Looking for information on shotgun to double rifle conversion


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Dec 29, 2011
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Hey guys, I'm fairly new to the forum here so please bear with me. I'm looking for articles and/or information on a shotgun to double rifle conversion. I've been fortunate enough to find someone in my state who does this rather frequently and somewhat inexpensively as well. I don't have the money to afford a Bailey Bradshaw rifle or even a Sabatti right yet so I thought I'd try this out.
If anyone has a firearm that's been converted like this or if you have any advice, please let me know. I know this might be considered a 'poor man's double rifle' but I think I'd like to do it so I'm trying to read up on it as much as possible!
Welcome to AH...

Good question,
Well, there is a new question!
Got me, I just buy the firearms new or used never remade/converted.
Real Gun nut forums might be an idea.
CZ make a number of guns that'll interchange barrels...as will Kreikhoff! From what I see, if you take a double rifle and convert a set of shotgun barrels for it, that's one thing, but going the other way is a mite more challenging!
having said that, a set of 'Morris tubes' will instantly convert a shotgun to a rifle, so if you happened to have 2 sets of barrels for a shotgun, there's no reason why it won't work satisfactorily!
A client once brought out an O/U 12g Shotgun with a set of Morris tubes in .303 cal which he'd worked up loads for and it worked great!
I may get concerned about the action with heavy hitters though!

Welcome! Let me throw this at ya! Why dont you save your money instead of messing around with a conversion. A good shotgun conversion will be between 2K and 3K to do it right--heck your 1/3 of the way to a Searcy, or a used Merkel--and half way to a Chapuis 9.3x74r.

If you got to have a double to play with in the time being--buy a spartan in a 45-70 for 600-800 dollars. They work and well not cut into your savings that much.

USSG Baikal 45-70 Double Rifle : Single Shot Rifles at GunBroker.com

If you're finding a used Merkel at between 4 and 6K, please let me know where! I can't find anything for less than about three-times that price! And that's on the conservative side of the equation!

Hummm... dont see where I said I found Merkel's for 4,000:confused:. I said if you saved 2,000 to 3,000 on a conversion you would be a 1/3 of the way to a used Merkel or Searcy 1/3 of 9,000 is 3,000 and I have bought Merkel's for under 9K. I helped a good frind of mine buy a Chapuis 470 for a tic under 8K, and I myself have bought a Sercy for $8,350. I have sense sold the rifle but the deals are out there--you just have to have the cash when the deal comes about.

The second part is I said half way to a Chapuis 9,3x74r and yes you can buy them for around 4K. I stand by my fractions.:rolleyes:

Your fractions may be correct but my comment was based on me misreading things. I thought you said 1/2-way instead of 1/3 of the way there. I can't even find anything from Merkel or Searcy on Gunbroker at all. I don't know if there's another site dedicated solely to the sales of double rifles, but I can't find much.
I figured on the conversion because, with the price of a shotgun, I can have it done for a far sight less than 2K and still have a fairly decent firearm. As I've said, I found someone in my state here who does it rather inexpensively and stands behind his work well. I've got four young children (ages 1 to 10) and can't afford much. If this were to work, it would fit perfectly within my price-range and still allow me to save up for a trip in either 2013 or 2014.
I appreciate the advice on the Merkel and Searcy, but as I said in my original post, I don't have the money (nor can I justify right now) even a Sabatti at around 5K, so I've got to work within my own budget!!
A friend on here referred me to this website. Some good deals. Guns International, Used Guns For Sale Online, Antique Guns, Collectible Firearms

For the record, I understand your perdicament. I also understand Ed too. He's just trying to get you started on the right foot. My two cents is it's better to save even if it takes a lot of time than settle for something that will not work well. Just keep your hopes and keep searching. A lot of us are in the same boat!
There was a gun maker in Fayetteville Arkansas who made a 3 barrel shotgun/rifle set for my father; however that was a long time ago. I'll check the barrels for some indication of his name, but I highly doubt the gentleman is still alive let alone building guns after all these years.
One particular oddity to that build was that the only receiver he would build a heavy rifle barrel set on was a particular Ithaca side by side. I'm not sure what model the shotgun receiver was but I do know it was well known for being overbuilt and extremely strong. I have this gun now and will see if there is anything in the paperwork that might help you out.
A second builder that might be able to accommodate you is a company known as American Eagle Rifles, not sure where they are located. I tried a basic Google search with no results. I spoke to this builder at a gun show in central Ohio last year. He sells side by side rifle and shotgun combos, double rifle and double shotgun interchangeable sets. He was pricey in my opinion but he definitely was filling a niche that no one else was in. I imagine he would be based in Ohio, Michigan, or Kentucky due to the vendors that frequent that particular gun show.
Just did a google search and there is a gunsmith that is building a set of 405 Winchester barrels for a 20g shotgun. Try www.jwhitegunsmiths.com. Also search this name on YouTube for a short video on the above project. Hope this helps.

Sorry not trying to talk down to you or be a a#s--just trying to guide you down a path that you will enjoy. I know about Kids I have a 4 year old and we are tying for another this spring. I bought my first double when I was in my early 20's ( about 12 years ago) it was a Whatson bros in a 475 #2--well used and worn--but shot well. I purchaced it for $9,500--a mountain of money at the time when I was a commission salesman--but I was single. I sold the gun 1 1/2 year later for 14K--that was fun. I have owned 5 more doubles ranging from a Searcy 577 to a William Douglass 470--they have all been fun and I have made a few bucks off each, because I bought them right and bought quality. I have 2 FAMARS guns on order right now--and will sell the 500 when it is time and keep my 450/400. After all my Double trading I cleared one rifle outright. THats right over 6 double rifle sales and 4 english shot gun sales I had enough profit to clear a 35,000 dollar double. It can be done.

Let me say look around--there are good guns around. Saying that if it is the difference between going hunting and getting a double--take your bolt gun and go have fun. I go to Africa now about every year and I'm trying to "right" my misspent youth (on chasing women and buying guns) That being said I have owned a pile of cool guns and have had fun.

Check a few of these out:

A solid rifle that might be delt on:
Ritterbusch Express Double Rifle 450 3 1/4 Nitro : Other Rifles at GunBroker.com

Here is a Searcy--
B Searcy & Co .470 - Nitro - Searcy Firearms

I've bought guns from Trop before good folks and they will deal--could be bought for around 9K:

Merkel 140-2E Side x Side Safari Rifle Chambered in 470 Nitro Express - Merkel Rifles

I know this is out of your price range but this is the kind of stuff I look for--Peter Hambrusch get about 28K now to start to build a rifle--half price:

Hambrusch Ferlach Safari 470 Nitro Express Ejector Double - Austrian Double Rifles

I not saying you are throwing your money away--but before you go to a conversion look at the Sabbatti's--this is the only time you will here me say this-- they will serve you and function--but dont expect to get your money back or half of it back--but a 450/400 Sabbatti with ejectors would be great fun for pigs--and Serve you well for the big stuff if Africa if a double is your dream.

Sorry for the rant enjoy your quest:

There has been a lot of good and bad things said about the Sabbatti's, I for one like them. As to your original question about the conversion, a close freind of mine with the local Sheriff's dept. who is also a good gunsmith, converted a 12ga. sxs to a sxs 45-70. The way he explained it, his dad gave him this old 12 ga. that he really had no use for, so he bought a couple of 45-70 blanks and turned the barrels (slowly) so not to stress them, until they fit inside the 12ga barrels. He then used spacers and epoxy to regulate the 2 barrels. Once regulated he left the spacers and silver soltered both ends of the barrels. He refinished the wood, left the rusted/blued barrels alone and left the Remington 700 front and rear sights on it. He handloaded his own 500 gr. cast bullets and the rifle shot like a dream, he let me shoot it about 10 times, which was a lot of fun and he said he only had about $400 in the thing. That being said, he did the work himself, the labor alone I would assume would be another $400-$500, so you would probably be better off just buying the Sabbatti or a similar sxs rifle. good luck.
I like the Sabatti rifles, I really do! I've fondled one or two and they feel great, but if I'm saving up the money to do a Sabatti, why not save up just a little more and do a Bailey Bradshaw falling-block double? They seem to average about $3K more than a Sabatti. I do plan on buying an actual double rifle at some point in life (or the near future) but I thought the conversion would be fun to shoot and fun to have until then. I can be into it for about $1,500 total, and I want to handload for it so it should work out half-way decent! Who knows. One way or the other, I'll hopefully have one before I book the hunt. That way I can get familiar with it as much as possible!
I have owned a Kodiak .50cal blackpowder sxs, great rifle, that's another option to get familiar with a double rifle, they are only about $500-$600 on gunbroker. Obviously not the same, but, similar enough.
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Bailey builds a super nice gun, no doubt--and I agree with you, I would save up for one and I think he is around 8500 for his non-take down version. there are also lots of guns that are about that could serve you well.

I see you have made your mind up on the conversion, I hope it works out for you, but I cannot tell you its a good investment or I would do it. Doubles are fun, but they must be done right! For a cheapy go with the Spartan 45-70 it works and its cheap--for fun--just my 2 centavos.


Agree with Ed on the Spartan rifle. I wrote an article for Gun World a while back about them, pretty neat gun. Some are real stiff to open, mine was, but others have said their's broke open and stayed open easily. Mine was the Remington which they have dropped, but the USSG Baikal is the same gun without the name. The one on GB right now is a good buy.
I too wanted to get in the double rifle market cheap. I started with a Kodiak 45-70 ($1800.00) on Gunbroker. Once I killed my first pig with it, I was hooked. Still being a little cheap, I purchased an over and under Baikal 30-06 (~$300.00), a Baikal 30-06 side by side (~$600.00), a used Kodiak .72 caliber BP muzzleloader (~$700.00) and two more Kodiaks ($2200 and $2800). That's $8400.00 for a bunch of shooters. I could have held out and got a nice Searcy, but I still wouldn't be there yet! A 450 3 1/4 Searcy would be my dream gun.
I too have looked at the Sabatti's I found I would need to have stock work done to make it fit my eye perfect. More cast off and a lower comb but they do look nice. Many doubles are on Gun Broker etc , As to the shotgun/double rifle conversion, there is a book on just that subject- "Building Double Rifles on Shotgun Actions" by Ellis Brown. NOT a very easy process and one that needs very special and esoteric knowledge and machining ability. I have the book. Makes very interesting reading. I'll buy one rather than try to make one and I've done some machine work in my life.

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Bill J H wrote on gearguywb's profile.
Do you still have this rifle? I'm in the KC area on business and I'm very interested.
Safari Dave wrote on CoElkHunter's profile.
I didn't get drawn for Wyoming this year.

Are you planning to hunt Unit 4 this fall?

(Thinking about coming out)
another great review