Next Project 1000yd Wimbledon Cup .300 H&H Bull Gun Ca. 1935

buffalowinter

Rick Jones MAJ, SF (Ret)
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I'm building a copy of this:
Griffin & Howe .300 H&H Magnum bull gun, Ben Comfort, 1935 Camp Perry Wimbledon Cup, engraved, inspired by Elmer Keith

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from this:
REMINGTON Model 30 Express 30.06 Springfield Williams Sight

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This will be a copy of this gun:

Griffin & Howe .300 H&H Magnum single shot bull gun, engraved “Ben C. Comfort” with his 1935 Wimbledon Cup-winning score. Built on Remington 30-S Express action serial number 23063 (made in 1932 per Remington), Griffin & Howe rifle number 1415 was “likely” (per G&H Archivist) completed in 1935. (Repeated attempts to locate any G&H records for this rifle were unsuccessful).

According to the chapter “Ben Comfort’s Sighters” from the book “The National Matches – 1903-2003, The First 100 Years” published by the NRA’s Competitive Shooting Division (NRA is the sponsor of Camp Perry’s Wimbledon Cup), Comfort had “…only just received his custom-built rifle. He had no sighting data for 1,000 yards…“, this passage supporting the G&H Archivist’s assertion that the rifle was made/shipped in 1935. This same chapter states that Griffin & Howe indeed built Comfort’s rifle on a 1917 action (the Remington 30-S being visually similar to a 1917 without the rear sight “ears”), and that it was stocked by G&H’s Ernest Kerner. Also, the chapter cites a 1936 G&H ad that the barrel was 30-inches long and tapers from a diameter of 1.3 inches at the receiver to 1.0 inch at the muzzle. The barrel of this rifle is, indeed, 30 inches long and measures 1.241 inches at the receiver and .941 inch at the muzzle – the slight difference a likely result of finishing. It also reports that Comfort’s rifle was a single shot, as is the subject (the magazine box is plugged with a carefully-fitted walnut insert).

A Griffin & Howe ad appearing in the November, 1935 issue of American Rifleman reads “Camp Perry Wimbledon Cup won this year by Ben C. Comfort with a Griffin & Howe .300 Magnum rifle”. Another G&H ad from the September, 1936 issue states that the rifle was stocked by their own Ernest Kerner. A search by the NRA failed to turn up any specific reference to Comfort’s rifle by serial number. Unfortunately, the records kept of competition rifle trigger pull weights were not retained.

In Keith, An Autobiography, Elmer Keith writes “In 1933 I booked Ben Comfort and Vic Asby from St. Louis for a month’s sheep, goat and deer hunt in the Big Horn Craig’s.” After relating some happenings of the hunt, Keith remembered “While Vic and Gerry were off on a side hunt down Roaring Creek, we got a three-day blizzard. While Ben and I were waiting it out, he asked me what it would take to win the Wimbledon cup. I told him the best cartridge I knew would be the .300 Magnum bull gun, and he had Griffin & Howe build it…The next year at Camp Perry he won the great Wimbledon cup and sent me a picture of himself drinking beer out of it. He was a big, fat man and I surely enjoyed the picture of him drinking beer out of that huge Wimbledon cup. After that, it was a long time before the cup was won with anything but the .300 Magnum.” Finally, Elmer related that he “...saw the finest mule deer of his entire life on that trip…“, and that Comfort missed it three times at 400 yards. He had even offered Comfort $100 for the opportunity to take the shot, but Ben turned him down. Elsewhere, Keith recalls his response to Comfort’s questioning about the ideal rifle Wimbledon Cup rifle, “…a .300 Magnum bull gun with a 30-inch barrel, prone stock…“, then “...Ben had Griffin & Howe make it up, and the shooting world knows what he did with it…“.

MARKINGS: “No. 1415 Griffin & Howe Inc. New York” is centered on the barrel. “Ben C. Comfort, 1935 Winner, The Wimbledon Cup Match, Camp Perry. Ohio. Score-100-14V” appears on the left side of the barrel near the front ring. “659” is written in pencil three times along the barrel channel.

FEATURES: Bolt body, extractor and rail are jeweled, cheekpiece with shadow line, metal pistol grip cap, blank oval in toe line, inletted base with loop for shooting sling.

DIMENSIONS: Weight (sans scope) is 13.2 pounds. Length-of-pull is 13.6 inches.

SCOPE: Lyman 10x Super Targetspot number 6439 with straight “cross hair” reticle and threaded metal lens caps. Lenses are nearly pristine and optical quality is without issue.


I'll be using an Exhibition Grade piece of Claro Walnut and an ER Shaw match barrel in the same contour as the original. This will take a while.
 

pmclaine

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  • Nov 6, 2011
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    Pretty cool story about Ben Comforts rifle....

    Someone found it sitting unknown for what it is in a pawn shop or small gun store but recognized as something special by the buyer.

    He bought the deal of a lifetime and ended up getting in touch with the grandkids and either gave them the rifle or at least let them fondle it.

    Just read the tale a month or so ago perhaps at the CMP forum.
     

    jphil108

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    This is really cool, I’ve always thought that the model 30 and the m1917 missed out on the attention they deserve.
     

    FatBoy

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    Amazing how long this basic “pattern” rifle continued to win. They moved from these and the -03 to the M70 w/Unertl or later 40x 30-338 with 2.5” Unertl still hammering the Xring at 1k as long as the nut behind the trigger can absorb the recoil and remember to pull the damn scope back and right every shot. Still winning well into the 80s and can be competitive today.

    This will be a wonderful project. Have you looked at period correct jackets and slings to finish it up? In a pinch, green cloth is still around...
     

    buffalowinter

    Rick Jones MAJ, SF (Ret)
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    I have quite a collection of period equipment from slings and jackets, to spotting scopes.

    RedHead Twill shooting Jacket, Hammerli International Target rifle, PJ O'Rourke spotting scope stand, Parker Hale Spotting Scope
    crop.jpg


    Springfield International I built with custom double set triggers I made.sepia.jpg

    1903 sprng set.JPG1903 proj 1.JPGP1010219.JPG1903 sprng groups.JPG

    Ben Comfort with Wimbledon Cup 1935
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    Sgt. Morris Fisher, USMC, with his 1903 Free Rifle (c. 1923)

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    Last edited:

    FatBoy

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    I would be willing to bet a bottle of Pappy’s (if I had one) that most of the guys form the 30s-40s could walk into the line today with their old gear and not only compete but be competitive. Especially if they had access to modern bullets for their “antiquated “ chamberings. It’s a lineage and sense of history that draws me to long range high power. When it comes right down to it, it’s going to come down to reading the condition and executing the shot.

    I am really looking forward to seeing you build this one.
     
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    MCHOG

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    I have quite a collection of period equipment from slings and jackets, to spotting scopes.

    RedHead Twill shooting Jacket, Hammerli International Target rifle, PJ O'Rourke spotting scope stand, Parker Hale Spotting Scope
    View attachment 7426450


    Springfield International I built with custom double set triggers I made.
    There is a lot going on in this part of the rifle. I have a lot of questions that I'll try to research.
    Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 12.18.35 AM.png
    But what was most striking to me is the wooden notch rearward of the trigger that I can only assume is a thumb rest. Shooters these days using that technique and installing add-on thumb rests for precision rifles think that they are doing something new.