In 1910, after returning from safari in Africa, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote his classic book African Game Trials. Roosevelt praised the versatility of the American Springfield rifle for shooting African game, but he also criticized it for its lack of a proper sporting stock.
Incited by Mr. Roosevelt’s book, New York cabinet maker Seymour Griffin decided to dismantle his own Springfield rifle to craft a replacement stock of venerable French walnut.
Over the next 13 years, Mr. Griffin’s business shifted from cabinet making to re-stocking as many rifles as he could for eager sportsmen. African Game Trials had spurred America’s imagination and gunsmiths could not keep up with the demand for sporting rifles. The foremost authority on rifles at the time, and the writer of many articles on the subject, was Col. Townsend Whelen. In April of 1923 Col. Whelen suggested to Mr. Griffin that his business would be improved by the addition of an accomplished metal worker, specifically James V. Howe. Mr. Howe was the foreman of the machine shop at the Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia. A year earlier he had designed a modified 30-06 necked up to accept a .35 caliber bullet naming it the .35 Whelen. In May, the three men, along with James M. Holsworth and James L. Gerry, formed Griffin & Howe, (G&H).
By 1925 the company operated out of a New York loft and was offering custom rifles with both standard and magnum actions. That same year it introduced its .35 G&H caliber, based on the legendary .375 Holland & Holland.
In 1927 the famous G&H side mount was introduced, this renowned feature still found on the company’s rifles today. The G&H side mount was the first of its kind and paved the way for the scope mounts and rings of today. This mount made it possible to remove your scope for travel and replace is without losing zero.
In 1930 the company was purchased by Abercrombie & Fitch. Two years later it moved its headquarters to 202 E 44th Street in New York City.
During WWII, G&H was forced to discontinue its rifle business and turned to making the triggers for US anti-aircraft guns, along with over 50 different parts for the American aircraft industry. In addition to this, the G&H side mount became the standard rifle mount for the M1 Garand rifle, and by the end of the war, 23,000 had been delivered to the Springfield Armory.
From the 1930’s to the 1960’s, G&H became the gold standard of American custom rifle making and gunsmithing, supplying sporting rifles to the likes of Ernest Hemmingway, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Robert C. Ruark, to name but a few.
In 1976, G&H was sold by Abercrombie & Fitch to longtime employee, Bill Ward. The company moved its headquarters to Bernardsville, NJ in 1987. Present management took over in 1989. In 1999, the company opened a location in Greenwich, CT and in 2003, a new Showroom and outfitting location in Andover, NJ alongside its Shooting School.
G&H still builds a limited number of America’s finest custom rifles the way we have for the past century. We incorporate the classic shape and proportion of the European walnut stock with a cheek piece and a hand rubbed oil finish, the G&H quarter rib with standing bar and folding leaves, the Lyman 48 sight and all other G&H features that have been the hallmark of the company from the very beginning. We also offer an extensive line of sporting shotguns, rifles and double rifles, built to our specifications by fine European makers, as well as being the official agents and US representatives for James Purdey & Sons, Boss & Co, William & Son, Anderson Wheeler, Lebeau Courally, David McKay Brown, Verney Carron, Fabbri, Blaser, Krieghoff, B. Rizzini, Beretta, Zoli, Perazzi, to name a few of many others.
We continue to expand, creating new products and enhancing our services, to serve our growing customer base. Our G&H Custom Slug rifle, G&H Custom Long Range Precision Rifle, and long range Marksmanship Rifle School with dedicated instructors are testament to G&H’s commitment to providing our clients that which we know will be their future requirements in the 21st century. We look forward to serving you and future generations!