So I just bought a ruger hawkeye .338 wm, topped with a leupold 1.5-5, limbsaver pad, shoots decent 1 1/4" groups (so far) at a hundred yards and all for under a thousand bucks.
While I was at the range sighting the rifle in an older gentlemen next to me was handloading for his 25/223 on the bench, shooting through a chrono, smoking his pipe and having a helluva time. He was shooting a gorgeous custom ruger #1 with a skeleton butt plate and a bull barrel. He said it was made by Biesen.
Well I googled Biesen and came up with Al and his son Roger's shop right here in Spokane, WA and only a couple miles from my house. As many of you know, I'm sure, Al was the maker of Jack O'Conner's favorite .270 rifles, built on pre-64 actions.
I called the shop and stopped by the next morning. Al is in his nineties and still in the shop, Roger must be in his sixties and runs things and his daughter (I'm suddenly forgetting her name) does the engraving. Once I got Roger talking, which wasn't hard, he started going on and on pushing different rifles into my hands and pointing out certain aspects of each. I was there for two hours handling guns, talking, touring the small shop in the basement of Al's house, looking at pictures of princes and billionaires holding his guns. It was something right out of a dream.
And the rifles! You can't believe these guns. I'm not trying to start a who-is-the-best-custom-gunsmith thread or anything, but I just fell in love with his guns. A couple of them fit me so perfectly I could hardly hand them back. And for a fully custom gun built on a pre-64 70 action, you can't beat a $5500 price tag.
So, long story short, I went back last week and talked more about my .375 HH, pros and cons of certain options and came home to get the ok from the wife. As soon as I've got half I'm making it official. Now I've got a potentially fatal case of gunlust. I mean the pictures on his website don't do the things justice. I admit it: I am smitten, irrational, and about to mortgage the house or start selling something illegal (just kidding).