Seen at Safari Club 2018 in Las Vegas…

 

A 20g SxS by James Purdey & Sons. Griffin & Howe had it.
A 20g SxS by James Purdey & Sons. Griffin & Howe had it.

Safari Club International’s Annual Hunters’ Convention is an crazy event. Part travel show, gun show, and expensive-stuff bazaar, it puts hundreds of vendors and thousands of people under one roof for four days of planning, gawking, and big-money spending.

Want to book an African safari, order a new Boss OU shotgun, get fitted for a tweed shooting suit, and pick up a $25,000 fur coat all in one afternoon? Then it’s the place to be.

This year’s event was as at the Las Vegas Convention Center. I was there Friday & Saturday, and here’s a bit of what I saw. Scroll down to see all the pics

Taxidermy is a big part of the Safari Club gathering. Great mane on this lion.
Taxidermy is a big part of the Safari Club gathering. Great mane on this lion.
More taxidermy at Safari Club gathering. That's a big bear.
More taxidermy at Safari Club gathering. That’s a big bear.
Cool croc mount
Cool croc mount
Yeah - that's real - and one of the freakiest deer I've ever seen.
Yeah – that’s real – and one of the freakiest deer I’ve ever seen.
Krieghoff double rifles
Krieghoff double rifles
A sweet little Purdey 28g OU Steve Barnett had on display. Only $109,000!
A sweet little Purdey 28g OU Steve Barnett had on display. Only $109,000!
An awesome Purdey double rifle. in .246 flanged. Westley Richards had it.
An awesome Purdey double rifle. in .246 flanged. Westley Richards had it.
One of a pair of brand new Stephen Grant sidelever SxSs that Gordy & Sons had.
One of a pair of brand new Stephen Grant sidelever SxSs that Gordy & Sons had.
A brand new 20g Purdey hammergun with damascus bbls. Gordy & Sons had it, and that price is correct -- $169,998!
A brand new 20g Purdey hammergun with damascus bbls. Gordy & Sons had it, and that price is correct — $169,998!
A 12g Boss OU at Griffin & Howe. Check out the Arabic script on the bbls.
A 12g Boss OU at Griffin & Howe. Check out the Arabic script on the bbls.
Beautiful duck mount. Really impressive work.
Beautiful duck mount. Really impressive work.
Hazel Grouse, from Russia
Hazel Grouse, from Russia

The best of the best? Perhaps…

One of the taxidermy displays at the 2016 Safari Club Show in Vegas
One of the taxidermy displays at the 2016 Safari Club Show in Vegas. All animals were full, life size, btw.

Last month, I was fortunate to spend a few day in Las Vegas at Safari Club International’s annual get together. It was a huge show, featuring outfitters, gunmakers and retailers from around the globe. If you were looking to book a hunt to anywhere in the world, find a taxidermist, order a new shotgun from the world’s top makers, or buy an expensive fur coat (oddly, several people were selling these), it was the place to be.

Droplock Westley Richards SxS shotgun. Pic from WR website
Droplock Westley Richards SxS shotgun. Pic from WR website

I was there to see the guns, and I have to say, I saw plenty of them. Most of the major makers were there with plenty of new guns on hand for me to inspect. Of these, three makers really stood out: Westley Richards, Boss & Co and Hartmann & Weiss.

Westley Richards’ new droplocks are great doubles, and their sidelocks are nice, too. While far from cheap, both are some of the best guys in the new, best-quality market. Deliver times are reasonable, too.

Boss & Co had two of their new OUs on hand for me to look at. Both were 28 gauges and very impressive.Boss & Co invented the low-profile style OU, and the guns the company is making today retain the style, elegance and quality that made this design so famous. From what I saw at the show, Boss is building the best over-unders coming out of London (and the most of London’s other major makers were at SCI).

Hartmann & Weiss OU shotgun. Pic from H&W site
Hartmann & Weiss OU shotgun. Pic from H&W site

Compared to the other gunmakers, Hartmann & Weiss had one of the smallest booths at the show. But their doubles were hugely impressive. Drop dead ‘friggin gorgeous. The 16 gauge, Boss-style OU had on hand blew me away. It may have been too nice, actually. If it were mine, I don’t know if I could bring myself to use it. Even though it was a standard gun with rose-and-scroll engraving, it looked it deserved to be displayed behind glass forever.

To see some more pics of new doubles by Boss & Co and Hartmann & Weiss, check out these posts from The Explora, Westley Richards’ great blog:

The English and German Gunmakers. Hartmann & Weiss and Boss & Co.

Boss & Co. Over and Under .500 3″NE

BOSS & Co. 20 & 28g. OVER AND UNDER.

A HARTMANN & WEISS 20g Over and Under Engraved by Alan Brown.

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