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. Saying they were proved right is an extraordinary understatement. 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 the Model 84. Chambered in .223-length cartridges, orders rolled in and the Warnes struggled to meet demand. They also kept listening. Came the Model 89 BGR – the Model 89 Big Game Rifle to keep things formal. To the manner born, it combined the 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 how much was required and what they could accept without giving up control of their company. The individual ante was set at $50,000, and 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 completed. This rifle is one of them. Wearing a polished blue finish, it is stocked in fine English walnut appointed with an ebony forend tip, 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 floor plate that incorporates the legend “Kimber Big Game Rifle.” In addition, scroll accents grace the floorplate, trigger guard, barrel shank, receiver and double lever rings (1-inch medium). “Founders Edition 1 of 14” is boldly engraved along the top of the barrel. The special serial number “FEG2”, engraved screw heads, checkered bolt knob and gold signatures of the Warnes complete the presentation. DIMENSIONS: Weight is 8.6 pounds and the length-of-pull over the Kimber recoil pad is 13.65 inches. CONDITION: Almost certainly unfired since factory proof, the bore is pristine. Metal finish is approximately 97 percent, with a modest distribution of micro-freckles scattered along the barrel and grip cap. Wood is at least 98 percent with a traces of handling and tiny spots of what is likely glue used to attach the recoil pad. No box or papers are present. The price is firm and layaway is available. $10,000 plus shipping.
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