Kilimanjaro's Philosophy is expressed in the tag line to our logo: "When One Shot Matters". Originally coined by our founder's then 11 year old daughter Isabel, this phrase captures the essence of serious hunting and Kilimanjaro's pursuit of excellence. One shot is important to fulfill the ethical obligation to kill cleanly and quickly without wounding or suffering. It also is important for the dangerous game hunter when one shot can be the difference between life and death for the hunter. One shot also captures the stringent accuracy standards that Kilimanjaro rifles must meet, and finally, one shot is also the standard by which serious marksmen judge themselves. At Kilimanjaro, each of our rifles are unique—we never build the same one twice—and custom-tailored to its owner’s specifications and desires. All, however, are expected to uphold the "When One Shot Matters" standard.
Unlike most rifle makers, or even so-called "custom" rifle makers, Kilimanjaro Rifles provides full custom rifles tailored to your individual specifications and desires. We do not merely provide a list of options from which to choose to "customize" a standard rifle. Our motto is "All Custom – All The Time". We intend each and every rifle we make to be unique.
Full custom can be a daunting proposition; however, no matter your level of experience or certainty of what you want. We are here to guide you through the process of creating your own special and unique rifle, and have a variety of different starting points designed to make the process easier.
Kilimanjaro Rifles are all hand-crafted in the USA in our various shops in several states. While our administrative offices are based in Honolulu, the long-time home of our founder, all production is undertaken in our facilities and shops in the rugged beauty of northern Montana, Southern California and other states. To achieve the excellence we demand, Kilimanjaro utilizes an old world production style. We avoid a central manufacturing facility where people report to work for a "job". Rather, we find that the finest work is accomplished in multiple small shops where each craftsman is in full control of his or her environment, free of distractions, and able to devote undivided attention to the creation of the world’s finest hunting rifles. At Kilimanjaro, the work is not a job, but an essential part of who we are.
Kilimanjaro Rifles traces its roots back to the Montana master gunsmith/stock-maker of more than 50 years experience, Merlin "Mel" Smart. It is Mel that originally developed and patented Kilimanjaro's proprietary Stealth Lamination technology which provides greater strength and stability while preserving the full beauty, figure and feel of our exhibition grade walnut stocks. Back then, it was called the ACRA-Bond Laminate. For several years, Serengeti founder Rod Rogers had been a customer and friend of Mel Smart. Rod had a long career in high technology equipment with Digital Equipment Corporation, but had realized his dream of relocating to Montana and pursuing his interest in rifle design and development. Mel's health unfortunately began to decline, and Rod was asked to keep the business running. Mel passed away on Sunday, April 13th, 2003.
Kilimanjaro was founded by its President, Erik D. Eike. Originally trained in both architecture and law, Erik spent several decades over-seeing and assisting large, complex, high-end construction of resorts, high-rise towers, airports, hospitals and power plants. During this time, and as an avid hunter, Erik grew disenchanted with the handling, quality and performance of the major production rifles, and turned to the custom rifle market. As a longtime customer of other custom rifle makers, he treasured fine rifles but demanded they be not just beautiful, but accurate and tough enough for real world field conditions. As Erik’s standards became more stringent, particularly in regard to handling, balance, accuracy and craftsmanship details, he realized that even the custom builders were not achieving the quality and excellence he believed possible. Convinced that the art of crafting fine hunting rifles was fast disappearing, he began an extensive research and development project for a new flagship line of full custom rifles — the Kilimanjaro Rifle—and developed the Kilimanjaro Standards production and quality assurance manual.
The finest hunting rifles in the world can only be created with the finest craftsmen. Kilimanjaro is proud of our team of gunsmiths, stock makers and other artisans who are selected not just for their extraordinary skills, but their attention to detail, commitment to excellence, and understanding that crafting of Kilimanjaro quality rifles is more than a feat of engineering, machining or carving, but an art form. Obsessive, compulsive perfectionism is a trait we prize. We are pleased to be able to attract the best talent because we offer the opportunity to create rifles of exceptional quality without the constraints, compromises, quotas and limitations of a mass-production or semi-custom process.
Kilimanjaro extends a five year guaranty to the original purchaser on its rifles. Our guaranty covers our labor and craftsmanship, including our Stealth Lamination. It excludes normal wear & tear, damage from misuse, throat erosion of the barrel from shooting beyond the barrel's typical lifespan, and shipping costs. We stand behind our rifles. If you ever have a problem, within or beyond five years, contact us. If we cannot help you solve the problem, we will have you return the rifle for whatever corrective action is necessary.
Kilimanjaro Rifles accepts personal check, cashier's check, money order, or wire transfer. A deposit of 50% is required upon order to secure a production slot and allow the ordering and procurement of all of the special components for your rifle. A second payment of 25% is due upon commencement of rough carving and action/barrel work. The final 25% is not due until your rifle is ready to ship. Because of our custom production effort, and limited production slots, deposits and progress payments are non-refundable. We do understand the uncertainties of life, however, and if health, financial or other issues prevent you from taking delivery of your rifle, we can help try to sell your rifle for you to cover any remaining amount owing and as much of your deposits as possible.
Our standard production schedule for our custom wood-stocked rifles is twelve to fifteen months from date of first deposit, subject to action availability. Because of the necessary acclimation and cure periods in our production process to achieve Kilimanjaro's demanding standards, minimum production time is ten months. Each rifle goes through extensive testing, including accuracy testing, both during production and upon completion. Depending on the unique personality of each rifle, this tuning process can take a couple of weeks to several months. No rifle ships before we are satisfied it meets our standards, and this testing is the biggest factor as to when your rifle will be ready.