Hammer Doubles for Dangerous Game

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by SauerDB, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. SauerDB

    SauerDB New Member

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    Interested in opinions regarding using hammer double rifles for dangerous game hunting. Thinking that reloading would be slowed down if more shots are needed, but don't have any firsthand experience.
     

  2. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    No ejectors and the extra step of cocking. Not an issue on the first shot, but problematic if things go south. Also introduces a safety issue. When do you bring the hammers to full cock? Wading through the thick stuff with hammers cocked and no safety available is an accident waiting to happen. Cocking hammers when on the sticks can cause an issue if you don't remember to do it silently. I hunt hammer shotguns a lot, but they are far from ideal walking up birds. Great in a blind for ducks and geese, but stumbling after a pointer with hammers cocked will get someone killed. Can't imagine doing that in the jess closing on a buffalo. And no one has a long or strong enough thumb to bring both hammers to full cock on a covey or cock bird rise, and still get off an ideal shot. In such a case, all that is lost is a bird. With an angry, in bound buffalo the stakes are a bit higher. Finally, should you invest in one, make sure it is an original nitro-proof gun. The majority are black powder proofed and were created as boar and red stag rifles - the big black powder 8-bores were intended for dangerous game.
     

  3. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

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    There are but a few top-lever nitro express hammer double rifles around, A friend has a Jeffery in .450-400 3" made 1906, it is in new condition and he is keen to try it out on elephant..

    Purdey made hammerless nitro doubles with underlevers some years after 1900...I saw one in .500-465 that came out of Kenya to Sweden many years ago..

    Jaques Lott hunted with a Holland & Holland hammer .577 NE and spoke highly of it....he held back the triggers and cocked them silently..

    But really...they are a part of history....I hunt with a hammerless non-ejector but would not hunt DG with a hammer rifle today..
     
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  4. norfolk shooter

    norfolk shooter AH Fanatic

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    I suppose if you want to sink into the high time of Safari it would be one of the ways to go. The sound of the hammers being cocked would be a concern to me however use Mr Lotts method and thats solved. Dont forget you will have a PH backing you up
     
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  5. Redruff

    Redruff AH Enthusiast

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    @Red Leg summed it up. Keep the hammer gun for the duck blind or driven shoots. Personally would not DG with one. However, if you insist on feeling nostalgic have at it then.
    Good luck with whatever you choose.

    R.
     
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  6. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I'm still kicking myself for not buying one I came across at a gun show a few years back. But i knee nothing of it or the seller at the time, nor now for that matter.

    It was nitro proofed in 450/400. Rebounding hammers, built by one of the lesser known old English companies. It had been gone through and seemed in great shape.

    Something like that still appeals to me. Just to have and play with. Not sure I would hunt with it, might want to but then likely common sense would take over...
     
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  7. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Interesting subject...but if I owned one, I would probably only shoot paper, since I don't duck hunt!
     

  8. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Cal Pappas would be the guy to really talk abut these guns. I th k he actually had one for sale on another post here on AH.
     
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  9. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    To my knowledge he is our resident expert on hunting all game, including elephant with these types of rifles!
     

  10. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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  11. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    The military has a saying "Train the way you fight" trying to operate a hammer under pressure takes way to much training and practice. I'm a single shot man myself and I struggle with "Turn Bolts" I cant imagine trying to work a pair of hammers in close quarters against DG.
     
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  12. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    Should only be used by somebody with loads of experience.

    Many hammer double rifles are of the underlever type that adds another dimension of complexity to the smooth operation of such a rifle.

    I would not recommend such a rifle for a client, unless I personally know him/her and have utmost confidence in their ability to handle such a rifle safely and with competence.
     
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  13. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I think it really dependant on the hunter behind the rifle and how much experience he or she has with hammer rifles and shotguns. It take practice and having long fingers and a strong thumb also helpso_O It takes an individual that has a strong interest in old traditions and and the old guns and believe that it is right to have the old guns speak and hunt through another generation. I hunt with nice old English shotguns for birds. i find with practice that I cock both hammers as the shotgun is coming to shoulder for a shot. I also ALWAYS if I don't fire both barrels that I return the hammers to the down position before I take another step. It takes discipline and practice. I also hunt blackpowder with a hawkens style or a allen underhammer that requires the same skill set. Plus it helps hat I have shot MANY sharps, ballards, rolling block single shots. I have owned 2 double rifle hammer rifles. A 500BPE and I currently own the 577 that Cal had for sale a couple months back. I also enjoy all my modern bolt, single shot and double rifles. My current plan for next years safari is my 9.3x62 bolt gun and either the 450/400 (400gr at 2150) or 45/70 (350gr and 2100) (Still fretting that choice around my brain housing group) My wife has decide that she is only taking her 338 RCM so I am also looking at taking the 577 in addition to the above 2 now. I also believe that the PH has to have a say in that, he has to have faith in me that I am safe and know what I am doing to bring a hammer vintage double to shoot things that bite and scratch back, plus it would help is he had a good bit of interest in old classic safari rifles. That is going to be a discussion we have over a beer at DSC in JAN. If we agree I will bring it if we are not a 100% in agreement it will have to go north for Grizzly at some point. So yes I would hunt DG with a hammer double. But that isn't something I would recommend to only those with the the right skillset.
     
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  14. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    While in no way am I saying this is a good idea but.... if I had the time and money I would love to find an old hammer gun in suitable shape and caliber to hunt with. I’d then train my arse off and go give a buff the “what for” with it solely for the nostalgia and just to say I did it. Why not? People did so for a very long time, of course many ended up as gooey stuff between buff toes too, but I think it would be a hoot! Of course I’ve never been known for my intelligence and always had more balls than brains. It would be doubly cool, pun intended, to do it with a BPE gun too!
     

  15. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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  16. Bonde

    Bonde AH Member

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    I'm the guy with the mentioned Jeffery .450/400 3" hammergun.

    It is in very sound shape, although not quite new, it is on face, tight and well cared for.

    As to speed of shooting. It is not particularly slow, as it has a top-lever and rebounding hammers. It can also be cocked absolutely silent, so when stalking the game will probably be unaware of presence, and you can through a speedy reload cock both of the hammers with the hand, if you practice..!

    It is really not more unsafe than a cocked rifle of modern make i e Krieghof or Blaser S2, nor is it slower in my view.
    Just because you see the Hammers doesnt make it a dangerous gun, as opposed to a hanmerless. Which way you point and handle the gun determines the danger... I know hunters I wouldn't be close to unless thay had a wooden stick, let alone a firearm...

    In all shooting the first shot counts. The second is insurance if the shit hits the fan, but must be used wisely - i e short short range ob invoice game to make sure you hit, faster on outbound game. The situastion needing reloading for the 3-4 shot with a double is more imaginary? You have really screwed up if you need to pump out heaps of shots....? Especially today with linited bags and PH to back up. The hunting I have done, not much dangerous game but a bear, has taught me to use the first shot wisely. Saves a lot of trouble.. As long as you know your rifle well, and operating it is second nature, I see no problem hunting dangerous game with a hammergun. It comes down to practice.
     
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  17. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Enthusiast

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    Exactly, couldn't agree more! If I were lucky enough to own that gun I wouldn't hesitate a second to use it for dangerous game. I'd shoot it a lot to get used to the function for follow up shooting.... just like any other DG gun!! If you think about it check out how efficient a single action revolver is for someone who shoots it. OR conversely I've seen a bunch of people fumble around with double action semi auto pistols where all you have to do is pull the trigger!!! Same for some who ry to cycle and shoot bolt guns quikly when most of their shooting/hunting history has been with semi auto bird guns.... and so on. Ohh the arm chair quarterbacks.
     

  18. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    It all boils down to competence with the weapon of choice.

    Unfortunately the reality is that many hunters who have doubles(not even mentioning hammer doubles), are not competent with such firearms. I have seen many times hunters falter with doubles purely because they never practiced with them before coming on safari. I would not even mention the issues involved with reloading a double to a person who has not bothered to practice it.

    No matter the choice of weapon, as long as the person is competent with it then there should be no issues.

    I would however not have anybody behind me with whatever weapon they choose to hunt with who is not competent and safe with their weapon of choice, period.
     

  19. Bonde

    Bonde AH Member

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    I guess what kind of background one has plays a major role in wether one can handle a double efficient or not.
    I cut my teeth rough shooting black grouse, capricalie, pigeons and other feathery stuff with a side by side shotgun with two triggers. Shooting two shots, break open, reload, and shoot again is second nature. I also use a kipplauf for various deer, and a doublerifledrilling for driven hunts, so my "huntingguns" all have top-levers.
    I have done some competition shooting, so are familiar with the bolt action and repeating while still having the stock in the shoulder, but much prefer break open hinge pin guns for hunting. They were made for hunting - not war.... They are are silent and easy to load/unload, compact, and usually inherit a perfect balance which makes them quick and easy pointing. BUT, they do require practice like any other gun.
    The hammergun will need quite a few hundred rounds down the barrel before I take it after dangerous game, but that is all fun while waiting for the trip!!
     

  20. zephyr

    zephyr AH Enthusiast

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    If it amuses you go for it and learn.....
    I shoot a small bore Hammer Gun with a Jones Rotary under Lever quite often on upland birds behind a dog, you would be surprised at how proficient you will get.
    Some thoughts ...
    Guns with Rebounding Hammers when cocked are quite safe, the notch that catches the rebounded hammer is an intercepting sear and unless you pull the trigger if the hammer falls by accident it will be caught by the intercepting sear.... Some will say that Rebounding Hammer Guns are Safer than most modern shotguns with out intercepting sears whose safeties are only trigger blocks....
    Many Hammer Guns have Stalking Safeties that will let you cock the hammer then slip on a safety letting you get close to an animal and not having to worry about hammer cocking noise..
    Lots of Guns out there that are extractor only Guns dumping shells is part of the process..
    Your weapon, you pick and choose your battlefield....
    I have shot two Cape Buff and one Tuskless with my Double all inside of 50 yards the Tuskless at 15 yards .... I will say that I have been lucky with my shooting that one or two rounds and an insurance shot is all that has been needed so far in my hunting of DG..... who knows about the next but that is why they call it DG and you do so on your own terms when all else fails you do have a PH to back you up...
    If a Hammer Double Floats your boat by all means do .....
     
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