Those thinking about buying a first double rifle
This is a discussion on Those thinking about buying a first double rifle within the Double Rifles forums, part of the Firearms & Ammunition category; Those thinking about buying a first double rifle. I believe that it is common in the USA that most folks ...
05-30-2009, 03:29 PM #1
Those thinking about buying a first double rifle
Those thinking about buying a first double rifle. I believe that it is common in the USA that most folks think of a double rifle as either too expensive, or not suited to hunting anything smaller than an elephant, or both. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The double rifle is the only rifle you can have that started it's life as a hunting rifle. All other types started out as a war weapon, and then was applied to the hunting fields. Since it is the only true hunting rifle, that should be reason enough to attract hunters in the USA, but for some strange reason this has never happened.
I blame this on ignorance! Now before some of you guys get your feelings hurt, let me explain! Ignorance is nothing but a word that describes the fact that something is not well understood, or not known at all. It has nothing to do with a person's intelligence, but that he simply has not been taught something.
This phenomenon is not limited to the run of the mill hunter, or the guy who is not well up on "GUNOLOGY" , but is rampant among gun writers, and even some of the most well known rifle smiths in the USA, and many other countries. Even people who have taken the big five, and grand slams of all kinds are sadly ignorant when it come to the double rifle. The misconceptions are a bag full, that would slow a train to haul.
In the USA we tend to read the gun rag guys, as if they were reading from scripture, and anything they say has to be correct, simply because they said it. Again we are being mislead, in some cases because the writer is too lazy to do the research, but mostly because they are printing opinion that the think is true.
The double rifle is a complex type of rifle to build and make it shoot properly. no formula, or jig can be made to get away from the tedious work of fitting these things so they work properly. All types of things have been tried to make regulating the barrels easy, and nothing has worked. Most think if you simply make the barrel exactly parallel then the rifle will shoot side by side! So why not simply use a laser to align the barrels and save hours, and hours, plus several rounds of very expensive ammo to regulate the barrels? The reason is it doesn't work.
The barrels have to be laid to not only converge, but to point as crossing, and low, compared to where you want the bullets to hit the target. The double rifle depends on the recoil arch of the rifle, and the speed of the bullet to shoot to where the sights are pointing when the trigger is pulled. IOW, if you place the barrels in a vice with the sights held dead on your target at the iron sight' regulated distance,then with an empty case, with no primer, in each barrel using the primer hole like a peep sight, look through each barrel. What you will see is, the right barrel will be pointing at a place that is low and on the left of where the sights are aligned. The left barrel will be pointing to a place on the right and low in relation to where the sights are aligned. This is necessary because of thing called barrel time. What that means is, when the trigger is pulled on the RIGHT barrel, the rifle rises up and to the RIGHT while the bullet is traveling down that barrel, so that the barrel is pointing to the point the sights were when the trigger was pulled, and Vice-versa for the left barrel. So the double rifle depends on the recoil arch, and the bullet's speed down the tube, to be aligned when that bullet exits the barrel. This converging of the barrels can be done exactly the same with two rifles shooting the same cartridge and they will not shoot the same, so each rifle has to be regulated by it's own rules to work properly. this is one of the reasons even the cheapest double rifle requires over 800 hours of skilled labor to complete, hence the cost of manufacture. However when this is done properly no rifle in the world is more reliable for hunting anything from jackrabbit to elephant depending on the clambering.
05-30-2009, 04:30 PM #2
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05-30-2009, 06:43 PM #3
I think there is nothing wrong with a double rifle if you are hunting elephant and buffalo....maybe lion. But for other game I'll take a bolt action anyday. I shoot a heck of a lot better with a scope and just feel more familiar with a bolt action. I think doubles are great for quick short shots. I can understand why a PH carries one.
Last edited by enysse; 05-30-2009 at 06:44 PM. Reason: spelling
05-30-2009, 08:17 PM #4
You need to write a book about doubles. You could name it "Doubles for Americans" If you do not, I may take all of your posts from the various forums and "write" one myself.
Bolt actions offer a little better accuracy in general (not always) and are less finnicky than doubles. That being said, smaller scoped doubles like a 9.3 by 74 are more accurate than people realize. (Mac-how far did Tony kill a coyote with his 9.3?) There is also the 500-416 Nitro that has the same basic ballistics as a 416 Rem/Rigby/Taylor. A scoped double in this cartidge would do anything a a scoped bolt gun could plus you have that instant second shot.
The double will never supplant bolt guns in America but they definitely have their place in North America.
I shot my 470 Krieghoff today along with my Palma rifle and AR-15 Service rifle. Being so different, it was almost humurous to look at the K-Gun and the AR next to each other.
05-31-2009, 06:30 AM #5
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...Dugaboy should be a gun writer for a major magazine so hunters & shooters can get the truthful gospel.. You say more in 2 minutes than they do in a whole chapters worth of paper!
...I would love to own one but the price is the main problem.. Like I said I have a Stevens 311 in 16 gauge & 12 gauge & I love them both.. they are also very accurate with slugs and have shot several Deer with them!! So I do know the double rifle will work.. But as you said most people believe everything the writers say & that's why we have 10 million calibers of guns - which most are no more than duplications of others!!!
05-31-2009, 07:01 AM #6
One, day when I have enough money I will get a double the caliber has already been picked .500 NE.
Now, if I could only sell enough hunts to finance that double!Frederik Cocquyt, Outfitter and Professional Hunter
Cell: +27 83 709 8927
05-31-2009, 09:10 AM #7
First off let me thank you guys for the flowers, I'm not sure a person who spells like a grade school kid, has any business writing at all!
I don't know if there is a poll feature on this website but if there isn't one now would be fine time to install one!
I have a few questions that will tell me loads on the thinking of the rank&file here on the subject of double rifle. Which of these answers most suits your reason, or reasons for not considering a double rifle as you hunting rifle for all so-called big game hunting for North America?
#1 Double rifles are not very accurate!
#2 Double rifles are too expensive!
#3 Double rifles are made to shoot accurate at only one range, usually
#4 Double rifles use only iron sights!
#5 Double rifles only come in large chamberings!
#6 Double rifles are simply not suited to North American hunting!
You may use one or all the reasons in you answers, for your replies.
Note from Jerome:
I have created this poll for DUGABOY1 on a new thread, you can get to it by clicking here.
05-31-2009, 10:40 AM #8
First let me say there is wisdom in useing the tool you use best, regardless of the task you are preforming! Your use of the scoped bolt rifle is fine but all the other reasons beyond the fact it is what rifle you are most familier with, do not hold water.
By that I mean, for a bolt rifle that is used for serious hunting, the rifle should never be made with only a scope sight. Quality iron sights on a bolt rifle can save a hunt, or in fact you life, if something happens to the scope. The scope should always be mounted in quality quick detach rings and bases that return to zero absolutely. The only difference between the double rifle, and the bolt rifle, in regard to sighting equipment, is which sight is primary. On the bolt the scope is primary,and the irons are back-up. On the double rifle, the irons are primary, and the scope is back-up or a special purpose sight. Either can be carried with either sight in place as a rule for the owner's preference, but both rifles are only properly fitted if they have both types of sights.
The one place where both rifles are better with the iron sights is when hunting dangerous game in tight bush. The reason I say this is, dangerous game is simply not dangerous at 100 yds, and at 15 yds in the Alders of Alaska,or the thorn of Africa, a scope is not the best tool to use. However with a scope, QD mounted, available to the hunter, regardless of rifle type even on dangerous game is a valuable asset. Even on a big bore like a 470NE, a long eyerelief, low powered QD scope can be installed when a shot may be needed to thread a bullet thorugh a hole in the shrubry, to avoid an useen twigg, that may deflect a bullet. The so-called brush busting bullet only exists in the articles written by gun scribes. Any bullet, of any weight can be deflected by the samllest of twiggs. The scope can be installed with the turn of a couple levers, or removed from a bolt or double rifle the same way, when you need to get in close.
The hunting of elephant and buffalo, or lion or anything that wants to come after you small, or large, can benifite from good iron sights, just the same way a high powered scope can be installed on a bolt. or double rifle for a cross canyon shots on game.
It seems most think of a double rifle as only useing cigar size cartridges, but that is only on the doubles used for the big boys, exactly the same as bolt rifles. Double rifles come in deer size chamberings that are very well suited for deer, elk, and bear hunting in North america, and not just in the woods. I have taken several Muledeer in corss canyon shooting of New Mexico, antelope on the sage flats of Wyoming, and whitetails in the canyon country of West Texas with double rifles.
As Mike mentioned in his post above, I personally witnessed a friend of mine hit a coyote with both barrel at a measured range of 279 yds. The first barrel hit him a little far back, knocking him down, and he got up and began to spin, Tony hit him again with the other barrel putting him down for the count. That rifle was a little Chapuis 9.3X74R with a 2-6X40mm scope in QD rings and bases. What I'm attempting to convey is a double rifle is not the short range rifle, most think it is. They also come in very small chamberings like 7X57mm Mauser, 7x65 rimmed 270 Win 30-06, and so on, and there in no better woods whitetail rifle made for hunting tight woods than a small chambered double rifle, with and without a scope.
I believe it is just that most North Americans, especially those from the USA are simply missinformed where double rifles are concerned.
05-31-2009, 12:02 PM #9
Hi Dugaboy1, I agree with what you are saying. It's just that most people can't shoot well with iron sights. I know my eyes are not good. I have jeweler's vision. I can see anything close but far away...forget it.
Doubles do come in small calibers. I know overseas they are making a lot of them. They will never catch on here in the U.S. My dad would love your comments he can't see but still hunts with no scope, because he thinks using a scope is cheating. I'm always amused at his comments. By the way the overseas double guns in smaller calibers are very affordable...I would never argue that with you.
The problem with doubles and iron sights is it takes practice. Most people don't practice because of time, family, and money issues. The buffalo hunters of a lost generation...where great iron sight shooters...I wish I could go back in time and see them shoot. I definitely want to miss out on the slaughter of the American buffalo though. That is another story, for a another day.
Yes, you can put scopes on doubles but my dad would tell me that is crying shame...I tend to agree with him on that.
I'm at a point in my life where...I probably won't buy hardly any guns anymore. I have shot everything and like the affordability of a good mauser style bolt action with a scope. I have killed a ton of game with it...and don't want to change.
My initial reply was in mind with Africa hunting in mind. Take it for what it's worth.
05-31-2009, 01:20 PM #10
Enysse Spending a life time of useing one type of firearm to hunt with is good reason for sticking with that type of firearm. There is no argueing with success. That fact however, has nothing to do with the viability of a double rifle for hunting in North America. The only thing different about hunting with a double rifle, and a single barreld rifle is ones desire to do so.
Everyone has his preference, and that is your's, the choice your father makes is his, My father had some preconcieved notions as well, that he stucked to till he died. There is absolutely nothing wrong in any of that. This is part of what I'm looking for! The reasons double rifles are not more used, and /or understood in the USA. Your post above is one such reason!
I'd like to ask you if your bolt action hunting rifle has good iron sights, or just a scope with a slick barrel? If it has irons, are they usable and sighted in? If not do you have a reason other than you like the looks of a slick barrel?
05-31-2009, 01:42 PM #11
I usually have my guns scrapped of all iron sights...they are useless to me. Todays scopes are so much better, it's unreal. I will live and die with my scope. The only gun that has sights are my shotgun. I like my scope almost touching my barrel.
Like I see all the time here in Wisconsin. People look for double rifles for elephant, buffalo and lion. Sometimes for black bear and grizzlies which I find crazy. Nothing else as far as game comes to mind. If, I ever hunt any of those species I'll use my CZ 550 in a 375 H&H and it has a 2.5X8 36mm Leopold VIII. The black bear and grizzly I'll use my 300 Win Mag or 338 Win Mag...either way they are not going anywhere. Boom and Dead!
I like scopes on my muzzleloaders, shotguns and rifles...you can't shoot unless you can see the target animal and for me I need a scope. If I had to go back to iron sights...I'd quite and so would a ton of other people. I'd rather use my bow and arrow!
I like a rifle with a long barrel and a 3.5X10 40mm scope or a 4.5X14 40 mm scope. I like a heavy rifle with a good recoil pad, muzzlebrake, and a mercury reducer in the stock on the huge calibers.
I shoot quick and fast...he who hesitates usually goes home with tag soup!
05-31-2009, 03:02 PM #12
The reason I asked that question is for those who simply want to hunt with a scope but have no particular eye problem, quality irons sights on any hunting rifle should be part of the rifle's soul!
One example of this is a happening that I had in the Pueblo canyon at the foot of the Saddleback Mountain in West central New Mexico a few years back. I was hunting Muledeer with one of my all time favorite bolt rifles. It was a 1961 MCA Mannlicher Shoenauer rifle chambered for 243 win. The rifle was carrying a 2.5-7X40mm Weaver scope in G&H Quick Detach scope rings and mount. The rifle had it's factory iron sights on the barrel with the rear sight zeroed at 100 yds for the standing rear sight, with a flip-up that I cut for 200 yds. On this trip I was hunting on foot from my camp on the Pueblo creek, five miles, as the crow flies, and 3000 feet below in altitude. I spotted a very fine Muley buck at around 500 yds distant bedded in the shade on the side of the hill, with totally open country between me and the deer. To get out of sight of the deer, I dropped down into the canyon just out of sight and started around an outcorpping. I lost my ballance while holding my rifle in my canyon side hand. I was about to fall over the side, the rifles weight takeing me over. I let go of the rifle letting it fall over the side to regain my ballance.
The rifle fell about ten feet down onto a solid rock ledge. I made my way down to the rifle, with tears in my eyes. The scope had the objective lens bell bent down to touch the top of the barrel. The only other damage was the toe of the butt plate broke off, but the wood not damaged.
I eased back up to the edge of the canyon enough to see if the buck had spooked from the clatter of my rifle's trip down to the rocks. He was still there and didn't seem alerted in the least. I thought man it is a long way to camp for my spare rifle, and I couldn't get there and back before dark. Then I thought of the irons on the barrel. I did a quick check of the irons and they were undamaged. I loosened the levers on the G&H mount, and slipped the scope off the rifle, putting it in my day pack. The nearest I could get to the deer was about 220 yds without being in the open. I layed prone, with my day pack as a rest, and shot that deer dead in his bed with those irons. Since that time I have never owned a hunting rifle that was not fitted with open sights, whether it had a scope or not.
My eyes are getting bad today, as I am 72 yrs old, but if you can use them, the irons are far better than a slick barrel to save a hunt!
05-31-2009, 05:37 PM #13
Folks I'm sorry about the above post, I'm getting off topic!
.....................Back to double rifles!
05-31-2009, 09:42 PM #14
I would not own a rifle that had no iron sights. I love iron sights and up to about a 100 yards or and for off hand shooting I will and have shot against some of the best scope shooter in the world and easily held my own, beyond the 100 or so yards then it gets tougher to compete against a scoped rifle. One thing I will suggest is that holding magnification on target off hand is very hard to do, but irons don't show that movement and shots are squeezed off with ease and hits result.
For those that blame bad eye sight for not being able to shoot iron sights the answer is simple. A pair of glasses will cure that problem in 99% of the cases..It really a lame excuse, again in "most" cases.
I posted my view on Dugaboys test thread. and basically said that doubles are not practical nor the best choice in any case scenario other than up close and personal for one shot just before you get stomped, then they may or may not work, tis best to end the affair before it gets in the short rows. but it is a beautiful firearm with loads of nostalgia and for that reason I will always have one handy for my nostalgic submissions.RAY ATKINSON
06-01-2009, 11:27 AM #15
The problem most people have is they buy cheap optics and cheap scope mounts...you are asking for trouble. I put my scope close to the barrel so I avoid shooting branches and grass and other fun stuff. I may be younger in years. But up close at 200 yards or less I'll shoot as good as anyone on this planet. I'm not bragging. As far as eye problems. When I had 20/20 vision as a young teenager I coul see and shoot anything. Now my eyes are not so good and nothing truly can be done. No tears for me. I have a hard time focusing with iron sights. I can use them. By why would I, when I can shoot 1" groups with a scope. Doing things the "old" way with iron sights is fine for some people, the next generation of hunters, won't use them. I care to bet the bank on that...and the reason is scopes are better. What do American's do when they find a good product? They use it and the old technology becomes obsolete. Enough Said!!!
By the way most detachable scope mounts are junk! They don't hold there zero....do to tolerances in metal wear...get rid of them and get fixed Leopold mounts.
06-01-2009, 11:47 AM #16
On useing double rifle to hunt the North American Continent, I am one of the four founding fathers of the DRSS (Double Rifle Shooter's Society) Double Rifle Shooters Society , and we have member all over the world. One member lives in Moscow Russia, and is starting a Russian chapter there. We, as a group hunt almost exclusively with double rifles from jackrabbit to mastadon. The calibers range form one member's S/S .22 lr double rifle to one members 4 bore double rifle. Among that group of shooters there are many chamberings in the 7mm to 9.3 cal double rifles, that are not only easy to shoot, but are perfect for use on North American game animals from varmint to Brown bear. Many of these are O/U double rifles, which are much cheaper to buy than the S/S versions. Most of the mid size chambered double rifles are fitted with scopes of all powers, and some illuminated for better sight pictures in fadeing light, all have quailty iron sights as well, some with fiber-optic inserts. However all the scoped double rifles are fitted with quality quick detach rings and bases, so the scopes can be installed, or removed as needed, the best of all worlds. We have a get together hunt about two a year, where we use those double rifles to hunt feral hogs. Member come to those hunts from many countries, several are PHs from Africa, and from the States, and Canada we have hunter come from just about every state and porvence. Believe me hogs, deer, and any other thing on the bag list do not want to show up in front of these guys within 300 yds! So the contention that double rifles are somhow inaccurate, or are only good off the muzzle is a pipedream. I certainly do not advise anyone to stand at 300 yds thinking I can't hit him with any double rifle I own!
The picture above was one day's kill in Jan 2008, all with double rifles, but in Jan 2009 12 hunters killed 31 wild hogs in two days on 96,000 acres of low fence ranch, all shot with double rifles that ranged from 7x65Rimmed , to 577NE, some with scopes and many with irons only . Sounds pretty well suited to North American hunting to me! What-cha think?
06-08-2009, 06:59 PM #17
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On the subject of doubles being to expensive.
I think doubles are like anything else if you want one bad enough you will find a way. My double is a Searcy .500 built on a shotgun action. I am left handed and looked a long time for something I could afford. In the end I found this left hand .500, not what I had wanted in caliber but there were no other choices after years of looking. I am certain I paid to much for it but it was the only reasonably priced rifle I came accross. In any event I love the .500 it shoots very well if I do my part. I have put about 400 rounds threw it so far and it has been to afirca and is going back again this year. No one needs a double, they are just a lot of fun to shoot and load for. The .500 isint for pussies, but it isnt a monster that will hurt you either, just hold on and enjoy. I see lots of people who bad mouth Searcy's and especialy the old ones built on the shotgun actions. Let them, I dont care I am having a ball with a gun I didnt pay a bunch for and I am sure it wont let me down.
06-17-2009, 11:36 AM #18
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Shooting a 200lb hog at 125-150 yards with open sights with my 45-70 Kodiak double was enough to hook me on doubles forever. It is funny that I have owned a lot (really a lot) of rifles over the years, but my double rifles are the only ones that attract a crowd at the range. Everyone wants to shoot it.
My next one will be a new .470 or an old .577BPE, but there will be a next one.
07-18-2009, 01:33 PM #19
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I can foresee myself switching to open sighted double rifles for my N. American hunting. I kind of always wanted to. Now I just need to pick a caliber and buy one (probably a Merkel) and start practicing.
07-18-2009, 05:28 PM #20
A double "rifle" which I have come to love and which is nearly ideal for game east of the Mississippi is the paradox. My William Evans 12 bore has the grace of a game gun and its 28 inch barrels throw perfect modified patterns (when using fiber wads rather than plastic). Yet, I can drop two paradox, hard lead solids in the chamber and it will put a left and a right in three inches at 100 yards - every single time. The gun was built at the turn of the century, and those men had to be geniuses. It is ideal for deer and boar but I would not hesitate to nudge that front sight into the crease behind a buff's shoulder. I'll take it to the Caprivi with me next summer as my second gun. Birds and a warthog at a waterhole sounds like a good way to spend a July afternoon. I'll sit for a buck with it along the Blue Ridge this fall, and kick up a grouse or two on the way back to the truck.
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