Date: Apr 16 2013
The .416 Rigby was developed by John Rigby around 1911 and primarily intended for large Magnum Mauser bolt-action rifles. Although not sold in large numbers in the U.S., it is popular with big game and professional hunters in Africa, where it has earned a superb reputation on all of the Big Five. Currently Federal Cartridge and Hornady Manufacturing offer factory loads that push a 400-grain bullet to between 2,300 and 2,400 fps.
The .416 Rigby is an unusually well designed cartridge. The case is large enough that pressures are not high, which allows cases to extract reliably and primers don’t flow or blow. Under extreme heat, such as on the African plains, its comparatively low pressures don’t cause reliability issues with rifles. It just works, which is important for a dangerous game cartridge. The case is rimless and beltless; the shoulder is 45 degrees for positive headspace control and smooth feeding.
Handloading is straightforward. Full-length case sizing is suggested to achieve reliable chambering. After bullets are seated to the correct overall length, they should be crimped firmly in place. This will serve to keep bullets in place during enthusiastic working of the rifle action and cartridge feeding, and when cartridges in the magazine are subjected to heavy recoil. This also aids with uniform powder ignition.
A Federal 215 Large Rifle Magnum primer was used to develop the accompanying data, which gave the most uniform velocities (as well as highest velocities) of all primers tried.
None of the maximum loads listed exceed industry pressure limits, with most being well below that figure. Nonetheless, velocities reached between 2,300 and 2,400 fps with all powders tried, which essentially duplicated factory load performance. To prevent erratic pressures and velocities with some powders, do not reduce charges below "starting" loads.