I have a Heym in 470NE. JMP - I would have mentioned it but other people got here first. I love my Heym, and prefer it over most of the other guns mentioned above. Not that I dislike the others, I am actually buying a Merkel for my wife right now, but I prefer the Heym. I have handled and shot a couple of K-guns, Merkels and Chapius guns before I bought the 470 NE and found the Heym to be the best built of the bunch. The intercepting sears that prevent the rifle from "doubling," where both barrels go of at once, is a very nice feature when standing in front of big dangerous game. Not that it happens often but I have seen it and, as Murphy's Law predicts, it tends to happen in teh worst possible circumstances.
I also think the Heym balances very well in the hands of most people. Even my wife, on her small frame, can handle my 470NE without problems. The recoil is not nearly as bad as you would think, in part because the gun is so perfectly balanced. It carries right up once fired and with minimal practice you can learn to rock and settle with the gun for 2 of the quickest shots imaginable. I can shoot 2 accurate shots considerably faster with my Heym than almost anyone can shoot a bolt action 2x. the guys with a bolt action can get 3 shots off faster than I can but I usually can beat them by the 4th shot. I am not sure how practicle that is in the field but its fun at the range.
The Heym "PH" retails for about $7,500 more than the K-gun, Merkel and Chapius but as others have said, you get what you pay for.
Like most guys I would stay away from the older English doubles. There are some fines old rifles from England out there but they usually go for a very heafty price. Be weary of any English made double that seems like its a really good deal - in my expereince - there are no "good deals" when it comes to English doubles. With those guns you better be willing to pay what the market bears an that is often way to much for me, and I am using an $18,000 gun as my starting point of reference.
I have heard only good things about Searcy's guns but having never handled one, I cannot add much to that discusion.
Best advice out there is go to were some doubles live together and handle some, the right gun will just "feel" like it belongs over your shoulder on the long trek behind a big tusker. Having been there, I can say that when you walk up to your Elephant and he turns, you will be very happy to be holding essentially 2 guns in your hands with very large bores. And you will still feel small and helpless - and are!
I've noticed that nobody has recommended the VC's double Ie handled them at SCI along with others if I was in the market for a modern double this would be my choice. Like others it is a bespoke gun order to your preferences the wood and metal fit that I have seen is quite spectacular. They offer a round body action that fits very nicely in the hand..
The other gun to look at is the Heym.
Best of luck in your search.
I have a recently aquired Roundbody V.C in .500 N.E and am extremely happy with all aspects of the gun.
In my particular gun the fit, finish, quality of wood used, balance and over-all weight are, for me, perfect.
I have only recently finished regulating loads for it and am looking forward to getting it out on our buffalo country in the North.
Since this thread started, I have become a real Blaser S2 fan. I have a R rifle in .300 which is probably the best made and most accurate bolt action I have ever seen. Several friends use their shotguns which are starting to get real traction in the competition world. However, I had also read Wieland and many of the rest of the band wagon who hated the S2. A little over a year ago I picked up a 500/416 - and soon owned it. It now has .375 and 30-06 barrels as well.
So the bad first. Like all Blaser products, it is non-traditional. The barrels are wider apart than any other sxs rifle in the world giving it an "industrial" look from overhead. You will not mistake its lines for a Holland Royal. The push to cock takes a little practice, and it does have an automatic decocker (which is loud) when only one barrel is fired (though I think this is more a theoretical problem than a real one as I have become familiar with the rifle).
The good. Like all Blaser products the S2 will shoot! It is in a class alone. I had Hendershots load up four loads in SPs and solids to see if any would regulate. All shot into the same 4-inch group at fifty yards. The A-Frame load puts a LR/LR into two inches at 100 yards (using an aimpoint red dot). The rifle has the Blaser quick detachable mount system, and though I won't be scoping a 500/416, the red dots are a blessing for 60 year old eyes. For elephant at thirty yards, even I can see the factory open sights which are the best I have ever used on any double. Like other Blaser rifles the S2 is a "system". I have subsequently purchased .375 and 30-06 barrels which fit the rifle right out of the box (only the Germans!). And like the 416, they shoot. I have both these sets set up with the 1.5 x 6 Zeiss Victory. With their best loads, both do under a two inch LR/LR at one hundred yards, and the right barrels of each shoot clover leaves. I would not hesitate to take a three-hundred yard shot with either. And, because of the Blaser's modern lines, those scopes do not look out of place as they would on a traditional double. And of course, like any Blaser, the scopes are instantly removable for a follow-up in thick stuff. Finally, and no doubt due in part to Terry's hard work, they are extremely affordable.
I am now an unapologetic fan.
Thanks for the report Red Leg, I found it very informative and useful. I always thought a good red dot scope on a double would be super deadly too!
You would be surprised how many "AD" happen with the Blaser and Keighoff type safety. Many PHs detest this type of safety. Personally I have used a bolt type Blaser for many years BUT would not purchase a double rifle in Blaser.
Originally Posted by DKRCEO
My Ultimate is a Westley Richards.
the title of this thread is "best make for a double". i would say the best double for you is the most expensive one you can afford in terms of build and quality ,and forgetting about the engraving etc which can easily get on for doubling the price if you get carried away! classicsaf likes westleys ( beautiful rifle you have there) and for others it will be Hollands or whichever of the top names they like. for me money no object i would get paul roberts to over see the build of the rifle, as he has hunted in many countries and continents over the years and knows what is needed in terms of reliability and usability in any hunting rifle let alone a double. i know him well and you would be surprised at the number of doubles made by top british and european makers that have been taken to him over the years by the owners who have asked him to sort problems out. he lent me his personal rigby .470 double for my 1st hunt in tanzania and this is what got me hooked on them. after that trip i had him build me a .470 in the early 1990`s when he owned rigbys, and it was the last one they built with the classic rigby scroll engraving . it was a beautiful rifle with a balance that made it feel lighter than it was. paul always used to say it was one of the best doubles the company built before the sale of rigbys to red river rogue rifles or whatever their name was. i had a brain fart a few years ago and sold it (still trying to work that one out!!) and i dont even have any photos of it for some reason....so for me its the classic style and not the krieghoffs or blasers which i personally dont like at all. but here`s to personal choice :beer: even though i know i am right.....:biggrin2:
I have just fallen in love with the Scottish lass by the name of McKay & Brown. Now to find the Penny's...
Now classicsaf you wouldnt be 2 timing miss Westley Richards would you ? :shocked: