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An Old J. Rigby Rising Bite Sidelock Rifle No. 16611 .256 Mannlicher

Mentioning the word Rigby seems to raise tension with some readers, as seen in the previous post where I commented about the girls at their SCI party. So here to placate the Rigby fans is a rare and very old rising bite rifle in (I believe!) .256 Mannlicher, if anyone can date and confirm the calibre I would be grateful. The rifle has a very bulbous barrel contour to suit the bottleneck cartridge and it also, unusually, has a wooden top rib which is attached from below with a series of screws. I have never seen this before.

Rigby Rising Bite Sidelock Double Rifle

For anyone unfamiliar with the Rigby Rising bite following are a few shots of it both open and closed. Rigby are currently re-introducing the rising bite rifle and had their first production model at the Safari Club this year, it was being stocked whilst at the exhibition.

The rising bite 'for and against' discussion is an ongoing one. The Rigby purists and enthusiasts believe it is the "Holy Grail" of top fastening systems, others believe it was dropped in preference to the dolls head when the larger and more powerfull nitro express cartridges in .470 and larger became more widely used. No doubt time will tell, now that new rifles are being made in this format. We will find out if it was dropped for strength reasons or just because it was too difficult to make.

256 R Mannlicher

The .256 Männlicher ( 6.5 x 53mmR ) was a military bottleneck cartridge in service in the Netherlands from 1893 - 1945. It sent a 150gr bullet at 2433 ft/sec with 2050 ft/lbf energy. 'Kiramojo' Bell was a great admirer of the round and used it in the rimless format to take over 300 Elephants. Whilst Bell is commonly associated with the 7 x 57 or .275, the 6.5 was actually his preferred cartridge.

Rigby Rising Bite Sidelock Double Rifle

Rigby Rising Bite


The wood rib on Rigby .256 double rifle Rigby 256These pictures show the wooden top rib and its fastening method from underside.


  • Fowad Arif on February 10, 2015 at 5:50 am

    you mentioned about the wooden top rib, please can you post some photographs of it, i have never heard and seen one either..... eager to have a look at one.

    • Simon Clode on February 10, 2015 at 7:07 am

      I have posted a couple of photographs showing the rib and also from underside showing the screw fastenings. It is quite hard to see that it is wood but you can see where it starts after the quarter rib and sights.

      • Neill on February 10, 2015 at 7:20 am

        Presumably the wooden rib was a weight saving measure intended to reduced the frontal weight of the rifle. It would seem prone to damage to me though, especially resulting from warping etc in warm wet climates.

        I can't say I think the rifle is particularly elegant, the chambers look distinctly odd to me. Thanks for the photos though.

  • Fowad on February 13, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    thanks Simon for the photographs.

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