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I purchased a 275 Rigby for my 2023 Namibia hunt. The rifle is relatively old and has no serial number and the barrel is not marked with cartridge type. I bought it as a 7x57 but like calling it a 275 instead. Will I be able to travel with this firearm, are there special requirements? I've traveled internationally with firearms several times but the lack of traceability has me concerned.


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US Customs will want to see a serial number to put on your 4457 and SAPS in S Africa will want to see it also.I do know know if you will have to go ATF or if a machinist can put a number on it, I sure someone with more knowledge will answer this

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Sounds like a question for Travel With Guns or another similar service. I bet they will know as well as, if not better than, any bureaucrat that picks up a phone.

S/N's were not needed before 1968 here in the USA, and such Guns can still be bou f ht and sold without them, so this must have come up before.

Please keep us posted!

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The serial number will be in a convenient location: the butt or frame of a revolver, the frame or slide on a semi-automatic pistol, the action side of a rifle, the bottom or action side of a pump-action or semi-auto shotgun, or the action flat of a break-action shotgun.

If you have a Rigby rifle it has a serial number some where, you just need to find it. Rigby has records of all their rifles and who it was initially sold to.

However, You did not say it was a Rigby just that you purchased a 275 Rigby.

If you provide the maker of your 7 X 57 firearm, members would have a better opportunity to assist you.


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Originally Posted by Bwana338
The serial number will be in a convenient location: the butt or frame of a revolver, the frame or slide on a semi-automatic pistol, the action side of a rifle, the bottom or action side of a pump-action or semi-auto shotgun, or the action flat of a break-action shotgun.

If you have a Rigby rifle it has a serial number some where, you just need to find it. Rigby has records of all their rifles and who it was initially sold to.

However, You did not say it was a Rigby just that you purchased a 275 Rigby.

If you provide the maker of your 7 X 57 firearm, members would have a better opportunity to assist you.

Thank you for your reply, my post wasn't very clear on the make. The rifle is a custom built on a prewar Mauser 98 action. When I purchased the rifle it was said to be a 7X57 but since there is no chambering marking and I've obtained 275 Rigby cases so that is what I call it.


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Originally Posted by plumbum
Sounds like a question for Travel With Guns or another similar service. I bet they will know as well as, if not better than, any bureaucrat that picks up a phone.

S/N's were not needed before 1968 here in the USA, and such Guns can still be bou f ht and sold without them, so this must have come up before.

Please keep us posted!

Excellent suggestion calling a service, I've had less than stellar help from government agencies. Also, I agree this issue must have been encountered in the past given the number of rifles built without serial numbers.


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Prewar Mauser 98 action war era Mauser has no numbers on the receiver. There probably are three numbers on the end of the bolt.

Those numbers have been used in the past by hunters for serial number for the 4457.


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Considering the cost of engraving a caliber and serial number vs the hassles you might run into with SAPS, seems a simple enough decision to pay for the engraving.


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Calling TWG is a good suggestion because creating a SN for a firearm can be a hassle. IIRC only FFLs classified as manufacturers can do so legally. I may be wrong so consulting an authoritative source is a good idea.


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just to be certain of caliber have a gunsmith cast the chamber then you can be certain of the caliber so there will not be any surprises

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Based on a conversation with my gunsmith about a year of so ago. I have a custom commercial FN Mauser chambered to the 7x57. This no serial number for some odd reason and the action used did not appear to have a number. According to my gunsmith, the only way I could legally put a serial number on the gun was take to to the BATF and have them assign a number.
Best answer I really can give is call the nearest BATF office and ask but I'm pretty much positive that you can't legally put a serial number yourself.
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I was in a similar situation with a Siamese Mauser converted to 45-70. I initially did see a serial number you'd expect to see in the "usual" obviously visible places. Took it to a smith and he told me the same as PJ above. Then he pulled the barreled action from the stock and found the original serial number under the receiver. Because that was there, he could legally stamp the serial number in a visible location above the stock line and the caliber on the barrel.

Yes, to what others have said. US Customs will need to see the serial number to issue the 4457. Then when you go thru to the country you're entering, they will compare you 4457, to the import permit and the same when you leave said country. Then when you re-enter the US, US Customs will need to see the serial number again and compare against your 4457 too.

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After contacting various people I concluded the rifle must have a serial number to go on the trip. I pulled the rifle apart and went over it and only found 2 digit numbers. I did find the gunsmith's initials on the bolt.

I have decided to take my Remington 700 Classic in 375 H&H. It served me well on previous trips.


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Long time ago I took a custom Mauser to Africa. Serial # was stamped on bottom of barrel next to receiver, out of sight. I knew it from having the gun apart. Upon returning customs agents wanted to see it. I told them they could take it apart if they liked....

It coulda gone smoother


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