Advice 404 Jeffrey or 416 rigby for a first DG rifle

Johan Rautenbach

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Feb 24, 2016
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South Africa
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I am looking to purchased my first DG rifle for backup as a PH.
A friend of mine has a 416 rigby and I really enjoy shooting with the rifle, but I have a 7x57 Mauser and was thinking of converting it to a 404 Jeffrey for use on DG. What are some of your thoughts on that, and any advice will be appreciated
Either will be fine. I have a 404 Jeffery. The load is a 400gr at 2360 fps. A Rigby will be the same or slightly more. Either will work well.
That conversion may be more involved than you imagine. If your 7mm is built proportionally to the cartridge, then rebarreling would give you the equivalent of a cannon mounted on a matchstick. I wouldn't want to touch it off.

Either round makes a fine PH's rifle - fully capable of sorting out trouble. I think I would be guided by ammo availability.
404 Jeffery is making a comeback (Hornady and Norma load it), but I would think 416 Rigby will be easier to get. If you reload, the .416 projectiles will be more common than the .423 of the .404 Jeffery.
I will be reloading. The 416 rigby even when loading your own amo cost over R50 a shot. Though maby the 404 would be cheaper to reload myself
Projectiles are probably the same cost, 404 will use a bit less powder. Brass is probably similar, but will just about be a one off expense. A CZ550 in 416 Rigby will probably be cheaper than a 404 Jeffery.
-if cost is a concern then i vote... neither. the 416 RM will do what you ask and it will cost less then either of your options. the 416 RM will use less powder then both the Jeffery and the Rigby and in a pinch you can even make 416 RM brass from 375 H&H (ive done it).

-if cost is not really a concern then the 416 Rigby would be my next choice. the big Rigby case allows for higher velocities or longer/heavier bullets. the 416 Rigby works well with Woodleigh 550gr bullets or long mono-metal bullets such as Barnes or Peregrine.

-the 404 Jeffery is a wonderful old cartridge, if your looking for a unique cartridge rich in history then this is a fine choice. however, there is the draw back of using an odd bullet size. be sure you can easily get .423" bullets and brass or be able to find factory ammunition before you buy this rifle. bullets, brass, and ammunition for this cartridge are becoming more and more available but im not sure how easy they are to find in SA.

as @Red Leg has pointed out though, its a lot of work to convert a 7x57 to 404. your 7x57 will be a light rifle where you want a heavier gun with a fairly sturdy stock for the heavier cartridges. im not saying it cant be done, its just not the best option.

i use a Winchester M70 Safari Express chambered in 416 RM and absolutely love it! a 400gr bullet at 2250-2300 from this rifle will sort out any DG while a 300gr bullet at 2650-2700 will sort out any PG.

Grandpaw’s Jeffery

It rested between the Ivory

That hung on Grandpa's wall

It's finally checked and yellowed

Like the tusks it helped to fall

It's barrel smooth and polished

From a hundred bearers hands

It reflected the light warmly

Like campfires flickering brands

The stock of English walnut

Chewed and clawed a bit

It still showed a trace of checkering

and a dent where a horn had hit

Stamped on the barrel lightly

Was a name and not much more

A single word "Jeffery"

"Jeffery .404"

If that rifle could only talk

And take us back once again

With grandpa in Africa

A time of Buffalo, Elephants and men

But that day has set it's sun

And the rifle speaks no more

Oh what I'd give for one last time

To hear that baby roar
Wheels who wrote that poem? I have a thought his name will be Bob!
I have both out of the two the 404 is my favourite. Like many have said to convert your 7x57 mauser to 404 is a very detailed and costly project unless you have the ability to do the work yourself. It involves opening the boltface, opening the feed rails, lengthen/widening the magazine box, (Takes a better than average gunsmith to get it to feed to DG level of reliability), rebarrel/chamber, add iron sights, trigger, re-blue all the steel and most likely add a new stock or add cross bolts and glass bed the current stock. I would take the time to test fire the 416 Rigby your friend is offering to check accuracy, reliability and fit. If all those are up to your standards get the Rigby. It will be cheaper in the long run. If you wind up in southern Airzona I will offer to let you shoot both and see which you prefer.
This question has many answers, I assume you are here in SA ?

I own both calibers , I love my 404 and find ît easier to shoot than my 416 Rigby.

My choice would be the 416 because of case capacity , availability here in SA , choice of rifles , rifle costs .
If you wind up in southern Airzona I will offer to let you shoot both and see which you prefer.

Your a good guy Dave.


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As my signature says "my next rifle WILL BE a 404J"..... This was not to be the case.... instead a Ruger RSM in 416 Rigby came up (actually two but I missed out on the first one!) I couldn't resist :D I love mine and wouldn't hesitate to build a custom Rigby or if money was no object have a "real" 416 Rigby. I don't think you will go wrong with either... find a rifle that Fits you and that is in your price range.(y)


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