As the Safari Club International 47th annual hunters’ convention nears, the final steps are being completed on the fifth and final rifle in the SCI World Heritage Rifle series. In fact, by the time this story is in print, the rifle will be complete and ready for its official unveiling at the 2019 SCI Convention in Reno, Nevada.
After months and months of planning and well over a year in construction, it is hard to explain the feelings and emotions inside watching it all come together. It has been a huge honor for me to be a part of the first and last rifle in the World Heritage Rifle Series.
I love the fact that the funds raised will go a long way to ensure that my children and grandchildren will have the same opportunities to live the outdoor way of life that has been such an integral part of my life. Now more than ever, we all need to do what we can do to preserve our way of life that is constantly under attack.
I am also extremely pleased to announce that I was able to talk my father, John Sr., into coming out of retirement and applying his unbelievable checkering talents to this rifle. It was so nice having him back in the shop just like old times. Once again, Dad absolutely amazed me with his skills and did a beautiful job on this one-of-a-kind, extremely difficult checkering pattern.
Most likely, this will be the last exhibition rifle we will build together as a father and son team. It was very important to me that my dad had a part in the creation of this rifle. He is a true artist, conservationist and a great father. I am forever grateful to him for his hard work, creativity and for being a part of this project.
Another key element in building a world-class rifle is the engraving. Selecting an engraver for a project of this level was an easy decision for me. I have always admired the engraving work of master engraver, Mike Dubber. We have worked together on several projects and I feel our work really compliments each of our individual artistic styles.
The engraving work done to date on this rifle is spectacular! It is obvious that some of Mike’s best work is in this rifle. He has been gracious enough to share his perspective and outline a few of the details associated with this project below.
“It’s always a pleasure to engrave a Bolliger Rifle. The Bolligers have established their reputation as Master Gunmakers over the course of many years. Their rifles have been carried around the world by hunters who appreciate quality, workmanship, and accuracy second to none. Hunters know they can trust these fine weapons to perform in a wide variety of hunting environments.
“Many of these hunters also choose to embellish their guns, to make them personal, to make them distinctive, and to add another layer of distinction to an already superior hunting weapon. It’s a natural manifestation of armament and art; there has been an unfading interest in the decoration of weaponry throughout the ages.
“A Bolliger Custom Rifle lends itself naturally to the art of the engraver. The metal is transitioned from its original configuration to a more artistic interpretation of what a rifle should look like. While manufacturers have traditionally concentrated on function, the custom rifle maker adds beauty, strength, and personality to the base mechanism. The process includes a complete redesign of many of these components and replacement of other parts. High quality barrels and knowledgeable gunsmithing takes over where the basic manufacturing process ended.
“After the metal is fashioned and perfected, the art of stock making takes over. There is no doubt that a finely crafted wood stock is an essential element in expressing the custom-built quality of a fine rifle. These select pieces of walnut and other exotic woods add to the beauty and function – and if they are designed correctly, they also provide superior sighting planes and the personal alliance of gun and shooter. Fit, finish and checkering are the deciding factors in how well the gun maker interconnected the gun directly with its shooter. These fine rifles complement the hunter and honor the game animal.
“The final step in this metamorphosis of wood and metal is to embellish the work of the gunmaker with fine engraving. Embellishment of the metal blends the skills of the gunmaker and engraver into one complete package. These firearms express the individuality of their shooters; they are a one-of-a-kind piece of art.
“For the last rifle in the World Heritage Series I wanted to add some special touches to elevate this piece above the others. I selected four 5-point VVS1 diamonds for mounting in the stock escutcheon cross bolt heads. Now, in addition to 24k inlaid gold boarders and animals, the four diamonds subtlety grace the presentation with yet another point of visual interest.”
Thank you so much Mike for your hard work and dedication to this project. The engraving is in a class of its own and the detail of your work is simply stunning. I would also like to thank Tom Julian of Julian & Sons Fine Woodworking for the creation of the beautiful credenza this rifle will proudly be displayed on. The credenza will feature a top quality American black walnut exterior, beveled mirror back, enclosed storage shelving and a full-length pull-out drawer with a French fitted insert to house the scope and all the rifle’s accessories. I can’t think of a better way to complement this world-class rifle than to be displayed on a custom Julian one-of-a-kind work of art.
I would also like to thank Swarovski Optik for their continued support of SCI and hunters around the world. They were gracious enough to donate one of their top-of-the-line Z8i rifle scopes. I have personally used Swarovski products for years and I can’t say enough about their customer service, their commitment to quality and their full line of optics that are truly second-to-none.
Most importantly, thank you, the SCI membership. None of this would be possible without your support. It is the highlight of my year to visit with old friends and make many new friends every year at the SCI Convention. Since Convention has been moved forward into early January 2019, this will be the final issue of SAFARI Magazine before the convention.
The grand unveiling of this entire ensemble takes place at the 2019 SCI Convention in Reno, Nevada. The entire collection will be on display outside of booth #2111 each day of Convention and will be sold at auction to the highest bidder on Saturday evening, January 12.
I would like to personally invite everyone to come to my booth for your private showing of the fifth and final rifle in the SCI World Heritage Rifle Series.
You can visit www.mountainriflery.com or Mountain Riflery’s Facebook page for the final updates and current photos of the project.
I look forward to seeing you in Reno!–John Bolliger, Jr.