Double Rifle Barrel Length

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by Saul, Jun 23, 2017.

  1. Saul

    Saul AH Enthusiast

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    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
     

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  2. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    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:
     

  3. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

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    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..
     

  4. Saul

    Saul AH Enthusiast

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    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)?
     

  5. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    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.
     
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  6. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    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)
     
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  7. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    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.
     

  8. Saul

    Saul AH Enthusiast

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    How did you know that?!? :)
     

  9. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    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
     
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  10. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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  11. zephyr

    zephyr AH Enthusiast

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    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.
     
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  12. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    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)
     
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  13. zephyr

    zephyr AH Enthusiast

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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  14. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    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
     

  15. sandman0921

    sandman0921 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    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......
     
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  16. zephyr

    zephyr AH Enthusiast

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    Could not ask for a better backdrop for the Searcy
     
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  17. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Fanatic

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    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.
     

  18. Fr8liner

    Fr8liner AH Veteran

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    Ugh why cant it be a 500NE!!
     

  19. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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