In a truly remarkable weekend filled with camaraderie, the American Custom Gunmaker Guild (ACGG) came together to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of Stephen Heilmann, a respected life member. Recognizing his unparalleled contributions, the ACGG presented Steve with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award, a moment that will forever be etched in his memory.
John Kreiger and Sharon Dressel had the distinct privilege of presenting the award to Steve at his well-renowned shop. The surprise was met with sheer joy and gratitude, as Steve’s priceless reaction exemplified his unwavering passion for custom gun work that spans over five decades.
Steve’s journey in the world of firearms began after his high school graduation, when his father encouraged him to pursue the Gunsmithing program at Colorado School of Trades. In 1973, he opened a gun shop in Grass Valley, CA, where he not only sold sporting goods and firearms but also dedicated himself to custom gun work and repairs. Recognizing the need for more focused craftsmanship, Steve sold his shop in 1980 and constructed a workshop solely dedicated to the art of building custom guns on his own property.
Joining the ACGG in 1984, Steve became a proud life member, showcasing his exceptional skills as a stockmaker and metalsmith. His intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail have garnered international recognition, making him a revered figure in the world of custom gunmaking.
During the celebratory weekend, Steve and his wife Cheri graciously hosted a memorable dinner, creating an atmosphere of warmth and friendship. The festivities continued with a delightful brunch boat cruise on the picturesque Lake Coeur d’Alene, perfectly complemented by the beautiful weather.
This remarkable gathering not only celebrated Steve’s extraordinary achievements but also fostered cherished connections among lifelong friends. The ACGG extends heartfelt congratulations to Steve Heilmann on this well-deserved recognition, acknowledging his immense talent, dedication, and invaluable contributions to the craft.