When I mentioned in this space last week that I own no centerfire rifles it seemed to upset some of you. The last thing I want is agitated readers, and if that means I have to buy a rifle, I can live with that. So, last week when I visited Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co., after I looked at shotguns, I asked CSMC's Lou Frutuoso to show me something in a centerfire.
Connecticut Shotgun Mfg. Co, I should mention here, makes absolutely gorgeous A.H. Foxes, Winchester Model 21s, and Parkers as well as O/Us and doubles of their own design entirely in-house, right here in America. CSMC employs about 70 people in its factory housed in a former Stanley tool plant in New Britain, CT. Their work is world-class and you can drool over it at Connecticutshotgun.com.
Anyway, here's the rifle Fruotoso found for me: a sidelock O/U in .22 Hornet (you can click on a picture to enlarge it). The deep relief engraving, by Richard Roy of Hartford, CT, is inlaid with gold and depicts all manner of small game, painstakingly rendered in steel. That's solid gold wire you see inlaid around the borders of the checkering. The action is scaled down to match the size of the diminutive .22 Hornet. Not only is this rifle a wand of rarified beauty, it would be perfect for facing down a charging woodchuck.
The price? "$189,000," said Joe. I set the rifle down very carefully and took the picture you see here. Surely someone else will buy it - one of you, perhaps? Me, I'll have to pass, but I'm glad to see that such craftsmanship still exists in the USA.