The Riflemaker Dreams of Africa

ImageRiflemaker-story-use_1260_1235_80Matthew Clark at The Morning News:

It was a party. There was a curried dish and guacamole and a slow-cooked pork shoulder and there was a mule deer piñata and there were paper plates and heirloom silver and a tuba and sequins and spangles and a general hip and tooth and pink-cheek commotion appropriate for an occasionless celebration. The riflemaker, however, stood apart. He braced himself against the modern countertop in the vacant kitchen. He sipped a tumbler of Scotch. It was ten months prior to my Jackson gun delivery. It was November, and though the evening was cold enough to frost the inside of the window glass, the riflemaker wore shorts. His legs were skinny and fit. His pointed goatee, streaked with gray, served to bring his narrow features into line with those of a well-adapted predator and if there was any incongruity, it resided in his hands and arms, which were Bunyanesque.

I had never met the riflemaker before, and I introduced myself.

Nathan Heineke builds $15,000 custom rifles. He is 41 years old. He works alone. In the 10 years since he left the storied New Jersey gunsmithing shop of Griffin and Howe—where he had worked since completing college—he has, from start to finish, built more than 30 unique rifles. It is a meticulous process, interrupted by walk-ins, supply-chain delays, repairs, the whim of clientele, and some rifles take more than a year to complete.

more here.