Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by soumya sarkar, May 6, 2016.
.470 for elephant and rhino. No question.
Everything else with the 450/400.
Hello again soumya sarkar,
Admittedly, aesthetics play an important part in why I prefer 26 inch barrels on doubles, as is resale value.
Double rifles with 24" barrels (many are actually 23.something inches) are very common on the ones that people like me can afford.
However, the main reason is that well made doubles (and single shots) with 26" barrels generally seem to fit me well and also balance for me very well.
Similarly, I prefer approximately 23 to 24" barrels on my bolt action rifles.
It might be that your individual height and your individual build will determine that some other dimensions will be more to your liking.
Perhaps so, perhaps not but it is a good thing to handle as many different doubles as possible prior to buying one.
Incidentally, the double I used to shoot that buffalo shown in my avatar actually had 28" barrels and weighed a little over 12 pounds (Army & Navy .450 No2 NE).
But it balanced very well and in spite of being in my late 50's back then, I carried it in comfort, for the majority of the 19 days I spent in Africa that time, no doubt due to its excellent balance.
Had I kept that rifle, I never would have considered getting it sawed off any shorter, for fear that it might ruin the balance.
Certainly, there must be some bespoke double rifles and shotguns alike, carefully made by hand, with original 24" barrels (or perhaps even shorter) that, would balance perfectly for me.
However so far, ones with approximately 26" barrels have been the ones that seem to handle best for me.
As for splinter versus beavertail fore end, it is my preference when shooting double rifles that have very much recoil, to grip the barrels tightly with my support hand and thereby, I pull the rifle in tight to my shoulder, my trigger hand remaining a bit more relaxed for the shot or shots.
A "beavertail" forend makes this style of shooting less convenient.
So, in essence both the barrell length and splinter forend does factor in terms of functionality/fit. The barrell length helps more towards balance, aesthetics and the forend in the grasp.
Ofcourse this is personal or could be based on once style of shooting, dimensions as they say no one size fits all.
Thank you very much.
I do agree with Velo on the splinter, I shoot my double the way he describe....you grab the barrels firmly with you support hand in front of the fore-end. This give you better control in swinging a heavy rifle and secures it firmly into your shoulder...that shooting a double Elmer Keith style..
Interesting I looked at Elmer Keith's collection that was auctioned and it seems all of his doubles has splinters ..
Heym makes a larger action as an option, this is also newer more broad and slightly different design. Helps with the recoil due to its weight factor. Anyone has any experience with this?
Hello, I would like to add my thoughts about 450-400 versus .470. As a licensed Zimbabwe PH who has had extensive use with both, I would like to give this advice the .450-400 is a very nice rifle to shoot (and master). Penetration is excellent, although just marginal for elephant. With the correct bullet such as woodleighs soft or solids in a quality rifle such as the Heym 88 or the new 99 you will not be underguned. My wife who is a Zimbabwe learner PH uses a Heym 88 with Hornady cartridges and has taken elephant, buffalo, hippo. She does feel it is time for her to move up to .470 & it will be either the 88 or 99 Heym. My carry double is a pre war George Gibbs in .470 a magnificent rifle that has done it all. I also own a pre war .450-400 3" Westley Richards. At the end of the day for a sport hunter coming to Africa for a dangerous game safari you cannot go wrong with the .450-400, but before you come practice, practice, practice, which will be much more pleasant with the .450-400 3". Cheers, Tokoloshe
The reason for the splinter forend is that it places the barrels in contact with the leading hand, thus keeping the hands on the same plane relative to the axis of the bores. This is important for managing (pointing) the rifle in an instinctive manner.
Try something sometime instinctively try to point at a flying bird with your fist. Then try the same thing with you index finger, I'm sure you will find that the finger is much more accurate. The same thing holds true on a splinter or a beavertail forend using the index finger along side of either will give you more pointability. The problem comes in with heavy recoiling doubles you need all four fingers and a thumb wraped around the forend. I can shoot my .450-400 with the index finger alongside of the forend, but not my .470.
Yeah, the big ones not only push back but, especially given the SxS configuration, torque pretty severely.
A nice 450 NE 3 1/4 is also a good option...
I hope to find out in the next few years. That is unless I wind up with a double gun!
Yep you have to get back over there and use the 416!
I have a VC Azur PH in .450-400. I bought the rifle as I always wanted a high end hand made rifle in an African caliber. I had a choice between the .450-400 and a .470. I will never use it in Africa but do shoot it locally and will hunt with it when the weather is nice. I find the recoil from my 10.5 lb rifle feels like a 12 gauge shooting a heavy load. I wear a shoulder pad when I go hunting rogue tree stumps as it greatly extends my shooting day. The .470 has substantially great recoil, and as I didn’t need it’s extra power, I went with the .450-400. No regrets what so ever and the VC is a beautifully made rifle. 24” barrels and perfect balance.
56 ft lbs of recoil from a 450/400 versus 68 ft lbs of recoil from a 470 isn’t trivial, but it’s an 18% increase in recoil and more than 18% more effective on dangerous game, hence why its preferred for elephant, hippo, etc.
Probably a total gimmick and irrelevant for safety, stability, and recoil. However, it could be profoundly useful if it enlarged the wrist and adds more wood at the head of the stock for prevention of broken stocks. That could make it a prudent investment for a professional that is hard on his gear.
According to the recoil chart, 56 ft.lbs. For a 450/400 would be an 8.5 to 9 lb rifle. Shoot it out of a 10.5 lb double and it’s around 40 ft.lbs. Very manageable.
In such a gun it would be, a 375H&H is around 38lbs thus the 450/400NE at 2150 with a 400gr in a 10.5lb gun would act not that different. But would one want to own a 10.5lb 450/400 built on a 500NE/577NE frame? The verdict is less than complete on that question, certainly the value/saleability of such a gun would be questionable if trying to displace it at a later date.
A proper fitting double (or bolt/single-shot) will lessen recoil, or allow you to handle it, much better than an ill fitting one. I own a .450 No2, .475 No.2 and 450-400 3 1/4. I have owned a WR .500 but found that the .475 No.2 is a more pleasant caliber for me. The buttstocks were made to fit me so it was not a matter of poor stock fit that dissuaded me from the .500. The 450-400 3 1/4 or 3 inch version are adequate for ele. More ele have probably been taken with .375 than all other calibers. Not recommended. I have only taken two ele's and both with frontal brain and .475 No2's. However, I would not hesitate, not for one minute, to use a 450-400 on ele. Just practice....a lot. Do 25 yard drills into 3 inch circles off-hand with 2 shots in 2 seconds or under. When both shots are about 1-2 inches apart at that distance and speed move to the 50 yards and a 4 inch circle keeping the shots with in 3 inches or less. I have two paradox guns, one in 16 bore and another in 12 bore. The 12 bore is about equal to the recoil of my 450-400 and so it is a great gun to practice with as it is cheaper to shoot. I load for it with black powder.
I love hammer doubles but only have one now in .450 No2. If you want an English double in .450-400 or larger caliber go on the hunt at auctions and smaller dealers who have a good reputation. I have purchased, and will continue to do so, at auctions in the $10,000 range. My WR hammer .500 (in perfect shape with almost new bores) cost me $8,000.00. You can easily purchase a great English boxlock double under $15,000 if you do your home work. Don't shy away from a hammer double but be cautioned, they can be highly addictive! The 450-400 3 1/4's are generally cheaper than the 3 inch version but not by much. Good hunting my friend.
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