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#73540 - 09/22/04 04:08 PM W. A. Sukalle?
steve_davis Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 11/01/01
Posts: 176
Loc: Safford, Az., USA
Can anyone give me some info on this Gunmaker from Phoenix, Az. I have heard and seen alittle about him, but curious if anyone is really familiar with his work. I got a Swede action barreled in 257 Roberts, and there seems to be some interesting things about this man. Can anyone help here, Steve
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"A smart monkey won't monkey with another monkey's monkey." Bill Earp RIP

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#73541 - 09/22/04 08:46 PM Re: W. A. Sukalle?
Archie Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 03/31/02
Posts: 57
Loc: Batchelor, La. 70715
Can't really tell you a lot without going back out to the shop and doing some research, but I can tell you that he was one of the top rank of riflemakers back in the mid-1900's--guess that shows my age bracket. You are in possession of a jewell right up there with P.O. Ackley. If you don't want it contact me and I will make you an offer.
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Be kind to children, and humor the mentally ill. Now, where did I put my crayons?

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#73542 - 09/23/04 02:25 AM Re: W. A. Sukalle?
Handloader Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 01/30/04
Posts: 422
Loc: phoenix
Sukalle's name came to my attention in the late 60s. I believe I have some reference information about him at the shop and I'll check tomorrow, but, his shop was active, as I recall, in the 30s and 40s with production ceasing in the early 50s.

His shop was on Washington Street near today's downtown area, somewhere around 14th Avenue. He did a lot of Springfield conversions into very nice sporter rifles and chambered many of these in 257 Roberts. His logo was stamped on the barrel; the barrels were made on site. Rifles ranged from basic to elaborate and there was no outsourcing; everything was fabricated in house, according to one source.

Some source (I'll check it out and see if I can locate it) indicated he corresponded with Ackley and that they visited each other when Ackley was in Salt Lake City on Arbor Lane. Probably early 50s, although, another source indicated Ackley was interested in some of his barrel making machinery and/or techniques.

In the mid 80s I came across one of the 257 Springfield Sukalle rifles and bought it. It has nice, but not figured, walnut stock, ebony forend tip and a metal trapdoor buttplate. The 24" barrel showed slight muzzle wear on the bluing. Without bedding or altering the barrel channel, it keeps 5 shots under an inch with most loads. Of all the rifles I own, this one is the easiest to clean.

Give me a day or two to look up some added info and post along with any corrections if I have misstated anything.

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#73543 - 09/23/04 02:45 PM Re: W. A. Sukalle?
steve_davis Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 11/01/01
Posts: 176
Loc: Safford, Az., USA
Appreciate the replies. I got a sad note on the rifle today. The side scope mount wash installed by the man I got the rifle from. Mr. Sukalle put regular front and rears sights when he made the rifle. Let me add something to this, would I be taking anything away from the rifle if I reblued or parkerized the barrel and action? I believe any collection value was lost when the scope mount was put on???? Anyway it is a nice rifle and looks like it wants to shoot with a little load development. Once again thanks for the help, and if there is anymore fell free to post. It is still very interesting to me. Steve
_________________________
"A smart monkey won't monkey with another monkey's monkey." Bill Earp RIP

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#73544 - 09/24/04 01:59 AM Re: W. A. Sukalle?
Handloader Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 01/30/04
Posts: 422
Loc: phoenix
Corrections to previous post: Sukalle's shop was at 1120 East Washington, Phx, AZ.

Added Information: I posted to another forum an inquiry and got, so far, one informative response. Sukalle had a shop in Tucson before relocating to Phoenix, years unknown. His barrel will tell which shop produced the rifle as it will be marked either Tucson or Phoenix.

Serial numbers were usually four or five digits. The last two digits are believed to be the year of manufacture.

Further References: American Rifleman, June 1950, "Bill The Barrelman" article and photo on cover. I have yet to locate this copy. Precision Shooting, October, 1999, "Custom Sporting Rifle Makers".

AND other misc info: Jack O'Connor refers often to Sukalle as his barrel maker of choice. Sukalle made 10 barrels for Jack's 270s and Linden did the stockwork. The bulk volume of his gunsmithing seems to have occured in the 30s.

One customer today bid on Sukalle's equipment when he retired but everything went to an unnamed gunsmith in Buckeye, AZ. Another regular customer is a retired gunsmith from the Phoenix area and may have added information. If so, I'll post any of his pertinent recollections and see if I can find the Buckeye gunsmith.

Sukalle may have moved to Prescott upon retiring.

IMO, a Sukalle rifle is an undervalued collectable. Even if subsequent modifications have occured, having the Sukalle trademark on the barrel has value and further modifications should be considered in this light.

I want to find the referenced articles and see what else can be gleened about this remarkable barrelmaker. Perhaps some list members have access to these magazines and can summarize content.

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#73545 - 10/05/04 11:01 PM Re: W. A. Sukalle?
Rikkn Offline
New Member

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 4
Loc: Las Vegas
I also have a Sukalle, in .276 Dubiel caliber. 1963 Gun Digest has a great article, with pictures, about Bill Sukalle. I have had contact with his family members, they think quite highly of him. He was a master barrellmaker, champion marksman, and apparently collaborated with the best gunsmiths of the day. The Dubile caliber was from John Dubiel, also a master gunsmith.

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#73546 - 10/06/04 12:44 AM Re: W. A. Sukalle?
Jack Roberts Offline
Admin/moderator

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 15830
Loc: Elko, NV formerly MD
Welcome to the board Rikkn!

Jack
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"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."
"Yeah, to where the going's easier." Ben Bova

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