Good afternoon Bruce:
I enjoy your electronic pub and it’s been a great resource, but you have left me hanging. I’ve gone your route of the Belgian Browning and Briley tubes, yet I need more. You have repeatedly mentioned that there are several excellent stock fitters in New England. Whom do you most highly regard?
I have heard rumors that there is a Purdey trained fitter in Maine, but I don’t know anyone with firsthand experience. Will you please recommend two or three craftsman of great skill and patience combined with reasonable billing and delivery time?
Also, I can no longer find the reference, but at some point in the past you mentioned a company with an extremely accurate pantograph that can inlet close enough to press fit side locks. Who are these people and how do I reach them?
I’m a righty with left eye dominance. After 35 years I’m trying to switch to port side and everything seems to be conspiring against me.
Thanks for the help.
The Purdey guy is probably David Trevallion. I think he is in ME, but am not sure exactly where he is now- perhaps still there. He is most definitely an excellent stock maker (I have seen his work) BUT as for fitting, I just don’t know. I don’t personally know any shooters who have used him, so I have nothing to base a proper opinion on.
Proper stock fitting is a dynamic process. You just can’t do it right staring at someone’s eyeball standing around inside a gun shop. You have to test fit by shooting with a try gun at a plate and then at moving targets. No matter who the stock maker is, unless he has preternatural powers and is extraordinarily lucky to boot, fitting in a shop is no where near as good as the real thing. If the stockmaker will take you out to the field in back and have you work on a pattern plate and thrown birds, that is something different. I have met very, very few stockmakers who were experienced shooting coaches. As a matter of fact, I have met very few gunsmiths or stock makers who could shoot worth a damn. They work 60 hour weeks and can’t afford the wastrel existence of a properly profligate clay target shooter.
There are two good fitters in the Millbrook, NY area, maybe three. First is Keith Lupton. Keith’s fitting is absolutely first rate. He uses a local gunsmith to do the bending. I have never sent someone to Keith who came back disappointed.
A second choice in Millbrook (a veritable hotbed of advanced sporting clays shooting, but not of skeet or trap) is Charles Schneible. Charles is also a Brit and has been captain of the US FITASC team. He has good fitting facilities and does the bending himself. I don’ t know if Charlie Conger (ex-coach of a number of US sporting teams) still does fittings, but he is extremely experienced in shooting and is an excellent instructor in Salt Point, NY.
I personally know all three of these men and feel that they are definitely worth talking to about a fitting. I don’t know how much experience they have in fitting specifically for skeet, but I would feel that they could all handle that as sporting includes that type of shot and now permits a mounted gun. You don’t mention whether your Browning tube set is for sporting, skeet or both. So I assume that it is a bit of both.
By the way, a superlative sports medicine eye doctor in the area is Donald Teig in Ridgefield, CT. He works with a lot of athletes from the NY pro ball and hockey teams and all the local shooter go to him. He understands the needs of the shooter and has all the latest space age sci-fi equipment.
A quick glance through Black’s “Wing & Clay” shows that the country is chock a block full of coaches and gun fitters. I am only familiar with the ones in my immediate area. I am sure that there are many other good ones spread throughout the country.
As to the pantograph, darned if I can remember. I mean, I remember that I used to know, but can’t remember now. I believe that stock maker Darcy Echols was associated with it. Maybe someone at Fajen’s knows. I am sure that it will come to me a moment after I Email this to you.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)
Ricardo Manuel in Porto Portugal (Google is your friend). His shop is on the shooting grounds of one of Portugals big shotgun clubs.
A lot of wealthy Europeans use him, and some of us lessor gringos. You can have a complete stock with adjustable comb and forearm, from Grade 5 wood fitted for less than 2k.
I’m headed there as we speak.