Czech Marketa Davidova won the individual women’s race at the IBU World Championships Biathlon 2021 in Pokljuka with a rifle for which Slovenian manufacturer Matej Grum had created a picturesque butt with unicorns. German magazine Stern ranked a photo, of now already famous rifle, as the most beautiful from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. And the journalist wondered if it was the most beautiful biathlon rifle of all the time.
“It’s a long story dating back to the year before the 2018 Olympics. The Czechs ordered a larger number of rifle butts and I promised them one for free. They chose the butt for Marketa’s rifle and I made it. I remember her boyfriend and her coach came to pick it up just in time for Christmas, so then the new rifle was a Christmas present,” Grum recalls collaborating with the Czechs.
For the then 20-year-old Czech, this rifle also became a kind of springboard for a breakthrough into senior category. With it, she joined the Olympic team as a youngster.
And the unicorns painting? “This was her wish. Somehow, she believes in the power of the unicorn, she likes this motif and my friend Jure Možina helped me to create it.”
According to Grum, the rifle doesn’t even have any special features. It is made of walnut, linden and maple wood, with carbon layers in between. “I make butts that way, but every maker does them a little differently.” And apparently biathletes are very happy with its butts. Among others the Czech Lucie Charvatova, the Ukraine’s Olena Pidrushna and Julia Jima, the Russian Larisa Kuklina, the Kazakh Galina Vishnevskaya, and many others use his butts, also Slovenes, except of Jakov Fak and Lea Einfalt.
And the history of Matej Grum? “I make 10 to 15 butts per a year. It’s been my hobby since 2012. It started with a daughter who competed in biathlon. Young biathletes get the available weapons, but that rifle was no longer good. I gave her my own, the Swedish coach saw it and I made a butt for his left-handed son. And that’s how it started. “
He is currently producing a rifle for Romanian Elena Chirkova, who is also competing in Pokljuka. At the end of the Championships, Grum will take precise measures for the rifle, and in May, when the Romanians return to Slovenia for preparations, the butt will be ready for a new owner after the latest tests.