Double rifle conundrum

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by 49cub, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. 49cub

    49cub AH Member

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    Good evening, I just signed up here and have been reading through old posts about people buying first doubles. I am contemplating the same thing. I need another rifle about like another hole in the head but it is something I've always wanted. I live in central Oklahoma and hunt mainly hogs and deer and occasional coyotes. An Africa trip is in the future but nothing planned yet. I've owned a 458 Lott and shot it frequently. The only double I've fired was a Chapuis at Champlins in Enid in 470 NE. I really liked it a lot but don't think I need a 470 right now. I'm looking long and hard at 3-4 options right now and would like thoughts/comments concerning them.

    Chapuis c10( over/under) in 375 flanged, new, probably can get the best deal in the group but I always thought I'd get a sxs double and having trouble getting over that thought

    Chapuis sxs 9.3x74r, new, also can get pretty good deal but will have to wait at least 3-4 months to get

    Merkel 141 in 9.3x74r, new

    Merkel 450-400, new, would like the bigger caliber but it's about 1300 more than others and I'm having a lot of trouble finding components for reloading

    Not strictly looking at new, but seems to be only ones I'm seeing right now.

    So, I'm open to comments on caliber and other options I may have missed.

    Thanks
     

  2. peras

    peras AH Legend

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    Firstly, welcome to the forum. If it was me I would pay the bit more and go for the 450/400. Whatever your future plans are for using a double, you will need nothing more than this.
     
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  3. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hello 49cub and welcome to the best forum,

    My first double was a Merkel SxS in .375 H&H and despite the right side chamber being a bit tight (showed pressure signs with factory live ammunition that Merkel claimed it had been regulated with), I rather liked the rifle, mostly anyway.

    Part of the appeal was that ammunition/components are widely available.

    The reasons that I sold it included that it only had 23.6" barrels and did not quite balance as well as what I felt a ten thousand dollar firearm should balance like - at least for me anyway.

    If I were in the market today for a new double and could not afford a Westley Richards drop lock (who can?), I would look at the Chapuis, the Verney-Carron and the Heym PH, in either .450/400 or .450 NE, unless heavy/dangerous game were not on my list.

    Hornady is now loading live ammunition in both those calibers plus, they make brass/bullets for them as well so, there should be a supply available soon.

    If heavy DG was not in my plans, I would try for a .375 H&H caliber because it is a fine cartridge for animals large and small (I've hunted deer & caribou with a bolt action .375) plus, if need be, you could change your mind and hunt buffalo and/or elephant with it, most PHs are fine with clients bringing a .375 for the heavy stuff.

    I would insist on at least 25" ejector barrels and 26" so much the better.

    My double these days is a Heym in .458 Winchester, 25.5' ejector barrels and I like it very much (but, it does kick smartly at 9.9 pounds).

    .458W ammunition is widely available and my Heym is accurate plus, I saved about 4 grand compared to the same make/model in 450/400 also used so, I am happy.

    Not sure if I'd want the ammunition availability problems of the .375 Flanged.

    Any way, I am totally with you in that I do not think I would be as happy with an O/U rifle as my primary double rifle.

    Perhaps if I had a few double rifles, one or two could be O/U but I am not made of $ so, I can only afford one and it must be a SxS for my taste.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
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  4. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Go for the 450/400
     
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  5. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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    Welcome to the forum 49cub! Currently sitting with the same conundrum as you, except for mine is a little bit narrowed down between two calibers and when the correct manufacturer pops up.

    All the best in your search.

    Take Care,
    Marius Goosen
     

  6. IdaRam

    IdaRam BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Hello and welcome 49cub! I'm not as close to acquiring a double rifle as it sounds like you are, but still dreaming none the less. Regardless of your choice, I hope you let us all know what you end up with (y) My 2 bits which are worth less than that, .450/400 :)
    By the way, is your handle "49cub" an aircraft reference by chance? :rolleyes:
    My best
     

  7. matt85

    matt85 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    first, I would strongly suggest you not buy a used double as your first double rifle. ive gone threw hell dealing with used doubles and have pretty much sworn off doubles because of it.

    second, I would recommend picking a caliber that will do Dangerous game so your not restricting the rifles use. 450/400 NE 3" and 375 flanged are good options but ammo isn't common for either cartridge. 470 NE is easily the most common cartridge for doubles and ammunition is abundant. these days people have been very successful with rimless cartridges in doubles such as 458 WM and 375 H&H but there are also serious issues that can come from not having a rim. if your thinking about a rimless cartridge make sure to thoroughly research the topic before making the plunge.

    if you never plan on taking DG (unlikely if you hang around this forum) then the 9.3x74R is a great choice. the problem comes when you decide you want DG, the 9.3x74R isn't legal to use for DG in all African countries so if you wanted to use your double you would need to pick a country that allowed it.

    if you really liked the Chapuis double in 470 NE then you should get one. even if you never go to Africa I guarantee you will find a use for your 470 NE double.

    -matt
     
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  8. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Welcome!

    I haven't owned a DR yet either, so I'll stay out of the conversation, but you'll get great advice and opinions here!
     

  9. James.Grage

    James.Grage AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Welcome to AH 49 cub (y)

    With your time and money restraints that you are putting on your self, I suggest you save your money and keep looking for a good/great deal. ;) Do not sell Heym short as they build quality rifles. (y) You will find some PH using these rifles as their main go to rifle for back up. :)(y) Last year a 470 Rigby was in a Cabela's store, so keep looking around, some great rifles keep popping up from time to time.

    If you are serous look at the 450NE 3 1/4" ammunition is available and it has been used for all dangerous game. And i have seen this ammunition in African gun shops. :)

    The 470 & 500 NE are a step up and again have taken all dangerous game. And i have spotted ammunition for both rifles in Africa gun shops. :)

    You indicate that you have a 458 and that is all you really will ever need to go after dangerous game. (y)

    What you rally are talking about is wanting a new toy to play with. :)
     

  10. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I am +1 with matt85 here, in that if you can afford a new double, it will likely have some type of warranty in case it is faulty.
    And regardless of the fact that you may have just spent 10 grand or more on your new rifle, there is no guarantee that it will arrive to you in perfect condition.
    So, the warranty is mighty comforting in that unlikely/unpleasant event.
    The following is a case in point;

    My worst double of the several I have owned was a brand new Merkel SxS, which I had ordered from the US importer/distributer, when I was working part time for Great Northern Guns, in Anchorage Alaska (about 11 or 12 years ago).
    The right side chamber or throat was tight enough that the factory ammunition (Federal 300 gr round nose) it was made for (according to the paper work that Merkel sent with it) showed high pressure symptoms.
    The left side chamber was perfect (and the left side shot as tight a group as one might expect from a bolt gun in the same caliber).
    The right side chamber pressure signs included very flat primers and sometimes one would rupture, causing primer metal to poke back through the firing pin hole, making it difficult to open the rifle.
    Plus, the bum barrel flung it's shots somewhat vertically, usually three shots into about a 5" string most days at the range.

    I decided not to send it back to Merkel but instead to have JJ Perodeau re-regulate the rifle to my hand load of 300 gr round nosers at 2400 fps, at least partly because that is my favorite load in that caliber for bolt guns and single shots any way.
    So, I wished to have all my ammunition the same for both my Mauser and my double.

    Otherwise, I presume Merkel would have fixed their error or replaced the rifle with no charge to me.
    This expert work by Mr. P. totally fixed the problem and I happily paid for it, along with him installing claw mounts and a Leupold 2.5x scope.
    Considering what he rightfully charges for claw mounts, he hardly charged me anything for re-regulating to my load and zeroing my scope to 100 yds for me.
    Also, my already acceptable groups when firing from the sticks with the classic "old right and left/soft and solid" shrank even more, thanks to Mr. Perodeau's expert work.

    So, although buying a new rifle will ensure that you have some recourse in the event that the product is faulty, it is no guarantee that it will be right when you receive it new in the box.

    The Merkel still seems like a bargain to me as double rifles go but they only seem to be made with the infernally short 23.6" barrels.
    If only they would offer their 141 Model SxS like I had but with ejectors and 26" barrels, I would have bought one in 450/400 by now and perhaps that would have ended my constant trying to figure out the best double for me without breaking the bank.
    For all that, I think I would look strongly at Chapuis and Verney-Carron next time in the 10 thousand dollar range.

    If I could afford a somewhat higher price, I definitely believe the Heym PH Model or the older design but quite similar Model 88B would be extra money well spent.
    Heym Trumps them all in the under 20 thousand dollar range but finding one brand new for about the same price as those three afore mentioned makers is not likely to happen (especially in the super desirable 450/400 caliber).

    Out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014

  11. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Welcome to the forum sir. I would like a double someday myself. I looked at the 450/400 and the 470 NE. You will have little use for either of these in OK. Your 458 is popular and will take down everything in Africa.
     

  12. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Elite

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    welcome, if you are used to the 458 then go for the 470 NE .

    personally I would pick the 450/400 , its big enough for big game and comfortable enough for general African hunting.
     
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  13. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    As a fellow Okie, welcome to AH.

    Can't help you with DRs................I'm bolt trash.

    You mentioned Champlins. (It's nice being so close.) I presume you have talked to George. Have him keep an eye out for you. He knows of things out there that aren't in the vault.

    All the best on your decision.
     
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  14. 49cub

    49cub AH Member

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    Gents

    I believe you are going to make my wife very unhappy!! Haha

    470 is what I want but I was trying to talk myself into a 9.3x74. My worry with 450-400 is ammo. I know hornady makes it but it is a seasonal run. Component bullets do appear to be available though. 450 would probably be best but not seeing any new doubles in that caliber yet.

    So, if we were talking 470 options appear to be blaser or Merkel. Nothing at all against Heym, just not seeing any in my price range yet. I'm not against blaser s2, I think it's very modern concept. Merkel seems well respected. I've read a couple accounts with Merkel and both were resolved by Merkel.
     

  15. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hi again 49cub,

    www.gunsinternational.com typically has rows of Merkel double rifles for sale, various calibers from at least as "small" as 9.3x74R through the plenty powerful .500 NE.
    Many (but not all) of these Merkel DR models are listed in there by James Wayne Firearms and his outfit might be in Texas but I'm not sure.
    However, as mentioned before, I think now that I have tried the Merkel with mixed results, I would have a good look at Chapuis and Verney Carron, in the approximately $10,000. range brand new in the box.

    The Heym is not likely to be found below about 12 to 14 thousand US dollars, in the USED category.
    For me personally, I believe the extra money spent on a Heym is worth it, due to the sturdier ejectors for rimless cartridges like .375 H&H / .458 Winchester & Lott as well as the longer barrels available from Heym.
    Run of the mill doubles almost always balance best for me with approximately 26" barrels for some reason.

    Also, you mentioned the .450 NE and for that, Heym makes various models of their SxS rifles in this caliber, apparently on a regular basis.
    When I bought my used Heym in .458 Winchester, if it had turned out to shoot poorly, I was planning to send it to Heym or Champlin Arms to have it converted to .450 NE, as both companies offer this conversion to the Heym Model and caliber that I have.

    However, it shoots well as a .458 and so, for the time being I plan to leave well enough alone.
    Someone said, "If it works, don't fix it" and I find comfort in that.
    Also it doesn't hurt my feelings that .458 Winchester ammunition is as common as any large bore African cartridge is in stores in N. AM. as well as in many parts of Africa.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014

  16. 49cub

    49cub AH Member

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    Hello again, I think the dealer is gonna make up my mind for me. They knocked a grand off the Blaser S2 and only about 100 off the Merkel. So it's looking like a S2 will be coming my way shortly.
     

  17. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The Blazer SxS is made quite a bit differently than traditionally made doubles and as a result, they are reportedly quite a bit more accurate than the traditional designs and if you decide to buy extra sets of barrels in other calibers, they do not require the maker to hand fit them.
    They reportedly just drop right into place like the original barrels do.
    Consult the dealer or manufacturer's web site on this though because I am only parroting what someone else posted regarding the Blazer double rifles.
    I believe Red Leg has one with extra barrels and he is understandably quite happy with it.
     

  18. huntsolo101

    huntsolo101 AH Senior Member

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    I jumped into the club of owning my first double. I purchased a merkel 450/400 from Lincoln Smith of guns of the south. He just came out with a new pricelist on his web page. If I had enough money I would buy another one. Check it out. Aaron
     
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  19. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Where is that place, Birmingham? Do they have much of a double selection?
     

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