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Thread: Large Caliber Double Rifles

  1. #1

    Default Large Caliber Double Rifles

    Anyone use them for the larger speicies of Alaska Big Game?

    I'm talking about the Merkles, Holland & Hollands, Jeffery, Rigby, Westley Richards, William Evans, etc.....the big Double Barrel Safari guns popular in Africa.....an immediate second follow-up shot with no moving parts to freeze or jam would be very nice to have.

    Those big old lumbering cartridges such as the the 375 H & H, 416 Rigby, the 416 Remington, the 470 Nitro Express and/or the 500 Nitro Express should be fantastic on those large coastal bears.

    Just wondering if anyone has pointed those big wide double rifles at Alaskan critters. Double rifles with open sights just naturally direct my eye to the target, like looking down the deck of an aircraft carrier.
    Last edited by Murphy; 12-12-2008 at 17:12.

  2. #2

    Default Homework

    I know that double guns have a lot of romance connected to them, but besides the exorbitant costs, they really don't offer a lot over some of the better bolt guns, including those "magazine" guns made by the self-same marques you mentioned. For very close up charges they are excellent due to the fast second shot, but for general hunting use, they don't offer any great advantage.
    The first three cartridges you mentioned are not lumbering old rounds. They are considered medium sized rounds and put their projectiles out at a good velocity. The 416 Remington is a very modern round.

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    I shot a nice moose this September with my Chapuis 9,3 x 74R. Gave the bull a quick double tap at about 75 yards and he went down in a heap. To my shock he got back up and ran out to about 125 yards where I gave him 2 more behind the shoulder and then he called it quits. I was shooting 286 grain soft points and recovered two and the other two went completely though him. I was amazed he ran as far as he did as his lungs were totally destroyed. Shots were perfect, on the crease just behind his shoulder. Even have it on video to prove it
    Now, if I only had the money to buy a nice 470 Nitro!
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Probably more double rifles in Houston Texas than all of Africa. For the Alaska bear double a good SxS with slugs at 25 to 50 yards is a fair way to play the game. A good SxS should place two slugs with-in a inch or so of each other at fourty yards.

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    Default Doubles in AK

    Aside from the 9.3 x 74R ,the 375 H&H Rimmed and maybe the 450/400 Jeffry, most big doubles are too "heavy" for Alaska IMHO. Anyway, tmost are short range firearms and distances are greater up here to shoot at than 50 yards or so. I guess having someone else carry a 470 NE for you until you start crawling into,through or around the alders after that wounded bear might be nice. In close quarters NOTHING provides a faster one-two punch than a double.

    I can't see bringing a $15000 rifle into the potential Alaskan muck as a financially prudent idea. Welll, not until H&H comes out with a synthetic stocked, nickel plated 465 H&H.... it would be interesting to see if they would break down and even try such a build.

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    Default doubles by the handful

    Double rifles around Tok are more common than bolts and levers combined , I'm probably the only guy that doesn't have one . As long as we're dreaming guns I was thinking the other day about a Sharps in .50-140 , might be interesting .

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    Before you discount them at least try one. My Chapuis weighs in just over 7 pounds and points like shotgun. With the factory iron sights it will shoot 1 inch groups at 60 yards. I have a QD scope mount for it but the rifle is so sweet to carry "bare" I never had it installed. Being a take down it stores in a small case. I would bet I can get off 4 shots quicker with my Chapuis than I can with any of my bolts.
    I guess a lot depends on where and what you hunt. If I took it to Kodiak for deer I would put the scope on. But for moose hunting I find it ideal. It is ironic that this season gave me the longest opportunity for a shot at a moose in my life (125 yard follow up) and the iron sighted double handled it with ease.
    I do cringe it I scratch it but get over it rather quickly as scratches as battle scars of a sort.
    Now before any of you think I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth a quality double in the smaller calibers such as the 9,3 x 74R can be bought for a reasonable price. I ordered this built to my specs and delivered to my dealer in Eagle River and it cost $3,700. Saved for three years and sold a couple of rifles to fund the buy but I think this is one rifle I will never sell.
    Last but not least is the cool factor. You pull this thing out at the range and you better be prepared to answer question about it for 15 minutes once people see what you have.
    Thumbs up. I am honored to own one.
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  8. #8

    Smile Good idea: Gun Bearer...

    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaBob View Post
    I guess having someone else carry a 470 NE for you until you start crawling into,through or around the alders after that wounded bear might be nice.
    I think the whole "Gun Bearer" concept of an Alaskan Bwanna bears serious consideration.

    As for the $15,000 price tag if a guy can afford the $15K the Gun Bearer should at least come as an option, liek a fancy Walnut stock. Seriously, there are double guns on the used market much more reasonably priced. Even Remington makes a 375 and 45-70 version that is a fraction of $15K
    Last edited by Ex1811; 12-12-2008 at 13:56. Reason: add additional info

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    Default Double?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ex1811 View Post
    I think the whole "Gun Bearer" concept of an Alaskan Bwanna bears serious consideration.

    As for the $15,000 price tag if a guy can afford the $15K the Gun Bearer should at least come as an option, liek a fancy Walnut stock. Seriously, there are double guns on the used market much more reasonably priced. Even Remington makes a 375 and 45-70 version that is a fraction of $15K
    Does Remington make a double rifle in 375??

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    I think Joe Want is out there somewhere on the Forum. He has mentioned guding Kodiak with a double barreled shoulder cannon of some sort.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by logman View Post
    As long as we're dreaming guns I was thinking the other day about a Sharps in .50-140 , might be interesting .
    I've got one, and with a 600 grain paperpatch bullet on top of 130 grains of 2F black powder, it's a wonder.... At both ends. I'm yet to keep my front foot on the ground with that load, though it's accurate as sin.

    I grew up shooting a bunch of classic doubles that belonged to an elderly friend and collector. Fast they are, but "regulation" for 100 yard plus shooting varied a whole bunch from rifle to rifle. 50-75 yards is the more realistic field shooting range unless your rifle is really tuned for a load and your eyes are younger than mine. If you like sneaking up close, they're a great gun. But if you wouldn't consider hunting with your existing rifle and no scope, don't kid yourself about hunting with a double. You aren't going to like it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markopolo50 View Post
    Does Remington make a double rifle in 375??
    No, but they do make one in 30-06 and in 45-70. They are not built very good but some of the people who tinker with them have found ways to make them shoot very well. Read more about them on the AR forum.
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    Double rifles are in used very little these days in Alaska, or for that matter anywhere in Africa. We still see them but usually by folks like Randy and myself who appreciate the rifle and want something different.

    Traditional calibers will have a rim and will generally be 400 caliber or larger. The 9.3x74 is still used a lot in Africa and in Europe because it is so effective on hogs and moose. (it is a long, rimmed 9.3x62, ballistically)

    The 450/400, 470 and recently the 500 3" are the most popular and generally the only modern made caliber but many of the older English doubles are still sold and a real joy to own and shoot.

    Most of the double rifles in the world will be in Enid Oklahoma at Champlin Arms. He sells the Chapuis and Heym and many old English and Continental doubles.

    I have shot several of the doubles in classic double calibers ranging from the 9.3 to the 600 Nitro Express. The big gun was an old Jeffery rifle made in the 1920's. Worth the cost of a good river bottom farm. And of course I have loaded ammo for all of them, thus the reasons for having them loaned to me.

    Generally the 470 class double will weigh 10 and 1/2 pounds. That isn't heavy at all, I have seen many rifles of ten or more pounds with scopes in bolt action rifles. Many of these were 375 H&H and that is too heavy for that light caliber. I have shot the 470 in rifles as light as 8 3/4# and the 500 in 10 pound 4 ounces. Recoil is about like a 243.

    I am starting the plans to commission a friend of mine to build a double rifle in one of the black powder calibers. Either 500 2 1/2" or one the 50 American (Sharps) calibers of some length. This may work out for me.

    Hornady is making 470 and 450/400 3" ammo and Ruger is chambering their No. 1 rifle in 450/400 and I think they will chamber it for the 470 and/or 500 3". Those will be snapped up quickly. I have a No. 1 in the 450/400 3" (400 Jeffery) and it weighs about 9 1/4" pounds. I'd like to see it lighter. I think the S model in 9.3x74 is about 8 1/4#, not bad at all for that caliber.

    I have never owned a double but it is calculated into my retirement plans and is one of the ways I have come up with to eliminate any excess in my 401K when I retire. I want a 500 double. New 500 Doubles come only from Heym, Searcy or Kreigoff. Marcel Thys is no longer making rifles. I have carried double in Africa and taken only wart hog with one. That 470 worked quickly.

    Doubles do have a lot of charisma and history. They are authentic to an era of African hunting. Beyond that they are works of art and engineering and examples of craftsmanship at the highest level. The old handmade guns were fitted piece by piece with TLC. I appreciate the double rifle greatly and have longed for one for so many years. Some day my double will come in.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Default Valmet doubles live on

    Valmet used to make a great system of shotgun and rifle sets for a single receiver. Tikka took it on and they are being made in Italy by Marrochi.. see Doublegun Hq..

    Largest rifle caliber is 9.3 x 74R with other smaller calibers both rimmed and rimless. .. and in a combo with 12 gauge.

    Worth while checking into... I have the Valmet 412S with a new set of 9.3 barrels... which allow tuning of the barrels with windage and elevation adjustments to regulate the barrels.

    The next step up is into the $5-7K range for new for 9.3s.

    I do have a Merkel 470 NE. It is a thumper. I have worked up loads that all land with 1.5 inches at 50 yards... Anything beyond that is bolt-action territory for me... be it Rigby or Lott.

    People do look at you when you pull out a double rifle.. especially one with cartridges that look more like cigars when rounds.

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    Default Double .375 H&H

    I used a very nice Antonio Zoli double .375 H&H on a good number of Alaska Peninsula and Illiamna bears and then took it to Africa and shot everything from bush duiker to cape buffalo with it. It had a quick detachable scope that I only used in very low light for a leopard. Not an incredibly expensive gun then...but extremely accurate and easy handling. I haven't seen any for quite some time: either at gun shows or the internet. Probably should have hung on to it.

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    Default New Zoli

    There is a new Zoli double. Pricy... in their expedition series... including the 450/400 if I remember well.

    We can first thank Federal for stoking the fires with the 470 and 416 Rigby in the late '80s and now Hornady for bringing many of the greats back to life... 450 Nitro, 450/400 3" to name two plus 470 and 416 along with the 9.3 x 74R. I think the 404 is in the mix too.

    Now if Ruger will bring back the 404.... CZ has...with the 505 Gibbs and the 500 Jeffrey...recoil enough for anyone.

    All one has to do is convince the holder of the purse strings that Sikta deer require Taylor K.O. factors of 60 to put down.

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    Default Shoppin' fer a twice barrelt 8 bore meself...

    Figger to tote 'er behind the pony on a travois......won't need to take a tent, jist slip the bedroll down the chamber an' spend the night comfortable-like outta the weather.

    Seriously, though, I DO remember selling a couple of the Browning BSS 20's, when they were available, to two fellas who were shipping them off to be re-tubed to rifle cartridges and have the firing pins reduced and bushed. Was an intriguing idea at the time, but had completely forgot about it till this thread.

    Also remember selling quite a few of the 'Kodiak' side by side muzzle loaders, and some over-under rotating barrel, single hammer type rifles back in the 70's, looking for a quick follow up shot in the then-new muzzle loader only seasons. Don't recall hearing how they worked out, but I still see a used side by side once in awhile in the used gun racks.

    The notion must not be quite dead. Browning was selling over-under 'Continental' rifles till just recently, weren't they?

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    Default double gun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    I shot a nice moose this September with my Chapuis 9,3 x 74R. Gave the bull a quick double tap at about 75 yards and he went down in a heap. To my shock he got back up and ran out to about 125 yards where I gave him 2 more behind the shoulder and then he called it quits. I was shooting 286 grain soft points and recovered two and the other two went completely though him. I was amazed he ran as far as he did as his lungs were totally destroyed. Shots were perfect, on the crease just behind his shoulder. Even have it on video to prove it
    Now, if I only had the money to buy a nice 470 Nitro!
    What model was your Chapuis? I was just wondering cause there are 3 different models of doubles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aknewbie View Post
    What model was your Chapuis? I was just wondering cause there are 3 different models of doubles.

    It is a UGEX. The basic model with ejectors.
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    New 500 Doubles come only from Heym, Searcy or Kreigoff.
    Not true Blaser makes them, reasonably priced too...we have sold several of them

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