Bompie's High Wall
The Black Powder Cartridge News|Summer 2020
Throughout my career, I have worried over all of the guns that I have built and restored, but this particular rifle caused exceptional stress. The work was for my maternal grandfather, a stoic man who grew up riding his horse off into the wilderness to hunt for days at a time. Some people hunt as a pastime, he is a hunter. He is the man who first taught me to stalk game out in the crisp fall woods with a single shot .22, learning how to still-hunt in the Pennsylvania forests.
Zack Buck

Bompie's Winchester High Wall .38-55

It wasn’t until years later I realized he was also training me to hunt deer. He gave me a compass, taught me to orient and read a map, gave me my first rifle and took me fishing in Canada. When I was eight, he gave me a copy of Robert Ruark’s The Old Man and the Boy for Christmas with the inscription: “To the Boy (Zachary) from the Old Man (Bompie).” His mentorship is what led me down the path to being a professional gunsmith. This is the story of the rifle I built for him.

The old High Wall action.

This Winchester 1885 High Wall rifle started out as a prime example of a gun begging for restoration. The stock wood had shrunk, been shattered, repaired and broken again. The bore of the octagon barrel in .32-40 had all the charm of a sewer pipe. All of the external metal was dinged, grayed, or patinaed; however, the internals (excepting the breech of the chamber and extractor) were clean and showed little wear. The barrel was sent to J E S Rifle Reboring to be bored out and rerifled with Winchester-style rifling.

The much-abused rear of the chamber.

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