30 Day Review of a Rigby Highland Stalker in 275

roverandbrew

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As some of you know I recently purchased a Highland Stalker in .275 Rigby. Prior to owning this rifle, I had been a serious CZ 550 die hard. I own a standard CZ 550 in 243 and 270, an AHR Upgrade # 2 in 7x57 and 30.06, along with an AHR # 3 in 375 H&H. Since owning the Rigby over the last month or so I have done two elk hunts and launched 120 rounds down range. I figured I would give a 30-day review for all perspective buyers out there looking at Highland Stalkers.

The rifle in its current configuration is a baseline Highland Stalker with grade 5 wood, Rigby leather thong sling, Mauser Hexalock scope rings, and a Leupold VX-3I in 3.5-10x40.

After unboxing the rifle, the first thing I noticed is its slim design over the blockier CZ. The rifle is beautifully shaped and very well balanced. The stock’s finish is beautiful and well fitted to the action. After mounting the scope, I headed to the range to zero and get a feel for the rifle. I initially used some PPU 140 grain soft points to get the impact on paper and completed zero with factory 140 grain Nosler Accubonds. Groups were easily within a MOA at 100 yards.

After wildfires cut 4th Season Elk a bit early, I decided to shoot some factory Hornady 275 head stamped 140 grain soft points to get ready for eastern whitetails. The accuracy of these rounds varied by box. I was either driving tacks or working to hold a 2” group at 100 yards. I will shoot another box or so this week and hope to be hunting whitetails mid-December.

I wanted to do a slight comparison between my Highland Stalker and CZ with AHR Upgrade # 2, both in 275 / 7x57. While not apple to apples I feel it is a close comparison.

Bottom Line Up Front: In my opinion the value in the Rigby is not mechanical but tradition. It just feels classy to hold the rifle. The history can be felt in the rifle while performing the same tasks it did a hundred years ago. I immediately viewed this rifle as an heirloom where I did not with my CZs. The Highland Stalker is a great rifle.

Cost: Highland Stalker $10K, CZ w/ AHR # 2 $2400

Action: I do not feel the Rigby feeds or extracts any better mechanically than the CZ. I have never had an AHR CZ fail to feed or extract. The action on the HS does feel slightly slicker. I do like the HS three position safety lever and shroud over the AHR. The HS’s safety lever is a bit longer and I feel is easier to manipulate with gloves. I have not shot a bullet in the HS heavier than a few 160-grain partition handloads. The bolt felt a bit “snugger” with these rounds so I am not sure how a 175 grain would work out. The CZ has no problem with 175 grain bullets.

Stock: The HS is much sleeker and better balanced in my opinion. I do feel the wood on the HS is “softer” as it appears to pick up nicks and bumps a lot easier than the CZ. I am sure this is due to the oil finished. I have used a tiny bit of BLO on the dings as maintenance after returning from the hunts.

Trigger: I see no clear advantage over either trigger.

Accuracy: I have only shot the HS out to 100 yards to date. This week I hope to reach out to 200. So far, I see little difference between the 140 grain accubonds the HS loves and the 140 grain Corelokts the CZ loves. The iron sights on the HS are more accurate in my opinion.

In summary I feel clinically there is little functional difference between a Rigby HS and CZ AHR upgrade # 3 with the AAA English Walnut Stock. I would be comfortable taking either to the worst places on earth. In “MY” opinion is the Rigby worth double the CZ? YES.

I truly value the tradition and I feel it makes my adventures a bit closer aligned to a much simpler time. A period I feel most of us attempt to emulate with our time afield. I did not have “extra cash” lying around and this purchase was not a drop in the bucket. I squirreled away money a little at a time for the past decade or so wanting to purchase a Rigby. I have ZERO regrets with this purchase.
 

sestoppelman

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I feel the same way about the Mauser M98 in 7x57 recently purchased. While a couple grand less than the Rigby, its basically the same rifle but for cosmetics. Both are made by Mauser, though Rigby probably does its own stock work etc., I dont know.
I have shot mine every week since purchase, about 7 times I think. Like any rifle it likes some things better than others.
This past Monday I took a load that my Ruger No. 1 really liked and this 98 did too. 140 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips with Re19, up to near 53 grs. It liked it a lot.
First time out it shot really well with Hornady 162 gr BTSP bullets and others as well since. These are fine rifles, no question.
Like you I dont have any regrets in my purchase, unquestionably the finest bolt action rifle I have owned.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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Randy, thank you for this great report. I think you have hit it right on the head, it is about the beauty as well as the functionality. The Highland Stalker has a certain elegance to it, yes in the feel and balance, but also in its presentation. You know it is up to the task, and its smile index is huge. Funny enough, I didn't get the same feeling handling the Big Bore in 375 H&H. I found it too long, unbalanced, barrel heavy. This particular model wore grade 5 wood, but it didn't excuse the feel.
I wish you many happy hunts with that beautiful HS.
 

Sika98k

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I feel the same way about the Mauser M98 in 7x57 recently purchased. While a couple grand less than the Rigby, its basically the same rifle but for cosmetics. Both are made by Mauser, though Rigby probably does its own stock work etc., I dont know.
I have shot mine every week since purchase, about 7 times I think. Like any rifle it likes some things better than others.
This past Monday I took a load that my Ruger No. 1 really liked and this 98 did too. 140 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips with Re19, up to near 53 grs. It liked it a lot.
First time out it shot really well with Hornady 162 gr BTSP bullets and others as well since. These are fine rifles, no question.
Like you I dont have any regrets in my purchase, unquestionably the finest bolt action rifle I have owned.
I note that your rifle shoots well with the Hornady 162GR BTSP. Mine is magic with the 162gr A-Max also.
 

BeeMaa

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Excellent write up.
You should post a few pics to highlight the differences.
Plus, I just really want to drool while looking at the HS.
 

chashardy

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Thanks for this review. I've been thinking about a Highland Stalker in 275 Rigby for a while.
As I've posted before, I have a Rigby Big Game in 416 Rigby that I have been practicing with since Santa brought it last year. I agree with your comments about the look and feel of Rigby rifles. They are really beautiful, and the Mauser action is as good as it gets.
I'm looking forward to taking my Rigby to Africa next July to hunt another buffalo.
 
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Excellent write up.
You should post a few pics to highlight the differences.
Plus, I just really want to drool while looking at the HS.
@BeeMaa
Mate just get rid of the blazers Ann get a Rigby. You already have your big bore and only really need 2 rifles anyhoo.
Bob
 

spike.t

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Randy, thank you for this great report. I think you have hit it right on the head, it is about the beauty as well as the functionality. The Highland Stalker has a certain elegance to it, yes in the feel and balance, but also in its presentation. You know it is up to the task, and its smile index is huge. Funny enough, I didn't get the same feeling handling the Big Bore in 375 H&H. I found it too long, unbalanced, barrel heavy. This particular model wore grade 5 wood, but it didn't excuse the feel.
I wish you many happy hunts with that beautiful HS.

Well that's because it wasn't a 416..... :E Big Grin: ....375 nah....
 

BeeMaa

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@BeeMaa
Mate just get rid of the blazers Ann get a Rigby. You already have your big bore and only really need 2 rifles anyhoo.
Bob
I only have 2 rifles...in 4 calibers...;).
I made my choice and went all in on Blaser.
Waiting for you to do the same.

But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the beauty in other rifles.
The Rigby HS is a good example of that.
There are soooo many rifles I enjoy looking at.
Mrs BeeMaa calls it gun-porn.
 

spike.t

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Newby

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What are the thoughts of @roverandbrew and @sestoppelman on the metal work on their respective rifles ?

Presumably the actions are made on all modern tooling and provide modern precision in an almost traditional 98 design, but I don't know.

There have been various 98 reinventions over the years with varying levels of precision and finish, but I had hoped that these (Rigby and Mauser) would be a huge leap forward in precision of manufacture. Again, I don't know.
 

WAB

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The functional metal work on mine is outstanding. The finish work is good but not as good as my custom rifles or a London Best (which my custom rifles would compare very favorably to).
 

sestoppelman

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On my M98, the metal is very nicely done in matte finish. All steel, no alloys or plastic anywhere. I can tell you this. The receivers left wall is as original design in that it is not broached thru on the raceway as most modern Mausers are, which is said to weaken the receiver there. Its a nice feature and should be present on either rifle since both use the same receiver.
 
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I only have 2 rifles...in 4 calibers...;).
I made my choice and went all in on Blaser.
Waiting for you to do the same.

But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the beauty in other rifles.
The Rigby HS is a good example of that.
There are soooo many rifles I enjoy looking at.
Mrs BeeMaa calls it gun-porn.
@BeeMaa
At least you can look at other beautiful things just don't look at other beautiful women otherwise Mrs BeeMaa might get some shooting practice you don't want her to do.
Bob
 

sestoppelman

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To illustrate what I said above, here side by side is a Mark X on the left and the new M98 on the right. You can see the difference. This is a nice feature.

IMG_1726.JPG
IMG_1727.JPG
 
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roverandbrew

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Here is a comparison between the CZ and Rigby bolt. Rigby top and CZ bottom.

Bolts.jpg
 
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