A Single Shot by Maurice Ottmar and Ron Smith
By Steven Dodd Hughes
The late Maurice Ottmar created this custom Hagn actioned rifle in 1993. I think it was one of Maurice’s finest rifles incorporating sophisticated metalwork and stockmaking. It has a 25 1/2” barrel chambered in .257 Weatherby Magnum. The barrel was fitted with band front sight and swivel bases as well as a sculpted quarter rib holding a three leaf express sight and Talley lever detachable scope rings. Along with other subtle reshaping, Ottmar hand filed the scalloping in the back of the action.
The stock was made from the blank as with most of Ottmar’s work. The highly figured English walnut has a double hooked cheekpiece with layered molding around it. Raised and flared stock panels with shadow lines surround the action. An ebony tip with a widow’s peak caps the forend. Having personally examined this rifle a couple of occasions, I can say that the craftsmanship is superb.
My friend Ron Smith of Fort Worth, Texas engraved the rifle. To complement the work seems ludicrous. The front sight base, swivel base, quarter rib, scope rings, action, grip cap and buttplate are each extensively engraved, gold inlaid and color case hardened. The off action side has a multi-hued gold bust of a mountain lion with an oval vignette depicting the cat on a buck deer kill. All is surrounded in lavish scrollwork.
The side shown has a similar representation of a squinty-eyed bobcat. The vignette has the short tailed cat mouthing a rabbit. In my opinion, Ron Smith is one of the most accomplished engravers working in the world today. His grasp of animal anatomy is professorial, he uses great imagination in design, layout, and in the themes for the vignettes. His technical abilities simply cannot be criticized.
The rifle is housed in an oak and leather trunk case with a custom knife and accessories. This is one fine rifle and won the First Annual Guns Magazine Award of Excellence at the Firearms Engravers & Gunmakers Exhibition in 1995.