Bruce Potts continues his look at the UK’s best gunsmiths and custom houses
Steve Kershaw Firearms www.stevekershawfirearms.co.uk
Steve Kershaw is a registered firearms dealer with over 30-years of knowledge, ranging from pest control through to deer stalking and hunting abroad. Established in 1994, Steve can build and supply all the kit necessary to keep your custom rifles performing correctly. All rifles, from precision rimfires, hunting, varminting, tactical and F-Class are built with extreme accuracy in mind. Everything is built to the customer’s requirements and it does not matter if it is just a re-barrel or a full custom build, the same attention to detail is adhered to. Based in Howden, East Yorkshire his custom rifles can be made in any configuration that suits the client, with a good choice of barrel, action and stock types always available. Steve regularly uses either Lothar Walther or Krieger blanks, which can be ordered in any profile, fluting length and barrel twists and can be made of either chrome moly or stainless steel. In house chambering is done with any standard cartridge reamer, but wildcats can also be specified if you feel adventurous. All are shot and sighted in and load data provided prior to the customer collection, so that 100% satisfaction is maintained.
Dolphin Gun Company www.dolphinguncompany.co.uk
Mik Maksimovic’s Dolphin Gun Company can provide precision extreme rifle accuracy at a good price and in a realistic time frame. Their stocks are all made in house on one of the many CNC machines, they are fully adjustable including the pistol grip for length of pull and a choice of three forends; short tactical, long F/TR and a Benchrest F Open. These can be inlet to your rifle’s action on their CNC machines. They are also available in a variety of finishes; anodised or Duracoated to your tastes. I really liked the large choice of barrels, actions, stocks, triggers and scope mounts, as well as all the ancillary paraphernalia that goes into making a custom rifle. These are all in stock and ready to make into your dream rifle. One speciality is barrel fluting, with a selection of straight, spiral, cross over, and my favourite, interrupted! Their in-house action, the Dolphin CST DGC, is as good as it gets! It has many innovative features and has been engineered from the ground up to provide the most accurate shooting platform obtainable in a custom rifle. Dolphin, as well as re-barrelling, threading and all the usual gunsmithing services, can make and offer their own-styled custom rifles in the form of Tactical, FT or sporter.
Anglo Custom Rifle Company www.anglocustomrifle.co.uk
Anglo Custom Rifle Company was established by Gavin Haywood in 2008 to manufacture specialist guns for discerning shooters. Whether it is re-barrelling your old rifle, or building a top-line competition machine, Gavin can sort it to perform at its best. Anglo can make a bespoke rifle, but they also offer a range of off the shelf product, one of these is the Light Weight Titanium, with their signature carbon fibre stocks. They use Border Barrels to provide the very best modern 5R rifling spec and Impala actions made here in the UK from either Stainless Steel or Titanium. The second custom option is the Sporting Rifle! This consists of stocks including McMillan, Robertson, Manners, Accuracy International or HS Precision, with a precision made action by Impala Precision here in the UK or a blueprinted customer’s action if required. Alternatively, a choice of Stiller, Stolle, Borden, Lawton and BAT are also options. Barrels such as Krieger, Border, Bartlein and Hart are then precision profiled and chambered for any target, varminting or hunting need. They also offer custom build, one off classics all bedded into a walnut stock and then oil-finished and superbly chequered for a true English-style that really performs.
Riflecraft Ltd www.riflecraft.co.uk
Andrew Evan Hendricks comes from a military background, his love of firearms began as a young lad and decided to follow his dream. Riflecraft was born as a custom house, to build affordable rifles for either work or sports shooting. Andrew offers precise custom rifles, built to the exact customer requirements and as a bonus offers a full training program for long range shooting, reloading and advanced rifle handling. Riflecraft, as the name suggests, is a one stop shop for any custom rifle parts, rebuilds, full custom or re-barrelled rifles. Andrew has some very interesting Tactical-styled, F- Class sporting, as well as soon precision made rimfire models, just ask. Riflecraft have expanded recently and now have a fully stocked showroom for all your shooting needs, as well as in-house gunsmiths and a professional Cerakote coating service.
Andrew’s typical custom rifles cover the gamut from .22 rimfire bench rest models all the way to one off special sporter orientated pieces to no holds barred, military specification sniper guns.
Valkyrie Rifles www.valkyrierifles.net
David Wylde started working life in a gun and tackle shop and has over 25-years’ experience in gunsmithing and knows his stuff. He is also a multiple gold medal winner at national and international level in Gallery Rifle, F-class, Civilian Service Rifle (CSR) and Practical Rifle, also holding four current British records, so he knows how to build custom rifles, as well as shoot them. He can make anything you wish with no limits. He also has a real skill for one-off paint finishes and excels at Cerakote finishes too. He has recently been appointed the sole Accuracy International, factory- trained and approved service centre in England and carries out work on these prestigious rifles. Materials and components necessary to build and complete a custom rifle of your choice are usually i stock, or can be quickly ordered in. All work, such as barrel chambering, threading, blueprinting, stock bedding and CeraKote finishing are carried out in-house, as well as machining one-off items, such as scope mounts, muzzle brakes, as well as undertaking specialist paint finishes.
Mckillop Engineering, 0118 9333100
Neil Mckillop learnt his gunsmithing skills as an armourer in the military, then turned his technological and engineering experience to work in the racing car sector, primarily with composite fibre technology. As with a lot of custom makers here, his hobby soon became his passion and then his job. Neil has a well-stocked machine shop on the outskirts of Reading, where his day to day workload consists of re-barrelling rifles for local deer stalkers or pest control companies and threading for sound moderators. He also builds custom, one off rifles for clients who require extreme accuracy, either for shooting disciplines or long range varminting, or clients just wanting a rifle capable of superior accuracy. Neil builds a lot of custom equipment for F-Class shooters, who require a competitive rifle at the highest level and his repeat business shows he knows how to build a winning rifle. Being a machinist, he is also capable of making from scratch custom items such as muzzle brakes and bolt handles, as well re-barrelling customers’ rifles or bedding a new stock with aluminium pillars and Devcon bedding material.
Armalon Ltd www.armalon.com
Peter Sarony has been making customised rifles for over 30 years. He was a trained pistol and practical rifle champion, and from requests from fellow shooters to have their guns customised, Peter started his own custom shop. Before the semi-auto rifles ban, he specialised in those and after the prohibition started making accurised and customised bolt action PR rifles with his own designed detachable magazine conversions which proved popular. He then acquired the barrel making plant from Parker-Hale Ltd and focussed on making his own premium barrels, which have proved to be extremely accurate and enduring. Armalon was the first in the early 80’s with their BGR bolt actions, to introduce deep fluting to full bore rifle barrels and market their own effective muzzle brakes. Current rifles include those based upon the Rem 700 action and the Enfield No 4 Mk 2 based PC (Pistol Calibre), AL42 and AL30C rifles, of which both have proved themselves at competition level. He has also made some stunning one-off designs, notable is a Steyr AUG ZP straightpull but in a long barrelled Light Support Rifle configuration for PR.
Devon Custom Rifles www.devoncustomrifles.co.uk
Based in Kingsbridge, Devon, Gary Alden and John Davies are new-comers to the custom rifle scene, but their CNC machine shop business has the capability to produce actions, triggers, custom parts and now rifles. Gary is the MD, whilst John is the firearms manager. Their aim is to provide an all British made rifle using parts they produce themselves such as actions, triggers, bolt handles, stocks, scope rails and barrels sourced from Sassen Engineering (Border Barrels). Their actions are now used by many custom builders in Britain, which can be re-badged under their own names and these can be built for all size cartridges and bolt and port orientations. The triggers too provide another component built in this country and are readily available, which solves the problems of sourcing kit from abroad. DCR will re-barrel a customer’s rifle if necessary and retro fit their own triggers, but they are continuing to broaden their range of custom offerings, to provide value and accuracy all in one home-grown package.
If you’d like to read the full story here are the details of Bruce’s book:
Custom Rifles Of Great Britain (ISBN: 9781785002588) Prices: £29.95 (hardcover) £16.25 (Kindle Edition) Contact: Crowood Press, 01672 520280 For Kindle visit; www.amazon.com
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