Bell and Corbett Outfitters
Richmond, California

Hoffman Arms Rifles

     Presenting four Hoffman Arms Rifles, composing a "Type Set" of the Commercial 98-Mauser action lengths and the three different addresses of this legendary American Custom Rifle Company over the span of its seventeen year existence.
     First, a bit of Hoffman Arms Co. history, with the help of Michael Petrov's wonderful book Custom Gunmakers of the 20th Century (copywright 2005 by Precision Shooting, Inc). Frank Hoffman and his inverstor Harry Snyder opened for business June 1923, the same month as Griffin and Howe. he company's future was very promising. A month after its inception James Howe, part of Griffin and Howe's namesake, joined Hoffman Arms Co. The company spent $90,000, a very large sum of money in 1923, to set-up their modern gun building shop. Snyder and other company officers traveled to Europe, where they purchased numerous commercial 98 actions from Mauser. Snyder also acquired the largest collection of imported stock blanks in the United States, according to Mr. Petrov, for use on their rifles. Some of Hoffman's key employees came from the Ross Rifle Co. in Canada. Eric Johnson from Colt, John Dubiel joined the team, specializing in stocks and barrels. John Wright, from Holland and Holland, also specialized in stockwork.
     In 1925, a group of wealthy oil men from Oklahoma became very impressed with the Hoffman company, purchased it and moved the entire operation to Ardmore, OK. However, the Great Depression doomed the Ardmore venture by 1930. The Hoffman name was revived 1940 and managed by BR Polley, in Amarillo, TX, amid rumors that Frank Hoffman himself may have fueled the company's last incarnation.        
     Total Hoffman Arms Co production, according to Mr. Petrov, was not more than 500 guns, including shotguns. Here is the rare opportunity to acquire four Hoffman rifles, comprising nearly one percent of their total production.  
     Some well-known Hoffman Arms Co. customers include Elmer Keith, Teddy and Kermit Roosevelt, Charles Askins, Carl and Mary Akeley, and William Randolph Hearst. Townsend Wheelan, responsible for the formation of Griffin and Howe, was also quoted exalting the virtues of a Hoffman Mauser that he inspected and tested.
     The first photograph below shows, from top to bottom, Mauser Kurz-action 250-3000 with scope on G&H-style side mount, Mauser Intermediate-action 7X57 with Claw-Mounted scope, Mauser Standard-Action in 30-06, Mauser Magnum-Action in 375 H&H Magnum.

     375H&H Magnum caliber rifle has matching serial numbers, built on particularly rare Mauser Square-Bridge Magnum-Length Action #93681, dating it to between 1924 and 1925, according to Jon Speed's book Original Oberndorf Sporting Rifles. Interestingly, the left-wall marking "Waffenfabrik Mauser" suggests an earlier, pre-WWI manufacture. Barrel is marked "Hoffman Arms Co. Ardmore Okla #419" showing the rifle was completed by Hoffman in 1929. This 8 pound 12 ounce rifle sports 24" barrel, excellent bore, with banded and stippled front sight base, push-button hood release, front banded sling swivel stud for Winchester Super-Grade swivels, beautifully-sculpted and stippled quarter rib with three-leaf express sight and elevation-adjustable leaves! Walnut stock with horn fore-end tip, Holland and Holland style shadow-line cheekpiece has approx 2-1/2" drop at heel, 13-15/16" pull over new leather-covered pad, steel grip cap and gold initial oval. This original stock has fresh modified-oil  finish and checkering-crisping job by American Custom Gunmaker Guild member Dennis Earl Smith in Oregon, who also created the leather-covered pad and gold oval. Fresh, masterful rust-blueing job by Brian Rebuck at American Blueing in California. Brian also did the black nitre on the Lyman 48 rear sight, the peacock nitre on the trigger, action screws, bolt stop spring and floorplate release lever, and re-jeweled the bolt. Metal prep and polish by Esam Sahouria of California. This is an impressive restoration of a glorious rifle. Condition presently at 99+%/restored

     30-06 caliber "Hoffman Arms Co Amarillo Texas No 34" 8-1/2 pound rifle built on Mauser Square-Bridge Standard-length Action #93401, dating to 1924-1925, and with the earlier "Waffenfabrik..." left-wall marking. Bolt serial numbers match within its components, but differ from the rest of the action. Bolt knob checkering of the Griffin and Howe style. 24-1/2" barrel retains excellent bore, banded and stippled front sight base, slide-on hood and ivory insert on fine front sight bead. Barrel also has super-grade sling swivel bases, sculpted and stippled quarter rib. Walnut stock has approx 2" drop and 14" pull over leather-covered pad, H&H style shadow-line cheecpiece, steel grip cap, ebony fore-end tip, gold initial oval. Metal and wood restoration process and craftsmen same as for our 375 rifle above. Condition presently at 99+%/restored

     7X57 caliber "Hoffman Arms Co Cleveland O No. B172" Built on Mauser Intermediate-Length action #76563 places Mauser production to around 1913 and the Hoffman serial number suggests 1925 completion. At 7-1/2 pounds, with scope removed, this rifle is a joy to carry and shoot. Matching serial numbers, even on the scope rings and claw-mount bases, are an unexpected treat! 23-1/2" barrel retains excellent bore, banded front swivel base and original swivels for 1" sling! Walnut stock sports a silver initial oval, beveled-edge cheekpiece, approx 2-1/2" drop, 13-3/4" pull from the front of the two, polished, double-set triggers over leather-covered pad. CP Goerz "Certar" 4-1/2X steel-body scope reticle consists of pointed vertical post, and two squared-off horizontal posts which approach touching the former. Fresh rust-blue on the tube, optics clear and nice. Due to age, there is some of what I call "peripheral lens delamination" starting, which can be seen if one "squints" and concentrates on the very periphery of the field of view, to see a "crackling" effect; this has not affected the accuracy of rifle or scope.  I suspect the claw-mount rings were originally of AKAH (Albrecht Kind) manufacture, due to their profile. Notice also the rear scope base attaching screw integrates a peep-sight, which is usable with the scope installed, thanks to the "tunnels" milled-out from the rings! Metal and wood restoration process same as the two rifles above. Condition presently at 99+%/restored

     250-3000 Savage Caliber "Hoffman Arms Co. Ardmore , Okla. 175" built on Mauser ultra-rare kurz-action (short action) #81727. Mauser date estimate is 1914, and the Hoffman serial number suggests a Cleveland rifle; I suspect the serial number was engraved on the barrel while in Ohio, before the rifle was completed, then the address  added after the move to Ardmore. The action component serial numbers match. Spoon-shaped, with beautiful engraving, bolt handle suggests Mauser intended this action for a Model-M carbine, but Hoffman Arms had different plans for it. Notice also the beautiful engraving on the screws for: action, engraved and checkered trap butt-plate, bolt stop, steel grip cap, floor plate release lever. At eight pounds ten ounces, this rifle is a joy to shoot, transmitting barely perceptible recoil, compared to its brothers in this group, Stock dimensions of approx 1" drop and 14-5/16 pull to the front of the double-set triggers suggest this rifle was meant to be used with the scope. Stock is of beautifully-figured French walnut, with shadow-line cheekpiece, horn fore-end tip and accomodations for Super-Grade sling swivels.
Lyman 48 rear sight incorporates the optional flip-down aperture within the internally-threaded eye-piece.
26" barrel retains excellent bore, banded front sight base, push-button release hood and banded front sling swivel stud.
Steel-body scope sports a nearly 2" objective lens bell, marked on the elevation knob "Beck Kassel" and on the side of the tube 8X31.6 Scope's optics are crystal-clear, and has same reticle as the 7X57 rifle's scope, described above. Mounting system reminiscent of an early single-lever Griffin and Howe. The base attached to receiver left wall is steel, with "hidden screw heads" just as G&H used to do it. The ring assembly attached to the scope, I suspect, is a later addition, made of aluminum, and tastefully constructed. The locking lever and left locking gib are steel and nitre-blued. Metal and wood finish appear, at most, a proper refinish at some point in the past, though they may be original. With only a few handling marks and excellent metal finish remaining, I conservatively estimate this rifle's condition at 95+%

     So there you have it: a rare example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Considering their history, any one of these rifles on their own is an unusually special find. Together, in a group, they are nearly overwhelming. Here is the opportunity to own, cherish and actually use this special set! Remember: a gun, to be a star in your collection, needs caliber, completeness and class; here we see all three attributes, and in spades.

     This unique grouping is offered at $44500
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