.500 or .577 for Next Double?

frog stealer

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Thanks to all again for the recent posts! At this point, having never fired a double before, I may stick to a lighter (comparatively) caliber at first. I typically avoid the standard calibers that everyone else has, so instead of going with a 470, I may go with a 450, just to be different. I’d also like to avoid the 450/400 as I will be receiving a new M70 Safari Express from my gunsmith in a few months that has been rechambered from .375 to .404 Jeff, which is about identical to the 450/400 in performance.

I just purchased my second Pedersoli Kodiak double, a newer mkIV version in 58 cal, so that should hold me over until next year. I’ve found that these guns are very close to the factory claims of 60 to 70 yard regulation!

Matt85, I like your post! Typically, when I want something, the desire to obtain it never goes away...I’m very sure that I will eventually own a .577, and will put the time in to get proficient with it. I’m not in the greatest shape compared to what I was 10 years ago (my 6 month old makes it hard to work out on a consistent basis), but in order to use a gun like that in Africa to take dangerous game, I’m willing to get in better shape to carry around that extra weight and enjoy the experience!
 

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Preston,
I have to agree with Matt here. The .577, although not doubting its performance, is not a comfortable rifle, and I would advise you to go to a store that will have both lying side by side. Pick them up, and swing them around and feel the difference. It is bulky, heavy and in my opinion, just not the way to go. Don't get me wrong, it is a beast. I shoot a .500 Nitro double rifle, and picked up a .577 the other day. There is a big difference in weight to the .500NE , and also the size of the barrels, make it a very uncomfortable tool to handle.
I like my double to be mobile, to be able to swing it fast and stick it up anything's nose if I need to, and need to do it in a split second. My .500 sits at 10.5 lbs, and walking after Buffalo for days, it gets difficult. Shoulders get sore from carrying. I don't have a gun bearer, so I can't even imagine what it must be like to carry a 14lbs rifle....and I'm in hunting shape.

Good luck. I sat with the same choice about two years ago, and pleased that I went the way I did.
 

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You never need to justify a hobby or an interest. If a .577 spins your wheels, then go for it! I sure would if I could afford it, and I killed something like fifty buffalo with my double .500NE before I sold it. If I had the coin I would love to lug a .577 or .600 double around. It’s about fun, and to me that would be fun.
 

Bos en Dal SAFARIS

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I am no expert on the big rifles but i once shot a .577 and it hurt. I cant imagine throwing 5-10 bullets down the range to practise with it. (Maybe i am just a bit soft)
I have also shot both 500jeff and .505gibbs which was a lot more manageable and i am sure will still get the job done. Just my opinion. But there was already some great advise on this topic. Good luck with your choice.
My best
 

frog stealer

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Was reading "African Rifles and Cartridges" this morning by John Taylor this morning while taking care of my 7-month old sun...he seemed to like the .577 cartridge...said it is great for jumbo, rhino, and buff but far too powerful for anything smaller. He recommended that it be used as a "secondary" rifle due to the weight. Just picked up 15 lbs of steel plate and walked around the house with it...yeah, I could probably carry it around for a day with a sling on my shoulder, but day after day of hunting in the hot sun? Hmmm...might have to think twice about that!

Might be a useful tool for hunting big/dangerous game and not having to walk in the hot sun day in and day out. Look at me, I'm trying to convince myself by posting in a forum. It's a sickness I tell you!

Still, the desire to own one is there, and I'm not sure I'll be able to shake it! Wish knew someone local that had one and could test fire it!
 

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Buy a nice 470 Double, with engravings of buffalo, rhino, and elephant, or even all the big 5. Shoot it a few times to get accustomed to a larger double rifle. Maybe even take it on one hunt... but please be careful not to scratch it too bad.

Then sell it to me at a huge loss and buy the 577;)
 

matt85

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if you do decide to get a 577 then i strongly recommend looking into Verney Carron. i swear they can make a 14 pound gun feel like its 11 pounds! ive handled a 600 made by them and it felt so good in the hands i almost bought the dang thing on the spot.

if you want to get a feel for bigger guns you should attend some of the big bore shoots around the country. Cal Pappas holds fantastic shoots on a semi regular basis in AK, the next one is in May. the trip to AK is a bit long but you will be hard pressed to find as many fine large bore double rifles available to shoot any where else. i will be bringing a Heym model 89 in 500 NE which you are welcome to shoot. shoot me a PM if your interested and i will put you in touch with Cal.

-matt
 

frog stealer

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Matt, the V-C is what I’m thinking. I don’t know of any other maker that would be in my price range.

Thanks for the heads up on the big bore shoot! Sounds like a great time to me.
 

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I found the .500 WR I owned too much in the recoil department as the rifle was not fitted to me. I found the .475 No. 2 much easier to handle and it penetrated 44 inches on the bull ele and 41 inches on the tuskless with 480 grain Woodleighs. That was all the penetration I needed. I agree that the 450 class probably has deeper penetration than the larger 577 and 600 bores.

However, the "cool" factor is something I take into consideration. I love hammer doubles and they are my "cool" factor gun. By all means, if you favor a .577 then go for it. I played with Jerome's .577 VC at his booth. Tremendous guns and he is a joy to visit with. I also handled his .700 (with which he had a French TV film crew film a 22 minute segment for French TV hunting buff) I think you can see the abbreviated version of 12 minutes on YouTube. The great thing is that you are getting a double and joining the fraternity. It is addictive, however.
 

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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!

Hi frog stealer

I own both a .500 and a .577 made by Verney Carron, and although I absolutely love both, the .577 is my favorite. Maybe because I hunt a lot of elephants, but I just love the cartridge.
As a matter of interest, I have used it on plains game from the size of mountain reedbuck up to eland as well, and obviously it works for that also if you can get close enough. (I have more time o do this and I like the added challenge, plus wanted to test my proficiency with the heavier gun, so its not a general recommendation as a plains game gun...:)
You cannot go wrong with either one, but as you said, the "cool" factor on the .577 is definitely higher!
 

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Forgot to mention, my .577 weighs around 13 lbs. I have carried it many hot miles, and the only time I prefer to take a "lighter" gun, is when we go onto a boat or into the reeds, where I normally take my .450 Rigby bolt gun.
I have never had penetration issues with the flat nose Barnes (750gr) or the FN Peregrine solids (700gr). In fact, it outpenetrated 2 seperate .500s with Woodleigh hydro solids.
 

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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
-matt

I beg to differ, I do “need” to hunt Africa and I do “need” to buy more guns
 

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The 470 NE is such a classic cartridge and will give excellent service in the field. Like some others have mentioned carrying a very heavy gun around in the field for miles is not something I would look forward to doing. An eight pound bolt action over the course of a Day was plenty of work.
I have acquired a Merkel 470 NE and I am very happy with it so far.

@matt85 s spot on in that the purchase of a rifle has nothing much to do with need if your not a professional hunter. I5 really boils down to what you want. If you get the 577 then make sure you contract for someone to carry it for you on your next hunt.
 

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Haha, that sounds like a plan to me...at least give me 50% of what I paid!
Deal, as long as you get the right model, proper DG engraving;)

This is how it is supposed to work you know :D
 

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Have a young friend with a George Gibb 577, I have held it but never shot it. Weighs 13 pounds. He is a solid young man who was a college athlete. First time he shot it he thought he had separated his shoulder. Was going to start hand loading reduced practice loads so it was shootable. As a practical everyday round that is a bit much. Go with the 500.
 

cal pappas

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Talk is...well, talk.
Walking the walk is better. Any and all of you fellas are welcome to our AK shoot on May 5. I will have my .600 there, 2 or 3 nitro .577s will be there. My .500 Wilkes wants to come, too. Bore rifles and bpe in abundance. Howdahs and smaller nitro doubles. Most of the rifles are ventage but a few modern doubles snow up. This a great place for double rifle experience, meet some good gents, and lunch will be provided by a pair of professional chefs.
Need I say more?
Cal
 

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if you do decide to get a 577 then i strongly recommend looking into Verney Carron. i swear they can make a 14 pound gun feel like its 11 pounds! ive handled a 600 made by them and it felt so good in the hands i almost bought the dang thing on the spot.

if you want to get a feel for bigger guns you should attend some of the big bore shoots around the country. Cal Pappas holds fantastic shoots on a semi regular basis in AK, the next one is in May. the trip to AK is a bit long but you will be hard pressed to find as many fine large bore double rifles available to shoot any where else. i will be bringing a Heym model 89 in 500 NE which you are welcome to shoot. shoot me a PM if your interested and i will put you in touch with Cal.

-matt
Hi Matt

My wife (a learner zim ph) is thinking about a Heym 89 .470
She currently shoots a early Heym 88 .450/400. How to you like the 89 Heym?
 

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I have a .500 and I can't imagine toting a heavier double rifle for miles in the African heat.
 

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Good morning all...I figured I would post a followup to this thread. My wife and I attended the Alaska double shoot put on by Cal Pappas two weekends ago, and it was an awesome experience, to say the least! I got to shoot several interesting guns, including a Howda pistol from the late 1800's, several English double rifles, and a few modern German doubles, including a Merkel and Heym 89 (thanks Matt!). After shooting these awesome guns, I've come up with the following determinations:
  • Shot very light German 450 NE (guessing it weighed 8 or 9 lbs?), recoil was very fast, but not even in the same league as the larger (500 NE +) guns I shot
  • Shooting a 500 and an Army Navy .577 3" side by side, I think the 500 came back a little faster, but not as hard. To me, I think the .577 was slightly more comfortable for me to shoot, but still only a 6 to 10 shot per sitting gun
  • There was a tie for the two guns that definitely exceeded my recoil tolerance, those being an under-lever 8 bore (1650 grain bullet at 1500 fps) and Cal's 600 NE. I was good for about 4 shots with that 600, and that was enough! What an awesome rifle though!
The above being said, I think I'm leaning towards the purchase of a .577, but still going back and forth, mostly because the upgrade from standard NE calibers to the .577 costs nearly as much as a buff hunt. At any rate, I will have some time to decide. I'll be attending either DSC or SCI in Reno in January to get fitted at the Verney Carron booth for something, just not sure what!

In the mean time, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for a nice double rifle/shotgun set. Probably will go with a Chapuis in 9.3x74r with 20 gauge shotgun barrels. There is a real nice cased set on Gunsinternational that I've been eyeing lately. One of these should keep my occupied until I can get a big bore double ordered and delivered.

Thanks again to all those who have responded to this post!
 

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