Premier Fine Art & Antiques Auction
August 29, 2023
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Rare and Fine Ardmore Hoffman Square Bridge Magnum Mauser Dangerous Game Rifle With Engraving and Gold Inlay by Rudolph Kornbrath.
Cal. 404 Jeffrey
S# 361 (Hoffman). Mauser S# 92612.
The Hoffman Arms Company opened for business in Cleveland, Ohio June, 1923. Griffin & Howe in New York opened in the same month. Both were in direct competition for the same market of custom made high-end rifles until the Great Depression brought the Hoffman company down. About two hundred rifles were made in Cleveland until mid 1925 when the company moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma. It continued there until 1930. In 1930 John Dubiel, Hoffman’s primary stocker opened his own business in Ardmore, took over Hoffman’s shop and inventory and continued Hoffman’s serial number series until 1937 when he died. He marked his rifles “John Dubiel”. A few rifles are known to have an Amarillo, Texas address. These were made after the death of Dubiel by a new company formed in August, 1940. Amarillo rifles were in their own number range.
This particular rifle has 26″ medium weight tapered round barrel, fitted with what appears to be integral quarter rib holding three folding express leaves marked for 1-2 & 300 yards. A wide sling eye and low front ramp holding silver bead and protector are sleeved on. Magnum length, square bridge, Mauser action, has Mauser info removed from sidewall. Receiver ring is stippled and flanked by scroll engraving. A Redfield receiver sight is fitted, staff recessed into square bridge which may have originally held Hoffman’s popular flip-up peep sight. Original trigger is retained. Bolt body is polished and damascened, bolt knob is bent slightly backward and flag safety is inlaid “SAFE” in gold. Dropbox bottom metal has hinged floorplate with button release in trigger guard bow. Removal of barrel and action from wood reveals original Mauser serial number (92612) behind recoil lug along with “MADE IN GERMANY”. Barrel is engraved with sprays of scroll along front sight ramp and around sling loop. Bottom metal is extensively engraved in the style of and undoubtably done by Rudolph Kornbrath famous Conneticut engraver, who was responsible for most of Hoffman’s engraving. It consists of about 80% coverage very well cut, varing size shaded scroll within geometric borders. This fine scroll surrounds a relief gold inlaid mountain goat in Alpine environment at center of floorplate. The gold inlaid monogram “CL?” is on trigger guard bow. Trap grip cap engraved with matching scroll, has central portrait of a snarling grizzly bear looking back over its right shoulder. Classiclly shaped pistol grip stock made of very nicely marbled European walnut was most likely done by John Dubiel of whom Michael Petrov says, “There may have been other custom makers who could make a stock as well as John Dubiel but there were none better.” The stock measures 13 1/2″ over red “Old English” pad and features moulded small shadow line right hand cheekpiece, horn forend tip, sling eye, and very well cut point pattern checkering with mullered borders that wraps over top of grip and around forend.