In 1990 I was posted from Canada to Zimbabwe in south central Africa, thereby fulfilling
a lifelong dream to live in Africa. For most of my life, I devoured every book and
magazine article I could find that recounted African hunting adventures, explorations,
natural history and African peoples and their culture.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, Robert Ruark, a best selling American journalist, author and
hunter chronicled one of his long African hunts in “Horn of the Hunter” and then
produced “Something of Value”, a best-selling fictional tale of the Mau Mau revolt in
Kenya. Both books featured characters based on White Hunter Harry Selby who was
greatly admired by Ruark. He carried a 416 Rigby bolt action.
So here I was, an Africaphile and hunter headed for those legendary game fields and I
had to have a suitable rifle.
And after much thought and justification, I decided that it had to be a Rigby.
In 1991, on one of my regular trips between Canada and Zimbabwe, I stopped in on
Rigby’s office and workshop on Suffolk Street in London. The mahogany panelled show
room was as British as could be. And so was Piers Crump, who managed Rigby’s at the
time. After I explained why I was there, I listed my requirements for a suitable rifle. Piers
said they had just started one like that and he led me downstairs to the workshop to
show me a 416 rifle with the stock roughed out, the barrel and action fitted, but in the
white. In a split second I made my decision and we proceeded with a personal fitting for
After the fitting, John Roberts, Rigby’s owner at the time dropped by for a chat. He
asked about the specs I wanted and he approved.
Several weeks later, the finished rifle arrived in Zimbabwe. It was indeed a handsome
and relatively simply embellished rifle; Rigby’s “Professional hunter” model. Stocked in
slightly figured Turkish walnut, it sported a 23 inch barrel, a concession to the brush
country that most of southern Africa is. And like Harry Selby’s rifle, it was chambered in
the famous 416 Rigby caliber.
After my first major hunt in the Makuti-Charara Safari area in the Zambezi Valley, I took
the rifle to Walter Roth, the Rigby authorized gunsmith in Harare for a few tweeks.
Walter re-hardened the safety and installed a larger white bead on the front sight made
from warthog ivory.
The rifle proved to be deadly with Barnes X and Speer Grand Slam premium bullets in
hand loaded brass. 350 and 400 grain bullets grouped within the same 2 inch circle at
100 yards and penetration on buffalo was excellent.
During the next 15 years I used it as my primary rifle in Mozambique and Zimbabwe and
as a back-up on my hunting concession is Zimbabwe.
For hunting large plains game and the dangerous sorts, it is difficult to trump the Rigby
in 416. It is both an enduring icon and “the best of the best” in the African game fields.
Rigby 416 Professional hunter model, stocked in lightly-figured Turkish walnut, a 14 inch length of pull and 23 inch barrel.
Magnum length action with flag safety and Rigby detachable custom scope mounts.
Express sights with standing blade and two leaf blades.
Barrel mounted sling swivel.
Pachmeyr express rifle recoil pad.
My initials engraved on sterling plate under the butt stock.
Serial number engraved on trigger guard.
Barrel mounted Rigby scope bases with scope removed.
Leupold 1.5 to 6 power scope removed from rifle with rings mounted.
Engraving on top of receiver.
Engraving on top of barrel.
Rigby cartouche in gold on blued steel magazine floor plate.
Wart hog tusk bead installed by Walter Roth, Rigby-authorized gunsmith in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Full field rig with Rigby- supplied leather sling and belt mounted shell holder and polishing cloth.
Another view of full field kit. Not shown are a set of reloading dies.
Initial sight-in, 3 shot group with scope by Rigby.
I met with both Paul and Piers on my first visit for a fitting.
If you would like to make an offer please contact me by PM.