View Full Version : Bench Rest Shooters Expertise Needed

August 09, 2016, 21:31
One of my wife's co-workers learned that I was a gun nut. Her father passed about 20 years ago and his firearm collection loving gathered together over his lifetime has been gathering dust and rust in the years since. I was asked to ID and clean this collection and to give her a value of the firearms that she inherited from from her father as she is not a gun person. I have ran everything down, but one rifle is special and I need some help in pricing it.

This rifle is a custom sporterized Springfield 1903 with a custom bull barrel. The barrel is massive as in 27 inches long and 1 1/8 inch in diameter. It is chambered in 30.06 and is marked W.A.Sukalle Gunsmith Phoenix, AZ. There is an adjustable Lyman 4T front sight installed in a dovetail on this barrel.The rifle has scope mounts on a one piece base drilled to the receiver.
My research showed that W.A.Sukalle was a well respected custom rifle maker in the 40's- 50's -60's timeframe working out his shop in Phoenix, AZ. He built several rifles for Jack O'Conners and others. I believe that it was built for Bench Rest shooting. Fortunately there was only dust on this rifle and it is in overall excellent shape. However I have no idea as to the value of it. Would a current bench rest shooter still have interest in owning this fine old rifle?

Does anyone know where the bench rest crowd hangs out on the internet? Sorry but I am unable to post pictures of this rifle.
Thanks in advance for any help that can be provided.

August 09, 2016, 21:39
That sounds more like a " Long range bull gun " for 600, 800 or 1,000 yard matches.

Does it have a rail in the forend for a hand stop ? Adjustable buttplate ?


August 09, 2016, 21:58
No rail and no adjustable buttstock.
The stock is a C-style 1903 stock that has been checkered and it has a standard military leather adjustable sling with standard front and rear swivels.

Right Side Up
August 09, 2016, 22:04
Register at http://benchrest.com and ask them. Lots of old people there that may e able to shed some history on the gunsmith.

August 10, 2016, 08:09
Sounds like a typical older custom built match style 03'..
That would be 'match', not 'benchrest', style....Though yours seems to have the target type open front sight and was at some later time converted from open match rear sight to scope use.
IMHO, Unless it has a real star gauge barrel or their is special interest and a following for this 'WA Sukalle' builder, value is pretty much limited to the sum of the parts on older match rifles like this....and it's probably worth most to somebody just wanting to create a quasi 'military sniper' type rifle...
Just my .02
Cheers, YV

August 10, 2016, 11:04
You might consider sending that rifel to one of the hi-end auction houses.



August 15, 2016, 02:13
Respected professional told me recently that once the Smith that built a gun dies, reputation fades, it's worth what a butchered O.E.M. rifle of same type or value of action and useable parts. Talked it around and several professional firearms appraisers agreed with that basis premise. Unless was owned by Elmer Keith or Winston Churchill and have paperwork to prove, it's just a butcher rifle. Sad as appraisers devalued several of my customs when smith's retired as not producing high dollar new guns to base a value on. Hard call valuing a custom with no confirmed history. How do you even put a round count in it to figure wear? Post some pictures if can, looking for another turn bolt in 30-06 for a specific purpose and may be in my wheelhouse. Willing to pay for value seen.

August 15, 2016, 05:22
I would be interested in it also.