By KENT BELLAH
GUN FANS DRIVE out of their way to visit Maynard Buehler at Orinda, California. Maker of one of the smallest parts of a rifle, its safety, Buehler's attraction for the gun crank tourist is his collection of the world's biggest rifles. Among Buehler's many fine rifles, there are set aside "Ten of the World's Most Powerful Rifles." Guns are Buehler's hobby, but the big bores are part of his business. All are scope mounted, in his mounts. They are his testing ground for the rugged scope fittings he makes, along with his special low bolt action rifle safetys.
Few shooters think of pip-squeak rifles when they think of Buehler, but his mounts are used on many .22 rim fire rifles. And if the mount holds zero on his big guns, it will certainly hold on hot .22 to .45 calibers. His largest rifle is a flintlock 2-bore, 1.18" diameter with 11 grooves, that uses a 3,500 grain (half pound) bullet delivering 17,500 foot pounds of muzzle energy at 1,500 feet per second. It makes our .50 caliber machine gun bullet weighing l/5th as much, with a listed M.E. of 12,000 f.p., seem like a dinky plinker.
Buehler's battery of "Ten Most Powerful Rifles" range from the hot-shot, high velocity, flat trajectory jobs, to the big, low velocity guns that depend on bullet weight and caliber for shocking power. His 33 pound 2-bore is a bit heavy for a shoulder arm, but he made a mold to cast 3,500 grain bullets, and loaded them ahead of 28 drams FG black powder. Maynard and Dick Hart have fired it over an inner tube, with recoil over two feet no matter how tight they held the gun.
The "little" 8-bore double shoots a 1,250 grain bullet at 1,500 f.p.s. with 10 drams of FG black powder that develops 6,290 f.p. of muzzle energy. The recoil energy is about the same as the muzzle energy of a .38 Short Colt bullet! Some who fire the 8-bore would about as soon be shot with the .38 Short Colt cartridge. The smaller 10-bore H & H double, a type occasionally used in Africa today, has about the same recoil and energy with the same powder charge and a 1,200 grain bullet. It weighs 17% pounds complete with a K2.5 scope—in a Buehler mount, of course. A couple of cartridges add lb. to the weight.
More modern rifles include a beautiful .577 x 3" x 750 Nitro Express double, by Westley Richards. 100 grains of Cordite starts a 750 grain jacketed bullet at 2,050 f.p.s., delivering 7,020 M.E. Neuman and other great elephant hunters have preferred this caliber to all others because it has more penetration than the .600 Nitro Express. Another show piece, in a popular caliber, is his .475 No. 2
Hollis' Martini single shot rifle of type still popular with some hunters in Africa is .577 necked to .450, delivers power at both ends.
Big Westley Richards falling block single rifle is .500-.450 used by Buehler to test sturdy rigidity of new scope mount designs.
Buehler likes to develop loads for his collection of "World's Ten Most Powerful Rifles."
Standard sporters are dwarfed beside wall rifle over fireplace. Gunsmith Buehler made grate from rifle barrels.
Nitro Express double. It too has a lot of "whammy' at both ends. <55 grains of Cordite give the 480 grain jacketed bullet 2.200 f.p.s. and 5,170 M.E.
The lower powered 450-.400 x 3%" Magnum Nitro Express has long been popular in Africa and Asia, for two fast shots at heavy game. 60 grains of Cordite has 4,110 f.p. M.E. with a 400 grain jacketed bullet starting at 2,150 f.p.s. It may surprise some people to learn that moderate powered single shot rifles are still used by many white hunters in Africa. These men have learned to place a single bullet where it counts, and use the less expensive, lighter weight single loaders by choice. Buehler has two fine models, one a .500-.450 x 314" Westley Richards tfot delivers 2,745 M.E. The other is a .577-.450 Hollis Martini, delivering only 1.850 M.E. In English nomenclature, the double numbered shells mean the larger cal-ibcr has been necked down to the smaller caliber. In this instance, the .577 or .500 Express has been necked down to .450.
A "featherweight" bolt action in a heavy caliber is Maynard's .505 Gibbs, a Mannlicher type with 18" barrel. It was built on the Enfield action with a .50 caliber machine gun barrel, and weighs only 11% pounds complete with Alaska scope in a Buehler mount. Buehler doesn't particularly recommend the Enfield action, although this one takes the pressure of the regular cartridge, as well as his souped-up version of 112 grains HiVel behind 570 grain solid bullets, giving a muzzle energy of 7,400 foot pounds. Everything about this gun is terrific, including recoil, muzzle blast, penetration, and terminal energy.
A flat trajectory number, for precision hits at extremely long range, is a beautiful .300 Super Magnum, with a 6X scope and Buehler mount on an F.N. action. A favorite load, from Roy Weatherby's "Tomorrow's Rifles Today," gives a M.E. of 4,611 f.p., at 3,400 f.p.s. M.V. with 82 grains of 4350 and a 180 grain bullet, in a blown-out .300 H&H case. This load is supposed to penetrate two inches of steel, which is a whale of a lot of penetration for a shoulder weapon.
Another super deluxe Buehler rifle is one that, considering the bullet weight and velocity, is the most powerful flat trajectory repeater built today—the .375 Super Magnum. Roy Weatherby's load of 90 grains No. 4350 with a 300 grain bullet gives 2,800 M.V. and 5,223 M.E. The F.N. action is equipped with a 4XBC scope and you-know-what mount. Buehler says he can't describe it, and you have to see it to believe what it does to a block of concrete. While his 8-bore double has a greater "paper" muzzle energy, the huge slugs at low speed simply lack the "busting" effect of the smaller, modern calibers at high velocity.
But big bore or medium bore, the rifles all have terrific recoil and none will hold zero with an inferior scope mount. Buehler says, and I believe it, that his mount will hold a positive zero on any shoulder weapon. For a number of years, famous hunters around the world have been betting their life 011 it, and winning.
Buehler thinks he has the best and most rugged mount on the market, and many experienced shooters agree. He recently developed an elevation adjustment to take care of receivers that may vary as much as 1/32" on the outside. He calls this the "Micro-Dial I niversal" base. All Buehler rings, either solid or split, fit all Buehler bases, and all bases have windage adjustments. The new Micro-Dial base permits centering the crosshair in the exact optical center of the scope. Many shooters are replacing their old-model bases. One scope in one set of rings can be changed from one gun to another that it fitted with the new base, without re-zeroing.
How Maynard P. Buehler. Orinda, California, became a manufacturer, shooter and experimenter who is doing exactly what he pleases, is a saga of turning a hobby into a profitable business. His scope mount and safety is as well known in Alaska and Africa as in the U. S. The low-scope safety was the start. Scope sights on military rifle conversions required a low safety and, as a suitable type wasn't on the market in 1939, Buehler designed one. The King Gunsight Co. ordered 100 immediately, and Buehler was in business.
He had built a milling machine at night school, so it was no problem to tool up. The first run was 1.000 safetys for the Mauser, Springfield, and Winchester 54. Safetys were made in the basement workshop, and Maynard packaged them in the garage. Advertising created a national demand.
Scope mount advertising paid so well, the basement shop could no longer handle the volume. Buehler made a deal with some old friends in Oakland, who had a small factory, to do the manufacturing. But, first, he redesigned and rebuilt all the production tooling, and furnished milling machines specially tooled for the work. Sub-contracting was a happy solution and he now has time to handle the business end, contacting 200 jobbers and 4,600 dealers who sell Buehler mounts and safetys.
Buehler was born in Boston, where his love of shooting started early. When he was six, (Continued on page 58)
Where Are TOMORROW'S MINUTEMEN?
LIKE to think of ourselves as "a nation of riflemen," self-armed, ready and able to dash out any time and become an effective, fighting, guerrilla force in resisting any enemy who might attack our country. But is it true?
Except for a very few widely scattered individuals—and possibly small groups in certain also widely scattered areas—no.
We're not "a nation of riflemen." Hardly 5 per cent of the men inducted into the armed forces for World War Two knew how to shoot a rifle even passably well. A stunningly high percentage had never so much as fired a rifle or handgun. And it is highly doubtful that as many as one of 100 of the men who were familiar with weapons knew enough about woodscraft to live off the land and fight effectively as guerrillas.
If this seems to you to be a pessimistic appraisal, ask yourself ihis question: If this country were hit tonight and you were a survivor, ivhal ivould you do?
Involved in that question are these questions: Where would you go? With whom? How would you get there? What would you take with you? And what would you do, or try to do, after you got there?
Time was, you remember, when the American colonies helped defeat invaders the more or less individual efforts of the "Minute Men." Armed with gun skills in getting meat for their tables, world's finest soldiery. But times by and woods skills gained in Indian fighting and t\iese men were a formidable force against the have changed, and men have changed with the times survive and fight under similar conditions?
Where to go and how to get there would, in itself, be an
How many men today could (Continued on page 63)
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