Imagine a gun maker so passionately creative that one’s grandest wishes for the most fanciful firearms come to dazzling realization as if crafted by a fairytale genie. Imagine a gun maker so driven toward perfection and of such technological sophistication that the laws of physics are dared to interfere with his genius. If your mind can vault these challenges, you can grasp, indeed, absorb, the art of master gun maker Peter Hofer.
Brilliant mechanical solutions do not sufficiently illuminate the breadth and depth of Peter Hofer’s artistry, whether on the grandest scale or the most petit. Sequential safeties and trigger selectors for three, four, even five barrel firearms, have been crafted. Fabricating .17 HMR rifled barrels for the world’s smallest double rifle (0.9 kg) as thin as soda straws yet strong enough to fire tens of thousands of rounds has been achieved. The world’s smallest side-by-side rifle with shotgun barrel below (1.7 kg), the smallest over/under shotgun rifle (1.9 kg) and the world’s largest double barrel rifle calibre 4 bore (13.5 kg) have been brought to reality in Peter Hofer’s shop in Ferlach, Austria, the ‘city of gunsmiths.’
Technology and artistic advances launch Peter Hofer firearms into the realm of the sublime. Development of the effective spring and firing pin system to fire the .22 Hornet and the .410 cartridges of the tiny “Butterfly” double rifle/double shotgun combination required four years.
The TechnicArt, a side-by-side .375 H & H Magnum, has a built in altimeter, thermometer, watch, shot counter, digital compass and even a GPS tracking system, activated and deactivated by a mobile phone, which, when the firearms is moved, sends a message by satellite allowing it to be located within one meter. The dazzling .375 H & H Magnum side-by-side Tiger rifle boasts Buttini engraving of 8,000 dots per square millimeter, game scenes in yellow, orange, green, red and white gold and the application of a new enamel technique.
Peter Hofer handcrafts firearms in a mind-numbing forty-two different barrel combinations, over three hundred calibers and a dozen different systems. Some of his walnut burr stock blanks are nine hundred years old and seem to emit an inner luminescence. “Peter Hofer,” one writer wrote, “does not compete against colleagues in the gun making fraternity. He is in a world of his own.” The statement is not an exaggeration. Peter Hofer crafts the most extraordinary firearms the human species can create. See more of Peter’s work at SCI Convention Booth 1813. To the degree that photographs can accurately convey truth, the work of Peter Hofer can be experienced by visiting his website: www.hoferwaffen.com.– Michael Sabbeth