What are your favourite pieces on the bench this month?
The 28-bore shotguns, which are being engraved by Saija Koskialho, which are deep steel carved with an amazing gold background. They’re truly spectacular and probably the finest pair of 28 bores that we’ve ever made. We’ll be sharing photos a little bit later this year.
The falling blocks are really rocketing through now and are also looking magnificent. They have a fantastically purposeful feel: just picking them up makes you want to take them to Africa. It’s really exciting to see them coming along, particularly in the new calibre, .416 No. 2.
Is the showroom open to the public again? How can people arrange a visit?
We are open again and very happy to do so. If you’d like to visit, you just need to phone us in advance on +44 (0) 207 720 0757 to let us know you’re coming. Naturally, we’ve got all the Covid compliance measures in place to keep people safe and we’re looking forward to seeing anyone who’s in town. London is understandably quieter at the moment, with fewer people flying in from overseas, so if you can’t make it in person, you’re very welcome to reach out to us and we’d be happy to arrange a video call and a virtual tour.
The weather has finally warmed up in England, reminding us of some of our favourite hunting destinations. What are your best tips for hunting in a hot climate?
It all depends where you go and whether you’re shooting with a rifle or a shotgun. I always like to pack light. I think things can be overcomplicated and having too many gadgets can – from my own experience – devalue the experience. I often think back to those guys hunting a century ago with very basic stuff and take my lead from them. For Africa, the most important things, for me, are good shoes, a good hat and lots of sun cream. Someone once gave me an amazing list of things that they have for a safari. It includes everything from a headtorch and spare batteries to mosquito repellent and a basic first aid kit. It’s something I’ve kept close and, every time I go away on safari, I pull it out. It helps keep the kit as light as possible but makes sure I’m prepared for as many eventualities as possible when I’m out there.
Can you share any more plans for The Game Fair with us?
“If you can’t go on safari, we’re going to bring the safari to you” is our motto for The Game Fair this year. As our main hub, we’ve got a phenomenal 12 metre by 9 metre safari tent with an indoor fireplace. Inside, you’ll be able to see our rifles, Traditional English Guncases (TEG), our range of Shikar Store products, Rigby Art, and the “Keep Calm and Carry On” rifle that we’re raffling to raise money for the UK National Health Service as part of Covid. This is one of the ten rifles that were made during the first lockdown when we lived here at the factory.
Outside, we will have a very exciting new product, which will be on display, plus a safari style fire pit and sundowners area. We’re looking forward to talking about Rigby, discussing adventures past and future, seeing a lot of old friends and making some new ones as well.
If you could commission a piece of sporting art, what would it be?
I’m actually asking Geoffrey Lignon to find the time to engrave me a full-sized roebuck. I want it running in towards the viewpoint of the person looking at the drawing. For me, one of the most exciting things about hunting roebucks is calling them during the rut and the chance that gives you to interact with a wild animal. It’s during those moments when the deer comes in towards you that you can get a really good look and decide if it’s a buck that should be taken or one that should be left. The commitment they have when they’re running in is incredibly impressive.
On a similar subject, we have some exciting plans for developing Rigby Art, expanding both the range of pieces and the genres that we’re offering. We’ll bring you more on that later in the year.