450/400 or 470 Nitro express

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by soumya sarkar, May 6, 2016.

  1. soumya sarkar

    soumya sarkar AH Member

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    Hello Everyone,
    First thank you all for all the great information that is being offered here. I have learned a lot and continue to learn more every time I visit this forum. I do have some experience in using a 12 bore paradox (my grandpas) some English make but pretty darn powerful. He used to hunt Royal Bengal tigers back in the day in India with it.

    Of late i have been fascinated to own a double. I wish to go to Africa in the next couple of years and as such in a quest for a good double. My sights are on a Heym 470 but of late I see lot of good reviews/feedback from experienced hunters on the 450/400 cartidge. I'm a novice at best so to say on calibers and difficult to understand all the nuances. I also plan to use the rifle for some fun trips in the US. Please help me decide.
     

  2. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    OK you double gun guys, I'm anxious to hear your opinions and advice also. Welcome to our site Soumya!
     

  3. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hello Soumya Sarkar,

    And welcome to the best forum.

    The recoil from a .470 is serious enough that if I am to feel it every time I fire my rifle, I rather would have a .500 Nitro, since they have a little more effective power, with not much more recoil.
    However, cartridges for the .470 Nitro are usually much more common in gun stores within Africa (and sometimes in the USA as well) than for the .500, and pretty much any of the flanged nitro calibers for doubles.
    That being said, the .470 and .500 are too much recoil for me, if I am to train with my rifle often while firing many shots.
    A few shots now and then are all I my wimpy shoulder can tolerate from these heavy hitters, before the flinching begins to raise it's ugly head.

    Therefore, unless I was a PH sorting out client's mistakes on elephant or, if I was a Game Control Ranger, who planned to do a lot of elephant culling, (and I had a tougher shoulder) I would instead definitely get the .450/400 Nitro 3 inch.
    And actually, you could probably do a lot worse than a .450/400 for the above dangerous tasks as well.
    The .450/400 reportedly hits the target with plenty of power and with solids, by reputation will penetrate as well as most any other dangerous game cartridge and better than some, when they are loaded with comparably constructed solids.

    I have found that recoil from this cartridge with 400 grain bullet is comparable to the .375 H&H with 300 grain bullet.
    The .450/400 might generate a little bit more recoil than the .375 but, I personally cannot tell the difference.
    Perhaps this is because the .375, although shooting a lighter bullet, nonetheless fires it at about 400+ feet per second faster, therefore generating comparable felt recoil, at least that's my theory as to why they seem to recoil about the same for me.
    Anyway, even though .470 ammunition is likely going to be more available in Africa until further notice, thankfully the .450/400 is gaining popularity, probably due to the above reasons, combined with the fact that the huge ammunition factory of Hornady, here in the USA has made the .450/400 a standard cartridge of theirs, both in live ammunition and empty brass, as well as loose projectiles, for hand-loading at home.
    (A word of caution though, there are tougher bullets than Hornady available today, for this excellent cartridge).

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016

  4. soumya sarkar

    soumya sarkar AH Member

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    Thank you Velo Dog for your great advice, you have summed it up very well! I'm not sure how much it matters I'm a big guy 6'1" 225 pounds so probably my heft may balance the recoil little :).
    Moving on to a brand for doubles (british are out of my reach) I'm considering a Heym but have not discounted any others totally either like Merkel, Krieghoff. Any advice on this will be much appreciated.
     
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  5. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Elite

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    welcome to AH , my advice would be a little different, IMHO a double rifle should not be your first big bore rifle . I would begin with a 375 h&h , a bolt action rifle is made to fit a scope and carries a scope better than a double , doubles are mainly designed to be used open sights ,a bolt action with a scope is far more versatile than a double rifle .

    don't get me wrong doubles are fantastic, I own a 470 NE but I think you would be better suited with a good quality bolt action rifle with a proper scope .

    good luck .
     

  6. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    450/400, no contest.

    As for recoil, bigger guys (among which I am one) actually get hit harder (their mass providing more resistance to motion...in other words, they don't so readily roll with it).
     

  7. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    No worries soumya sarkar,

    Yes, I agree that due to your physical characteristics, you likely will find the .470 recoil to be very manageable.
    My observations of people who tolerate truly heavy recoil (approximately .458 Lott and upwards) and those who have less tolerance of it, has led me to conclude almost the opposite of the common belief on this subject.
    In other words, I have noticed that rather tall men, with a reasonably healthy level of physical fitness, generally can take a punch much better than slight of build skinny little guys can.
    Also there are generally wimpy fellows like me who, are neither short and skinny, nor particularly tall and fit but, who either are cursed with too many blood vessels near the surface or perhaps have suffered major shoulder surgery and so, cannot handle especially heavy recoil, without turning a very painful purple, after only a relatively few shots from the truly hard kickers, where the rifle butt rests in the normal firing position.

    Well any way, I read that you have experience with a paradox gun ... I love those things and I hope I get the chance to own and hunt with a vintage one some day.
    So far, I have owned only 4 double rifles and have only hunted with two of those but, I have had the great privilege to fire quite a few, belonging to the growing numbers of double rifle owners here where I live.
    So, I have some ideas about double rifle makers but, I am admittedly not an expert, only a beginner who is working toward becoming more knowledgeable and experienced with them.
    That being said, my first double rifle was a Merkel side by side ("SxS") in .375 H&H and it was not too bad, despite it's one annoying quirk.
    It had one chamber or throat too tight, as the right side barrel always showed seriously flattened primers and occasionally pierced primers, with the factory ammunition it was regulated with, according to the paperwork that Merkel sent with the rifle, but it was accurate.
    I had bought it brand new from the USA Importer/Distributer for Merkel products.
    I wanted it scoped in the folly of my youth (I was about 49 or 50 years young back then) so, I sent it to Champlin Arms here in the USA, for claw mounts and re-regulation to my favorite .375 H&H load of 300 grain round nose bullet at 2400 feet per second.

    All turned out very well after that and I shot 9 various African "plains game" animals with same, including one that I had only dreamed of for many years.
    The taking of a warthog with a double rifle, doesn't sound like much but, for me it was important and I still cherish that memory (150 yards, quartering toward me, I shot standing from the sticks and put the 300 grainer round nose soft spot on his shoulder.
    It broke the shoulder and crossed through, never swerving off course and exited his opposite side, at or near the last rib.
    There was hardly any meat destruction, compared to high velocity calibers but, it literally knocked him over so fast that, when I recovered from what little recoil that rifle and load generated, all I could see were his hooves sticking up through the grass toward the sky.

    I sold it and bought an Army & Navy .450 No2 NE with outside hammers.
    With it, I shot my one and only buffalo so far (another extremely important "milestone" in my life), plus plains game.
    That was a very fine rifle but a bit heavy to carry all day (a little over 12 pounds) but very tolerable recoil and it was shockingly accurate as well.
    Eventually sold that one as well and now have a 1980's vintage Heym 88B with 25.5" ejector barrels, caliber .458 Winchester.
    I would rather it was chambered in a proper "flanged" Nitro caliber but, I saved about $4,000.US on the price, compared to the same model in a flanged caliber (at the time there were more than one or two Heym 88B rifles on the Used Market (www.gunsinternational.com) here in the States.
    I have shot it quite a bit (unfortunately only at paper targets so far) and it has not failed to eject the empties, or malfunction in any other way either.

    Finally getting to the point, for a double rifle under about $20,000. US dollars new, the best one in my opinion is the Heym "PH Model" (less fancy Model 88B).
    If I were buying a new one, I would order it with 26" ejector barrels, in .450/400 Nitro 3" and ask for a slightly above average size white bead on my front sight.
    That being said, both the Verney Carron and the Chapui are quite good double rifles, for under "$15,000.US (their basic models, not their "Bespoke" models, as those can get very expensive indeed, same for Heym or any maker's higher grade double rifles).

    The other double rifle of the 4 I had owned was a Henry Adkin SxS with outside hammers, in ".275 Flanged NE" ("7x57R" or 7x57 Rimmed) and it was accurate but I had only shot paper targets with it when I decided to sell it to help pay for another Safari (priorities you know).

    At the end of the day, even though I prefer Heym within my income restraints, otherwise, I would be ranting about Westley Richards Drop Lock double rifles instead (my personal favorite of the famous makers and models that I cannot afford), I would be happy enough with VC, Chapui or Merkel, especially if any of them would make a .450/400 with 26" ejector barrels and spare 26" ejector barrels in .303 British for a lowly working man's affordable price.
    I wonder how many potential sales Merkel has missed because they do not offer longer than 23.6" barrels on any except their special order / much higher priced models (essentially custom made to the purchaser's specifications and priced accordingly - but what do I know?).

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     

  8. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    The 416 Ruger come to mind!
     
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  9. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    The 416 Ruger is the modern day 450/400 (400 grains at 2,250 fps, in a 20 inch barrel...plenty of bite in a supremely handy package).
     
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  10. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    It will do the trick! Wonder how well it would do on rhino.
     

  11. stug

    stug AH Fanatic

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    Only one way to find out!
     

  12. soumya sarkar

    soumya sarkar AH Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to elaborate the reasons behind your liking and I value it all the more as it is coming from someone who has real time experience with them.

    You have almost swayed me into the 450/400 3" caliber even though I have always cherished a true big bore, but at the same time I understand and do not want to get to a situation where I buy it (470 NE ) and then dont know what to do with it...

    Yes my eyes are trained on the Heym PH, there is an used one 26" barrels at gunbroker along with a 20 gauge shotgun..

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=556880211#PIC

    Cheers!
     
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  13. soumya sarkar

    soumya sarkar AH Member

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    Interesting advice, I will take this into consideration,,, so a bolt action 375 first and then move on to doubles!
     
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  14. soumya sarkar

    soumya sarkar AH Member

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    Probably true, but this is not my cup of tea! Sorry
     

  15. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Legend

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    If you love hunting and you're limited on how many guns you can bring on safari, I really suggest you buy the 20 gauge barrels for whichever gun you choose. African bird hunting is an integral piece of the full Africa experience.

    Both calibers are excellent, the 470 perhaps more versatile.

    And incidentally, I hadn't owned a magnum magazine rifle ever until about 48 hours ago. I've shot single shots and double guns exclusively most of my life with no detriment. You just don't get to take 200 yard pokes with a DR but that's okay. If that's really important, get a bolt gun. Only reason I have a bolt gun is to brain a hippo this trip.
     
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  16. soumya sarkar

    soumya sarkar AH Member

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    Yep, agree, I'm not really into long distance hunting when in Africa, other places may be a different story. Obviously firing a 200 yarder with ot without scope doesnt seem to ineterest me as much as close action shots.
     
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  17. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I use 404Jeffery but 450/400Jeffery is my dream.
    Witold
     

  18. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Legend

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    Then definitely get the double! Peoples first informed inclination is usual correct and that was yours. You understand the strengths and weaknesses of doubles so your preferences are reasonable.

    I'd definitely suggest a vintage British double if you can afford and you don't need factory ammo or 20 gauge barrels. Non-Brit doubles are like boats....they go down in value usually should you sell it.
     

  19. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    It'd do just fine.
     
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  20. soumya sarkar

    soumya sarkar AH Member

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    Very good thought regarding British guns. I do not know enough about a dbl to be able to figure out the condition the gun is in, and may end up in a wild goose chase. But I do agree with you regarding provenance and market value.
     
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