A Double in .458 win?


AH veteran
Jun 30, 2021
Reaction score
USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, Greenland, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Argentina
What are your thoughts on a Double rifle in .458 win? It’s not a classic flanged caliber…

This would be for hunting Elephant and buffalo
Myself I would not own a double that used a rimless cartridge.

I’d gladly own it. @xausa used one of iirc on safari.
If Westley Richards can make a rebated rim reliably function in a double then most makers should be able to get a rimless to work.
I own one and love it. I took it on a plains game hunt last month. Farthest shot was on a wart hog at 249 yards. It’s an extremely versatile cartridge. Do you have your eye on one that’s for sale?
I've seen a Rigby double in .458 Win Mag
I bought my Verney Carron in 375 Flanged to overcome any misgivings about ejector problems and this was strongly advised by Jerome who was with them then. There is very little in the argument of the 375FL being less powerful than the 375H&H and some claim it's 2400fps to be an advantage.
So the ejection issue is why I have been so interested in the Iphisi, but it looks like it is quite fine so far, and as many are saying the modern machining, material etc seem to have overcome the problems with pawl pickup of belted cases.
I like rationalizing issues on the basis of probability: the chances of you needing a rapid reload coinciding with the chances of a failed ejection would be almost zero. Certainly no more than the probability of a failed primer or a jammed case.
Two things negative with this, a non rimmed cartridge in a double rifle for DG is a no-no in my book

And the chamber pressure is not ideal for a break weapon that is inheretly a weaker design than a bolt..
Such rifles were mainly built in the time before the classic big bore cartridges were available again. I saw myself the last one in the eighties. In the meantime, some of this DR have probably been converted to caliber 450 Nitro Express. Nowadays, due to the many cartridges of this caliber class that are available, I see no advantage to have a DR built in caliber 458 Winchester Magnum.
I would personally try to stay away from rimless cartridges (especially high pressure ones like the .458 Winchester Magnum) in a double rifle. In hot African places (like the Kalahari or Zambezi Valley or Rift Valley), these high pressure rimless cartridges tend to frequently get jammed in the breech (caused by the tiny metal pawls overriding the cartridge heads). It actually happened to me once.

When I hunted this Cape buffalo with a Belgian boxlock ejector double rifle (chambered in the rimless .458 Winchester Magnum) in 1978, the extractors failed to remove the expended cartridge cases when I tried to reload after my first two shots. Very scary experience (to put things lightly). Fortunately, the first two shots were enough for the brute and he eventually folded without thinking of charging me or my white hunter.
Buff Double .458.jpeg

That said, a lot of it depends upon the quality of the individual rifle. I was using a no name Belgium made guild gun. Fellow forum member @Mark A Ouellette owns and extensively uses a Heym Model 88B in .458 Winchester Magnum. And he is fortunately yet to experience a problem.
I asked JJ this very question last week.
He says for modern quality DRs it’s a non issue.

More likely is the large groups at 50 yards. Then add adrenaline and groups open more.

I would be more concerned with the poor regulation/accuracy in many DRs
But why insist on a non-rimmed DR round when there are so many double rifles available with excellent cartridges like 450/400, 450, 470 etc. etc..?
What are your thoughts on a Double rifle in .458 win? It’s not a classic flanged caliber…

This would be for hunting Elephant and buffalo
The cartridge will surely do the job. The reason to buy a double in it has to be first price of the rifle being so much less than a similar one in a classic rimmed cartridge. Second to have a wider array of factory ammo available.
Since @Hunter-Habib invited me to this thread, at least he must want to read my thoughts on rimless cartridges in a double rifle…

The classic double rifle is a short-range powerful weapon providing the capability for a very fast second shot at dangerous game. I read long ago how the ivory hunters disliked ejectors because the “ping” of the ejectors firing would let startled elephants know exactly where they were. Those hunters preferred double rifles with extractors allowing the rifles to be tipped upside down and the empty rimmed cartridges would gently fall to the ground. A rimless cartridge will however be held in the extractor even if upside down. If I ever become a market hunter for ivory, I will be sure to use a large caliber double rifle with ejectors. More on this later.

The point about high pressure rimmed cartridges not being suitable for a double rifle is always mentioned. That’s fair enough. If rimmed cartridges generate around 40,000 psi when fired, and rimless generate around 60,000 psi, the higher-pressure cartridges will certainly cause a break action rifle to loosen up faster than the SAME rifle chambered for lower pressure rimmed cartridges. A loose break action shotgun or rifle is considered “off face”. If I were looking for a double rifle built prior to WWII, I would not buy one chambered for rimless cartridges. The quality of the steel used back then is not as strong as that in use today! Modern double rifles, let’s say made after 1960, use stronger materials than those made 100 or more years ago.

Extraction of cartridges is a major concern among many when discussing high pressure rimless cartridges in a double rifle. Days in sub-Saharan Africa in October can made the metal of a rifle so hot it can be very uncomfortable to touch. Cartridges in those conditions will also be really hot! If using Cordite, IMR 3031, or other temperature unstable gun powders, those cartridges will generate higher pressure than when tested in more enjoyable climates. That’s why any competent reloader of today selects temperature stable powders. Additionally, one should not try for the last 50 fps with maximum loads. Leave a little wiggle room for even temperature stable powers.

If pressure in firing cartridges exceeds a certain level, the brass cartridge case will exceed the point when its elastic qualities allow it to expand to seal the chamber from the expanding gas to seep out toward the shooter. That’s Young’s Modulus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young's_modulus) which states “Everything is a spring.” When the pressure limit is reached, the case will reach the point of plastic deformation and NOT contract. Then the action of a of a rifle be it a double or bolt action will not open easily. That’s certainly not a good situation if one owes money to the buffalo they just tried unsuccessfully to kill!

Extraction on cartridge case from the chambers of a rimless double rifle is accomplished using spring-loaded pawls. Pawls are the little detents or fingers that allow a rimless cartridge to slip past and spring out to catch the rim to extract from the rifle. My trusty aforementioned Heym 88B has two pawls in each extractor. One has to love German over-engineering!

A few years ago, I had a Chapais C-10 over-under double chambered in 375 H&H. I couldn’t get any loads to regulate in her. Eventually I exceeded what the gun liked and had a cartridge case stuck in a chamber. I gave the rifle a bump with my knee to open her up and she did. The pawl ripped through a section of the rim on the case! The concept of pawls work! Would an extractor have ripped off a larger section of the cartridge rim? Maybe, or maybe the rifle would not have opened. Needless to say, I reduced the loads for that rifle.

I have faith in well-made double rifles chambered in rimless cartridges. But then, at my age I will never hunt dangerous game as many times as @Hunter-Habib or many of our members. I have however spent my life operating, repairing, designing, and managing at the enterprise level complex equipment. Add to that I have shot competitively since I was 11 years old to include a summer on the U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Team. I wasn't National Champion but I shot with many. Every once in a while, one of them would congratulate me for outshooting them!

I grew up on a farm when an adolescent kid could buy a box or brick (10 boxes) of .22 Long Rifle ammo at the local sporting goods or agriculture store. And that I did! What does this have to do with double rifles? I like to shoot, a lot! I shot a lot of woodchucks at long range then and now.
To this day my favorite game is the woodchuck. That's ground hog for my southern USA friends. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
None, if I see him first!

As @ActionBob stated above, availability of ammunition and components for loading ammo is a good thing!

My trusty Heym .458 Win made in 1986 and owned by a well to do surgeon hunted all over sub-Saharan Africa. His son provided that his father’s double had taken several lion, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. No telling how many rounds she had down her tubes before I became her caretaker three years ago. Me, I recorded 500 rounds shot in practice with her, plus those shot hunting. So, maybe she’s had 1000 rounds or more shot through her barrels. That’s probably two or more lifetimes for most rimmed cartridge doubles. Guess what, my trusty Heym still locks up like a bank vault! So much for high pressure rimmed cartridges wearing a rifle out! As least not a quality double rifle.

In conclusion, I think that I would not trust my life to an entry-level double chambered in a high pressure rimless cartridge. I would however trust my Heym.

2021 Large WH (2).jpg

2024 Giraffe Chi_reduce.jpg

Lion No1 wHat Reduce3.jpg

Wildebeest shot at dusk with my .458 Win Heym at 150 meters.
Wildebeest atNight Reduce1.jpg

Not my Heym but a Blaser S2 in .375 H&H, a Merkel 140 AE in ,375 H&H, and a Krieghoff Classic in 500/416. Notice the Lab Radar to measure the velocity and the log book to record each and every shot!
IMG_20230531_174457545_HDR~2 - Resize.jpg

IMG_20230531_174514694_HDR~2 - Resized.jpg

But I have shot a blaser S2 .375 H&H and a Heym in .458WM and both were magazine rifle accurate.
I would buy either of those two examples in a heartbeat.
I can attest to that! A .375 H&H double can be as accurate as a bolt action. That is allowing that each barrel can be as accurate as MOA for at least two shots, but the POI from each barrel may be a couple inches from each other at 100 yards. Considering that double rifles are designed as short range rifles, but with the proper cartridge, they can be at least 200 yard guns.
Last edited:
I own one and love it. I took it on a plains game hunt last month. Farthest shot was on a wart hog at 249 yards. It’s an extremely versatile cartridge. Do you have your eye on one that’s for sale?
Why yes, I did see a Heym 88b from ‘85 going to auction soon and was wondering if it would be worth watching?
My Blaser S2 is designed to handle a round like a .375 H&H and 30-06. It shoots 300 gr and 180 gr bullets with astounding accuracy and absolute reliability. It is not a traditional SxS rifle, and was never intended to be one. Also, because of the unique action design, it can't shoot off face. I should note that it also handles 500/416 with equal reliability.

A Heym is a more traditional SxS that will also handle rimless rounds with absolute dependability.

Forum statistics

Latest member



Latest profile posts

JG26Irish_2 wrote on WISafariHunter's profile.
About Lon's Elephant hunts w/Tokoloshe? I hear Lon is battling cancer? What is his long term prognosis? I am already booked to hunt Africa in 2024 2025. Might consider 2026 for another African hunt. I want to hunt a more wild open region devoid of civilization. Concern is the risk that I book f/2026 then find poor Lon has passed on? Does Lon have any assistance to carry on the business in his absence?
Life is Short live it how you want...
jgraco33 wrote on 85lc's profile.
Is your 22HP still available? If so have the original case?
tacklers wrote on ianevans's profile.
Hi Ian, I'm contemplating my first outing, leaving UK via Dubai to Africa, taking rifles as you did.

I presume it went okay for you, would you have done anything differently? Cheers, Richard East Sussex
A.A. wrote on Msprenger!'s profile.
Are you still looking for a 375 H&H?