Safari Club International is joining four top riflemakers to create a series of five rifles that celebrate the heritage of both hunting and gunmaking by focusing on five different continental regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Americas). Starting with the 2015 SCI Hunters’ Convention, one rifle will be auctioned off to the highest bidder each year.
John Bolliger of Mountain Riflery in Pocatello, Idaho is spearheading this incredible project and has enlisted three other makers for the project. Bolliger will create the first and last rifles of the series, and the three other makers will build the remaining works of art.
A lot of the materials used in the different projects originate in the continent
Represented — stock wood, case leather, knife handle material, etc. For instance, the Africa rifle has stock wood from Morocco (North
Africa), case leather is Cape buffalo and knife handle is Cape buffalo horn.
Each rifle and case will be displayed on a Tom Julian credenza, which will be included for the buyer.
By year of auction, the series will be:
2015 – Africa. John Bolliger/Mountain Riflery
2016 – Asia. Rigby
2017 – Europe. New England Custom Gun
2018 – Oceania (Australia/New Zealand). Ryan Breeding
2019 – Americas. John Bolliger/Mountain Riflery
Each rifle in the series will be an Exhibition Sporting Rifle engraved with the most sought-after trophy animal/animals of that continent and will include:
French fitted leather case
Exhibition engraved custom knife
Accessories (oil bottles, cleaning rod, screw drivers, etc.)
Work is underway for the Africa rifle in this new series, and SAFARI Magazine will publish updates and added information about this exciting project in each issue between now and the January/February 2015 (Convention) issue. The completed Africa rifle will sell to the highest bidder on Saturday evening at the 2015 Convention.
Almost since the beginning, SCI has been involved with higher-grade firearms. In the early years when the club was headquartered in the Los Angeles area, both Roy Weatherby and Frank Pachmayr were there to lend a hand. Weatherby provided hunting rifles and Pachmayr donated high-grade double-barreled shotguns for both chapters and the international organization to use for auctions to raise money for the various missions.
Although SCI has offered some of the world’s finest firearms for auction individually at its Convention throughout the years, almost from the beginning, every decade or so, added focus is put on projects that involve collaborations with makers that result in series of rifles being offered.
Several times, SCI has joined top gunmakers in a number of individual and series projects, all of which have resulted in the auction sales of the rifles at the SCI Convention.
First of such efforts was called the Big Five Project, which started in 1982 and honored all of the animals of the Africa Big Five, ending in 1986.
The next such effort was called the Most Dangerous Game series – another five-year effort that from 1992 to 1996 honored the Grizzly Bear, Bengal Tiger, Cape Buffalo-African Lion, Polar Bear and Elephant.
Now it is time to begin the World Heritage Rifle Series. This time the focus will be on major hunting areas of the world.
The first rifle ensemble, called Africa, is the work of six accomplished artisans:
John Bolliger Sr., Project Design, Rifle Maker
John Bolliger Jr., Rifle Maker
Mike Dubber, Master Engraver
Dennis Friendley, Knife Maker
Marvin Huey, Case Maker
Tom Jullian, Cabinet Maker
Action – Highly refined FN/Winchester Model 70 square-bridged with Bolliger’s celebrated scope rings and bases. These rings/bases were introduced in 1992 and have graced hundreds of rifles since their introduction. These exceptional sculptured rings/bases are some of the most beautiful on the market and have stood the test of time for strength and ability to return to zero after removal. The action is fitted with very intricate upper and lower extended tangs.
Barrel – Fully integral Krieger Match Grade (started as 2 ½-inch round blank from Krieger) featuring full-length integral rib, integral quarter rib, integral banded front sight ramp, integral banded swivel base and an integral recoil lug under the barrel reinforced with forend escutcheon. The barrel is chambered for the .416 Rigby cartridge.
Stock – The wood is a highly figured bank of Moroccan walnut, which came from a tree that was 350 years old when cut. It is a superb piece of Juglans Regia, which has been air drying in Idaho for nearly a decade. The stock has been shaped in the Classic American style, incorporating a straight comb to minimize felt recoil and reduce muzzle lift. With its graceful swept back, open grip, the stock is expertly fitted with several artistically shaped steel accessories – butt plate, trap cap, forend escutcheon and a unique and highly ornate system of cross bolts. The stock is meticulously finished in hand-rubbed oil and is checkered in an elaborate original Bolliger pattern cut at 26 LPI.
John Bolliger’s Accomplishments With SCI
Recognized as the No. 1 top exhibitor in the 1990s.
Has raised more money for SCI and its chapters than any other American gun maker.
Has been an exhibiting Life member of SCI since 1987 (27 years).
Served for three years as SCI Regional Representative.
Founded the Idaho Chapter of SCI and served as Chapter President for three years.—Steve Comus