Double Rifle Barrel Length

Saul

AH fanatic
Joined
Jan 6, 2014
Messages
869
Reaction score
644
Location
Key Largo, Florida
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Hunted
USA, UK, Hungary, Argentina
In my thread about small bore double rifles, there was a disagreement over the proper barrel length for double rifles. Some think that anything under 25" is sacrilege while others think that anything over 23" is unwieldy in the bush.

Anyway, I was flipping around on TV the other day and caught part of an awful Sean Connery movie, but what did catch my attention was that he was using a hammer double rifle with super long barrels, probably 28" or more. Here is a picture of the gun.

So I was wondering, what do you think would be the ideal barrel length for a double rifle? I know a lot of thisi depends on the cartridge as well, and I would probably prefer a shorter barrel for something like a .577 NE because I would be using it to go after elephant and buff in the bush, while a small bore double could benefit form longer barrels like the gun above.
 

Attachments

Last edited by a moderator:

IdaRam

Silver supporter
AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,001
Reaction score
3,378
Location
Idaho
Media
194
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
I personally prefer barrels of about 26", but that's mostly based on appearance. I just like the way a little longer barrel looks. Proper balance would probably win out over aesthetics.
My dream double would be of european manufacture around the turn of the century, 1905 or so, in .450 3 1/4 NE with 26" tubes. A close second would be 450/400...
Aaaah, it never hurts to dream :rolleyes:
 

Pondoro

AH fanatic
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
Messages
814
Reaction score
993
Media
80
Articles
1
Hunted
Norway, Sweden, Namibia and Botswana
I really dont think it matters much....I have hunted in the densest bush in Africa with a 25" barreled bolt rifle...no problem..

My old english double in .475NE has 23" barrels...short and handy for sure and well balanced, but I really dont thing 2-3 inches more would matter much..
 

Saul

AH fanatic
Joined
Jan 6, 2014
Messages
869
Reaction score
644
Location
Key Largo, Florida
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Hunted
USA, UK, Hungary, Argentina
Let me rephrase because I really have two questions here.

1. What barrel length would be best for a .450 NE? .577 NE? .303 British?

2. What do you guys think of having a 28"+ barrel for a double rifle, most likely in a small bore cartridge (did anybody say .303 British)?
 

CTDolan

AH elite
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
1,461
Reaction score
1,364
Location
Minnesota
Media
18
Articles
1
Stick with 25-26 inches, regardless of caliber. My opinion.

That said, though, a svelt .303 with 28 inch barrels wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
 

IdaRam

Silver supporter
AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,001
Reaction score
3,378
Location
Idaho
Media
194
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
My vote would be 26" in the .450 NE, 23" - 25" in the .577 and 24" - 26" in the .303.
Pretty sure you're going to top out velocity in 26" on the .303. Any additional length beyond that wouldn't net any velocity gain. But, I'd rather have 28" than 22" :)
You sound like a man who's planning to fill a little empty space in the old gun safe :D (y)
 

crs

AH fanatic
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
946
Reaction score
1,176
Location
Republic of Texas
Website
sheltontechnologies.com
Media
6
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Member of
CRS, NRA Patron Member, TSRA, DWWC, DRSS
Hunted
RSA
My .405 WCF double has 24 inch barrels, same length as my Miroku/Winchester 1895 .405. Same ammo and same velocity of 2225-2250 fps for 300 grain bullets.
 

Saul

AH fanatic
Joined
Jan 6, 2014
Messages
869
Reaction score
644
Location
Key Largo, Florida
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Hunted
USA, UK, Hungary, Argentina
My vote would be 26" in the .450 NE, 23" - 25" in the .577 and 24" - 26" in the .303.
Pretty sure you're going to top out velocity in 26" on the .303. Any additional length beyond that wouldn't net any velocity gain. But, I'd rather have 28" than 22" :)
You sound like a man who's planning to fill a little empty space in the old gun safe :D (y)
How did you know that?!? :)
 

IdaRam

Silver supporter
AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,001
Reaction score
3,378
Location
Idaho
Media
194
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
How did you know that?!? :)
Well, my BS answer is that I am a very intuitive and perceptive individual.
However, the truth is that I simply recognize a fellow addict when I seen one :D
 

spike.t

Sponsor
Since 2013
AH ambassador
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
9,396
Reaction score
7,698
Website
www.takerireservezambia.com
Media
332
Articles
6
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Member of
sci int, basc,wpaz
Hunted
zambia, tanzania, zimbabwe,Mozambique ,hungary, france, england

zephyr

AH enthusiast
Joined
Feb 27, 2011
Messages
316
Reaction score
276
Location
Vermont
Media
9
Hunting reports
Africa
2
I own a 1905 Gibbs sporting 28" Barrels, it swings and points like a shotgun.
IdaRam mentions in his post "Proper balance would probably win out over aesthetics". I would like to the equation proper balance and aesthetics.
You ask about a 577, a good gun maker will make a 577 balance and point with 24" barrels, but I would say at least 25-26" barrels as a large receiver needs longer barrels to balance out the look.
That being said I am slightly bias towards longer barrels and do no thing they impede ones progress even through the thickest cover.
 

IdaRam

Silver supporter
AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,001
Reaction score
3,378
Location
Idaho
Media
194
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Hi @zephyr , do I recall correctly from another thread somewhere, your 1905 Gibbs is chambered in .450 3 1/4 NE?
Also, do you have a pic you can post? I think you may own the double I see occassionally in my dreams :)
And I wholeheartedly agree. Balance and aesthetics need not be mutually exclusive. Shouldn't have to settle for one or the other. And I am bias toward a longer set of barrels as well. (y)
 

IdaRam

Silver supporter
AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,001
Reaction score
3,378
Location
Idaho
Media
194
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Thank you sir, you just made my night! (y)
What an absolutely gorgeous piece of history and craftsmanship
:S Kneel:

If you should ever decide to part with it...
Well, I probably couldn't afford it, but look me up anyway! :D
 

sandman0921

Gold supporter
AH enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Messages
420
Reaction score
558
Location
Tennessee, USA
Media
2
Articles
11
Hunting reports
USA/Canada
1
Member of
SCI (Life), RMEF (Life), DU, NWTF, NRA (Patron Life), GOA, DSC (Life), WSF (Life), B&C Club (Sponsor Associate Member), USSA (Associate Member)
Hunted
USA (GA, TN, AR, TX, FL, UT, NM, WY, MT, AK, IL, MO, IA); Canada (NWT, BC); Africa (Tanzania)
My B. Searcy Classic Double in 450 NE 3 1/4 inch has 25 inch barrels. I debated on 26 inches, but in the end went with 25 inches at the recommendation of Butch. I can't say that it is the perfect length, but it balances well and with my goal of getting 2150 fps with a 500 grain North CPS/FPS (non-traditional load for the 450 NE), I wanted the extra inch over 24 inches to help with that......

B. Searcy Classic 450 NE 3 1:4 in.jpg



And I agree with IdaRam....Zephyr that 1905 Gibbs is fantastic......
 

Tokoloshe Safaris

Sponsor
Since 2017
AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 8, 2016
Messages
677
Reaction score
1,011
Location
Milibizi, Zimbabwe
Website
www.tokoloshesafaris.com
Media
74
Articles
1
Member of
Life Member Safari International
Hunted
Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania
I have had several Dbls in my life with bbls. from 24 to 28. The rifle that I use professionally is a George Gibbs .470 originally it was a 28" I used it for many years never felt a problem with the length. After a minor disaster the bbls. had to be shortened to 26", I really cannot say that I notice any difference (of interest re-regulating was not required it is still a spot on rifle. My favourite dbl. was a original John Rigby Rising Bite .450 with 24" inch bbls, unfortunately it needed hand loading to regulate (which is not practical for me in Zim) this rifle I sold I sure miss it. incidentally I noticed absolutely now difference between the .450 & the various .470 I have owned. I also own a .450-400 Westley Richards, unfortunately it requires hand loading to make it regulate so now it just sits in the safe. Great rifle great calibre. I traded a .470 Manton non ejector gun for it.

Before I receive any comments on reloading. In Zim. you must obtain your reloading license from the ministry of mines cost $3,000.00, which has to renewed annually. My wife's Heym .450-400 regulates perfectly with cheap Hornady ammunition.
 

spike.t

Sponsor
Since 2013
AH ambassador
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
9,396
Reaction score
7,698
Website
www.takerireservezambia.com
Media
332
Articles
6
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Member of
sci int, basc,wpaz
Hunted
zambia, tanzania, zimbabwe,Mozambique ,hungary, france, england
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

Enjoy the bush with Respect
20 day hunt in May 2022 with Zana Botes hard part now starting the wait
Better a fool on his own than a wise man at someone else's discretion
... F. Nietzsche
perry madl wrote on Ignatius of Antioch's profile.
Is your double still available?
I am interested in Safari Animal Paintings
 
Top