Why Not A Double Rifle?
This poll was requested by DUGABOY1 from "Those thinking about buying a first double rifle" thread.
Which of these answers most suits your reason or reasons for not considering a double rifle as your hunting rifle for all big game hunting in North America?
You may select one or more reasons...
Double rifles are expensive and only a few hardy souls would even consider a double for North America. It is a specialized tool that only a handfull of folks are interested in if you take into consideration the number of hunters on the North American continent, how many of todays hunters can only shoot scope sighted rifles, how many want a long range rifle, how many are recoil conscious, what kind of accuracy do NA hunters want, and a host of other problems that pretty well void the double. Using this scenario you have your answer...The double is nostalgic in nature and really isn't a suitable (from a practical standpoint) firearm for most NA hunting, and perhaps even in Africa.
I AM one of those that would hunt anywhere in the world with a double mostly because I love the game, I love the rifles, and the workmanship that goes into them, I am a nostalgic and Africa is where I use them and I have used them extensively, but I am under no illusions that they are anywhere near the ultimate firearm under any conditions..
As to my personal safety on DG, I am every bit as comfortabe with a good bolt action big bore as I am with a double, its just that sometimes I prefer to hunt African DG with double rifles as did those that came before me. That said, even back then the doubles were not popular as few, other than aristocrats, could afford them.
This takes nothing away from the double, its simply the facts as I see them.
**As I said before the only reason I don't own one is the price. I have hunted with double barrell shot guns all my life & I love them!! Like I said I don't need all that fancy engraving etc. a gun is a weapon & a tool - beauty is nice but I would hate to scratch it.
.......Something as beautiful as a lot of those doubles would belong on a mantle & never used! I'm not at that stage of my life!! If the double was affordable I would buy one in a hurry! As far as hunting in N.A. why wouldn't you use it, maybe long range shooting I would opt for a bolt gun but for the most part - shots are at a minimal, reasonable distance & I don't think you would be at a disadvantage using a double!!
Ray is an old hand at shooting and owning double rifles, and in his post above he covered all the excuses for not useing a double rifle for hunting anyplace in the world, for any game under any condition. His only reason for hunting with a double rifle is NOSTALGIA! :clapping:
This points out what I have been saying all along! In his post he quoted every gun rag writer who ever tapped on a typewriter on the subject of double rifles, and the only one, IMO, that is absolutely true is the fact that double rifles are expensive! But those are the facts as he sees them, and his one and only reason for useing one at all. I will explain what I mean by my comments more later after we have more input.
Posts like this one are the reason for this poll, to compile all the reasons, or percieved reasons not only for the double rifle not being popular for hunting in North America, but being unsuited for North American game.
Keep them comming!:thumb:
Calhoun says the only reason he doesn't own a double rifle is because they are so expensive! That my friends is a ligetimate reason! When you can buy a WAL-MART special that will kill anything wolking crawling, or flying for little more that $400 USD, and put a $100 USD scope on it, it is hard for a guy to justify $5K to $10K for a used but servicable double rifle! That is an understandable reason, and one based on logic! Of course that Wal-Mart special may get you killed when it malfunctions at the worse possible time.
Ray builds some fine, but very plain bolt rifle chambered for some classic cartridges, and modeled on the old British styling, and sells the quite quickly with an average price of $5K up. Those rifles are no less expensive than some well made, hunting class, double rifles in chamberings that are similar to those used in double rifles. However the rifles Ray builds are as reliable as a bolt rifle can be made, something that can't besaid of the WAL-MART specials.
What I'm saying here is the idea that double rifles are always expensive is true, but not compared to almost equally reliable bolt rifle of the same class!
I don't think anyone who becomes aware of how un-reliable many off the shelf bolt rifles are, compared to the rock solid reliability of the well made, but plain, double rifle, the price will not seem so out of line. This is because to make that cheap rifle as reliable as the platform can be made will cost you near the same as a good field grade double, though for several reasons the bolt rifle will never be as reliable as a well made double rifle. Many of those reasons are operater grounded, but the platform is the reason for those mistakes made by the bolt rifle in the first place. More on those reasons later.
The next thing mentioned by Calhoun is the fancy double rifle belonging over the mentle so it doesn't get scratched. No fine rifle belongs over the mantle, they were made to hunt with. The only ligitimate reason for not haveing engraveing on a double rifle is the cost of putting it on the rifle. A cost that is sometimes near as expensive as the rifle it's self. Hunting with a rifle that is decorated to the nines doesn't hurt it. Any rifle worth owning deserves proper care, and a double rifle is no different. I have bolt rifles that are 50 yrs old that have been hunted all over the world, and they are not beat up! The rifle to hang over the mantle is one that looks good but doesn't work! Like an old flintlock with internal parts missing, and the rifleing shot or rusted out!
.................More later, keep them coming!:thumb:
All I can say is that if I could afford one I would be hunting with it all the time. This is just not a dream but it became an obsession especially after walking trough Westley & Richards co. You only have to see how much work is put into one of those doubles to realize that the price you pay for 3 years quality workmanship work is actually not that expensive.
The double is still a tool but if a handyman has quality tools you know you will get a good job from it. Why not the same from the PH or hunter at least you cannot blame the gun.
Just thinking of holding those doubles again and I go :tongue:
I responded that the cost is what keeps me from owning one. At this point in my life, i would rather hunt more than own a double. Don't get me wrong, i think they are the cat's ass...I just don't have the dough right now and would rather spend it hunting.
I agree with Tom a 100%. I want to hunt more. I have enough guns and bullet. Let's get why we own guns in the first place for...hunting! Double guns are awesome...but I'd rather be leopard hunting!
Originally Posted by TOM
Gentlemen, as far as I'm concerned, the above statement is the only real reason for not owning, and hunting North America with a field grade double rifle! All others do not hold water unless as Enysse says the other is if you have a disability that precludes you from hunting with one, but eyesight is only an excuse, because double rifles can be fitted with scope sights, and are as accurate as any single barrel rifle chambered for the same cartridge. This is only true, though, if the owner of the double rifle knows how to load properly for the rifle to shoot to regulation built into the rifle.
I have known many double rifle owners who only hunt with double rifles that do not understand how to work up a load that is shooting properly to the regulation of the double rifle. The key to knowing if thier loads are proper or not, is one statement they make when asked how well the rifle shoots with their loads. That statement is "BOTH BARRELS MAKE ON RAGGED HOLE AT 100 YDS"! When you hear that statement you know they do not know how a double rifle is supposed to shoot on target, when regulated properly.
You see, if the bullets from both barrels are hitting the same hole means the bullet paths are crossing at that distance, and will get wider as they travel down range. This is not correct, a proper regulating load will have the center of each barrel's individual group on it's own side of the aiming point. A properly loaded, and regulated double rifle doesn't cross the centers of each barrel's groups at any range, but the centers of each barrle's indivudual remain paralell at any point down range. The groups of any barrel get larger as they travel down range, but the centers of that group remain centered. What this means is, the well regulateing COMPOSITE GROUP of both barrels will be slightly egg shaped along the horrizonal line through the aiming point, with the RIGHT side of the LEFT barrels group willspread into the LEFT side of the RIGHT barrel's group, but the center of both groups will remain on it's own side of the aiming point of the sights. In other words the groups travel down range side by side,from a S/S double rifle, or one over the other with a O/U rifle.
When you read someone write that the back iron sight on a double rifle, with multiple flip-ups down range sights are only for looks and are not usefull, you know you are reading someone who doesn't understand how a double rifle works. This missunderstanding of the facts is not limited to people who have never seen a double rifle, but is usually writen by some one who owns, and loads for a double rifle but simply doesn't really understand the dynamics of regulation. This missundersatnding, is what leads people to think a double rifle is only a short range rifle. A properly loaded double rifle with multi-flip-up rear sights, will have all the bottoms of the "V" in the sight in perfect line windage wise, and if they are used at the range they are cut for they will be on target at that range. The limiting facters here are two,#1 is the loader does not understand regulation,#2 and/or he can't shoot!
Lets have some more fodder for this cannon!:happywave:
Altough one may not consider what I have as classic double rifles, every one of my hunting rifles purchased in the past two years has two barrels.
Two Baikal 30-06 over and unders
Baikal 30-06 side by side
Kodiak .58 caliber side by side double barrel muzzle loader.
Kodiak .72 caliber side by side double barrel muzzle loader.
Pedersoli 45-70 side by side
I am proud to say that my first kill after not hunting in over 20 years, was a 200# hog at ~125 -150 yards with my 45-70 double (hammer gun) with open sights. Although I was in Florida, my heart was in Africa.
Price plain and simple!
If i could afford one, i would buy on out of pure nostalgia.
It wouldnt be much use, i cant even remember offhand the last time i shot a big game rifle.
I have showed my doubles to several guys here and Florida and all say that it is much too expensive to own a nice double. These same guys go through a new quad runner every couple years along with swamp buggies, air boats and big trucks. They could easily purchase a really nice double gun. They also buy every hunting gadget known to have been advertised on the outdoor channel. Give me a double rifle, sharp knife, a good set of waterproof boots and some bug spray and I am set to go. Very low tech.
tarawa, well put my friend, I couldn't agree more. You just described a few hunters I know. I am more of a minimalist. Less is more as long as the "less" is high quality.
Safari hunter, and Tarawa have hit on the biggest problem, and it is not the price of the double rifle that keeps people from owning one, but priorities. I run into this all the time, mostly with people saying they can't afford a Safari in Africa, yet you drive up to their home, and there is a one yr old $50K 4x4 in the driveway, and a $25K bass boat in the back yard that is less than a yr old. There is $75K plus interest for the next 5 yrs, and they have never been able to go on Safari, or buy a $8K used double rifle!:rolleyes:
That is not bad but to blame the lack of a double rifle in ones battery on cost, while buying $75K of things that will last , MAYBE, 10 yrs, for the reason they can't own an $8K double rifle, that will outlast your grandchildren, and become more valuable the longer you own it, is plain and simply a dumb EXCUSE! :D
Admittedly, some honestly think they can't afford the double, and that there is a reason most consider the double rifle to be so specialized, that it is not worth the price to them.
Some of that is the fault of the maker's habit of useing the word "REGULATE" for more than one thing when they speak of their porduct. This is the one big mistake the makers are guilty of, that causes an understandable wrong opinion by the potentual buyer. That is the phrase "This rifle is regulated to 100 mtrs."! That give people who don't know that the rifle is only accurate to that very short range. T'aint true!
To the Brittish, and most of the Europian makers the word REGULATE simply means to fix anything so that it performs a certain purpose.
On a double rifle there are two places where the makers regulate. #1 is the manipulation of the barrels convergance, so the rifle shoots properly for the load they are regulating for. This is done by adjusting the convergance of the barrels, by moving the wedges back and forth and fireing the rifle till it shoots side by side on the target. He then does the final soldering and turns the rifle over to the finisher. #2 after the barrels are carded (all over solder removed from the barrels), and ribs, and sight ramps fitted, the rifle is then turned over to the the the sighter. The sighter is the man who "REGULATES" the SIGHTS by cutting them to the final distance and windage, so that the sights hit dead on at the distance ordered by the customer. With a large bore double that is usually at 50 yds, with a smaller chambering it is usually 100 yds. But just like a single barrel rifle, that doesn't mean the rifle is only accurate at that short distance. Like any rifle you hold over for longer range, and under for shorter range, or flip up a down range blade on the rear sight sighted in for a longer range.
The maker's use of the word regulate for two different things without explaining that in their advertisment is what causes many to think that is the only distance where the rifle shoots accurately, and that is an understanable assumption, but is wrong.
I find that those who state all the draw-backs of double rifles as a reason why they don't think they are suitable for anything but stopping elephants at 5 yards, are always done by one of two reasons. #1 is, they don't know any better, and the other #2 is they have to down grade anything they concieve to be better than what they use, to make what they use look better, and justify thir choice!
Tarawa there is no reason to think your double rifles are not worth the name CLASSIC! You have nothing to appologise for, they have two barrels, and they work! That negative is your friends accessment, and only their opinion of your doubles. Certainly not mine, and I'm a hard core double rifle fan since that age of six yrs, when I actually touched my first double rifle belonging to a man who my grandfather traded with. That is a story in it's self! In short that first taste of a real double rifle that had taken animals I had only seen in books, got me hooked, but I was 21 yrs old before I bought my first double rifle, in 1958.
I collect any firearm that has more than one barrel. Some are cheap, and some very expencive, but that are all examples of the multiple barrel firearm type, be they a $100 double derringer, or a $25K Westley Richards double rifle. They all count. The DRSS does not discriminate. All you have to do to become a member of the DRSS is to place the DRSS in you signature line, and you are a member. There are no dues, and the only rule is to act as a gentleman when shooting, or posting with that DRSS in view! On the history page there I'm the fourth one from the left, and my screen name was MacD37, still is at AR.
The DRSS is Double Rifle Shooters Society The website is still under development but there are some picture there, and some history of the DRSS!
Welcome to the DRSS Tarawa! :bighello:
Your last post is brilliant !
I prefer to hunt with open sights and I like nothing better than a double rifle. I don't own any but have been looking lately and I seem to like the Merkel's. I really want a .470 but I want to use the gun here in N. America (and Africa someday) so I may settle for a 9.3X74R.
From the vote given by the members who voted we will see two things!
A, One voter voted for every excuse for not haveing a double rifle, and that vote was by someone who has owned, and used double rifles, for years, and had had good success with them on dangerous game. This is not suprizing to me because I have known this man for some years, and he uses his doubles according to his beliefs about them. What I mean by this is because of the way he believes doubles work, that is the way he uses them.
B, Because #3, #4, #5, and #6 are the most common misconceptions by most who do not understand the true way a double rifle is supposed to work, these four votes are no surprise at all to me, Though none are true.
The only vote that has some substance is #2 That says double rifles are simply too expensive, got a vote from everyone who voted. This too is subjective, and personal, but also not based on the actual worth because of the difficulty in the building of a workable double rifle, but on an individual's personal resources.
#1 and #6 Is false. PERIOD!
#2 has some legitimacy , when you can buy a rifle like the CZ 550 in good chamberings for less than $1K , while the cheapest dependable dangerous game double rifle will cost no less than $7K used, with no features above both barrels firing when the triggers are pulled.
# 1,3,4,5,and 6 are the result of old wives tales that have been printed in every gun rag ever printed, and repeated ad nausium, for years, many times by people who should know better. However that is the nature of man!, and nothing will usually change pre-concieved notions, and that is OK as well, because there is absolutely no mandate that says anyone is requires to own, or even consider owning a double rifle.
More later after some more discussion among the voters! :thumb:
While shooting my 45-70 and .72 caliber Kodiak bp double at the range, a fellow shooter walked over and was just fascinated by the guns. I let him and his wife shoot the big bore and he was hooked. I told him I had an extra bp Kodiak in .58 caliber and needless to say, he wanted it. We have been shooting together and planning to do some hunting together ever since. A new friend and a DR convert. And all it took was shooting my double!
Last month I saw an old .470 double sitting on the rack at a gun store not too far away from where I live. After I handled it for a while it was incredibly difficult to put it down. I was really there to look at the CZ 550's but my mind kept wandering back to that double........... what workmanship!
I think people's perception of doubles here in the US is due more to ignorance than misinformation. They're usually chambered in something that American hunters have never heard of. The only double most people have ever seen is a side-by-side or over-under shotgun. We're pretty much a nation of soldiers turned sportsmen. Those old WWI and WWII guys came home and started messing around and improving their familiar bolt-action rifles. We completely lack the tradition of British and Continental gun making.
I saw some footage recently of a guy who put a solid into the head of an elephant at about 20 yards. He missed the brain low and the critter turned to trot away. Within an instant he put a round from the second barrel right on target. That was all the selling I needed, not that the other reasons to drool over them weren't enough.
Hmmmmm. When it comes to hunting in NA, there are only probably a few legitimate places for a double. First of all, putting a scope on one is sort of like putting a bumper sticker on a Ferrari. It very quickly removes the classiness of the object. Just my opinion. Personally, I'd probably find them best suited for bear, especially in thick brush. There are a few places I hunt elk where one would also be perfect. The forest is so dense you'd never get a shot beyond 50 yards.
When it comes to the money thing, yeah the guy with a $400k house and a $50k SUV could afford one, but there are perfectly suitable bolt-action rifles to accomplish almost the same job for 1/10th the money. A $40k house and a $5k SUV just doesn't get the job done for most of us.
I did not vote because all the choices were negative.
No one needs a double rifle "I read that somewhere". But man they are a hoot to use and get to no. Doubles go to priorities, just about any one can find one that fits their budget eventually if they want to. I looked for years partly because I am left handed but the price was a big thing. I had lots of experience with a .375 and really never found it lacking. I had shot one buffalo with a borrowed .458 and noticed that there was quite a difference in the result. Then I had a experience with a buffalo that didn't want to die and that is when I got serious about something bigger. I looked long and hard for a .470 but never found one so I ended up with a .500, the price was rite and it was left handed. The recoil was stiff but like anything you get used to it. If I do my part I can lay 4 shots side by side (2 and 2) into about 4" consistently at 50 yards. Lately I have stopped shooting at paper and started shooting clay pigeons turned on the side @ 50 yards, it is a lot of fun. I seldom miss. At first I padded way up but eventually got to the point I just use a light pad and sometimes no pad at all. I have noticed that the point of impact goes up and down depending on how much padding you use "that may just be me". People talk about packing the extra weight of a double but you don't notice it that much, and I have packed mine enough to take off lots of the bluing. So for my two cents worth I have to say any one thinking about it should find the way to buy one.