Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Topic: How NOT to make a pair of double rifle barrels. At the end of May, 2012, I noticed a unique post on Accurate Reloading entitled, “J White Gunsmithing Double Rifle Disaster.” Of course it sparked my interest so I took a look. It seems several years prior a gent from Texas, Eric Leeton, was bit by that special mosquito and developed a case of double rifle fever. While the best antidote is a vintage English double rifle, others are available--generic labels if you wish--if one’s budget can’t afford the best. Now Eric is a trusting and well educated man and diligently searched until he found the combination of price and quality he could afford from a gun smith in the “Down East” state of Maine. Eric purchased a CZ 12-bore double shotgun for the project and discussed with the ‘smith the best big game caliber for the new barrels to be fitted to the shotgun’s frame. .450 3 1/4-inch was the suggestion with a muzzle velocity of 2000-2100 feet per second from a 450-480-grain bullet. An NEGC three-leaf rear sight was to be fitted to aa NEGC quarter rib with quick detachable rings and bases machined for a ‘scope mount. The barrel’s exterior profile was to match the shotgun barrels. The ‘smith stated that he would machine a new mono-block rather than using the existing block from the shotgun as this made for a stronger rifle. Eric also asked that he stamp the regulating load information, his shop name and address, as well as the caliber on the barrel. He thought this was going to be a nice old-school touch and it would be free advertising for the business--an added bonus for him. Having found a competent gunsmith to tackle the job, Eric was more at east when he learned the ‘smith was affiliated with a Christian school--he must be an honest and ethical man! Having settled on the basic design details, Eric engaged the services. Jim was currently working on a conversion and promised to send pictures once complete to enable Eric to finalize the barrel’s detail. In December 2008, $3000 was paid up front for the work and then all communication began to cease from the gunsmith. Communication was spotty at best and then dwindled off to near nothing. Around October-November all communication stopped. Calls were not returned, letters and e-mails were not replied to. After a year of absolutely no communication Eric managed to get through in November of 2011. It seems (or so Eric was told) the BATFE shut down the gunsmithing business and required the ‘smith to obtain a manufacturing license as he was now making barrels and not just repairing guns and rifles. He didn’t want to jeopardize his relationship with the BATFE so he thought it best not to communicate with any customers at all during this year. The barrels arrived in April of 2012. You can imagine Eric’s astonishment. Still his calls and e-mails were not being returned so he posted on Accurate Reloading. Dozens of fine gents came to offer support and gave Eric the drive to pursue the matter. Several suggestions came through: sue the gunsmith in Maine sue the gunsmith in his home state of Texas file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office in Maine file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in Maine file a complaint with the BATFE about the manufacture of an unsafe product hire a collection agency to hound the ‘smith for a refund contact the Christian school for mediation keep posting on Accurate Reloading and Nitro Express forums to keep the matter alive get an unbiased appraisal of the value and quality of work Take a look at the photos here. While you may be thinking “that poor bloke” work like that shown here may rise its ugly head to any of us at any time. Eric will prevail, I’m sure. He did manage to speak to the gunsmith’s wife (interesting how the wife talks, and not the man responsible for the work) and she assured him all will be made well and the gunsmithing business is nearly shut down do to the bad publicity on the forums and on web sites (such as
). They are not answering mail nor the phone and do not read their e-mails. They shut down their Facebook page and won’t take any comments to be posted on their web site
Eric’s e-mail is
In closing the power of the press is great and the folks at Accurate Reloading made some excellent suggestions. Let’s all hope Eric will prevail and that when something like this does happen, bring it to the public’s attention.
Good shooting, all
Labels: Double Rifles