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Thread: Rimfire Benchrest rifles (Calfee SPEC rifles)

  1. #31
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    A little more history

    Tony, while ya at it could you shine some light on the history of the so called
    Calfee's 6 o'clock chamber project rifle ?
    Thanks, Ray

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayhill View Post
    Tony, while ya at it could you shine some light on the history of the so called
    Calfee's 6 o'clock chamber project rifle ?
    Thanks, Ray
    Ray, I heard something about 6 o’clock chambers but it was and is over my head.
    I understand 6 o’clock firing pins, well at least the theory behind them but 6 o’clock chambers are
    beyond my understanding.
    TKH

  3. #33
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    (Didn't mean to delete last post) Opps pushed the wrong button

    I heard awhile back about BC"s 6 o' clock chamber, I figured if anyone knew about it, it would be you.
    Thanks again, Ray

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonykharper View Post
    When I got into Rimfire Benchrest (RFBR), many, if not most, were shooting factory rifles of one sort or another. All of these had been modified to some extent.
    Some still had factory barrels others had aftermarket triggers, all had three inch stocks. This was a time of discovery and everything you could imagine was being tried.
    Everyone was looking for a better mousetrap.

    Back then the Lilja tight bore barrels were the custom barrel of choice, although many others were also being used.

    One of the more surprising things I saw was Winchester 52s fitted with Remington 37 barrels. The thought was the Rem. 37 barrels were better than the Winchesters.
    Selby Wright won the 1992 BR-50 Nationals with Win. 52 with a Remington 37 barrel. Many preferred the Remington 37 complete rifles,
    over the newer Rem 40X rifles mainly because of the barrels.

    Others shooters bought new Anschutz 54s, Super Match rifles, the same ones you see used in the Olympics. They were put in benchrest stocks, tuned up, then off to the range.
    Later on Anschutz built a rifle named the “BR 50”, it became fairly popular. But buying a new rifle to compete did not always workout how one hoped it would.
    By the end of the second year of shooting the “new” rifle and being beat by much older guns we began to realize it took time, and many rounds down the barrel to make a rifle shoot really well.
    Some caught on earlier than others.

    Then there was the East German Suhl 150 problem. We figured it was a problem. We spent thousands on our Anschutz rifles, and they spent hundreds on the Suhl 150s, and they got a better result.
    Our brand new high dollar Anschutz 54s were beautiful, very well machined, looked great, these Suhls were rough, not very pretty, but shot lights out.
    Seemed all they had to do is put a Suhl 150 in a benchrest stock and go shoot. They had great barrels and triggers. Jim Williams from Stone Mountain, Georgia did just that.
    He imported Suhl 150s by the caseload. Had them restocked, found ammo for them, and sold them in different grades. Grade 10 being the highest.
    These were fairly low cost rifles that would put you in the BR-50 winners circle. One of the most famous of these Suhl 150 shooters was Harry Deneen and there were many others.

    Not everyone went this way. We also had full on custom rifles being built. If you went to the BR 50 Nationals, or later on to the ARA Nationals you would see everything you could image,
    and some you couldn’t. Many full time machinist were in the sport and some very talented hobbyist. They created some of the most interesting shooting contraptions.
    Everything from full on rail guns to single shot, remove the entire bolt to load a round. ARA rules allowed just about anything you can haul to the bench to be shot.
    And the guys went wild creating new ideas to make a better mousetrap. As I said, the early days were a time of discovery and it was a very exciting time.

    This trend went on for quite awhile but slowly settled into rifles and equipment you see today. Standard 3 inch benchrest stocks, some straight lined, some not,
    standard length, and weight barrels, custom triggers, muzzle devices, and high quality scopes. Today one could call most of the rifles being shot in RFBR cookie cutter rifles.
    You’ve seen one, you've have seen them all.

    Improvements have made in all the equipment we use, especially in the rests. The one piece rest have became very popular. The Farley type rest has a significant following,
    but some still use two piece rests with sand bags. IR 50/50 three gun rules requires this type of rest set up so many have stuck with it.

    Many smiths have built killer rifles. But at this time I would like to focus on the rifles known as “Calfee Spec rifles”.

    William (Bill) Calfee has built many benchrest rifles, as well as pistols. But among the finest he ever produced were the series he called his Spec rifles.
    Some of these rifles have went on to become known around the world. They have won everything there is to win in RFBR.

    Of course you can say the same thing about other rifles he built that weren’t Spec rifles. Rifles like Raging Inferno, Deuces Wild, Rooster, True Grit, Chisum, Tack Driver, and TDX.
    As good as these guns were they were not Spec Rifles.

    These non-Spec rifles were built by the customer providing Bill with a bedded stock, an action, barrel blank, trigger, and muzzle device.
    Bill assembled these pieces into a finished rifle. Some of these rifles had lapped, and post chamber lapped barrels. This enabled them to shoot right from the start.
    There are many stories of people receiving one of these rifles and winning the first match they shot with it. I received Tack Driver on Thursday and won matches Saturday and Sunday with it.

    When these rifles were sent to their new owners, Bill told them not send money until they were happy with the rifle. If you are not happy, send it back, and Bill would pay the charges.
    This was a standard practice with Bill Calfee rifles. I know of no other smith’s that offer this.

    SPEC rifles were, and are very special. SPEC rifles were built from the ground up by Calfee. They had special treatment. Most had special graphics, many had the complete action jewelled.
    He treated these as his pride and joy. He put the same care and attention into these as he did his pistols. All Spec rifles have their Spec number on the action.

    I thought for years there had to be at least a hundred SPEC rifles, they were winning everything. But to my surprise there were only 7 Spec rifles built.

    I, like others, thought the first three “Project rifles” Calfee built were Spec rifles but they were not.

    Project Rifle 1. This rifle was built, but I can find no record of whom it was built for, nor what happened to it. This is one of two Calfee rifles that have simply disappeared.
    The other was Night Train, but that is another story.

    Project Rifle 2. Was built for John S. Esposito and was sent to him in Texas.

    Project Rifle 3. Was auctioned off. It was named “Tennessee Stud”. Jim Pepper won the auction and in the process coined the term “Spec rifle”.

    Jim Pepper wrote on his bid for Tennessee Stud that he would like to bid on the “Calfee SPEC rifle”. That term “Spec rifle” gave Bill the idea of calling all future project rifles Spec rifles.

    The first rifle identified on the action as a Spec rifle was Spec 4. Merlin. That is how the Spec series was born. Tennessee Stud, project rifle #3. is now owned by Chuck Morrell.

    The SPEC rifles were:

    SPEC 4. Merlin.
    SPEC 5. Black Death
    SPEC 6. Duke Of Earl
    SPEC 7. Paladin.
    SPEC 8. Marcia
    SPEC 9. Georgia Shaker
    SPEC 13. Carolina Gold

    There was to be a SPEC 10. To be named “The Virginian” but it was never built.

    The very mention of these rifles will get some people's back up. But this is history and it is time to let it go.

    I can’t count the number of National, Regional, and State Matches these rifles have won. A few are still on the range, and still at the top of the game.

    There is no doubt these rifles have had an enormous impact on our sport. They have made all of us better shooters, drove us to building better equipment, and got us to where we are today.

    Beating a Spec rifle, any Spec rifle became a goal. At least it did for me. When I see one at a match, I shoot harder, use the best stuff I have, and give it my all.
    I want to beat that Spec Rifle if I can. Spec rifles represent a high standard, a standard I want to meet or beat.

    Ever noticed how when you get fixed on something, how everything about it can bother you.
    When I first heard the name “Black Death” SPEC 5. I thought what a stupid name for a rifle. I’ve never been into spooky movies or any of that sort of stuff.
    Then I learned that a guy named Allen Bates owned that rifle. Now that was a bit much.

    You get it?? ‘Allan’ as in Edgar Allan Poe.... “Bates” as in The Bates Motel…

    As macabre as all that sounds it was nothing compared to the slaughter Allan Bates put on the field at the Professional Shooting League (PSL) match in Saint Louis, MO. in 2011. He clobbered us good.

    Mike Sherrill now owns Black Death, and he is still using it to flog us with when he gets the chance.

    I was never lucky enough to own a Calfee SPEC rifle, and I’m still a little jealous of those that did. There will never be another one built, but they will always hold a special place in the history of our sport.

    If anyone knows more about these SPEC rifles please post it here. I would really like to know what happened to SPEC 1. Just can’t believe someone would have such a rifle and never compete with it.

    There are many rifles built by other smiths, that have had an impact on our sport. Please feel free to share your stories here.

    TKH
    And the beat goes on... and on.... and on....

    Mike is still flogging us with that Black Death Rifle. His latest is the 2019 ARA Indoor Nationals where he set a new record of 2416 agg. over the six targets.

    TKH

  5. #35
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    There was a site that Bill Calfee posted on quite regularly. What is the name of that site. I seemed to have misplaced it. PM me if you like.

  6. #36
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  7. #37
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    UPDATE UPDATE The Georgia Shaker (Spec 9)

    Emery Smith - Georgia Shaker (Calfee Spec 9)

    Here are some post from days gone by: actually 2009.

    For those that don't know: Kathy is Bill Calfee.

    today Emery Smith shot back to back 250s, one of which had 22x. he won 4 of the 5 combo cards with SPEC9 and Eley red box. This took place at the Manatee Florida range in 70 degree weather. awsom shooting!!! NEIL
    Kathy

    Friend Neil:

    I just heard the news.......the 250x22X may be a new Florida record..

    My friend Emery Smith has not owned the "Georgia Shaker" long enough to have my chamber seasoned yet......even the way I finish my chambers, they look like a mirror, I tell all my customers it takes 2,000 to 4,000 rounds for the chamber to be properly seasoned......

    If the "Shaker" is already setting records, man, when that little chamber is fully seasoned, MAN!

    Congratulations friend Emery.

    Your friend, Bill Calfee
    Dave S
    Neil:

    Do you have Emery's Phone number..???

    Kathy:

    That "Georgia Shaker" was really shaking today. That was awesome..

    Dave
    Bruce Doster

    Glad to hear about your awesome shooting this weekend in Florida. Your friends, Bruce and Noah

    great shooting emery, my only change to catch you was in sporter, tom p.
    mike worthington

    Great shooting Emory! I heard that old orange Martini shot pretty good too. I'm tellen you that thing is UGLY but it sure does shoot . Ole Tim The apple farmer don't shoot too bad either!!! I don't think he wants to get back to Michigan to quick it is -15 this morning!! You and Tammy better stay another week or two.

    MW
    Donna Brown

    Awwesome shooting, Emery! I saw the pics of "The Georgia Shaker" . Looks like it shoots as good as it looks! I also like the catchy name!

    Donna
    DJB in Wi

    Good shooting Emery... I was impressed with the way you shot. I had to take a back seat to you and the Georgia Shaker. You did well my friend. I hope the next time we meet, we have those infamus Manatee winds. That may even things out a bit Doug END

    I put this up now because I just learned the Georgia Shaker has been put back into shooting order and has a new owner.

    Many may remember that Emery set the world on fire with the Georgia Shaker right out of the gate, then later took a nose dive. He became disenchanted with the Shaker. Then the Shaker disappeared for a long time.

    But it is back now. Will it follow in Black Death's foot steps and set new records???

    William Casey (Slick Willy) now owns the Georgia Shaker. The Shakers original barrel has been replaced with another Calfee barrel but other than that it is the old Georgia Shaker (Spec 9).

    I don't know if Slick plans to compete with this rifle or leave it in retirement.

    One thing for sure The Georgia Shaker (Spec 9) is an important part of RFBR history.

    TKH

  8. #38
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    More 22LR BR History.....

    Tony not trying to hijack the thread but would like to mention a great 22lr BR shooter & rifle builder, Chet Amick of Maryland, Fort Hill Shooting Club...
    Chet is known for his shooting of 7 perfect targets of 250 25x with 5 different rifles & actons that he had built himself, Chet died in 2008, heart conditions......
    I have one of his rifles, a Rem 40x action, a 2oz pull Timmney trigger, Walther barrel, Amick match chamber & Amick lapped barrel & chamber, Pippin BR stock, Harrell tuner...
    I was shooting sub .100 c/c regularly at 50 yds with Eley, Lapua and SK ammo...….
    many 2300-2400 ARA targets...
    I've retired myself from Comp. BR due to age and health.
    Denny Antonius wrote an excellent article in 2008 Precision Shooting Magazine...
    Chuck

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolero View Post
    Tony not trying to hijack the thread but would like to mention a great 22lr BR shooter & rifle builder, Chet Amick of Maryland, Fort Hill Shooting Club...
    Chet is known for his shooting of 7 perfect targets of 250 25x with 5 different rifles & actons that he had built himself, Chet died in 2008, heart conditions......
    I have one of his rifles, a Rem 40x action, a 2oz pull Timmney trigger, Walther barrel, Amick match chamber & Amick lapped barrel & chamber, Pippin BR stock, Harrell tuner...
    I was shooting sub .100 c/c regularly at 50 yds with Eley, Lapua and SK ammo...….
    many 2300-2400 ARA targets...
    I've retired myself from Comp. BR due to age and health.
    Denny Antonius wrote an excellent article in 2008 Precision Shooting Magazine...
    Chuck
    Chuck,

    You are not hijacking the thread. I put this up because I hoped others would share their experiences with great rifles, shooters, and smiths.

    RFBR has a rich history and I hope it isn't all lost as us old timers slow down.

    I never knew Chet but I have heard of him and his accomplishments. If anyone can find that article that Denny wrote please post it here.

    To all, please feel free to share your experiences.

    TKH
    Last edited by tonykharper; 03-06-2020 at 10:19 AM.

  10. #40
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    Cool Back in time

    Him himwent to k c youngs range in va met fellow by name warren he won every thing with a pistol i beleive with xp pistol action lost track of him

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillBrawand View Post
    Him himwent to k c youngs range in va met fellow by name warren he won every thing with a pistol i beleive with xp pistol action lost track of him
    K.C. Young is the guy that got me hooked into shooting RFBR. His range at Black Creek started a lot of shooters back in the day.

    Bill Myers and Harry Deneen to name two. All the big matches were at K.C.s.

    Anybody remember the match they called the BR 1000?

    TKH

  12. #42
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    Jeff Patterson to build new SPEC rifles!!!!!!!!!!

    Below is a quote from Bill Calfee. I took this from his website. Here is a link to his thread and it shows some pics of his SPEC rifles.
    http://www.wwaccuracy.com/showthread...es-and-pistols

    This news brings with it many questions. Calfee used some different components for his spec rifle series but basically they were E Turbo actions, Shilen barrels, Jewell triggers, Pippin/McMillen Stocks, and Harrel's muzzle devices.

    Jeff has many options today. I can't wait to see what components he will choose.

    Another question is how will they be sold. He build them on request, or build them and then offer them for sale, or perhaps auction them off over the website.

    This just might add a spark we can use about now. I sure hope so.

    One thing for sure, when I and many others, see the first one at a match we will be trying like hell to beat it!!

    Here is the Calfee quote:

    "Just had a long conversation with Jeff

    CYA friends:

    I just had a long conversation with Jeff Patterson about him producing a line of SPEC guns.

    He's cited by the prospect.....

    And not only that, he's wanting to carry on the original Calfee SPEC rifle cosmetic theme.

    SPEC 4 is where I started this cosmetic action treatment...

    Only two of the Calfee SPEC rifles did not have this cosmetic action treatment, SPEC 5 and SPEC 13.

    With SPEC 5, I felt this action cosmetic treatment might overshadow the subdued character of the rifle, particularly since the name was Black Death.

    On SPEC 13 the stock was so multi colored, that I felt this cosmetic action treatment might make the rifle look to "busy"....

    Having said the above, if I could go back in time, I believe I would use this cosmetic action treatment of both SPEC 5 and SPEC 13.......

    Jeff said he'd love to carry this cosmetic action treatment over to his SPEC guns...

    I told him I'd be proud for him to do so....
    __________________

    CYA friends, back in 2008, when I built the SPECS, my dream was to produce a line of RFBR guns that would stand the test of time.

    To do this, they not only had to be killer accurate, they had to be stunning in appearance.....

    Each had to be a an individual work of ART.......

    I wanted every owner of a Calfee SPEC to be doubly proud when they walked to the firing line.

    This is why I did the special cosmetics and started naming them.

    And now, 12 years later, my dream has come true......they have stood the test of time.

    Jeff Patterson, I believe, after our conversation today, is going to carry the SPEC tradition forward.

    I'm cited...

    Your friend, BC "

    TKH
    Last edited by tonykharper; 03-17-2020 at 10:52 AM.

  13. #43
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    named guns attractive

    affee makes look more attract I started mine in 70s lots of comments good luck

  14. #44
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    old anschutz

    Hey buddy went out today and shot some of the ammo I got from you! My old 1969 model 54 sporter shot the midas at .180 2 different groups Happy happy happy HaHaHa Thanks again Bob

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Smeltzer View Post
    Hey buddy went out today and shot some of the ammo I got from you! My old 1969 model 54 sporter shot the midas at .180 2 different groups Happy happy happy HaHaHa Thanks again Bob
    Bob,
    That is a good shooting Annie.
    Glad the ammo is working for you.
    TKH

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