This was a proprietary cartridge introduced by John Rigby in 1911 for use in bolt action rifles. Almost all the many famous hunters and subsequent writers used the .416 Rigby at one time which is quite surprising as only 178 rifles in this caliber were made until WW II.
Rigby was the British importer of Mauser products and had access to the long magnum size actions made to order. This enabled Rigby to design a cartridge with such a large case capacity that it significantly reduced the working pressure even with the heat-sensitive Cordite and hereby made the function of the rifles extremely reliable. Also Rigby’s solid bullets for the .416 were made with a wall thickness increasing towards the nose that made them strong and very dependable even on head shots for elephant. Furthermore the bullet has a high sectional density and gave excellent penetration in combination with a relatively flat trajectory. In short the perfect all-round cartridge for African hunting.
After Kynoch Ltd. ceased manufacturing ammunition in the 1960s owners of the .416 were desperately searching for ammunition and Norma was persuaded to make a special batch of 50.000 rounds in the early 1970’s. With the renewed interest in big bores the .416 caliber was one of the first to catch the attention of other designers. First Federal started making commercial ammunition for the .416 Rigby and then Remington necked up their 8 mm Rem. Mag to .416 in 1988. One year later Weatherby introduced their version by opening the .378 Wea. Mag. to .416 caliber. This completed a circle as the .378 originally was based on the .416 Rigby with a belt added.