By Gary Duffey, Rigby’s US Sales Representative
In keeping with our grand tradition, every gun and rifle at Rigby’s must be reliable, accurate, and ‘fit for purpose’. Across the Rigby range, from the Highland Stalker and Big Game to our London Best magazine and Rising Bite double rifles and shotguns, these characteristics are at the heart of every gun and rifle. Whether a base model or a highly embellished and decorated project, any Rigby gun or rifle, must be able to be deployed in the field with total reliability. These qualities are deeply embedded in the ‘DNA’ of our guns as used by historic hunters, while ensuring they meet the demands of today’s modern hunters in game fields across the world. The gunmaking team keep this foremost in their minds as each rifle is assembled, stocked, finished, and tested.
We also serve another type of customer; one who appreciates, respects, and understands this rich tradition yet wants to challenge the gunmakers and engravers to the highest level of their combined skill. This most recent project started out as they normally do, with a simple configuration. This rifle was to be a Rigby ‘London Best’ magazine rifle in .350 Rigby and built in a take-down format. As the project began, the customer decided he wanted to do something different, particularly with the engraving and presentation. We work with every customer to establish both the general and specific ideas they may have and in collaboration with our engraving team to interpret the clients wishes and meet their expectations. On this project the client supplied photos of a general concept that he liked and was willing to allow our team some artistic freedom to execute the idea. We have a saying at Rigby, “let the artist do the art” and our wonderful team of brilliant engravers has yet to let us down.
This project was taken on by one of our talented in-house engravers, Saija Koskialho (read her bio via www.johnrigbyandco.com/about/team). Saija continues to amaze us with her ability to execute our client’s ideas at the highest level. We had a very clear idea about the client’s expectations at this point and we selected a stock blank on behalf of the client that we felt would complement and not clash with the engraving pattern allowing the engraving to be the focal point. The stock had to have the right grain, colour, and contrast yet not overshadow the gun and its engraving. All parts are engraved including the vintage Rigby butt plate, the scope mounts, the Rigby patent bolt peep sight, and all surfaces that are appropriate to engrave. This pattern required not only many hours of engraving but many additional hours removing the background or relief. After colour hardening the top of the pattern was carefully and tediously wiped ‘gray’ leaving varying colors and hues in the background as opposed to a stark black, inked background. We now turned the rifle engraved and in-the-white over to case maker TEG London for casement. The oak and leather case are ‘French fitted’ and goat skin lined, resulting in a wonderful and appropriate presentation of the rifle and accessories.
This rifle is the result of a gracious client’s vision and desire to have his ideas executed at the highest level and while he is highly appreciative of the design and creativity that has gone into his rifle he knows that at the heart of it is a Rigby rifle that is ready and capable of doing duty as required in the field. Now finished and final testing completed, I will have the pleasure of delivering it to the client. And after all of this we still have one more surprise for him!