So in conjunction with fellow staff writer, Jason Hallmark, we have finally started planning an elk hunt for next year. While there are a lot of details that go into the planning of a hunt of this caliber, the biggest token piece is choice of firearm. We both decided to build rifles on similar platforms, but in different calibers.
It just so happened that last year my Grandfather, gave me a few rifles he had acquired years ago that were just collecting dust in his closet. I have been eyeing these rifles for at least 15 years. Of the three, one really stood out and had my interest from the first time I picked it up. Initially it was the camouflage stock that I was hooked on, being a young teenager that was an important feature, but as I my knowledge of guns grew and the more I looked at the rifle over the next few years, the caliber also grew on me. It was chambered in 6.5×284. I had never heard of this caliber, and that made me want to try it out that much more. However, to my disappointment, my Grandfather never gave me the chance to shoot it. As more time passed, I almost forgot that this rifle even remained in his collection, until this past Christmas when he decided to part with it and a couple other guns. I was ecstatic!
This rifle, in its prime, was no safe queen. The stock has many scratches and dings to it and the bluing is faded in many places and there is even a slight patina in some areas. I have not been able to identify the stock, but it appears to be a light weight synthetic hunting stock, that has been rattle canned in an old school brown and green camo pattern. The bolt is polished and smooth as glass, even without being cleaned and lubed recently. It has an old Leopold M8-6×42 scope. The glass is still crystal clear and will be a great scope on another rifle. The trigger appears to be a Canjar. Without taking it off the stock for further examination, I am not sure if it’s just a Canjar shoe over a factory trigger or if the whole trigger has be redone. Canjar triggers were at one time the go-to for custom triggers until the original owner passed away, the company ended up going bankrupt due poor management. The trigger does however have zero creep, and it has a very light crisp pull to it. From the little bit of research I can do on it, the rifle was built by Doyle Gray of Gray Guns out of Abilene, TX. Mr. Gray, besides being a talented gunsmith, was also an avid precision rifle shooter. This would explain his love for building such quality rifles. From my few contacts in that area, I have learned that Mr. Gray is retired, but still does an occasional PRS match. While I know that as long as the gun is sound, it will be a great shooter. Mr. Gray always guaranteed 1” MOA, although from talking to other owners of his custom builds, this was never an issue since they grouped much tighter than that.
I will be meeting with some gunsmiths soon to check the overall functionality of the rifle, as well as discuss the needs of my build. We will continue to post updates as the process comes along. Please follow us along our journey to see who can build the ultimate Elk field rifle.