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Thread: Singles and doubles... why?

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Singles and doubles... why?

    I do not understand why people buy single and double rifles for hunting.

    Now please, before I go any farther, please understand that I am not criticizing anyone; I just don't personally understand why people love these types of rifles such as the Contenders and the No.1s and the upscale British doubles so much. Why would you limit yourself to just one or two shots, especially in the presence of dangerous game? I must be missing something. Is it the mystique? Is it the challenge of knowing you just have one or two shots?

    I love knowing that I have two to four back-up shots (or in the case of my Enfields, nine more shots). Isn't that better?

    Enlighten me you minimalists.

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    I think they like the challenge, and doing it old school back in the ole Safari days, shooting those hand cannons. I think its like Golf, it's the prestige of owning one being able to get a hold of one..... I'm sure Brett will chime in

    Don't think I can afford to shoot them, let alone reload for them, Besides....Those double rifles cost as much as my truck

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    I would have to agree that it's the challenge. A "purist" bow hunter would never even think of killing an animal with a firearm......to them, if I can't kill it with my bow, then it's not worth it. I would tend to think that these single/double people are part of this type of "purist" fraternity.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I love the ol' #1 in areas with non-dangerous game. Same reason I use a long bow.... It's fundamentally challenging to rely and depend on your instincts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    I do not understand why people buy single and double rifles for hunting.

    Now please, before I go any farther, please understand that I am not criticizing anyone; I just don't personally understand why people love these types of rifles such as the Contenders and the No.1s and the upscale British doubles so much. Why would you limit yourself to just one or two shots, especially in the presence of dangerous game? I must be missing something. Is it the mystique? Is it the challenge of knowing you just have one or two shots?

    I love knowing that I have two to four back-up shots (or in the case of my Enfields, nine more shots). Isn't that better?

    Enlighten me you minimalists.
    Dangerous game is not a circumstance to trust any action, semi-auto or bolt action.

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    Member slimm's Avatar
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    I have a couple No.1s a .3006 and a .243, never hunted with the .06 just used it for silhouette shoots very accurate and a beautiful gun.
    I have shot several Antelope, a whole bunch of coyotes, and many many RockChucks with the .243
    A little to heavy to pack around on a decent Elk or Deer hunt, but for coyotes and Antelope most of the time there's not much walking to be done.

    I like to think that when I am useing it to hunt I choose my shots a little better Knowing I might only have one shot and it really needs to find it's mark, although it doesnt take all that much time to load another round, and for the few times I've need'ed to make a follow up shot i was able to get the job done, I have never lost a wounded animal using my No.1,, cept for maybe a RockChuck or two, and as far as that goes you ain't gonna get a second chance on them no matter what type of gun you're shooting.

    Plus I think they are beautiful guns and just enjoy useing them.

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    Sayak,

    Interesting question, i'm excited to see the answers too. My commentary:

    My only experience has been a .22/.410 O/U and until that I carried that gun a bit I thought they were quite silly. After carrying that gun around for the last few years I have decided it is no impediment to small game hunting. If I miss with the .22 barrel I rarely have enough time for a follow up shot with the shotgun barrel anyway, likewise if I shoot at a flushing grouse with the .410 barrel and miss (usually) in in such dense cover the bird would be gone by the time I pumped a mossberg anyhow. I may get a decent follow up with the 10/22 in those situations but i'm ok with not.

    After having carried that little O/U for a while I got an itch for a .375H&H in a #1, I've also decided I really need a Savage 24 in 12ga./.223. I really like how "pretty" they are, not such a big fan of the cheaper versions myself. Not sure why but it seems they are addicting and in the hunting i've done a fast followup shot has just never seemed that important. There was a thread a few months back where more experienced users report being able to reload for follow up shots at a rate relatively equivalent to a bolt gun. I'm not interested in that argument but I suspect if one practiced enough any difference would be negligable. I rarely go anywhere without my pistol so I suspect whenever I get my hands on that #1 in .375H&H that pistol will be my "backup", I also rarely hunt alone and I don't hunt with partners I don't feel I can trust so I figured they would be decent backup too.

    Obviously some singles can be had for relatively little money so i'm sure that plays a big part for some folks.

    As I said before, i'm curious to see what others have to say!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PacWestFishTaxidermy View Post
    Dangerous game is not a circumstance to trust any action, semi-auto or bolt action.
    Quote of the year and its only January 6th!

    Apparently I must spread reputation... Sorry.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    Sayak,

    ... If I miss with the .22 barrel I rarely have enough time for a follow up shot with the shotgun barrel anyway, likewise if I shoot at a flushing grouse with the .410 barrel and miss (usually) in in such dense cover the bird would be gone by the time I pumped a mossberg anyhow...
    It seems that I used to be able to get off faster follow-up shots that I do nowadays. I will probably never get rid of my bolt action rifles and pump shotguns (I currently own no levers), but I do like the idea of super quick followups, so I have been moving in the direction of semi-auto for both shotgun and centerfire rifle for hunting purposes. Over the years I have enjoyed the 10/22 for the reason you mention.

    As for dangerous game... well I don't court that kind of action. But in Alaska the action might just find you! And if that is the case, wouldn't you want the capability of quickly throwing more lead at the critter?

    Interesting responses gentlemen. I must say that the No.1s are a thing of beauty, but I don't think I could ever personally justify buying one. I can just feed any of my bolt guns one round at a time, which I generally do for bench shooting anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    As for dangerous game... well I don't court that kind of action. But in Alaska the action might just find you! And if that is the case, wouldn't you want the capability of quickly throwing more lead at the critter?
    Is this a trick question...??? uh.....er.....YES...!!!.........lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Oh, and I'd like to have 3 shots in my shotgun instead of 2 as well...... I mean, just in case there were 3 birds flying over.....!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    It seems that I used to be able to get off faster follow-up shots that I do nowadays. I will probably never get rid of my bolt action rifles and pump shotguns (I currently own no levers), but I do like the idea of super quick followups, so I have been moving in the direction of semi-auto for both shotgun and centerfire rifle for hunting purposes. Over the years I have enjoyed the 10/22 for the reason you mention.

    As for dangerous game... well I don't court that kind of action. But in Alaska the action might just find you! And if that is the case, wouldn't you want the capability of quickly throwing more lead at the critter?

    Interesting responses gentlemen. I must say that the No.1s are a thing of beauty, but I don't think I could ever personally justify buying one. I can just feed any of my bolt guns one round at a time, which I generally do for bench shooting anyway.
    The beauty of the #1 one is part of the reason I don't own one yet, so afraid of beating one up here.

    Forgot to mention I was considering a #1 for my wife because she's left handed, she ended up inheriting a right hand model 70, I didn't complain...

    As far as dangerous game lead throwing, the single is probably a bit of a disadvantage but as I said previously I don't enjoy hunting alone so it's really less of an issue for me. I still carry a 9 shot moss berg when I'm just hiking around though so perhaps I'm kidding myself with thoughts of a #1!


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    I have hunted whitetails, moose, and muskox with a #1. I have hunted whitetails, hogs, brown bear, Cape buffalo, and elephant with doubles. Hunting with a single is fun; hunting with a double is funner. Hunting dangerous game with a single is questionable; hunting dangerous game with a double is comforting.

    Surely one special appeal of a double is related to the romance of safari. I can remember as a boy reading about double rifles and dangerous game in my grandfather's books & magazines about Africa and India. He had what we would today call a man cave in his cellar - a cramped room with a single bed that smelt of gunpowder, Hoppes, and pipe tobacco. There were old hunting books and magazines spread all over the room.

    However, my own venture into the double arena did not begin with visions of safari, but began about 10yrs ago and was spurred by a couple of bear hunts in a single season up here. On two separate occasions (one black and one brown), I found myself on my hands and knees, blood-trailing thru the dark alders of Southeast. These were bears wounded (fatally, as it turned out) by hunting partners. In both instances I trailed to within a few yards of the bears before seeing them. There was considerable pucker factor in both instances. I found myself doing some real soul searching following each occurrence and wondered what firearm might be best in close quarter combat. My investigations over about a year, led me to the double rifle.

    Some advantages of a nice double:

    1. A very fast second shot (much faster than a bolt in my hands)
    2. "Pointability" (I've never shoot shotgun much, but this is how many shotgunners describe a quick handling, well balanced gun)
    3. Relatively short overall - good in tight quarters
    4. A very fast second shot

    There are some disadvantages of doubles, not the least of which is the cost of admission, but come Spring I plan on having my double with me - especially if I have to go into the alders.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Singles and doubles are for two different things IMHO...

    Singles are a purist's weapon… One simple (and often beautiful) piece of equipment for the guy who knows what he's doing and enjoys the simplicity of the one shot weapon. That said, many folks can reload them surprising fast. For non dangerous game hunting- particularly stand hunting they're fine. I don't currently own one but a #1 or a classy K95 wouldn't be something I'd turn down. The bargain basement single is often chosen for sheer economy, although in modern times good repeaters are nearly as cheap as the cheapest single shot so it's becoming less common.

    Doubles are another matter. That's for when you need two absolutely reliable and instinctive shots because you have a nasty inbound and fast. Many of the old time elephant hunters reported that working an action or any movement could give away your position- bear in mind they were hunting in a different age with different objectives. I think doubles are neat but I don't have much interest- I'm a bolt gun guy when it comes to hunting rifles for DG or general purpose. I don't see the appeal outside of being a PH.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antleridge View Post
    I have hunted whitetails, moose, and muskox with a #1. I have hunted whitetails, hogs, brown bear, Cape buffalo, and elephant with doubles. Hunting with a single is fun; hunting with a double is funner. Hunting dangerous game with a single is questionable; hunting dangerous game with a double is comforting.

    Surely one special appeal of a double is related to the romance of safari. I can remember as a boy reading about double rifles and dangerous game in my grandfather's books & magazines about Africa and India. He had what we would today call a man cave in his cellar - a cramped room with a single bed that smelt of gunpowder, Hoppes, and pipe tobacco. There were old hunting books and magazines spread all over the room.

    However, my own venture into the double arena did not begin with visions of safari, but began about 10yrs ago and was spurred by a couple of bear hunts in a single season up here. On two separate occasions (one black and one brown), I found myself on my hands and knees, blood-trailing thru the dark alders of Southeast. These were bears wounded (fatally, as it turned out) by hunting partners. In both instances I trailed to within a few yards of the bears before seeing them. There was considerable pucker factor in both instances. I found myself doing some real soul searching following each occurrence and wondered what firearm might be best in close quarter combat. My investigations over about a year, led me to the double rifle.

    Some advantages of a nice double:

    1. A very fast second shot (much faster than a bolt in my hands)
    2. "Pointability" (I've never shoot shotgun much, but this is how many shotgunners describe a quick handling, well balanced gun)
    3. Relatively short overall - good in tight quarters
    4. A very fast second shot

    There are some disadvantages of doubles, not the least of which is the cost of admission, but come Spring I plan on having my double with me - especially if I have to go into the alders.
    Any comment on what the lower end of a double runs for a reliable one?



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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    I have used Contenders for years. Started hunting whitetails in NY with a 10" .44 mag. and a 1.5 power scope back in the 70's. That gun accounted for lots of whitetails and small game. Never needed more than one shot. Since I am primarily a bow hunter, a pistol extended my range quite a bit. I took one doe at an honest 125 yards with it.

    My main big game rifle now is an Encore an .35 Whelen with a 3x10 Leupold on it. For sheep and goats I have an Encore in 7mm/08 and a 15" barrel on that. It punches clay pigeons at 220 yards all day long. If I want something bigger, the Contender also has a .445 Supermag barrel. That round is in the 45/70 range of loads and loves 300 grain Sierra's. It is about all the recoil I want in a handgun.

    Don't discount single shots as slow. As I was leap-frog dragging a nice 9-point and a doe all by myself one day, my brother finally arrived. He said; "I heard the two shots but they were so close together I had no idea it was you."

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    Member Antleridge's Avatar
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    Generally speaking, you can find some nice used doubles for around $5K on the low end. On occasion, you can find one for less. Of course there are other doubles around that routinely sell for less, but that's another debate.

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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PacWestFishTaxidermy View Post
    Dangerous game is not a circumstance to trust any action, semi-auto or bolt action.
    Check this video out. I believe it clearly defines the purpose of a double rifle. Don't know about you, but in this situation, cycling a bolt would not be on my list of things to do. Cleaning shorts yes, working an action, NO.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTQm4...yer_detailpage

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    So, single shot, trigger-bang! (reload like hell), trigger-bang!
    Double rifle, trigger-bang! trigger-bang!
    BAR, trigger-bang! trigger-bang! trigger-bang! trigger-bang! etc.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Joe Want liked carrying his DR while a guide. A good DR is what it says two rifles with a set of spare locks a set of pins and the tools needed to change them. Even after three complete failures you still had a fine single left as a rifle and if needed just throw on you spare set of shotty gun tubes. Now days we just buy extra guns. A good case of cased doubles could and did replace the need for seven or eight guns. The DR is for the Africa and India lore. The single brings us to the day of American bison hunters and Creedmoore matches. The modern sniper motto is one shot one kill.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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