Does anyone have any experience with either the HEYM Martini Express, the Rigby Big Game, or the Mauser m98 Magnum? Considering a rifle in .375HH, curious at to whether there are any standout differences between the three. Any input appreciated.
@Pheroze is close. I have a Rigby Big Game as well as a Martini .300 Win Mag. The latter was made for me by Ralf Martini, who designed the Heym Express by Martini, but does not actually make them. Heym hired Ralf Martini - who used to work for Heym before he moved to Canada - to design the Express rifle to make it more appealing to "non-Europeans." Ralf prefers the English style of rifle to the German style, and the Express reflects that. As a result, it looks and handles more like an English rifle (and thus an American rifle) than it does say, a Blaser.
The Rigby action, which is a Mauser M98 action, is indeed made in Germany. Having said that, this is, in fact, the traditional way in which Rigby Big Game rifles were always made. Rigby sourced the M98 action from Mauser when the .416 was designed. So it's back to where it all started.
Now we need to be clear that while the action is, as it once was, made in Germany, the rifle is the Rigby English design, and is finished in England by craftsmen at Rigby's workshop in London (which you can visit with a bit of notice - well worth it - a small group of workers beavering away in the back with bits of rifles all over the place - gives you shivers!). The Big Game is not quite as traditional as the London Best, more of which is "made" in England, but it is virtually as English a rifle as the Rigbys of yesteryear.
The Big Game is an excellent rifle. Mine, which was a relatively early one, did need some work to ensure smooth operation. I understand those kinks have been worked out. Those issues were easy enough to fix anyway. The beauty of the Rigby is in the handling. The best way to really feel how a genuine English rifle should handle is to shoot it without the scope. The balance is perfect, and the rifle shoulders like a shotgun. A joy to handle, as much as it can be said that a large caliber can be a joy to shoot, Rigby is.
Ralf Martini knows his business and knows how to make a stock. The Heym is much the same as the Rigby in terms of handling. I believe it is an excellent rifle, but I don't have the first-hand experience with it in the field to be able to compare it to the Rigby. I will say I prefer the appearance of the Rigby, and of course, I prefer the history and the "aura". Of course, I have to say that the Heym is not the same as his full-custom rifles, but the price isn't the same either!
Some have commented on the cost, and I won't (because I can't) deny that these are not cheap. But that doesn't mean you don't get value for money. Sort of like driving a Chrysler and a Porsche. I've owned both, and while both will get you where you need to go, one not only does it better, it's a lot more fun to own and to use than the other. Same with these rifles. (I assume since you're asking about expensive rifles in the first place, that your budget isn't the issue here.)
Last comment is that both the Heym and the Rigby are rifles which you should expect to leave to your heirs.
Sorry I can't comment on the Mauser, other than to say that after handling them at the SCI show, I found they were different from the more English style I prefer. Obviously, the action is the same as the Rigby, and I've never heard anyone validly criticize the M98.
Got to respect that way of thinking. Live life to the fullest for tomorrow may not come.My end goal is to have something that would be handed down proudly, and I believe something like a Rigby would fit that bill. I am also cognizant of the ever-changing world around us, and I am concerned to some degree that the craftsmanship and sport of today will either not exist or be extremely limited in the relatively near future. Rigby has the pedigree, and Heym is not terribly far behind in that regard by any means. Additionally, I am in a bit of a medical position where making it back to Africa may be difficult or impossible in the future. That's part of why I'd like to have an unforgettable rifle with me for the journey. Tough choice to make.