whatsnew By: Steve Garbe | April, 19
Jim Chambers Flintlocks, Ltd.
Stock finish is one of those things that can make or break a rifle project. Needless to say, I am a fan of traditional finishes rather than the new “plastic” finishes that seem as if they are re-invented every year. Modern polyurethane gunstock finish has no place on a vintage rifle . . . in fact, I don’t like the look of poly even on a modern bolt-action rifle. The Chambers finish has the look I want and makes whatever wood you put it on look fantastic.
I also really like the flexibility of the Chambers stock finish. It has a good working time, allowing it to be hand rubbed. If one wants a heavier “varnish” look, it can be put on in heavier applications. The color is a slight reddish-brown and is perfect for everything from a Pennsylvania flintlock to a Winchester High Wall. It also fills well when wet sanding to fill pores on open-grain stocks. Yet another good feature of the Chambers Traditional Oil Finish is that it works extremely well to freshen an old finish, providing good adhesion to old finishes and blending well, especially where the old finish is scratched, cracked or crazed.
I used to hunt around pretty hard, trying to find the perfect go-to gunstock finish for restoration work or new production, even to the point of making some stock finish from old recipes. No more . . . I’ve pretty well settled on Jim Chambers Traditional Oil Stock Finish for all my projects. To order your 4-ounce can to use on that next project, contact Jim Chambers Flintlocks, Ltd., 116 Sam’s Branch Road, Candler, NC 28715 or (828) 667-8361 or flintlocks.com.
High Wall Actions
Montana Vintage Arms
The MVA High Wall action is made from HR 8620 steel, which is very friendly toward the case hardening process, minimizing distortion when heat-treated. The MVA High Wall is the more common “thin-side, round-top” version, rather than the earlier thick-side, octagonal-top model. I prefer the thin-side High Wall as it makes for a more visually pleasing action and eliminates unnecessary weight in the action, which can be better utilized in the barrel.
The MVA High Wall action sells for $1250 for the single trigger model, $1450 for the double-set trigger model. I seriously doubt if a decent original production High Wall can be found for that money, and there are nearly always issues that need to be addressed on an old action, especially in regards to the firing pin and firing pin hole. If a new rifle for competition or hunting is going to be built up, I’d rather start with an action that doesn’t need to be gunsmithed to bring it up to speed. A lot of money can be spent re-conditioning an old action, many times getting more in a vintage action by repairing it than if it had been bought new. Montana Vintage Arms offers that option, and for the serious competitor, the company’s High Wall action makes sense. Contact them at montanavintagearms.com or 61 Andrea Drive, Belgrade, MT 59714 or call (406) 388-4027 to check on delivery times and availability. Rest assured, if MVA is making it, the quality is impeccable.