450/400 or 470 Nitro express

sierraone

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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.
I agree fully with you on the VC, Chapui and Merkel in 450/400, but then you had to throw in the "lowly working man's affordable price" and screwed up the whole narrative! I hope to have one before coming to AK, but it will probably be a bit more than the LWMAP!!! Agree with the WR also, but we won't even mention prices!!!
 

CTDolan

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This is what got me into gunmaking. I couldn't afford what I respected and admired, and so decided to make my own. And it's payed dividends, way beyond what a decent British double would've, had I simply bought one of those instead.

That said, though, with a bit of knowledge and some patience, a deal can still be had. I've seen very nice and well-maintained British boxlock double rifles go for shockingly low prices (given all that went into their creation).
 

soumya sarkar

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I'm still open on brand even though Heym and old British doubles certainly has my interest. Of late I have been reading a lot of positive reviews on the Verney Carron Azure and it seems to be avery good rifle as well.
Anyone here own one and can share their thoughts?
 

bassasdaindia

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my brands of choice ( not in any order ) would be :
Heym
VC
Merkel

although I own a Merkel in .470 , the Heym was my first choice .
 

bassasdaindia

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price , I regard Merkel as the best value for money double , however if pricing wasn't an issue Heym would of been my preferred choice . The Heym was almost double the price of the Merkel , the Mekel has ejectors and the Heym was without ejectors .
 

DUGABOY1

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The choice between a double rifle and a bolt rifle is a matter of choice. The choice of chambering for that rifle is also a choice, and though the 375H&H is legal in most jurisdictions in Africa for the big bite backs, it is NOT a big bore but is the top end of the medium bores, big bore begins at .400 cal. And that is the bottom of the big bores.

However for a person not used to heavy recoil, the 375 H&H is a fine choice for that use. The only one shot kills I’ve had on cape buffalo have been with a 375H&H with a 300 gr Nosler partitions bullet. So the 375H&H is a fine buffalo cartridge with good bullet placement. In a good CRF bolt rifle with good quality iron sights, and a scope in the 1 to 4 or 2 to 6 power mounted in quality quick detach rings and bases that will return to zero every time it is removed and re- mounted, will serve you well.

That being said, there is no reason a double rifle is not as good choice as any bolt rifle for hunting anything up to and including Cape buffalo chambered for 375H&H flanged or larger. The 450-400NE 3 inch in a double rifle properly weighted will actually develop less felt recoil than a 375 H&H in a bolt rifle. The double will be faster for two Aimed shots than any bolt rifle, when it really counts.

Of course price is an unavoidable reality, and we all have to live within our means. However on the practical side besides being cheaper it is easier to learn to shoot a scoped bolt rifle for a person who has no experience with shooting a double rifle. However the double you buy will be more valuable the longer you own it, if it is cared for properly.


What ever you decide to buy, I say the main thing is to enjoy a good safari with it.

(y) Mac
 

soumya sarkar

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Wow great thought, agree completely, we are debating choices and preferences knowing one size does not fit all! Having said that this will be my first double, towards fulfilling a passion. A dream long held to hunt in Africa some day possibly in the near future. I will not hunt a elephant, lion or a big cat, but a cape and hippo is in my list... Because of many reasons this could be my first and last trip to Africa so I intend to make the best out of it...does this change anything all you and others have said, possibly not but I'm sure your thoughts will have a big bearing on whatever rifle I choose to own..
 

DUGABOY1

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I bought it brand new , it still sits in the box in my safe , unused and still brand new .

I too have a couple of Merkel double rifles. Mine are the older shoe lump doubles rater than the mono-block versions they make today. I have a 140E -1 chambered for 9.3X74R with double triggers, ejectors and set trigger on the right barrel. It weighs 8.3 pounds with 24 inch barrels and came with an auto safety that has been disengaged. I had a decellarator pad installed. The other one is a 140-2 Safari 470NE with extractors and 24 inch barrels and a manual safety. It weighs 11-2 pounds and has a Kick-EZE pad. Both are trouble free and are very well regulated and accurate to the irons as installed by the maker.
These two rifles have become my favorite doubles even for hunting deer and wild hogs here in the USA. As noted above they are value for money expended.
 

DUGABOY1

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Wow great thought, agree completely, we are debating choices and preferences knowing one size does not fit all! Having said that this will be my first double, towards fulfilling a passion. A dream long held to hunt in Africa some day possibly in the near future. I will not hunt a elephant, lion or a big cat, but a cape and hippo is in my list... Because of many reasons this could be my first and last trip to Africa so I intend to make the best out of it...does this change anything all you and others have said, possibly not but I'm sure your thoughts will have a big bearing on whatever rifle I choose to own..

I say simply because this may be your first and last trip to Africa, I would back my ears and buy a double and do it right! However that is just me!
Even if you want to regain some of the money spent of this "ONCE in a LIFETIME" safari you can always sell the double when you return. My Merkel 470NE Safari was bought from a man who bought it and took it to Africa two times and took two elephants and three cape buffalo, then sold the rifle to me. He has been back to Africa many times but the double was his dream elephant rifle, and all other trips he has used his bolt rifles. I've had this 470NE Merkel for over ten years now, and it is going nowhere without me tagging along!:LOL:
You only live once so my idea it to live it too the hilt!.........................(y)Mac
 

soumya sarkar

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You have summed it up very well! I plan to do it right the right way within my means. Looks like you really like your double dont you, thats what I would like to have, something that I adore and look forward to using every day. I do not unless un forseen circumstances arise to sell it off and maybe pass it it on to the new generation.. If I may ask why did you choose the 47o caliber was it a matter of personal choice or there is more to it?
I plan to drive down to Dallas some day and test out the 450/400 and 470 at Heym USA, will sure be interesting..
 

DUGABOY1

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You have summed it up very well! I plan to do it right the right way within my means. Looks like you really like your double dont you, thats what I would like to have, something that I adore and look forward to using every day. I do not unless un forseen circumstances arise to sell it off and maybe pass it it on to the new generation.. If I may ask why did you choose the 47o caliber was it a matter of personal choice or there is more to it?
I plan to drive down to Dallas some day and test out the 450/400 and 470 at Heym USA, will sure be interesting..

The reason I bought the 470NE Merkel is that was the cartridge it was chambered for and the owner offered it to me at a price I couldn't turn down. At that time the 470NE was the largest chambering they had, then shortly after I bought it Merkel started chambering the same rifle for the 500NE. If I were buying new that is the chambering I would buy.

I have seven double rifles but the two Merkels are the ones I use the most. My favorite chamberings are the 500NE, 470NE, 450-400NE 3 inch, and 375H&H flanged mag. I also have two 9.3X74r double rifles one is a Side by side, and one is a Over Under. I have a Westley Richards 500-450#1 Express, a Kodiak 458 RCBS hammer double and a double 58Cal cap-lock muzzleloader. H.Berrela 16 ga- 8X57JR, cape gun and V. Haffner 20 ga-58 Berdan, cape gun, a .22lr over a 20 ga . So! I can always find something to hunt with without using a bolt rifle!:LOL:
 

soumya sarkar

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Alright, you have generated more curiosity.Why would you choose the 500 over the 470 or 450/400 ? Isn't this a big too much for anything other than a elephant?
2nd the recoil factor seems to be more than the 470 granted it packs more punch/stopping power.
 

YankeeHunter

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OK you double gun guys, I'm anxious to hear your opinions and advice also. Welcome to our site Soumya!
I have and thoroughly enjoy a Jeffrey double rifle (1909) in .450/.400. I've successfully used it on Cape Buffalo. Prior to the introduction of the .375 H & H, the .450/.400 was the most popular cartridge for African hunting (see Taylor, African Rifles and Cartridges). I've also fired most doubles, all the way up to and including the .700. If you can find any reasonably priced double, for which there's ammo, go with it.
 

DUGABOY1

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Alright, you have generated more curiosity.Why would you choose the 500 over the 470 or 450/400 ? Isn't this a big too much for anything other than a elephant?
2nd the recoil factor seems to be more than the 470 granted it packs more punch/stopping power.

Sarkar, the 500NE is not that much larger than the 470NE. However you are correct it does have more punch and stopping power. It is good for elephant but then so is the 470NE, and either one is head and shoulders above the 450-400 NE for anything you would likely have a run-in with in the African bush.
The 450-400NE is a wonderful little cartridge but cannot compare to either of the two we are discussing. The 450-400 NE is the bottom of the barrel in big bore double rifle being the big bore starts at .400 cal.
Make no mistake the 450-400NE can and has killed many elephants over the last century, but then the 7mm Mauser has as well, but that doesn't make it an elephant or cape buffalo stopper any more than the 450-400NE.

The stoppers start at .450 cal on the bottom and stops at the 600NE on top in todays double rifle cartridges.

IMO, anything above the 500NE is not needed for a stopping double, and is the top of the stopping calibers that can be placed in a double rifle that can be carried all day in the African heat and still is light enough to make it easy to shoot well when tired from am 15 Kilometer walk on spoor. In the case of the Merkel 500NE double it is actually lighter than the same make chambered for the 470NE but packs a bunch of stopping power over the 470NE.
Peter Capstick was fond of the old PHs saying, "Once a cape buffalo starts a concentrated charge, you will have to kill him or he will surely kill you! " In that situation I want all the stopping power I can muster, and stay on my feet till the buff is turned or down for the count. I do it with a 500-450 or the 470NE but would rather have the 500NE for the extra fpe the extra 70 grs of bullet weight generates.
Don't get me wrong, there is no flies on the 470NE, but the 500NE simply a better stopping chambering, but as far as double rifles go the 500NE is a mid chambering and in a rifle that can be carried all day it is king, being actually lighter then the 470NE in most cases, while the larger chamberings need wheels and 4x4 to tow them.
I like to carry my own rifle, because you never know what is behind the next bush, and I don't relish seeing my rifle flee in the hands of the tracker who is carrying it when the SHTF!:eek:
 

DUGABOY1

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I have and thoroughly enjoy a Jeffrey double rifle (1909) in .450/.400. I've successfully used it on Cape Buffalo. Prior to the introduction of the .375 H & H, the .450/.400 was the most popular cartridge for African hunting (see Taylor, African Rifles and Cartridges). I've also fired most doubles, all the way up to and including the .700. If you can find any reasonably priced double, for which there's ammo, go with it.

Don't get me wrong YankeeH, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with w 450-400NE 3 in. just that it is not in the class with the 470NE and 500NE.
I had a fine Army& Navy 450-400 NE 3 inch a few years ago, and wish I still had it today. I love the cartridge, but am not unaware of its capabilities. I too have taken Buffalo with that round, and with proper bullet placement, it will give a yeoman's job of work on just about anything walking. However once a buff gets it's adrenaline up after being punched in the wrong place it is a little light. As I said earlier many elephant and buffalo have been taken with that chambering that fact doesn't mean it is a real stopper!
..........................................(y) As long as a rifle has two barrels I like it no matter the chambering!
.............................................................Mac :Joyful:
 

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