Industry Insider's Cameron Hopkins at the Nurnberg, Germany at the 2010 IWA Firearms show.
An Ornate Lever
The lever of the Karl Hauptmann "African Tribute" rifle is a hippo head. Note the ornate gold inlay and the croc's head for a safety.
Turkish Wood Sellers
Turkish wood sellers display at IWA, looking for both gunmakers and clients to pick out choice pieces of Circassian walnut blanks.
A Work of Shooting Art
A Peter Hofer single-trigger over-under rifle with classic Germanic engraving and gold inlay. Hofer's clients include Saudi sheiks, Russian oil barons, Ugo Beretta and anyone with seven-figures to spend on a work of shooting art.
Guns from Ferlach
Guns from Ferlach, Austria are the pinnacle of the gunmaker's art, but very much in the Germanic style of deep-relief engraving, Bavarian combs and Schnabel forends.
The right sideplate from Karl Hauptmann's "African Tribute" rifle with Cape buffalo and gold inlay.
Godfather of Ferlach
Peter Hofer, the godfather of Ferlach, showed the petite next to the massive, a 4 bore double rifle (in the white) and a .17 HMR double.
The underside of the Karl Hauptmann "African Tribute" rifle, again noting the deeply cut Germanic engraving.
Karl Hauptmann's "African Tribute"
The right sideplate from Karl Hauptmann's "African Tribute" double rifle. Note the deeply chisled "Germanic" style of engraving of these rhino. The rifle carries a suggested retail of 450,000 Euro.
The European Way
Europeans prize their wood as much as their metalwork. It's not uncommon for a customer to pick his wood separately and then order his rifle.
Over-unders and Drillings
Over-unders and drillings are popular in Europe where "driven game" is a common method of hunting. You don't know what's going to run out of the woods-- a rabbit, a wild boar, a stag-- so you need a multi-caliber firearm.
German tastes in guns are evident in this single-shot with engraved sideplates and a Bavarian cheekpiece.
Engraver with a Chasing Hammer
An engraver works with a chasing hammer on a fine pattern of scroll.
Engraver at Work
An engraver works on a Bulino pattern at one of a Ferlach gunmaker's booth.
Trompeter-Ritchi of Germany specializes in gun engraving and scrimshaw (www.trompeter-ritchi.de).
Ferlach Makers from Austria
IWA attendees admire one of the high-grade custom rifles in Hall 3 where the Ferlach makers from Austria are cloistered together. (NOTE: THAT'S NOT A TYPO FOR "CLUSTERED.")
Allan Utermark from Holland & Holland with a Royal Grade shotgun. Allan says the high-end gun market is not thriving, but holding on.
Quite a Display
Ferlach gunmakers embellish their work with exhibition grade walnut and engraving. Note the typical German "claw" mount for the Zeiss scope.