The Draw of the Sporting Double Rifle

Kevin Peacocke

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Zimbabwe, SouthAfrica
One doesn't just pick up a double, one handles it, feels it, and it immediately talks to you. There is a balance that puts it between your hands, begging to be shouldered and inviting the eye to align those purposeful express sights to your quarry imagined or real, huge and menacing, and close! A double isn't about dots in the distance, it is about hair and crinkled skin, about tusks and wet noses that would as soon kill you as you would them. A supremely functional tool, nay partner in pursuing dangerous game, and dreams. But for all the intricate mechanism contained within, a double has the impeccable manners to conceal it's magic within a form so smooth, flowing, and gracious as to arouse that place in a hunter's chest where his or her soul lives. Where the senses take their spoils for appreciation, a place that knows the smell of gun oil and of a linseed-rubbed walnut stock. Whether there is history in it, or yet to be made, of one thing there is certainty, the journey with a double will be rich, exciting, and rewarding.

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Acknowledgements to Westley Richards.
 
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One doesn't just pick up a double, one handles it, feels it, and immediately it talks to you. There is balance that puts it between your hands, begging to be shouldered and inviting the eye to to align those purposeful express sights to your quarry imagined or real, huge and menacing, and close! A double isn't about dots in the distance, it is about hair and crinkled skin, about tusks and wet noses that would as soon kill you as you them. A sopremely functional tool, nay partner in the pursuit of dangerous game, and dreams. But for all the intricate mechanism contained within, a double has the impeccable manners to conceal it's magic within a form so smooth, flowing and gracious as to arouse that place in a hunter's chest where his or her soul lives. Where the senses take their spoils for appreciation, a place that knows the smell of gun oil and of a linseed rubbed walnut stock. Whether there is history in it, or yet to be made, of one thing there is certainty, the journey with a double will be rich, exciting and rewarding.
View attachment 609550
Acknowledgements to Westley Richards.
Great words!

I remember admiring that piece of art:)
 
I doubt if I will ever own a double but like any fine thing in the world it needs admiration classic cars, single malt whisky and a good cigar all fall into that catergory.
 
Show us your double, a few words about the journey done or yet to come
 
I don't currently own a double rifle (yet), but I do have a very memorable story about the first time I ever hunted with a double rifle.

When I hunted in Tanzania in 1978 (when TAWICO reopened hunting five years after the 1973 ban), we had a South Carolina gentleman in camp by the name of Dave Bourban. He had a tattoo of the American confederate flag on each of his forearms and spoke with a strong Southern accent. If modern leftist tabloid journalists took just one look at the man, then they would immediately declare him to be the stereotypical racist. In reality, I found Dave to be anything but. He was a true gent in every sense of the word. Extremely friendly with me, our white hunters and even the trackers and coolies. He had brought along 2 rifles on Safari: a custom made .375 Holland & Holland Magnum built on a Remington Model 30 Express action and a Belgium made boxlock ejector double rifle in .458 Winchester Magnum (a guild gun). During one of our evening campfire chats after a long day of hunting eland, I casually mentioned to him that I had always dreamt of hunting dangerous game in Africa with a double rifle someday. Dave immediately told me “Habib, I’ll be mighty pleased if you bag your Cape buffalo with my .458 double. Don’t worry about me. I can get by with my .375 bolt gun just fine for the rest of my Safari. “ I was greatly taken aback by Dave’s kindness. I eventually did succeed in securing a huge Cape buffalo with Dave’s double rifle on that very safari, and thus my dream of being able to pursue dangerous game with a double rifle was fulfilled.

The rifle itself had faulty ejectors and was an unmarked Belgium made guild gun of no significant collector's value. But it was because of that double rifle that Dave & I would become friends for life (until his tragic passing in 2020 due to the Chinese Virus).
Buff 3.jpeg
 
Show us your double, a few words about the journey done or yet to come
Hi Kevin
Totally agree with thought on double rifle
I own couple of double rifles. Do not use them for game hunting, they are mainly BPE connected with Indian shikar
My Pride and joy is Alex Henry .450 31/4. Specification from AH ledger (see the image). comes with reloading load. Case is refitted

Double Centre Fire Express Rifle, Best quality .450 28” barrel
Anson & Deeley Greener Cross Bolt with intercepting safeties Pistol Hand.
Cheek Piece
1 9/16 drop at comb
2 1/16 drop at heel
14 1/8 toe
14 1/16. Heel 14 1/8
Standing & leaf No. 2 cut block regulated using full bead
4 October 1890
Charge 4 drams. Solid tapered regulated with swaged bullets
W. Grow India
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WhatsApp Image 2024-05-03 at 10.16.46 PM.jpeg
 
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A few times in posts here, I have mentioned my first and still favorite double rifle. It isn't a true "big bore" rifle but it has become my best bear gun.
It was born in 1896 in Imperial Germany, caliber; 11.2x60r, pop-up tang mounted rear site, fixed barrel mounted site's, splinter forestock, extraordinary figured Bavarian black walnut butt stock.
Manufacturer is JP Sauer & Sohn. This little lightweight beauty fits me like it was made for me.

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One doesn't just pick up a double, one handles it, feels it, and immediately talks to you. There is a balance that puts it between your hands, begging to be shouldered and inviting the eye to align those purposeful express sights to your quarry imagined or real, huge and menacing, and close! A double isn't about dots in the distance, it is about hair and crinkled skin, about tusks and wet noses that would as soon kill you as you would them. A supremely functional tool, nay partner in pursuing dangerous game, and dreams. But for all the intricate mechanism contained within, a double has the impeccable manners to conceal it's magic within a form so smooth, flowing, and gracious as to arouse that place in a hunter's chest where his or her soul lives. Where the senses take their spoils for appreciation, a place that knows the smell of gun oil and of a linseed-rubbed walnut stock. Whether there is history in it, or yet to be made, of one thing there is certainty, the journey with a double will be rich, exciting, and rewarding.

View attachment 609590
Acknowledgements to Westley Richards.
@Kevin Peacocke - nicely written - but please don’t tout Double Rifles anymore…it took me years to accept I need to sell mine (I just don’t use it and likely won’t again) and then I read a post like yours and want to keep it AND BUY TWO MORE !!
 
I appreciate your level of appreciation. It has to be experienced and it changes viewpoints on fine guns for sure. Attached pic, late 1920’s Manton best quality box lock, it’s the finest double I’ll ever own.

IMG_2404.jpeg
 
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Show us your double, a few words about the journey done or yet to come
I have become a huge fan of double rifles . Yes they are complicated and need careful regulation but once sorted out they are marvelous weapons . Over the years I have accumulated a WR 450/400 side lock , an H&H Royal in 375 Flanged Magnum and a delightful Purdey 303. I also commissioned a 500NE double from John Shirley in the UK . A really interesting rifle with a snap action underlever and rising bite third fastener . It really is different . I got to specify engraving finish , case hardening , the timber and the rifle was fitted to me . It took 4 years being delivered to me in early 2018 . I subsequently fitted a 3 point diamond to front sight to better see where I was shooting .It went up to the NT in Australia and made very short work of some buffalo . Here are some pics of the rifle . I am very proud to own this rifle . Rigby are building me a 500NE Shikari rifle. I still need to wait another 2 years for it .


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Oh Lordy, you are a man of exquisite taste. That rifle is the stuff that makes new dreams of Africa spark to life.
 
One doesn't just pick up a double, one handles it, feels it, and immediately talks to you. There is a balance that puts it between your hands, begging to be shouldered and inviting the eye to align those purposeful express sights to your quarry imagined or real, huge and menacing, and close! A double isn't about dots in the distance, it is about hair and crinkled skin, about tusks and wet noses that would as soon kill you as you would them. A supremely functional tool, nay partner in pursuing dangerous game, and dreams. But for all the intricate mechanism contained within, a double has the impeccable manners to conceal it's magic within a form so smooth, flowing, and gracious as to arouse that place in a hunter's chest where his or her soul lives. Where the senses take their spoils for appreciation, a place that knows the smell of gun oil and of a linseed-rubbed walnut stock. Whether there is history in it, or yet to be made, of one thing there is certainty, the journey with a double will be rich, exciting, and rewarding.

View attachment 609590
Acknowledgements to Westley Richards.
Well said @Kevin Peacocke well said
 
I appreciate your level of appreciation. It has to be experienced and it changes viewpoints on fine guns for sure. Attached pic, late 1920’s Manton best quality box lock, it’s the finest double I’ll ever own.

View attachment 609605
I can just make out 470NE. Beautiful.
 
I have become a huge fan of double rifles . Yes they are complicated and need careful regulation but once sorted out they are marvelous weapons . Over the years I have accumulated a WR 450/400 side lock , an H&H Royal in 375 Flanged Magnum and a delightful Purdey 303. I also commissioned a 500NE double from John Shirley in the UK . A really interesting rifle with a snap action underlever and rising bite third fastener . It really is different . I got to specify engraving finish , case hardening , the timber and the rifle was fitted to me . It took 4 years being delivered to me in early 2018 . I subsequently fitted a 3 point diamond to front sight to better see where I was shooting .It went up to the NT in Australia and made very short work of some buffalo . Here are some pics of the rifle . I am very proud to own this rifle . Rigby are building me a 500NE Shikari rifle. I still need to wait another 2 years for it .
Very unusual indeed, and unique.
 

One idea that made me look for one action and barrel sets to follow , with regulations around unfortunate the guise of a double can be so more .

The larger set can be viewed on Eriksberg estate , zoo park , resort and hunting area in Sweden . His old estate btw expanded with Visent , Fallow deer and much more . Hunts for visent and fallow , boar there . But for visent $$$$
 
“That double was my father’s. I hunted all over southern Africa with him. I videoed him harvesting a white Rhino in South Africa using that rifle. That double has also harvested numerous elephants and cape buffaloes in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. It has also harvested one lion on a dry land tracking hunt in Botswana.”

The above was provided by the son of my first double’s former caretaker. Unfortunately, I may never provide my Heym 88B in 458 Winchester the hunting enjoyed by it and its previous caretaker. I will however treat her as if she has an eternal soul that speaks to my heart.

A rifle of any type is an object, devoid of life as we know it. That disclaimer stated, to have and hold something with provenance of times past, of great accomplishments, of being the tool a human used to make history is something special. It is as if there is something within those objects, or something lingering with them that enhances our present and future experiences. It is like dancing with the bell of the year’s ago ball. Grandma she may be but she carries the style, grace, and lingering beauty that few young beauties will ever know. Or perhaps hunting with an experienced double rifle, one that slayed numerous elephants, buffalo, a white rhino and a dry land tracking lion makes this present caretaker ever vigilant as to not disappoint or embarrass whatever unknown spirit or presence that may be with her. If we are noble in our shared adventures, some of them may be added to whatever causes provenance to act as a muse to our rifles’ future caretakers.

Say what you will about a quality double rifle chambered in a high-pressure rimless cartridge, but this one hasn’t failed and I’ll bet my life that she will not. Plus, it’s got more character from hunting experiences than most guns ever will!

Here she is sporting a Trijicon SRO with 1 MOA dot.
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The switch next to the receiver turns on and off the ejectors.
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Her first caretaker's initials
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Yes, it's a Heym made in West Germany with Fluid Steel Barrels
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Date Code of March 1986 with chambering 458 Win Mag
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Dual spring-loaded pawls in each ejector/extractor to ensure positive extraction/ejection
Also the rib extension for the Greener Crossbolt
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Some of my hunting history with the aforementioned Heym 88B in 458 Winchester Magnum:

On the trail of a large elephant bull in Zimbabwe with the PH's 458 Lott Mark X
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Large lioness in South Africa
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Warthog @Tally-Ho HUNTING SAFARIS in South Africa
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150 Meter shot wildebeest
The only shot available at a wild-de-beast after a week's hunting
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Buffalo cow that trotted in from the herd to present a clear shot at 100 Meters
Definitely not the desired shooting range but my Trusty Heym was up to the task!
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Wife hamming it up with Heym and cull giraffe
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@Kevin Peacocke - nicely written - but please don’t tout Double Rifles anymore…it took me years to accept I need to sell mine (I just don’t use it and likely won’t again) and then I read a post like yours and want to keep it AND BUY TWO MORE !!
START DRINKIN CHEAP CRAP BOURBON AND KEEP THE DOUBLE!:LOL:
 

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