The father and son team of Jack and Greg Warne founded Kimber, then properly Kimber of Oregon, in 1979. They had an inkling gun-savvy American shooters were pining for a fine .22 sporting rifle and that building them would make for a fair business. They were right. The Warnes were also pretty good at listening to their rapidly growing customer base, and it wasn't long before they began offering a mini-Mauser christened as the Model 84. Chambered in .223-length cartridges, orders rolled in and they struggled to meet demand. They also kept listening. Came the Model 89, the Model 89 Big Game Rifle to keep things formal. To the manner born, it combined the very best features of the great Mauser 98 and Winchester's superb pre-64 Model 70 - all in a sleek American sporter stock vetted by the sharpest eyes in riflery of the time. Swamped with orders, they decided to expand the company via a private stock offering that would raise enough scratch to make it happen. Putting pen to paper, the Warnes determined what was required for expansion without giving up control of their company. The ante was set at $50,000, and for that takers would be presented with a very special Founder's Edition rifle wrapped in their stock certificate. Fourteen shareholder positions were offered. The money rolled in, but a combination of factors saw the company fall into bankruptcy several years later. According to records kept by factory engraver Larry Peters, only seven of the promised 14 Founder's Edition rifles were ever delivered. Among them, only one was chambered in .338 Winchester Magnum. This is that rifle, pristine and by all appearances unfired. Stocked in specially-selected AAA claro walnut, it exhibits the polished blue metal finish, wrap-around checkering, Howell-type inletted sling swivel studs and the beaded cheekpiece found on Kimber's top-end SuperAmerica model of that period. Elegantly engraved by Mr. Peters, the highlight is a roaring grizzly bust set in a French gray, gold-encircled background on the floorplate that also incorporates the legend "Kimber Big Game Rifle." In addition, generous scroll accents grace the floorplate, trigger guard, barrel shank, receiver and bolt handle. "Founders Edition 1 of 14" is engraved along the top of the barrel. The special serial number "FE-F6", engraved screw heads, checkered bolt knob and small gold signatures of both Jack and Greg Warne complete the presentation. A set of engraved Warne double lever rings is also included.
Fine bolt & double rifles, handguns, hunting books
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