Comparison: Heym 89b vs Searcy Classic

Roan

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Agreed. No comparison between the two. Heym by a country mile.
 

rookhawk

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In order of quality (with occasional exceptions)

-Modern British
-Vintage British
-Modern German
-Vintage German
-Vintage Belgian
-Vintage Ferlach
-Modern Belgian
-Modern French
-Vintage French
-Butch Searcy and other one-off makers


Put another way:

A brand new or Vintage Rigby (British) is better than a Heym (New German), the new Heym is better than a vintage best German, then a Ferlach (Austrian), then a Francotte or Jules Bury (Belgian), then to Chapuis (French), then on to older St. Etienne (French guild guns), then you're on to one-off makers of double rifles including Americans (Searcy), Russians, Czechs, etc.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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Not wanting to hijack this thread, but what do the experts feel about a comparison between a Rigby double rifle and a Westley Richards double rifle?
 

Tanks

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Not wanting to hijack this thread, but what do the experts feel about a comparison between a Rigby double rifle and a Westley Richards double rifle?
Ferrari vs Lamborghini, I think personal preference. Personally, I like Wesley Richards. Also, Rigby, for all practical purposes, is a brand new company since the trademark was resurrected in the UK. Whether they will live up to their history in doubles remains to be seen.
 

rookhawk

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Not wanting to hijack this thread, but what do the experts feel about a comparison between a Rigby double rifle and a Westley Richards double rifle?

Kevin, the thing to remember about Westley Richards double rifles, or shotguns for that matter, are that they made many, many tiers and grades.

Rigby made the rising bite. A very complicated, elegant, and rare double rifle design. So you’re paying for the incredible manufacturing costs of the Rigby and its utter obscurity/rarity.

The Westley designs and patents are in virtually every english shotgun and double rifle made. Anson forend latch, Deeley & Edge plunger, Anson & Deeley box lock. Westley’s designs were so simple that they worked better than anybody else’s. They also made a metric-crap ton of guns for the trade directly, and then they licensed their patents to virtually every British gun maker.

Which is better? There are maybe 100 Rigby Rising Bite Double rifles in existence. There are millions (with an M) of Westley Richards shotguns and double rifles in existence. Then you look at about 1/3rd of the non-Westley Richards labeled double rifles and shotguns with other maker’s names on them built throughout history and those too were either made by Westley or they contain all the Westley patents.

I‘m thinking of that scene in Kill Bill where they state “you do not compare a Hanzo sword to any other sword in the world, only to another Hanzo sword”. So too, when you get to best grade Westleys and Rigby Rising Bites you can’t really compare them to one another, only to other known examples of each.

Both are fantastic, but the math doesn’t lie, Westley‘s designs have been used millions of times, Rigby’s designs have been used several dozen times.
 

PerH

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A heym 89b is a superior design over the searcy models.

Add to that, the heym has a warranty that is transferrable, even though they are built to a level of quality that indicates you probably wont’ need it.

But Searcy? Searcy has no warranty, contrary to what you may hear. This is evidenced by the fact that a member here had a searcy that was built wholly defective. It was fixed improperly once by Mr. Searcy as it needed new barrels and a new forend due to factory defects. Not only would Mr. Searcy not fix it, he came onto this forum and stated publicly on this forum that he’ll never work on that rifle again, ever. So not only did he build it improperly and make it worse with a horrible repair job, he then went on a forum and told people it has no warranty making it all but impossible for the seller to get rid of at any price. I think the seller, Matt, lost about $10,000 selling the basket case.

From what I gather, Butch has a real following of “buddies” over on the AR forum. It seems he sells a lot to friends. A friendship is not a warranty. And if Mr. Searcy every retires? Well then even all the friends that bought his guns are SOL.

Buying a Searcy gun for the price they cost, in light of the serious defects I’ve seen in them that he would not warranty, should give you great pause.
A very good point there regarding if a firm retires and no parts or fix help turns up.

Good way with the German firms ,many are family firms which have been open through many decades. And they keep going through many harships and differen color combinations in goverment.
 

cal pappas

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In the list above, I would swap 1 & 2; only because I love the old world craftsmanship. I didn't know about the issues with Searcy. Can someone call up the thread with the above statements as to warranty? I would like to read Butch's side of ther story. As to my likes, as I only play with pre war doubles from the UK, I can't comment on the others due to inexperience.
 

wesheltonj

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In the list above, I would swap 1 & 2; only because I love the old world craftsmanship. I didn't know about the issues with Searcy. Can someone call up the thread with the above statements as to warranty? I would like to read Butch's side of ther story. As to my likes, as I only play with pre war doubles from the UK, I can't comment on the others due to inexperience.

Now let me tell my side of the story,
Matt sent the rifle to me at a time when I was going thru allot of medical issues.
Also I did fix the issue that the rifle was sent to me for. I also shot the rifle with the ammo he sent and it shot fine. He says he went thru hell for a couple of years. I also I went thru hell at the time, two knee surgeries, back surgery,
and a total hip replacement, and he new that.
Any issues he had with the rifle wasn't there when I sent it back to him.
I heard about this from a member on here.
Rest assured that I will not work on this rifle no matter who decide to buy it.
What do you think about that Supercat
Butch Searcy
 

redriverjake

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I feel compelled to chime in here. I’m fortunate in my line of work to come in contact with a wide variety of rifles in different calibers from different makers. The following comments are from first hand experience.

Firstly, let me say welcome to the club. Now down to business. I noticed you only mentioned two of the current makers, I have to assume it’s for a reason but in the interest of thoroughness I will comment with my opinion on each that I have experience with.

British modern/vintage - I think I can safely assume that if British rifles where on the table you wouldn’t have mentioned any of the others. We call covet the British makers, especially the classics, but for practically purposes I won’t expand upon them other than to say that the new ones are tremendously expensive and the vintage rifles, while there are some that will be just fine , there are more that will require some if not more than a fair amount of work to get right. Unless some crazy unforeseen event occurs, I can assure you that before I leave this world I will have the pleasure of owning a WR Droplock, period.

Heym - As many others here have said, they are great rifles. While not an 89b yet, I’ve had the pleasure of using and seeing many others being used in the field. As of today, I haven’t seen a single one that wouldn’t shoot straight or any that have had any mechanical issues. I think with the introduction of their 89b they have brought to the table something that a lot of people are looking for, British styling and German engineering. They are made to fit, which I believe is an important aspect of shooting any rifle, especially a double that it’s intended use is dangerous game at close range. On top of that, Chris Sells is a friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable man.

VC - The two men that I’ve met concerning VC, Ken and Jerome, were both very pleasant and I believe had the best of intentions. Now that I’ve said that, in all honesty this is the one brand I would avoid completely if your plan is to work your rifle hard as you said. As a client rifle, perhaps they are fine and they certainly look the part but as a working gun they honestly give me chills. I’ve had several in camp and owned by friends that have had a laundry list of issues. It’s my opinion that the primary problem they face is the steel used in their actions and internals happens to be too soft. I also don’t particularly care for their lock-up design. They can most definitely build beautiful guns but strong they are not. I must say that I know many people are are tickled pink with theirs, both client and professional, but I personally wouldn’t trust my life with one when given a choice.

K-gun - I don’t have much to say about these guys except that every one I’ve ever come in contact with has been strong, accurate, and safe. Personally, I don’t care for their general appearance or stock design. I find that because of their stock design, the recoil in any given caliber is substantially exaggerated. And to top it off, that cocking device of theirs is a damned nuisance. However, I do find that people who own and use them often love them. One of my mentor/associates being one of them.

Merkel - If I were of an average build (I am) and were in the market to simply scratch the double rifle itch, this would be what I bought. I used a pair, .470 and .500, for a while and they both fit me reasonably well and shot straight. Never an issue.

Searcy- I’ve only ever seen two and they both worked just fine. I have talked with the man on the phone and he was nothing but helpful and gracious.

To wrap it up, there are many considerations and different aspects to consider when diving into this realm of double rifles. There are many fine folks with vast amounts of knowledge here that are giving solid advice and I can only hope I have helped in some small way. Happy hunting and straight shooting. Cheers.
 
Last edited:

rookhawk

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Now let me tell my side of the story,
Matt sent the rifle to me at a time when I was going thru allot of medical issues.
Also I did fix the issue that the rifle was sent to me for. I also shot the rifle with the ammo he sent and it shot fine. He says he went thru hell for a couple of years. I also I went thru hell at the time, two knee surgeries, back surgery,
and a total hip replacement, and he new that.
Any issues he had with the rifle wasn't there when I sent it back to him.
I heard about this from a member on here.
Rest assured that I will not work on this rifle no matter who decide to buy it.
What do you think about that Supercat
Butch Searcy


I don't know Butch Searcy but I wholeheartedly disagree with what he stated based upon photos of that gun put on this site.

The gun supposedly would not fire and eject properly due to cases getting bent. It sounded like the chambers were bad. The solution to that should have been a new set of barrels, and potentially a new forend and ejectors. Totally up to the gunmaker if its more or less work for them to retrofit the old forend and ejectors or start new though.

What Searcy appears to have done was to set back the barrels by milling off the breech face of the barrels. He did that so he could re-ream the chambers. But it was not a workmanlike solution and it had many cascading impacts. By shortening the barrels at the breach and rechambering, the hook and loop were off at the forend. The barrel geometry was off at the wood of the forestock. The ejector timing was involved. The lock up of the bites changes. The toplever engagements changed. The forend iron couldn't be reset tight to the action because the gape and hinge pin rotation would be slightly off.

Basically, in my opinion, Searcy destroyed the gun during his ad hoc repair. The AH member disclosed all of this and tried to sell the gun. Searcy jumped on one time to cause tortious interference with the sale by diminishing its value further stating "Rest assured that I will not work on this rifle no matter who decide to buy it.". That in turn indicated from the horse's mouth the gun is as-is with no warranty ever in the future, even though a bad situation was made worse by the terrible repair approach Searcy decided upon. (a desperate better option could have been micro tig the chambers and re-ream, the true proper way would be to discard barrels and forend to build a new gun from the stocked action)

So, when someone asks "should I buy a Searcy" I would point them to Matt's gun, how it sold for about the value of the reloading components alone, and how that value was further diminished by A.) A horribly unsatisfactory repair, B.) refusal to honor the warranty, C.) coming on this site to taint the resale of the gun further, explicitly.
 

cal pappas

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Wow! I asked for Butch's side of the story. What I expected was nothing like what was posted.
Sorry I asked.
Cal
 

Tokoloshe Safaris

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I posted earlier that many years ago I was able to examine a Searcy double and that I was not impressed. Since then I have given it very little thought until I read Mr. Searcy's reply concerning one particular rifle. I now have a very strong opinion concerning Mr. Searcy, but no need to post my personal thoughts on the subject.
 

Tokoloshe Safaris

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I mentioned that I looked at a Searcy double a very long time ago and was not impressed. After thinking about it a bit I remembered that double was built on a Japanese made Browning sideXside action and forend. I believe he makes his own now?

I do not change my opinion on the Heym 88b or 89b #1 double #1 company.
 

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I feel compelled to chime in here. I’m fortunate in my line of work to come in contact with a wide variety of rifles in different calibers from different makers. The following comments are from first hand experience.

Firstly, let me say welcome to the club. Now down to business. I noticed you only mentioned two of the current makers, I have to assume it’s for a reason but in the interest of thoroughness I will comment with my opinion on each that I have experience with.

British modern/vintage - I think I can safely assume that if British rifles where on the table you wouldn’t have mentioned any of the others. We call covet the British makers, especially the classics, but for practically purposes I won’t expand upon them other than to say that the new ones are tremendously expensive and the vintage rifles, while there are some that will be just fine , there are more that will require some if not more than a fair amount of work to get right. Unless some crazy unforeseen event occurs, I can assure you that before I leave this world I will have the pleasure of owning a WR Droplock, period.

Heym - As many others here have said, they are great rifles. While not an 89b yet, I’ve had the pleasure of using and seeing many others being used in the field. As of today, I haven’t seen a single one that wouldn’t shoot straight or any that have had any mechanical issues. I think with the introduction of their 89b they have brought to the table something that a lot of people are looking for, British styling and German engineering. They are made to fit, which I believe is an important aspect of shooting any rifle, especially a double that it’s intended use is dangerous game at close range. On top of that, Chris Sells is a friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable man.

VC - The two men that I’ve met concerning VC, Ken and Jerome, were both very pleasant and I believe had the best of intentions. Now that I’ve said that, in all honesty this is the one brand I would avoid completely if your plan is to work your rifle hard as you said. As a client rifle, perhaps they are fine and they certainly look the part but as a working gun they honestly give me chills. I’ve had several in camp and owned by friends that have had a laundry list of issues. It’s my opinion that the primary problem they face is the steel used in their actions and internals happens to be too soft. I also don’t particularly care for their lock-up design. They can most definitely build beautiful guns but strong they are not. I must say that I know many people are are tickled pink with theirs, both client and professional, but I personally wouldn’t trust my life with one when given a choice.

K-gun - I don’t have much to say about these guys except that every one I’ve ever come in contact with has been strong, accurate, and safe. Personally, I don’t care for their general appearance or stock design. I find that because of their stock design, the recoil in any given caliber is substantially exaggerated. And to top it off, that cocking device of theirs is a damned nuisance. However, I do find that people who own and use them often love them. One of my mentor/associates being one of them.

Merkel - If I were of an average build (I am) and were in the market to simply scratch the double rifle itch, this would be what I bought. I used a pair, .470 and .500, for a while and they both fit me reasonably well and shot straight. Never an issue.

Searcy- I’ve only ever seen two and they both worked just fine. I have talked with the man on the phone and he was nothing but helpful and gracious.

To wrap it up, there are many considerations and different aspects to consider when diving into this realm of double rifles. There are many fine folks with vast amounts of knowledge here that are giving solid advice and I can only hope I have helped in some small way. Happy hunting and straight shooting. Cheers.
To reiterate paragraph three - be very, very careful buying a vintage gun in this country. As I have noted here before, my education in these wonderful things was long and rather expensive. It is imperative that someone new to the doubles game (shotgun or rifle) lean on the experience of someone who truly knows their way around such guns. Ideally, it should be sent to someone like JJ Perodeau for an evaluation before finalizing the deal. Another option is utilizing a buying service such as offered by Diggory Haddock. Either can save a prospective buyer enormous heartache.

I would conservatively estimate at least half the older doubles (again guns and rifles) I handle at places like the Southern or major gun shows have some sort of issue. As an example, a friend recently brought over his new pride and joy - a pre-war Charles Osborne (Westley patent A&D Birmingham boxlock) in 450/400. It was very pretty. However, the barrels sounded like a lead drainage pipe when struck, it was visibly off face (literally rattled with the forend removed), and though the stock had been refinished, it was obviously oil soaked at the head. The rear trigger had enormous creep indicating probable sear and/or spring issues. I am sure our friendship had taken a bit of a hit by the time he left.

Finally, there are some very trustworthy dealers. George Caswell of Champlin Firearms is one of the best.

Caveat emptor
 

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