Helvetia is the old Latin name of Switzerland, going back to Roman times. In the 17th century it became popular again, and similar to Lady Liberty, “Mother Helvetia” became a symbol of virtuous and vices of the confederacy.
I would think many immigrants have the desire to honor their roots and would like to be good representatives. So to pay homage, I named the first completely in house build rifle model “Helvetia”.
I always loved the European break open single shot rifles. When a pre-war Merkel 180 Carpathian rifle arrived at the shop, I was captured once again and decided to make a rifle very similar. Over the course of over 2 years I devoted one day a week to computer drafting and the building of several parts sets and finally to the first complete rifle.
The rifle is based on a traditional Anson and Deeley box-lock with a Purdey style under-bolt and Greener third fastener.
The pictures above are of the machining of the first receivers. The receivers where milled to profile and the internal slots cut with an EDM process.
As always the case, different manufacturing methods will be employed in the future, as it evolves.
Milling of the barrels presented a challenge in itself. The picture is of milling a barrel with an octagon profile and full length rib. With a project like this, it seems more time is spent building special set-ups then the actual gun. So it is wise to plan for several pieces versus one of a kind.
Many hours of filing and fitting where spent on the first rifle. This one is in the caliber 8×57 IRS.
The really fun part is to file up the action and barrel. This is the creative stage of a project like this.
Many hours later, the picture above is of the rifle roughly shaped by filing and chiseling the fences.
Fast forward, the picture above is of the rifle roughly stocked. This one has a 22″ long barrel, a two piece full length forearm and an automatic ejector system.
After the stocking the receiver and parts where sent to John Vukos for engraving. He engraved it with a fine English rose and scroll pattern.
After many hours of labor the receiver was finished by color case hardening and the barrel and parts where rust blued.
These rifles are the ultimate take down and can be taken apart in seconds. Because of its light weight I find they are best suited for standard calibers, such as for example a 7x57R. Traditionalists such as myself would prefer a rimmed cartridge, but the extractor can be modified for rimless cartridges. In the future I would like to offer a sidelock version as well. They are available with and without automatic ejector and stocked with short or full length forearm.