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Old April 10, 2013, 10:55 AM   #1
eskinny
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.458 WM made by Harold E. MacFarland

Hello all,
I recently purchased a .458 WM from an older gentleman who has sold off his 60+ year collection. This rifle is built on a Mauser 98 action and is beautiful, it was made by Harold E. MacFarland, I do not know when or where. It was made for an individual (who I will not name unless I can get his permission), I have been unable to find any date on the rifle. It has a commercial long side rail scope mount made in Jenkinstown, PA by Paul Jaeger (the first one I have seen). The wood and engraving appear to be first rate. I have googled and have only been able to find out that Harold E. MacFarland wrote a couple of classic gun smithing books, one he co-authored with Bob Brownell. The books are Gunsmithing Simplified, and An Introduction to Modern Gunsmithing. I have ordered both of these books from Amazon and should have them soon. I am seeking any and all information about this rifle, the maker and the scope mount. I appreciate any light that can be shed on these subjects. I would love to know when it was made and if there are any others like it. I am most interested in the maker I have been searching the web for several days now and have only found scattered information about him. I posted similar to this another forum with no luck, and hope that by posting here I can pull from a larger mass of collective consciousness with better results. Thank you.
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Old April 10, 2013, 10:58 AM   #2
eskinny
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A couple more pictures

These ar just a few more pictures of the .458WM
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Old April 10, 2013, 01:33 PM   #3
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Wow, very nice!
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Old April 10, 2013, 06:12 PM   #4
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+1 Scrumbag! Only three posts and out comes a rifle like that. Welcome aboard, glad to have you.
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Old April 10, 2013, 06:25 PM   #5
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Beautiful rifle. Very much in the Weatherby style.
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Old April 10, 2013, 06:42 PM   #6
Ruger480
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Wow
That's a good lookin peice. Seriously.
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Old April 10, 2013, 10:06 PM   #7
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They don't make rifles that that anymore... It's almost to pretty to shoot and I couldn't imagine taking into the woods...

Tony
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Old April 10, 2013, 11:45 PM   #8
Jim Watson
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I don't know if I can add much, you have found that Mr MacFarland was a gunsmith and author on the subject.

The Jaeger double lever scope mount is a derivative of the Griffin & Howe side mount, although not interchangeable. Side mounts were popular at one time because they were quick detachable and left the top of the gun completely bare for use of iron sights. This was more important when scopes were less rugged and less well sealed than now. Also suitable for an elephant gun used at short range.

I cannot tell if that is a plain trigger shoe on the trigger (I would not want one on a hunting rifle.) or possibly a Canjar single set which would be used for long careful shots.

I don't know why he finished the bottom metal white, a styling element I have not seen on other nice rifles.
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Old April 11, 2013, 12:36 AM   #9
eskinny
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.458 WM made by Harold E. MacFarland

Thanks for the kind words. I hope I can contribute positively to the forums.

Mr. Watson,

As far as the white metal goes, it seems like the bolt, floor plate and sling swivels are meant to match. The trigger is a 2 stage that has quite a bit of travel, then it breaks like glass, similar to a sporterized .303 British that I own, except that the .303 is anything but smooth. The .458 trigger is the smoothest I have felt.
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Old April 11, 2013, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
I don't know why he finished the bottom metal white, a styling element I have not seen on other nice rifles.
That looks like nickel plating to me. Could very well have been the customer's preference - this is a custom rifle, after all.
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Old April 11, 2013, 01:17 PM   #11
eskinny
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Good point, the customers name is engraved into the bottom plate.
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Old April 11, 2013, 04:16 PM   #12
mark clausen
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Out standing! I have Gunsmithing Simplified, and it is a great reference for those old sporters. Didn't think it was still in print. Neat to see a gun made by the author. It seems that must people poo poo those old sporterized military rifles, but I think it is an important period of gun history that is under appreciated.
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Old April 11, 2013, 05:24 PM   #13
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Not sure I'd call this rifle a "sporter" - aside from the action, nothing remains of the original military rifle. Plenty of factory rifles were made in precisely this way in the 50's and 60's.
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Old April 11, 2013, 09:50 PM   #14
mark clausen
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I understand that. Perhaps I was veering off topic a little but the book mentioned, written by Macfarland deals quite a bit with sporterizing surplus rifles. And this I don't think would be cslled a factory rifle.
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Old April 12, 2013, 01:31 AM   #15
Clark
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I am a huge fan of MacFarland.
I wrote a review of his book on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/review/R2RZONFW1G7F5J

The pics in this thread are the first I have ever seen of his work.
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Old April 12, 2013, 02:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
Good point, the customers name is engraved into the bottom plate.
It probably was made to the customer's taste, but I believe the name on the bottom metal is the gunsmith's.

Quote:
Not sure I'd call this rifle a "sporter" - aside from the action, nothing remains of the original military rifle. Plenty of factory rifles were made in precisely this way in the 50's and 60's.
The rifle is a sporter, meaning it's a sport weight and configuration. Sporter refers to a type of rifle and may be factory new or custom, not exclusively the product of "sporterization" of a military rifle.
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Old April 12, 2013, 09:35 AM   #17
mark clausen
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Quote:
The rifle is a sporter, meaning it's a sport weight and configuration
Well I reckon, but for purposes of this conversation I did mean sporterized milsurp. Not that this gun in any way resembles the Eddystone in my safe, just that the wonderful book mentioned deals in no small way with sporterizing.
And Clark, I tried to download your review on Amazon, but failed, will try again later, I want to read it
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Old April 12, 2013, 11:26 AM   #18
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I don't know why that link is dead to you. Amazon does not sell that old out of pring book, so a review may seem vestigial to Amazon.
Or maybe they only use that link for me.

This review is from: Introduction to modern gunsmithing (Paperback)
Sporterizing Mausers?
This book is a must have.

Other things of interest:
He makes sight dovetails in the barrel with a hack saw!
The guy was a real bare foot doctor.

The table of contents:
1 Proper Methods and the right tools....15
2 How to make your own tools and parts...26
3 Diagnosis and eliminating malfunctions .. 47
4 Selecting and working different steels.. 68
5 How to pick the action for your sporter..86
6 Basic ways of improving military actions ..110
7 How to do your own shotgun work..145
8 Altering and improving the handgun ..163
9 How to achieve the best trigger pull ..181
10 How achieve the most accuracy.. 195
11 How to mount your own scopes and sights.. 218
12 Getting better than new metal finishes.. 234
13 Your military rifle an it's sporting stock.. 249
14 How to handle a hundred disassembly problems ..274
15 Commonly used data and reference tables..297
index ..316

The things I have used from this book:
1) How to do a trigger job on a Mauser with Silver solder
2) Inside radius and distance between holes in Weaver scope mounts
3) Thread length, shoulder diameter, thread major diameter, TPI, and type of thread on barrels for different actions.

This is an old writing.
The newer Weaver mounts are not there.
The newer actions, like Rem700 are not there.
The newer cartridges, like .223 are not there.
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The word 'forum" does not mean "not criticizing books."
"Ad hominem fallacy" is not the same as point by point criticism of books. If you bought the book, and believe it all, it may FEEL like an ad hominem attack, but you might strive to accept other points of view may exist.
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Old April 12, 2013, 01:57 PM   #19
mark clausen
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Thanks Clark, got it. It isn't Amazon but my computer. Sometimes antivirus protection is like a virus itself. He covers the dovetail with a hacksaw in Gunsmithing Simplified also!
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Old April 12, 2013, 03:39 PM   #20
eskinny
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.458 WM made by Harold E. MacFarland

Quote:
Originally Posted by natman View Post
It probably was made to the customer's taste, but I believe the name on the bottom metal is the gunsmith's.
The rifle also has the customers name intricately engraved into the floor plate, as well as the barrel. I just did not post pictures of his name as I do not have his permission.
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Old April 13, 2013, 09:30 AM   #21
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While the trigger guard may be plated I would almost bet that it is polished, in the white.

My FN Mauser from the 50's also has an in the white bolt. It was common back in the day. Perhaps this gunsmith just took that two tone concept a little further.

BTW beautiful rifle, very much in the Weatherby style. I love these old Mauser's
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Old April 16, 2013, 03:46 PM   #22
eskinny
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I have received both of the books and been able to glean almost nothing further about Mr. MacFarland from them, although they seem to contain a wealth of information about gunsmithing. I have located a few articles in various different publications written by him, and found that he passed away in 1992 in Arizona. Still hunting the particulars of my .458 as well those of any other builds by this gentleman. Bob Brownell actually wrote the forward to his book Gunsmithing Simplified, and seemed to hold him in high regard therein.
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