Special Guns Episode 3 MagMauQ&A

Special Guns with Roger Rule

Episode 3 – Heym New Express Rifle .416 Rigby


ANDREW: My name is Andrew Todd 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, Andrew.

ANDREW: Roger, let me ask you first, what is your definition for Special Guns?

ROGER: For this series, special guns are simply guns that a gun enthusiast may have heard of, but never encountered. And for my selection, I narrow my focus down to arms that hold an evolutionary or revolutionary place in the world of modern sporting arms over the last two centuries and have since become classic guns in some way because of it.

ANDREW: What do you have for us today?

ROGER:  The gun I want to cover today logically follows from my first two episodes. For the 1st episode, we had my favorite rifle, the subject of my book, The Rifleman’s Rifle, and looked at a Winchester pre-64 Model 70, which is an improved Mauser type of bolt action. For the 2nd episode, we looked at another Mauser type, a very special hand-built Rigby version using the actual famous Oberndorf Mauser action. Both of these are standard length Mauser actions.  Today, we are going to review a rifle with a Magnum Mauser action.

ANDREW: What is a Magnum Mauser? Is it just a Mauser that shoots magnum cartridges?

ROGER: The simple answer is no, but with some explanation needed. The word magnum is being used in two ways in guns.  There are magnum cartridges and there are magnum actions.  In 1912, Holland and Holland first used the word magnum in naming their .375 Belted Rimless Magnum cartridge, later to be known simply as the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum.  But it was a year before, in 1911, that Rigby & Co. who had an exclusive arrangement with the Mauser gun company to supply Mauser actions to them, got Mauser to build a larger action for a new big proprietary cartridge they had perfected, the now renown .416 Rigby. This was mentioned in the last episode.

This was a time when Great Britain owned India and most of Africa, and safari hunting for large dangerous game was very popular on those game-rich continents.  The popular choice of rifle for the biggest game was the big bore double rifle, which only the gentry could then afford, as these were very expensive guns.

But these lands were protected by Britain’s military and many of the officers who were stationed in those countries were also intrigued by safari hunting.  Because an officer’s pay might not handle the big ticket for an expensive double rifle.  Rigby felt they could offer a bolt action rifle for the most dangerous game at a much more affordable price than the large double rifles they were already producing. But they would need a big cartridge and a bigger bolt action to meet this more modest market, which would also serve the professional hunter.

So, when they developed the .416 Rigby, it was a long cartridge, nearly too long for what was then the standard length Mauser action.

{I have two cartridges here to compare sizes: one is the big 416 Rigby designed for a Magnum Mauser or you could say the big magnum Mauser was designed for it; and it is alongside the .30-06 designed for a standard length Mauser action, in particular the Srpingfield}


Consequently, Rigby needed Mauser to build a larger action for the new cartridge.  The result was a big and longer action than the standard Mauser action and it has become known as the Magnum Mauser action. So, a Magnum Mauser action is simply a Mauser type of action that is larger than the regular Mauser action. The crazy thing is that most of the cartridges chambered for the Magnum Mauser do not have the name Magnum in their name, i.e 416R, 450R. 505G, 500J, 575N.   For most of the cartridges with the suffix Magnum added to their name, i.e, 264 WM, 7mmRM, 300 WM, 338 WM, 416 RM, 458 WM, are standard length cartridges and are chambered in standard length Mauser size actionsm like the Winchester Model 70 and the Browning FN High Power.

ANDREW: With Rigby having an exclusive with Mauser, does that mean only Magnum Mausers have been in Rigby-made guns?

ROGER: Again, the answer is no. Although the.416 Rigby was developed in 1911, by the end of 1912, Rigby’s exclusivity with Mauser ran out, and other rifle makers in Great Britain joined in to catch this market for a magnum bolt action rifle.  These included makers such as Greener, Westley Richards,  Jefferys, Gibbs, and Holland & Holland, to name some of the more popular ones.

However, WWI and WWII stopped the production of Mauser Magnum actions.  When Mauser resumed manufacture for sporting rifles in 1966, they did not resume the manufacture of the Magnum Mauser action in the 20th Century.  But, there were others that answered the call. The name Magnum Mauser became synonymous with any oversized Mauser-style action. I don’t have a complete list of Magnum Mauser actions as a type.  One of the earliest after the true Magnum Mauser was the French Brevex action which today is recreated as the Granite Mountain action, but there are many others: Bnro

ZKK 602 now the CZ 550, Bauska BBK-02, Vektor, and proprietary ones like Reimer Johannsen, Heym, Sako L691, and others.

ANDREW: Which magnum Mauser do you have for us today?

ROGER:         For our episode today, I have chosen one recently made by Heym, which is another German Magnum Mauser action totally made in-house by Heym. .  Now, let’s move the Winchester 70 rifle aside, and focus on the gun of the day.

PART 2  {Two guns on table – video}

{Compare two guns}

First, let’s compare the size of this magnum mauser with the standard length Mauser action that we examined in our first episode.

This one is the Pre-64 Winchester Model 70, a standard length Mauser action

This one is the Magnum Mauser action with a longer length and girth.

Overall, magnum mauser actions tend to make for much larger rifles.  I don’t know if the camera can pick up that comparison


I have chosen this one because I think I personally had something to do with its creation.  After I tell you the story, you can decide!

My first Heym magnum mauser was chambered in 416 Rigby. It was called the Heym Express Rifle and it was a true double square bridge magnum mauser action.  I acquired it while living in Hawaii shipped to me from the mainland US.  When I received it I realized it was a big gun, big action and big stock.  When I placed it in my gun vault, it was much more massive than my other guns and just didn’t look or feel right.  I decided it might be the perfect action for a .505 Gibbs.  I got in touch with Chris Sells of Heym USA and had the rifle shipped through them to Dan Pedersen in Arizona who was one of few gunsmiths who could re-bore the barrel to .505 Gibbs.  After many calls to Pedersen with none returned, and finding out no work had been done, I located another company to re-bore it, Clearwater Reboring in Colville, Washington state, and had Chris Sells get the gun back for me.  Chris returned it in a nice Heym case so I had gained something from that debacle, no reflection on Chris as Peterson was an outsource agent.

When the gun was returned to me from Clearwater Reboring, the late Jim Dubell had done a splendid job. When I threw the gun to my shoulder, there was still a problem with the clumsy stock.  The pistol grip was set too far back. Even after I added a 1 ¼” recoil pad to get the right feel, I still didn’t like the way the stock fit.  So, I sold the rifle.

Soon after, and unrelated at this point, the master gunsmith, Ralf Martini of Cranbrook BC Canada, and his family visited me in Hawaii.  Although from Canada, Ralf is a member of American Custom Gunmakers Guild, and builds the great Marini-Hagn single shot rifles.  During his stay, Ralf and I loved talking guns and not long after he returned to Canada we worked out a deal for him to send me one of his custom-made big bore rifles.  I had seen his stocks in photos on his website but when his rifle arrived, I was amazed at how great the stock dimensions fit me — and at its overall British look.

Later, in a conversation with Chris Sells of Heym, I told him the whole story I had experienced with the Heym Express rebored to 505 Gibbs and how I hated the stock design.  In that conversation, I told him about Ralf visiting me in Hawaii – Chris knew who Ralf was – and I explained how great the stock on my new rifle from Ralf looked and fit.  I only shared this information as a matter of conversation with Chris since he had a little involvement in my Heym reboring.  I had no inkling that Chris of HeymUSA would have any significant influence with Heym AG in Germany.  And I still don’t know that he does, but what happened next made the sequence of the events seem too much of a coincidence.

It was several months later when I called Ralf to buy another one of his guns on his website, and while talking to him, he told me that some agents from Heym Germany had approached him about designing a stock for their new magnum action.  They had sent him a barreled action to stock, which he had done, and they had come to an agreement to use his stock for building their new Express Rifle.

So… there’s the story… you can decide for yourself whether my involvement had anything to do with it, but Chris Sells did offer me a nice discount for a pre-order of one of the new guns.


ANDREW: Sounds to me like you had some involvement!

ROGER: Ralf’s new design was based on Heym’s new double square bridge magnum action giving it an English look, while also keeping the Safari styling.

The rifle I have here today is not that gun Chris offered me, but it is a great example of this new revised Express Rifle by Heym that made its debut in 2011.  Curiously, it is now marketed as having: “German quality, English styling.”


Before we look at the rifle, here’s a little information about the maker. The founder, Friedrich Wilhelm Heym started the company in 1865 in Suhl, Germany.  Suhl was to the gunmaking trade for Germany like London is for Great Britain. In 1891, Heym patented the first 3-barreled gun that was without exposed hammers. That’s a very high distinction. To say it another way, they patented the first hammerless drilling.

The US didn’t know too much about Heym in the 19th Century as Heym’s markets were east, especially selling arms to Russia when Winchester was selling arms to Russia.  But in 1912, Heym shifted their export emphasis from Russia to the USA. The two wars with Germany slowed arms production for sporting arms and stopped markets to the USA.

After WWII, in 1945 with Suhl in East Germany, Heym moved to Lower Franconia and stopped arms production and concentrated their manufacturing on cuckoo clocks, slide rules and other non-firearm products.

It wasn’t until 1995, when Heym built a modern weapons factory in Gleichamberg that they resumed making sporting arms for export.  The company went public in 2002 and changed the name in 2007 to Heym AG.


In the gun industry, Heym has always had a reputation of being a maker of high quality guns with their top-tier guns equal to English best guns.

You can check out the website of Heym at http://www.heymusa.com/


Now, let’s turn to the rifle of the day.  This is one of Heym’s new express rifles with a Ralf Martini designed stock, chambered in the famous .416 Rigby with a 24” barrel. Heym is now marketing as the “New Heym Express Rifle”.  As an express rifle, it has all the features of Safari styling, popular with Professional Hunters. The action is a true modern German Mauser 98 Magnum action.  It’s Heym’s proprietary double square bridge magnum action.

{Remove the scope, show the double square bridges}

{Show the bolt release, remove the bolt, show the extractor, open the magazine, close the floorplate, leave bolt out.}

Being a true Mauser 98 design, it has the long Mauser positive extractor. So it is a controlled-round-feed action as we covered in my previous episodes.

{Demonstrate the snap cap on the bolt, replace bolt, put on SAFE}

The bolt handle itself has an integral 3rd locking lug or safety lug. It maintains the traditional Mauser straight down bolt handle configuration (as opposed to a curved bolt handle or one angled toward the rear).  But it differs from the traditional Mauser by being fitted here with a Winchester Model 70 3-position side swing safety.  That was covered also in our previous episodes.  Position 1 is SAFE with the bolt movement locked, Position 2 is still SAFE but the bolt can be operated, allowing to load a round, or to eject one; and Position 3 SAFE OFF ready to FIRE.With snap cap, I can pull the trigger, {BANG}, it breaks like glass and is light.

{Work the Safety, show all three positions, then remove the bolt by showing the unusual bolt release and replace it.}


Supporting my claim that Heym’s high-end rifles are made in the same way a custom-maker builds a rifle, Heym’s website states, and I quote:

“Heym’s high-grade rifles are still built by hand, and every part is made and finished in-house, to the point that, no two parts on two Heym rifles are interchangeable: Each is hand-fitted to painstaking tolerances.” (close quote)


The 24” barrel is made of the finest Krupp steel, fitted in the Safari style with a front sight of a silver bead, mounted on a banded ramp, a banded sling swivel eye, and just like the Rigby Light Deluxe from my Episode 2,, a 2-leaf express rear sight (one folding and one fixed) mounted on a banded island block.  The bottom metal has a one-piece straddle hinged floorplate with center-bow release. Other metal accessories include a rear sling eye, a single stock crossbolt and a steel pistol grip cap.

The most prevalent feature when you first see the rifle, at least to me, is its eye-catching color case hardened central action parts including the receiver, breech bolt sleeve, trigger guard, floorplate, pistol grip cap and even the auxiliary Talley Quick Detechable scope rings. And specifically looking at the floorplate, we see the maker’s name in Gold which contrasts tastefully with the color case background.

You can watch a You Tube demonstration on how its done, that site is mentioned on a sidebar here.


Basically the parts to be colored are polished, packed in a mixture of 1 part bone to 1 ½ parts charcoal, and then heat treated to 1300 degrees, then cooled to 1100 degrees and quenched.  The parts come out with colors.  These sort of resemble the colors of gasoline sitting in a puddle of water if you ever seen that.

As to the stock, it is true to Ralf Martini’s pattern: classic comb not fluted, open grip with shallow radius, narrow tapered forend, red solid recoil pad… a la most English styling.  The cheekpiece is a small oval in the classic style and is nicely beaded.  It has a genuine ebony forearm tip.  The wood shows excellent figure for a big bore bolt action rifle, and in this case, the figure shows on both profiles. Heym has used an oil finish.

The hand checkering is in the Holland & Holland style with the reverse curve on the back of the grip panels terminating in two-point patterns. The forearm has full wrap-around checkering with eight point patterns. Both the grip checkering and the forearm checkering have a combination of single borders and double borders correctly done.


Looking at all the inscriptions, the first one that grabs your eye is the maker’s name gold filled on the floorplate with the case colored background.  The left side of the receiver has the makers name again in their logo style, next to the word, “Germany.”  High on the left side of the barrel chamber is the caliber designation, “416 RIGBY”. Under that are two German proof marks, and next to that is DE/11057   DE is the country code for Germany and 11057 is the serial number. There are no other inscriptions on the exterior of the rifle, not even an indication for SAFE on the safety.  This Model 70 style safety is becoming so universal that Heym assumed the shooter/ owner would know: when pointed forward is fire.

The fit of wood-to-metal could not be better – it is meticulously perfect.  The finish is executed without a flaw.

On custom quality guns, the length of pull should always be specified.  This one has a 14 ½” LOP over its 5/8” solid Old English red recoil pad.  Weight of the rifle with scope is 11 lb. 8 oz.

With a quick examination of the scope, we see this one is a top-end German Schmidt & Bender 1,25-4 variable with 20 mm objective lens and a 30mm tube diameter, which is an African favorite. It has the unusual Reticle No. 9 with the little inner circle overlaying what would be a German No. 4 reticle without the circle. In other words, it has a circled/crosshair reticle with heavy posts at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.


For me, when I pick this rifle up and throw it to my shoulder, the scope sight and the iron sights are immediately aligned with the eye making the rifle “point like a dream”.

Overall, this is a very appealing-looking rifle, and I would say, it is without doubt the most beautiful rifle I have ever seen in .416 Rigby caliber.

That’s it for today, Andrew, thank you for joining me, and thank you the audience for watching. If you enjoyed this video, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and share this episode with others. I hope you join me next week for another episode of Special Guns with Roger Rule. We will be covering a very, very special gun. Thank you.