Customer Service

Discussion in 'General Sako Discussions' started by icebear, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    This is a bit off topic since it's not Sako related but I thought I'd share some recent positive experiences with customer service from gun manufacturers. In light of some of the poor experiences with Beretta USA that have been posted, here are a couple of counterpoints.

    Last weekend, at an otherwise boring gun show in Willcox, Arizona, I picked up a pretty good deal on a Springfield Armory Champion in like-new condition for $560. This is basically Springfield's take on a Lightweight Commander, i.e. a 4" barrel on an alloy frame with full-length grip. However, Springfield designed their version with a bull barrel, a dual recoil spring with a guide rod, and no barrel bushing. Takedown requires a special tool, included with the gun but which the seller neglected to include in the deal or mention that it was required. Having worked on conventional 1911's for the past 20 years or so without any tools except a drift punch and a screwdriver for the grips, I didn't have a clue. I called Springfield on Wednesday, talked to a very nice woman in customer service, and the necessary takedown tool was in my mailbox today (Saturday). No charge.

    Had a similar experience with Colt a while back. I bought the "Gold Cup" version of Colt's inexpensive 1911 clone in .22 Long Rifle. This isn't the old Ace or conversion kit with the floating chamber; it's a fixed-chamber, alloy-frame look-alike that is advertised as made by Walther but actually built by Umarex, a German airgun company that now owns Walther. Anyway, it has some differences from a regular 1911 - some parts are not interchangeable and some things are designed a bit differently. In the process of trying to fix the Godawful trigger pull, I managed to lose the plunger that retains the thumb safety (this is one of the parts that isn't quite the same as an original 1911). I called Colt and told them what had happened and they sent me two or three new ones - no charge. Once again, a very positive experience and this time it was my own fault and they still took care of it for free.

    While we're on the subject of the Colt/Walther/Umarex 1911, I don't recommend it. The gun is quite accurate but the trigger pull out of the box was terrible. I mentioned this to the Colt tech and he basically said, yeah, most of them are like that. I inspected the sear/hammer engagement and found that there is a slight hook in the surfaces rather than a straight 90 degrees, so the sear has to push against the hammer spring to release. And, the dimensions of the hammer and sear are not standard, so you can't just drop in a Wilson Combat set like I tried to do. Won't work. You can thumb cock the gun, but the slide won't push the hammer down far enough to engage the sear. Umarex is making a lot of .22 repros out of airgun parts and I don't think much of them. I also have a new version .22 Walther PPK/S, built by Umarex, and, while it's definitely better than the Umarex/Colt, it still isn't a real Walther. Umarex is making .22 semiauto handguns and rifles under a number of different brand names, but I'd advise staying away from them. The only way to tell if it's made in the Umarex factory or the Walther factory is the German proof mark. Three crowns (Köln proof) and it's by Umarex; an antler (Ulm) and it's a real Walther. The Colts and other US brand, German-made guns have German proof marks. Some other German companies such as GSG are also making .22 clones of various semiauto rifles and handguns; I don't know how good or bad those are.

    This post is already too long, but I also want to relate my experience with DS Arms. I bought one of their FAL's secondhand, a rare special run called the Game Ranger. It's styled after some rifles that DSA built for anti-poaching units in Africa. Anyway, it didn't feed properly and it turned out that DSA had omitted the machining operation for the feed ramp on one lot of barrels. The previous owner, who is a friend of mine, had gotten lucky and the ammo/magazine combination he was using worked - but when I tried a variety of ammo and mags, it was jam city. So I called DSA and e-mailed them a photo of the chamber. They sent me a prepaid shipping label, fixed the gun, and sent it back to me at no charge, not even shipping, even though I was not the original purchaser of the gun. And to top it off, I got a personal phone call from the gunsmith who did the work. He apologized for the manufacturing error and explained exactly what was wrong and what he did to fix it. Now that's service.

    The Game Ranger is a metric FAL with 18" barrel, fixed stock, and a special green finish. The receiver bears an engraved rhino head, which I filled in with a gold lacquer stick. I thought some of our members in South Africa might like to see a picture, since it is styled after guns built by DSA for anti-poaching units in SA and Kenya.
    Rhino Head.JPG

  2. robinpeck

    robinpeck Well-Known Member

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    re: Hornady

    A few years ago, in a major error of judgement, I managed to really mess up two different (6.5x55 and 6.5x54) Hornady die sets trying to get primers out of Berdan primed 6.5x54 cases that I was sure were Boxer primed (and obviously were not)... no need to explain it all, but in general I managed to really mess up two sets of dies...I broke various parts and did all sorts of things wrong...after I realized what I had done, I phoned up Hornady to try and order replacement parts. I explained that it was totally my fault. However, the woman on the phone would not sell me any parts. Instead she insisted on sending me all parts necessary and then some (my dies were an older Hornady design and so she sent me various other updated parts) ...all totally for free...including free shipping to Canada via international express mail. Whenever I can, I buy Hornady now.
  3. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    Nice to hear these excellent customer service stories.

    I’ll share on too. I don’t own many Vortex Optics products. Officially, I own two, a basic red dot and a Razor series compact spotter. I wanted a compact spotter which would fit better in my pack, and wasn’t in a position to spend a ton of cash at the time. Plus, I had several gift cards to help offset the out of pocket expense. I bought the compact Razor in Cabela’s Bargin Cave about 4 years ago. The Razor is Vortex’s top line.

    Just before I was about to leave on my most recent elk and deer trips. I noticed the eye piece was not functioning properly. It was stiff and gravely while rotating between the powers. I called Vortex customer service and spoke to a very helpful young lady. I also spoke to a technical rep. After an explanation she was going to next day ship a new eye piece, then asked if I had a Cabela’s store within a reasonable drive. I happen to live within five minutes of one, so she called the store to check the inventory. She called me back and had one waiting for me in the Optics department. Not the eye piece, an entire new spotter, and the new HD model to boot. I simply boxed up the defective one, stopped by the store, and was back in business.

    I had heard about Vortex’ warranty which is mostly a 100% no fault warranty, but it was very nice to know it was there when I needed it.
    XTrooper and ricksengines like this.

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