It is all a matter of priarities! If you want to hunt more and buy the double down the road, then that is what you should do! However IMO, the hunting of dangerous game is a far better experience with a REAL dangerous game rifle. Nothing says dangerous game like a S/S double rifle. The memories of those dangerous game hunts with the double will be far more sattisfying than the same hunt with a mechine made bolt rifle everyone and his dog has to hunt with.
Heym vs. Krieghoff
This is a long term idea, very long term, as I still think I'd rather do more dangerous game hunting than buy nice rifles (though the doubles will woo me, one day). In the meantime, I read, and read, and read about them. In December I'll hopefully get to handle both side by side as well, the Heym PH and the Krieghoff Classic Big Five.
The combi-cocking device on the Krieghoff double rifle is one of the best features about the rifle. If it weren’t for that particular feature I wouldn’t even think of buying a K-gun at all.
The Krieghoff cocking device completely aside (I'm not concerned with it, have extremely strong hands and like the idea of the gun being rendered uncocked on 'safe'), how do the two compare? We'll leave fit out as well, as I'll find out in December, and fit can be adjusted as well as I make stocks.
Many think the combi-cocking of the K-gun is the same as the Blaser double rifle but it isn’t. There is one very important difference between the two systems. The K-gun, once loaded and the rifle closed the combi-cocking switch must be moved slightly forward, and released so it goes to the rear, the rifle is totally incapabable of firing. This is not because the rifle is “UN COCKED” but the springs that power the tumblers are relieved so there is nothing to push the tumblers forward to hit the strikers.
The same is not true of the Blazer double rifle except this rifle de-cocks the rifle if the rifle is opened for any reason, automaticlly. This includes when the rifle is fired and broken to re-load one or both chambers, and the Blazer must be re-cocked every time the action is opened for any reason, as it doesn’t re-cock it’s self after fireing and breaking for re-charging. This is a feature you better not forget with the Blazer rifle, and a buffalo charging in fast.
The K-gun is made ready to shoot when the rifle is broken to load by self cocking. Once loaded and closed to make the gun safe the combicocking switch is pushed slightly forward and released. This action sets the springs back away from the the tumblers. Now the rifle can be carried fully loaded but safe. When game is spotted and the stalk is taken up, the combi-cocking switch is pushed forward, with some effort, to cock the rifle’s tumbler springs. Now if you fire on the buffalo, and break the K-gun for a re-load, the rifle automaticlly re-cocks it’s self, and when the rifle is closed all that is left to do is pull the triggers when you gaet back on target.
. Don’t get me wrong, the K-gun is a quality rifle as far as strenth and reliability are concerned. They are simply a tool, and they shoot where they are pointed with a proper load. However they handle a little like a fence post for me, and seem very muzzle heavy. The stock is not very well designed for a double rifle, at least for me and do not immediately engender confidence for instinctive shooting, which is the hallmark of double rifles. For handling I much prefere the Heym, but not only for the handling.
The 375 Flanged is a fine cartridge, and one of the few around that seems to handle bullets of different weights to the same basic POA. That fact alone makes it a fine choice for double rifle use. So the adjustable regulation in the K-gun is not an issue. However if you are one who is handload happy, IMO, the double rifle is not the platform for you, adjustable regulation or not. Also IMO, the adjustable regulation should be soldered permenently once the load is found. The feature is not robust enough to be used often, but is handy to get the rifle shooting the load you want to use then sealed off.
My gun would be a .375 Flanged, and the Krieghoff comes with the neat feature of being able to adjust the regulation in this caliber, a feature I may well use as I shoot a variety of loads typically. My tastes in loads are likely to shift over time, this could be a handy feature that I can't say I'd want to adjust regularly, but simply having adjustment would be nice if needed. The Heym, is fixed regulation, and appears that it should be the stronger gun. More positive lockup with the cross bolt, and a larger action, at least so it seems from the distance of reading. It appears the Heym woodwork is superior as well. I do, as well, like ejectors regardless of what many think of them on a double, but would appreciate the ability to turn them 'off'. Is this possible on the 88-B PH model, as on some older model 88's?
I don’t think the Heym is all that much stronger than the K-gun, but is, IMO, a far better made rifle for fit and finish, and is a treditional double rifle much to my likeing. The Heym also has ejectors, and they used to have a dis-connect for the ejectors, but I’m not sure if that is still available. I can live with a double rifle either way, but like you I would love the disconnect if it is still available. The Heym is a more expensive rifle, but is worth every penny of the difference. Balance is better, fit and finish shows hand fitting, where the K-gun shows tool like assembly line mechine maufacture. Both are quality items however, and I would certainly rather have either of them that a bolt rifle in a tight spot.
The whole idea of a double rifle is the fact that it is a simple streight forward weapon that absolutely embodies the old saying of “KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!”. A properly appointed double rifle for use on dangerous game is to have nothing that is not necessary to the job at hand. Utilitarian is the WORD! A proper cartridge for the game hunted, one side not depending on the other at all, being two completely indipendant single shot rifles on one stock with no feature that if forgotten will hender the outcome of a close encounter. Both these rifle meet that criteria in spades. Though the Heym has a little better fit and finish, and more hand fitting, neither is lacking in utility.
In the same vein, I can appreciate the simple, safe utilitarianism of the Krieghoff. No ejectors, small svelte action, decocking ability. How strong is the Krieghoff? I shoot my guns an abnormal amount, even doing pest control here in Northern Canada with my .375 and bullets I cast for it. I could envision my double shooting literal thousands of rounds, and that's a real concern, not wishful thinking, I love to shoot. Yes, brass will be expensive in .375 Flanged, but such is life. I've been offered a very good deal on a .450-400 Krieghoff, but I think it's too soon me for (or my wife, I suppose). I'd drive my old clunker and sell the truck to get the rifle and get back to Africa, she sees things differently, bless her.
As long as most of your hunting is in Canada, and an occasional trip to Africa taking nothing bigger than Buffalo for the most part, the 375 Flanged Magnum is a one rifle for the world, and is a cartridge that I simply love for it’s versitility, and effectiveness over a wide range of use in the hunting fields of the world.
The range time before buying any double rifle is a very good idea. No rifle type depends more on fit to the shooter. This is a rifle type that is one that requires perfect fit and balance for instinctive shooting without even seeing the sights. The rifle must come to battery with the shooter’s eyes closed, and when the eyes are opened the sights should be aligned when shouldered from feel! This is much like shooting a shotgun, but a good bit more precise, when the crap hits the fan!
Cheers and look forward to hearing from owners, or people who've shot them. The owner of the Heym and the .450-400 Krieghoff I'm going to look at has offered me range time with them. I'd feel sheepish accepting as I'm unlikely to buy just now, but would love the opportunity, perhaps I'll pay for the time and ammunition if that works for him and let him know the chances I can buy are slim at present.
Good luck with the choice you make, and welcome to the DRSS