The way it came to be “my rifle” - and I found out, is as interesting as the rifle itself. It had been “in process” for over two years and, although complete, I hadn’t seen it. Now it was in my hands for a “first” look – the quality of the workmanship was amazing and the selection and execution of the engraving pattern made it a spectacular piece of art.
Russell and I had been at the Beinfeld Antique Arms Show in Las Vegas in January 2014, when a Mauser rifle action caught Russell’s attention, and he inquired if it was for sale. It was Jerry Fisher’s table; Jerry was out gabbing, said his wife Celeste, but she offered that he wanted to build someone a nice rifle with that action. Russell’s comment was that he was a Customer for just such a rifle. Jerry was standing a few rows away and we proceeded over to talk with him. After exchanging pleasantries, I went on my way while the two of them discussed business.
Jerry also had a spectacular English walnut rifle blank, with a long, interesting history. The deal was done, with delivery - “in the white”- scheduled for next year’s
show. And it was there, at the 2015 show – exactly as promised. Then, there was considerable discussion between Russell and Jerry about the engraver and they finally agreed it should be Brian Hochstrat, from Midvale, Idaho – so, it went on Brian’s waiting list – not a short thing. After engraving, the gun went back to Jerry for metal and wood finishing and checkering, and finally to Russell, in August 2017.
Brenda and I were visiting Russell’s family, just after the gun arrived and naturally visited his gun room. Russell said “the rifle” was laying on the shelf at the back of the room. I looked it over with amazement, from end to end and top to bottom. It’s been my great pleasure to have been around guns, gunsmithing and engraving long enough to appreciate “best” quality design and workmanship. This was it!
Finally I looked at the oval in the toeline of the stock, to see the style of Russell’s initials. But it wasn’t Russell’s initials, it was mine - LWP. He said “congratulations” and shook my hand. “When did you decide on the initials?” I asked. “When I bought the action” was his response. What an unbelievable surprise!