One final rodeo, bolt-action or double rifle for my last big bore thumper?

Northern Shooter

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I'd like to thank the AH community for helping me spend my money on my last three DG rifle choices including a 375H&H, 416 Rigby and 458 WinMag.

I'm looking to add one final thumper to the collection and would like to make it special one. My initial thought is to go with a double rifle as they are more unique than a bolt-action and will make for a great conversation piece and heirloom. If double rifle I'd be going with either .470NE or 500NE. Considering Merkels, Krieghoffs and Heyms.

On the other hand I'm also drawn to a premium bolt-action along the lines of a ParkWest Arms, Mauser or Rigby in a caliber other than the 3 mentioned above. Something in 450 Rigby, 500J or 505Gibbs would be fun.

If you owned bolt actions in the above 3 calibers (CZ's, Winchesters) and wanted a final DG rifle that felt a little more special, which direction would you go with? This decision is not dependent on hunting any specific game, just for the pure enjoyment of owning it. Budget: up to 20K Canadian.
 
Since you pretty much have the big bore bolt action bases covered and can spend that much for another big rifle then of course buy a double. That's a nice problem to have! Good luck and enjoy!
I'm open to all options. I get the impression that my budget will buy a much nicer bolt action than a double rifle but I'd still be extremely happy with a Merkel DR or similar.

I'm buying this as a reward for early retirement.
 
There’s no correct answer to this. If you‘re exclusively skilled with bolt action rifles, then go that route. If you dream of owning a double rifle, then go for a double. It all depends on what you prefer.

If you don’t hand load or have access to custom ammunition loaders, then I personally wouldn’t opt for a double rifle. It can be quite hellish to re-regulate them for ammunition other than what the factory had them regulated with. I have a friend who owns a Butch Searcy boxlock ejector in .500 Nitro Express which was regulated for the 570Gr Barnes TSX factory load. With recent shortages of that particular make of ammunition, he’s been having a very difficult time getting it to group accurately with other makes of ammunition (and even a few hand loads). Fortunately, Superior Ammo custom loaders is currently helping him develop a good load for the rifle.
 
There’s no correct answer to this. If you‘re exclusively skilled with bolt action rifles, then go that route. If you dream of owning a double rifle, then go for a double. It all depends on what you prefer.

If you don’t hand load or have access to custom ammunition loaders, then I personally wouldn’t opt for a double rifle. It can be quite hellish to re-regulate them for ammunition other than what the factory had them regulated with.
Is there any particular resource that lists what loads each double has been regulated with for specific production years? I haven't been able to find this.
 
Is there any particular resource that lists what loads each double has been regulated with for specific production years? I haven't been able to find this.
Not officially. But I’ve been able to record a few over the years. Any specific make & model I can help you with ?
 
Not officially. But I’ve been able to record a few over the years. Any specific make & model I can help you with ?
I'm looking at both new production Merkel 140AE/160AE as well as the Krieghoff Classic Big V. Considering 470/500NE for the above.

Also looking at a used Heym 88B PH in 500NE (sorry don't know the model year but I've included the link below).

 
If you can trace your heritage to a certain region that makes high-end doubles, it could be nice to find something from there. For example, if you have Germanic heritage, a vintage Austrian Ferlach from Borovnik or some other similar house. The vintage engraving and finishing has always appealed to me.

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I'm open to all options. I get the impression that my budget will buy a much nicer bolt action than a double rifle but I'd still be extremely happy with a Merkel DR or similar.

I'm buying this as a reward for early retirement.
Champion Firearms has a lovely Chapuis 470NE listed at just under $15000US.
 
I'm looking at both new production Merkel 140AE/160AE as well as the Krieghoff Classic Big V. Considering 470/500NE for the above.

Also looking at a used Heym 88B PH in 500NE (sorry don't know the model year but I've included the link below).

Both these brands regulate their double rifles with Hornady ammunition. Heym uses Labor Fur Ballistik ammunition for regulating their .577 & .600 Nitro Express double rifles, but Hornady ammunition for all calibers of double rifles up to .500 Nitro Express.
 
This is an easy one, of course go with a double! I could say I am biased because I own a Heym, having been faced with the same choice as you are now going through. But in all honesty, after a lot of searching and examining the various features of the various offerings, their respective strengths and more importantly their potential weaknesses, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that Heym is a cut above the field mechanically.
Then it comes to styling, some love the Germanic line of the 88 series, but for me it was the old classic British styling of the 89 that did it for me. In my eyes a perfect package that you will not regret and that your grand children will love. Cost? Just sell something! Perfection shouldn't be defined by price, but having said that I think you will be very pleasantly surprised.
 
I'm looking at both new production Merkel 140AE/160AE as well as the Krieghoff Classic Big V. Considering 470/500NE for the above.

Also looking at a used Heym 88B PH in 500NE (sorry don't know the model year but I've included the link below).

If you really want a double, go for it. However, @HunterHabib is, as always, correct in that you will have to do some work in finding the proper regulating load, for a particular double. I went down that route, and probably shot 200 rounds, to find the load my 450/400 liked. It was regulated with Hornady 400 grain, but Hornady changed their powders and bullets over 10 years, and it wouldn't shoot well.
I finally settled on Woodleigh 400 grain, .411 softs and Reloder 15. It became a bit frustrating to get to that perfect load, but with friends here, and reading a lot, I found it.

I eventually sold it, as I was just not that proficient with the double, better with my .458 Win Mag bolt rifle.

With that being said, my next big thumper was a .500 Jeffery, CZ 550. Definitely a step up.
Much easier reloading for accuracy than the double.

There is a very nice Joe Smithson built .500 Jeffery on Guns International now for right under $10K. That would be my next purchase, having determined that I am a better shot with a bolt gun.

But that Heym 88B in .500 NE is a temptress. As I understand (having never owned a Heym), they regulate well across a few different loads. If you go the Double Rifle route, definitely get o copy of Graeme Wrights' Shooting the British Double Rifle, 3rd edition.
This book will help you understand the involved dynamics of a double, regulation, shooting form and technique, and loading.

Let us know how else we can help you spend your money. The search for the next rifle is similar to hunting. The pursuit is important.
 
This is an easy one, of course go with a double! I could say I am biased because I own a Heym, having been faced with the same choice as you are now going through. But in all honesty, after a lot of searching and examining the various features of the various offerings, their respective strengths and more importantly their potential weaknesses, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that Heym is a cut above the field mechanically.
Then it comes to styling, some love the Germanic line of the 88 series, but for me it was the old classic British styling of the 89 that did it for me. In my eyes a perfect package that you will not regret and that your grand children will love. Cost? Just sell something! Perfection shouldn't be defined by price, but having said that I think you will be very pleasantly surprised.
While I would love to have a 89B they seem to be far above my price point, roughly 30-40k CDN.

I do like the Germanic lines on the 88 as well.

I'm also leaning more towards the 500NE because nothing says special with a .510.

Ballistically it sets itself apart from my 458 moreso than the 470NE would.
 
With the rifles you already have a Double would be my preference if you really wanted another rifle.

That said I would personally rather take one of the rifles you already have and go on an Elephant hunt with the money instead and add history and sentimental value to one of the current rifles for posterity
 
Stop the nonsense. I have lied to myself for years telling similar tales that my next rifle will be my last. If you lie to yourself, as do I, it makes for internal conflict. :) Heck, you can’t even trust yourself.

A double makes the most sense from what you have stated, but getting a nice bolt action if you come across it won’t shut the double door either.
 
I'd like to thank the AH community for helping me spend my money on my last three DG rifle choices including a 375H&H, 416 Rigby and 458 WinMag.

I'm looking to add one final thumper to the collection and would like to make it special one. My initial thought is to go with a double rifle as they are more unique than a bolt-action and will make for a great conversation piece and heirloom. If double rifle I'd be going with either .470NE or 500NE. Considering Merkels, Krieghoffs and Heyms.

On the other hand I'm also drawn to a premium bolt-action along the lines of a ParkWest Arms, Mauser or Rigby in a caliber other than the 3 mentioned above. Something in 450 Rigby, 500J or 505Gibbs would be fun.

If you owned bolt actions in the above 3 calibers (CZ's, Winchesters) and wanted a final DG rifle that felt a little more special, which direction would you go with? This decision is not dependent on hunting any specific game, just for the pure enjoyment of owning it. Budget: up to 20K Canadian.
Given you have three great bolt action rifles I would opt for a DR in 470 or 500 NE to finish you out. You named three very good ones given I have owned them
 
@Northern Shooter

So first things first, this idea that you will buy “one last one” is ridiculous. This is an addiction. There will be more of them. It never stops.

Now that is out of the way, the biggest caliber you currently own is in the 45’s. So I would suggest .470NE (just because of practicality), 500NE, 500j or 505Gibbs. I would agree to perhaps sell the .458WM (unless it is a special rifle) in that case.

But in order to decide on bolt vs double, what do you intend to hunt the most in the future? Unless the answer is elephant, you’ll likely always be better off with a bolt action with a red dot/low power scope.


 

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