.416 Ruger

I have a New Unprimed case headstamped “BeLL 16 97 416 RUGER”. I have some questions about it.

  1. What is the story behind this case.

  2. Any signifance to the lower case “e” in “BeLL”

  3. Why “!6” (Yes, I am positive it says 16 not19)


That’s the Bill Ruger commemorative.

Mine is loaded.

The numbers are dates (I’d have to look them up. You can probably do it as fast as I can). Ruger was born in 1916 - retired in 1997 - something like that. Don’t quote me.

Mine has the small “e” also. I don’t know if there’s any significance to it. Isn’t that the way Bell always headstamped his brass? The “e” stands for extrusion, not Bell’s name. Brass extrusion Labs Ltd.

Supposedly they are very hard to find and no more will be made.


Ray–I have several other B.E.L.L. made cases (.416 Rigby, .475 No.2 Nitro-Express Basic, .500 Base Nitro Express, etc.) all have upper case “E”. They also all use the form “B.E.L.L.” while the .416 Ruger uses no periods. I have not looked up the diminisions, but is the .416 Ruger the same as a .416 Rigby. At a glance they appear to be the same.

I was aware of the .30-06 Bill Ruger Comm. but had not heard of the .416. A internet search says only 200 cases were made. Tried to find a Bio. but didn’t locate one. Your explanation of the rason for the “16” and “97” sounds right.


As far as I know it is a 416 Rigby.

There was a special Ruger No 1 rifle made for the occasion, given to Mr Ruger. I understood that there were only 200 loaded cartridges made, most, if not all, of which were given to him with the rifle. The loaded ones, such as I have were loaded after the fact with a bullet just like the originals but enough different so that skullduggery was not possible. It’s my understanding that a certain number of empty cases were also made such as yours (and used to make the loaded rounds such as mine). I don’t know how many cases were made but I think they are nearly impossible to find so there must not have been too many.

The go-to guy may be Dave Call.


Ray–Dave Call’s web site is where I got the number 200 cases from. I have a extra BELL supplied .400 gr. RN-SP as used in the BELL made .416 Rigby’s. I guess I’ll put that in the case. Do you know if the picture on Daves site is of an original round? If it is the bullet looks more like about a 350-375 gr. flat nose soft point.

Dave says the gun and ammo was presented on Bill Rugers 75th birthday in 1991. Subtract 75 fro 91 and you get 1916, so that is what the “16” in the headstamp means. But what does the “97” mean. Unless Ruger had already announced his retirement date of 1997 in 1991, how would Jim Bell have known to put 97 on the headstamp?

Regarding the “B.E.L.L.” hs vs “B.e.L.L.” hs, it is my understanding that after Jim Bell helped found MAST, in 1996 he initiated production of the original BELL case types as well as a few newer types. The new BeLL cases have in their headstamp the big ‘B, L, L’ and a small ‘e’. This is to clearly identify MAST production from the older headstamps of Brass Extrusions Labs Ltd, where most of the cases have a ‘B.E.L.L.’ headstamp.

WBD-That makes since. All of my B.E.L.L. cases were obtained while B.E.L.L. was still Brass Extrusion Labs, in Bensonville, IL. This .416 Ruger is the first case I have seen using the BeLL heastamp. Have you seen any other case types with this headstamp?

Ron , this is not my area of interest but I am aware of “BeLL 43 MAUSER” and “BeLL 500/416”. Also believe the 338 Lapua Mag exists with a “BeLL” hs.

I have the 43 mauser case with BeLL hds

Thank you Pivi and WBD. At least we have confirmed that the BeLL headstamp was not just a special one for the .416 Ruger. It most likely is, as WBD said, a way of distinguishing Bell Labs from MAST Technologies.


I can’t add much to what I’ve already said. My comments are from memory. I read about the rifle and cartridges in a gun magazine some years ago. As I recall, there were only 200 loaded cartridges produced, which were given to Mr Ruger, but some additional empty cases were made as souvenirs. I think it was Ed Reynolds who obtained some of the empties that had been loaded with a replica bullet and he sold them as such. I don’t know what the ones are that Dave Call sold.

Maybe a couple of phone calls, or Googling around, will give some answers.


My 2 cents, for what it’s worth. I agree the small “e” signifies MAST. The numbers “16” and “97” are the dates that Bill Ruger lived…born in 1916 and died in 1997. He was 81 when he passed. The Ruger rifle and cartridges were made for Bill’s son.

IHMSA80x80-According to one website, Bill Ruger died in 2002.

After William B. Ruger