Beautifully made, with no corner-cutting, this is a superior custom stalking rifle, says Bruce Potts
T Proctor is one of Britain’s premium classic riflemakers of the old school. Gunmaker Trevor Proctor is based in Wilmslow in Cheshire and produced the finest-quality bespoke rifles for stalking and big-game hunting. His business was established in 1976 and he undertook all work himself, except fine engraving. Now that he has retired, his rifles are sought after, as they represent an era when the best qualities of the British gun trade were displayed in a classic English way. No corners were cut; the rifles both shoot well and look good. This comes from Proctor’s experience as a stalker and respected big-game hunter, notably of Cape buffalo.
I found this superb example of a classic Proctor Mauser-action stalking rifle at Francis Lovel & Co. Ltd gunsmith in Witney.
Made by real artisans
Proctor has used the well-regarded Mauser Argentine model 1909 action as the basis of this custom rifle. These actions were the crème de la crème of the Mauser action world, built in Berlin. They were made when real artisans worked with their hands and, as such, they provide a strong, reliable and beautifully made action from which to build any custom stalking rifle. To this, Proctor has crafted a set of all-steel mounts permanently attached to the rifle’s action and deeply blued.
The front mount uses the European style of securing around the objective lens and not the scope’s body. A Swarovski fixed power 4x magnification scope is used here, again giving that old feel and look to this rifle.
The bolt is as smooth as butter and the safety bolted on the bolt shroud has been modified for scope use. The hinged floorplate has been re-profiled and inlayed/engraved with the rifle’s number, No. 51, which is a nice touch. The trigger is standard factory-made, but honed for a sweet let-off and weight of pull.
What really catches the eye is the extent of the detailing on the action. Proctor embellished this rifle to the owner’s own preference. This rifle has a detailed fantail and cartouches around the scope mounts, providing a defining border, which is accentuated by an engraved stag to the right side and roebuck to the left side of the scope mount, which is then inlayed with gold.
The gold inlay continues as a single inlay around the circumference of the trigger guard, and the guard screws are blued and engraved.
Barrel-wise, a Sporter-contoured chrome-moly barrel, again with deep rich bluing to the finish, was used, with a choice of calibre offered. For this model the 7x57mm was the original cartridge as chambered by Mauser in Germany. When Rigby in England started using the Mauser rifle in this calibre for its custom rifles it called the cartridge .275 Rigby, but it is identical to the 7x57mm.
There is a barrel sling swivel attachment soldered halfway up the barrel, with “TT Proctor” and address gold inlayed to the top of the barrel.
Best of all, the stock is bedded perfectly to the action then handcrafted to the owner’s dimensions.Proctor used French, American or Turkish walnut and here is an exceptional piece of crotch walnut with excellent colour and superb figure. There is a Best English oiled finish, which is both practical and good-looking, and the chequering was cut to the owner’s preferred pattern. The stock is further enhanced with a metal butt-pad, steel pistol grip cap and brass cartouche inletted to the base of the stock for initials to be engraved as desired.
Proctor also provided a wide selection of extras such as cases, slings and open-sight options to complete a dream classic British rifle. His unique rifl es are available second-hand and represent excellent value for money when considering all the hand-work involved.
What to look for when buying a TT Proctor rifle on the secondhand market
Barrel: Proctor rifles were made to order, specifying make, contour, rifle twist and so on.
Action: Classic British stalking rifles tend to use the Mauser 98 action but Remington, Sako, Ruger No.1 and so on were also used.
Features: Best English finish to metal and woodwork
Supplier: Francis Lovel, tel 01993 864949
Prices: Second-hand, this model £3,850