Rook Rifle by John Rigby

Some documents suggest the firm was established in 1735. However, since the first John Rigby was born in 1758 in Dublin and entered the gunmaking trade there in 1775, Rigby today claims that as its founding date. (If John Rigby took over another gunmaking house, he would have inherited its founding date, in which case 1735 could be valid.) The surviving business ledgers date from 1781 and show that by then John Rigby was making, under his own name, shotguns, rifles, muskets, spring guns, carbines, blunderbusses and pistols to clients' specifications and a wide range of prices.

Rigby was nearly bankrupted during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 when the government seized the arms on his premises - those belonging to the firm and to its clients - presumably to keep them out of the reach of rebels. However, by 1810 (if not sooner) John Rigby had rebuilt his business and, in addition to sporting guns, was making, updating and repairing thousands of guns for Ireland's police, military, postal and customs services.

After the founding John Rigby's death, in 1818, his sons William and John Jason Rigby operated the business as W. & J. Rigby from circa 1820 to 1865, a period that spanned flintlock, percussion, pinfire and needlefire ignition and marked the start of the modern metallic cartridge era. Rigby was a leader in barrel-making and rifling technology and, at the time, it was also recognised for its high grade duelling pistols. (Irish gentlemen especially had a fondness for calling each other out over perceived slights to their honour.)

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Rook Rifle by John Rigby

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