Last Spring, my Grand Father returned his old Ultra Light Arms (ULA) 7mm08 to a gunsmith in West Virginia for adjustments. Mel Forbes, Master Gunsmith, designed and hand-crafted this remarkable rifle and the man and weapon became famous in the process. His idea of building an ultra lightweight rifle for hunters who hunt out West became very popular.
However, many eastern hunters found the handy rifle great for hunting whitetail deer and his rifle really took off. My Grandpa (left in Photo) bought this rifle in 1986 and it’s been on pack-in , fly-in and tough hunts in PA, Canada, Alaska and out West. Mel on right side.
Since we are going to Wyoming next Fall for Mule Deer and Antelope my Pup’s thought I’d need a larger caliber than my Savage 243. So, he’s handing this rifle down to me. I’m so thrilled to have this custom rifle and the Family History that goes with it.
This ULA rifle was used by my Gram (Mary Ann) back when she was a deer hunter. One year she missed a big buck when her bullet hit a sapling right in front of the deer. Too Bad!
The ULA also was used by my Aunt Jenny when she was in High School for both Buck and Doe Seasons. My Mom used the ULA rifle , too. They both learned how to shoot this deer rifle when they were 12 years old.
Pups shot this young PA Buck on the last day of deer season while hunting from his special “Rock” at the top of a mountain in Bedford County. That’s waiting till the last minute!
This 33 year old rifle had a scratch and a ding on the bolt handle and the stock was all chipped up. On one trip, a Caribou hind-quarter was rubbing on the rifle barrel during a long backpacking trip. The hot bloody meat wore the bluing off a portion of the barrel and that looked bad and a bit rusty.
The light ULA was really nice to carry while hunting on this DIY fly-in Caribou trip to the Ungava Peninsula. Also, because when you fly in to hunt, the Pilots are concerned about the overall weight of your hunting gear.
Mel’s staff took notes on our request for paint, bluing and the new stock measurements. Mel agreed to cut the stock to a shorter Length of Pull to fit me better. Then his staff would re-finish the bolt, re-blue the entire barrel, fix all the damaged areas of the stock and repaint the camo stripes. I liked the idea of have the same original camo pattern from 1986. Just like when my Grand Dad hunted with it. Today Mel’s company is called New Ultra Light Arms, (NULA).
When Mel called to say the rifle was ready to be picked up in early October, I was thrilled to go to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia to meet Mr. Forbes, see his gun shop and get my new-old rifle.
I went in the W.VA. Visitor Center and was amazed to learn that 10 to 12 thousand years ago, the Saber Toothed Tiger roamed these rugged mountains. That’s a real hunter.
My Cousin, Acey Workosky, is a graduate of West Virginia University. Hey Ace, Remember this place? The campus is huge and Mel’s NULA rifle shop is just a few miles away.
Mel was really nice to me and was really interested in my Riton Binoculars . I told him I was a Riton Pro Staff member and he said that was cool, But added, when he’s at the “Shot Show” this winter he won’t see me there because I’m not 21 years old.
Mel also checked out my Riton 6×24 Riton Scope, I told him we’re putting that scope on a 223 cal. Auto Loading Rifle for my Coyote and Fox Hunting. He was funny about using that scope at 24 power.
Mel told me to shoot straight and advised me to re-load 120 grain bullets for the 7mm08. He told me this mild recoil load will reach out for those long range shots and still have enough power to knock down a big Mule Deer Buck. The Antelope will be no problem to kill with a 7mm bullet going about 3,000 feet per second.
These custom made Kevlar stocks are each hand made by a Special Formula by the NULA Stock Technician. The stocks are not just the plastic/rubber type used on many factory rifles made today. These stocks are super strong and super straight. And very light weight.
I watched the one of the technicians prepare one of Mel’s special Kevlar stocks for it’s final paint job, this lady is a real artist. She painted my ULA stock. See my Brand New-Old rifle below.
So, here’s my finished Ultra Light Arms Rifle from Mel Forbes. Now, I just need another RITON scope for this 7mm08. So, those big Mule Deer and Antelope better Watch Out in Wyoming! I can hardly wait for next Fall to come! Thanks Mel, Great job!