Showstopping 5-Rifle Masterpiece To Be Auctioned at 2023 SCI Convention.
It took five years and hundreds of hours for master custom gunmaker John Bolliger Jr. to create The African Lion Rifle Collection, a five-rifle set that is not simply unique, but which can never be duplicated. Only at a Safari Club International Convention could such masterpieces be made available to the highest bidder. The project was the most ambitious endeavor of his lifetime. After giving the project every ounce of his artistry and passion, Bolliger’s African Lion Collection is now complete.
“The project took five years to complete,” said Bolliger. “All the craftsmen who worked on the project are now deceased, except for the engravers and myself. This project was the finest single project of my career and was by far the most difficult to produce — impossible to do in today’s world, which makes this project very rare indeed!”
Country Pursuits has donated this unbelievable set of five rifles, which will be featured at the 2023 SCI Convention in Nashville. John Bolliger Jr. will display them to Convention attendees before they are auctioned to the high bidder.
The complete set of five will be a single featured auction item on the Saturday evening finale auction. Someone will own this irreplaceable set of firearms on Saturday, February 25, as we celebrate 51 years of protecting the freedom to hunt.
For the project, Bolliger acquired five consecutive stock blanks from a single 300-year-old Turkish walnut tree. This means that the left side of one stock mirrors the right side of the other. The highly figured walnut blanks were cut side-by-side and could be laid out so right side of one blank perfectly matched the left side of its neighboring blank. Blanks of this quality are extremely rare, and to have found five such consecutive blanks is virtually impossible to repeat.
Bolliger then approached Winchester and requested five Model 70 bolt actions for the project with custom, consecutive serial numbers. Actions with such special serial numbers are extremely rare, as well. It is not Winchester’s policy to do this. But because of John’s status as one of the world’s premier custom riflemakers, they finally agreed and produced the actions for this unique series.
The barrels were crafted from special order Krieger 3-inch-diameter blanks with the finest cut rifling available. These barrels, with integral bases, are an art form in themselves — it’s very difficult to machine flawlessly, and they incorporate features not normally found on production rifles.The scope rings and bases are proprietary pieces, and they represent still another artistic facet to complement such rare and beautiful rifles.
Engraving was to be done by five top American master engravers who were selected after interviews with Bolliger. Each were given parameters, including what should be on each of the rifles to ensure a diverse, but consistent theme.
This African Lion Collection also includes incredible grip caps, floor plates and butt plates, which are highly engraved and feature gold inlays, wood inlays and impeccable checkering.
These are certified new and come with Mountain Riflery’s manufacturer’s warranty.
To see more about the African Lion Rifle Collection, click here.
Check out all of the items up for auction at the SCI Convention and available online now at auction.safariclub.org.