Not Recorded

A lovely Rigby with no history.

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Guns & Gunmakers|May 2024

 Sometimes readers get in touch asking for an explanation as to why their gun or rifle cannot be found in the records of the maker.

The explanation may be that there is a missing page, or a whole missing volume in the records. It may be that the gun was made at a time when the office staff responsible for making entries were not very diligent and they simply did not bother to fill in the order books as they should have.

Rigby's name is on the name space on the rib.

Often, however, the reaso is that the firearm concerned is not one of the company's make, but something they bought in in a finishd state from a trade supplier and sold without a company serial number, instead using the number provided by the actual maker.

In such cases, the serial number may be recorded in a separate ledger, it may be unrecorded or it may be in a sequence of random entries started at the back of one of the normal ledgers. These are very time consuming to search for, as there is no sequence to use and one must simply look carefully at every number entry in the book in the hope that one stumbles across that which is the subect of the quest.

The search often proves fruitless.

The serial number is not in Rigby;s order books.

Such was the case with this little Rigby rook rifle. It arrived in a case with a Rigby label and 'John Rigby & Co. 72 St James's Street, London' on the clear space provided on the rib.

It was almost certainly made in birmingham byone of the specialist suppliers of rook rifles, like W&C Scott, and engraved to order so that Rigby could sell these popular items in their shop for a modest profit and little effort, alongside their more expensive range of double guns and rifles.

A classic boxlock rook rifle.

It is of a type that many gunmakers in London retailled at the time (1880s-1900). Holland & Holland sold a huge number.

It would be easy to dismiss it as a bit of Birmingham trade junk but it is actually a very precisely made and accurate little rifle. Even today, the quality is obvious, with very good metal-to-metal fit, excellent wood-to-metal fit and a pretty piece of French walnut used to make the stock, which is well shaped and graceful, with a neat semi-pistol grip.

It has a beautifully amber French walnut stock.

I searched the Rigby record carefully for it without success. It does not have a Rigby serial number and if it is to be found among the 'other makes' entries scattered through several books, in random order, I could not find it.

This part of the record includes Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifles, Colt pistols, Mauser pistols, Savage repeaters, Webley revolvers, private order service rifles and Lee-Speeds, as well as rook rifles of various type and calibre.

The rifle comes apart like shotgun.

Still, it is a pretty little .297/295 rook  which can be owned under Section 58 without a licence, as a curio.

It reminds us of the beautiful and stylish breech-loading rifles our grandfathers used to dispatch vermin in the days before cheap bolt-action .22 rimfires took the market by storm.

 So much more elegant than a bolt rifle.



Published by Vintage Guns Ltd on

Guns & Gunmakers|May 2024

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