MG Arms “Signature Classic” Rifle
Many gun enthusiasts dream of owning a special rifle; one that is chambered in their favorite caliber with a beautiful eye-catching wood stock. Many even start a collection of custom rifles in nostalgic calibers with full-figured stocks that exhibit a one of a kind checkering pattern. Each year MG Arms builds eight to ten Signature Classic rifles. So what does it take to make a rifle so special that someone would pay $10,000.00 or more to own one?
First, each rifle is handmade using only the best components possible. The action is a custom Stiller unless the customer specification calls for a Mauser or Winchester Model 70. The wood used is special purchase AAA quality in either English, Turkish, or Claro Walnut or very fine Maple. The customer explains to us what he is looking for then we find wood blanks and have him select what he likes from 3 different blanks. We then do all the machine work and cutting and fitting the barrel to the action. We only use new chamber reamers and cutting tools when building each Signature Classic rifle, this guarantees the best new chamber and barrel threads you can have.
The wood blank is rough cut and all of the inletting is done. Then an aluminum block is installed so the action has a full contact area to sit on. The aluminum block also makes sure the stock will not break or crack under recoil. Carol will then start shaping the outside of the stock to the customer’s dimensions. Then the real work starts with hours of hand sanding and shaping all of the wood. The wood also has to match the metal of the rifle so the parts look like they are one single piece. After several weeks of sanding the stock is ready for checkering. The checkering panels are decided by both the customer and the look of the gun. I would not want to put skip line checkering on a classic looking stock. All checkering is hand cut which again will take many hours to complete. Last is the finish work on both the stock and the metal. The stock will have a hand rubbed oil finish. One coat is applied daily on the stock until all of the pours of the wood are filled and the stock looks smooth and deep enough to put your finger into.
The metal work is polished to a 400 grit finish then it is decided whether to have a High Gloss finish or a Matte finish or maybe a combination of both. Classic old Mauser’s had a Matte finished receiver with High Gloss barrels. If the finish is going to be gloss then hours are spent polishing the metal until all of the marks are gone. I use a polishing compound as high as 800 grit and will make the metal look like a mirror. I use new blueing salts for Signature rifles. The first one or two times you use blueing ingredients the finish is brighter and has a deeper blue-black sheen to it.
Last, the rifle will be put together and checked for feeding and function, then taken to the range and shot. All of my Signature Classic rifles will shoot sub ½” groups. I just finished a 458 Lott which put 5 shots in the same hole.
All in all a custom rifle like our Signature Classic will have from 120 to over 200 hours to build it. Only the best parts are used, the best wood is used and the customer is part of the build from start to finish. Believe me, there is nothing like building a custom rifle and there is nothing like owning a piece of history which you can pass down to your family for generations to come.