Today is our birthday! The founding of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild took place in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 5, 1983. The initial group of craftsmen who gathered at the meeting were actively engaged in metal and woodworking skills required to produce “classic” rifles and shotguns. These 76 pioneers came together to exchange ideas, share their passion, and ultimately form the ACGG.

John E. Maxson’s first publication highlights the primary objectives of the ACGG, which include:

  1. Forming an association for craftsmen to exchange ideas concerning their craft.
  2. Promoting public awareness of custom gunmakers and their work.
  3. Encouraging the betterment of custom gunmaking through education.
  4. Publishing articles of interest to custom gunmakers.
  5. Establishing standards of excellence and ethical principles in custom gunmaking.

In line with these objectives, the ACGG has pursued various initiatives to promote the art of custom gunmaking, hosting an annual show, and fostering an environment where both creators and users of custom guns can benefit from the organization’s efforts.

The Charter Members of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild:

John E. Maxson Steve Billeb Herman Waldron
Al Lind Roger Green Al Biesen
Don Allen Pete Grisel Earl K. Matsuoka
Bill McGuire Ross Billingsley Bob Emmons
Charles Grace Pete Mazur Larry Amrine
Steve Lisenby Tony Fleming Mike F. Meacham
Don Klein Bob West Jim Botsford
Mark Lee Jerry Fisher Ralph Carter
Duane Wiebe Glen Morovits Paul Dressel
Tom Morrow Graham Bostick Mark Silver
Jack Belk Monte Mandarino David Miller
Ralph Bone Greg Boeke Ed Webber
T.J. Kaye Sterling Davenport Dennis Richards
Jay Robinson Stan McFarland Terry Wallace
Kevin Campbell Garnet D. Brawley Dietrich Apel
Joe Balickie Lowell Manley Gary Goudy
J. Korzinek Larry D. Brace Paul R. Nickels
Byrd N. Pearson Robert M. Winter Dale W. Goens
Maurice Ottmar Dave Talley Cecil Weems
D’Arcy Echols Todd Trefts Phil Fischer
Winston G. Churchill James A. Zahm Don Bartlett
Paul E. Marquart Fred D. Speiser Jay Frazier
Ken Jantz Hubert J. Hecht Roger Biesen
Ken Eyster Jack T. Haugh Charles R. Joines
Bob Lepley Bruce Nettestad Ted Nicklas
Jim Westberg


These founding members laid the groundwork for the ACGG, setting the stage for the growth and development of the organization over the past 40 years. As we celebrate the ACGG’s 40th anniversary, we honor their dedication and foresight in fostering a community that continues to advance the art of custom gunmaking.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all current members for their unwavering dedication and commitment to the art of custom gunmaking. With their passion and expertise, the future of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild and the custom gunmaking industry as a whole shines brighter than ever.

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