A Customer Service Update on My Hill Country Rifles Custom 308

I was preparing to post the results of some ballistic tests with my Hill Country Rifles Custom 308Win and I realized that I had neglected to share my experience earlier in 2012 with Hill Country Rifles’ customer service.  It’s time to rectify that.  Good customer service should be recognized.

I got my HCR a few months before the 2011 South Dakota West River deer season started. I dry fired the rifle regularly before the season and then during the season I noticed some wear marks on the cerakoted bolt handle.  When hunting season was over I took a closer look at the rifle and realized that the top of the bolt handle was rubbing against the rubber power adjustment ring on the Leica scope.  The Leica ER scope has terrific optics but it also has a very large diameter ocular bell. The ocular is so large, in fact, that the bolt handle rubbed against it every time I worked the bolt briskly (and we all know that we should work the bolt briskly in hunting situations, right?).

Here’s a picture of the bolt handle with wear marks and the scope power adjustment ring.

Wear marks on the Stiller Bolt



Here you can see the lack of clearance between the bolt handle and ocular.

No clearance between bolt handle and ocular.


I called Matt Bettersworth, General Manager at Hill Country Rifles, and described the problem to him. Matt immediately apologized and said the rifle should have never left their shop like that.  Although HCR hadn’t mounted many (if any) Leica ER scopes before they mounted mine, a few other scopes (e.g. some Swarovski’s) have large enough oculars that HCR has to grind some off the top of the Stiller bolt handle to obtain the necessary clearance.    

Matt assured me they’d fix the problem at no charge and he arranged to have Federal Express pick up the rifle a few days later.  Fortunately, I had kept the heavy-duty box that HCR had shipped the rifle in originally, so it was well protected on its way back to Texas.

After a few weeks the rifle returned to my eagerly awaiting hands. HCR had thinned the bolt handle and re-applied the cerakote.  The bolt looked great and now there was enough clearance with the ocular to install a Butler Creek #7 scope cap. (To give you an idea of just how big the ER ocular is the #7 scope cap is normally used on objective lenses.)

My thanks to Matt Bettersworth and HCR for the great customer service.