Thursday, March 15, 2018

2018 Safari Rifle Challenge World Championships-Coming Soon!

The 2018 Safari Rifle Challenge World Championships are coming soon. This year represents our 8th annual shooting event! The event will be held in Libby, Montana at the Libby Shooting Sports Complex. Jay Sheffield is the Match Director and puts on an exciting and enjoyable event. In an attempt to have a little bit more comfortable weather and "beat the heat" the event date has been permanently changed to the second Saturday in June. This year that will fall on Saturday June 9, 2018 from 8am - 4pm.

The shooting event fills-up very quickly after they send notices to the participants on their email group. If you want to sign up, request more information, or get on their notification list send Jay an email (see below) and he will get you squared away. So far Jay has received paid applications from MT,ID,WA,CO,TX,CA,PA,OR, WV and several from Canada. 

Last Year's Individual Plaque
Lat Year's Perpetual Plaque

Here is an update from Jay regarding the soon to be held 2018 event:
Safari Rifle Challenge
World Championships in Libby, Montana
Saturday June 9, 2018 from 8am - 4pm

The Event: This is a family oriented shoot featuring both life size and moving targets. It is designed to simulate events encountered on an African Safari. Targets will be scored and times will be announced, but since all prizes are awarded by random drawing, you will be competing purely for the glory of sport! Participants will be expected to cheerfully help with reset of targets, powering the moving targets and any other menial labor that may be necessary for the greater good. ALL shooters must be at least 18 years old and pre-registered. There is a $20 participation fee which will also entitle you to a commemorative match hat.

The Guns: This is a big bore, dangerous game rifle shoot. Essentially .375/9.3 caliber or larger cartridges in single shot, bolt action or double rifles with minimum muzzle energy of 4000 ft. /lb. If you have an antique double rifle in a smaller caliber that is capable of taking big game then bring it! Paradox guns firing single lead balls will also be allowed. Sorry, but no handguns, pump or semi-automatic firearms. You will need about 30 rounds. ABSOLUTELY NO LIGHT LOADS!

The Rules: All guns will be placed in the racks with actions open. When it is your turn to shoot, you will be directed to get your rifle by the range master. SAFETY AND MUZZLE CONTROL ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE! The start position will generally be low ready with a round in the chamber, finger off the trigger and the safety on, unless otherwise directed by range staff. A range master “PH” will stay beside you at all times while on the course. On most stages, there will be a limited amount of ammunition allowed in your gun when starting the stage, extra rounds will have to be loaded from the belt, pocket, butt stock etc. We reserve the right to change the course of fire based on our disposition, your disposition, the untimely demise of the targets, comments from the peanut gallery, weather or whatever other factors may be present. All distances are approximate and subject to change.

The Course of fire: Shooting positions will vary from standing on your hind legs and shooting offhand, to kneeling and seated. Frequently it will be a combination of positions. Some stages may require the use of shooting sticks which will be provided. Many stages will require you to fire at a target, move to another spot, reload and then fire at a second target.  All movement will be done with an empty gun and all reloading will be done once you are safely at the next shooting position. If you have any physical issues that preclude a certain activity we will cheerfully accommodate you. 
The 10 stage course is specifically designed to NOT favor any particular style of rifle or sight system.  Distances will vary between 5 and 75+ yards. Targets will vary from life-size broadside buffalo and elephant heads to clay birds, water jugs and steel gongs.

Location: Libby Shooting Sports Complex on Farm to Market Road across from the Libby Airport.

Time: Shooting starts at 8am SHARP! Please arrive plenty early to check in and get setup. Remember to bring lawn chairs, hat and sunscreen, food and drinks (NO ALCOHOL ON RANGE PROPERTY). Water and soft drinks will be available for purchase in the clubhouse.

Please email to sign up or request more information.

There will be vendors on site including Montana Rifle Company and Norma USA who will once again have a large display of their rifles and ammunition available to test fire. Skinner Sights will display their line of fine aperture sights and custom carry/range bags.

Directions from Libby: Take Hwy 2 east about 3 miles from town. As the highway starts up a steep hill in front of you, watch for Bowker Road at the bottom of the hill on your LEFT side. Take Bowker about 100 yards to the intersection with State Rd 482 (Farm to Market Road). Turn RIGHT on 482 and go 3.5 miles to the range which will be on your left. If you get to the airport you have just passed the range.

Directions from Kalispell - HWY 2: as you come down the steep hill entering Libby, turn RIGHT on Bowker. Take Bowker about 100 yards to the intersection with State Road 482 (Farm to Market Road). Turn RIGHT on 482 and go 3.5 miles to the range which will be on your left. If you get to the airport you have just passed the range.

Airports: For those who are flying from out of state, the nearest airport is in Kalispell, MT about 100 miles away. The cheapest airport to fly into will probably be Spokane, WA about 180 miles away. 

Amtrak: Serves Libby MT.

Car rentals: Available through Libby Auto Sales at 406-293-7717 or Timberline Ford/Dodge at 406-293-4128 

Local motels:  406-293-7711      406-293-8831    406-293-2092
Evergreen Motel     406-293-4178

Please email  to sign up or request more information. FYI, space is very limited!     

Jay C. Sheffield Match Director

Thursday, February 1, 2018

2018-South Africa with Mark Sullivan: Cape Buffalo & Plains Game

You can now hunt Cape buffalo in South Africa with Mark Sullivan present on your hunt while sharing camp together!

There is contact and general booking information on the image above (click image to enlarge). 

Please follow the link below if you would like to learn more hunt information details and to contact Mark directly. Just scroll to the bottom of his webpage and use his direct contact phone number or fill-out the "Send Me A Message" form:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018-Hunting in Sonora, Mexico-Mark Sullivan: Mule and Coues Whitetail Deer

As we noted in previous articles, Mark is now a part of mule deer and Coues whitetail hunting in Sonora, Mexico!

The image above is a mule deer from this year's season killed last week on hunting property in Sonora. It is an example of what you might expect to find while hunting in Sonora, Mexico with Mark present on your hunt. I will post some additional images below from this season as time allows. 

You can also find more images in our previous articles including trail cam pictures of other deer that were killed in the same area of Sonora during the 2017 season.

If you would like to learn more outfitter and guide information or contact Mark. Just follow the link below:

Additional image from this hunting season:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hunting in Sonora, Mexico-Mark Sullivan: Mule and Coues Whitetail Deer

Mark is now a part of mule deer and Coues whitetail hunting in Sonora, Mexico! These are a couple of recent trail camera images of a Coues whitetail (top image) and a mule deer in Sonora.

Below are just a few examples from last year of what you can expect to find while hunting in Sonora, Mexico:

If you would like to learn more outfitter and guide information or contact Mark. Just follow the link below:

Dangerous Game Shoots in South Africa with Mark Sullivan: November 2017

For anyone that is currently in or traveling to South Africa and might be interested, there will be dangerous game shoots conducted at two locations in November 2017! These are big bore rifle events and everyone is welcome.

These will be the last DGS shoots of the year and Mark Sullivan will be there headlining the events. Availability is limited. Contact information is shown below if you would like more information:

Western Cape: Sat, 11 November
Ancois van Deventer: 021 975 7017

Gauteng: Sat, 18 November
Riska Scholtz: 0861 14 35 45

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Vintage .275 Rigby Restored & Refurbished: By John Rigby & Co. London

A little over two years ago I was fortunate enough to acquire a .275 Rigby bolt-action rifle from Ray Atkinson through a private party purchase. Ray and I both believed the rifle was very likely an original Rigby with a possible Mauser manufacture date during the Golden Age circa 1898-1899. 

The rifle had a very low Mauser serial number of 531, German BU Oberndorf proofs, London view mark, and British nitro proofs. There was not a visible Rigby serial number on the rifle although the action and barrel were engraved properly and period appropriate with Rigby information and branding to suggest it was an original Rigby. 

Information contained in Mauser: Original Oberndorf Sporting Rifles by Speed, Schmid, and Herrmann document Rigby built rifles with Mauser Serial number 515 and 573 on intermediate actions in .275 caliber made/sold by Rigby in January 1900. In the same reference book, the Mauser Serial Number Chart shows production dates for Mauser BU proofed rifles with serial numbers on both sides of this rifle’s serial number (531) made between 1898-1899. Great supporting information from both the Rigby and Mauser side of the equation.

The bore of the rifle was in very good condition with no obvious signs of pitting or corrosion. There was some possible light frosting near the chamber side of the bore. Ray explained to me that the rifle was exactly as he purchased it some years ago in the Sudan from an Englishman who had now passed on. What happened to the original stock is anyone’s guess. It may have been broken beyond repair and languished waiting for a donor stock or the funds to purchase a replacement that never was to be.

The condition of the barreled action, bolt, and bottom metal was well used, in the white, and exactly how Ray got it in the early 1970s. To my eye, the surface of the metal appeared to have been buffed or sanded lightly with a mild abrasive possibly to remove the bluing or light corrosion perhaps. Ray had put away the rifle and never found the time to do what was needed to restore it as a project. Ray had no additional work done to it after he acquired it in the Sudan.

Ray shared that he was too old to start it as a rifle project and would like for someone to restore it who would appreciate it for its vintage history and also enjoy hunting with it in Africa. Ray went on to say that he knew I would do just that and felt it was in good hands.

After purchasing the rifle from Ray I began speaking with Craig Boddington to pick his brain for a likely professional to assist with the restore and refurbish. We bounced a few names around and Craig recommended I contact Marc Newton about the rifle. Marc is the Managing Director at John Rigby & Company LTD in London. After a few telephone calls with Marc, describing the information and history I had gathered, Marc was up to speed on the background of the rifle. I sent Marc numerous detailed photographs and action dimensions to review. He and his team felt the rifle was likely an original Rigby but provided the caveat that he would withhold his final judgement until he and his shop could fully physically inspect the rifle in detail.

On May 20, 2015 I packaged the rifle up for its return trip to London where I believed it likely once resided temporarily before making its way to the Sudan and then ultimately to me. A few weeks later I received a call from Marc telling me congratulations, I had purchased an original vintage Rigby. He went on to note that he would do his best to research the Rigby records to possibly determine when it was manufactured. A daunting task without a Rigby serial number. Even though the rifle was a Rigby, I was hoping there might be some tantalizing provenance that could possibly be discovered!

I asked Marc if he would be able to restore and refurbish the rifle to its original glory. Marc assured me that he would utilize the same vintage Rigby rifles in their museum to duplicate the proper stock dimensions and any other items to assure the rifle would be just as it was in its day! We agreed on an estimated two year project completion.

This week I received the restored and refurbished Rigby back from London. In addition to the original London nitro proof, the rifle also now carries a modern London proof and Rigby serial number. As previously noted, after their inspection, Rigby was able to certify the rifle was a vintage Rigby. They also noted at some stage in the rifles life the serial number had been removed and it was therefore issued a new number from their ledgers. Because of this it is impossible to know anything further about the provenance of the rifle beyond that which I have already described.

I have to say that the rifle came out better than I thought possible. It is absolutely stunning and beautiful in every way while retaining the original vintage specifications and characteristics. Marc and his crew did a fabulous job! Here are a few pictures of the rifle to enjoy.


A note of thanks are in order for all of the organizational aspects and fine craftsmanship executed by the team at John Rigby & Company:

Marc Newton, Managing Director. Marc and I have become great friends over the years and this project was the catalyst of our meeting. Marc and I communicated regularly regarding the restore and refurbish project. Marc worked closely with Rigby’s team of master craftsmen to assure everything was just right for this project.

The skilled craftsmen at John Rigby & Company worked extremely hard to get this project right. Special thanks to each of them for their contribution:

- Olivier Leclercq (Factory manager, helped with metalwork and assembly)

- Brice Swieton (Repaired all metalwork on the action, including bolt handle, iron sights, etc.)

- Mark Renmant (Checkering and oil finish)

- Tony Maidment (Master Engraver) - Pictured with Marc Newton

- Vlado Tomosich (Stock making)

- Jamie Holland (Regulation of the rifle at range)

I am grateful and feel honored to have been able to work closely with Marc and his team to get my vintage Rigby rifle restored, refurbished, and ready for another 100+ years of service. If you do not have a vintage Rigby rifle that needs restored and refurbished you might consider having a modern version built by Rigby for you to enjoy!

Should you have interest, Rigby is now building a similar rifle today known as The London Best –Vintage Edition. The Highland Stalker is a less expensive option that could also be configured similarly in many aspects and should also be considered.

You can view their beautiful guns at John Rigby and Company. If you want additional information be sure to click on their "Contact Us" link to find out more.

Rigby team photos courtesy of Marc Newton and John Rigby & Company LTD-London