.500 or .577 for Next Double?

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

  1. cal pappas

    cal pappas CONTRIBUTOR AH Veteran

    May 7, 2015
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    I’m going to chime in here and add my two cents if you don’t mind. I’d like to comment on a few issues.
    1. Thanks for coming to the shoot and I’m pleased it was both enjoyable and educational. All who read this are welcome.

    2. Recoil of large doubles.
    I read in a post above of a fella that thought his shoulder was dislocated upon firing a .577. Nonsense! Either the shooter was a small woman or the rifle weighed five pounds. In all honesty, the recoil is greatly blown out of proportion. When I was researching my book on the .600 I ran into many stories of the recoil and killing power. Some are: the recoil spun me around a half turn, my ears began to bleed, the fillings came loose in my teeth, my shoulder was broken, and how a Cape buffalo did a back flip when hit with a frontal shot. It’s all bullshit, gentlemen. No one, repeat no one, three peat NO ONE known how to build rifles and shotguns as do the British and Scottish. The weights are adjusted in the firearm to accommodate the recoil. For double shotguns, the formula is 96 times the weight of the shot charge, decided by 16. So, for a shotgun firing a one ounce load, the gun should weigh 6 pounds. This formula is found in all of my shotguns with 1, 1 1/8, 1 1/4, 1 1/2, 2 1/2, 3 1/2, and 4 ounce loads (the latter three are 8- and 4-bores). So it is with double rifles. A few years ago I did some calculations on recoil and the article was published in the African Hunter magazine. I’m going from memory now so don’t quote me exactly but you will get the idea. A 9 pound .450-400 will have the same felt recoil (if all else is equal) as a 10-pound .450, an 11-pound .500, a 12 1/2 pound .577 and a 15-pound .600. Everyone who has shot my .600, while it does kick a good bit, mentions how little it was compared to what they have read.

    3. Price and depreciation.
    I’m amazed by folks who save and save to buy a double and who want nothing but an new production. Spend $90,000 on a new Corvette and the price drops each year due to depreciation. Send the same on a 1969 big block and the value increases each year. It’s the same with firearms. Anything new, from the lowest Baikal to the finest Holland Royal will fall in value as it is now a second hand gun and there is competition with all the other new makers and models. Why not buy a vintage double and have a combination of history, much finer workmanship, balance, feel, and the bugs have been worked out over the decades. And, the value will increase over the years as they are not making them any longer. Twenty years ago 4-bores sold for $45,000. The last Holland sold a few months ago for $255,000.

    4. One gent here is looking for a combination rifle and shotgun. I have one but it’s a vintage one from the 1870s and can’t sell it as everyone wants a new one. So, I gave it to a quality antique shop to sell for me. It has everything, two-tiered oak and leather case, every accessory known to man, rifle and shotgun barrels with mint bores and both original, amazing history, etc., Yet, everyone want a new Sabatti with a set of 20 gauge barrels. I can’t figure it out.

    5. New doubles today.
    All are good working guns. Personally I don’t care for the lines and feel of a German double. If I had to pick a new double (outside of English) I would go with a Verney Caron. Very well made for the price and of exceptional quality. And, Jerome and Ken are skookum gents.

    As mentioned, just my two cents.
    Pondoro, Red Leg, BenKK and 2 others like this.

  2. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

    Mar 16, 2015
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    "Yet, everyone want a new Sabatti with a set of 20 gauge barrels. I can’t figure it out." - It's crazy.

    The finest rifle I have ever owned was a M98 done up by G.L. Rasch. It was an absolute gem of a rifle with all the features a person could possibly want. It positively screamed at me from across the shop. The cost? About the same as a stock Remington 700 (a bit north of $400). Why didn't it sell? For one, it was chambered in 8x57J (the original, .318 bore...which Norma did still load at the time, with an excellent 196 grain bullet). It also had claw mounts with proprietary rings (in other words, wouldn't fit the standard dimensions of a modern scope). But, it further had stunning engraving (including gold inlaid lettering, in German), octagonal barrel, butter knife bolt handle, lever release floorplate, horn buttplate, keyed fore end, exquisite checkering, and on, and on. In short, it was a well-executed work of functional art. And yet, it languished, alongside the M700, M70 and M77's of the world. It was the best rifle I've ever bought (and also the best rifle I've ever let go...big mistake).

  3. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

    Dec 3, 2014
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    Norway, Sweden, Namibia and Botswana
    I have to concurr with Cal on two things, german double rifles do nothing for me either...the balance is just plain wrong ie most are front heavy. Perhaps Heym got it right with their new 89 model wich I have not handeled..

    The second is recoil...the recoil of .577 and .600 is nothing to fear if the stock is right and the weight and balance is there. A 13 pound .600 is utter shootable and a 12 pound .577 should be too....though the .577 may be a little faster due to higher velocity..

  4. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

    Aug 29, 2016
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    RSA, Namibia, Germany, Austria, Norway
    ...."to complete the heavy side of my gun collection".... was the intention of the thread starter..... not to hunt what ever... you name it.

    So, .577 will do the job...



  5. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

    Jun 16, 2013
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    Member of:
    NRA endowment member/Life member
    I just saw this relatively old thread. Lots of good info from some experts. I learned a lot. One thing, vastly different from the above, IMO, though: I have rarely, and I mean rarely, found a great deal on high quality used firearms. Reviewing the online auctions extensively, subscribing and closely following James Julia and Sons Auctions (now Morphy Auctions), and attending literally hundreds of gun shows and conventions................rarely see a good, high grade used gun that is not at a premium price. You could quite commonly buy 10 modern cheap bolt rifles for the cost of anything good from yesteryear.......or two or three new doubles (not fromUK)......IMO............your mileage may vary............good shooting.........FW Bill

  6. Bonde

    Bonde AH Member

    Dec 19, 2012
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    Middle of southern Norway
    Member of:
    SCI and NSK
    Norway, Poland, Czeck Republic, Croatia, Canada, Scotland and New Zealand
    Totally agree with Cal on the better value in buying vintage.

    Prices on vintage doubles are somewhat overpriced in the US, from a European point of view. We see Nice guns for sale, that we find too pricey.
    I don’t know when it happen, but americans have surely beeen driving the double rifle craze of late. The aussie kept them avlive for a long time, hunting buff, and you could have them quite cheap down under. No longer...

    The guns I find to be cheaper in US than in Europe is finer drillings (combination gum with three barrels). I have a french Mathelon with double 9,3x74R barrels with a single 20ga under. Superb for driven hunts!
    Red Leg likes this.

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