It seems like just yesterday that my father, John Bolliger Sr., and I were discussing the possibilities of a new rifle project with Safari Club International. After months of planning and preparation, the SCI World Heritage Rifle series was born. Since that time, more than four years have passed and four of the five rifles in the series have been built and sold at auction at the annual SCI Hunters’ Convention. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Rigby, New England Custom Guns and Ryan Breeding for participating in the project and creating some spectacular rifles. It is important to mention the money raised through the World Heritage Series has gone a long way to protect our hunting heritage and help preserve our sporting way of life.
I am truly honored once again to participate in the series and construct the final rifle, this one dedicated to the Americas. I can’t imagine a better way to finalize the World Heritage Series than to build a world-class rifle dedicated to the continent I call home. This is a unique opportunity for me to combine my love of country and my passion for custom rifle building.
My love of guns and hunting goes back to my earliest years of childhood. Some of my fondest memories were times spent with my hero and mentor, my dad. Throughout my entire life I always looked forward to spending time in the outdoors with him. Needless to say, we are very close. As a young man, I followed my father’s passion for fine rifles and took that passion into adulthood. I remember spending countless hours in the gun shop, mesmerized by my father’s talents.
After attending my first SCI convention in 1994 and working in the booth, I knew someday I would follow in my father’s footsteps. I began working with my father on a part-time basis for several years. I remember having a chisel in my hands for the first time, trembling over a very expensive piece of English walnut, and being absolutely terrified. My father would always say, “The only way to learn how to do something new is to do it.” Years passed, and my skills as a custom rifle maker came a long way. After several years of working in the shop part-time, my opportunity came to join forces with him full-time in 2003. Having the opportunity to work side-by-side with my father was awesome. As the years passed, we created some spectacular rifles together. Some of the highlights were a spectacular 7mm STW for Juan Carlos, the King of Spain; Dallas Safari Club’s President’s Rifle; and of course, the first rifle in the SCI World Heritage Rifle series.
Since last fall, my father has been enjoying retirement. He is very busy hunting, fishing, spending time with family, and having fun with his two treasured Labs. He has worked extremely hard all his life and I am very happy to see him enjoying his life outside the gun shop. A lot has changed in the past few years, and I really look forward to carrying on the Bolliger legacy, building world-class custom rifles for clients around the globe. I am currently hard at work on the fifth and final SCI World Heritage rifle, “The Americas,” and I look forward to unveiling it in the next issue of SAFARI Magazine. Please visit my website, www.mountainriflery.com, or my Facebook page at Mountain Riflery for the latest updates, pictures and information. –John Bollinger