.500 or .577 for Next Double?

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by frog stealer, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Greetings all...I’ve decided I “need” a double rifle to complete the heavy side of my gun collection. While I save up over the next year to purchase one, I have a few questions for those of you with experience with the .577 and .500 calibers. Originally, I settled on an 11 pound 500. About the same calculated recoil as a .470. However, same with many others it seems, the .577 has caught my interest.

    I’ve already decided that Verney-Carron will be building my next rifle (the bone charcoal case colors and ability to build to my specs won me over), and if I order a .577, it will weigh around 14 lbs. That equates to about 20% more recoil than a 500. I understand this amount of recoil will be a lot to take on at first, but I’m willing to work at it. My experience with heavy rifles maxes out at a fully loaded 416 Remington, which was a lot for me at first but eventually through practice I got used to the rifle and could shoot it well, taking an excellent eland bull with it on my last trip to the RSA.

    All this being said, anyone with experience please chime in. Should I leave this caliber to the professionals in Africa, or can this caliber be mastered with lots of practice?

    Primary reasons for spending the extra money on the caliber is because I think it is historically “cool”, and I reload so ammo cost is less of a concern.

    With either caliber, I plan on hunting Buff, elephant, and hippo.

    Thanks in advance for your opinions!
     
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  2. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    The 500 is obviously plenty of gun but the 577 is an amazing cartridge and one you could no doubt learn to master (although, that said, it might not be a bad idea to pick up an inexpensive Ruger in 458 to get some in-between experience...the rifle could easily be sold after you’ve the new double). Going from the 416 to either the 500 or 577 is a jump.
     
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  3. stug

    stug AH Fanatic

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    I've been reading Taylor's African Rifles and Cartridges. His opinion of the .577 is that it is an absolute thumper, but unless you are a professional ivory hunter you don't need one.
    A .500 would be more useful and nicer to carry after 25 mile walk in down your elephant.
    Taylor said he didn't notice any difference in performance between the .450-.470 class of cartridges.
     
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  4. Redruff

    Redruff AH Enthusiast

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    :whistle:If you’re already thinking 577, then why not go with the grand’ol 600NE:whistle:

    Good luck either way with the new endeavour!

    R.
     
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  5. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Good luck on what ever you choose. Either the 500 or 577 are far to big for me. Since you reload, you can start your training with less than full loads and that should help!
     

  6. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    They are very cool and the stuff of legend- no doubt. I'd love to own a high quality one- but simply can't justify it. And, I just can't get used to the big double rifle. If you have any experience with a SxS shotgun... they are NOT similar at all. The double shotgun is fast and nimble. The big double rifle is big and muzzle heavy and not nimble... my simple opinion. IMO, they are somewhat of a specialty item for a fairly narrow purpose. Primarily a big stopper for two, sure, quick shots. But hey I'm all for anyone who wants one to get one. Like has been posted, if you reload, it's really easy to load those type cartridges down to manageable recoil for practice and fun shooting.
     
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  7. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Thanks to everyone for the replies so far! Totally understandable about the weight of the rifle, but I am still in decent shape, and walking with a few extra pounds won’t kill me, at least not yet! As for the 600NE suggestion, one has to draw the line somewhere! Great advice so far, keep the comments coming!

    Ideally, I would shoot both to compare, but unfortunately, none of my local ranges have either caliber available for rental!
     

  8. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    In this day and age, I can not imagine anyone wanting to truly drag around a 14lb rifle. That is approaching the weight of a crew-served weapon - with emphasis on the word crew. Today a .470 will do anything a .500 0r .577 will do - and do it with far less drama and effort. It will also drive bullets deeper into anything you plan to hunt than the other two rifles. If the intent is to simply own it - then fine - get a .600. But if the intent is to actually hunt a buff or elephant with it, then at some point all that weight is actually hampering your ability to shoot. It is not difficult to imagine a fleeting opportunity twelve plus miles and seven long hours into a hot day that has to be anchored with total accuracy right now.

    I would at least find a .577 and throw it to your shoulder a few times and see how long you can hold minute of elephant brain before fatigue sets in. I am guessing a very small number of seconds. I have fired .577's - including a friend's H&H Royal. The recoil is manageable. It is just that they are pigs as hunting companions - even the Royal had the balance and usability of four feet of pig iron.
     

  9. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Thanks redleg. Do you recall how much that H&H weighed? I’m wondering if a 13 lb .577 would still fit in the “manageable” catagory! That being said, I’m beginning to see the consensus of the group here...for a hunting tool, the .577 may not be the best choice. I wouldn’t want to spend $8k extra for that caliber and find out that it’s cumbersome to the point of uselessness in the field. If the H&H felt like pig iron, I would hate to see what the balance is like of something that costs over a hundred thousand less!
     

  10. stug

    stug AH Fanatic

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    Taylor called the .577 and .600 reserve rifles. His gunbearer carried it until he needed to use it. He personally carried something in the .450 -.470 range.
     
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  11. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I didn't weigh it or ask the question, but it felt only slightly lighter than a M249. And Stug makes an absolutely valid point. The big stoppers were carried by gunbearers until they were needed.

    Curious if you have spent a lot of time over open sights. I am old enough to have grown up on them, but that is ever rarer today. I have several good friends who PH for a living and all will tell you their least favorite sight is a client arriving with a double. They are certain that 90% of those who show up with one are too inexperienced with the rifle specifically, and the effective employment of open sights generally. I am the of the belief that our primary role is to put that first shot as accurately and lethally as possible into a dangerous game animal. When we do that, the opportunity for bad things to follow is very small. Doubles throw that opportunity widow wide open.

    I have shot buffalo with a double. But mine is a scoped S2 Blaser that shoots a MOA first shot and 2 MOA 4-shot groups at 100 meters. It is not a traditional rifle. The Krieghoff is capable of delivering similar accuracy with optical sights.

    And look, I get the mystique. Double rifles are amazing and wonderful things. I would simply urge you to get a caliber that you can use effectively and shoot regularly enough to become truly competent with it. I just think that is very unlikely with a .577.
     

  12. Therack

    Therack AH Enthusiast

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    Fantastic
     

  13. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Thanks again redleg...fortunately for me I grew up hunting deer in southwest MI, so I was forced to use a rifled pump shotgun with open sights. Nowadays, my deer rifle is a M94 with open sights...not going to say I’m 100% with them, but I’m pretty confident inside 100 yds. I also shoot a Garand and M1 carbine on a regular basis, granted both use peep-type sights. I heard they recently discontinued the Blaser S2...you may be able to sell yours for a profit in a couple years! Those have adjustable regulation, correct?
     

  14. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    The S2 was never popular with the gun writer crowd - too different from a traditional double. Blaser built a true late 20th century concept when most double buyers (and writers they read) were looking for nostalgia. The mid-range calibers are indeed adjustable but the heavies are not. I have .375/500-416/and 30-06 barrels. All are scoped and all deliver two to three-inch four-shot groups at 100 meters. I sight in on the right barrel so I know I have a 250 meter capable rifle if required with a second shot still on the general target area (within 4-6 MOA) even way out there.

    Good that you are familiar with open sights. You really are of a member of a vanishing species. And by the way, VC makes a fine rifle. I am sure that you will be pleased with whatever caliber you get.
     

  15. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Very good...thanks again for sharing your experience and recommendations.
     

  16. PaulT

    PaulT AH Elite

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    Frog, I had VC build me a color-case hardened Round-body in .500 ejector and it was an exceptional double.

    My personal experience dealing with VC was seamless and positive.
    From my experience you can deal with them with confidence.
    Jerome listens to customer's wishes, he is a gentleman of the first degree.

    I asked them to build me a .500 the lightest they possibly could.
    It came in at just over 11lbs which, for most people, would be totally fine.
    I even removed all of the lead ballast placed in the but-stock used to balance the gun out, dropping the final "field" weight down to 10lbs 8oz.
    For me, however, it was still way heavier than the bolt-guns that I was used to using, and with options of firearms that were almost 2lbs lighter and so I went back to my bolt-guns.

    The .500, when loaded appropriately, is an absolute HAMMER ! on buffalo.
    I was loading 450gn CEB Safari Raptors at 2450fps and they absolutely shuddered Buffalo to death.

    I'm glad I had an opportunity to shoot a mate's .577 before getting my .500 because even though I could handle it (barely) it proved to be way too much gun for me to;
    a) be bothered to carry on a constant basis (13lbs)
    b) be proficient enough in tight circumstances for backing up clients (back when I was still guiding). The amount of recoil generated slowed me down on successive shots too much.

    If you get a chance to shoot a .577 BEFORE you drop serious coin on it then that would be the ideal scenario.

    Try remember a lot of Elephant and Buffalo hunts involve days and days of continuous tracking in rough terrain, sometimes in excessive heat.

    Best of luck with your purchase and good hunting with it.
     
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  17. IvW

    IvW AH Legend

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    Undoubtedly the 500 NE over the 577 NE.

    VC is a great choice and build super doubles.
     

  18. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Having walked down elephant in oppressive heat (November in Zimbabwe), I whole heatedly concur on keeping the weight down.

    Also keep in mind that as bullet diameter gets larger, penetration can be reduced. There was an excellent study done on this and published. Can't remember where right now. The 500 NE is likely very popular for good reason. But I am intending to zero in on a 470 someday. Or possibly even a 450...
     
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  19. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

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    Frog..unless you plan to do A LOT of elephant hunting (who can these days..), anything over .500NE is probably not needed at all...Both the .577 and .600 for that matter are definitely shootable/controllable. I have shot a .600 that weighed 13,2 lbs...shootable, but because of the heavy recoil your second shot will come later than it should...and then the point of a big double is mostly gone..

    As said, those two rounds was for the ivory hunters and perhaps for PHs who guide a lot on elephant..

    If you really want a thumper then a bolt rifle in .500 Jeffery is a nice option..
     
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  20. matt85

    matt85 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    people have been throwing around the word "need" waaaaaay too much on this thread. given that most of us don't "need" to hunt Africa, i think we should avoid this word as much as possible. i greatly prefer the words "willing" and "able" in this situation.

    are you both willing and able to pack a 14 pound rifle for numerous miles in the hot African sun? are you willing and able to practice on a regular basis with a 577 NE using full loads? if the answer to these questions is "yes" then by all means buy one!

    i was faced with this very question back in 2016 when i was ready to order a double rifle. i ended up choosing the 500 NE because im fat and lazy and dont want to pack a heavy rifle around in the bush. if i was less fat and lazy then i would very likely have picked the 577. the 577 NE is an amazing cartridge with enough history behind it to put the famous 375 H&H and 470 NE to shame. i still dream of having a 577 double made for me and who knows perhaps some day i will.

    -matt
     
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