Exclusive Report: The 2007 Safari Club International Convention

BROCKMAN¿¿¿¿¿¿S RIFLES at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention

BROCKMAN

Brockman's Rifles
There are many Marlins around, but there are damned few like this one. Jim Brockman specializes in re-engineering Marlin Guide Guns. He slicks up the action, tunes the trigger, mounts serious sights of his own design, finesses the feeding, installs a cartridge trap in the buttstock, replaces the factory lever with a large-loop design that admits even a gloved hand, and on, and on. Prices depend on which nifty options you choose. His work is not cheap, but neither is it all that expensive. Brockmansrifles.com.
Heidi McGuigan
D¿¿¿¿¿¿ARCY ECHOLS at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention

D

D'Arcy Echols
MR. Echols (the grim-looking guy at right) lives in Utah, and will be pleased to build you one of his Legend rifles (held by Brian Bingham, his right-hand man, standing at left) for $12,000. He uses Krieger barrels, Winchester Model 70 actions, and his own design fiberglass stock, which is made by McMillan. "What?", you bellow, "twelve grand for a plain, plastic-stocked rifle? Are you kidding?" No, I'm not kidding, and neither is D'Arcy, nor are the people who buy his rifles, and there is no shortage of them. No e-mail, but the phone is (435) 755-6842.
Heidi McGuigan
JARRETT RIFLES at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Jarrett Rifles
Kenny Jarrett needs no introduction to anyone who does not dwell in Outer Darkness, so suffice it to say that this is his Windwalker rifle in .300 Jarrett, which his chosen all-around cartridge. Kenny makes the whole rifle, lock, stock, and barrel, and whatever you've heard about his rifles' accuracy is true. That is not Kenny hold the rifle; it's Rissa Jarrett, his daughter, who may or may not be Reese Witherspoon doing a little moonlighting. Jarrettrifles.com.
Heidi McGuigan
KNIVES OF ALASKA at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Knives Of Alaska
Charles Allen, when he¿¿¿¿¿¿s not making knives, runs a lodge in Alaska, and uses what he makes. This is his new folder, the Master Guide, and it pains me to report that it costs only $99.99, which means that even you can afford it. The blade is 154Cm steel, and the handle is a super-strong micarta called G-10. It's a heavy-duty knife that you can still carry easily in a side pocket. Knivesofalaska.com.
Heidi McGuigan
Animal Artistry at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Animal Artistry
Mike Boyce's work has a balletic quality to it - as witness this leopard putting the hooks into an impala. Oddly, I have seen a film of exactly this scene run in slow motion, and Boyce has captured the grace of this ballet of death in a manner that is quite uncanny. No one that I know of is doing work like this, and speaking of which, Mr. Boyce wishes you all to know that the designs of his mounts are copyrighted. Animalartistry.com.
Heidi McGuigan
Fabbri at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Fabbri
Legendary gun maker Frank Pachmayr called Fabbri "the best God damn gun in the world," and I am not about to argue. These exquisite Italian over/unders go mostly to big-money pigeon shooters, who love them for their uncanny strength and durability. This is a new model - stainless steel barrels and a titanium receiver - that is not only very light, but even stronger (and rustproof) than "ordinary" Fabbris. The price is $159,000 and up, depending on engraving, and the waiting period is 3 years. If you'd like to feel really bad, I can inform you that Fabbri took orders for 129 of these guns by the time the show was half over. www.fabbri.it.
Heidi McGuigan
K.L. Shelton at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
K.L. Shelton
You remember real muzzleloaders? Flints? Percussion caps? Lots of smoke and grime? No stainless steel or plastic? No scopes? Well, there are people still making them, and among the very best is K.L. Shelton, who builds impossibly gorgeous Kentucky rifles. In either flint or percussion lock. He is of the Lancaster school. His prices run from $6,000 to $10,000, and if you want something really eye-catching he can make it for $15,000. His waiting period for most guns is a year and a half. klsrifles@wbhsi.net
Heidi McGuigan
A. Freeman Studio at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
A. Freeman Studio
The art at the convention - and there was a lot of it - ranged from wonderful to execrable, and most of it was like everything else. This painting was not. It's called "No Pride, No Quarter." Lions hate hyenas, and kill them for sport, but when an old lion is driven out of his pride by the young studs, the hyenas get their payback, which is what is about to happen here. This painting is sad, spooky, menacing, and original. I understand that prints are available and cost $650 to $1,500, depending on size. Adamfreeman.com.
Heidi McGuigan
Mark Bansner Rifles at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Mark Bansner Rifles
Although he works with other actions, Mr. Bansner has begun making his own. It's very slick, very small (there is not a faction of an ounce of unneeded steel anywhere) and very strong. It forms the heart of his Ultimate Rifle, which comes with a Jewell trigger and a fiberglass stock of Bansner's design and making. These are as fine as any working rifles you can get, and the price is just under $5,000. bansnerrifles.com.
Heidi McGuigan
Lewis Drake at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Lewis Drake
Lewis Drake is a retired doctor who can pull an 85-pound stickbow and hold it. His business now is dealing in all sorts of wonderful sporting-related stuff, such as this .22 Long Rifle Gatling Gun. A perfect replica of the gun that Custer refused to take to the Little Big Horn, this little marvel holds 100 rounds in each of its four magazines, and fires 4 shots with each turn of the crank. Only 50 of these guns were made, and because they are operated by hand they are not classified as automatic weapons. The price is a piddling $17,000. drake.net.
Heidi McGuigan
Butch Searcy at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Butch Searcy
This actually happened: I was sitting in Kenny Jarrett's booth, discussing how a lack of fried food could lead to premature death, when a man came by and asked:
"Where can I get a good double rifle for $10,000?"
As one, Kenny and I said: "Butch Searcy, in the 200 aisle."
And here is that rifle. It's called the PH, and is just the kind of no-frills-knock'-em-on-their-ass gun that an African professional hunter would covet. Butch makes the whole thing. It has 24-inch barrels, comes in .375 H&H;, .470, and .500 Nitro Express, and costs $10,500. This one is a .500 Nitro, and is stocked for a left-hander, only the second southpaw double rifle I¿¿¿¿¿¿ve seen in my lifetime. I would have bought it in a heartbeat. Searcyent.com.
Heidi McGuigan
Rodger And Gloria Henn at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Rodger And Gloria Henn
As the world thaws, we are uncovering more and more frozen stuff, which includes mammoths that perished as much as 100,000 years ago. Many of these ancient pachyderms are being unearthed in Siberia, the Rodger and Gloria Henn are importing figurines and jewelry that's carved from mammoth ivory. Beautiful stuff, and not all that expensive. You can also get actual mammoth tusks, or carved tusks, or mammoth hair. I wonder what the poor grass-chomping bastards would think if they could see what happened to their teeth? ImportSpecialist.com.
Heidi McGuigan
Bill Murray at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Bill Murray
Everything he makes smells like the inside of a new Roll's-Royce, which by itself is reason enough to buy all by its lonesome. This is the Murray Carry-All, which Bill's dad first made in the 1940s and has been in continuous production every since. You can put damn near anything in it, and it's so strong, says Bill, that you could fill it with coins and walk away, assuming you could lift it. The dimensions are 12 inches long, 15 inches wide, and 12 inches deep. The price is $550. murraycustomleather.com.
Heidi McGuigan
Blue Loon Fine Arts at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Blue Loon Fine Arts
Wayne "Hardbark" McLoughlin is a gifted illustrator and artist with a subversive sense of humor. When not doing "serious" painting, he gets his ya-yas out by satirizing old sporting-goods ads, movie posters, and everything else that decent people hold sacred. And to make it worse, people buy this stuff. Lots of them. Much as I hate to encourage him, you can get the whole dismal story - and prices - at blueloonfinearts.com.
Heidi McGuigan
Arno Bernard at the 2007 Safari Club International Convention
Arno Bernard
The Republic of South Africa has a large number of very talented knifemakers, and young Mr. Bernard must be among the best. His designs are practical, he has a fine eye for line, and his work is flawless. Better yet, he charges about half of what he would if he worked in the U.S. Honest to god, people were buying two or three of his knives at a time when they realized how little they cost, which was $200-$400, depending on size and handle materials. He uses Sandvik stainless steel, and favors stag, ironwood, mammoth ivory, and various dead African-animal parts for his handles. Gorgeous knives, either as users or to drool over. His email address is arnobernard@telkomsa.net, his address is Private Bag X62, Suite #84, Bethlehem, 9700, South Africa (2758) 303 0860.
Heidi McGuigan