Aside from being a gunmaker, D’Arcy had spent many years as a professional guide. That experience gave him the ability to see countless hunters and their rifles in the field and taught him what works and what is prone to failure. Combining his significant experience as a gunmaker, hunter and guide, he set about solving his dilemma. His solution was the Legend, a rifle built with the same commitment to excellence as his Classic rifles but, instead of the fine walnut, using a more durable and less labor-consumptive fiberglass stock. The stocks are built using a mold of Echols’ own design by McMillan Stocks in Arizona—a company that provided numerous stocks to the SEAL Teams over the years including those on the TAC-50 sniper rifle and NSW .300 Win Mag that I used in training and on the battlefield. Echols builds his Legend rifles using G-series Winchester Model 70 “Classic” actions which were built in New haven, Connecticut before that facility was closed. These actions use the features that made the Pre-’64 Model 70 famous as the “Rifleman’s Rifle”, including the full-length non-rotating extractor and the fixed ejector.
Because these rifles were built using mass production methods, some of their tolerances leave much to be desired. For this reason, Echols effectively rebuilds the actions: single-point re-machining the receiver threads, re-facing the receivers, squaring the bolt faces and otherwise ensuring that every surface is concentric, true and square. Like constructing a building on a perfect foundation, this process helps ensure that the rest of the build will be successful. The factory magazine parts go into the trash and a cartridge-specific heat-treated steel magazine box, follower, spring and trigger bow and floorplate assembly are fitted. Triggers are rebuilt and tuned for a perfect break. Plenty of custom rifles shoot tiny groups but are plagued by reliability issues that hamper their real-world performance, this is never the case with a Legend as hours upon hours are spent ensuring that each rifle feeds, fires, ejects and extracts 100% of the time. Match-grade barrel blanks, usually made by Krieger, are fit and chambered by-hand on Echols’ manual lathe using techniques to ensure that the chamber is perfectly concentric with the action raceway, down to .0001”. The stock is then carefully pillar-bedded to the action and magazine parts in three separate operations so ensure that the everything fits perfectly.