Episode 24 – Waffen Jung “Rifle Magnum” in .416 Rigby

PART 1  {Virginia and Roger sitting behind table} {Rifle on rack, Scope off, bolt showing}

VIRGINIA: My name is Virginia Hall and I’m here today to introduce you to Roger Rule, author of The Rifleman’s Rifle, and host of this series of episodes, Special Guns with Roger Rule.

ROGER: Thank you, Virginia, and welcome, …and welcome viewers to my 24th Episode of Special Guns with Roger Rule.

VIRGINIA: What do we have today?

ROGER:   In Episode 22, we covered the handmade Reimer Johannsen magnum Mauser made in Germany.  In that video, I told the story of how my cousin Randy, planning a hunt for bears in Kamchatka, called me for advice in choosing a special rifle for it. I also mentioned that as part of the story, I called a good gun friend of mine, named Bud, who knew more about big-bore rifles than I.  Budhad then enlightened me about the magnum bolt actions past and present.  I had shared with him that Randy wanted a top gun and had the pocketbook for it.  Hearing that, Bud had said if money were no object, then Hartmann & Wiess or Waffen Jung were probably the most expensive big bore bolt action rifles made. He had added, but those two come with frills, such as color case hardening, engraving, gold enlays, etc. He said if Randy just wanted the best magnum Mauser without the decoration, he recommended Reimer Johannsen.

And if you are familiar with that video, you know that Randy ended up buying a Reimer Johannsen in .416, the gun we featured in Episode 22.  And, that rifle is a fantastic sportsman’s firearm having every feature the Safari hunter cherishes as well as being put together with perfection; however, no frills.

After Bud introduced me to those three makers, and the fact I had never heard of any of them, I kept an eye out for all three over the years. From time to time Champlin Arms, Steve Barnett Fine Guns, and Griffin & Howe would have a Reimer Johannsen, but the intervals of finding them were scarce and very far apart.  I believe on average I would see one about every three or four years.

For Hartmann & Weiss, actually the first one I saw after watching for one, was listed by Ralf Martini, in British Columbia. I was able to purchase it and bring it into this country. It was a low serial number, 866, chambered in 7×64 Brenneke.  The craftsmanship was impeccable but being an early one by the makers, it carried little decoration. I have seen other H&W rifles since, but only a few, and all have commanded extremely high prices.

VIRGINIA: Do you still have that rifle?

ROGER: No, sadly, someone wanted it more than I, so I traded it.

PART 2{Audio only – Show right and left rifle videos plus Photos JungVid01-04}Quotes

Having never seen any guns made by the third maker that Bud mentioned, Waffen Jung, over time I forgot about them.  Then, in 2005, I ran across a gun blog where the question was asked, “What is the best bolt action rifle in the world?”  Naturally, that grabbed my attention and expecting to see Winchester pre-64 Model 70 or at least a familiar name, I was dumbfounded when some astute blogger answered, “Waffen Jung”

At first I didn’t remember the name, but there was something about it that was familiar. Then, it hit me,  that was one of the three makers that my friend Bud had recommended for my cousin several years before. Back then, I couldn’t or didn’t know how to search for unknown makers on the Internet.  But in 2005, it was a different matter, I googled Waffen Jung and discovered the maker’s website in German. I could not read a word of it, but the photographs of the guns told me everything. I saw photos of amazing firearms that brought to mind the work of Hartmann & Weiss. Having ownd one H&W and examined others, I really could not say that Waffen Jung represents any less quality from just examining their magnificent photographs.  So, from 2005 on, having finally rediscovered Waffen Jung, I began looking for but never saw a firearm made by Theo Jung, not one. Waffen, by the way, means weapons. It’s part of the company name; the maker is Theo Jung.

Most Americans do not know the name, Waffen Jung.  Many of us know Hartmann & Weiss because they are represented outside of Germany with their London outlet besides their Hamburg base allowing their guns to have worked their way into Canada and America.  We don’t know Waffen Jung because the maker only has a German address, in Lohmar, and is so-backlogged the company has no need to expand its market.  In Germany, there is a following that believe firearms by Theo Jung have absolutely peerless quality. You can order a new Waffen Jung, if you are in Germany, and if you have seven years to wait.

PART 3 {Roger & Virginia sitting at table, Rifle on rack, scope off Quotes}

ROGER:So, where is this all leading?  Ever since I was re-introduced to the name, Waffen Jungin 2005, I’ve never forgotten about them again and have always wanted to examine one in person. Since I follow GunsInternational.com closely, I see the occasional Reimer Johannsen that comes up, and the rare Hartmann & Weiss that slips through the system, but as I said I had never even seen a Waffen Jung rifle until… a few days ago.

VIRGINIA: Is this rifle the one you saw?


VIRGINIA: Where did you find it?

ROGER:  From a dealer on GunsInternational.com who hadlabeled it wrong but was still asking a hefty price.  I purchased the rifle and after I received it and made a close examination, it  did not let me down.  It easily compares to any H&W with the similar features. You could not say one is better than the other. Both makers have reached perfection in every detail.

VIRGINIA:  Is this a new rifle?

ROGER: By condition, yes.  The fact that I bought it second-hand means that it is pre-owned rifle. But it is in immaculate condition. It’s serial number is 1482 and I’m sure if we could get access to Waffen Jung’s records, they could tell us the date this gun was made.  According to their website, this model is simply called their “Rifle Magnum.”  I think that’s the direct translation. If an interpreter would say it in English, he or she would turn it around and call the model “Magnum Rifle.”

Before we inspect it, here’s what I have about the maker.

Translated, their website states (and I quote)

Waffen Jung manufactures the complete bolt action rifle. From start to finish they insure that everything is crafted to their high standards. Each rifle is tailored to the hunting requirements, needs and personal tastes of the customer. Master gunsmith, Theo Jung, ensures each hunting rifle he makes is a unique creation and a work of art.” (close quote)

Further, the maker tells us that each bolt-action rifle is newly manufactured using Mauser 98-type actions which are fabricated in-house, machined and hand-filed to very high tolerances. The double square bridge actions are made in three sizes: short, standard and magnum. The maker also offers all three actions in left-handed versions as well as in takedown versions.

The Turkish walnut chosen for the stock comes from a large selection of hundred-year-old Caucasian walnut stock blanks that are cut from the trees’ roots to display the most colorful grain pattern throughout. They are then finished with a special process to give the stock a durable weather resistant coat. This high gloss finish beautifully embellishes the rifle and gives it a personal touch.

And finally, engraving is accomplished by Master engravers and enhanced by traditional color case hardening finish or other finishes as requested.

The following is an excerpt from Theo Jung in his own words, translated here (quote):

“Our precision hunting rifles combine master craftsmanship and beauty – lasting quality that can be passed on from one generation of hunters to the next. Applying technical innovations and maintaining perfection in the gun-smithing trade are the pillars of our success. Our team of artisans are highly motivated and steeped in tradition. As a customer of Waffen Jung, you can expect the finest quality in all of our rifles.”

(signed)           Sincerely, Theo Jung(close quote)

I found more about Waffen Jung from east India’s largest guns, shooting and outdoor journal, Indians for Guns, in an article entitled, “Possibly Hartmann and Weiss’ Only Rival in Making Mauser Bolt Rifles:” written by noted firearms expert in India, Mehul Kamdar.

It reads (quote):


Since you enjoyed the Hartmann and Weiss website, here is, possibly their only rival in making ultimate quality bolt action rifles from scratch in all calibres and configurations, Waffen Jung by master Theo Jung.  There are other master gunmakers in Germany like Harry Baeider who build some magnificent big bore rifles, but Baeider uses the H&W action on his rifles, making him an associate of H&W and not a completely independent gunmaker like Jung. Check out http://www.waffenjung.de/

Hope you enjoy the pictures, cheers!

(signed)           Mehul Kamdar (close quote)

So there you can see that even on the International scene, Waffen Jung is being compared to Hartmann & Weiss, a better known brand because of their London importation, as I’ve said.

Enough about the maker, now let’s look at this beautiful masterpiece itself.

Although it is in mint condition, we know this rifle has been pre-owned as none of Theo Jung’s rifles leave his premises without being built for a customer… and it was not built for me.

                        As a brief overview: Looking at the rifle, Jung’s design is very similar to the Reimer Johannsen rifle we reviewed in Episode 22.

It is basically an English look again, with classic comb, open grip and tapered narrow forend.  In all respects, it is in keeping with the Safari styling. It has a barrel-mounted front sling swivel eye, express sights, an ebony forearm tip, steel pistol grip cap, and a superbly beaded cheekpiece.

It is chambered in the noble .416 Rigby caliber with a 24” barrel.From their website, we know Waffen Jung calls this model their, “Rifle Magnum.”It is serial number 1482 (easy for me to remember, ten years before the date that Columbusdiscovered America){Photo JungVid05}.

As an express rifle, it has all the features popular with Professional Hunters. The action is a true modern German Mauser 98 Magnum double square bridge actionand is very similar to the Reimer Johannsen action and the Prectl version now used by Rigby for their double square bridge magnum rifles.

Now since there are so many fine details, let’s move to the side table to examine them close-up.

PART 4 {Roger & Virginia off camera, at side table, Rifle in case, scope off, silver bead}

Here we are at the side table set with our Waffen Jung rifle in its maker’s case. It has a few accessories, a nickel oil bottle, a leather sling, and two covered compartments for cleaning tools. There is a space for a cleaning rod set which is not here. Also, notice the bolt has its own compartment, so we can easily see that the rifle is unloaded.

For this portion of the video, I have pre-disassembled the scope.

Let’s examine the bolt first. Being a true Mauser 98 design, it is released from the action via the traditional Mauser bolt release, by pulling out the front of bolt release lever.


As I hold it, you can see that the entire bolt assembly, including the bolt, the breech bolt sleeve, and the safety are color case-hardened and have much engraving.

The bolt and bolt handle are not engraved but the bolt knob is. The bolt knob is masterfully engraved with a progressive radial cut checkering and a gold-filled curved line separating a row of fine dots running single file along the border of the gold line…just remarkable detail! {Photo Vid08}

                        As to the mechanics,it has a long Mauser positive extractor, so it is a controlled-round-feed action as we covered in previous videos. {Photo Vid06}Note the unusual bluing of the extractor; I will mention more about that in a moment. Like other Mausers, the bolt has the two locking lugs just behind the bolt head and an additional rear (3rd) locking lug or safety lug.

As to the shape of the bolt handle, it retains the traditional Mauser straight down pull with no curve or angle swept back, but the stock is inletted to allow for telescopic sight clearance.{Photo Vid18}

Also, the safety is the Rechnagel version of the Model 70 three-position safety, but carries an additional locking lever on top, which must be pressed down before moving the safety arm forward to fire.  This prevents accidental moving the safety into fire position by snagging it onto something, such as pulling it out of scabbard.

For a demonstration of the safety, see my Episodes 1 and 2.

Thebreech bolt sleeve is case-colored and engraved like the rest of the action, and it is also engraved with a gold-filled letter “F” for fire. {Photo Vid19}I’ll replace the bolt and pick up the rifle.

{Place the bolt back, pick up the rifle, hold with top bridges facing camera}

Let’s look at the metalwork of the rifle without the scope. I’ll get back to the scope and the ring system in a few minutes.

First, let’s just look at this magnificent work of art overall. And I’m primarily talking about the finish, but also some of the custom details.

Besides the entire bolt assembly as we just saw, the rest of the action, the magnum receiver with its square bridges,a portion of the bolt release, the complete under metal assembly, one ofthe stock crossbolts, and the pistol grip cap – are all color-case-hardened and engraved. {Photo Vid07}

VIRGINIA: I love that color case hardened look.

ROGER:The double square bridge receiver is like the one I showed you for Reimer Johannsen in that the bridges are machinedinto the action to fit the Rechnagel scope ring system. {Photos  Vid09 thru 11}

The rear square bridge has two rectangle cutouts on each side to allow the Rechnagle rear scope ring to lock down and the front bridge is machined to accept a Recknagel front scope ring to turn 90 degrees and pull up tight into the slot in this bridge.This is amazing technology but it doesn’t stop there. Each bridge is finely cross-hatched and bounded by intricate gold wire borders.

VIRGINIA: There’s a lot of gold on this one.

ROGER: There is also a gold ring around the stock crossbolt that shows on both profiles.

The bottom metal has a one-piece straddle hinged floorplate with center-bow release.{Photo Vid12}As I said, it is finished with color case hardening and is fully engraved, including the action screws.And, as is the custom of German makers, the engraving is not signed.

Mechanically, the magazine opens with the traditional hinged floorplate with center bow release.


We haven’t covered the barrel and its components yet, but before we leave the action, while still referring to the finish, there is a subtle piece of work which accents the rifle that the layman might not readily catch.  The inset face of the bolt release, the trigger bow release and the extractor on the bolt we just looked at…3 pieces of metal in the action… are all fire blued.{Photos Vid14 thru 16}

These contribute subtly, but significantly, to the overall beauty of the rifle.  But it is not overdone, for instance, there is a second crossbolt which is simply inlaid ebony, without repeating the frills of the first crossbolt, which is color case hardened and bounded by a gold ring.  Perhaps the maker thought it would be an overkill,taking the rifle over the top, from being tasteful to gaudy. {Photo Vid17}By my eye, Theo Jung knows where to stop.

Internally, we can’t see them here, but other mechanical features includea top-of-the-line single-stage adjustable trigger inscribed “Rechnagel” as seen when the stock is removed, a lock on the firing pin, the firing pin’s gas deflection device, the gas discharge feature in the bolt design, and the breech bolt sleeve with its buttress thread and fire shield.

Now let’s look at the barrel and its assemblies. A close examination reveals incredible craftsmanship, many hours of hand work.{Photos 20,21}

The 24” barrel has hammer-forged rifling, made of the finest steel. It is stepped down two places, about 1 7/8” from the front action bridge and again about 5” forward of that. The barrel is fitted in the Safari style with a front sight as a silver bead with a flip-over ivory bead {Photo Vid22}for fast cover in the brush or for low light conditions. Notice how this works.

{demonstrate the sight}

VIRGINIA: I’ve never seen one like that before.

ROGER: Holland & Holland sometimes uses this and calls it the flip over moon sight. There are other versions of it and some have been around a long time like the one we saw on the Johannsen rifle in Episode 22, but this is the niftiest one and the easiest to change sights.

This front sight assembly is mounted on a banded ramp.

The barrel also has a banded front sling swivel eye and a quarter ramp with a three-leaf express rear sight (with two folding and one fixed leaves).  The fixed leaf is marked 50 while the folding ones are marked 100 and 150. They are drift- adjustable for windage.

Our master gunmaker didn’t stop there.

All three leaves have gold vertical lines for quick eye alignment.{Photos Vid23} If you examine them closely, you can see that each leaf has a highly polished triangle or pyramid in the center bringing your eye up to the leaf’s notch. Also, the sight base is finely cross-hatched between the leaves. I have never seen thesekinds of handwork details before, not even on my Hartmann & Weiss.

As to the quarter ramp, the craftsmanship is again outstanding.{Photo Vid24}Looking at it in profile, it is built up in three levels or three plains of surfaces. From top view, it is stippled with borders in three sections.{Photo Vid 25}The top level carries the express rear sight in the center; its surface is finely stippled and surrounded with a hairline borders.  Between the express sight and the front receiver bridge, there is an inset inscription that reads CAL. 416 RIGBY in gold. {Photo Vid26} This surface  of the ramp terminates at the rear with a gold filled arched boundaryline to give the appearance in profile that the gold continues as part of one of the two gold bands at the breech of the barrel.

The front end of the quarter ramp is in the lowest or third plane and it is alsofinely stippled with fine borders and is shaped into a long point or triangle reducing down in thickness to make a pleasing transition where it meets the barrel. {Photo Vid27} On top of the barrel between the second step down and the front sling swivel band, the barrel is engraved with the maker’s name and city in gold, WAFFEN JUNG, LOHMAR.{Photo Vid28}

The front sight ramp takes on a similar look of the quarter ramp starting with a point and swooping upward to the level of the sight and it is also finely stippled with narrow borders.{Photo Vid29}A close look reveals additional hand dotted engraving along both shoulders of the front sight base for their full length. I have never seen this detail before. Besides being masterful craftsmanship, it has a function of dissipating glare from the front sight base if one were to use the open sights.

All the barrel components are highly polished and blued. At the breech end, there are two gold-filled bands, one ending with scrolls where it joins the receiver…just extraordinary metal work!

Let’s return to our main set and discuss the stock.

PART 5 {Roger and Virginia sitting at table, rifle in rack, scope on, cheek piece showing}

Here we see the entire rifle with scope mounted.

Looking at the stock, this is a select piece of fancy Turkish walnut with beautiful colors of warm browns and black streaks with areas of fiddleback grain.

VIRGINIA: Beautiful and I like the sheen on this one.

ROGER: Yes, and the figure is very well planned for a big-bore rifle. {Photos Vid30, 31}It is a pure custom classic shape with a European-style cheekpiece which is shaped very well with a distinct shadow-line or bead.

Hand-checkering appears to be 24 lpi and is a full wrap-around point pattern over the wrist with a point on the wrist, {Photos Vid32-34}and fully wraps around the forearm with a combination of single and mullered borders, exquisitely executed.{Photos Vid35,36}

The fit of wood to metal is perfect; when you rub your finger over the areas where they meet you cannot feel the junctures. The finish is executed without a flaw, with Waffen Jung’s special process of weather resistant finish that resembles the best French polish oil finish but with more durability.

The stock is fitted with an genuine ebony tip {Photo Vid37}and besides the two cross-bolts already covered, it is fitted with an engraved and color case-hardened steel pistol grip cap,a rear sling eye,and a 1/2” German Schaftkappe recoil pad yielding a LOP of 14 ¼”.  {Photo Vid38}

For other specs, the trigger pull is light but consistently trips the trigger gauge at a crisp 2 pounds.The weight of the rifle is 4.17 kg (9.2 lbs.) without scope and 4.90 kg (10.8 lbs.) with.

VIRGINIA: Isn’t that heavy?

ROGER: Yes, but like our other big bore rifles, you appreciate the weight when you shoot the gun and realize how much its weight assists in reducing the impact of recoil.

The telescopic sightisa Zeiss’ high-end Victory 1.5-6×42 Rail Scope; the rail scopes are the best & most secure. As we’ve said, it is affixed with quick detachable Rechnagel rings that are mated to the integral-machined bridges of the rifle serving as scope ring bases. The scope reticle is the German #4 with three heavy lines for fast target acquisition. Interestingly enough, the Hartmann & Weiss rifle I owned was also fitted with a high-end Zeiss scope.

I’m going to pick it up.

{Pick up the rifle with scope}

I’ll open the chamber to make sure it is empty. {Open, look, close bolt; aim rifle away from camera}

The rifle comes to the hand with ease with a quick sight picture whether using the express sight or the scope, a true test of a fine rifle design.

The Recknagel rings’ system allows for a quick detachable scope as we learned in Episode 22. It is a very positive design, locking the rear base in place and assuring zero change in sight alignment.  {Photo Vid39}We saw how it works in Episode 22, but it is such a neat system let me demonstrate it here again.

To remove it, {follow action}unscrew the locking collar at the base of the rear Rechnagel ring. Then simply swing the scope out to the right 90 degrees and that frees the scope.

To re-install it, reverse the process, insert thefront ring at 90 degree angle and then pivot the scope body back 90 degrees until it stops. Then twist the serrated locking collar clockwise to tighten it down and zero it in again.

That’s it!

{Set the rifle back in its rack as Virginia speaks, Roger sits down}

VIRGINIA: That’s really easy, I remember that system from before.

ROGER:Yes, that was about two episodes back.

Now, to summarize my external examination of this work of art, I would say the inletting is superb throughout, cut clean, crisp and truly professional for both the action area and the entire barrel channel. The overall fit, finish, and proper dimensions couldn’t be better, and balance is perfect!

For the condition of the rifle, it is fully original: the blue remains at 99%, the original stock finish at 100%, the checkering at 100%, and the bore is as new,

And as we’ve shown, this great rifle comes with an oak and leather presentation trunk case with maker’s label and a canvas and leather outer shell.

VIRGINIA: Do we know how much this rifle costs?

ROGER: The maker’s ordering price for a new “Magnum Rifle” with comparable finish and features is 46,750 Euros or just over $50, 000.  Add $1,740 for the scope and the total package would cost $51,775.

VIRGINIA: Is this the most expensive rifle we’ver reviewed?

ROGER: Close, if not the most.

So going back to all those years ago, when my friend Bud categorized Waffen Jung with Hartmann & Weiss and then in 2005 when that estute blogger wrote in that Waffen Jung was the best rifle in the world, and now after finally having one to compare I can see that those two rifle buffs really knew what they were talking about.From examining this rifle, I would say that I have learned that both of them were extremely knowledgeable after all.

This Waffen Jung is a work of art by Theo Jung and would not take a backseat to any other maker.

That’s it for today, thank you Virginia, and thank you viewers for watching, and if you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel and share with others. And, I hope you learn a little and enjoy much from this series of videos, Special Guns with Roger Rule, thank you.