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Art Freund Dies

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by John Ross, Oct 2, 2004.

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  1. John Ross

    John Ross Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2004
  2. jdomin

    jdomin Member

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    John Sounds like you were a true friend to art

    gods speed to art
     
  3. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    The name Art Freund is legendary in the world of Bench Rest. Thanks for sharing some of your inside scoop, John.

    RIP, Art.
     
  4. MAURICE

    MAURICE Member

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    I am very sorry for your loss.
    -Robert
     
  5. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Another shooter has gone to the big range in the sky.:(
     
  6. J Miller

    J Miller Member

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    My sincerest condolences for the loss of your friend.


    Joe
     
  7. Roon

    Roon Member

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    We would all be much richer with people like that in our lives. You are a very fortunate man to have made his acquaintance.
     
  8. hksw

    hksw Member

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    My condolences.
     
  9. dustind

    dustind Member

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    Sorry for your loss. :(
     
  10. kudu
    • Contributing Member

    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    My condolences. Sorry for your loss. :( Thank's for sharing some memories with us.
     
  11. TNrifleman

    TNrifleman Member

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    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.
     
  12. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    I am sorry to hear of your loss.Thanks for sharing your memories with us.
     
  13. RevDisk

    RevDisk Member

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    May he go to the big range in the sky, where ammo is free and the lanes are always open


    My condolences, Mr Ross.
     
  14. DorGunR

    DorGunR Member

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    My condolences Mr Ross, and thanks for sharing that story with us.
     
  15. czhen

    czhen Member

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    Good friendship

    My condolences and thanks for sharing your memories with us.

    Henry, Fl
     
  16. Greg L

    Greg L Member

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    My condolences.

    We are certainly diminished :( .

    Greg
     
  17. Atticus

    Atticus Member

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    My condolences as well. Rest in Peace Mr. Freund
     
  18. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Member

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    He was an influence on us all, I think...

    My condolences, Mr. Ross, and thank you for giving us a broader glimpse of what he was like. He will be missed.
     
  19. 0007

    0007 Member

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    condolances to you and his family.
     
  20. BHPshooter

    BHPshooter Member

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    Losing a friend is never easy. My sincerest condolences.

    Wes
     
  21. atek3

    atek3 Member

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    Sounds like a real good man. It's sad when good people pass on.

    atek3
     
  22. Rickstir

    Rickstir Member

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    John, thanks for your remembrances. He had a grand life. That's alot to be thankful for.
     
  23. BadWolf

    BadWolf Member

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    My Condolences... he sounds like a grand fellow who lived a great full life!
     
  24. Maddock

    Maddock Member

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    John, my condolences to you, Art’s family and friends.
     
  25. Nathanael_Greene

    Nathanael_Greene Member

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    "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.
     
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