In a tiny town outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas there is an 1800 square foot shop and a 500 square foot showroom with some guns, some ‘weapon furniture’ and the workshop of Boyd Lemons. Boyd is the man behind Hillbilly 223 Custom Firearms and Finishing, a business that since 2008 has been doing one-of-a-kind camouflage patterns and custom ‘paint jobs’ on knives, rifles, handguns and accessories. You’ve probably seen his work before—we’ve run pictures of some in the past and he does all the camo work for nearby Craig and Mark of Nighthawk Custom.
It’s a family business—Boyd’s son is learning the ropes and his wife (who has been his sweetheart for nearly three decades) handles the books. He got his start early on by selling his work, mostly knives, on eBay but with an increase in social media his business steadily expanded and eventually they were getting numerous requests to do firearms. That is why Hillbilly 223 is a fully accredited NFA/FFL, to facilitate customer’s transfers more easily.
Boyd still does all the actual custom work himself, though his son does the prep. There is a lot of effort involved. He might spend as much as 12 to 14 hours on a full ‘matching combo’ of AR15, magazine and blade with sheath. A single knife will take around 4 hours. Customers at Hillbilly 223 are legitimately getting singular custom artwork with hands-on detail from a craftsman, although Boyd readily admit there are ‘better artists’ out there.
“I want to sell a camo finish to customers that everyone can afford. Admittedly there are some guys out there who are better than me but they are expensive.”
Custom work usually requires a 10-14 day turnaround upon arrival at the shop, and although that might stretch out a bit during the busy season (they were slammed from Thanksgiving to Christmas) Boyd says they’ve never taken longer than 17 days to complete a project. Prices seem very reasonable given the amount of time involved and the quality of work—customers can expect to spend between $279 and $359 to have a rifle finished, but that may be higher or lower depending on the work involved and how busy he is at the shop (“If things are slow,” he laughs, “I may make you a deal!”)
Blade prices are all on the website…check there for those prices. For custom designs on something like a rifle magazine, i.e. a logo or whatever, you can expect to spend $17.99 plus a one-time artwork fee of $34.95.
Although the shop previously stocked rifles that were painted and ready to go, that’s not the case right now. They simply can’t get any rifles in stock (or for that matter very many magazines) because of the current demand. He has, however, been doing some custom rifles for his customizers that want one so having him build one from the ground up is always an option.
Hillbilly 223 has several of their own camouflage patterns, including HTAC-223 (Hillbilly Tactical), Urban Multi, Urban, Urban Stone, Urban Skullz, Urban Armor, Urban Zombies, Urban Chick, Urban Kitty and others. This appears to be an extremely well-liked company with great reviews and a huge amount of positive feedback on eBay where people have purchased from him—go check them out.