Was the year 1955. I was very fortunate to belong to a small group of friends who shared their love of shooting, reloading, and building of fine rifles. Earlier in 1952, my high school industrial arts teacher, Herb Ralston, came to me one day and said " I think you should meet a few men that share your same interests". He introduced me to the group. Fine bunch of fellows, and we hit it off instantly. There was Charlie Brown, watchmaker and gunsmith. Levi Thomas,big game hunter. Homer Powley, chemist,shooter, and inventor. Miller Bedford, shooter and businessman. Sorry to say, they have all passed. I was the youngest of the group. Writing this brings back many memories.
They used to kid me about my little 257 R pop gun. That got me to thinking about maybe it was time for something bigger. Why not a .300 Weatherby. I read alot about it and was infatuated. This would be it.
Ran across an excellent 1917 Enfield (Eddystone) for $35.00. I picked the Enfield because it was the strongest of the military actions. I wrote to Roy Weatherby about renting his chambering reamers. He sent me the reamers and two cartridges. Only charged $20.00 plus deposit.
Bausch & Lomb just came out with the Balvar 8. Bought the scope and mount for $156.00, if my memory serves me. Adjustments were in the mount. At the time I saw no problem with that. From Herters I got a muzzle brake. Didn't know what recoil to expect and didn't want the scope in my spectacles. The brake was chambered with two rearward facing slots in the top. Niedner steel grip cap and butt plate. Always liked the looks of them.
Flush mounted quick detachable sling swivels. Found a beautiful 3" chunk of marble walnut for the stock from Kindig in Lodi, Ohio.
While I was gathering up all this stuff, Charlie faced the bolt, chambered the original barrel, with 3/4" freebore, and installed the muzzle brake for me. Did a fantastic job.
My turn. Reshaped bolt handle. Opened up and lengthened magazine well for larger cartridges. Lengthened magazine. Cut and welded lower iron to remove step. Shortened action screws to raise lower stock line. Modified trigger assembly to my adjustable design. Ground rear sight ears off and reshaped receiver bridge. Welded plug in oval hole in top off bridge. Drilled and tapped for scope mount. Shortened ejector and reshaped tang end of receiver. Made push button floor plate release. Changed to cock on opening. Jeweled bolt and extractor. Blued in my tanks with my father's formula, which I can no longer remember.
Spent next couple months inletting wood. Fits like it grew on the steel. Shaped stock, installed grip cap, butt plate, finished with Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil. Checkered in fluer de lis design.
Put it all together and ready for testing. Fired twenty 300 H&H Magnums to get some fire formed Weatherby cases for reloading. Loaded with 150 grain Jordan soft swaged bullets, 86 grains IMR 4350, magnum primers. Supposed to go over 3600 fps. We didn't have a cronograph back then. I made an agreement with the group that I wouldn't shoot it until all were present. Done..... 1956.
Later I had to decrease powder charge, as I could only get one or two reloads before the primer hole enlarged too much to hold the primer.
The group was gathered at our 400 yard range to witness their first Weatherby expererience. The rifle had only been bore sighted, so targets were out of the question. A large clump was visible at about 350 yards. Would shoot for that. The quickness that the bullet arrived at it's destination was incredible compared to what we were used to. Levi and Homer wanted to fire it. Charlie wouldn't. They were really impressed. Levi wanted one built for hunting. Homer wanted one built for Camp Perry. (DETAILS SAVED FOR A LATER AND MORE INTERESTING STORY)
I spent the rest of the season trying to get the accuracy from this rifle that I got from the Type 1, but couldn't achieve it. Best was 1 1/4" at 200 yards. After a couple hundred rounds, I noticed the zero was wandering. I found the cones that the scope tube rested on were pounding dents in the tube. Bausch & Lomb told me that couldn't happen and they wouldn't do any thing about it. I used it like that for a few more years then replaced it with a Williams Twi-Light 2 x 6. I Liked Balvar's optics better, but the Twi-Light will get the job done.