Mysterious English Rook Rifle

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Barry Gregory 440
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:24 pm

Re: Mysterious English Rook Rifle

Post by Barry Gregory 440 »

Mark,
Thanks for the update and progress report. Interesting comment from Rigby’s.

Regarding Holts Auctioneers you might find the 2 email addresses below useful in contacting them.

I have bid and acquired several items from them over the last 2 years and have always found them very helpful. Certainly worth a try. I’ve found their Condition Reports on, in my case, shotguns to be very precise.

info@holtsauctioneers.com
enquiries@holtsauctioneers.com

Can’t help with Bonhams as I’ve never bid or acquired anything from them although their online auction catalogues can make interesting reading.

Also, as you may know, the 2022 British Shooting Show is on at the NEC Birmingham from 18/02/22 to 20/02/22. So, if your based in the U.K. and not to far away it might be worth going along with some photos. There will be plenty of gunsmiths and gunshops to talk to.

Still very interested to know who made your mystery rook and rabbit rifle.

All the best,

Barry
Mark Batten 250
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:20 pm

Re: Mysterious English Rook Rifle

Post by Mark Batten 250 »

Thank you Barry - I will definitely give Holt's a try.

I'm located on Vancouver Island in Canada, so I can't get to the British show - perhaps one day.

Will keep you posted on any future discoveries with respect to this rifle.

Cheers!

Mark
Barry Gregory 440
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:24 pm

Re: Mysterious English Rook Rifle

Post by Barry Gregory 440 »

Mark,

Thanks for the update. Having checked my geography, yes, I guess that the 4,500 miles between Vancouver Island, Canada and the U.K. is probably a bit far for a day trip to the NEC Birmingham!

Probably going to go myself with some clay shooting friends from our local club. If you’ve no objection, I might take some of your photographs along to show to the gunshops while we’re browsing the stands. It could be useful to have a photograph of the entire rifle.

For me your update raises a really interesting question - how how did the rifle get from proofing in London, in probably the late 1800s, to Vancouver Island Canada?

Do you have any of its history and it’s travels? It becomes even more mysterious!

Cheers

Barry
Mark Batten 250
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:20 pm

Re: Mysterious English Rook Rifle

Post by Mark Batten 250 »

Barry:

Please do show-around the photos - may lead to more good information about the rifle, thank you!
https://imgur.com/gallery/9mAl10g

I've emailed Holt's, and will advise you when they reply. I purchased this gun at an auction in Eastern Canada; how it ever got to this country - well your guess is as good as mine!

Good shooting and enjoy the NEC outing!

Mark
Last edited by Mark Batten 250 on Fri Jan 28, 2022 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mark Batten 250
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:20 pm

Re: Mysterious English Rook Rifle

Post by Mark Batten 250 »

Barry:

Here's the reply I received from Holt's, in response to my recent query about the rifle:

Many thanks for your email about your rather unusual rook rifle. I have to say, despite the London proof marks, my inclination is that the rifle is originally of Continental European manufacture, imported and subsequently proofed in the UK (the London marks used to especially designate overseas manufacture didn’t come in to play until 1925).

With the English predilection for self promotion, it’s quite unusual not to have any makers or retailer’s name on ‘home-grown’ items (slight tongue in cheek there – but true nonetheless). I don’t think the ‘R’ is connected to Rigby’s. The stepped slab-side action is not of a design I immediately associate with any of the British makers and though the barrel locking system shares one feature of an early Perkes design with the hooking element to the rear lump, the Perkes action operated on two bites with a much deeper lump profile. The side stud elements are unfamiliar too, as is the profile of the extractor.

Finally the permanently-attached fore-end (if I have correctly identified this from the picture) has a very continental feel to it – a scarcely used feature on English guns and on many that do like Daw were heavily ‘inspired’ by existing European designs.

Unfortunately, all the physical reference works I have access to concentrate mostly on English manufacturers, so I can’t do a proper ‘compare and contrast’…

I am sorry not to be able to give you a more definitive answer – but please, if you do ever get a positive identification I would be most interested to hear the outcome.


So, it looks like your suspicion that the rifle has Continental origins may indeed be correct!
Time will tell whether its true identity emerges.

Meanwhile, it's proving to be fun to shoot, and quite accurate with a .36 conical bullet of 130 grains.

All the best,

Mark
Barry Gregory 440
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:24 pm

Re: Mysterious English Rook Rifle

Post by Barry Gregory 440 »

Mark,

Interesting quick response from Holts. It feels like they’ve been as helpful as they can be. It does presently leave it as a mysterious rook rifle though now probably continental rather than English.

As their notes suggest, Holts do specialise in English gunmakers for rifles and shotguns. Not exclusively, as in 2020 I bought a 20-bore side by side, sidelock shotgun made by Ugartechea in Spain.

Its looking likely that we will go to the British Shooting Show at the NEC next month, so I will still take some of your photographs just on the off-chance that one of the exhibitors recognises it. You never know …

If, in the meantime, it might help if you could post one more photograph showing the whole rifle.

Finally, I have two questions hat I haven’t already asked:-
(1) what’s the length of the barrel?
And
(2) what’s the length of pull (LoP) ie from the trigger to the middle of the butt?

For now just enjoy shooting you mysterious rook rifle and I’ll let you know if any information turns up.

Barry
Mark Batten 250
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:20 pm

Re: Mysterious English Rook Rifle

Post by Mark Batten 250 »

Barry:

I've created a new photo gallery to include a full-length photo of the rifle:

https://imgur.com/gallery/9mAl10g

The barrel is 24" long, and the LOP is 14 1/4 ". Weight is 5 lbs, 4 oz.

I appreciate your interest in the rifle, and here's to good shooting!

Mark
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