In search for a double rifle

Riksa

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I'm slowly accepting the fact that I'm secretly falling in love with double rifles. All options are still open, but I have narrowed down the selection to Krieghoff and Heym (89B). Blaser and Merkel might also be OK, but I haven't focused on them too much yet.

Krieghoff is now taking lead over Heym mainly as I'm thinking to buy 2 sets of barrels. One in large bore true Africa caliber (like .470 NE) and one that I would mainly practice with and use for smaller game (for example 30-06 or similar). This set up would ensure that I get familar with the rifle and can afford to practice as much as I want + still have all teeth in place after long days in the range.

A used double is also an option. But I want the fitting to be perfect so I would send the rifle back to the manufacturer for custom fitting the stock for me. Has anyone done this for a used double and does it make any sense according to your understanding?

Another (useless) feature I want to have is color case hardening. Has anyone here a color case hardening in their gun? Is the finishing wearing off and how does it look after 20 years of usage? This will not be a show gun for me so I need something that will last normal usage with normal amount of care. Does anyone here know if color case hardening can be done to a used double? Color case hardening is not a must, but I simply like how it looks. Double with color case hardening doesn not require a lot of engraving especially if the wood is nice.

In a gun I value low need for maintenance. I wish to take the gun to range or for a hunt (even in bad weather), clean and oil it and put it back to safe. Any additional maintenance is not appreciated. Shooting and hunting are my hobbies, not gun maintenance. Oiling the stock every now and then is OK. Are there doubles fitting to this criteria? Or does a double require more attention than a for example Winchester M70 Safari Express?

Anyway, I'm trying to take first steps in the world of double rifles so all comments and suggestions are more than welcome. Feel free to recommend options and features. What are the options you would have in a double? Also if you know nice used double rifle being sold in EU, feel free to share a link or PM me for details. Thanks in advance for your comments!
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Well if you want to take a vacation to the U.S. this winter, both DSC and SCI conventions have displays of Heym, Krieghoff, Blaser and Verney Carron at a minimum. I'm not sure about Merkel. They'd be able to measure you and take all of your requirements into account directly.

Good question regarding durability of the color case hardening, but I don't have an answer. But I do love the look of it too.
 

norfolk shooter

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@Riksa I have enquired about a colour case hardened rifle with Krieghoff and they dont do one or so I was told. Where about in Europe are you? Im over in the UK (I voted to remain). A place that is worth keeping an eye on is http://www.holtsauctioneers.com/ If you need any info on a rifle they have let me know as I have a mole on the inside there :Blackalien:. You need to practice with the calibre your going to use. A 470 NE is different from a 30-06 and you need to learn how that calibre will push you around and get used to it. Or else it shall result in an awful flinch.

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Riksa

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@norfolk shooter
Thanks for your comment! I'm in Finland. I do understand that 470 NE is a totally different gun to shoot compared to 30-06. So it will also require practice with 470. But being new to doubles, mastering Krieghoff cocking system, changing from 1st trigger to 2nd one (without thinking) are the skills I expect to learn also with 30-06 too. Learning these while shooting only 470...

I'll check holtsauctioneers and let you know if I find something interesting.

According to my knowledge Krieghoff is doing color case hardening. It's available in their essencia series. Also our local Krieghoff representative mentioned that you can order it special made for other doubles.
https://www.krieghoff.de/en/hunting-guns/krieghoff-essencia/sidelock-side-by-side-double-rifle/

@PHOENIX PHIL
Thanks for the good suggestion. I'm afraid my winter vacation will be spent in Dark Continent :)

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IvW

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I am also looking into a double with multiple sets of barrels. I have been in contact via e-mail as well as received a phone call from Verney-Carron today.

I have been mighty impressed with the service so far. One of the main gunsmiths phoned me to discuss some details.

They make beautiful top quality double rifles. They will custom fit the stock to your measurements and also do beautiful colour case hardening The actions are possibly one of the strongest available.

I am looking at getting a SxS with barrels in 500 NE, 450/400 NE as well as a set of 12ga shotgun barrels.

Blaser do not make the S2 doubles anymore. It has an auto safety which is a big no-no.

I don't like the cocking type safety on a Krieghoff.

Have heard too many issues regarding Merkel with chamber cutting issues and double discharges related to auto safety and bent front triggers(7 different rifles) after sales service very bad. Heym you are also pretty much on your own after you buy the rifle.

A friend of mine needed spares(internal parts for the action) that were rusted beyond repair on his Chapuis 500 NE after 3 seasons of hunting in the Cameroon rainforests.

VC agent actually sourced these parts in France from Chapuis and shipped them within 10 days! Chapuis never even bothered to reply to numerous e-mail regarding the issue.

Whatever you decide on make sure about after sales service. Rather pay a bit more for a quality product with good support from the manufacturer.
 

Riksa

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Sounds like you have a good agent for VC in South Africa. I haven't really checked VC as an option yet. I need to check who is their representative here in Finland and collect a little more info. Krieghoff and Heym are actually represented by the same small company. They have been so far very good with communications and service.
 

IvW

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Hyem are good and widely used, after sales not so good.

I know of 3 Krieghoff doubles that double discharged. 2 in 470 NE and 1 in 500 NE.
The one 470 went back 3 times.
The 500 NE was available to shoot at a small fee(pay for two bullets) at a Big bore shoot we had a few years ago. Always being interested in doubles I walked past to have a look. The agent asked if I would like to shoot one. I said no I use a 500 Jeff bolt gun. He insisted. I mentioned the double discharge issue I was aware of on the 470's.

Well I took a shot. The rifle double discharged!!! The first shot hit the target exactly where I was aiming the second hit the backstop about 3 meters up. The agent insisted that I was at fault accusing me of not holding the rifle properly. I paid for 2 more rounds and insisted he shoot the rifle and show me how it is done. Alas! another double discharge!!!

Needles to say, the rifle was packed away and the agent had nothing to say! I have never considered them since.

Nothing breaks your confidence in a product especially when your life is on the line like that.
 

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Hyem are good and widely used, after sales not so good.

I know of 3 Krieghoff doubles that double discharged. 2 in 470 NE and 1 in 500 NE.
The one 470 went back 3 times.
The 500 NE was available to shoot at a small fee(pay for two bullets) at a Big bore shoot we had a few years ago. Always being interested in doubles I walked past to have a look. The agent asked if I would like to shoot one. I said no I use a 500 Jeff bolt gun. He insisted. I mentioned the double discharge issue I was aware of on the 470's.

Well I took a shot. The rifle double discharged!!! The first shot hit the target exactly where I was aiming the second hit the backstop about 3 meters up. The agent insisted that I was at fault accusing me of not holding the rifle properly. I paid for 2 more rounds and insisted he shoot the rifle and show me how it is done. Alas! another double discharge!!!

Needles to say, the rifle was packed away and the agent had nothing to say! I have never considered them since.

Nothing breaks your confidence in a product especially when your life is on the line like that.

:eek:, I bet that was a bit brutal on the shoulder!
 

IvW

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:eek:, I bet that was a bit brutal on the shoulder!

Yip!, the second shot coming unexpectedly and thumping you when the rifle is already in recoil is a definite wake-up call! Especially in 500 NE!

I just could not get past the fact that if this happened in the field with charging buffalo or elephant and the first shot was not true, I would be toast! Everytime I look at a Krieghoff that is all I think about. No thanks, never again.
 

dwboso

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Reading the blogs about double rifles and was struck by the doubling issue. Its possible to ride back onto the second trigger under recoil of heavier recoiling rifles which would not be a true "doubling" in my opinion. My idea of doubling is that both sears release simultaniously due to a mechanical failure. Most higher quality big bore,big recoiling rifles (500 ne and larger) have interrupting sears to prevent that happening. While the ride onto second trigger is certainly not pleasant,its not really the rifles fault either. the shooter is pulling the second trigger, so the rifle goes off like it should, just a lot sooner than you wanted. It could be stock fit,or it might be that you are not holding on, or leaning into the gun properly when you touch off the first bbl. I am certainly not an expert, but I have a little experience w double rifles. And yes, I have had the ride back doubling happen to me. A grip change and being "more ready" for the recoil, will usually solve the problem. if that doesn't,then just shoot the rear trigger first. It's just as fast, and permanently cures the problem Just my 2 cents worth
 

Riksa

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I sent emails to both Heym and Krieghoff with some questions to just see how responsice they are for a private customer. Both replied with Kreighoff being a little faster and giving more thorough response. In Finland they are represented by same reseller (which has been very responsive) so they seem to be in par on that. Delivery time for a new Heym is around 10 months and for Krieghoff all the way up to 2 years. As mentioned previously, I am also considering to buy a used one, and got response clarifying that getting color case hardening done afterwards is not doable.

I also checked holtsauctioneers but could not find anything of interest there yet. So far the interesting double I found is this: http://www.springer-vienna.com/prem...-five-doppelbuchse-kal-470-nitro-express.html
Beautiful gun, but with a price tag that is little too far above my budget. If only that double would be a used one with little more reasonable price...

One of the decisions I need to make is if I want the gun to be a piece of art (comes with higher price, but pleases eye) or piece of hunting hardware (functionality over outlook and cheaper but just as good to use). Knowing me, if the gun looks great, the first scracth on the stock will make me pissed...
 

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Surprised to see the doubling issue with a Krieghoff. Have never seen it nor heard of it. Normally the rifle has a reputation for absolute dependability and accuracy. I know several PH's who use them - Nick Nolte and Jamy Traut are two of the better known. The cocking slide is very easy to learn - a normal safety with simply a bit more push. Double triggers take a bit of muscle memory, though I shoot doubles and singles and have to look to tell you which I am using - just a bit of range time.
 

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The case done later is very "doable" BUT to send it to Turnbull or someone like them would cost Probably thousands of dollars. I'm having an old Fox double done now. If you want case, then spend the extra dollars up front and get a rifle already done in case colors. Case will wear but so will blued frames or even coin finished. If you carry any gun much,you are going to see evidence over time. It just adds character.
 

dwboso

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Have you considered a Searcy Double rifle. The PH model has a case color frame. Box lock action, and would probably be in the 10 to 15000 range
 

Riksa

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Thanks for the comments about case finish. Cost even from factory varies from 3-4k€. So it comes at a cost no matter what.

I have not considered Searcy (altough they look nice) as they don't have reseller in Finland nor in EU. If the gun would require maintenance in the future, that would be difficult. I have tried to order gun parts from US to Finland and that is not easy. So I would prefer to buy a European gun.
 

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Based on your experience, is Heym or Krieghoff more attractive in second hand market?
 

norfolk shooter

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Based on your experience, is Heym or Krieghoff more attractive in second hand market?

They both do rather well. I've never seen one go unsold at Holtsauctioneers
 

Riksa

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According to my knowledge Krieghoff is doing color case hardening. It's available in their essencia series. Also our local Krieghoff representative mentioned that you can order it special made for other doubles.
https://www.krieghoff.de/en/hunting-guns/krieghoff-essencia/sidelock-side-by-side-double-rifle/

I might have to take back the comment about Krieghoff making color case hardening for Big Five Classic. Current comment from factory is that it's not available for Big Five as this finish makes frame weaker and big five frame is not designed for this finish. Essencia series uses different frame.
 

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