Last year I asked John Stewart of Kiote Corp to start work on my dream rifle, the “last rifle I’ll ever need“, a highly customized Ruger No. 1 in .375 Holland and Holland Magnum. Quite a bit of work has been done so far, and we don’t have long to go . . .
First, Owen Armstrong at Rifles Refined (formerly Armstrong Precision) way up north in Canada threw away the old stocks and got to work carving this masterpiece from a piece of Black Walnut. If you look closely, you’ll see the hidden riser so that I can get a solid cheek-stock-weld whether I am using glass or iron sights.
The article headline photo shows what the stock is like now that it’s finished. The fore stock is no less spectacular.
That gorgeous and gorgeously carved wood will add some much appreciated weight to the Imperial Magnum, and a whole lot of class and comfort.
While Mr. Armstrong was slicing out a masterpiece, Pac Nor was working on a custom barrel for the No. 1. It finally came in, after many months of waiting. But man, it was worth the wait.
Kiote Corp head gunsmith John Stewart emailed me once he was done with the barrel.
He wrote, “Here’s the original barrel’s rifling. How the hell did this pass inspection? Looking beyond the dirtiness, you can easily see how the rifling is jagged and just plain nasty. This isn’t from age.”
He’s right, it’s not from age. That is a brand new barrel with a total of 20 rounds of commercial ammunition through it. It was cleaned every five rounds, so he’s only looking at five rounds worth of grit.
And here’s the new barrel’s rifling, nicely cut. Stewart put on a few strokes of hand lapping just because he had to, but he admits the barrel didn’t really need it.
Here’s the old barrel’s chamber.Stewart pointed out the excessive tooling marks on the breech face. Also note the chatter marks from the reamer inside, accentuated by the blueing.
Peep the new barrel’s chamber, with a near mirror finish and a nicely polished breech face.
Finally, here is the old barrel compared to the new barrel. The new Pac Nor barrel is the same contour, but 2” longer overall. That will also add a tiny bit of weight up front, as well as give me another 40fps or so. That little extra velocity on a 300gr pill is non-trivial.
Mr. Stewart’s next steps are drilling and tapping for a scope base, installing the barrel band for sling mount and installing the front sight ramp. He will then have the rifle reblued and polished. Once all that’s done, it will be ready for the trigger install and mounting the new wood.
With a bit of luck and the wind in the right direction, it’ll be just a little bit longer before my Kiote Corp rifle’s in my hands.