R B Rodda & Co Calcutta & Birmingham .404 Jeffery

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John 39
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

R B Rodda & Co Calcutta & Birmingham .404 Jeffery

Post by John 39 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:03 am

R B Rodda & Co Calcutta and Birmingham
.404 Jeffery about 1930
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Allen Peterson 44
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:00 pm

Re: R B Rodda & Co Calcutta & Birmingham .404 Jeffery

Post by Allen Peterson 44 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:28 pm

The engraving and scope mounts. Were socket headed cap screws common in the era that this beautiful rifle was built. You are certainly correct that the wood is excellent inletting the hex to round barrel extremely well. I would have thought to see straight slot screws if scoped. Do you think the scope was added later/.The express sights are wonderful. What Game was the .404 intended for?

Tim Wilkes 43
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:43 pm

Re: R B Rodda & Co Calcutta & Birmingham .404 Jeffery

Post by Tim Wilkes 43 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:08 pm

Allen, I was interested in your observation about hexagonal bolts and it set me off!

Allen keys were being patented under various names as far back as 1860 in the US however manufacturing of the patented wrenches never took place because of the associated expense with manufacturing at that time. The actual original design was rumoured to come out of the UK but considered too expensive for American tastes at the time so copycat inventors set out to replicate the design under American patent.

There were 30 patents filed around the time in the US, making it difficult to pinpoint whose was approved first. However it is considered to be William G. Allen, who filed the first related patent in 1909 for the Allen Manufacturing Company recessed hex-driven safety screw.

I imagine it would have been in the inter-war years that Allen bolts journeyed across the Atlantic to the UK, so this 1930 produced rifle could conceivably have had Allen bolts fitted to the scope mount from new.

Allen Peterson 44
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:00 pm

Re: R B Rodda & Co Calcutta & Birmingham .404 Jeffery

Post by Allen Peterson 44 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:58 am

I also have been looking into the fasteners and the .404 Jeffery round. I agree there would have been unbrako socket heads available and well suited to the task of clamping telescopes, especially well suited to heavy dangerous game rifles as the .404 . There are a couple of RB Rodda rifles on sale on the guns international site but they are nowhere as nice as the one sold at Holts. The .404 cal round would do anything the very versatile .375 could do .

James M. Warren 374
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:35 pm

Re: R B Rodda & Co Calcutta & Birmingham .404 Jeffery

Post by James M. Warren 374 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:16 pm

I am the present owner of this rifle, bought it a few months ago from the gent that had imported it to the USA via Holts.

As far as I can discern, the barrel and action are the only original R.B.Rodda parts. Trigger guard and floor plate are from Blackburn, the scope mounts are modern hand detachable 30mm H&H mounts.
The stock is a very nice custom replacement to the original with an anti-recoil pad of the Silver's style.

With the barreled action out of the wood one can see the original German as well as Birmingham proof marks for .404 Jeffery/10.75x73. The barrel still retains the loop for the original Type A Mauser stock forend key. Some localized pitting is present under the reblack of the barrel.

There is another Rodda .404 presently for sale at Champlin's that is only 8 numbers earlier from this one and Champlin says it was made by August Schüler circa 1929. That rifle still bears the original stock.

This one is a beautiful custom restoration of a fine old working .404 from "the old days" in colonial India. It would be interesting to know who in the UK did the restoration, the reblack is very nice and the stock work is 1st class.

As received, the rifle was not functional due to a mis-fitted Mauser type safety and butchered after market Timney trigger. As well, the magazine box was not properly mated to the action so that last round feed was not reliable.
The rifle now has a Recknagel trigger and Wisner 3 position safety that allows use of a scope.

After having the minor details sorted and fixed the .404 is a very nice shooter and will, with any luck, go out for a bear hunt this season.

- JMW

John 39
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: R B Rodda & Co Calcutta & Birmingham .404 Jeffery

Post by John 39 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:18 am

Wonderful to find this rifle has found a good home and has been restored to working condition. My grandfather, who "made" it, would be very pleased. R B Rodda & Co always used better than average wood, which is probably why they became the largest gun makers in India, but the quality of this replacement wood is brilliant. I have both a 1929 and a 1930 Centenary catalogue, strangely .404 rifles are not listed but the ammunition is, soft nose or split.

I hope you have found the history of the firm in our database interesting. I know the firm's records still exist but can't get the present owners to talk to me. They still hold a dealers licence, and probably have a large collection of guns, but they don't seem to be trading.

James M. Warren 374
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:35 pm

Re: R B Rodda & Co Calcutta & Birmingham .404 Jeffery

Post by James M. Warren 374 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:13 pm

As the vernacular goes: I am really "chuffed" to have this rifle, and am glad I could contribute to the forum.

It is a shame that the present R.B.Rodda apparently have no interest in sharing their history ........
As with the old Lyon and Lyon their company records surely exist somewhere but they are totally shut away.

Cheers, JMW

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