John Rigby & Co. Mauser Sporting Best .275 Rigby (7x57mm Mauser). Supported by a factory letter, rifle number 1124 was shipped in 1898 with a 26-inch barrel, “Peep 3 and flush 1-2-300″ sights and is based on a Mauser 98 action with serial number 200. Nearly 119 years later, these specifications remain true. ACTION: Waffenfabrik Mauser Oberndorf 1898” appears on the front ring. Serial number 200 appears on the front ring, bolt handle, bolt release, bolt shroud, safety and trigger. Properly modified for hunting, the follower was machined to permit the bolt to slide forward when the magazine is empty. The Rigby rifle number (1124) is engraved on the trigger guard and stamped on the lower part of the action below the stock line. The action has not been drilled or tapped. STOCK: Original and numbered by Rigby when created (“1124” impressed inside just behind the recoil lug recess), it retains what certainly must be the original dimensions and features, including the steel butt plate with widow’s peak (properly numbered “24” on the underside at the toe). Barrel (new circa 2010 when restored) is machined to original contour and incorporates the original island front sight, hook loop and island rear sight. It is numbered “200” to match the action. DIMENSIONS: Weight is 7.2 pounds. Barrel is 26 inches log. Length-of-pull is 14.1 inches, drops are 1.5 and 2.2 inches, and cast is approximately .375 inches. MARKINGS: “FKA” on the underside of the barrel, “100 YDS, 200, 300″ on the respective rear sight leafs”, “SAFE” in gold on the safety, a pair of “stars” on the bottom metal, several modest proof marks on the action and “Rigby’s Peep Sight” on the rear of the aperture sight body mounted on the cocking piece. Finally, “John Rigby & Co., 72 St. James’s St., London, Restoration by Steve Nelson” appears on the barrel. RESTORATION: Circa 2010 by Steve Nelson, the work included a new barrel machined to the original contour, rust blue, oil finish and refreshed checkering. At some point, the action was bedded at the recoil lug and the barrel was bedded in its channel. The bolt release, extractor, front sight body and guard screws wear an elegant niter blue. CONDITION: As refinished, metal finish is about 95% with slight blotching over the chamber area. Metal integrity is strong, with only a few tiny overfished rough spots showing through on the rear sight and trigger guard. Wood finish is also 95%, with only light indications of wear. Wood integrity is about 90%, with a few impressions and some light scratches showing through the new finish. Clearly, Nelson was much more interested in restoring this wonderful rifle with a light touch, rather than destroying it in an effort to render it as new. The bore is pristine. SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION: Factory letter dated 4/1/13 showing the rifle was sold to Mr A.W.J. Cecil on November 4, 1898. Based on this information, additional internet searching suggests that Cecil (1875-1936) was likely a descendant of King Edward III, fought in the Boer War, was a Captain in the Grenadier Guards and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal. Printed research pages (included) reflect the above and also suggest that Cecil resided at Finchcocks (Goudhurst, now a museum and featured in the verse of poet Siegfried Sassoon) and a photo of Mr. Cecil.
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