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Rook gun question

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Readyrod, Dec 5, 2012.

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  1. Readyrod

    Readyrod Member

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    What is a rook gun? I am reading "News From Tartary" by Peter Feming. It's the story of a trip to western China overland that the author took in 1935. Its a great read. In the book he talks a lot about a .22 rook gun that he used to put food in the pot. It seemed effective. I've managed to look up a little about rook guns but I want to know more. Can anyone tell me anything about rook guns?
     
  2. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    Google your question. Everything you need to know.
     
  3. Readyrod

    Readyrod Member

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    I've researched it a little. This question is part of the research.
     
  4. brnmw

    brnmw Member

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  5. .333 Nitro Express

    .333 Nitro Express Member

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    I can tell you what a rook *rifle* was. It was a small single shot English turn-of-the-century rifle chambered for cartridges like the 255 Rook and the 360 Rook (with roughly the same power as a .32-20). It was used to shoot rooks, that is, birds similar to crows.

    Just like in the image below, many of them had a side-lever and a break-open action:

    [​IMG]

    They used to be easier to find about 10 years ago--you could pick one up for $2,000 even if it was made by a top British gunmaker like John Rigby or Holland & Holland. Now they have dried up and become much more expensive.
     
  6. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Rook rifles harken back to a simpler, more elegant past. They were dainty little things but as finely crafted as the biggest double rifle. They wore legendary names like Charles Lancaster, Holland & Holland, Purdey, Rigby, etc.. They were almost exclusively single shots and typically had long barrels but were so trim that they were often under 5lbs. They were used by English aristocrats to hunt rooks, or young crows. Typically shot from the tops of trees. The cartridges they fired are all very mild mannered, in the neighborhood of the .32S&W and .32-20. They are a wonderful part of British gunmaking history and there's no reason why one wouldn't make a fine small game gun today. As posted, they have become a little more popular with collectors but many can still be found around $2000 or less. Ross Seyfried wrote a wonderful article on them in Handloader or Rifle magazine and there's a couple books on the subject.

    A Norinco .22 auto is not a rook rifle.

    I have long wished that Ruger would offer a scaled down version of their No. 1 in the spirit of the rook rifle. Even if they chambered more potent rounds like the Hornet, Bee and .327Federal. As long as it has a sufficient length barrel (24"-28"), iron sights and is lean enough to weigh under 6lbs.

    Here is a wonderful little H&H double rook rifle, for the well-heeled. It would be a dream come true to hunt small game with such a rifle. :)
    http://www.gunsinternational.com/HO...XCELLENT-BORES-ORIG-CASE.cfm?gun_id=100173595
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  7. Readyrod

    Readyrod Member

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    Did they also come in .22. In the book he says his rook gun is a .22.
    And thanks for the replies. The pictures are great. That Jay Gould guy was one of the all time great Wall Street traders btw. That is a very historic gun.
     
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The full name was Rook and Rabbit Rifle.

    W.W. Greener said the .22 "Miniature Rifle" was not well suited for a rook rifle, that it was too small for good killing of large rabbits yet had a long danger space when fired at a rook in a tree.
    He said that the ideal would be a bullet that traveled in a flat trajectory for 100 yards... and then dropped straight to the ground. Unattainable to be sure, but a .295-.360 bullet of low ballistic coefficient made the effort.

    No doubt standards were relaxed on expeditions to such benighted places as China and as late in the day of the Empire as 1935.

    A friend has a beautiful little Martini actioned rook rifle in .22 LR. But the muzzle is circled by the telltale logo "Parkerifled". It has been relined from one of the real rook calibers to .22. I need to get him to make a search for proof marks to indicate which.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  9. natman

    natman Member

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    It's possible that it's a relined centerfire rook, but may have originally been a 22. Back in the day there were still black powder 22 loads and a lot of 22s had corroded bores. Parker Hale was very good at relining and their relined barrels are usually excellent shooters.
     
  10. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    What guns for Rooks? Ask Lilith.......

    [​IMG]
     
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