G&H Classic Sporter

Griffin & Howe Classic Sporter Rifle

The Benchmark for custom rifles since 1923, the Griffin & Howe classic sporter is the quintessential bespoke bolt action rifle, and the foundation upon which Griffin & Howe built its reputation. The style has changed very little since Seymour Griffin and James V. Howe joined forces to meet the needs of discriminating sportsman and sportswomen.

Typically based on a Springfield, Mauser, or Winchester Pre-64 model 70 action, there are dozens of ways to configure your sporting rifle – including endless cartridge possibilities, two scope mounting options, multiple back up sight options, numerous stock accents, custom engraving, multiple metal finishing options and much more.

We build all our custom rifles in our state-of-the-art Gunsmithing facility in Andover NJ. They still bear the legendary, iconic nomenclature that since 1923 has been the true marque of Griffin & Howe, NY, NY. A Griffin & Howe quick detachable top mount or side mount and quarter rib with folding leaf sights complete the typical custom-made rifle by Griffin & Howe. Special engraving and gold inlays are also available.

Made to your specifications and in the caliber of your choice, a Griffin & Howe Classic Sporter is a chance to own the rifle of your dreams and a hunting implement that is as flawless in its function as it is in its appearance. Please allow approximately 12-18 months for production. Special features, customizations and larger caliber upgrades are available – pricing upon request.

History of the Classic Sporter

The Griffin and Howe classic sporter is the bolt action that started it all. For 100 years we have been utilizing military and commercial rifle actions to build some of the finest bespoke rifles in the world. Our company has a rich history in the evolution, development and refinement of the modern hunting rifle. As such there have been, and continue to be, many ways to configure the classic sporter. Our clients often call upon our institutional knowledge to create a build that is their unique reflection of a bespoke bolt action rifle. Notable clients from the 20th century include Ernest Hemingway, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Big Crosby and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Actions

In the early days, Griffin & Howe utilized the 1903 Springfield action as a basis for each classic sporter rifle. Shortly thereafter, the Mauser 98 as well as the commercially available Winchester Pre-64 model 70 were utilized for our sporter builds. These three actions are the most commonly requested and make up the vast majority of the rifles we have built throughout our rich history.

We have also used a number of other actions through the years at special request, including the 1917 Enfield, Winchester 1886 single shot, and commercially available Mauser type actions both in standard and magnum length.

We keep an inventory of actions on hand to supply our clients’ needs. We are also happy to utilize a personally owned action upon it passing a safety inspection.

Griffin & Howe Detachable Scope Mount System

Since 1927, the Griffin & Howe scope mount has endeared itself to thousands of sportsmen and sportswomen who realize that a scope is only as good as the mount that holds it. Available for most rifles, these quick detachable mounts, when installed by us, are guaranteed to return to zero.

Griffin & Howe Side Mount

Early scopes were notoriously unreliable. They fogged up, lost zero, or failed entirely. The side mount addressed these issues by being easily removable while ensuring that when the scope was reinstalled there would be no loss of zero. For example, if a scope fails when on a hunt it can be removed within seconds, and the hunter can rely on his iron sights to continue with his hunt. Although optics have greatly improved in reliability, the side mount continues to be an excellent answer to the question ‘what happens if my scope breaks on my hunt?’

Griffin and Howe sporting side mounts have since become the standard for allowing the use of both an open sighting system as well as a telescopic optic on the same rifle. Our quick detachable top half can be removed from the base, allowing an open or peep sight, such as a Lyman 48, to be used when the scope is removed. This versatility provides a backup sighting option in the case of a damaged scope, low light condition, or in thick cover when an open sight may be preferred.

Our side mounts are particularly useful as a scope will hold zero when reinstalled on the gun. It is for this reason that multiple top halves can be fitted to the same base, allowing different scopes to be sighted in for different bullet weights in the same caliber.

Or as is sometimes the case on take down guns or firearms with multiple barrel options, multiple scopes and top halves can be fitted to the firearm and used based on which barrel or barrel set is installed. A Griffin and Howe sporting side mount allows for a great deal of variability when it comes to scope mounting solutions.

Each side mount is fitted to your rifle’s receiver. Typically, modifications must be made to the stock to allow clearance of the side mount base, which is both pinned and screwed to the receiver for a solid fitting. Bases are specific to your model rifle and are available for many common sporting rifles, as well as many older models.

The Griffin & Howe Top Mount

Available on a custom installed basis only

The Griffin & Howe top mount was the evolution of the side mount concept. Like the side mount, the top mount offers the hunter the option of instantly removing a scope and hunting with iron sights or quickly installing a back up scope equipped with our proprietary top mount rings. The additional benefit of the top mount system is it provides a cleaner look to the rifle and positions the scope directly over the action.

Griffin & Howe is proud to offer our Sporting Top Mount for sporting rifles and military conversions. Our top mounts are affixed to your rifle by hand, using traditional craftsmanship techniques and blended to create a beautiful and functional scope mounting system. Sporting Top Mounts consist of a two piece base system permanently affixed to your firearm, and fitted with lever activated top halves. The top halves consist of the ring, either 1” or 30mm, and the ring base. Multiple ring sets with bases can be fitted to each Top Mount allowing multiple scopes to be sighted in for different bullet weights for the same rifle. Top Mounts allow scopes to be removed from the gun, and reinstalled while maintaining the scope zero.

Iron Sighting Systems

Quarter Rib

A precisely fit and beautifully sculpted rib of steel approximately ¼ the length of the barrel, that serves as a mounting point for an express sight. Express sights have a standing bar and one or more folding leaves regulated for different distances. This is widely regarded as the most visually pleasing way of affixing a rear sight.

Island Sight

An “island” of steel is fit to the barrel, nicely sculped and dovetailed to hold the same express sight as our quarter rib. the Island sight is a less time-consuming way to affix an express sight to one’s rifle.

Lyman 48 Peep Sight

Used in conjunction with our side mount, the Lyman 48 offers the hunter an extremely accurate backup sighting system. The frame of the Lyman 48 remains on the rifle with the scope installed and the staff of the sight is typically housed within a trapdoor buttplate. In the event of an optics failure, the scope can instantly be removed and the Lyman 48 staff installed with no sight adjustment needed.

Top Mount Peep Sight

Used in conjunction with our top mount system, our proprietary top mount peep sight offers the hunter an extremely accurate backup sighting system. The Griffin & Howe peep sight is typically stored within a trapdoor buttplate. In the event of an optics failure the scope can instantly be removed and the peep sight installed with no sight adjustments needed.

Banded Ramp Front Sight

This method of mounting a front sight is a Griffin & Howe trademark for a classic sporter rifle. A strong and elegant banded ramp front sight serves as our standard for all front sight installations on a classic sporter.

Griffin & Howe Barrel Band Sling Swivel

Another Griffin & Howe classic sporter trademark is the barrel band sling swivel. Like our barrel band front sight, the barrel band sling swivel is strong and elegant. Individually handmade and fitted for those who prefer their sling attached to the barrel rather than the stock, its location allows the user to sling his rifle in a very low position so that the barrel doesn’t protrude over the user’s head and snag on branches. Positioning the swivel on the barrel helps prevent pinching and bruising of the hand while firing heavy calibers.


Fashioned from elegant Circassian walnut and designed for performance, the Griffin and Howe stock design is one of the foundational elements upon which the company was built. Seymour Griffin developed a stock design that was both elegant and extremely useful in the field. One of the defining characteristics of our walnut stock is the closed grip radius; this tighter grip gives excellent control of the rifle both in aiming and in recoil management. The Griffin & Howe grip helps to control muzzle rise, allowing for faster follow-up shots.

The forend on a classic sporter is typically a little broader and longer when compared to our European counterparts – this design element come into play when shooting from a variety of positions that are common in American hunting. Like the grip, the forend is designed to help mitigate recoil.

The rifle’s stock serves as the interface between the human and the mechanical. Perhaps this is why most people feel that walnut, a substance that was once living, is the most desirable stock material that exists. Each piece is unique, giving the client the chance to choose a stock blank from our inventory that speaks to them. Highly customizable to each client, each walnut stock is fitted to their dimensional requirements.

Lastly, there are also a number of aesthetic options to choose from. These options include cut checkering, accessories such as skeleton grip caps and buttplates, the classic G&H trapdoor buttplate and grip cap, Purdy style recoil pad, and more.


No fine rifle is ever truly finished until the engraving has been applied. From basic screw engraving and border work to elaborate scroll work and game scenes, our talented in-house engraver will work collaboratively with the client to bring their vision to life.

Purchasing a Griffin & Howe Classic Sporter

We will work with you throughout the decision making process to ensure you receive your dream rifle. Production times may vary and we will stay in contact with you throughout the process.

To learn more about our sporting rifles and services, get a price, or schedule a site visit to our gunsmithing facility, please call us on 973-398-2670 or email gunsmithing@griffinhowe.com.