In this article, we will be bringing you the fascinating tale of how the famous British gunmaker came to be where it is now and what the future holds.
The Rigby story began in 18th century Dublin, where the first John Rigby established the gunmaker that would go on to make his name synonymous with hunting adventure all over the world. The company moved to the beat of fashionable London in 1865, and the English capital became its sole base in 1897, when it closed its doors in Dublin for the last time.
At this point, Rigby was renowned around the world for building innovative, reliable and devastatingly effective sporting guns and rifles. These included the phenomenally strong Rigby Bissell patented ‘Rising Bite’ action for best guns and the company’s enormously successful bolt-action collaboration with German giant, Mauser.
The company stayed on track during the economically difficult inter-war years, and remained in family ownership until the middle of the 20th century. Having sailed past its 200th anniversary in 1975 with comparative ease, Rigby found itself facing the toughest challenge to date as the 21st century dawned. In 1997, the company was bought by an American investor, who moved production to California, but Rigby’s sojourn to the West Coast was brief. In 2010, two new investors stepped in and returned the business to the UK, with big game expert Paul Roberts producing rifles under license at J. Roberts & Co., which had a long history of working with Rigby.
In 2013, the L&O Group bought Rigby, and, under the direction of the dynamic young Marc Newton and the highly experienced Patricia Pugh, things started to look up. Having worked with Paul Roberts for many years, both Marc and Patricia had a deep-seated appreciation of Rigby.
One of the first things that Marc did was to revive the historic association with Mauser. This venture offered customers high quality, hand-finished rifles at affordable prices, with barreled actions being shipped from Mauser’s factory in Germany to London, where Rigby’s gunmakers made them into beautiful, fit-for-purpose firearms. The result of this present-day association was named the ‘Big Game’.