me. I guess that makes the decision process easier.


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