Double Rifle Misconceptions
The mention of barrel harmonics though it does exist it is not a basic factor where double rifles are concerned. Individual barrel harmonics do not play a much part in the regulations, and is not important in a double rifle. The reason is the barrels are tied together and are thus basically inert to the way harmonics play a BIG part in a single barrel rifle. This is just one of the misconceptions where double rifles are concerned!
What does effect regulation is barrel time, and the recoil flip of the barrel set!
That is one the most often misrepresentations about double rifles that one reads from some of the writers that should know better. Of course it really isn’t always their fault, because most were told wrong by well-known custom gunsmiths, who didn’t know better either. There are a few double gun, and now double rifle magazines and quarterlies that still make some of these misrepresentations. Those are lax in editing of contributors for factual claims. Some just slip through because the editor doesn’t know either.
#1 Is that most people think that a double rifle is useful only at very short range.
This is one of the most often misconceptions printed in magazines and book by some of the best-known writers, and in articles, and hunting reports by respected worldwide hunters. This issued as a reason why the writer doesn’t use a double rifle when hunting dangerous game.
This is simply not true, and the double rifle properly regulated by the maker, and using the proper regulating loads, is just as accurate as any hunting rifle having the same type sights. If the double is fitted with a fixed rear sight, and multiple flip-ups for longer range then all the hunter has to do is practice with those sights at the ranges engraved on them.
#2 Is that a double rifle’s flight path crosses at a given distance because fixing the barrels to converge from chamber to the muzzle regulates the barrels.
[COLOR:RED]The convergence of the barrels is necessary to make the rifle shoot side by side
on the target, at the distance engraved on any of the flip-up sights no matter what range that happens to be.[/COLOR] The fact is, if the rifle was regulated properly by the maker, and the loads being shot are the proper load for that rifle, then the centers of each barrel’s individual group will be on it’s own side of the aiming point no matter the range. Of course, as with any rifle, if the barrel of any rifle is shooting one-inch groups at 100 yds, then it will be shooting two in groups at 200 yds. So this means with a double rifle some of the bullets in a group will spill over into the group from the other barrel. However the centers of each barrel’s individual group will remain parallel to that of the other barrel. This is the first mistake that is made by folks who are unschooled in the way a double rifle works, believing that a double rifle crossed at a given range so would be useless from that point on down range!
#3 A double rifle is no good for North American hunting, only for dangerous game in Africa, and India.
The double rifle is the only rifle ever made that started life as a HUNTING rifle! All others began life as a war weapon. Though the double rifles were pressed into war use it was a specialized use to shoot through walls that hid snipers, but then as today the rifle has always been a hunting rifle. The Europeans have used double rifle in smaller chamberings for two hundred years to hunt everything from fox to large bear and boar. The very large chamberings were only used in Africa, and India as a rule. However I use them for all hunting, large or small game in North America, and I’m here to tell you a 300 pound wild hog, or a 1000 pound brown bear will die very quickly with a 470NE double rifle, and there isn’t a better designed rifle in the world for woods shooting of all game there, no matter the continent where hunted, as long as they are cartridge specific for the game sought.
#4 Double rifle only cost so much because they are all gold inlaid and engraved.
Double rifle cost is directly attributed to the skilled people, required for the building of a working double rifle, and hand fitting, that can only be done by skilled hands, a skill that has been handed down from father to son for 200 years, and simply can’t be done by machines.
Engraving is expensive on any type rifle, sometimes more expensive than the rifle it is applied on. A double rifle left in the white, will still be an expensive item, simply because they are so skilled labor intensive! Most other types of rifle can be made almost entirely by machines, and put together on an assembly line basis, double rifles cannot.
#5 If CNC machines were used quality double rifles could be built as cheaply as good bolt rifles.
As stated in the answer above, CNC is only used to do the hog work to get the pieces close to their final shape, but the final fitting and shaping has to be done by very skilled human hands.
#6 The magazine on a bolt rifle makes it a better choice for taking on dangerous game in a charge.
This is an excuse that many use to justify not owning a double rifle for dangerous game. Their contention is that a bolt rifle with one in the chamber, and three large cartridges in the magazine is more firepower than a double rifle with only two chambers. Their idea that all four rounds in the bolt can be accessed faster that they can from a double rifle, because all one has to do is work the bolt three time to shoot all four. What they are saying is that the bolt rifle doesn’t have them be reloaded for the four shots, while the double has to be reloaded after the second shot! This is true of the double rifle, but they are wrong about the bolt rifle, which must be re-loaded three times after the FIRST shot. The double rifle fires two of the quickest AIMED shots with shots one and too. The reload is necessary, then the next two shots are both AIMED, and all the shots utilized with only a change of trigger, for the first two, then break and drop two rounds into the chambers simultaneously the fire the next two AIMED shots with only a change of triggers. If anyone has doubt that a double rifle can fire four shot on target faster than it can with a bolt rifle, it has been done and timed many times, and I have done it myself.
The double rifleman is at no disadvantage to the bolt rifle shooter while standing off a concentrated charge of a large animal that requires a lot of stopping. That has been proven many times. At Jullif, Texas we have a shoot twice per year called “HOOT & SHOOT” at the Bayou Gun Club. At this shoot all shooters are shooting stopping rifles, both bolt, and double rifles. The drill for the stopping exercise is 8”targets at 25 yds, the distance where most charges start. The shooters start with the rifle loaded, the bolt with one in the chamber, and three down, and the double rifle with both chambers loaded, with two more rounds in his shell carrier or between the fingers of his forehand, for the re-load. The eight-inch target has a two-inch 10X ring for a possible score of only 40 points if all hit the two-inch 10X ring. As stated the black bulls eye is eight inches across, and any shot that misses the black bulls eye is not counted even though that bullet would still be hitting a large animal.
I was shooting a Merkel mod 140E –1 chambered for 9.3X74R, and because of a case of procrastination on my part I had failed to disengage the auto feature of the safety though I’d had this rifle for some years. I was taken to task, by my readers for recommending they be disengaged, when I hadn’t done so on my own rifle. In my defense, the rifle in question was not my dangerous game rifle I simply kept putting it off. Because it was a 9.3X74R double rifle it could be pressed into service as a DGR, if need be, so it really should have been disengaged, and I was drawn and quartered, for not doing so. More about the reason for disengaging auto safeties later. The shooting starts with a whistle, and all four shots are fired on the target as fast as you can, and the individual timing is started when each shooter fires his first shot, and stopped when he fires his last shot. I fired all four shots in four seconds flat, with the score on the target being 36 points of a possible 40 points if all shots had hit the 10X ring. The problem was I forgot about the automatic safety and tried to fire shot three, after the re-load, with the safety in the “ON “ position. If the auto feature had been disabled like all my other doubles I would probably have shaved a full second off that time. In the act of trying to stop a lion, or big Brown bear that extra second could have cost me my life. In this shoot I took third place, and the two who beat me were shooting double rifles as well, and the only one bolt that even who beat my score was way down the rank for time.
#7 When a guy decides to buy himself a double rifle but not understanding how they work he thinks if he buys a double rifle in one of the common big bore cartridges used in bolt rifles he can get more power out of the rifle by hopping up the loads, and the bullets being easily available at the local gun store, shoot it cheaper, and still have a working double rifle.
This is a big mistake on the buyer’s part. First most cartridges that are used in bolt rifles are rimless/belted rimless, and are not suited for a double rifle that will be used on dangerous game. They are slow to load properly, and the tiny spring loaded pawls needed to snap into the rimless cartridge’s extractor groove, are fragile and prone to damage, or sticking in the down position. Either way they are a danger to the shooter who is trying to stop something that wants to kill him! These cartridges are not simple DROP-IN cartridges for the chambers so the cartridges can simply be dropped into the chamber simultaneously, but must be pushed into the chambers one at a time. SLOW! Too slow, and if they aren’t seated before the rifle is closed sharply, the tiny extractor pawls may be snapped off with the broken piece not allowing the rifle to be closed fully. At that point, if the animal is not down for the count, the shooter is in some real trouble with nothing but a 12-pound club to fight with.
The double rifle is designed for rimmed, low-pressure cartridges, with tapered bodies. This shape, and low pressure allowed the cartridges to simply slide out of the chambers if only moved a microscopic amount the case was free of the grip of the chamber walls, and would simply fall out of the chambers. Many of the modern cartridges used for dangerous game in bolt rifles are too straight sided, and high pressure to work properly in a break-top double rifle.