W&J Rigby Dublin

Discussion in 'Muzzleloaders & Black Powder' started by Gert Odendaal, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal AH Elite

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    Good day members
    I need info regarding an extremely old Rigby rifle build in around 1857;
    Serial number M1144

    Any relevant information regarding this rifle and it`s history will be much appreciated.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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  2. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hello Gert,

    It looks like it has some of the same characteristics as "Rook Rifles" do, commonly made in The UK for many years, but the ones I have seen (nitro-smokeless) were made after yours was made.

    I'm not sure when the rook rifle became popular in The UK and Europe in general but, for all I know it could have began during the muzzle loading era.

    However, I have only seen them beginning from the early days of nitro powder cartridges (late 1890's), through the 1920's or 30's - and they are not very common here in the US.

    The relatively few that are here are expensive collector's items.

    In USA terminology, rook rifles were "varmint rifles" for short range shooting.

    Rooks are essentially a type of crow and evidently a nuisance on European farms.

    I suspect many rook rifles were also used often for hunting hare/rabbit and fox as well.

    They were chambered in relatively small calibers and ballistics were quite similar to old time revolver cartridges, such as the .32 S&W Long and similar.

    I also have seen one that as far as I could tell was originally chambered in .22 Hornet, from Holland & Holland.

    And, I have seen a similar one in caliber .38 Long Colt.

    Many have been re-lined to .22 Long Rifle.

    Last but not least, I am not familiar with the Maker "W&J Rigby".

    John Rigby was an Irishman and the father of the justly famous Rigby line of African Nitro Express cartridges and superb Nitro proofed hunting rifles, not to mention other styles of incredibly well made firearms, and perhaps the "J" in W&J stands for John?

    If that is true, I'm not sure at all who "W" may have been.

    If I get some spare time, I plan to do an internet search on this and should I find anything, I will post it here.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     

  3. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal AH Elite

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    Good day to you Velo dog
    I appreciate the reply , thank you for the info, it really helps a lot. I did some surfing on the net, regarding the Rigby company history...but was not able to find the info you gave me. Apparently the founder John Rigby died (1818) and his son William took over the firm, his brother John joined him...but like I said I was not able to get the info you gave me...

    Regards

    Gert
     

  4. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal AH Elite

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    Hallo Velo dog
    I got another piece of the puzzle from a member of another forum...this is a link to the type of cartridge this gun shoots.
    http://www.oldammo.com/april09.htm
     

  5. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hi again Gert,

    Looks like there was more than one John in the Rigby firm

    What I had read indicated that John Rigby was Irish by birth and originally opened his shop in Ireland, later moving to England.

    Not sure if the move was done by the first "John" or the descendant "John" (or if perhaps there was a third "John Rigby" in that family ?).

    Obviously even if the second John Rigby was the father of the original .450 NE, the .416 Rigby and others, he would've been very old indeed by then, perhaps almost fossilized by the time nitro-smokeless powders were available.

    It is very possible that what I had read about the nitro Rigby cartridges inventor (back when I used to read gun magazines), was referring to John Rigby as the gun making firm as a whole company and not as an individual man.

    As it is, you found out more information than I was aware of (I had never heard of William Rigby).

    If I had plenty of time on my hands, I would likely enjoy reading a full history of John Rigby Gunmaker.

    At any rate, you have an interesting looking rifle there and it's too bad that it cannot talk because it no doubt would have some interesting stories to tell.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     

  6. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal AH Elite

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    Hallo Velo Dog
    I think it really merits a read up about this company...they go back a long time ...maybe is according to me the best rifle company , but Holland& Holland is shoulder to shoulder with them...two great companies, ..although their rifles being out of reach of a mortal like me....:) Maybe this is where I would have like to be a extremely rich person to afford such revered rifles to own and collect....:)
     

  7. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hi again Gert,

    I am in agreement with you that Rigby's history merits a read up.
    Seems like all of the more famous English makers, and some of the less well known ones were / are better than just excellent.
    You would have no problem presenting me with a rifle made by any of them, especially a Rigby or Holland or Jeffery, or Westley, plus a couple other English makers.

    However, I have been fortunate enough to have examined a decent number of English doubles (rifles and shotguns both) plus I have fired a few different calibers and makes from the golden years of commercial ivory hunting.
    My favorite of them all is for sure the Westley Richards Droplock, no question.
    It is certainly of no better quality than the other competitor's best grade rifles but, that one just suits my taste.
    One man's bread is another man's poison.
    Unfortunately, like yourself, I am but a mortal so, I will live and die without owning the rifle of my dreams.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     

  8. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal AH Elite

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    A friend of mine and I was discussing our opinion about the possibility of possessing a double rifle in a heavy caliber like a .500 caliber...My take on the discussion was that I have never handle a double, I would not know if I would like to have a double...I probably will never have the opportunity to make this choice...I did read and look at discussions hunters wrote about doubles but that is about it...I am content with the bolt action rifles I have...it keeps me busy...I do not shoot big game so I probably will not miss this scenario.....
     

  9. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Gert,

    Since you do not shoot big game, you are right to prefer bolt actions (much better suited to longer shots at smaller targets when needed).
    The typical double is a highly specialized tool for fast shooting at close range.
    And, compared to the typical bolt rifle, they are not very precise, just very fast for the "one-two punch" at close range that they are so famous for.

    There are recently designed non-typical doubles that can be used out to well over 200 yards with either barrel, but, the main one fitting this description is the Blazer.
    Even though they reportedly shoot straight at three times the range of old fashioned doubles, Blazers are so homely that I definitely would just prefer a proper bolt action, rather than to have to endure such a toad's ass looking double rifle (in spite of the fact that I am markedly uglier than that myself).

    If you get a chance, have a look at:
    www.calpappas.com
    He has written a number of books on the subject of double rifles, especially the Pre-War English made ones and is rapidly becoming quite a legitimate authority on them.
    Plus, he has a number of great photos in his web site.

    Cheers,
    Velo.
     

  10. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal AH Elite

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    Hallo Velo
    Thank you kindly for the reply and the link, it really is much appreciated..I am planning a .500 Jeffery build..that will be more than enough rifle for me...but I would probably use it only to shoot big bore days...and maybe a bush pig or two....someday maybe I would be holding a double in my hands to admire or to reject...I can not give an opinion if I do not have knowledge about a double...the bolt rifles are fine and all I need at this moment...

    Regards

    Gert
     

  11. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Gert,

    The .500 Jeffery appeals to me as well, because it's the same bore diameter as a number of other cartridges (mostly from the old bison hunting trade here in the 1800's but, also it's the same bullet diameter as the .500 Nitro, of English double barreled elephant rifle fame).

    Therefore, a wider assortment of projectiles to reload with are available here in the States, including cast lead ones for reduced loads.

    Speaking of other bullets, it is a mystery to me why Jeffery did not simply use 570 grain bullets from the .500 NE in the rimless Jeffery and drive them at about 2100 fps, same as the NE flanged for doubles does.
    The .51 caliber in 535 gr seems a bit light for elephant but evidently it worked well enough, according to it's limited history.

    My .500 Jeffery is a CZ 550 magnum, from their so called "Custom Shop" but it was non-functional - would not feed or chamber Kynoch live factory ammunition.
    Not trusting the people who sent it to me, obviously without function testing it at all, I paid a real Gunsmith to repair it and now it feeds very smooth indeed.
    Also, I had my Gunsmith weld a larger bolt handle on and install a large white bead front sight.
    We have a Model-70 three position safety on order but the company that makes them is slow in delivery, evidently.

    I'd like to hunt with my .500 but, money is always the limiting factor in my hunting and fishing plans.
    I believe it would make a supreme buffalo getter with the original specified 535 grain weight but with today's tougher bullet.
    And for elephant, I think loaded to original specifications for .500 NE ballistics with 570 gr solids, it'd give me a repeater equivalent to the tried and true .500 NE capability.

    Unfortunately, the wildlife populations here in Alaska (fish as well) are not properly managed and so, we do not have the bountiful hunting opportunities of Africa.


    Velo.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014

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