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Thread: Double Rifles...

  1. #1
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Default Double Rifles...

    I've been VERY intrigued by the world of double rifles as of late. Everything from cartridge development, ballistics, beauty of rifles, etc. It has been interesting reading about these fine pieces of art, performance, and history. Everyone from Teddy Roosevelt to modern PH's in Africa/Asia today! If you have one, have stories of one you've used, post pictures and share information about your double! Doesn't matter the caliber, they're all interesting!!

    A nice Holland and Holland to whet the appetite


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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I believe most DR's live around Houston Tx. Some of the T.V. guides use them but most in Africa use a bolt gun.Guides don't make that much money and the old doubles are spendy to say the least along with the rounds they fire.

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    Default PHs

    A lot of African PHs do still use doubles. At SCI this year i saw a truckload of them, some were very spendy some used for pretty good prices! I will have one some day.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    A double rifle is on my someday list also. I don't know what I would do with it but the cool factor is off the scale at 11ĺ!
    Andy
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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon254 View Post
    I will have one some day.
    Off the scale no doubt!

    What are you guys thinking will be your double when the time comes? 30, 40, 50+ caliber? What model?

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Angry

    I positively fell in love with a Merkel 470NE I had the pleasure of handling.

    Given my hemoraghing piggy bank... A Heym 88 'PH' in .375 H&H might be the most practical solution but still very expensive.

    A coworker purchased one of the Baikal doubles in .30-06 but I haven't got to see it yet. Can a $1K double rifle be worth owning? Who knows.

    I'm also intrigued by the Zoli double rifle (a stackbarrel) with a set of shotgun barrels but a O/U doesn't seem right in a double rifle.

    Given my current financial status I'll likely stick with bolt guns...

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    Default Double rifles

    My Merkel is in the shop for ... well... doubling.... nothing like 10000 foot-pounds at one time.

    The Merkel is stout but I have been rather snake bitten.

    If you go to Champlin Arms... THE double rifle people, the Chapuis and the Heym are the front runners for dependable doubles. I also have a Heym and it is a little lighter and definitely faster handling than the Merkel... frankly the Heym is the one I should have gotten first. The Heym also has intercepting sears to prevent doubling. Alas, the best Heym is the Safari 88B and they are costly, with the PH being more affordable but not as refined in presentation. One can buy a Chapuis from Cabelas for $11K or so. The Heym and Merkel use Greener crossbolts. Champuis uses Merkel barrels... this can be important... a total French gun may run away in the face of danger.

    Verney Carron has a unique hookup with three lugs instead of one.

    The big news is the resurgence of the 450/400 3" round. Here is killing power on the muzzle side without getting hammered on the butt side. For anyone lusting after a double, the 450/400 is a good one to consider.... yes the 470 NE is a stopper, but the 400 has no bad history and one can never be undergunned with the 400 on anything.

    Vintage doubles are going through the roof....investment stuff.... the question is ,"would you take a $30K investment to Africa and risk losing it????"

    Just remember, for the money you get the fastest second shot in the world and accuracy that would never be accepted with a bolt gun. It is a 50-75 yard gun....

    Recommendation?.. buy a good bolt gun and use the extra money to go to Africa... then decide about that second safari. A good 375, 416 or 458 and you can have the time of your life.

    As for dreams.... just visualize slipping your finger from the front trigger and on to the back trigger knowing that you are ready for what happens next. Sutherland, Taylor, Hunter and many others did the same and made history.

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    Bought a new Chapuis UGEX built to my specs with ejectors and twin triggers in 9,3x74R two years ago. Only took 6 months for the rifle to be delivered. Rifle came in with the wrong engraving scene on it so they lowered the price to about $3,500. Same rifle can be ordered today for about $5k. Once you get above the 9,3x74R they require a larger frame and the price almost doubles.
    Absolutely love the rifle and it is very accurate. Will shoot 1.5 inch groups or smaller at 60 yards while resting my elbows on the table and no rest for the rifle. This is with iron sights. Also purchased the claw scope mount for it but the rifle is so trim and easy to use naked I decided not to scope it for the time being. Used it to shoot my moose last year.

    I hit Birchwood at least once or twice a week. Drop me a note if you want to shoot it.
    Tennessee

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    A double rifle is on my someday list also. I don't know what I would do with it but the cool factor is off the scale at 11ĺ!
    Yup me to, and a cool factor 11 3/4 + 1

  10. #10
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Bought a new Chapuis UGEX built to my specs with ejectors and twin triggers in 9,3x74R two years ago.
    Just looked your model up, but I'd like to see pictures of your rifle also....beautiful and envious!!


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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Any make would be fine with me but I want one of the Nitro Express chamberings. It's on my Christmas list every year, but the wife says she would have no idea what to get. I keep telling her I never met a gun I didnít like.

    Someday, maybe someday!
    Andy
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    Default Doubles

    Graeme Wright has the definitive book on reloading doubles... rifle and Paradox. Australia has keep the faith and the doubles are alive and well. Woodleigh is from Oz and these bullets have bridged the gap to keep of classic old rifles shooting. This is THE book for reloading the double with pressure testing in Birmingham, England.

    It is really simple.... 1.13 times cordite weight for using RL-15 or 1.3 times with IMR 4831 as a starting point. For filling in the empty space.. gray foam plugs by Kynock... or whatever gray packing foam you can get....or dacron pillow filler...

    Just because the British did this over a century ago.... heh.... they did it RIGHT.... all we can do is try to equal what they did. All we have done is repackage ..... yes a Lott at 2300 fps with a 500 grain is more than a 480 grain 450 Rigby... but died is died.

    The fun is re-animating this glorious calibers of old...

    The 9.3 x 74R is a wonderful round..... if pressed... it will take an ele down....

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    Having sold and shot both the Merkel and Blaser doubles, I prefer the Blaser. You can get into one for less than 10K

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    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    AlaskaBob,

    I have been trying to get my hands on a Heym to see what I think of them. I've handled Merkels, Chapius, Blasers, and Kriegoffs. I'm not to big on any of them. The Heyms seem to be the best thing going in a factory rifle. What's yours chambered in? Do any of the shops around here carry them? Have you had any experience with Searcy's doubles?

    Brett

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    Default Heym

    My Heym is 470 NE.... I bought it "used" from Champlin Arms... the listing hasn't been taken down so if you go to the site and select double rifles and scroll to the Safari 88B with matching 20 gauge barrels... that is the one. Factory target shows 1 inch grouping at 100 meters. Sort of a "match grade" double.

    I have handled Merkels, Heyms and a rare opportunity to (carefully!!) hold a Royal Ejector Holland and Holland sidelock. The owner of said H&H has very good knowledge of doubles...in the modern class he really liked the Heym... it is a classic "balanced between the hands" rifle, mounts smoothly and when you open your eyes after shouldering.. it is on aim... LOP for me is around 14 3/4. Craig Boddington also likes the Heym. I did shoot my PH's Francotte 470 NE.... what a rifle... Champlin had one just like it for $17500 and I waited too long to make up my mind...

    A good used Safari 88Bis around $16,500.... a Chapuis is around $11K.... my Merkel cost $7500 10 years ago. The Heym PH is not finished as well externally... but the internals are what count. The Heym is "light" versus the Merkel ... so recoil is more.... but only at the range. The Heym's intercepting sears are a very nice option.

    The Blaser has adjustable barrels so one can "regulate" the rlfle to any load... not just a narrow set. By adjusting the muzzle alignment of the barrels, the Blaser is fully adaptable to any weight bullet. The Blaser uses the same cocking/safety as Krieghoff (patented by Merkel in early 1900's). The only question on the Blaser is the robustness of the adjustment system. The real price break for the Blaser is not having all the cost of man-hours to regulate the barrels. That keeps the cost down.

    I like the 470 NE and as noted before the 450/400. There is one other... the 500/416... giving one a Rigby performance in a double....John Taylor thought this should have been done by Rigby in the early 1900's along with the bolt gun 416. Here you get a 400 grain 416 bullet out the snoot at 2400 fps... very nice. The 450/400, 450 NE and others have been given life by Hornady.... so I thank them for keeping the faith... and Kynock is also back... doubles are better than ever.

    Hit Guns America to see what is out there. Hit "The Gun Room" as a branch point for many good quality gun sellers....

    A web site.... NitroExpress also has info.

    MidwayUSA and Huntington carry the reloading gear.... you HAVE to reload to enjoy a double.... Cast lead bullets are a good step. I have a LBT mold design that allows a 500 grain cast lead to shoot accurately at full power... Factory loads are beyond "expensive"..

    And get Graeme Wright's "Shooting the British Double Rifle".

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    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    Thanks. I already reload so that's not a problem. I'm leaning towards the 88B instead on the PH. I was worried about the finish on the Ph being too shiny especially in close to elephants and buffalo. Do you see this as a problem?

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    Default Elephants and shiny actions

    Elephants can see you long before they get concerned about shiny actions... they have very good eyesight, great smell and are super intelligent. The Heym has a matt finish anyway. The only Big Five with poor eyesight is the rhino. We saw black rhino tracks... including baby black rhino... nice to know they are alive... just don't want to bump into them by mistake.

    How good the elephant's eyesight???.... 75 yards away, not making any movement... but out in the open... instant charge. Tuskless female with two calves...one very young... so definitely a protective charge... so don't worry about the finish on the action...just be ready to use it.

    Be sure that you want a double. It is a cost thing.... and utility is limited... but they ooze Africa and adventure. The old joke.... so much a gun loonie... buys a double and then can't afford to go to Africa. Hunting elephant is very expensive... A Cape buffalo hunt with plains game is easy under $15K.... think $50K for an bull ele. Tuskless female are around $4k for fee.... you get the hide.. still it is an elephant and tuskless female are the most dangerous ones.

    Hornady is coming out with dangerous game bullets.. the 470's haven't come out.... should be interesting to see how they regulate. Federal and Kynock use RL15. Federal has a special primer 216.. Kynock uses Fed 215 with a foam plug to fill space. 87-89 grains of RL15 and CCI250 or Fed 215 with foam plug or dacron filler is the standard. Some avoid the filler and go with 4831, RL19/22, H1000 or 7828. More powder... more felt recoil. There is a difference in felt recoil with RL15 versus slower powders. Still... they regulate well.

    For low velocity cast lead... AA5744 works well.... 45 grains with a 500 grain bullet with 5 or so grains of dacron pillow ticking.

    Be safe and enjoy.... nothing gets attention like pulling out 470 NE cartridges at the range.

  18. #18
    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    Thanks. I believe Hornady is trying to mirror Kynoch performance, so regulation won't be an issue. We'll see how that goes.

  19. #19

    Default double rifles

    Hunt ak:
    Thanks for posting the picture of that fabulous rifle and inviting the stories. My memory of using a double sure put a smile on my face, I can still remember the hollow echo sound of dropping those long straight 9.3 x 74R rounds into the chamber.....that sexy chink-chink, KA-Chunk, chink-chink, KA-Chunk.

    At age 19, I was fortunate enough in the early 1980s to get to hunt almost everyday in Germany while in the Air Force. For 6 months, every night I was taught German hunting customs and traditions in a bar or at the home of a volunteer Jaeger (German hunter). Usually over dinner and several good beers. They took it extremely seriously and wanted to license an American hunter as a sign of friendship. I was their "Ammie". I passed required tests and the Jaegermeister granted my license. I lived off-base, in the attic of an old farm house and hunted with the father and son next-door.

    Everything was great until the fist fight. A big loud mouthed MP bully from Brooklyn had picked on me for months and finally pushed me too far and got the long deserved country *****-whoopin. He snitched at the clinic and the base cops pressured my commander into taking away my right to possess a rifle off-base.

    This ended up being a blessing in disguise. The German parents in my village had really taken me in and went to the base to argue that basically the fight was no more than boys being boys, and at worse I should be thrashed soundly and sent to bed hungry. My commander would not budge until the Burgermeister (mayor) told the installation commander that community relations could suffer. To appease everyone, the commander agreed to turn a blind eye toward me hunting with a borrowed gun, and he would hold mine for a year.
    I used a JP Sauer und Sohn Drilling or a Krieghoff double. The Drilling was 16 gauge, because 12 gauge was just starting to catch on in Europe, I cannot remember the rifle caliber. It had a Zeiss scope mounted with Einhakmontage (one claw mount) it clipped on and off and the rifle always maintained zero.
    The real blessing in disguise was using the Krieghoff double….the Schmidt and Bender scope, dark walnut, meticulous engraving and precision fit of the parts, it was a work of art. I used it for two years, even after my rifle was returned. I normally used it with the scope off and it was great on large wild boars. Hunting over there was good, but different. Utmost respect for the shot game included placing an evergreen branch in it’s mouth, only laying it on the right side and playing beautiful horn melodies as shown in the pics. Double rifles and drillings were very common, but most of the hunters were well off. The Drathaar dogs were as spectacular as the rifles.
    I’d suggest the German claw or swing mount for your rifle.
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    Last edited by rifleshooter; 04-25-2009 at 22:49. Reason: spelling

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