Country Pursuits & Outfitters Enjoy a “Historical” Show

    From the Mississippi Delta to the mountains of Appalachia, from the blues to bluegrass, different regions and different sounds came together to form the uniquely American genre of country music. And the vibrant history of this “melting pot” of music can be experienced first-hand at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame.
    Literally across the street, Nashville’s exhibition hall, the Music City Center, made its own history this past month welcoming over 14,000 sportsmen and women to the first day of the Safari Club International’s 51st Annual Convention (Feb. 22-25), a record opening day attendance for any event in the Center’s history.
    “Attendance was not only booming the first day, but throughout the show,” commented David Cruz, fine gun expert and owner of Country Pursuits & Outfitters, a long-time SCI exhibitor. “More than the numbers,” added Cruz, “this was an exceptionally positive event. Lots of enthusiasm, lots of interest in getting back out on the next great hunt or outdoor adventure. Also, a noticeable number of younger attendees added a real upbeat vibe to the show. Nashville today is not only the home of country music but also a hot spot of rock ‘n roll together with great food and an all-around fun ambiance.”
    This upbeat vibe certainly helped create another “historical highpoint” when a set of five custom John Bolliger rifles, “The African Lion Collection,” was gaveled at $675,000 at SCI’s Saturday evening auction, the highest single lot price in SCI’s history.

    Using a single, 300-year-old Turkish walnut tree, five blanks were cut side-by-side to create perfect book end matching between blanks. Bolliger then sought five Model 70 actions with consecutive serial numbers from Winchester. Special serial numbers are rarely produced by the company, however, because of John’s status as one of the world’s premier custom rifle makers, Winchester agreed and built the actions for this unique series. Barrels are crafted from special order Krieger three-inch diameter blanks with integral bases, helping to ensure that these rifles are as accurate as they are beautiful. The rifles are chambered in Remington Ultra Mag. calibers, 7mm, .300, .338, .375 and .450.

    Engraving was done by five of America’s top master engravers selected by Bolliger. While staying within the projects overall artistic theme, each engraver was given the leeway to allow his personal style to shine through.

    “It took five years and hundreds of hours for Bolliger to create these five rifles,” said Cruz, whose Country Pursuits & Outfitters donated these extraordinary rifles for auction at the 2023 SCI event, “a set that is not only unique, but which can never be duplicated. Only at the SCI Convention could such masterpieces be made available to an audience of great sportsmen and conservationists.”
    Keeping within the historical theme, Country Pursuits & Outfitters was also able to offer and sell at the show a Holland & Holland Royal sidelock ejector double rifle chambered for the .577 3 ¼” Nitro Express cartridge. This classic big game “stopping” rifle was built in 1930’s, the Golden Age of gunmaking in England, for the legendary African professional hunter, Swedish born Baron Bror Frederik von Blixen-Finecke. The rifle has 25” ejector rifled barrels with quarter rib express rear sights – 1 standing (100yds.) and 2 folding (200 and 300 yds) and features Royal Scroll engraving with a case color hardened finish. Befitting its heavy caliber, the rifle weighs 13 lbs. and is presented in a single Oak & Leather Case with canvas cover, white-handled tools and accessories.
    Blixen set up Tanganyika Guides Ltd. along with highly regarded professional hunters Philip Percival and Jeff Manley and soon became East Africa’s leading safari outfitters with clients including the Prince of Wales in 1928 and 1930, several Vanderbilts and Ernest Hemingway. The film Out of Africa (1985) was based on the book of the same name, memoirs written by Blixen’s wife Karen
    “What a great show!”, added David Cruz. “From an historic high auction sale to the sale of a piece of African history. It was also a great reminder that SCI continues to write a critical chapter in our history, protecting our freedom to hunt and promoting science-based wildlife conservation so that our next generation can continue to enjoy our great sporting traditions.

Country Pursuits & Outfitters in "Covey Rise Magazine" April-May 2023
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Country Pursuits & Outfitters in "Covey Rise Magazine" December-January 2023
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Country Pursuits & Outfitters in "Sporting Classics" January-February 2020
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Country Pursuits & Outfitters in "Shooting Sportsman" July-August 2018
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Country Pursuits & Outfitters in "Sporting Classics" August 2018
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