When the gunmakers J Rigby & Co. left the UK in 1997 for USA it was indeed a sad day in English gunmaking history. I don't think any of us could have foreseen quite how badly the famous name would be used. The company entered a period of gunmaking that I am sure everyone would prefer to forget. This period was also notable for confusion about the ownership of the name Rigby and many other things which I am sure annoyed many people not least the true Rigby enthusiasts.
The company has now entered a new lease of life under the direction of Marc Newton and Patty Pugh, now on her 2nd Rigby revival. With new premises in London and the backing of the mighty Mauser name the company has hit the ground running at the early annual shows in the USA and IWA. The famous 416 Rigby bolt action rifle was of course built on the Magnum Mauser action so this is an appropriate marriage and they are leading the charge with a very competitively priced modern 416 Rigby built on a Magnum 'Mauser' action.
The return of Rigby to this country is excellent news for the English Gun trade as a whole. Rigby is one of the greatest names in our Gunmaking history and we are certainly glad to see them back.
A .256 Bissell Rising Bite Sidelock Ejector
A .275 No.2 Spade Head Sidelock Ejector
HARALD WULFFMAN on March 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm
RIGBY IS JUST A BRAND LIKE BOSS HOLLAND AND HOLLAND AND PURDEY,THE ORIGINAL COMPANIES WENT BANKRUPT IN 1940 AND 50.
NOWDAYS ANYBODY WITH MONEY CAN BUY A ENGLISH BRAND AND MAKE GUNS UNDER THAT NAME,ALL RIGBY MAUSERS ARE MADE BY MASTER GUNMAKER GOTTFRIED PRECHTEL,BARRELS ARE FROM BLASER M98 MAGNUM ACTION ARE 100% MADE BY PRECHTEL,HE DOES ALL THE METAL WORKS,THE LONDON BEST MODEL IS MADE AND ENGRAVED IN GERMANY,THE CHEAPER BIG GAME MODEL IS STOCKED IN LONDON ARE THUS SOLD UNDER RIGBY BRAND,ITS JENS ZIEGENHAHN WHO IS GOING TO MAKE RIGBY DOUBLE RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS FOR BLASER GROUP.JENS IS ANOTHER GERMAN MASTER WHO MAKES THE BEST GUNS AND RFLES,PURDEY GUNS AND DOUBLE RIFLES ARE MADE IN ITALY BY PERUGINI AND VISINI,HOLLAND AND HOLLAND ARE MADE BY PETER HAMBRUSCH,SOO WHICH PART OF THIS GUNS ARE ENGLISH? BESIDE THE OLD BRAND NAMES WHICH WENT BANKRUPT AFTER WW2.EVEN INDIANS ARE LOOKING TO BUY ENGLISH GUNMAKERS BRANDS THAT WENT BANKRUPTS AGES AGO.WE GERMANS HIGHLY RESPECT MR.PETER V NELSON THE LAST GREAT ENGLISH GUNMAKER MASTER.
Simon Clode on March 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm
Without the 'Brand' presumably Prechtel and Jens or whoever they chose to do their work will have less work, so you should rejoice not criticise. I wonder how many Nelson guns you have actually ever handled and seen, I personally have handled most of them. They are very nice I agree, but there is a completely different argument behind this story and one which is out of context with what my message is. By keeping gunmakers alive, we keep gunmaking alive.
francois lebettin on March 22, 2014 at 7:44 am
ahh i agree its germans who OWN most English brands,english People can't make any thing good this days,in france we love italian austria and Germany guns,they are best guns in every meaninng,dont get offended mr.clode.
mr.wulffman is telling the facts here,no body like the truths,here we see a example.
Simon Clode on March 23, 2014 at 8:13 am
In France you loved English guns so much you bought Holland & Holland, you must be very proud!
Thank you for your comments, enjoy your guns of choice and your hunting.
waleed el makhtum on March 23, 2014 at 8:56 am
greeting i m a big fan of good shotguns,i have a big Collection
i often hear this name peter nelson,
who is he?
is he dead?
does he still make guns?
we have old westley Richard shotguns but they still shot good
little loose but okay.
Simon Clode on March 23, 2014 at 10:21 am
In brief, Peter Nelson worked at J Purdey, left to work with Hartmann & Weiss whom he then left them and started building guns under his own name. He had 2 principle clients and built them a number of guns all which were highly embellished. About 10 years ago Nelson's subcontract workers left him, much as he had left Hartmann. Peter finished off the remaining guns and then ceased making guns. The guns are not often available but there is a side lever gun for sale in USA at Gallazan's, at least there was in February at Safari Club.
I am pleased your old Westley's are still shooting well. A little loose is OK!
paul j. antonino on March 25, 2014 at 8:27 pm
relax harald ,,,this is not news amongst anyone who knows these rifles ,,on the other hand leica has cameras built in portugal ,lenses in canada and rebadges japanese piont and shoots yet they are the greatest german camera builder ,,and simon was nice enough to leave 50k in your country so he can get us some outstanding photos from his S2...paul
paul nishina on March 26, 2014 at 7:17 pm
thank you very much for a wonderfull wonderfull blog mr.simon clode
thank you for sharing Your knowledge about guns and gunmaking
i have never seen a blog like this,i told all my friends about this blog
and all of them enjoy it,and told me to thank you
its very sad that some People are jealous bcz of Your sucess
its sad that this kind of People i mention the guys above about their remarks
about gunmakers and gun making,once again thank you very much for sharing all this wonderfull tales of hunting guns.
karl wiederman on March 28, 2014 at 8:33 pm
mr.Harald and the French gay is right,who not make an true English gun,
With English actions English barrels,and With best quality English fit and finish,just like best guns before 1940s,the Word best gun is English,i m sure mr.harald and the French gay did not say those Words to offend anyone,
what westley Richards need to do is to make best quality English guns,
not those London makers whose guns are made in Spain austria and itali,
but sold under long bankrupt brand names,
i say this not to offend anyone
i hope you understand me,i wish westley Richards all the best,please continue to make best guns only.
Simon Clode on March 29, 2014 at 3:25 am
I am sure Mr Harald and the French Gay have not offended anyone, neither do you. It is always good to hear opinions, however ill advised they might be. For the record we make our own actions in house, you can always come and see, and in an earlier post I featured Chris Kay who makes our chopper tubes...in England.
paul j. antonino on March 29, 2014 at 5:19 pm
westley richards patent front sight...........that says it all......paul
Alistair Heelas on July 5, 2014 at 7:20 pm
Simon Clodes blog is possibly one of the best on guns in the modern world, so well done on that score alone, in terms of gun makers and the support of other gun makers to each other. Simple fact is huge efforts have and are being made to benefit English gun making that alone is a huge achievement! Well done to you all.
As a uk manufacturer myself I know the hard work involved, I believe that through the skills of the owners of gun making companies and the amazing people involved in making English best guns, we all benefit from the past but look to the future.
To aspire is to already have succeeded.
Marc Newton and Ed Workman on July 10, 2014 at 6:54 am
We read the above comments with great interest and would also like to congratulate Mr Clode for what is probably the best gunmkaing blog in the world. Mr Workman our factory manager at Rigby's and former factory manager of Holland and Holland and Purdey would like to extend an invitation to all those wishing to have a personal tour of our gunmaking factory in London.
Whilst our entry level Big Game model is produced in partnership with Mauser (reflecting what was done by the same company 100 years ago) our London Best bolt rifles are manufactured in London using Mauser barrels and Mauser actions, both currently being developed by Mauser in Isny. Our new range of double rifles featuring the famous Rigby rising bite are 100% British made, from the raw Sheffield steel to the engraving and finishing (excluding best quality Turkish walnut stock blanks).
Simon Clode on July 10, 2014 at 6:07 pm
This is my blog Marc and I will do the 'plugging'!:)
You will be better off explaining what is a Mauser version and what is a Best London version, do they have the same action and barrels and if so what is the difference? The confusion in "what is made where" has always been the downfall of gunmakers. Can people see one of the New old rising bite rifles and why did you elect to use this type of fastening method?
M.A.Essa on September 23, 2014 at 12:34 pm
pls mark newton, can you tell the us what actions and barrels are used in your big game vs london best. If both are made in isny by mauser than what is the differance betn the two besides embellishments?.
Marc Newton on September 25, 2016 at 1:34 am
Our Big Game model uses parts produced in Isny by Mauser. They are the entry level rifles in our range and can have a number of embellishments added to them.
The London Best model is completely custom. We use actions from Mauser and other suppliers such as Mayfair, it all depends on what the client requests. We offer any calibre, barrel length, an extensive range of profiles etc. All of our LB's are handmade in our London Workshop.
Alec swan on January 28, 2016 at 3:44 pm
I'm late in to this discussion, and apologise.
I feel compelled to respond, specifically to those who consider that our long standing and British gunmaking firms are no longer making the guns which they sell. We firstly have to consider that were it not for the likes of Purdey, H&H, Boss and Westley Richards, and their focus on providing apprenticeships which in turn provide the invaluable supply of 'outworkers' upon whom such companies often depend. The fact that a Purdey trained Actioner, having served his time, leaves and to set up in business on his own, doesn't alter the fact that when he is given work, by his former employer, they and we can be quite certain that when the gun leaves the plush showroom, it carries its maker's name, and that's vital.
Within the global market place, it would be very unusual to have any product, including Mercedes cars, where every single component is made in house. The important point is that where ever the work was sourced from, the sold item carries the maker's name, and from the point of view of a quality of assured work and the vital warranty that is attached.
Were I to have outworkers copy for me a WR drop-lock, firstly it wouldn't have the security of the Westley Richards name, and when it goes wrong, should it it need to have its ejectors prematurely re-timed for instance, where am I to go? If I bought the gun from Westleys, then I'd take it back to them in the certain knowledge that any adjustments would be considered by them to be their responsibility. Would my outworker welcome the gun back?
Mauser actions? Well I stood a while back and watched an outworker milling, polishing and then fitting a set of 'scope mounts to a new Rigby. The man was Rigby trained, but in the unlikely event of there being a fault, who will the rifle be returned to? The makers, that's who.
It's my view that the leading British makers, and WR are amongst them, continue as they do because the world of those with such interests, continues to be served by the established 'names', and long may they remain doing so.
Ludo Wurfbain on October 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm
I enjoyed reading through the comment section here. I think, however, a few gentlemen are making a few lapses in logic. First of all, yes it is true that a number of iconic British gun making marques are owned by non-British owners. On the other side of the coin it is also true that a good many of them remain in British hands. We live in a world where capital flows to those places it finds good opportunities. Obviously a British gun brand is a good opportunity. But now I am going to turn this equation around; why are there not numerous German, Italian and Spanish gunmakers owned by outsiders? Yes, interesting question! The answer is that the British gun, its style, its enormous tradition and its standards are more sought after than any other. After all go to Ferlach and you can see plenty of British style guns being made besides the very Germanic-look versions of their wonderful guns. Same with the Italians, the majority of their classic-style guns are based on the British contours, looks and feel. For the longest of times some fine Spanish makers lived off copying the “British gun look” for their side by sides to such a degree that you had to be within 10 feet of the gun to see it was not UK made. (Unless you are Simon Clode who could spot them at 23 feet!) I am taking nothing away from all these fine gun making centers but it has to be acknowledged that worldwide the British gun products are met with the greatest demand, their styles are most copied and their reputation and desirability is second to none. Finally I want to add that IMMO the foreign- ownership influx into the British gun trade has made her more competitive, brought forth even higher standards and has made the British gun even more sought after. Bless England for having an open mind to foreign ownership and investment of her companies it has done the UK a world of good. Problems the German, Italian and Spanish makers should have.
Shaun Carr on December 19, 2016 at 2:29 pm
Ludo, very well written reply to the thread above. I am in agreement, the British gun "Best" or not has been copied down the years and may it continue to do so ! The buying of British gun makers names ensures the proud heritage associated with these firms continues and as you state mostly kept within British hands. Regarding the Rigby/Mauser guns, what could be better ! This partnership goes back to the best rifles that Rigby produced, just wish they would produce smaller calibers at an affordable price.
T. Cox on July 10, 2018 at 6:55 am
The first 2 comments in this post confuse me. I don’t understand the points to them. It’s like this is a new phenomena? In the past and early days most UK gun makers bought actions or barreled actions and simply stocked and sighted then. Some merely put the name on them as a retailer for some rifles or handguns. Didn’t mean they did it to all their rifles or didn’t make them all.
Point is: nothing new, moving on :)
PS: of all the “classic” makers, Westley Richards is my favourite.