Custom Hunting Rifles From the Workshop of Joseph Smithson

Joseph Smithson, Gunmaker
As with all the gunmakers I feature here, I have great respect for the work of Joe Smithson. Joe attended Trinidad State College Gunsmithing school, as I did but then he made a great career move that I didn’t. He spent a year working with a professional custom gunmaker in his shop watching and learning about the day-to-day necessities of existing in the trade. That the Pro was Jerry Fisher saying volumes about Smithson’s early talent and his opportunity to learn from the fellow we can all look up to. Jerry and Joe have nothing but good words for each other.
I have had the opportunity to photograph several of Smithson’s rifles in recent years. Getting to see them under 1500 watts of light, to handle them, to work the bolt and detach the scope mounts, all in the confines of my workshop allows me an intimate familiarity with the rifles. While I have not shot any of them my friend Mark Buchanan certainly has and that is easily witnessed in his exciting adventure video series from Big Bore Productions. Mark’s photo of his Smithson rifles in action will be included.
As is all of this web site, Joe Smithson’s page will be a work in progress. I seldom have time to take many detailed notes when photographing rifles (such as weight, barrel length, or stock dimensions) as I offer very rapid turnaround. I will add details and particulars as they are forthcoming from Joe, or Mark and Kevin who own, shoot and hunt these rifles.

1.FL copy-S
The first rifle is a left-handed .416 Rigby built on a Granite Mt. Arms action. Kevin, the client who commissioned the rifle has shot it extensively and taken it to Zimbabwe where he shot two cape buffalo with it. Right through the first one, dropping the one behind it as well! PH embarrassment!
2 copy. Stock, cheek-copyS
Kevin is a serious shooter and handloader. When we spoke he had exactly 1160 rounds through the rifle, each carefully crafted at his loading bench. He also killed an eland at 85 yards as well as kudu, zebra and impala with the .416. The accuracy of this rifle is so good that if I told, you would think me exaggerating. The barrel was machined with integral features from a Krieger barrel blank.
4. Checker - checker,copyS
Although not readily apparent in these photos the Granite Mt. Arms action was set-up and machined for Smithson’s proprietary detachable scope mounts (I will show these in detail in the future). If you look closely you can see the finely fit sliding caps (with a thumb-nail recess in each) on the top of the square bridges.
3.Checker - checker bolt-

5. Cheekpiece- copyS
There is room in the Jerry Fisher trap grip cap for the action bridge covers.
6. Grip Cap- copyS
Note the integral sight base visible in this photo.