The Ivory Hunter

The Ivory Hunter

A three-year project

based on a Fanzoj Carabine rifle of the legendary African caliber .416 Rigby

A tribute to the legendary African hunters, who in pursue of discovery and adventure shaped the myth surrounding the biggest mammal on earth – the Elephant.

A fascinating story,

recreating the daring ventures of the most famous and illustrious characters who were drawn to the dark continent in search of riches, at a time where big herds of elephants roamed the land freely, in a world that few were privileged to experience.

A dream of metal, wood, mammoth-ivory, 24-carat gold, a blend of color and exquisite materials, executed on the highest level of craftsmanship, in fabulous teamplay with worldbest metal artist Ritchi Maier, opulently framed in a luxurious gun case with the finest accessories.

A unique work

Concept and Engraving

The Ivory Hunter of yesteryear

The rifle´s ivory fore-end tip conjures up old legends of great hunters and elephants: a metaphor of bygone days, the hunt for “White gold”

The mighty bull elephant stands watching us, a symbol of hope for the animal’s survival.

The ivory hunter is merely a shadowy figure behind the large elephant. His silhouette is looking into the distance, pale, ghost-like in the mist of times long gone by. What he once hunted now faces us. That species has survived.

The herons taking flight, carried by the element of air, act as a link between the two figures – the Ivory Hunter and the elephant, the Big Ivory.
Although times have changed, what remains is the memory of such hunts immortalised in this exceptional rifle.

Legendary Hunters

Like entries in old safari diaries, the names of great ivory hunters are a reminder of long bygone times. Some but by no means all of the most famous pioneers who hunted in Africa at the turn of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century are immortalised here in the ivory in finest scrimshaw stippling technique.

… amidst ghost-like elephant silhouettes passing by, seemingly into the unknown…

..evoking the world of early big game safaris into unexplored territories, witness to the richest wildlife spectacle on earth, before poaching and politics intervened. Bringing back to life the ivory markets in Zanzibar, Khartoum, the Lado Enclave, where the biggest herds of elephants in all Africa roamed, where poachers and cruel slave traders and elephant ivory robbers gathered, where elephant legends were born…

COVERING THE MYSTERY – The Elephant skin

The archaic looking elephant skin is all-encompassing theme on this rifle´s steel parts. All the upper action parts of the “Ivory Hunter” up to the base of the barrel are finished in a realistic texture of the finest detail.

„WHITE GOLD“ - The Big Ivory

Center of the rifle´s bottom view is the big bull elephant, sculptured into steel, his eye fixed on the observer.

A loner. The secret ruler of Africa. who carries with him a treasure, legendary and highly sought after. He is the guardian of the „White gold“ – the Big Ivory. It was for him that men infatuated by risk said goodbye to their families, left their homelands and made their way to the „dark continent“, driven by an inner voice, to search him out, track him down, in feverish anticipation of this final encounter, when in a state of exertion hunter and hunted stand eye to eye, and roles merge in face of this giant. When awe, fear and the instinct to kill and survive narrow the existence down to the most basic of questions: life or death.

Only a handful of those early adventurers left Africa with more money than they came with, quite a few left with a lot less and some paid the ultimate price.

The “Ivory Hunter” is unique - a true original

This project´s creation is the result of dedicated teamwork between worldbest artisans – Fanzoj´s gunsmiths, stockmaker, saddler, tool and case maker – and the creative crew, designer and engraver. This rifle is UNIQUE, one single piece only.

Collectors’ items of such quality take an incredibly long time to complete and require great personal commitment on the part of the firm. This is why they are rare, sought after and have and always will endure as desirable objects of lasting value.

Blue Horse

Blue Horse

― A Fanzoj Bolt action rifle in cal. .300WM ―

Blue Horse

― A Fanzoj Bolt action rifle in cal. .300WM ―

A Bedouin story tells that the Arabian horse was created from the South Wind, to be one of the Glories of the Earth... a handsome, courageous Creature that seems to swallow up the ground, to fly without wings.

The rifle´s engraving is a dream of white and rose gold, against a deep Royal Blue enameled background.
The delicate skeleton ornament on the magacine plate gives view onto an elaborately sculptured Arabian horse underneath – a magnificent multi-layered artwork.
The other action parts are beautifully engraved with a deep-chiselled ornament.

Marvelous deep-chiselled hand-engraving

Marvelous deep-chiselled hand-engraving

We set out for the sheer pleasure of creating something beautiful, an exquisite blend of color and material, that would delight and captivate.

Lavishly ornamented metal parts.

Lavishly ornamented metal parts.

“Purity and Grace enchant and touch. He is the purest embodiment of Strength and Ardour, the symbol of unbridled passion that drives an untamed Spirit.
What an illusion to keep this noble creature confined to the borders of the luxurious ornament of precious rose-gold which frames his fine shilouette.
He will break free from the alleged boundaries with an impatient shake of his head, rearing, mane dancing against the bluest of skies, instinct and impulse a simultaneous interplay in this purest of Creatures … stirring a longing, deep inside man, for freedom unbound.”

(from the “Blue horse” book, by Johann Fanzoj gunmakers)

THE CHALLENGE - More than the sum of its components

The creation of BLUE HORSE was a fabulous teamplay between gunsmiths, stockmaker, case & toolmaker and our creative crew consisting of designer, engraver, and goldsmith. A step-by-step approach towards a roughly visualized final result, with a number of obstacles to overcome, prepared to meet all functional requirements of a high-power hunting weapon in cal. 300WM, that has to withstand 4500 bar gas pressure.
The delicate skeleton plate in rose-gold, therefore, was meticulously doweled to the magacine plate by means of 56 tiny pins, forming an unseperable unit with the below surface. This requires highest precision handwork under the microscope in the 1/10mm tolerance area. Also, the beautifully enameled surface became subject to numerous tests.

The Weapon

An impressive Fanzoj Bolt action rifle, built around a Mauser 98 action, the best and safest bolt action mechanism in the world, in the proven caliber 300WM, with cold-hammer forged 65cm barrel of premium AMS  (Aerospace Material Specification) steel; mounted with ZEISS Victory HT 2,5-10×50 and regulated to 100m over scope and open sights.

The gun stock of rich, dark color is crafted from top-notch Circasssian walnut root wood, the strongest and most beautiful wood in the world, stored for ten years to bring the natural humidity down to below 10%.

The rifle comes in an exclusively handcrafted leather´ oak gun case of black exterieur with beige Alcantara leather inside, with matching accessories.

A masterpiece

African Epos

African Epos

― A Fanzoj Double rifle, in cal. .600/.600NE ―

A magnificent composition, completed in 2002, as one of the earliest multi-level engravings.

All Big Five animals are depicted in gold and metal on this impressive double rifle, among herds of other African wild animals, in a mix of different engraving techniques from Boulino to deep-relief carvings.
The way in which master engraver Franz Mack alternates from detail to full animal depictions, to groups of African wild animals in the distance, and harmoniously connects the different levels of perspective by weaving an elaborate ornament over the entire bascula parts, gives the work a fascinating effect of richness and depth.



― A Fanzoj Sidelock Double barrel rifle, in cal. .375HH Mag ―

The endless distances of the tundras, the swamps and pine forests of the Northern Hemisphere are home to the largest wild animals of the North: Bear and Deer; and habitat also to their most dangerous enemy, the Wolf.

Together they form a trio immersed in the perpetual cycle of Hunter and Hunted, of Life and Death.
Capturing these relationships, in their physical and spiritual aspects, and transform them into metal and wood was theme and challenge of this weapon.

The Weapon

An elegant Sidelock Double barrel rifle in cal. .375/.375HHMag, with 61cm chopper lump barrels, automatic ejectors, custom-made stock of luxury grain Circasian walnut burr, hand-rubbed oilfinish, mounted with special three-feet claw mounts to a Swarovski 1-6×24 Z6i; regulated to 75m
The rifle is without visible screws and pins. The sidelocks can be taken apart with a special Torx instrument only.


The BLACK WOLF releases the „spirit of hunt“ to flow all over the rifle

Upper/bottom side:
The Black Wolf on top of the action, with its determined expression, symbolizes the beginning of the hunt. The moment the hunter moves the opening lever to break and load the rifle – the black wolf dreams, and the spirit of the hunt flows through him, through the clouds and moon symbols all over the rifle. The Black Wolf´s counterpart can be found on the bottom side of this extraordinary rifle.

The teeth-baring WHITE WOLF symbolizes the moment of the life-ending shot.

Left/right side:
Wolf and Bear are hunting competitors, they both hunt the Deer. From the background they make out and observe their prey. The majestic stag senses the hunter and its own inevitable fate. The Deer´s breath stands for Life the eyes of the hunter in the background for Death.

The majestic Stag senses the Hunter and its own inevitable fate

Exquisite craftsmanship on the highest technical level, engraved by metal artist Ritchi Maier, opulently framed in a luxurious case with finest accessories make this composition Deerhunter a visual experience and rare collector´s piece.

The weapon is bedded in an exhibition leather gun case, with interior-lining of precious black Moiré silk complete with knife, handcrafted tools and accessories of silver nickel and ivory.
The gun case bears a secret, and reveals the Wolf´s inner nature: A false lid on the upper case half – once removed – reveals the image of the Perfect Hunter: a Wolf looks the viewer right into the eyes.
(fine oil glaze by wildlife artist Rudi Kohl)

Some objects are pure harmony, they stimulate our senses.

This is such an object.

The Art Gun

The Art Gun.

„An appreciation of aesthetics and the will to live and propagate life are two of humanity´s most powerful impulses – and in an object that protects and feeds and can be made simultaneously beautiful, Art finds a canvas that is as old as Man´s ability to make tools and paint on the walls of caves.“

(Vic Venters, US Author, Gun Craft: Fine Guns & Gunmaking/21st Century)

Objects of Culture and Value

Weapons inhabit a unique place in the fascinating world of rare collectibles. Throughout human history, arms and armor have inspired awe and fascination alike, and have been the most important side companions of men and women over the millenniums. More than any other tool or technology, and for the longest period of time, weapons have been witnesses of pride, courage, distinction and social rank of the people who have commissioned and owned them.

That is why artistically decorated weapons can have highly symbolic meanings and served not only as everyday objects, but also as diplomatic gifts or even a demonstration of local craftsmen’s skills.

Art guns of the past, which today decorate museums or achieve maximum prices at auctions, provide lasting testimony of this incredibly high craft culture, and to the social and cultural relevance attached to creating and decorating magnificent hunting weapons over the centuries.

Explore Special Projects

UNESCO protected cultural heritage

UNESCO protected cultural heritage

In recognition of its high cultural value for "preserving fragile knowledge and skills inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendents", in 2010 the 500-year-old Gunmaking Craft in Ferlach was added to the UNESCO List of “Intangible Cultural Heritage”.

Ferlach gunmakers´ guilt flag (1890), with Saint Gregorius – patron of gunmakers – and pistol on the bottom end. The flag used to be carried on official events (festivities, processions) by the guilt. Gunmaker´s museum, Ferlach, Austria.



― A Fanzoj double rifle in cal. .470NE ―

A spectacular lion-zebra theme, portraying the stark contrasts in nature´s life-and-death, hunter-and-prey relationships.

With this project, presented in 2006, we broke with classic engraving on hunting arms for the first time. The rifle has no ornament but is instead covered with photorealistic animal scenes in dramatic black-and-white contrasts, which symbolize life´s opposites. A mixed technique of finest Bulino and deep-relief engraving.

Our first cooperation with extraordinary metal artist Richard Maier.

Lion and lioness – male and female part – complement one another in life and while hunting. The scene is surrounded by grass and vegetation. Two zebras are fleeing into the Unknown. Symbol: clouds of sand – behind death is lurking, symbolized by the big lion´s eye.

Bottom side: The visual focus is on the zebra motiv in the middle while the background is dominated by the big, expressive head and face of a lioness.

This lioness stands for the archetype of „the hunter“. The huntress appears overpowering coming up behind the prey. The zebra seems without a chance while it senses the approaching predator.

An international trendsetter for modern gun engraving.

The Great Migration

The Great Migration

The crowning of any gun and rifle collection –

a rarity and challenge for every gunmaker

A Fanzoj double rifle in cal. .600NE/.600NE,
with spare barrels in cal. .470NE/.470NE

A dream of metal, wood, platinum, in a blend of color and exquisite materials, with deep relief hand engraving featuring over one hundred African animals, opulently framed in a luxurious gun case with finest accessories

….one can literally feel the earth trembling under the pounding hooves, dust flying kilometers high, when millions of animals are setting in motion, flowing over the rifle´s metal parts, running, jumping, climbing, some in panicky flight when sensing the nile crocodiles, while the big cats are majestically watching over the events, the ever ongoing cycle of life and death, conscious that their time will come… time to HUNT.

A beautiful story

Showing nature in all its splendour, brutality - and fragility

The Crocodile Rifle


― A Fanzoj bolt action rifle in cal. .375HH Mag ―

The reptile seems to wind over the metal parts of this luxurious bolt action rifle.

The single parts almost come alive with the archaic skin structure, deep engraved in fascinating detail and all its natural shades and depths – by hand – into the metal.

An artistic masterpiece.

A splendid overall composition with exquisite accessories.

The Weapon

Built around a Mauser 98 action, the best and safest bolt action mechanism in the world, in the proven caliber .375HHMag, with cold hammer-forged 65cm barrel of premium AMS (Aerospace Material Specification) steel; mounted with Swarovski 1,7-10×42 Z6i and regulated to 100m over scope and open sights. A perfect tool.

The gun stock is handcrafted from top-notch Circassian walnut root wood, the strongest wood in the world, stored for ten years to bring down the natural humidity to below 10%.


Wood Finish

The extraordinary „mirror“ surface is the result of time-consuming filing and sanding techniques in combination with traditional oils laboriously applied over many months bringing to life the wood’s complex depth of color and grain, and simultaneously protecting it even from rugged use.

Fanzoj Special Projects

Fanzoj Special Projects

"The most important achievement of company Fanzoj is, in my opinion, the full understanding and approach to the deep symbolism inherent in the subject, in a successful attempt to point out a different, deeper and more harmonious relationship to the world, which has been particularly noticeable in recent years' rifle themes..."

"Fanzoj´s work is unquestionably an unprecedented achievement in weapon aesthetics"

(Vladimir Tikhomirov, Russian hunting and outdoor journalist)

The privilege to create items for posterity

Johann Fanzoj has taken the idea of guns & art to a new dimension. Never before, artistic projects on weapons have been conceptionally reasoned so extensively and carried through so meticulously to the smallest detail.

The firm masterfully understands to focus world-class artisanal resources, technical minds and artists to create exceptional mechanical masterpieces and use those as a canvas for capturing stories about life and death, passion, hunting, nature, themes which appear unmasked as in no other métier.

In many hundreds, often thousands of hours extraordinary works are envisioned and brought to life, objects of culture and value, masterpieces in the true sense: the Best creative minds and skilled hands can do in their time.

The following items are unique pieces that we have built in the past. Originals. The one and only existing piece, never to be reproduced; in fact, impossible to reproduce because creativity is an ongoing, progressive process, and new projects are urging to realization already.

We will be glad to supply information to ongoing projects.

The Ivory Hunter

A three-year project based on a Fanzoj Carabine rifle of the legendary African caliber .416 Rigby

Explore more

The Great Migration

A Fanzoj double rifle in cal. .600NE/.600NE, with spare barrels in cal. .470NE/.470NE

Explore more


A Fanzoj double rifle in cal. .470NE

Explore more

The Crocodile Rifle

A Fanzoj bolt action rifle in cal. .375HH Mag

Explore more


A Fanzoj Sidelock Double barrel rifle, in cal. .375HH Mag

Explore more