What’s been happening inside the doors of the Rigby workshop this month?
We are in the final stages of completing a number of very high end London Best and Rising Bite rifles for customers. Some of these include a set of .223 London Bests for a customer’s children, which is very exciting. They are made on mini Mauser actions and scaled down, so very similar to the .275 Rigby and they handle like a magic wand.
We are also working with Phil Coggan on some fabulous deep steel carved double rifles for a client, with different jungle scenes on them. We are very excited to unveil these with photographs soon. Plus we are starting production of ten limited edition falling block rifles in .416 Rigby No. 2.
How are plans progressing for the expansion of the Rigby office?
Its progressing very well, we are getting the architectural drawing done to maximise the space for our team. It’s very important for us that our gunmakers have everything they need, including the space to work, so they can do the best possible job for our customers.
How did it go at Adihex in Abu Dhabi at the end of August – was the show a success?
Yes, we sold several examples of our very fine upgraded Big Game and Highland Stalker rifles, which are very popular there. It’s always lovely to see many old friends, but it’s also a great opportunity for us to make new ones. The Middle East is such an important market for us, and they are huge fans of Rigby.
Did you make it out for the start of the grouse shooting season?
Yes, I had two days shooting at Auchnafree, staying at my family’s sporting lodge, near Pitlochry in the Scottish Highlands. We had two great days but the weather was insane on the first day. We had very strong winds and heavy rain, however the grouse flew incredibly well. We had lots of friends come and stay with us, and together we shot some unforgettable birds, which we were able to bring home to Sussex. I think I brought 20 brace back because I adore eating grouse!
I always take the opportunity to fill the freezer. For me, it’s always a pleasure to cook grouse for people who perhaps haven’t tried it before. I did this last weekend when I had friends over from Germany, where I was able to serve them some roast grouse for the first time.
It also gives me great pleasure to gift grouse to people, especially the gentleman who took me grouse shooting for the first time when I was a teenager. He’s now at the stage where he’s not able to get out on the moor with the gun himself, so it gives me great joy to give him a couple of brace every August so he still has that connection to grouse shooting.
What gun prep have you been doing for the start of the game shooting season?
I always make sure my shotgun goes in for a full service ahead of the game shooting season. Shooting is an expensive pastime, so it’s very important that your equipment works to the best of its ability, so you know you can concentrate on enjoying the shooting.
If you could invite any historic Rigby adventurer on your next game day or hunt, who would you bring and why?
I would bring the third John Rigby, who launched the .416 Rigby and other calibres, plus he oversaw the production of the Rising Bites. To be able to talk to him about Rigbys back then and Rigby today – I think that would be just fascinating!
Have you got any stalking trips planned for the red stag rut?
Definitely, I will return to my family’s sporting lodge in the Scottish Highlands for a week during the rut to shoot some stags. I’ll be using a Highland Stalker in .275 Rigby, because it’s always a pleasure to be out with such an iconic rifle.