The .416 Rigby really pushes the boundaries of pressure this TC Encore frame can tolerate.

Ever hear of the .458 Winchester Magnum? What about the .404 Jeffrey? No? Does the name John Rigby ring a bell?

One very unfortunate thing about modern shooting sports is we often don’t hear of, or miss the origin of many popular calibers. I’ll bet if I mentioned the .338 Lapua you may be a bit more familiar with it since it’s a common cartridge among sniper fan boys and Call of Duty faux warriors. You might possibly be more familiar with the .378 Weatherby Magnum and/or the 30-378 Weatherby also. If ANY of these rounds ring a bell, you might be surprised to hear they all got their start with the parent case of the .416 Rigby.

So here’s the deal, back in 1911 in the the folks at John Rigby & Company were reveling in the older brother to smokeless power. A brand new substance called CORDITE. Cordite came about (around 1889) as a solution to using the previously commonplace blackpowder cartridges helping generate greater pressure, higher velocities and retain better energy with smaller bullets and less propellant. Thanks to cordite (and later on, smokeless powder) the new basis for big bore cartridges became .400 caliber, rather than .458 which was before that, and even .500 caliber which was before that. See where we’re going with this? The .416 Rigby is a .41 caliber bullet capable of reaching speeds over 2400 fps (even faster on the one we reviewed with a 325 grain Speer bullet. Traditional loads started at 400 grain bullets and went up) with a muzzle energy somewhere above 5000 foot pounds and even retaining its energy over 4000 foot pounds out past 100 yards.

Still a skeptic on whether or not muzzle brakes work? This particular brake summoned the shoulder cracking power of the Rigby down to that of a common 20 gauge shotgun. Watch the video to see!

It’s because of this that the Rigby has maintained its popularity as a dangerous game round able to put down even the biggest, meanest critters like elephants and rhinos. In the video you’ll notice the .416 I’m shooting has a muzzle brake on it. Admittedly I’ve never fired a big bore gun with a brake on it before (let alone done a rifle review on one), and this one did wonders to tame the recoil. Generally you’d limit your play with a round like this to just a few rounds, but this time around with the limbsaver pad, Thompson Center Pro Hunter flextech stock, and the muzzle brake, this one really was very mild.

So the next time you are in awe of some newfangled cartridge developed the leading manufacturer, remember that the odds are it got its start with some old geezer round from the last century. I’m inclined to love the rounds based on an old design that’s been tried and proven over the years. It helps me with my nostalgia cravings, and gives me something new to talk about when I walk into my local FFL to pick up the newest gun to review.

If you’re interested in building your own Thompson Center Encore style rifle much like the one I took this muley with, feel free to visit my Dad’s store at Haus of Arms (see how we did that with the names? We’re incredibly creative). He’s set up so you can build the rifle YOU want, rather than limiting yourself to the calibers the big box stores have available. Oh, and I GUARANTEE you won’t beat his prices on new Encores anywhere.


Rigby on top, 7mm STW in the middle, and a 6mm VTT (watch for review soon) on the bottom.


4 Responses to Shooting the .416 Rigby – Rifle Review

  1. Phillip says:

    History of different rounds is very interesting. I’ve never given it much thought but have always done research about what specific rounds can do in specific weapons. Then I usually see if that round is easy to get a hold of or not.

  2. Dan says:

    Wow! That is quite the cartridge – like many, I have never heard of the .416 Rigby. Looks like a potent round however!

    • Eric Ebbinghaus says:

      I’d say any cartridge that boasts 5000+ foot pounds of energy at any point in its life from the muzzle would qualify as a “potent” round. :)

  3. […] what it takes to stick around. Well guess what? With the time-tested and proven parent case of a .416 Rigby and the genius long range minds in Finland at the design helm, it’s a good thing I […]

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