Short Barreled Double Rifles

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by buckstix, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. buckstix

    buckstix AH Member

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    Hello All,

    What is the shortest barrel length found on double rifles? I have heard there were "Howdah" doubles.
     
  2. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    hi buckstix welcome to AH. the howdah guns were large calibre pistols usually double barreled, but some times with up to 4 barrels. they were named after the hunting rigs used on the backs of elephants in india etc during the time of the british empire and after. they were the last back up if the tiger managed to charge and climb aboard the elephant. most double rifles have 24 to 26 inch barrels with a few of the older nitro ones having 28 inch ones. the shortest barrels on a double i have seen were on one of the rifles in a matching set of three double rifles a friend had for a while. i think it was the one chambered in .470 and it had 22 inch barrels. it looked a bit out of proportion. remember doubles are usually 5 to 6 inches shorter than a bolt rifle in the first place.
     
  3. DUGABOY1

    DUGABOY1 CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    As has already been said the Howdah firearms were usually double barrel pistols, in large chamberings starting at about .500 cal, but most were chambered for a short brass cartridge of about 1 ï½½ inch to about 2 inches, and a .577 lead bullet like the 58 Berdan musket shell.

    The Howdah is the large basket atop the elephant's back, usually a scabbard on each side inside the walls of the Howdah for these pistols so they were readily available to the occupants to stop a tiger who often charged right up the elephants face to get to the occupants in the Howdah. Most used double rifle for the initial shots on the tiger but most had normal length barrels for the day and chambering. The Howdah pistols were the last ditch hedge against bite and scratch, and usually had barrels of about 10 to 12 inches.

    Howdah pistols are today highly sought after collector items, and are priced accordingly. If you want an original you need to float a lean on your house!
     
  4. miroflex

    miroflex AH Member

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    Hello Buckstix,

    I had posted a link to another site where a Westley Richards Howdah Rifle with 16 inch barrels was described and discussed. The post was deleted as links to other sites are not permitted.

    You can PM me for details.

    Regards.
     

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