“So you want to see my man cave?” said Silvio Calabi, posed with the notion of a visit to his study, that quiet place where writers retreat to compose their strings of lettered pearls.

And who knew how masculine Calabi’s cave would be? This writer, editor and connoisseur of finer things — “those ultimate expressions of function,” as he terms them, whether fly rods or bespoke shotguns — is also a hunter in the classic Anglo tradition and reveres Africa, its history and people. He takes fishing expeditions to Patagonia and Alaska, and he appreciates well-engineered cars as well as his Ducati, one of Italy’s most sought-after motorcycles (“It’s the most uncomfortable thing in the world but it goes like a bat.”) and one that without fail draws attention from law enforcement. Then there are his guns, objects of precise design and construction, their engraved steel meticulously cleaned and polished.

It makes sense, then, to cross the threshold into his writer’s lair, in the Camden bungalow he shares with his wife, Sue, and discover at one’s feet a zebra-skin rug and the massive, polished skull of an eland on a wall. A neon sculpture twisted in the shape of a sport bike lights one corner, while a library of books, many of them about Africa, explorers, hunting and zoology, along with shelves devoted to Patrick O’Brian and Ernest Hemingway, occupies two walls. There are boxes filled with thousands of slides, his Nikons, and photographs from the Zambezi Valley, Northumberland and Labrador, along with a large picture of his daughter, Sarah, at the age of 12, cradling a shotgun: “That was for a book about women in the shooting sports, by a friend of ours.”

And there is his battered laptop with the finish worn from its keys, a MacBook that has accompanied him onto the plains and into the jungle — “It’s been about everywhere at least three times,” he said, a testament again to extreme functionality.

Calabi makes a living writing about his adventures, and crafts them so that they are funded by his writing. After many years, Calabi has refined the formula that most writers dream about: He has figured out how to write about that which interests him, and to make it pay. (“Well, sort of,” he said.)

Silvio Calabi was a publishing executive for more than 25 years and has been editor-in-chief of Shooting Sportsman and Fly Rod & Reel magazines (and is now an editor-at-large for both), among others. He is a Knight of the International Order of St. Hubertus, a member of Safari Club International and the Namibian Professional Hunting Association, and a director of the California Side By Side Society. With Roger Sanger and Steve Helsley, he co-produced the Gold Medal Concours d’Elegance of Fine Guns.

Calabi’s latest effort is the book “Hemingway’s Guns: The Sporting Arms of Ernest Hemingway,” written in collaboration with old friends Steve Helsley and Roger Sanger, all three aficionados of fine guns, and of Hemingway’s works and his life.

“When I was in my 20s and 30s, I had no interest in the man at all,” Calabi said. “But now that I’m the same age he was when he died, I find I’m a lot more sympathetic to him. Partly because I became a sort of pale imitation — a hunter, a shooter and a fisherman, a writer and a traveler, father and serial husband who struggles with those demands — and in many of his actions I can pick up echoes of my own behavior.”

To Calabi, Hemingway was what he calls “the genuine article. He knew what he was doing.”

“Hemingway’s Guns” grew out of a project for Hemingway scholar Miriam Mandel at the University of Tel Aviv. She was editing a book of critical essays about Hemingway’s African works, mainly three novels and two short stories, and sought help understanding the author’s world of guns, safari and hunting. She asked Calabi to write a chapter for her.

“I wrote 25,000 words on those subjects and got hooked,” he said. “The research opened up a much truer image of Ernest Hemingway, and when I’d covered him from the African angle — he went on safari twice, in the 1930s and 1950s — I didn’t want to stop. My friends Roger and Steve offered to help research his other guns, the ones he used outside Africa, and then Down East got interested.”

The result is a collection of stories about Hemingway’s shotguns and rifles, their histories, and how hunting and shooting were intertwined with Hemingway’s life and writing. The book is complete with rich black and white photos, many of them from the Hemingway archive at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. “Hemingway’s Guns” was published by Shooting Sportsman Books, a division of Down East Enterprise in Rockport.

The guns themselves carry their own loaded histories: Somewhere in East Africa is one of Hemingway’s Colt .22 pistols, which he acquired just after World War I. It disappeared in Kenya in 1954, resurfaced briefly there in 1997, and has since vanished again. One of his big-game rifles was used in hunting Nazi U-boats off Cuba in World War II. (Spurred by the book, its current owner has consigned it to James D. Julia Auctioneers, in Fairfield, for a March sale and it is expected to bring more than $100,000.) His .30-06 Springfield was stolen and may have wound up in the Irish Republican Army.

As much as the book is about Hemingway and guns, it is also about our culture’s relationship to guns, which has changed significantly since Hemingway’s era. (This year is the 50th anniversary of his death, in Idaho.) “Weapons are some of our most culturally and emotionally potent artifacts,” wrote Calabi. And, depending upon one’s interpretation of their use, weapons can also be things of beauty, engraved and carved, shaped by function into aesthetic forms.

“Every society reveres and decorates its weapons,” he said. “Every tribal chief carries a spear or club that is embellished to the hilt. Any tool that has the ability to deal death has potency. Look at the shark, at the fighter plane. Natural or man-made, there’s a purity of line there.”

From editor’s chair to African savanna

Calabi’s professional career has included sitting in the top chair at Fly Rod & Reel, Shooting Sportsman, Speedway Illustrated and other magazines. He has lived in Camden since the early 1980s, having been drawn from Vermont to create Down East’s outdoor group.

Born in France, Calabi grew up in Newton, Mass., and his parents bought a home in Vermont in 1960, where he learned about fishing and hunting. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1972 with a degree in geology.

“I’m supposed to be in the oil industry,” he said.

But the allure of wilderness, its big sky and the last of the great game herds, took him down a different path and now he travels to the Namibian bush, or the moors of Scotland, or the fields of Spain.

“Much as I loved my publishing career, my idea of retirement is doing what I want to do, instead of what other people want me to do,” he said. “And I’m an Africa junkie. From the beginning, I read old African adventures.”

Among his favorite African chroniclers are Martin and Osa Johnson, photographers of the 1920s and 1930s — “two Midwestern kids who were in the right place at the right time,” he said.

If he could pick his existence, it would be East Africa circa 1900, “for the sheer bloody exhilaration of the whole thing. I would give anything to have seen it pre-World War I, to have known that incredible concentration of characters.”

In his own writing, Calabi considers himself a journalist, and has little expectation that he will begin writing novels.

“Fiction is difficult for me,” he said. “After 35 years as a journalist, it’s tough to take the chains of reality off and let your mind run free.”

But he is not afraid of ever running out of subjects.

“Those always come,” he said. “I am a pragmatic writer. Journalism and pragmatism go together.”

He writes wherever and whenever, in the middle of the bush or in his Camden study, listening to morning classical music hosted by Suzanne Nance. Right now, pausing between projects, he paces himself, working about half-time before launching into the next book.

For him, life is about celebrating adventure on his terms. He’ll write, garden, ride his motorcycle, practice yoga. “I started back on my 59th birthday in order to get ready for my 60th,” he said, and “my blood pressure, pulse and fitness level are all pretty good.” All the better for upcoming safaris into the heart of Africa.