More pictures & write up on the most Unusual Custom Double Rifle that money built for the Maharaja of Surguja ....
John Rigby & Company Sidelock Ejector Double Rifle ordered in 1936 and delivered in June 1939 by & for His Highness the Maharaja of Surguja, Madhya Pradesh State in central India and chambered for the standard 416 Rigby and it remains the only double rifle Rigby ever chambered in their cartridge made famous in their Magnum Mauser actioned bolt rifles.
The Maharaja ordered it for sport as he obviously had a passion for hunting; a former Managing Director of Indian Shikars estimated the Raja accounted for 1200 tigers in and around his 8616 square mile state. Other accounts estimate his total bag more like 1600 tigers and in one night he dispatched 27 Leopards. The Raja is on record of using more than a dozen tents made entirely of tiger skins on his shikars.
He also went to Africa on safari with the famous John Hunter on three different occasions. When this rifle made its way to the U.S. prior to 1975 it didn't take long to find out that it graced the tiger fields of India frequently. Both barrels were practically smooth and worn out from countless rounds of 416 and it key holed. When Rigby was contacted in the early 70's they said they never made a 416 double but a later search revealed this gun was in fact the only one. The gun then made its way back to the makers for a new set of 416 Rigby barrels and Rigby had the rifle for over 2 and a half years and then the owner brought it back to the U.S. It then was returned to Rigby in London about 1987 and they bored out the original barrels from .416 to .474 and chambered it to 470 Nitro. It then was proved at 14 tons in 1988 at the London proof house. It was restocked at Rigby, recolor hardened, a modern case for both barrels and completely brought back to near 1939 standards.
He was a wise and forward thinking owner that spent the right money at the right place to keep this unique Rigby a true one-of-a-kind 416. He brought the gun back to excellent accuracy with handloads and to this day it remains in excellent restored condition with a very romantic history that few double rifles enjoy to this degree. Originally stocked by Shelley and the barrels by Lane and then engraved by the master Harry Kell with the Raja's state crest engraved on the locks. These gentlemen were the top craftsmen at Rigby during the mid 30's.
The original barrels are 25 (As they were in 1939) Ejector Chopper Lump with the new boring of 470 Nitro and a dolls head extension & third bite, 1/4 inch rib with 1 standing & 2 folding and weights dead on 10 lbs. The new London Rigby barrels are 25 1/2 inch Ejector Chopper Lump chambered to 416 Rigby and proved at 18 tons in the London proof house. These barrels have 1 standing & 2 folding on a 1/4 inch rib and remain as new along with the original rebored barrels in 470 and it weights 10 lbs. 2 oz. The gun has a 14 1/4 inch L.O.P. over a 7/8 Silvers pad and it remains in 98% condition as restored by Rigby in London. It is cased in a modern brass cornered leather trunk with accessories and a modern trade label.