My Three Hour Visit to John Rigby

sierraone

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I spent about three hours of my life at the John Rigby shop in South London today. Probably not going to forget anytime soon, but hope to return with my son one day, maybe even a grand daughter depending on how long I hang around. The shop is much smaller than either Westley Richards or William Evans. Rigby is focus on guns, and only a small amount of clothing and accessories, whereas the other two could compete with a Macy's or Dillard's on clothes along. Not a bad thing in my view, just different!

Marc Newton the Managing Director and David Miles, the Director of Sales told me AND showed me the history of Rigby. Marc gave me free run of the shop including the gunsmiths work area after I was introduced. In the gun room, they have a small section of used guns that could be any brand, an antique section of Rigby rifles and guns that are not for sale, and a section of the current made firearms that are complete and have prices on them as basic models but are not for sale. They are for a client to see and handle to decide on what to order.
 

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DSCF3236.JPG
 

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The shop/facility is in an industrial area of the south side of London. Once you enter, you will immediately feel that this place is in the business of making and selling guns, and is full of history on display to prove it.
 

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The above is just one wall of trophies. They were pretty much on every wall of the different rooms I had access to!
 

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The guns on the left above are an assortment of used guns for sale. They vary greatly in brand, type, etc. The middle group are all Rigbys and they are priced, but not for sale. They are for customers look at and handle. Four are Big Games with different grade wood. One is a London Best. The blond looking rifle on the left is a client's special order rifle. Marc stated that these gun are for sale only if he were going to lose a sell by not allowing a customer to buy. The guns on the right are Rigby Museum guns and not for sale.

Marc said he had 4.5 years of orders. Had sold over 400 Big Games since moving back to London. Had sold only 180 total in the history of Rigby prior to moving back to London. They have started producing the Rising Bite double again. Starting price for those of you interested, $97,000.00. They have started to put more emphasis on producing Rising Bite double rifles and shotguns. With that kind of price, time will tell how successful they will be.
 

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The significance of the above rifles are they are all three Rigby museum rifles. The bottom is a pre WWII .416 Rigby, possibly never used. Just after the war, a Greek bought it, paid for it in late 1940s prices, but never came to pick it up. After he died, Rigby negotiated some deal with his family and just retained the rifle. It's not for sale because it is rare for its time and place in history, but if you do want to buy, start your negotiations at about $60,000.00. The middle rifle is the most rare to me. It is a 1897 Mauser action. We all know of the 98 Mauser. This action was created for this Rigby rifle, why it is different is the way it cocks the action when pushing the bolt forward. The 98 action came out the next year and the 97 action quickly disappeared according to David Miles....again, not for sale. To be honest I do not remember the distinction of the top rifle that makes it a museum piece.
 

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These are 2 of the 8 or so gunsmiths that work making these Rigby Rifles and Guns that in my view and hope to keep making history for the next 240 years + or -.
 

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fantastic , I hope to go when next in the UK .
 

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Very cool! Thanks for sharing with us
 

sierraone

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fantastic , I hope to go when next in the UK .
Plan your trip in detail, know where you want to go and when. The only shop not in London is Westley Richards which is in Birmingham, a 1 1/2 hour train ride north. Know which train station you going to before you leave the airport on the Picadilly Line...Plan, Plan Plan...with a computer it takes time but is not that difficult. Also be sure that whatever credit card or cards you may use, call the companies 2 or 3 weeks in advance and tell them where you will be or they may deny your card.

There are 2 other shops out of London you may be interested in, J Roberts and Son, West Sussex and Diggory Hadoke in Ludlow, Shropshire. More difficult to get to, but can be done.
 

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Drool has escaped my lips and slithered into my keyboard! I would quite possibly trade one of my children, a not so essential organ and a bottle of the McClellan 25 for a London Best in 416 Rigby. I'm certain the boys would understand when they got older!
If Jealousy is an ugly emotion, than I must look like Hillary about now!
Cody
 

sierraone

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A little information I had forgotten about. The Jim Corbett rifle which most of you know is owned by Rigby now and is on display. A hunter/shooter from Florida (not me) is having Rigby build him an exact replica. All the scratches, scars, worn checkering. I was shown the rifle, it has a little more work to go before ready to be delivered. The rifle looks worn and fairly well used just like the Corbett original. Marc told me it takes a lot more time and work to make a new rifle look old than it does an old rifle look new. He did not say how much the client is paying for this somewhat unusual order!!!
 

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