Ruger 416 Rigby

//Ruger 416 Rigby

Ruger 416 Rigby

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When Ruger announced the introduction of its Magnum Express rifle in 1989, chambered in the venerable and long extinct .416 Rigby, it was a signal moment. It marked the renaissance of the big bore rifle and of African safaris. For two decades, big bore had meant anything over .30 caliber and interest in such cartridges fell precipitously when discussing anything larger than the .338 Winchester Magnum. The .375 Holland & Holland Magnum was considered overpowered for even the largest game in North America. Winchester’s big .458, itself a stop gap against the sudden collapse of the British gun trade in the 1950s, saw less and less use as the 1970s came to a close. In practical terms, big bore for Americans meant the .45-70 Government. Anything more potent was gross and absurd. “What are you gonna do with that thing – hunt elephants?” Hunting the Big Five of Africa was a subject that drew practically no following and the rare special issues of shooting periodicals to cover such subjects were coveted by a dwindling few.

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The affluence of the late 1980s changed that. Suddenly, Americans had the resources to take extravagant holidays and a select number began to contemplate hunting Africa. Whether Ruger precipitated this resurgence or merely recognized it I will leave to others to judge, but undeniably Ruger made the strongest statement with its decision to reintroduce one of the classic British big game cartridges in its new magnum length express action. The rifle also bore numerous marks of being cast in the mold of classic vintage Mauser sporting rifles by British gunmakers, with its square receiver bridge, quarter rib, barrel banded swivel and express sights. The newly redesigned Mk II action itself hearkened back to the classic Mauser with its lines and especially its strong claw extractor running the length of the bolt as on the Mauser Model 1898. When it appeared in 1989, Ruger’s Magnum Express was the only commercially available bolt action that could handle the big .416 Rigby without extensive modification (recall that the Cold War was still ongoing, in the US if nowhere else, and the CZ ZKK 602 was banned from importation into the US, though a few managed to get in, because they were brought in by military personnel who bought them in Germany).

This particular rifle is brand new in the box with the original box, paperwork, scope rings as it came from Ruger. This gun came from the Marie Sorge collection. Marie Sorge was Bill Ruger’s personal secretary. The rifle was shipped to Marie Sorge in June of 1993. It has never been fired and the bolt was inserted the first time in 2015. The serial number is: 750-00148. This rifle is in our inventory and is for sale. Please contact us for pricing.

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