As my gunsmith on older doubles, Nick was fantastic with metal. His barrel color process was mostly in-house tucked away in a purpose-built area. I especially loved the result he coaxed from a MacNaughton hammer gun. For my Blanch hammer ejector, rather than “fix” the fiddly miniature ejector box, Nick built a more robust replacement from scratch giving me back the original for my jewelry box. We met countless times in Port Huron and had a couple memorable visits at his home. I must say I miss Barbara’s cooking! Nick will be missed. He is the one that taught me a gun is a system; mess with one part and the rest have to be looked after as well.
There are so many stories….
Nick once worked over a Wm Powell 20 bore for me. He really struggled with the ejectors but ultimately told me to just keep a flattened wooden match handy to position the outermost rod. He disliked the wood on that gun enough to mess with it using watercolors over the years.
He was the master of annual maintenance. I am convinced the life of my guns has been extended. He eventually obtained a microscope to help root out rust, for example. It was his idea to always make an extra set of firing pins once he dialed in length on the first pair. He also taught me the value of getting my shipping boxes just so and set up for repeat use.
Getting Nick shells with which to test guns was not always easy. Sometimes a gun case went through carrying them. And, when testing, he had acres of tobacco and corn fields near by.
I had a problem with the handling of a re-barreled Stephen Grant. Knowing intimately what my other Grants felt like in hand, Nick iteratively back-honed the 1970s era barrels. He didn’t love the fact the sweetened barrels were no longer in proof but I still had the originals for that.
Metal fabrication included almost anything. I do not know whose hands did the engraving but all manner of screws, springs, hammers and trigger bows came out of his shop as I needed them.
Even as we both aged, technical telephone conversations kept us engaged.
Last edited by Montana; 07/16/21 11:47 AM.