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Bell's 275 Rigby Rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Dr T, Aug 14, 2016.

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  1. Dr T

    Dr T Member

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    The 275 Rigby used by Bell is one of the most famous individual rifles. Re-reading the exploits of Bell elephant hunting still gives me goose bumps (see, for example, the article by Jack Lott at http://ezine.nitroexpress.info/NickuduFiles/Africa-PDF/Africa328.pdf that was published in 1980).

    When I came across the production of a Ruger Number 1 chambered in 275 Rigby, I wondered why they chose to do it in the Tropical configuration. The published configuration of this rifle has a 24" barrel, a 40.5" OAL, and a weight of 7.5 lbs. As I recall, the Ruger 1-A has a barrel that is 4" shorter and is a half pound lighter.

    As one thing tends to lead to another, I have been looking for the dimensions of the "little Rigby" bolt action that was used by Bell. So far I have been unable to run them down. Does anyone know the dimensions of this famous little rifle?
     
  2. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    The Standard barrel length on the 1-A is 22", that of the 1-B is 26"
     
  3. sw0596

    sw0596 Member

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    Don't know the dimensions of Bell's rifle but Rigby recently did a reproduction of Jim Corbett's .275 Rigby rifle. It went at auction for an astronomical sum which I can't recall. Rigby could probably whip one up for you for around $15,000. I also love the little .275 Rigby or 7x57mm. I opted for a Winchester lightweight Super Grade in that chambering. The Ruger # 1 is a beautiful little rifle too.
     
  4. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Bell's Rigby rifle was purchased by writer Robert Ruark, who gave it to his godson, Professional Hunter Harry Selby's son, who still has it.
     
  5. tark

    tark Member

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    Isn't the 275 Rigby the same round as the 7MM Mauser? Thought I read somewhere it is.
     
  6. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Indeed it is. Rigby was Mauser's agent in the UK.
     
  7. Rick R

    Rick R Member

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    I believe that Bell owned more than one .275 Rigby rifle. Even a Mauser action can fail when you are out in the bush for months.

    The Rigby company labeled their rifles as .275 to keep from being chambered in a German cartridge. Not real popular in the UK in that day n age.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  8. Arizona_Mike

    Arizona_Mike Member

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    Bell was an excellent shot and had ice water in his veins, but he also had a good deal of luck. Wasn't there a less lucky gent who tried to use a small bore on lions? I seem to recall reading about it.

    Mike
     
  9. morcey2

    morcey2 Member

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    From what I've read, he also had an excellent understanding of elephant skull anatomy. He knew how to get to an elephant's brain from many different angles. 7x57 is still my go-to for most things right now.

    Matt

    Sent from my SM-G386T using Tapatalk
     
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I saw a .275 Rigby at a gun show. Bell's? I don't know for sure but with it was a letter from Bell to Rigby. He was concerned that they might have reduced the rifling twist to no more than necessary for the Rigby 140 gr semi-spitzer while he was dependent on the 175 gr round nose.
    I don't know the barrel length but it didn't look different from 24".
     
  11. Arizona_Mike

    Arizona_Mike Member

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    I was thinking of the Grey brothers (Sir Edward and George--mistakenly referred to as "Sir George" in Cartridges of the World) who hunted lion with the .280 Lancaster (rimmed version of the .280 Ross). George was fatally mauled in 1911 when he failed to stop a charge with a 20yd shoulder shot and 5yd mouth shot.

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/10097498

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    And I don't think that was the only case of somebody getting mauled, stomped, or eaten when he depended on velocity. The Ross, et al, was a deathtrap for the credulous. I recall reading of a Nitwit Nimrod who got the idea that a .22 Savage High Power, the Imp, was suitable for tiger. He lasted real quick.

    On the other hand, the .220 Swift had a following for stag in Scotland.
    On the gripping hand, the gamekeeper didn't hand you your scope sight until the setup was just right.
     
  13. tark

    tark Member

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    Arizona Mike, the unfortunate individual was George Grey, brother of the then Prime Minister of England. This was around 1920 of so. In the version of the story I read he was using a Ross rifle. Little matter, either way. His shot was well placed, but the 140 grain softnose was not up to the task. It broke up without penetrating and poor old George was mauled and killed.

    Bob Ruark said it correctly. Use enough gun.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  14. tark

    tark Member

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    deleting double post
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  15. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Member

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    How much gun should one use for lion?
     
  16. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    In most African countries, the lower limit is the .375 H&H, because lions are classed as dangerous game.
     
  17. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Did TR shoot lions with his .405 WCF or his double express rifle?

    Jeff Cooper had "The Lion Scout" for the "Fireplug" round, i.e. .350 Remington Magnum. Did he ever shoot a lion with it? I dunno.


    I found another board that said Bell owned six .275 Rigbys. Why so many? He killed 1011 elephants with them, that is not going to wear out one rifle, much less six. Lost, stolen, or broken in the wilds of Africa? Not well cleaned in a tent camp? I guess I need to find his book.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  18. Dr T

    Dr T Member

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    On the number of rifles: When you are in the tall grass, standing on a small platform in the middle of an elephant herd, killing the elephants for ivory with the end goal of making as much money as you can, and have gun bearers, it is a lot faster to have multiple rifles than to stop and reload. Take a look at the illustrations in the article I referenced in my first post to this thread, and you will get the idea.

    I recall reading that one of the reasons Bell used the 275 Rigby was that it made less noise and was less likely to spook the herd than a heavier rifle.
     
  19. Arizona_Mike

    Arizona_Mike Member

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    Yea, I found it. Foreign minister and 1911 but close :)

    I think he was one of a few. The .280 was way too fast for bullet technology back then.

    Mike
     
  20. tark

    tark Member

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    I Had, decades ago, a Remington 1902 rolling block in 7mm And a box of old Union Metallic Cartridge Co. 175 gr "Full metal patch" bullets.

    I could not fine a tree large enough to stop one of those bullets.:what:

    No wonder Bell liked them for their penetration.
     
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