Art Freund Dies


PDA






John Ross
October 2, 2004, 12:10 PM
Art Freund, one of my closest friends for the last 32 years, died Thurday morning at 1:30. He went into hospice care about two weeks ago when the cancer that had been driven off a decade ago came back. He was 86.

Art was one of the country's most skilled benchrest gunsmiths and competitors, with dozens of world records to his credit. For many years he held the 10-shot 300 yard Heavy Bench record at .691", set in the early '70s with a rifle he had built himself, and by that I mean the action started as a block of 4140. He had the target taped up on one of the tool chests in his shop, and as I recall, six or seven of the ten shots were in one hole. "I squirted a few," he used to joke whenever he saw someone looking at it.

Over the years and starting when I was too young to drive, I spent hundreds of hours down in Art's basement, "helping" with various gunsmithing projects. He probably could have finished most of them more quickly alone, but he was always willing to let me be part of the process.

He built over two dozen match, varmint, and dangerous game rifles for me over the last 30 years, built (and barreled) an action in .50 BMG Improved back in 1977 when there were no commercial .50 actions available, and finished dozens of other projects. He made the brass cases for the 4-bore I took to Africa, converted my M95 .30-40 to .458, did lots of custom work on machine guns for me (Art liked ALL guns), made a .223 linker/delinker, produced countless benchrest dies for the rifles he built, and even machined parts for the Corvette-engined motorcycle I built. His last job for me was early this year, cutting down a S&W 500 to 6" with no comp and a half lug, so I could try to convince S&W at the SHOT show to build them that way.

Some of my happiest memories are of going prairie dog hunting in Wyoming with Art and his son Bob. We drove up, shared gas expenses and a room in a cheap hotel, and I figured out the trip cost me under $80 total, plus about $135 in component costs for the 1200 rounds of .223 I fired. It was the best cost/fun ratio of any vacation I ever went on.

Being a gunsmith was Art's second job. His main employment, until he retired, was as a photoengraver for the Post-Dispatch. He (and his wife Helen) managed to raise nine children, work a full time job, build record-setting rifles for customers, set records himself, and still find time for the offbeat projects dreamed up by people like me.

One of my favorite memories of Art was the delight he took in my own love of big-bore rifles. He examined my Gil Van Horn-built .510 Wells (arguably my most effective dangerous game rifle) and decided to build a duplicate for himself. He was over 75 at the time. I guess there was a bit of John Buhmiller in him...

There's an old saying that it's far better to wear out than to rust out. Art used to lament the way doctors had prolonged his brother's life at the cost of tremendous pain and misery. Given that a month or so ago, Art was driving, doing gun work, and shooting a couple times a week, I'd say his own last days were much closer to the way most of us would like to go: Quickly, but with enough time for our family and friends to say their goodbyes.

We are diminished...

JR

And yes, Art was the inspiration for "Curt Behnke" in Unintended Consequences.

If you enjoyed reading about "Art Freund Dies" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
jdomin
October 2, 2004, 12:15 PM
gods speed to art

Mal H
October 2, 2004, 12:28 PM
The name Art Freund is legendary in the world of Bench Rest. Thanks for sharing some of your inside scoop, John.

RIP, Art.

MAURICE
October 2, 2004, 01:08 PM
I am very sorry for your loss.
-Robert

4v50 Gary
October 2, 2004, 02:42 PM
Another shooter has gone to the big range in the sky.:(

J Miller
October 2, 2004, 02:48 PM
My sincerest condolences for the loss of your friend.


Joe

Roon
October 2, 2004, 03:30 PM
We would all be much richer with people like that in our lives. You are a very fortunate man to have made his acquaintance.

hksw
October 2, 2004, 07:01 PM
My condolences.

dustind
October 2, 2004, 07:45 PM
Sorry for your loss. :(

kudu
October 2, 2004, 09:36 PM
My condolences. Sorry for your loss. :( Thank's for sharing some memories with us.

TNrifleman
October 2, 2004, 10:24 PM
My condolences also. Thank you for sharing some of your wonderful memories of him with us. He sounds like one incredibly unique and talented person.

Shanghai McCoy
October 2, 2004, 10:26 PM
I am sorry to hear of your loss.Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

RevDisk
October 2, 2004, 10:26 PM
May he go to the big range in the sky, where ammo is free and the lanes are always open


My condolences, Mr Ross.

DorGunR
October 2, 2004, 11:06 PM
My condolences Mr Ross, and thanks for sharing that story with us.

czhen
October 3, 2004, 05:07 AM
My condolences and thanks for sharing your memories with us.

Henry, Fl

Greg L
October 3, 2004, 09:33 AM
My condolences.

We are certainly diminished :( .

Greg

Atticus
October 3, 2004, 10:55 AM
My condolences as well. Rest in Peace Mr. Freund

Brian Dale
October 3, 2004, 10:59 AM
My condolences, Mr. Ross, and thank you for giving us a broader glimpse of what he was like. He will be missed.

0007
October 3, 2004, 11:56 AM
condolances to you and his family.

BHPshooter
October 3, 2004, 12:05 PM
Losing a friend is never easy. My sincerest condolences.

Wes

atek3
October 4, 2004, 03:57 PM
Sounds like a real good man. It's sad when good people pass on.

atek3

Rickstir
October 4, 2004, 04:07 PM
John, thanks for your remembrances. He had a grand life. That's alot to be thankful for.

BadWolf
October 4, 2004, 04:46 PM
My Condolences... he sounds like a grand fellow who lived a great full life!

Maddock
October 4, 2004, 11:05 PM
John, my condolences to you, Art’s family and friends.

Nathanael_Greene
October 5, 2004, 11:33 AM
"Freund" means "friend" in German.

He was one, and you were one as well.

My condolences to you and his loved hones for the loss of such a great man.

Harold Mayo
October 5, 2004, 11:55 AM
Sorry for your loss, John. Friends and mentors like that are few and far between.

Being a gunsmith was Art's second job. His main employment, until he retired, was as a photoengraver for the Post-Dispatch. He (and his wife Helen) managed to raise nine children, work a full time job, build record-setting rifles for customers, set records himself, and still find time for the offbeat projects dreamed up by people like me.


Isn't it amazing that, in today's world of labor-saving devices, people complain of not having enough time? This man (and his wife) managed to do all of that (and likely more) but so many today would never be able to touch all of those accomplishments in combination.


And yes, Art was the inspiration for "Curt Behnke" in Unintended Consequences.

I recognized him immediately as that character, as I'm certain many other readers did. I have no idea how Mr. Freund felt about your book or the "Behnke" character, but I would personally be very honored if a friend had immortalized me in print with the obvious admiration that you did with him in Unintended Consequences.

Yooper
October 5, 2004, 01:02 PM
You have truly honored your friend to remember his life and to share that with others. My condolences to you and Art's family.

Black Dragon
October 5, 2004, 01:31 PM
Condolences to you and Art's family in this time.

If you enjoyed reading about "Art Freund Dies" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!