Being a fan of Rock music there was always talk of*a “musicians – musician” the Steve Vai / Dream Theater types who others musicians talk about with great respect. Well in the world of precision rifles, we have the same thing. Guys people have heard about but are not well known. These small one man shops are usually well below most people’s radar.
The first time I heard of Robert Gradous*was through well-known writer Jacob Gottfredson, the next time it would be through Jim from Nightforce. Both suggested I explore his gunsmithing class where you actually build your own precision rifle inside of a week. You read that right: a custom rifle in less than a week. Sounds too good to be true, that’s what I thought. After finally getting a break in my schedule I called Robert and set a date.
The initial consultation was simple, Robert’s attitude was that this was about having fun and there was no voodoo or root oil involved, just simple methods put into practice. He has a cottage to stay in on site and that world-famous southern hospitality would be the order of the week. Believe me – there is no ego involved here.
Getting the Components Together
Before calling, I hadn’t put a whole lot of thought into the build; honestly I never do when it comes to putting together a rifle. But this time I was going to try something a little new for me, a 6.5 Creedmoor. Getting the parts was easy enough; for the action I simply drove up to Brighton, CO to visit Bighorn Arms. AJ there has the action I wanted to use, his floating bolt head model with a Remington footprint makes life simple. These are definitely my favorite custom actions after years of ups and downs with other models. Recently AJ started using NP3 on the bolts, so it was a perfect excuse to get one.
For a barrel, that was easy too, a Bartlein, so a quick call to George Gardner at GA Precision and I had a 6.5 in a light Remington Varmint Contour on the way to the house. I think the phone call lasted all of one