Back in the mid to late 1960's many gun Manufacturer's here in the United States decided to Test the water's of selling high end rifles. To name a few Ithaca, Iver Johnson, Colt, S&W and H&R. Back in 1985 I had been married a year and had a little one on the way. I attended a gun show and came across a High Bred rifle tat really Turned my head, but the seller's asking price was $550.00 and I did not have that kind of money to lay out for a high end rifle so I Passed on it. It was an H&R Branded rifle but it looked nothing like anything that ever came out of H&R Before. This gun had bluing a mile deep and as black as coal. It was chambered in 30-06 and had a wild looking custom stock on it like I had ever seen before. I Picked the seller brain some and he told me that these were offered by H&R from 1967-1973 or so. He said that the action was a Mauser 98 style made in Belgium by FN. The trigger assembly was made by Sako and was fully adjustable. The Barrel was a custom air gauged barrel Made by Douglas and it was a sporter barrel. The stock was made by Fagen and called an Aristocrat. All of this made me want it even more, but we could not meet on price so I left the gun show that day without it.
I watched for many years but never saw another one. Last summer I dropped in on one of my Local gun shops and spotted what I thought was one in his rifle Rack behind the counter. I calmly Pointed at it and asked what that rifle was ? The store clerk said "It's an Old H&R, Want to see it " ? My heart missed a beat as I said sure. It was just him and I in the shop so I felt comfortable about maybe haggling a bit on it. He handed it to me and it was a dead ringer for the one I missed 25 Years ago but this one was chambered in Winchester .308. It had been used but very Lightly. It was wearing a Period correct Leupold scope on it that was Plum in color which told me Older vintage. It had Paten applied for on the scope so I knew it was a real early Leupold when they used Good Optics. I held it up and it melted into my arms. It's scope was crystal clear and had my Favorite Duplex recticle. I Looked at the price tag and he had it marked $600.00
I asked where it came from and he told me a Young Kid Traded it in and said it was his Grandfather's. I thought to my self Stupid Kid, and then thought I bet they did Not allow him much for it as the store clerk seemed to know very little about it other than he said it was an Old H&R. I smiled at the clerk and said nice gun, too Bad it had a Low end rifle maker's name stamped into it. He Nodded his head and asked me if I had any Interest in it. I stayed as calm as I could and said that depend's on how good of a price you give me on it. he said well, I want to move it and you Know that scope is about the Only good feature on it so how does $55.00 Tax Included sound. I countered with $500.00 cash out the door and a box of shells. He agreed to it, and Ten Minutes later I was on my way to the Range with it.
I had Grabbed a box of standard Federal Hi-shock Winchester .308 ammo. I Placed a Target and shot a Three shot string. It laid Three shot's right on top of each other Producing a nice clover Leaf group at the 100 Yard line. I knew then I had a keeper and thought I can't wait to start hand loading for this gun. I Pulled my Target and Headed for the house. Once I got home I took the rifle all apart for a good cleaning. I removed the action & Barrel from the stock. I cleaned the bore. oiled the action and started Playing with the Sakpo adjustable trigger. I got it adjusted from 4 Pound's down to 2 Pounds with Zero Creep right where I Like my rifles to be. I Oiled the Internal Trigger parts witrh Corrosion-X a synthetic gun oil that I had been using for years. I then Put it back together.
I got some 150,165, & 180 Grain Nosler Bullets for it and selected some Hodgen Powder to use in my hand loads being H-4895. I started mid way on the Load recipe and worked up slowly. I could se my Groups shrinking as I increased with Half Grain Increments. I finally settled with one load that was giving me one hole results at the 100 Yard line. I had found the sweet spot for this gun and was going to sitck with it. It semeed to Like the 165 Grain Bullet's the best. I knew that these gun's were made by H&R but what I did Not know was How Rare they were. I attend a lot of Gun shows and this was the first one that I had seen in the past 25 Years so I figured they either did not make many of them or Guy's simply Bought them and did not let them go.
I showed this gun and told my story of finding it on another gun forum. I was contacted by a Member of that forum that actually worked for H&R when these gun's were made. he said that they were custom made at H&R and Only assembled when customer's Placed order's for them. he could not tell me the total production of them, but he said they did not sell many as H&R was Not well Known for high end rifles so most that wanted a high end rifle back then bought Sako, Husqvarna, and Others. He said that The actions were Imported from, FN and Mated to the Douglas air gauged barrels, and Mated with the fully adjustable Sako trigger's. They have a drop box action which hold's 4 rounds. The stocks were hand checked by woman in the factory that worked for H&R then they got a High Gloss Urethane finish and an H&R Butt Pad. They were the High end Offering from Fagen called the Aristocrat. He told me that I had a Rare Bird and to take care of it as you just could not buy quality like this anymore, but I all ready Knew that. Here is my 1967 H&R Ultra-Rifle, it aint your Average H&R. Regards, Hammerdown