It was the greatest president ( in my humble non American citizen view ) of the United States of America , President Theodore Roosevelt who stated , in his writings " When a man needs more than one shot , an American resorts to the repeater , while an Englishman resorts to the double barrel " . In assessment of this statement by this great man , l have decided to provide my insight today on that passionately disputed topic " Is a bolt operation rifle better than a double barrel rifle , or is a double barrel rifle better than a bolt operation rifle ? " . Let us begin dear readers . I would also like to add here that l own every photograph in this article and every picture here is mine , and mine alone. One more thing , l would like to add here , dear readers. I know that many of you are passionate in your choice of configuration , but l request you all to approach this topic with an open mind . And of course , l am by no means an authority on this matter , but merely relating things as l perceived them to be from my personal experiences five decades ago . Growing up as a child and a young man , in post colonial India , l was ( and still am ) a massive patron of that great English actor , Stewart Granger and his excellent films “ King Solomon’s mine “ , “ The last Safari “ and my favorite “ Harry Black and the tiger “ . Thus , for many years , the image of the traditional Shikari in my mind , was always of Stewart Granger carrying a large double barrel rifle over his shoulder , grabbing the gun by the muzzles ( In “ King Solomon’s mines , this was a double barrel rifle of 8 bore and in “ Harry Black and the tiger “ this was a more modern .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre double barrel rifle ) . However , a boy’s expectations of a hunter are vastly different from those of some one who hunts in the real world ; something l would be introduced to , in 1962 when l first commenced my career as a professional Shikari in Darjeeling, India. Beautiful Holland and Holland double barrel rifle calibrated for .600 Nitro Express , originally belonging to his Royal Excellence, the Maharajah of Sirguja . I took this photograph in an auction house in Sirguja in 1958 when l had gone to visit it with Father. During my career , the Bulk of my clients ( unsurprisingly ) brought bolt operation rifles to old India for Shikar. In line , with President Roosevelt’s assessment some hundred years ago , these gentlemen were predominantly from the United States of America . However , Continental sportsmen and English sports men were also lovers of this bolt operation configuration. I have only seen three clients who used to bring double barrel rifles . During my entire career , l had only seen five double barrel rifles in action . Funnily enough , they were all English sportsmen. Below , l have attempted to make a complete list of every rifle cartridge ever brought by a client of mine to Darjeeling for Shikar ( you will forgive me if l have missed a few , but in general , l think l have listed all of them from the smallest to the largest ) . .22 Long Rifle .22 Winchester magnum rim fire .22 Hornet .22 High Power .243 Winchester .256 Mannlicher .270 Winchester 7 millimeter mauser 7 millimeter Remington magnum 8 millimeter mauser 8 millimeter Mannlicher .30-30 Winchester .30-06 Springfield .308 Winchester .300 Winchester magnum .300 Weatherby magnum .338 Winchester 9.3 millimeter mauser .375 Austrian Mannlicher .375 Holland and Holland magnum .400 Nitro Express .458 Winchester magnum In case , anyone has noticed , most ( if not all ) of these cartridges are designed to be fired from bolt operation rifles. Indeed , the bolt operation rifle took many a good head of Indian game in my time . I never felt a client lacking with a good bolt operation rifle in his hands. I personally categorize the bolt operation rifle in two categories: A) Bolt operation - Notable models include the Winchester’s model 70 ( new pattern ) , Remington’s model 700 , Birmingham Small Arms ( new pattern) , Weatherby rifles , Browning’s Hi Power model , Colt’s Sauer model B) Bolt operation WITH mauser type extracting claw device - Notable models include the original mauser ( of course ) , custom pieces built military surplus mauser mechanisms , French Brevex mechanism , Winchester’s model 70 ( old pattern) , Mannlicher ( Revolving magazine model ) Client about to shoot at a leopard with a Weatherby bolt operation rifle , calibrated for .300 Weatherby magnum. Client with Remington's model 700 calibrated for 7 millimeter Remington magnum cartridge , which he used to kill this leopard. Client and his dear wife madame with fully grown Royal Bengal tiger , killed by the client's 9.3 millimeter mauser bolt operation rifle. Client with two rifles : Under lever Winchester rifle calibrated for .348 Winchester cartridge and custom French Brevex mechanism bolt operation rifle , calibrated for .375 Holland and Holland magnum cartridge. Client with .30-06 calibre bolt operation Model 1903 Springfield rifle. Bottom : The same .30-06 Model 1903 Springfield bolt operation rifle . The five double barrel rifles used by my clients were so few in number that l can give them detailed description. A) .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre one built by that excellent English firm , Westley Richards. It had 26 inch muzzles , a single trigger and an automatic safety mechanism ( which l am personally not fond of ) B) A .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre one built by the English firm , James Purdey . It had 24 inch long barrels , two triggers and no automatic safety mechanism. I consider this set up , to be the gold standard for a double barrel rifle , personally. C) The client who owned the above rifle also owned a double barrel rifle built by the firm , Westley Richards . It was calibrated for the .22 High Power cartridge , had 26 inch long barrels , a single trigger , removable locks and an automatic safety mechanism. D ) A .400 Nitro Express double barrel rifle built by the English firm , Jeffery .It had 26 inch long muzzles , no automatic safety mechanism and two triggers E) The client who owned the above rifle eventually replaced it with a .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barrel rifle built by the Royal gun makers , Holland and Holland . It had 26 inch long muzzles , no automatic safety mechanism and two triggers . The owners of these double barrel rifles were indeed proficient with their pieces and secured a good deal of Indian wildlife with them . Client with 2000 pound male Gaur shot by his .458 Winchester magnum calibre Holland and Holland double barrel rifle . 486 pound Royal Bengal tiger shot by the same client using the same rifle. So , which is better ? Let us look at the blatant advantage of the bolt operation rifle . You can hold more than two cartridges and ( depending on the calibre ) anywhere up to six cartridges . Infact , my young friend and fellow forum member , Hoss Delgado , in one of our video conversations recently , was proudly showing me a .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre bolt operation rifle called a Zkk 602 which holds seven cartridges ! For a person culling large quantities of animals at the same time ( such as the African elephant culling carried out in the 1980s decade ) , this quality alone makes the bolt operation rifle requisite and rules the double barrel rifle out of consideration . For the purposes of Shikar , however , this is of no consequence . You are typically pursuing one animal at a time and a double barrel rifle here is no disadvantage . Another advantage of the bolt operation rifle is that novice clients generally found it easier to shoot accurately with them , than a double barrel rifle . This is not the fault of the weapon , but the practice ( or lack thereof ) of the operator . Take an average American client , for instance ( generally speaking ) . In his own country , he is proficient hunting the game of his country through out the year with bolt operation and under lever rifles. Now , if this gentleman comes to India all of a sudden , with a double barrel rifle , intent on using it to shoot his first Indian animal with it , he will probably not do very well . However , put a bolt operation rifle in this gentleman's hands and see the marvels he can accomplish ( American sportsmen being some of the finest marksmen on Allah / God's green earth ) . Why is this , so ? One of my favorite English African hunters , the late Captain Frederick Courtney Sealous described it well in one of his books " Sport and Travel " . In a single barrel weapon , it is more convenient for the novice to line the front sight with the back sight for accurate and correct aim. With a double barrel rifle , this requires practice which only the more passionate of shooters are willing to put in , so that they can place the shots from both the barrels accurately . Indeed , a Shikari who wants a rifle to accomodate their shooting styles will invariably opt for a bolt operation rifle , while a Shikari who wants a double barrel rifle will alter their shooting styles to accomodate the double barrel rifle and shoot it accurately . There is another advantage of the bolt operation rifle , which is not so obvious until one actually thinks it through along with the context . A bolt operation rifle is far less of a " picky eater " of the ammunition which you choose to use in it . A model 70 from Winchester , for instance will (usually ) provide the shooter with accurate results with cartridges from Winchester , ICI Kynoch or Remington or Hornady . This is certainly a massive advantage when you are hunting in regions where you must make do with any ammunition which you can find . A double barrel rifle , however ( on account of two barrels ) is more of a " picky eater " of ammunition to provide accurate results . For instance , a double barrel rifle calibrated for .375 Holland and Holland magnum ICI Kynoch cartridges , may not produce accurate results with cartridges from the Winchester firm . I have actually seen this happen . In a place like Old India , where imported fire arms and ammunition were ( and are ) so scarce , this can actually be a problem which the bolt operation rifle is better equipped for dealing with . I will give you all one example from personal experience . All of our clients used to stay in Darjeeling Circuit House . A client once brought a model 70 from Winchester , calibrated for the .30-06 Springfield cartridge . Unfortunately , he had only brought military surplus pointed head metal envelope 168 grain cartridges which he quickly realized , were not the ticket for Shikar . We knew that another client staying in Darjeeling Circuit House owned a .30-06 calibre Model 1 Garand auto loader rifle and a few boxes of 220 grain Remington Core Lock soft head cartridges . So we arranged for one client to pay the other client some money to get ten .30-06 soft head cartridges from him . And indeed , they worked very well in his model 70 rifle ( he secured a leopard and Chital deer with the rifle ). One the other side of the spectrum , the client who brought the .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre double barrel rifle built by James Purdey , once received permission to kill a man eating Royal Bengal tiger ( which was originally not part of his seasonal Shikar license ) , but realized that he had no more soft head ICI Kynoch cartridges left ( as he had previously expended all of them , thinking that his Shikar season was over for the year ). My late Shikari partner , Karim Chowdhury and l were able to find another client, an American gentleman in Darjeeling Circuit House , who was willing to give our client a half dozen Winchester silver tip cartridges for the .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre . The client's double barrel rifle , which initially was so accurate with the ICI Kynoch cartridges , had suddenly begun to produce relatively larger groupings with the Winchester silver tip cartridges . In the end our client was forced to use his .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre metal envelope cartridges from ICI Kynoch , to attempt to dispatch the Royal Bengal tiger . He succeeded by using two shots to the head ( however , that account is the subject of a future article ) . If he were using a bolt operation rifle , then those Winchester silver tip cartridges would easily work . However , does this mean that the double barrel rifle , has no virtues whatsoever ? I say , nothing of the sort . The double barrel rifle has it's solid advantages too. The first advantage ( assuming that you are using a double barrel rifle with double triggers ) Is that , on account of the two separate barrels and triggers , you can let off the second shot in a split second after the first shot . This is a very massive advantage in those ( admittedly fairly uncommon ) situations where an immediate second shot can decide if you will live or get gored by a charging Gaur or mutilated by a charging leopard or Royal Bengal tiger . You do not have to operate a bolt , unlike a bolt operation rifle to give you the second shot . Of course , if you can place the first bullet with correct aim on the animal ( as every ethical Shikari always should aspire to do ) , then this is of no consequence. However , we do not always have fortune favoring us. The other advantage of the double barrel rifle ( again , assuming that this is a two trigger model ) , is that you essentially have two separate fire arms on account of the two triggers and two barrels . You are being practically guaranteed the second shot , without needing to rely upon the mechanical properties of the gun . Even if the bolt operation rifle can potentially hold more cartridges without needing to re-fill the magazine , a person with a double barrel rifle which has automatic ejectors and who has practiced keeping two spare cartridges between his fingers , can easily fire as many as four shots in a span of four seconds or less . For the purposes of Shikar , is this not adequate ? At any rate , an ethical Shikari should aspire to ensure that his aim for the first shot is correctly placed , thereby avoiding the need for any second or third shot any way ( although , fortune does not always shine upon us every day in the same way ) which renders all of these arguments moot , in the first place . Indeed , l have seen a few bolt operation rifles jam in the Shikar field in my career . I have seen two .458 Winchester magnum calibre model 70 rifles from Winchester fail to extract the expended cartridge , in the Shikar field . However , a good and through cleaning cured both these rifles from any further problems. I have also seen two Remington's model 700 rifles ( one in .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre and the other in .458 Winchester magnum calibre ) which had extracting problems in the Shikar field . Again , however , a good and through cleaning cured these rifles of any such problems . I have seen one .458 Winchester magnum calibre Hi Power bolt operation rifle from the firm , Browning which demonstrated a most unusual phenomenon . Upon firing the very first cartridge , the trap door hatch on the under side of the rifle violently swung open and the client's remaining cartridges fell to the ground , effectively disarming him . The only thing which made this situation worse , was that the client and us professional Shikaris now had a very angry , wounded 1900 pound Gaur to deal with . To be fair , however , l always attributed this one , to the excessively high velocity with which the respected client had loaded his hand loaded cartridges . During my time , it was common for many American sportsmen to bring .458 Winchester magnum calibre rifles , built on army surplus mauser mechanisms and with changed barrels . Some of these worked flawlessly , while others gave endless feeding problems . I think that l will be forgiven for daring to say this . However , l believe that building a good rifle is more than merely attaching a new barrel and a stock to a salvaged military surplus mauser mechanism . No. The level of work necessary to be done to these rifles to ensure proper functioning , must be of surgical precision . In such circumstances where a rifle jammed in the Shikar field , the almost guaranteed second shot from a double barrel rifle could certainly have saved us a great deal of trouble . Indeed , my respected fellow forum member , Hoss Delgado showed me an article recently on the internet about a most unfortunate African professional hunter by the name of Ian Gibson . This unfortunate gentleman got crushed to death by a wounded elephant , when his .458 Winchester magnum model 70 from Winchester had a problem , extracting the first expended cartridge. . However , thes situations were the exception and not the rule . Generally , all the bolt operation rifles made by Winchester , Remington or Browning were functioning flawless in the Shikar field and served my clients extremely well. And , in all probability , modern fire arms manufacturing techniques are infinitely superior to those of the 1960s decade when l was an active Shikari . The chances of a misfire occurring in a quality bolt operation rifle are astronomical today. So , which is better ? The humble bolt operation rifle ? Or the traditional double barrel rifle . My conclusive view is that neither is better than the other . It all comes down to preference . Personal preference. Always use the configuration that you are comfortable with , and the results will amaze you . Even in a third world country , such as Bangladesh , a gentleman can fortunately own up to six fire arms legally . In the United States of America, this is enviably much higher. So why not have both a decent bolt operation rifle and a decent double barrel rifle in your battery if you can shoot both properly ? We are , after all , given the freedom of choice , are we not ? My child hood hero , the great Jim Corbett actually had a battery just like this . He owned both a 7 millimeter mauser bolt operation rifle ( built by the English firm , John Rigby and Co.) and also a .400 Nitro Express calibre double barrel rifle built by the English firm , Jeffery . He used both rifles to devastating effect on man eating leopards and Royal Bengal tigers . Based on my professional experience , any where a double barrel rifle can be used , a bolt operation rifle can comfortably be used as well. There is , however only ONE single set of circumstances where a double barrel rifle can never be replaced . If one is pursuing a wounded leopard into thick foliage , then a bolt operation rifle is not the tool for the task. Make no mistake. These beasts are so fast , stealthy and cunning in their methods of attack , that you actually NEED that immediate second shot from a double barrel rifle to save your skin . For this task , and this one task alone , a double barrel rifle can never be replaced. For such a task , l would highly recommend a double barrel rifle calibrated for the .375 Holland and Holland magnum Winchester silver tip cartridge . Such a rifle would have two triggers , no automatic safety mechanism and 26 inch long muzzles . Other than this , l am perfectly content with a .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre bolt operation rifle built on a French Brevex mechanism with a weaver telescopic sight along with a good stock of Winchester 300 grain metal envelope blunt head cartridges and 300 grain Winchester silver tip cartridges ( Of course , modern cartridges with better consistent rates of controlled expansion are now in existence , and they have pushed the humble Winchester silver tip cartridges of my era , into obsolescence ) . I hope that my dear readers have enjoyed this article . Please do not treat my views as authoritarian in any manner . It is not my intention. These are merely my personal perspective on the matter based on my personal experiences. Do my dear readers prefer a bolt operation rifle or a double barrel rifle ? It is also beautiful seeing so many American sportsmen ( especially my dear friend and respected forum member , Red Leg ) in modern times have a genuine appreciation for the double barrel rifle . I have only ever seen side by side double barrel rifles during my career as a professional Shikari . Today , l see that many excellent over under double barrel rifles exist , as well. I am curious if any of my dear readers owns any such pieces . I hope that they are enjoying theirs ? Of course , in my article today , l have not mentioned anything about auto loader rifles or under lever rifles being used for Shikar in old India . Perhaps the subject of a future article ? Our loyal coolie and head gun bearer , Rishi carrying our dear respected client's .243 Winchester calibre under lever rifle made by the American firm , Savage. I would also like to apologise to fellow forum member , Mark Hunter. I had promised to write an account concerning the poisonous snakes of old India , however this article was already half complete , so l decided to post this one first .