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    The Wyoming Schuetzen Union's Center Shot

    Who Was Arthur Hubalek?

    In a conversation about .22 rimfire single shots with a relatively new subscriber, the subject of Arthur Hubalek came up. I was surprised to learn that the reader, a somewhat experienced single shot rifleman, had no idea

    Arthur Hubalek- .22 Specialist
    Arthur Hubalek- .22 Specialist
    who Arthur Hubalek was, or that he made arguably the best .22 rimfire barrels of his era. We decided to publish some pertinent information on Hubalek to hopefully educate those who are lacking knowledge on this great shooter, barrel maker and gunsmith.

    First off, we include a write-up that appeared in the March 22, 1906 edition of Shooting and Fishing covering the Zettler Rifle Club’s Open Gallery Tournament that began on March 10 and finished up on March 17. Arthur was a relatively new shooter but turned in what would be the high score for the 100-shot match.

    A. Hubalek, finding himself in good form, entered the match on Tuesday. His opening string counted 249, and he followed with 250 for his third score. At the end of 50 shots he had an aggregate 1236, an average of over 247. It was not his original intention to complete his 100 shots in one day, but after making four consecutive 74’s on the ring target, he decided to “get it over with” as he expressed it, and his last 50 shots, finishing with a 248, counted 1232, giving him a grand total of 2468. This score, equaling the record for the Zettler contests, made last year by L.P. Ittel, brought forth many congratulations, but with the majority of experts still to be heard from, Mr. Hubalek felt by no means certain of victory, and expressed

    himself accordingly.Understand that Hubalek was the “new kid” to many of these veteran shooters, the ranks of which included W.G. Hudson, L.P. Ittel, W.H. French, Michael Dorrler, W.A. Tewes, R. Gute and F.C. Ross; all seasoned and expert riflemen with many years of serious competition under their belts. The Zettler Gallery Championship was one of the most prestigious matches of its kind and winning it added greatly to any rifleman’s laurels. Later in the report, after the match had concluded and Hubalek was indeed the winner with his 2468/2500 score, the reporter offered this additional information on Hubalek:

    Arthur Hubalek, of Brooklyn, N.Y., the winner of the 100-shot match, is a comparatively new recruit in the ranks of the experts, as his first experience in target rifle practice dating back but about three years. His scores as a member of the Williamsburgh Shooting Society have shown steady improvement, and in the weekly contests of the Zettler Rifle Club during the past winter he has ranked among the leaders. In a 100-shot match recently with M. Dorrler, he scored 2464, which, as he remarked to the writer, led him to hope that he would at least exceed his score of 2411 in the Zettler Tournament of 1905. His victory in the 100-shot contest was a popular one, many remarks being made to the effect that the advent of new blood in the expert class was for the good of the sport. Mr. Hubalek is but twenty-nine years of age, and should have a most promising future in the field of rifle shooting. While he enjoys gallery practice, he much prefers the out-of–door range. His score of 888 in 100-shots at 200 yards in the American Record match on Feb. 22, but three points below the winning score, is evidence of his skill at mid range.

    Arthur Hubalek with a favorite Ballard rifle.
    Arthur Hubalek with a favorite Ballard rifle.
    He is, in common with most successful riflemen, prone to experiment with various rifles and cartridges and the outfit he used in this match is but one of a number with which he has secured excellent scores. The barrel was made some years ago by the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Co. and has been in the possession of a number of riflemen, some of whom had discarded it as inaccurate. Mr. Hubalek tested it carefully at rest recently, and with Peters .22 short cartridges made such excellent groups as to lead him to pin his faith to this combination in this important event. The barrel, 30 inches in length, is fitted to a Ballard action and mounted with a Stevens 6 power crosshair telescope. As Mr. Hubalek adopts the palm rest, he believes in a heavy rifle, and a bar of metal attached to the under side of the barrel brings the total weight of the arm up to nearly sixteen pounds. His score of 2468 equals that made by L.P. Ittel in last year’s match.

    Note that this was early in Hubalek’s career, before he had begun to make his own .22 barrels. I would guess, however, that he may have done some refurbishing work to this Stevens barrel that had been dubbed “inaccurate” by several riflemen.

    Arthur Hubalek continued his exceptional offhand shooting, rubbing shoulders and successfully competing against the best riflemen in the game. He became one of the “men to beat” and used his reputation to successfully build a .22-caliber barrel business, calling himself “The .22 Caliber Specialist.” He continued to back up his claim with exceptional shooting and he was the subject of an article in American Rifleman magazine (July, 1930) by Al Blanco.

    Arthur Hubalek, Barrel Builder Extraordinaire!

    Five years ago the name of Hubalek was associated only with the shooter himself, Arthur Hubalek, of Brooklyn, N.Y. It was associated particularly with the 25-yard indoor record of 2,484 out of a possible 2,500, made by Mr. Hubalek; also with his piano business.

    When he was not shooting indoors at 25 yards, or outdoors at 200 yards, always in the offhand position, Arthur Hubalek was tuning pianos or buying or selling them; but his pleasure was shooting-and they say that when business interferes with pleasure you have got to give up business. That is exactly what Arthur Hubalek did; but he built better than

    Perfect 250 score shot by A. Hubalek in the 1906 Zettler Rifle Club Open Gallery Tournament. Five shots at 75 feet, offhand, Zettler Gallery ¼-inch ring target. Target reproduced full size.
    Perfect 250 score shot by A. Hubalek in the 1906 Zettler Rifle Club Open Gallery Tournament. Five shots at 75 feet, offhand, Zettler Gallery ¼-inch ring target. Target reproduced full size.
    he knew, because he combined business and pleasure, and struck the happiest combination of his life-the turning out of .22-caliber barrels that are a thing of beauty, and a joy forever.

    Hubalek began experimenting five years ago, specializing in the .22 long-rifle caliber; and after two years of close concentration, involving the expenditure of thousands of dollars for equipment, time consumed, and many cases of ammunition, and which included over fifty experimental barrels, he developed a standard of manufacture that insures a product of accuracy above the average. He specializes only in .22-caliber, super-accurate match barrels.

    It is not surprising that Arthur Hubalek has been successful in this chosen field. It is not strange that a great many of his barrels are now in use in all parts of the United States by foremost riflemen. Nor is it strange that his barrels hold practically all records-and this achieved all in the space of five short years. Nothing just happens. Arthur Hubalek has achieved success because he has planned carefully. He had an objective; he put his theories into practice.

    Over twenty-five years ago Arthur Hubalek learned his trade as a first-class toolmaker with the firm of E.W. Bliss & Co., of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and when you combine the ability of a toolmaker and a specialist in pianos with the practical experience of many years of shooting with .22 rifles, you are quite likely to produce something above the average.

    Hubalek is making shooting history with his barrels; and whether further records are made with them matters little, because he has already contributed much to the small-bore shooting game in the way of accuracy and information.

    He, being of an inventive and ingenious turn of mind, it is only natural to expect that he would also develop a machine rest for testing out these barrels before shipment; and a great many of the Hubalek rests may be found in various parts of the country, in the hands of well-known expert small-bore shots.

    The violin by Stradivarius is today practically priceless. One hundred years from today a Hubalek barrel may be almost as valuable and rare. Who knows?

    Indeed, who knows? I’ve had the good fortune to shoot several Hubalek .22 barrels and they were all remarkable for their accuracy. This is far from a comprehensive history of Arthur Hubalek, but it should serve to give the reader a basic understanding of the man as a shooter and barrel maker. Armed with this knowledge, the next time you are at a gun show and see an old beat-up Ballard match rifle with a barrel marked “Hubalek” you will know that this is a rifle not to be dismissed lightly. More than enough reason to forego some of life’s expensive pleasures in order to give a Hubalek rifle a try on the range!

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