Best calibers for a 2 barrel set

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by IvW, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. IvW

    IvW AH Fanatic

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    Being in the market for a double rifle, I have been contemplating the idea of getting one with 2 set's of barrels.

    One set will be in 500 NE. The other set I am undecided between 450/400 NE and 500/416 NE.

    What would be your choices. I would appreciate your inputs.
     

  2. Peter Larsson

    Peter Larsson AH Veteran

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    9,3x74R.
     
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  3. IvW

    IvW AH Fanatic

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    I have a 9.3 x74R/12ga combination gun. Brilliant caliber.

    Want something bigger for the second barrel set.
     
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  4. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH Elite

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    Between your two options I would go with the 500/416 due to the excellent selection of 416 bullets.
    I would personally go with a 375 flanged myself though if I were getting a second barrel set. It would be nice to have 500, 375 and 12 ga. Perfect 3 gun battery in one neat case.
    Cheers,
    Cody
     
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  5. IvW

    IvW AH Fanatic

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    That may be another good option 375 Flanged. I guess I need to decide between the three then!
     

  6. IvW

    IvW AH Fanatic

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    Only problem is I don't think Merkel offer the 375 Flanged Magnum as an option.

    Looked at Merkel, Krieghoff, Heym, Blazer and I like the Merkel the best, it also fits me like a glove. I am looking at a no frills working gun.
     
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  7. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH Elite

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    I really like my Merkel, I need to add a bit to the LOP for it to fit me properly but other than that it's great. I think I am going to have a custom stock made rather than spacer and pad. After I get through with my other 90 open projects I will get serious at trying to get a set of 12ga barrels for it. From what I understand the Merkel double rifle frame is the same as their shotgun frame, if so fitting should be minimal.
     

  8. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Elite

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    .470NE and 20 gauge shotgun.

    When weight restrictions and maximum number of guns allowed on planes/safaris get further restricted, this will be the gun to have. Kick in a separate small bore rifle for a 2nd gun, or buy a third set of barrels for the .470/20g and make it 9.3x74r, 375rimmed, 7x57r or 8x57JRS. That should about take care of everything.
     
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  9. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    .450/400 Jeffery 3" and .303 British.
     
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  10. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    450/400 NE
     
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  11. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I have no experience with the 500/416. My first thought was 9.3x74 but you said you wanted something bigger. I would go with the 450/400 as it is an old African classic and was the best all around caliber till the 375H&H showed up. I really like my 450/400 verney carron, even if it is a O/U. It just plain flat shoots. I am in the deciding circle of taking it or my 405Win double on my 2018 safari. What ever you decide I look forward to seeing your posts.
     
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  12. IvW

    IvW AH Fanatic

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    I like the way you think. I would suggest you take the 450/400 O/U will not be a drawback for you.
    The 450/400 NE has been my first choice.

    Only reason I am looking at the 500/416 NE is because it duplicates the 416 Rigby ballistics and may be a better option for lion and leopard.
     

  13. IvW

    IvW AH Fanatic

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    Some of the smaller calibers are all great. I have 9.3 x 74R/12ga Combination gun as well as 7 x 65R/12ga Combination guns. Great calibers and my son and I use these mainly for our bush pig hunting(we do a lot of this) as well as some general hunting at shorter ranges.

    To avoid confusion I should have added that I am considering the double for back-up work. I am a PH and a DG game foot safari photographic guide. When guiding these photographic safaris you never know what you may bump into. I have had my 500 Jeff loaded with solids in areas with lots of elephant and we then bumped into a lioness with cubs and got mock charged a few times as we slowly retreated, I would have felt more comfortable with a double with a soft in one chamber and a solid in the other.

    I mainly use a 500 Jeff as my back-up rifle and then a 12g S x S with 24 inch barrels and ghost ring set-up for leopard or my 9.3 x 74R/12ga combo.

    The 500 Jeff is awesome and has put everything down with great authority. However I have been in some situations where I would have felt more comfortable with a double rifle. Therefore I am looking at getting one with 2 barrel set. The first barrel set will be 500 NE-not negotiable as I have great success with my 500 Jeff.

    Have to decide on the second set. Mainly for(Lion and Leopard). I like both the 357 H&H Flanged Magnum and 450/400 NE(Between these two I prefer the 450/400).

    Then there is the 500/416 NE, from a ballistic point of view it makes more sense as it duplicates the 416 Rigby. The higher velocity should be better in stopping a cat. However the extra velocity comes with more muzzle flip and a slower recovery time for the second shot. In which case the 450/400 NE would be a better option with it's low recoil.

    Now I have been in charge situations with lion, lioness and leopard and I can assure you there is no time to reload, especially when it comes to leopard. The split second it will cut off from the recovery time when using the mild recoiling 450/400 NE may just save someone's bacon. On the other hand the higher velocity of the 500/416 NE may have better stopping ability especially on Lion.

    Re-loading components and bullets are not an issue as all are freely available. I just want to make the right choice before I decide.

    I am at the moment still in favor of the 450/400 NE not only for its effectiveness and proven track record but also it's classic status as being one of the best African cartridges for a double rifle.
     
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  14. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hallo IvW,

    Sorry about being a smartasz, when I posted: .450/400 Jeffery 3" and .303 British.
    I'm just jealous because I would love a rifle such as you are having built.
    (You have to admit that a .450/400, with spare .303 British barrels would be real fun though).

    Anyway, since you definitely want a .500 NE, with a set of .40 barrels as well, I seriously recommend the .450/400.
    Ammunition sparse availability would keep me away from the 500/416.
    Besides that, with your .450/400 barrels in place, recoil will be pleasant to practice with, not necessarily so with the 500/416 (but I've not fired the Krieghoff round so, perhaps I'm wrong on that).
    I have fired the .450/400 and it is very tolerable.

    All that being said, I suppose you would not consider spare barrels to your .500 in .375 H&H, due to the larger frame that goes with the .500 NE.
    If the .375 barrels would not be too thick and unwieldy, they sure would be a useful accessory to the powerful .500 for sure.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  15. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    Hi IvW,

    I'm trying to think through this logically - and candidly am having a bit of a challenge there. The .500 is a great stopper. Well known, highly respected, it's more of the 100 yards or less weapon with Irons.

    I keep thinking it's sister barrels should be something a bit more long range friendly. A .375 H&H topped with a 1-6x scope would make for an amazing pair and still be DG Legal. Further, you wouldn't have to search particularly hard to find ammo for it.

    The part that makes it hard is that I really love the 450/400...but I just don't quite see how it fits if you already have a 500.

    BTW, I am super happy for you and this choice! I'm sure you're going to have an absolute ball with this no matter how you choose!
     

  16. spike.t

    spike.t SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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    the .500 and then a set of 9.3x74r . you have 9.3 and know how effective it is and less muzzle flip than the 450/400 . but if you are def not wanting to go that route then the 450/400 would be my choice. if i was only allowed 2 rifles i would have a double in .500 and my double in 9.3x74r which just happens to have a set of 20 bore barrels:) so then sorted for anything (y) but as MR VD says it depends on fitting the smaller calibre barrels to the frame ........
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
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  17. IvW

    IvW AH Fanatic

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    I purely want this double for back-up situations. I have used my 500 JEFF for many years and it is the most devastatingly effect caliber I have ever used or seen used. I have had to use it quite a few times. Touch wood so far, every time I have only pulled the trigger once and that was all that was needed. Some of these where very close calls, 3 buff(1 cow 2 bulls) at 2 @ 7 yards 1 @ 10 yards, Male lion at 10 yards, 2 elephant at 10-20, others further away with the same results.

    I will still use my 500 Jeff as my primary DG back-up rifle, however when circumstance dictates, I can then switch to the double.(Hunting tusk less in herd situations, having to follow up into thick bush after a buff, elephant etc. has been wounded.). For more open terrain nothing beats the 500 Jeff for back-up. Thick stuff close up is a different story. You basically have one shot with a bolt action if it gets very close.

    The reason I want the double is that on some of these charges, had my first shot not been true, I may not have been typing this. When things get real tight in thick bush, there is often not enough time to reload. With a double you have that instant second shot available, If you can't stop it with two I doubt you would have the time with a bolt to get three in anyway.

    A 375 H&H Flanged Magnum with a QD scope is a great idea for a hunter but a bad idea for use as a back-up rifle. It is just too marginal for that. A scope on any back up rifle is a bad idea. I may consider a Aimpoint in the very small model but not a scope. For leopard this caliber would be more than adequate but for a large male Lion, I am not so confident with that. I think one of the two .40 calibers would be better.

    As for cats, you don't need the power of the 500 however the 450/400 is much lower in recoil and muzzle flip which would greatly increase your recovery time for the second shot. There is a big performance difference between a 500 and the 450/400 NE.

    I once had to stop a large Male lion that had been wounded by a Spanish client using a straight pull Blazer rifle. Long story short he had shot it too far back(we had been tracking two males for quite a few hrs), at a distance of 35 yards of the sticks, the lion gave us a spectacular show as he made somersaults all the while growling and biting at this thing that "stung" him on the side. I told the client to reload and shoot as soon as he had a shot. The lion stop his antics and as soon as he saw us his tail went straight and with a deep growl, he charged. No I have faced a few charges before but this huge lion came at us at an astonishing speed. I kept shouting shoot all the while keeping the lion in the sights of my 500 Jeff. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the client was doing something with his rifle(that was still on the sticks), but not shooting. The clients rifle disappeared out of the corner of my eye and the lion now having reached 10 yards gave me no other option but to shoot. The shot was true and crumpled the big cat. As for the client, well he had dropped the rifle on the ground and disappeared! Further to the right of his rifle lay two unfired cartridges, he kept reloading and not shooting. The tracker found him 30 minutes later in the top of a "Geel haak" tree. The truck was a long way away and it took us a long time to get him out the tree!

    Now I am jabbering but if this happens again, I would prefer a nice low recoiling double(not fitted with a scope).

    Leopard is a tricky customer. Where a lion will normally try and put distance between himself and the hunters after being shot and wounded before making a last stand, a leopard will not go far. A lion will normally come from further our and 9 out of 10 times growl or at least give you warning when he starts his charge. A leopard will wait till the last minute, until you are almost on top of him before he launches an attack. No time for scopes and re loading. The only chance you have is a double rifle for the second shot. I have use a s x s shotgun with Brenneke slugs and have a 9.3 x 74R/12ga combo.

    I think a double 450/400 NE would be better. Both for lion and leopard.

    Would also be very handy to have the option of loading a solid and a soft at the same time when doing guided photographic safaris. If you then bump into some lions at close quarters you could silently open the double and replace the solid with another soft and vice versa when you get close to elephant.

    I really like 375 H&H and have two bolt action rifles in this caliber. I also like the 9.3 x 74R but both might be a little bit marginal for my needs.

    This is part of the problem, having to decide. I need to do that before I order the rifle as the second set needs to be fitted at the same time and cannot be bought afterwards.

    Just checked now, that was too long for a post, apologies for that!
     

  18. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH Legend

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    I agree with Peter.
    Witold
     
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  19. IvW

    IvW AH Fanatic

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    I own in both these calibers(375 H&H and 9.3 x 74R) they are both exceptional African calibers.

    Unfortunately the 9.3 x 74R is only built on the lighter framed 20Ga adapted receiver and not on the Boxlock actioned used for the bigger NE cartridges.

    I will find out what cartridges they will offer on the 140AE PH model. I know 500 NE and 450/400 NE are available.

    I would happily hunt all of the big 5 with either the 375 H&H Flanged magnum or the 9.3 x 74R if I was the hunter but I think both may be just a bit marginal for back up on lion.

    You both are absolutely right they are both great contenders.
     
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  20. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    For you as the PH your needs as you have explained is different than the clients. The 450/400 would very nicely fill the bill. You have the 500 for big stuff and the 450/400 for cats and an occasional cape buff. I love my 9.3x74 it has done everything from cape eland down to diker. I wouldn't have a problem at all using it on lion. But also knowing that my PH was backing me had something bigger. Neither my 405win or 450/400 has harvested game by me yet. So this thread has kinda also helped me decide to take my 405 on a bear hunt this spring and the 450/400 on the 2018 safari. Now just need to decide on the 9.3x62 or 375H&H as my second gun for nocturnal critters. Thanks for the help. Hope you get the exact p[air you want:)
     

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