Hunting with a Hammer double rifle


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Dec 19, 2012
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Middle of southern Norway
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Norway, Poland, Czeck Republic, Croatia, Canada, Scotland and New Zealand
I'm looking into buying a double rifle, and have come across a sound jeffery .450-400 3" hammer double.

How would it be to hunt elephant with a gun like that?

Is it very slow on the second shot, better or worse than a boltrifle?
I assume that one with practice would be able to shoot rather quick cocking the second hammer during the return of the recoil from the first shot?
I suppose that cocking both hammers at the same movement would be a bit avkward? Pull one at a time?

Is it a difference between the ones with an underlever, and those with a toplever?

I'd very much like to hear from those that hunt with hammerguns!
I hunt with hammer shotguns often and have a hammer cape gun with which I have taken a couple of deer. I have not used one on dangerous game. A few thoughts. With a hammer double rifle, I would cock both hammers prior to the first shot. You are then prepared for an immediate follow-up. You also need to learn how to do that while not making a loud metalic click (hold the trigger back, pull back the hammer, sillently relase pressure on the trigger - hard enough with a big buck - could be really tricky while staring down a Buf or elephant). The real gymnastics start the moment that second shot does not present itself. You will likely be in a quick sprint to get a second round in. At that point you have a cocked gun for which you need to VERY CAREFULLY lower the hammer. While you are remembering to do that (with a sweaty thumb), your PH is urging you frantically to reload and to follow him. All that can get fairly complicated.

I shoot hammer guns a lot - clays and hunting - and yet, I would think long and hard about taking one to a fight with a buff. Enough can go wrong in a close situation without having a muscle memory lapse when parts of seconds might count. Hammer rifles are servicable, and will absolutely get the job done. The question is whether or not the shooter has sufficent familiarity.

Finally, should you get a hammer rifle, ensure that it is a "nitro" proofed weapon. Many hammer rifles are black powder express rifles which means they were actually built for red stag and boar (think .45-50 cal black powder rifles we use for deer). Some nitro rounds will seemingly fit some BP Express rifles and the results of firing could be very dangerous.
I wouldn't hesitate to use my A Hollis 500/450NE back action underlever! It's more quiet than a box action and not any slower. You can carry it cocked with the action open too. The hammers are almost silent cocking or uncocking.
I love hammer guns...I really wish they made a hammer gun that was was priced under 35K, I would look at buying one!

Really cool idea on a hammer gun!

Hambrusch Hunting Weapons

There are still many Nitro Proofed hammer guns out there for a bunch less than 35K!
I love hammer guns...I really wish they made a hammer gun that was was priced under 35K, I would look at buying one!

Really cool idea on a hammer gun!

Hambrusch Hunting Weapons


I've built a number of doubles on modern and per war hammer actions. I too love and prefer them to box locks for a number of reasons. One is that by design they are side locks which gives greater reliability. No need for cocking indicators, and they can be de-cocked. Field repairs are easy as the locks are detachable, and by design they have bushed pins. Opening the action is light and easy as there is nothing to cock.

I don't see many draw backs, cocking is easy and I use my right thumb to cock both at once in a second. For most people it's the fact they don't look modern.

One of my current projects is 405win on prewar husky105 bar action hammer gun. It's super light wait, and I'm hoping to keep it under 7.5 pounds or lighter. Load will be 400 grain bullet @ 2000 fps. Fun fun fun!

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