Chapuis or Merkel?

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by matt85, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    so given the problems with my current Sabatti im kicking around the idea of trying to come up with $10k and buying something else. I can get doubles made by Merkel or Chapuis for around $10k which is the most affordable next to the Sabatti double.

    which would you pick? why?

    thanks
    -matt
     
  2. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Enthusiast

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    Matt , without hijacking your post what about Heym ?

    Regards.
     
  3. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    What Caliber? What is the intended game animal?
     
  4. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I would love a Heym 88B in 450-400 3" or even better 500-416 NE with 26" barrels but... i just don't have $15k+. at least i haven't seen them for less then that.

    well im currently set up to load 450-400 NE 3" but i would happily take 500-416 NE or maybe even 450 NE 3.25". i like the idea of the 500-416 NE since it would extend my double rifles range making it more practical for non-DG. my intended game are thick skinned DG such as buffalo, hippo, and hopefully some day an elephant.

    on a side note: i just found a guy selling a used Searcy in 500-416 with ammo/scope and if hes willing to come down in price i might just buy that!

    -matt
     
  5. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Matt85,

    My first double rifle was a Merkel SxS in .375 H&H, 23" extractor barrels and it had above average walnut.
    It was a good looking rifle and accurate, especially the left barrel.
    My complaint is that the right side barrel had a tight chamber, causing it to flatten primers with the factory ammunition it was supposedly regulated for, according to the factory paperwork (I bought it brand new).
    Sometimes it would even burst a primer, causing the ragged primer metal to poke backward into the firing pin hole, thereby making it very difficult to open.

    It was fixed by having it re-regulated to a 300 grain RN bullet at 2400 fps hand load.
    I figure it was just a fluke and so I might consider another Merkel someday, except for the fact that Merkels are not available with longer barrels.
    When they came out with it in .450/.400 NE 3",with ejectors, I almost bought one from James Wayne Firearms (he had several in stock to choose from in that caliber plus other calibers).
    I just could not get past the 23" barrels.

    The best balancing SxS rifles for my taste are virtually always 26" barreled ones.
    But 25" would probably be tolerable, I think, 23" just does not do it for me.

    The Chapuis is generally available with at least 25" barrels and ejectors are common on them as well.
    Some of them have very sharp pistol grips, which I do not like at all, but they (Chapuis) are also available with a relaxed grip ("semi-pistol grip) which is to my liking (Merkel SxS rifles always have a beautiful semi-pistol grip).

    If it were me, not wanting to spend over 10K, I'd get either a Chapuis or a Verney Carron (also a French made SxS rifle, similar to the Chapuis).
    Not sure if you can get the VC new for 10K but used I bet you could.
    My only double rifle today is a 40 year old Heym that I only paid $12,500. for because it is a .458 and that's not the best DR cartridge (high chamber pressure and rimless).
    If willing to shop around for a couple years and to spend a bit over $10K at a moment's notice when you find it, you could probably find a used Heym or even some other used DR that would make anyone happy.

    Best of luck,
    Velo Dog.
     
  6. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    you can find Chapuis doubles in 450-400 NE 3" on guns international for 9.9k. they have ejectors and 25" barrels which is very appealing to me. the length of pull is a bit of a concern at 15 3/8" which is way too long for me (I know it can be shortened but I don't like having to modify my guns).

    im with ya on longer barrels, if I was gonna have a custom double made for me it would have 28" barrels. my favorite hunting rifle is a black powder long rifle with a 42" barrel which suits me just fine.

    -matt
     
  7. Bushwack

    Bushwack AH Fanatic

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    matt85,

    I like both, wouldn't know which one to pick...had hunters that was happy with both...i will pick anyone, because then at lease i can say i have one...:ROFLMAO:
     
  8. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    matt both are good makes and a friend who builds top end doubles in the uk reckons the merkel is one of the strongest double actions around and good value. i had a chapuis in 9.3x74r and it was a nice little double. i am also quite partial to the verney-carron doubles after handling them a few times at SCI, and Guillame Verney-Carron was very helpfull on the stand as well. maybe you should hang off buying and try and go to SCI or DSC next year and go to the different double makers booths and handle their guns, then you can get a good idea of which you like the best, and you dont rush in and end up with another double thats ok but not quite what you really wanted.............
     
  9. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    while i know waiting and being patient is the best policy, i really want to use a proper double rifle for my buffalo hunt next year.

    as said before, im really hoping a gent who is selling a Searcy double will see fit to lower his price some so i might be able to afford it. assuming he is not willing to lower his price then i will likely check out one of the Chapuis 450-400 NE 3" doubles available on GI. of course in the meantime ill keep an eye out for deals on this forum and else where.

    thanks
    -matt
     
  10. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    matt when is your hunt next year ? as you could check out the rifles at the show and buy one there and still have it for your hunt.
     
  11. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Matt85,

    The Chapuis in 450/400 NE 3" with 25" ejector brls and semi-pistol grip, for 9.9K new (maker's warranty with it for sure) seems like a smoking deal to me.

    Also, when I mentioned Verney Carron doubles, I forgot to mention that they generally have a palm-swell type pistol grip (solution to a non-existent problem) but I would just save up my $ and have that shaved off, re-checkered, etc.

    That being said, I recon the Chapuis is a better deal to begin with.

    I totally agree that 15+" is too much for the average reach man.

    Your Truly is about 6' tall and medium build, my reach to the front trigger is comfortable and fast at about 14.5" to 14.75" and about 2.5" drop at the heel.

    Cutting off any stock gives me the creeps too but I had it professionally done to the Merkel I mentioned in a previous post.

    It was made with a hard but plate, and I needed a proper anti-recoil pad so, I paid a respected Gunsmith to cut the wood (which turned out to have a lead billet glued inside it to also saw through!) to fit a 1" Pachmayer Decelerator pad.

    When he finished the surgery, it looked as if the factory had built it that way and it was a lot more fun to shoot (I am a sissy in recoil).

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
  12. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    FWIW, I had the chance to handle a Kriegoff in 500/416 a few weeks back. I'm not sure what it was but that exact rifle just fit me fantastically well. What was interesting is that the Kriegoff I handled in 500 NE did not fit me well at all and the sights did not line up naturally.

    (By comparison, the dwindle little Merkel 141 I just bought in 9.3x74r fits me so incredibly well that I can close my eyes and the irons just line up. The Kriegoff felt just like a larger version of the Merkel.)

    I'm fully in agreement with taking the time to handle the rifles first. A $12k+ rifle better darn well fit me like a second skin...
     
  13. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    i think my ideal LOP is around 14.5" but i can go as long as 14.75. a 15 5/8" LOP will need to be shortened but other then that the Chapuis rifle looks very nice.

    the searcy rifle im looking at is very nice aswell but aside from the higher price tag, it seems like its probably too heavy. the gun weighs in at 11 pounds unloaded which sounds like a bear to haul around Africa chasing buffalo. does the 500/416 NE cartridge really need that much weight to deal with recoil? i cant imagine the recoild being any different then a 416 rigby and a simple 9.5-10 pound rifle is plenty to deal with that recoil.

    -matt
     
  14. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Hi Matt85,

    Generally, I like the looks of the Searcy doubles, except that they usually have 24" barrels.....too short for my taste.

    Not sure what a .500/.416 should weigh but my bolt action .416 Rigby weighs about 11 lb and I had it made like that intentionally.

    I'm a recoil sissy but nonetheless, very capable of carrying an 11 lb rifle all day long (with water breaks and a lunch break of course).

    For ammunition availability (world-wide) and shooter friendliness as well (recoil), I would way rather have the .450/.400 NE 3", instead of the .500/416 NE.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
  15. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I like what ive read about Searcy rifles. things like reliable, accurate, and regulated for 100 yards are extremely appealing because the one major draw back (in my opinion) to big bore guns is their short range. I like the 450/400 NE 3" cartridge but its a short range cartridge, limiting the hunter to around 50 yards for thick skinned game and 100 yards for thin skinned game. the 500/416 NE would more then double the effective range. in fact the 500/416 NE has a lot more energy at 100 yards then the 450/400 NE has at the muzzle. the 500/416 NE is a solid 200 yard cartridge for both thin and thick skinned game. (not saying the gun can do it, just the cartridge)

    having said that, you make two very valid points. im not sure what the barrel length is yet but if its only 24" then ill be pretty disappointed. the cartridge is also new and not widely available which has the potential to cause problems. as far as recoil, it will be in my personal upper limit for recoil but im pretty sure I can handle it. with a weight of 11 pounds and a built in recoil reducer (he doesn't say what kind but im guessing its a mercury tube) it should be pretty manageable.

    will call the guy about the searcy tomorrow. if that doesn't work out, those Chapuis 450/400 doubles look pretty dang good.

    -matt
     
  16. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Matt85,

    Rogerallofthat and I fully understand your ideas on it.
    I will however add that personally, I have never shot anything with a double rifle past 150 yds.
    It was a warthog, and I was standing, using the sticks, because the thorn bushes I was lurking in were about armpit high and he was in the clear, across a dried up pan.
    That was one of the more gratifying shots of my lifetime so far.

    The .400 NE will do real fine at 150 yds/mtrs.
    One of my friends here (Cal Pappas) has hunted caribou (treeless wide open tundra), as well as many other species world wide with his Harrison & Hussey SxS in that caliber.
    It is the one double I have never seen him try to sell and he is constantly buying-selling and trading English doubles, up to and including the .600 NE.
    If you get the .500/.416, I am sure you will be happy with it (I probably would be as well) but, if you get the other one, you are at least more likely to find cartridges for it in a pinch.

    I will live vicariously through whichever one you choose.

    Best Regards,
    Velo Dog.
     
  17. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    looks like the seller of the Searcy rifle is gonna make the decision easy for me. shortly after i asked him about the rifle he pulled the add down so im guessing it sold some time ago and he just forgot about the add.

    i will go back to taking a very hard look at the 450-400 3" Chapuis rifle. im already set up to load the caliber so its not a bad choice but having to modify the stock right out kinda sux. i will ask the vendor if they will still warranty the rifle with a shortened stock.

    -matt
     
  18. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Overall I think you are better off with the 450-400 3". Recoil is tolerable and you can always learn to adjust for distance.
     
  19. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    got a message from the seller of the 500/416, looks like the add just expired. he is considering my offer but its a fair bit below what he wants. (cant afford what he wants)

    -matt
     
  20. Elchiparino

    Elchiparino New Member

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    I bought a new Chapuis 450/400 3" Brousse model from Champlin Arms last year. It is now my favorite rifle, shooting 2-3 inch groups free hand and standing with open sights at 50 meters. Recoil is no worse than my Sako Brown Bear in 375 H&H. I am sure there are "better" doubles out there, but not for what I paid. Can't wait to get this bruiser to Africa.
     

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