Those thinking about buying a first double rifle

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by DUGABOY1, May 30, 2009.

  1. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Redleg, I hear you . I'm 76 and going on a PG hunt in April ( my 77th birthday present in May). To me age is just a number. As an old logger once told me, "As long as you keep going, you'll keep going." I kind of took that to heart and it seems to work so far. We'll see what happens on my hunt, but I'm already sort of planning a buff hunt for '19. We only go round once and I want to do all I can while I can.
     
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  2. Longwalker

    Longwalker AH Fanatic

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    Something I've never quite understood is why the double gun in America is pretty much seen only as a side by side. Europeans have no such bias, and it is very common to see over and under doubles made and used in Germany and Austria and a few other countries. I have wanted a nice German O/U in 9.3x74R for some time. It would be a fun and artistic gun to add to my collection, as well as a very effective and practical arm for hunting moose, elk and bears in the bush of Northern Canada. I suspect it would be equally effective on most medium and large game in Africa, excepting the biggest dangerous game because of the relatively light caliber. I think barrels place over / under make more sense than sxs, aid accurate shooting, and look at least as good to me anyway. And I have shot enough fast action wing shooting with shotguns to know that the old argument that "the larger opening angle of an o/u slows reloads" is incorrect.
    So why only the SxS? Is this a case of Anglophile bias?
     

  3. rnovi

    rnovi AH Enthusiast

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    LW, that's an interesting question. "So why only the SxS? Is this an Anglophile bias?"

    I spent a day at a local gun shop a decade ago when I was looking at getting a field shotgun. I tried shouldering a number of different shotties, side by sides, over unders, pumps, straight stocks and pistol stocks. In the end, I found that a Browning Citori Superlight Feather in 20ga worked best for me. Hey, O/U, right?

    Here's where it gets kind of interesting: when I went to a very high end gun shop a number of years later, I did the same thing. Shouldered a bunch of shotties - including Merkel, Perazzi, Dickenson etc. What amazed me was how the SxS was so much more natural feeling that the O/U's were. In the end, the discovery was that such little details about stock fit, grip, sight height and more made all the difference in the world.

    About 4 years ago I went to the SCI show with my wife and we played with a lot of different rifles. I also played with SxS and O/U rifles. What I found again was that the SxS, especially the smaller frame designs (Merkel 141) based on the 28ga frame just worked better.

    So, I can't say it's Anglophile or not but it is certainly budget based. O/U always seem to be significantly lower in price which has an impact on rifle fit.
     

  4. Longwalker

    Longwalker AH Fanatic

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    Very interesting. I have not had the privilege of handling very many double rifles of either type. I certainly understand that if fit and handling are not good, the rifle is not good.
     

  5. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner AH Enthusiast

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    As a double gunner, specifically shotguns, with one exception, rifle over shotgun under.

    Fit, comfort, and personal preference is the key to double guns.

    The most desirable feature is ejectors. Without ejectors sxs and o/u are cumbersome to quickly reload. Espeacially my 28 gauge o/u.
    The breaking of the 12 ga sxs, because of it's larger caliber isn't so bad, unless the birds are flying hot and heavy.
     

  6. Rick Hill

    Rick Hill AH Senior Member

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    Realize that this is an old post - but hope you are A&W.

    I have a 458 Win double rifle that regulates best at: 500 grain bullets/2100 fps. It is striking how the groups shrink as you approach 500 gr/2100fps. If I was to develop loads for other (480, 465, 450 and 400 grain) bullets - would it be best to plan for 2100 fps?

    Rick Hill
     
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  7. geoff rath

    geoff rath AH Enthusiast

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    Fascinating discussion, especially for this old wore-out Aussie who has never handled a double rifle. Love to own one, but funds wasted on other stuff will most likely prevent that.
    A few thoughts: If we are parsimonious with our buying of shooting stuff, We/I most likely could afford a double, but; see above. So, instead I'm going single loader, primarily Ruger No 1 based rifles. The latest (last?) is a custom 9.3X64, with good N E C G open sights, and compact NSX Nightforce in Q/D rings. Suitable for much of the US and African larger game? Maybe I should have saved the dough and bought a good, pre-owned mid-caliber double ?
    I dunno, please tell me what you good blokes reckon ....
    Again, love the discussion ....
     

  8. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    Falling block single shot rifles can be quite elegant and many very fine rifles have been made on such a platform (Holland & Holland having turned out some of the finest).
     

  9. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    I do think it is largely due to bias in that English made has always been preferred (by pretty much everyone) and SxS has long been the norm. Having said that, though, a couple of the very best double rifles I have ever seen were O/U and were made by Boss & Co.

    In a light caliber I would very much opt for the O/U platform, for a number of reasons (unless a Purdey happened to cross my path...the Beesley action would lead to a wonderful little double). When it comes to a heavy, though, SxS all the way.

    When it comes to doubles in America, overwhelmingly cost has been the impediment which has prevented adoption and therefore the dissemination of knowledge. The bolt action just makes so much sense on so many levels.
     

  10. Rocked and Loaded

    Rocked and Loaded AH Member

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    Single barrel rifles and shotguns are always cheaper (and easier) to manufacture. The most expensive production pump or automatic shotgun a company makes is often going to be cheaper than the cheapest O/U (for example Beretta A400 upland $1800 MSRP, Beretta Silver Pigeon I $2350 MSRP). Mostly this seems to be a labor issue so companies contract the work out to Turkey or Brazil if they want to keep the MSRP competitive with their pump and auto offerings.

    Sure you can spend as much as you like on a turn bolt rifle and I have seen extremely expensive custom bolt rifles out there but I believe that most of the cost on those comes from craftsmanship, embellishment, and material (gold plating, fine woods, hand engraving, etc). However, a sturdy, reliable, production repeater like a Model 70 safari can be had for quite a bit less than the cost of even the cheapest double rifles I've seen (not accounting for good deals on used guns).

    FWIW I would love to have a double in a lighter rimmed cartridge (like 303 British) but from a practical standpoint, there is little advantage to me over a decent bolt rifle of moderate cost (not even bottom of the barrel).

    This does make me wonder why Turkish shotgun makers like Huglu have never tried to make a moderately priced double rifle. I have a CZ Canvasback and could see the attraction of a similarly styled/priced rifle.
     

  11. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    You need to handle (and price) a Cosmi semi-auto 12 bore some day. Always an exception to the rule. And of course Krieghoff, Heym, Merkel, Springer et al make and have made some truly spectacular single shots, many of which fall into the "if you have to ask ...." category.

    Vertically stacked rifles are every bit as accurate as a SxS (usually more so), somewhat easier to regulate during manufacture, and much easier to scope. The one claimed advantage of the SxS is that it is quicker to reload due to shorter barrel drop during the process - maybe. Due to their popularity in Europe, I would wager twice as many OU rifles are built per year than are SxS double rifles. The SxS rifle was a British fixation - particular in dangerous game calibers. Americans tend to read and understand English somewhat better than German, and in the first half of the 20th century were guided by English speaking PH's in East Africa. The SxS convention was naturally adopted here.
     
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  12. Rocked and Loaded

    Rocked and Loaded AH Member

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    Had to look it up and that is a fascinating shotgun (Cosmi) and pricey to boot on guns international. It looks like a pretty elaborate design. Perhaps that has a bit to do with the price like a Swiss watch? Lots of hand fitting? I dunno.

    I expect that demand is a huge factor too. It looks like Cosmi has gone the few and expensive route as opposed to the many and cheaper route Beretta has. If the Cosmi design is complicated than it probably wouldn't lend itself to that business strategy anyway (as opposed to say, a Franchi Affinity). Which may be related to the cost of doubles. The need to carefully regulate both barrels makes modern mass production less feasible (coupled with lower demand, at least in the US).

    Single shots always seemed odd to me in that they seem to either be extremely cheap or extremely expensive. With the exception of maybe the Thompson Contender, there doesn't seem to be a middle road with them. It may be related to why the buyer wants one. A dad may want a cheap single shot for his child to shoot until they get a bolt gun whereas an experienced and wealthy hunter may want a finely crafted single shot to take abroad.
     

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