The makers have kindly confirmed that this rifle was completed on July 24, 1907, for H.H. the Maharana of Udaipur and is noted as a “Best top lever vertical bolt hammerless ejector double rifle” with 26 inch barrels. Originally chambered for the .256 (6.5mm Mannlicher rimmed) cartridge, the rifle was subsequently altered to 7x65Rmm in 1980. The blued barrels each have a stepped reinforced breech section (a typical period feature of double rifles chambered for the 6.5mm Mannlicher cartridge) engraved with a band of stylized foliage at the breech end. The sunken concave rib has a matted ramp mounted bead front sight. The raised file cut matted quarter rib has a rear sight of one standing and two folding leaves graduated to 300 yards and is signed in Gothic script: “JOHN RIGBY & CO. 72. ST. JAMES’S” and “LONDON” and fitted with bases for claw mounts for the included Zeiss Diatal-C 1.5x12 scope. The rib has a pierced extension for the rising third bite. The action has carved serpentine fences, an automatic safety with gold inlaid “SAFE” and button release, blued removable firing pin bushings, “R & B/PATENT 1141/No. 958” marked breech face (for Rigby & Bissell rising third bite patent no. 1141 of March 21, 1879, use number 958), and dipped edge sidelocks signed “JNO. RIGBY & CO.” in Gothic script in gold. The rifle is finely engraved with scrollwork throughout framing vignettes and panel scenes involving blackbuck, Indian leopards, chital, and Kashmir deer, all depicted in their naturalistic habitats. The underside of the barrels and water table have London nitro proof marks (date stamped for 1980) and are struck with the Rigby trademark. An importer mark is under the forearm. The well-figured pistol grip stock has a 7/8 inch rubber recoil pad, checkered grip and forearm, dark horn grip cap, a screw grip fastener signed “RIGBY’S PATENT” and selector nut on the iron to disengage the ejector mechanism on the forearm, and a gold oval initial escutcheon engraved with a sun in splendour and blued sling mount on the underside of the butt, and the corresponding sling mount is fitted beneath the barrels. The leather and oak case has brass corners, the untranslated Indian marking on the lid and one corner, John Rigby & Co. label and caution label inside the lid, snap caps, tools, and containers. 14 3/8 inch length of pull. Weight 9 lbs. 12 oz. (without scope). Provenance: The Malcolm King Collection
Fine. The barrels retain 95% of the older reblued finish and have minor handling wear to the finish at the muzzles and to the edges of the stepped breeches. The engraving is clear. The barrels were shortened from their original 26 inches, almost certainly at time of conversion to the current chambering. The action retains very slight traces of original casehardened finish and has distinct engraving throughout, including retaining great detail in the panel scenes and vignettes. The wood is fine and has an older reoiled finish, scattered storage and handling marks and bruising throughout, and well-defined checkering. Mechanically excellent. The optics remain clear. The case is good and has moderate exterior wear, newer straps and handle, replaced center piece on the lid, and mild interior wear including some loss of the label.
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