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Thread: Who hunts with a double rifle in Alaska? Share your experiences and your rifles

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    Default Who hunts with a double rifle in Alaska? Share your experiences and your rifles

    After re reading the thread about "elephant rifles and brown bear hunting" began to get curious about Alaskans who actually hunt with double rifles in Alaska. Tha AR forum has a active double rifle section but most people there chat about doubles and Africa. I know we have more than a few double rifle owners here as we meet a few times a year at Birchwood to shoot and exchange information.

    I love the look of a double and would watch every safari movie just waiting to see them in action. Always thought they were so expensive to be out of reach. But one day a gent on the AR forum offered a group buy on Chapuis 9,3x74R's, with ejectors, and stock built to specs and for the first time in my life seen it was possible to order one after selling a couple of firearms no longer needed. For the price of two or three nice bolt rifles with after market barrels and nice scopes you can be be the owner of a nice Chapuis. Sometimes less as they pop up for sale used quite often.

    Rifle came in and I was hooked. Used it on back to back Koyukuk trips and hammered nice bulls each trip. First was under 100 yards but the second was shot at a lazered 286 with factory irons. So much for a double only being good for short range. Next trip up north plan on using either my 450 Nitro express or 450/400.

    Couple of years ago Remington imported Baikal doubles into the country in 30-06 and 45-70. At the time you could pick up one for under $700. They look like crap and have terrible triggers. But $100 later after a visit to Stan Jackson each trigger broke at 3 pounds without a hint of creep. Rifle will put four 220 grain Hornadys (two from each barrel) into an inch and a quarter at 50 yards.

    About the only hunt they might seem out of place would be for sheep or shooting across the tundra for caribou. Doubles are very short, well balanced, and handle light a dream, especially in the thick stuff. I can't think of a better rifle to follow a brownie into the alders. Two barrels, two triggers, and nothing to go wrong with feeding. The newer one's are easy to scope as well. But even though my latest ones have scope mounts they have never been installed because the iron sights have worked well enough. But the Baikal wears a Ultradot.

    The most difficult myth to die with doubles is they are designed to cross. Total bunk. They are regulated with specific loads and velocity is usually the most important factor. General rule is if the bullets cross at a certain range, say 50 yards, the velocity is to fast. If they are to far apart they are going to slow. The loads are adjusted to keep the bullets hitting as close as possible without crossing. They should remain parallel. Certaintly am not an expert with doubles and their loads but am learning. Some of those guys on the AR forum have forgotten more than I'll ever know.

    Please share your own experiences and if interested, come join us at Birchwood the next time we meet and shoot some very interesting rifles.
    Tennessee

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    Member Casper50's Avatar
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    I have used a few doubles mostley for black bear as I like the old black powder express rifles. 2 years ago I took this small blackie with my 130 year old Alex Henry in 450-400 BPE. Pass through both shoulders at 55 yards using a 235 grain cast pistol bullet.




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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Got to love Honey and Smoke
    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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    Beautiful gun Casper! I love it's look and the fact you used it is a testament to your love for it. Thanks for sharing!

    Side story, running swamps in Michigan during muzzleloader season a doe came out of a cedar swamp and the group getting ready to push commenced to fire. After a few misses folks were out of shots except old MadDog who yelled I got one more! Killed it with a double barrel 50 cal muzzleloader. Grins around.
    Mike
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    Chapuis double rifles are said to be one of the very best available today and at maybe 500 produced per year, one of the most accessible. When you say AR forum, what do you mean? American Rifleman?

    No good doubles today are cheap and certain brands are pretty much outside of most folks' budget, no matter how old or in what condition. Thus unless you are very wealthy, forget about H&H or Rigby. I bought my H&H 500/450 25 years ago in outstanding restored condition, work done by H&H, when it was extremely hard to get ammo. It was not cheap then, but in the past two decades, the popularity of doubles has increased its value so much that I'm not sure I'd take it hunting today, which was the original plan.

    As Weiland says, most people would rather spend $35,000 on a hunt than on a rifle. I probably couldn't get that, but mine is so fine and fresh that it is way up there.

    One low-cost alternative that I have not seen mentioned is another one I have, a Valmet 412. Of course, it is an over/under, which slows down reloading and thus is not desirable for dangerous game, but the two quick shots are there. I bought mine as a 20 ga. shotgun and added double 30-06 barrels. There is a 30-06 double for sale on Gunsamerica right now for $1700 and also a set of shotgun and rifle chambers combo, .308 and 12 ga. without rifle for $900. Note that another drawback is the heavy weight and bulky feel of the Valmet, but it IS an option.

    I agree with you on how doubles are regulated. The trick is getting the right load and sticking with it. Thanks.

    Norm
    _____

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    After re reading the thread about "elephant rifles and brown bear hunting" began to get curious about Alaskans who actually hunt with double rifles in Alaska. Tha AR forum has a active double rifle section but most people there chat about doubles and Africa. I know we have more than a few double rifle owners here as we meet a few times a year at Birchwood to shoot and exchange information.

    I love the look of a double and would watch every safari movie just waiting to see them in action. Always thought they were so expensive to be out of reach. But one day a gent on the AR forum offered a group buy on Chapuis 9,3x74R's, with ejectors, and stock built to specs and for the first time in my life seen it was possible to order one after selling a couple of firearms no longer needed. For the price of two or three nice bolt rifles with after market barrels and nice scopes you can be be the owner of a nice Chapuis. Sometimes less as they pop up for sale used quite often.

    Rifle came in and I was hooked. Used it on back to back Koyukuk trips and hammered nice bulls each trip. First was under 100 yards but the second was shot at a lazered 286 with factory irons. So much for a double only being good for short range. Next trip up north plan on using either my 450 Nitro express or 450/400.

    Couple of years ago Remington imported Baikal doubles into the country in 30-06 and 45-70. At the time you could pick up one for under $700. They look like crap and have terrible triggers. But $100 later after a visit to Stan Jackson each trigger broke at 3 pounds without a hint of creep. Rifle will put four 220 grain Hornadys (two from each barrel) into an inch and a quarter at 50 yards.

    About the only hunt they might seem out of place would be for sheep or shooting across the tundra for caribou. Doubles are very short, well balanced, and handle light a dream, especially in the thick stuff. I can't think of a better rifle to follow a brownie into the alders. Two barrels, two triggers, and nothing to go wrong with feeding. The newer one's are easy to scope as well. But even though my latest ones have scope mounts they have never been installed because the iron sights have worked well enough. But the Baikal wears a Ultradot.

    The most difficult myth to die with doubles is they are designed to cross. Total bunk. They are regulated with specific loads and velocity is usually the most important factor. General rule is if the bullets cross at a certain range, say 50 yards, the velocity is to fast. If they are to far apart they are going to slow. The loads are adjusted to keep the bullets hitting as close as possible without crossing. They should remain parallel. Certaintly am not an expert with doubles and their loads but am learning. Some of those guys on the AR forum have forgotten more than I'll ever know.

    Please share your own experiences and if interested, come join us at Birchwood the next time we meet and shoot some very interesting rifles.

  7. #7
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    Ive got a German 1930's Sauer n. Sohn commercial Drilling with double 12 G above and a 9.3X74R below.
    I belive the shotgun barrels are regulated to 50 yards.

    Never fired the rifle,(no ammo) but the 12 gauge barrels have gotten a few ducks ........

    Its far too nice to hunt with regular like and I never did take it far from the house.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    This is the Accurate Reloading Forum:
    http://forums.accuratereloading.com/eve

    Interesting comments about the Valmets. I tried one but since it was built on a 12 gauge frame it was to bulky and heavy for me. Very accurate rifles though and they have the ability to be regulated by the shooter to most any load, like the Baikals.

    A newcomer on the American scene is the Sabatti, sold by Cabelas. 45-70's and 9,3's go for about $3K while the bigger calibers like the 450/400, 450 NE and 500 NE go for mid $5's. Most folks are pretty happy with them but more feedback can be found on the AR forum.
    Tennessee

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    One day I would like to own one here is another outfit making affordable doubles if $10,500 is affordable get one in the 450 and never have to worry about feeling under gunned.

    http://www.searcyent.com/rising_bite.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    One day I would like to own one here is another outfit making affordable doubles if $10,500 is affordable get one in the 450 and never have to worry about feeling under gunned.

    http://www.searcyent.com/rising_bite.htm
    323, your link is to the new "rising bite" double, which currently starts at $32,000 and up. The $10,500 version is the "Field Grade" one which is shown there as a separate link. Both prices seem reasonable to me in today's market.

    They do look beautiful, but reading between the lines of comments made by famous gun writers such as Craig Boddington and Terry Weiland, both of whom have shot an awful of of dangerous game including both Alaskan and African, one probably ought to do some careful research before buying. Each mentions a recent doubles maker in the US whose products are heavy and unreliable and which professional hunters questioned say does not make rifles suitable for hunting. Neither mentions Searcy, but Weiland explicitly says that particular maker is intentionally not mentioned by name in either edition of his "Dangerous Game Rifles." And Searcy nowhere appears there -- which I find unusual.

    Others may be able to add more or correct my impression, though. I'd like to know more, partly for personal reasons detailed below.

    That is especially so because, as you might have read elsewhere here, I used a custom .375 H&H Mag rifle built on a LH Remington 700 action when I hunted in Zambia in 1984. Using factory ammo, as I recall, the bolt seized up and would not rotate after one shot on a cape buffalo at about 75 yards. I had to use the hilt of my Randall knife to hammer it open, by which time the buff was long gone. We tracked it until dark, then resumed in the morning from where the trackers found it had bedded down. My shot had been okay, in that the buff had lost a lot of blood and clearly was lagging, but we finally lost its tracks in those of a herd after tacking for a total of 11 hours. The daytime temperature was somewhere north of 110 degrees F., which might have been a factor in the rifle's performance. It worked fine in subsequent days and I eventually did get another fine buff. Of course, I ended up paying for two.

    On my return I shipped the gun out to Butch Searcy, then working in Farmington, NM, who I believe was the only gunsmith who installed Winchester Model 70 controlled feed extractors and ejectors on LH 700s. He did a great job. I confess that I have not shot it enough to really conclude that it is totally reliable in all conditions, but I have no reason to think otherwise. Butch of course is the guy now making doubles in California.

    That same year I was able to buy my double rifle, a Holland & Holland No. 2 ["Dominion?] in 500/450 built in 1906, acquired by Jim Bell when he was in the Peace Corps in India and used by him as a basis for his line of old express rifle brass. Jim had lovingly restored it with refurbishing by H&H (they apparently can do this for any of their guns) and a new butt stock by Al Biesen with LH cheek piece. If you know H&H doubles, you will appreciate how difficult it is to inlet those upper and lower tang straps and frankly as I learn more about my own rifle, probably only a master like Biesen could do it right. My African hunting buddy, John, who owned a gun store in Glenview, IL, had acquired it from Jim and sold it to me for a great price, knowing I woud use it left-handed. He also introduced me to Jim, from whom I bought his dies and a bunch of brass. I know the dies and brass are perfect for that individual rifle, because it was Jim's own.

    Anyway, if someone knows more about Butch Searcy's doubles, I am another who would like to hear it. Thanks.

    Norm Solberg

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    I have a Tikka 412S with three barrel sets (9.3x74R over 9.3x74R, 12Ga over .308, & 12ga over 12 ga). Picked it up in Germany, under 3k with two stocks a big Ziess scope and a nice red dot sight. With the 9.3x74R barrel (sans optics) set I took a Copper River Bison at about 100 yards in Sept. With large animals I subscribe to shoot till it is down, so I used both triggers on the right shoulder, then reloaded while the bull offered me his left shoulder,Bison.jpg one more shot in the left shoulder and he fell down for good, probably took 1 min once the shooting started. Too busy to reload so I used hornadays factory loaded 286 gr bullets.

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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    All this talk has me really wanting one. I have always wanted a double 500 NE. And saw the Sabatti for 5,000. Which I may be able to afford in about 6 months.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
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