The Mother of all Double Rifles

cal pappas

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Fellas:
Damn! I’m supposed to be selling my doubles and not buying doubles. However, I am weak and fell to temptation.

This 4-bore Rodda is now in my gun safe and I know a bit of this amazing rifle. Made in 1885 as a matched and consecutive numbered pair, they were separated 30-40 years ago. Its twin was in Alaska a dozen years ago for sale at and I could not afford it then and had to “settle” for a Hughes 4. The Hughes has sold and I thought I was done with 4-bores. The twin to my rifle was sold to an MD in Texas and he kept it for a short while whereafter it was auctioned and went to Europe where it still resides.

My rifle came up for sale from a private collection that was being sold by William Larkin Moore and I immediately recognized it as the twin of the rifle that got away a dozen years ago. I called to confirm condition and bought it at less than half of the price its twin sold for a decade ago. WLM UPS’d it to me over night and here it is. The specs:

Maker: RB Rodda
Style: Back action exposed non-rebounding hammers, Jones patented under lever
Gauge: 4 bore rifle
Cartridge: 3 3/4”, 14-16 drams of black powder, 1400 grain spherical ball projectile
Serial number: 33xxx
Country of origin : England
Barrel: 24 inches, Damascus pattern
Bore: Fully rifled (11 groove), bright and shiny
Triggers: double
Stock: Capped pistol grip with cheekpiece
Forearm type : splinter with lever release
Rib type: Flat rib, file cut
Sights: Express with 1 standing 2 folding leaves, marked 50-100-150 yards
Receiver finish: casehardened
Engraving: 80% fine English scroll with gold inlay of maker's name and warrant
Other features; Doll's head 3rd fastener, Sling eyes, Silver’s pad, stalking safeties
Condition: Excellent; all original with no refinishing
Weight: 22 pounds and 7ounces
Stock length: 14 1/2" pull
Manufacture year: 1885
In gold lettering on both lock plates: RB Rodda & Co.
In gold lettering on left barrel: RB Rodda & Co, Makers by Appointment to HE the Viceroy,
In gold lettering on right barrel: and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, London & Calcutta

It’s really an amazing rifle: excellent condition, pristine bores, and a 4-bore. You can see its twin in my book, The British Bore Rifle. Due to the recoil I’m thinking of having the barrels ported. Due to the rain in Alaska perhaps adding a Parkerizing finish. Then, maybe trading it for a Blazer (if I don’t have to throw in too much cash).

Thanks for looking and enjoy.
Cal

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Bullthrower338

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Outstanding find Cal! What a wonderful rifle!
Cheers,
Cody
 

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Brent in Az

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What a awesome double. Bullet so big, it should have a license plate attached to it.

Have you shot it yet?
 

Saul

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Are you planning on hunting with it? I would love to see that!
 

cal pappas

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Thanks for your comments, gentlemen.
The rifle came Thursday and that night a local machinest trimmed my supply of 4-bore cases from 4 to 3 3/4". Now he is making a bullet sizing die as my former 4-bore Hughes had a .006 larger bore. When that is done I'mready to go. Bullets are cast, loading dies and powder measures are in place.
No, I am not serious about the porting or parkerizing!
Hunting, well it's funny you should mention that. This year's Africa trip (SA, Zim., Botswana) is set so perhaps a buffalo in 2020 (Although I am in contact with a Zim PH about a leopard, croc, hippo and buffalo hunt). Something will come up, I'm sure. One thing is I can't walk all day with this beast. At my age I needed a break carrying it in from the car.
Cal
 

Red Leg

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Interesting old thumper - though in hand one of these things clearly illustrate why the post -Victorians embraced the nitro era so quickly and completely.

Might want to invest in a gun carriage or gun bearer (maybe even a matched pair - and stout fellows at that!). Stick a couple of loads in that maw and it will weigh more than an M60 machine gun. Don’t think I’d fire it with both hammers cocked. Doubling would put you in the hospital (literally).
 

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Cal, any historical anecdotes of doubling the really big rifles? I doubled my .500NE and it wasn’t that bad - but it’s only a little rifle!
 

Red Leg

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Samuel Baker’s Holland & Holland 4-bore, which he named “Baby” was fired by his reckoning 20 times leaving him with nose bleeds and a permanent flinch (though his load was heavier than Cal’s). And Frederick Courtney Selous had either an overload or doubling experience with his that he claimed was “upsetting” for his nerve. Probably why so many of these brutes show relatively little sign of much use when they appear for sale.

The big spherical balls had relatively low penetration. They would stun an elephant with a frontal brain shot, but were not very good at reaching it. On body shots, however, they were devastating.

I am sure Cal has a collection of stories surrounding these cannons.
 
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sgt_zim

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There's a guy in a youtube video with a 4-bore on a buff hunt in Tanzania. It's been some time since I've seen the video, but seems like he had a custom shop in Houston make it for him.

Scroll forward to about the 10 minute mark and you'll see a 4 bore next to a couple other "big" DG cartridges.

 

sgt_zim

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They never say the hunter's last name, or I never heard them say it. But he sounds like a yat.
 

Red Leg

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They never say the hunter's last name, or I never heard them say it. But he sounds like a yat.
Damned accent is like fingernails on a blackboard. I mean seriously, how can you blame the Confederacy?!?
 

wesheltonj

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Damned accent is like fingernails on a blackboard. I mean seriously, how can you blame the Confederacy?!?


Well, he's not from Texas as he would have known how to pronounce "Bowie" Knife. Must be from some where east of here.
 

Red Leg

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They never say the hunter's last name, or I never heard them say it. But he sounds like a yat.
Dear God, I just watched this to the end and that is forty minutes of my life I’ll never get back. The PH is no doubt was saying the same thing about the previous ten days or so. The scope ring on his eye as a souvenir at the end is priceless. All I can say is thank God for the 300 grain .375!
 

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Cal,
Congratz. I saw that rifle on their web site and then the 4 bore disappeared. I am glad you picked it up.

I am going to stop in there this week just to look at the other fine doubles they picked up. They are out of my price range but will be interesting to look at the H&H, Rigby, Westley Richards and others that are all out of my price range.

Have a great time shooting that fine rifle.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Dear God, I just watched this to the end and that is forty minutes of my life I’ll never get back. The PH is no doubt was saying the same thing about the previous ten days or so. The scope ring on his eye as a souvenir at the end is priceless. All I can say is thank God for the 300 grain .375!

And his khaki is too light!
 

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