Rigby made in California......any experience

Surgeon1

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Found a California built Rigby double rifle! Does anyone have any experience with one?
 

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Pics?
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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I don't but if memory serves the Rigby California venture was a doomed one. If you proceed further, do so with caution.
 

Red Leg

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The consigliere among double rifle shooters still consider the Paso Robles rifles an abomination. I am sure part of that is simply seeing the Rigby name put on a rifle that would have not been produced in the UK. And of course, the rebirth of Rigby in London has consigned the Paso Robles rifles to history. They made a lot of press (all mostly bad) by using glue rather than solder in mating barrels of some of the Rogue River and "Rigby" rifles among other production "modernizations". None of that says anything about the rifles themselves. I handled exactly one at a gun show on the east coast. It was a pretty straight forward A&D boxlock on what looked like a German action - but I have no idea where they actually sourced it. My sense is the rifles were pretty much a work in progress for the few years they were made. I would look it over very carefully, and know your audience before you show them your "Rigby." ;)
 
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Travis2282

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I wonder would the rigby in London fix rigby from California rifles?
 

Red Leg

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I wonder would the rigby in London fix rigby from California rifles?
In a word - no. Marc Newton would not consider them to be Rigby rifles.
 

wesheltonj

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No experience and no to buying one.
 

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Even though they are looked down upon now...
Could they ever be considered a classic or even a rarity worth some coin if unaltered?
Like a Ford Edsel or Chevy Corvair?
Possible investment...risk certainly, but still possible.
 

One Day...

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I second what Red Leg stated and will add one piece of data. If my information is correct, the Rogue River, Paso Robles, CA double rifles were assembled on non-branded Merkel actions.

This, plus the cost-savings engineering they did (including the gluing of the barrels) make these rifles about as akin to a British Rigby rifle, as a CZ 550 .416 R factory rifle is related to a Rigby Big Game .416 R, despite the fact that Rigby of London used for several decades CZ 550 actions to build their bolt action rifles before Mauser resumed production of magnum length actions.

Many of you know how highly I regard the CZ 550 rifle, so this is no damning with faint praise, but a Rogue River double is no more a Rigby than a CZ 550 is a Rigby, even if by some quirk of corporate merging fate the name ended up stamped on the barrel. This does not mean they are not good rifles, this just means that they are not Rigby in the London-best sense associated with the brand.

Is their a place and a price for a CA "Rigby" in a collection? Sure, I guess there is, just like I hear that the Ford Pinto has become a collector item, but I will second Red Leg's suggestion that the CA "Rigby" brand may be more a liability than an asset for a while among double rifles aficionados.

Funny thing is that Rigby of London offered for a while to the owners of CA "Rigby" to turn in their gun and receive in exchange a true Rigby at undisclosed and NDA-protected (Non Disclosure Agreement) production cost. I do not know how many rifles were taken out of circulation that way, but it pissed the CA Rigby folks mightily while they were suing the London Rigby folks back & forth.

I have never shot a Rogue River "Rigby" double, therefore I have no opinion about the rifle itself. The finish leaves me generally cold as an evaluation criteria for this type of situation, as, for example, CZ 550 are very poorly finished but fundamentally excellent bolt rifles in need of a little TLC, while (insert here name of suspect brand) doubles are lavishly finished but very poorly made.

What I know for sure is that people who offer CA Rigby rifles, bolt or double, for sale at the price of British Rigby rifles, are essentially attempting to take advantage of ill informed buyers...

The sad part is that these CA Rigby were initially sold at British Rigby price, therefore some good faith original owners likely saw their investment vanish...
 
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sierraone

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In the spring of 2014 my son and I along with one of his friends attended the Tulsa Arms Show. A dealer that many of us know had two Calif Rigbys. Both were bolt action .416s, so the equivalent of a Rigby Big Game. Neither of these rifles were adorned with a lot of extras such as gold filled serial #s, double RRs etc. The dealer was asking over $24,000 for one of them and over $27,000 for the other. I can't tell you who made the action or the other important parts of the rifles. At this time a Big Game in .416 or .375 from London without the extras was about $14,000-$15,000. Even though I couldn't tell you WHAT was wrong with this picture, I knew that without question something was. Partially due to this incident, I have never been interested in a California Rigby at any price
 

Surgeon1

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This one has clearly been redone as the barrels are now soldered and have been regulated with Swift bullets in Norma cases! Not sure who has the skill to do that other than the guys in Enid and I would doubt they would bastardized a Bastard!
Still a very nice gun cosmeticly and locks tight. Supposedly there is all the paperwork with the gun on all the work, seller is from an estate and owns the gun and several other nice pieces but is not a gun person and the appraisal was done by a local shop so it is of no value!
 

Red Leg

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This one has clearly been redone as the barrels are now soldered and have been regulated with Swift bullets in Norma cases! Not sure who has the skill to do that other than the guys in Enid and I would doubt they would bastardized a Bastard!
Still a very nice gun cosmeticly and locks tight. Supposedly there is all the paperwork with the gun on all the work, seller is from an estate and owns the gun and several other nice pieces but is not a gun person and the appraisal was done by a local shop so it is of no value!
So judge the gun for what it is - not the name on the rib. If you can get a solid, on the face boxlock .470 on a Merkel action that apparently shoots, for a price commensurate for what it is, then sure, why not. I just wouldn't pay anywhere near the price of an actual Rigby for it.
 

One Day...

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Is this the one you are looking at Surgeon1? It has been on GB for a few months...

upload_2020-2-24_21-43-46.png


For almost the same money, there is this one, sold by Champlin Firearms, one of the most reputable double rifles dealer in the country...

upload_2020-2-24_21-47-9.png


Or for a little more money, there is this one...

upload_2020-2-24_21-51-22.png

upload_2020-2-24_21-51-53.png


Or if you really want a Rigby...

upload_2020-2-24_21-55-26.png


Truth be told, if I were looking for a 'hunting rifle' (I personally shoot a Krieghoff .470, which is a 'hunting rifle' albeit a very, very good one), I would look at this one very, very hard...

upload_2020-2-24_21-48-48.png


The bottom line is that you can buy a PROVEN double .470 rifle (Heym, Chapuis, Kreighoff, Blaser, if you like their look & engineering - which is remarkable, Verney Carron) backed by a completely trusted dealer and shop (George Caswell & JJ Perodeau of Champlin Arms) for $15,000+

More money ($10,000 to $20,000 more) buys you a historic name on the barrels (Westley Richards, Lang, Cogswell & Harrison, Bland, Francotte, Jeffery, etc.) but not necessarily a better rifle.

A whole lot more money ($30,000 to $100,000 more) buys you one of the legendary names (Holland, Rigby, God forbid Woodward or Purdey) but they will not kill any better and at that stage you want to think real hard before taking a $100,000 double to Africa.

I am not sure where a $22,000 Rogue River / Rigby fits, but I guaranty you that it does not put you in that last category, and I would rather trust a Heym, Chapuis, Kreighoff, Blaser, Verney Carron, or Merkel, etc.) because these people have had for decades a lot more experience putting doubles together than Rogue River had, and double rifles making is a trade in which experience is paramount...

You asked for opinions, this is just mine. It comes with no agenda or ulterior motive, and it is only worth what you paid for it, but it is honest :)
 
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spike.t

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Wouldn't have one if given to me....when they made a 450 ne for I think it was the 100 anniversary of the calibre for auction at Sci, a certain gentleman said come and have a look at it but don't say anything out loud as you will drop me in it.....he told me what they California rigby were hoping it would reach at auction..... I looked at it and as has been said it was built on Merkel action and looked like an upgraded Merkel double..(nothing wrong with Merkel doubles)....we walked off and I said if they think that's worth whatever I was told at the time... can't remember now...said that would make my Rigby 470 worth over pounds 250,000 remember this was quite a few years ago.... The rifle sold for way less than they were hoping for...... Not surprising when you could go buy a perfectly good Merkel for a fraction of the cost...... Also saw someone else looking at it and when he closed it the cross bolt didn't slide all the way back and the "rigby" person quickly pushed it in with his finger as if nothing was out of order...... Also went on their stand one time ...and they used to have a quite large booth....was looking at a double and one of the salesmen came up to me and looked me up and down and said in a very cocky manner I bet you wish you had one of those don't you...... I looked at him and said no thanks... I have a real rigby 470 double.... The look he gave me wasn't too pleasant and I walked off laughing to myself..... So no I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole......you have been given some good options above I would look at those :D Beers:
 

cal pappas

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California Rigby is, IMHO, an over priced Sabatti.
A lot of new gun shops today are priced and look like fancy upscale shops to mimic the English retailers. They are fancy in name only, trying to be cool, and make their mark in the world of fine doubles.
The California Rigby is of the same mind set. A gent or two with money from a legal win gave them the funds to try to be English.
Didn't work. I'd rather not own a rifle than own a CR.
 

MMAL

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Just a quick question for the uninformed like me, Is the barrel stamped Rogue River or how do you tell between a true Rigby and California Rigby?
 

cal pappas

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A true Rigby will not be stamped Rouge River and a true Rigby will have the proper English proof marks on the barrel flats. Teh lines, fit and finish will also be superior on the London Rigby.
 

Red Leg

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Just a quick question for the uninformed like me, Is the barrel stamped Rogue River or how do you tell between a true Rigby and California Rigby?
They were marked “Rigby” because the California ownership had purchased a version of rights - all of which became muddled in battling lawsuits. You can google up the story. Of course, stamping Rigby on a rifle didn’t make a Merkel with odd barrels and California walnut a traditional bench made Rigby any more than taping “Fararrie“ over “Ford” will make a Mustang a Portofino. When you become familiar with both, you will know instantly. But as Cal notes only a real Rigby will have English proof marks.
 

Surgeon1

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No that one advertised for 22,500 is not the same gun! This one I looked at is a 450/400 and no shotgun barrels. I went back and looked at it and it is a Merkle action and barrels have been redone but at $18,000 appraised value its out of the question, I would give $5,000 and take a chance on it but that won't happen!
I have 2 doubles in 470 and was looking for a 450/400! Will likely buy a Hyme
I like the safety of the Krieghoff and S2 I have, and both are sub 2" 4 shot at 50yards.
Would buy another Krieghoff in 450/400 if I could find one! The advantage of Hyme is having Champlin to fix it, but would order one after a stock fitting and wait forever! The older I get the less pleasant a 470 is to shoot, and with a red dot in my future a 450/400 makes sense.
 

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