Buying a restored double rifle

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by Hunt101, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Hunt101

    Hunt101 AH Member

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    Hi, I would like to ask a few questions about possibly buying a restored double rifle and the good / bad points associated with such. I notice that some really nice looking doubles come up that are restored and priced reasonably, but what kind of problems are associated with a restored gun when a person is looking to hunt the gun and shoot it a bunch? Here is a good example of a nice looking restored rifle.

    Westley Richards .450/400 3" BLE - Westley Richards Rifles

    I am first and foremost looking for a hunting rifle that can be shot a bunch and hunted hard, but I appreciate the look of these classy looking guns and they are tempting. What pitfalls are associated with a situation of a classic double that has been restored, any issues using modern off the self ammo, and I see often see similar ads stating the rifle locks up extremely tight, leading me to believe it might have been loose after years of shooting and somehow tightened up during restoration. If that is correct can these rifles become loose again after four or five hundred rounds? At the end of the day are restored guns ready to go back out for another hundred years of shooting or are they typically expected to lead a pampered life in a gun safe somewhere?

    Thanks
     
  2. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    There are some wonderful pre-war doubles out there, but the cost of an education can be very high. My current crop of pre-war SxS shotguns (and three pre-war rifles) are all wonderful, but a lot went thru my hands over four decades getting there. Actions off the face, re-soddered barrels, and a host of other issues easily and not so easily seen can turn a bargain into a nightmare. I would strongly urge you to contact someone like Diggory Hadoke Vintage Guns | Suppliers and Restorers of British Sporting Guns (who also has a Houston location). He offers a buying service where you tell him what you want and how much you are willing to pay, and he will find a gun and guarantee its condition. You would enjoy a phone conversation with him immensely regardless. Wesley, Holland, William Evans, etc can also be great sources for a previously owned weapon. I am confident that Wesley will stand behind any restored gun they would sell. Finally, some Americans have an aversion to restored guns - part of the original condition collector craze for Winchesters, Parkers, and the like. Brits and Europeans have never suffered from that. Rifles and guns were regularly returned to the builder for "maintenance" which would include just about everything.
     
  3. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    hunt101 thats a nice looking double in the ad. as its being sold by westley richards themselves i wouldnt hesitate in buying it, same as any doubles being sold 2nd hand by any of the top gun makers in the uk. there are also dealers in the usa who specialise in these type of rifles who would be good to buy from. as long as the rifle has had a thorough inspection which it will have with the people i have mentioned i wouldnt hesitate in buying the rifle if i liked it, and it should give plenty more years shooting pleasure. as with anything things can go wrong but thats the same even if its brand new. there is no problem using factory ammunition made for the calibre, as the manufacturers have loaded it to give original velocities etc so the rifles shoot to the same point of impact and dont need regulating again.
     
  4. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Yes and no on the factory ammo working fine. Factory ammo is loaded to the same pressures as the original - often using the bullet weight of what was the most common loading. So it will be safe to use. That said, you will have no idea with what it was actually regulated which can translate to groups which can look like patterns. If you reload, it is a good summer's project. If not, a number of folks will take your rifle and develop a load which does shoot to regulation. I use Lance Hendershot at Hendershot's in western MD. If your gun is a more common caliber, you can try whatever factory loads are out there and you may get lucky. My two 9.3x74s both shoot factory ammo, but different brands and bullet weights; my 30-06 loves a heavy RWS load; and my .375 took Lance a couple of months to sort out. Remember too, that a factory load it likes is true for only that "lot" of ammunition - so buy up every box you can find when you locate a winner.
     
  5. AkMike

    AkMike AH Fanatic

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    Where did you get the 400-500 number round count about it becoming loose?

    That's not even a begining of what it'd take it were properly looked after. Grease the joint with a good high pressure grease and keep it clean ad it'll be good to go for a lifetime.


    The major detraction of that rifle would be the LOP. It is way too short for my frame. I'd guess it would fit some one about 5' 5" or so. Possible less. Have you ever been measured for fit?
     
  6. Hunt101

    Hunt101 AH Member

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    I'm no looking at the particular rifle listed but using it as a reference. I understand that a rifle should not become loose after 400 or 500 rounds, but what I was trying to understand is how an old rifle that has become worn and loose can be tightened during restoration, and would a gun that was previously well worn and loose become loose sooner. I often see comments in restored gun listings saying the guns fit and lock up has been tightened. Thanks for the input.
     
  7. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    A loose gun can be put back on the face, HOWEVER there are several ways to do it (from hitting with a hammer, to rebuilding the hook, to replacing the hinge pin) a shade tree gun butcher will do the former and the latter takes real expertise. The difference is a rifle which will shoot loose again in a few rounds and one which will last another lifetime. And that is just one of the potential issues. And the average buyer would have no clue what was done. A truly reputable dealer or consultant will save you whatever their premium costs.
     
  8. AkMike

    AkMike AH Fanatic

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    RedLeg has it nailed down quite well. Basicly if you don't know some of the in's and out's it better to have the gun inspected by a neutral third party that is qualified.
     
  9. Hunt101

    Hunt101 AH Member

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    That is the exactly what I was wondering about I appreciate the advice.
     
  10. AkMike

    AkMike AH Fanatic

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    Keep it mind that when they say restored it could easily be a simple facelift rather than an overhaul.
    There is a very good chance that it might not have needed anything other than a cleaning and the cosmetics spruced up.
     

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