What exactly makes doubles so expensive?

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by tigris115, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

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    I met a guy at work who said he owned a Beretta O/U with a 3 barrel set...20 bore, 375H&H and 470NE.
    Said he had paid $54K and that included custom fitting the stock at the factory in Italy.

    He could have been completely full of crap, but he had substantial knowledge about all things "double gun".
    He said he'd been on several safaris...etc...etc...

    I'd like to believe him, but only because I prefer O/U to a SxS.
    I don't even know if that combination is possible.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019

  2. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    That combination is definitely possible. It'd likely make for a clumsy 20 bore (surprising it's not a 12 bore instead), but it can be done.
     

  3. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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  4. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Beretta made a lovely little OU double rifle in at least 30-06 and 9.3x74R in the Sable series (gold and silver) - essentially the 600 series action. They could be had with a set of 20 bore barrels as well. They run in the $3-5k range on Guns International et al. Many came from the factory with claw bases installed. Most of these rifles date to the eighties. Hell of a bargain.
    [​IMG]

    I have never seen one of these in a heavier caliber. However, they did/do build on special order virtually anything on their SO series Sidelocks. A friend had one in .458. In any case, SO series guns are a different investment decision whether rifle or shotgun. They have also built SxS double rifles, but they are even rarer. A three-barrel set would be certainly a doable do. And assuming a SO series set, a bargain at 54k.
     

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  5. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

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    I only met him once...he worked for another company.
    He did say it was a SO series and I could easily be wrong about the 20 bore, it could have been 12.
    However, I'm positive he said 375H&H and 470NE.

    If I had $54K to drop on a 3-barrel rifle set, I doubt I would remember all three chamberings either.
    Until Ed McMahon knocks on my door with a giant PCH check, I have to stick to my bolt guns.
     

  6. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Damn....
     

  7. russc

    russc New Member

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  8. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Red Leg
    The Beretta O/U set is indeed an nice package.

    My Beretta DR is a .45 2.1 with 26 inch barrels and I will post a pic if I can find one.
    [​IMG]

    And another of technical interest. Note the gas escape channels just incase a primer blows. Never had anything like that happen in all my years shooting, but better safe than sorry.
    [​IMG]
     

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  9. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    The original question is why can a SxS shotgun be made so much cheaper than a SxS large caliber rifle. Much discussion is based on the cost of getting both barrels to shoot a particular bullet/load to the same spot. There are two primary differences between the shotgun and the rifle in this regard. the rifle is shooting a singular bullet with the desired impact being measured in MOA whereas the shotgun delivers patterns measured in shot per square inch over a 36" circle. In addition to a finer degree of acceptable accuracy the rifle is also operating at 3 to 4 times the chamber pressures of the shotshell, so there is much more movement and forces on the gun during the firing process.

    That said, there is a simple solution to the regulation problem: sights that are adjusted to each barrel with a mechanism that moves the sight to a preset position when the barrel selector is moved to that barrel. So all that someone needs to do is select which load they want, go to the range and sight-in that load for each barrel, then set those positions on the sight so that when that barrel is selected the sight would move to that preset position. This is more a theoretical solution at this point but the engineers could figure out a way to do it- without electrics, batteries and virtual imaging- but it would give them a goal, so we shall see.
     
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  10. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Let me take a few shots at this one:

    Cheapo shotguns up to some 15,000 USD models are through bolted. It’s cheap, it allows for mass production, it holds the gun stock together under shotgun recoil levels such as the 12 gauge at 9,000psi. For heavy target guns, they just over engineer the wood making them bulbous and more durable.

    With a double rifle, it has to handle 30,000-60,000 psi and up to 130 foot pounds of recoil. Thus, they are built with solid pieces of wood and that means hand fitting the stocks. That’s expensive. The inletting is all hand work.

    Now to stock materials: as you look at cheapo shotguns up to and including modern $15,000-$20,000 models that are through bolted, look at the garbage wood they use. By garbage, I mean that the grain runs any which way through the wrist regardless of how pretty it looks. They can be overbuilt on size to keep them together.

    The double rifle must be svelte with no excess wood. The grain must flow through the wrist perfectly or it will snap like a twig. Where does this miracle wood come from? It has to be the Burled piece that is dead straight at the base of the trunk, yet pretty and feathered from the root area. The stump must be grubbed from the ground by hand. For every 200 trees grubbed, you might get 20 good slabs. 5-7 years of aging to verify it doesn’t warp or split before you can assess. If it cracks? In the warranty period the maker is SOL. This type of wood can easily run $1509-$3500 without being into “crazy” fancy.

    A double rifle will usually have an action that is bolstered, often with side clips. This is hell to fit and adds many hours. A dolls head or third bite with a crossbolt adds more effort to fit. A plain old $10,000 shotgun may not even have these features.

    Barrel regulation is hell and eats up hundreds in ammo and many do-overs until the ribs are set right, but we’ll let others beat this horse on this thread.

    Setting barrel ribs are tricky and quarter ribs entail a lot. Usually including claw bases or pivot bases and machine turning the rib for a matte non reflective surface. Standing and folding sights can be $300 alone not counting filing them for fit, gilding the lines, etc.

    Triggers on doubles are painful under recoil, fitting articulated front triggers takes many hours.

    Timing ejectors on heavy recoil double rifles takes extra work and expense. The dogs and springs in the forend need to be up to the task. A stuck case can mean death.

    The forend isn’t going to hit the CNC because it is cut from the same wood as the stock blank. One screw up and it won’t match as you’ll need new wood, thus flawing a build that took 80 hours to stock.

    Rifling and lapping are more work. Chambering as well. Costs of reamers.

    The list could go on and on. A shotgun is a crude replica of a double rifle built to handle far less recoil with a wider margin of error on all fronts.

    Minimum, a double rifle should cost 2.5x the price of a shotgun. It makes sense, even a $2500 sabbati 12 gauge becomes a $6500 double rifle to handle the extra work at the low end of the spectrum.
     
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  11. Moosemind

    Moosemind AH Senior Member

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    375 H&H and 458 Win Mag. 375 has claw mounted scope. Watch the auctions. 1077_1.jpeg
     
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  12. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Tangent to the thread, but you posted about it, so I'll pile on top of it.

    I do indeed watch the auctions. There is a reason that no one on AH raves about their best Beretta DRs. They cost "stupid money" at MSRP and they are almost always made by someone that had no business making a double rifle.

    Not that much different than the one above, there was a $95,000 double rifle at the Beretta Gallery in TX for a bit short of a decade.

    458 Win Mag -> Rather than a rimmed cartridge.
    Over/Under -> Rather than Side x Side that commands more money/demand.
    Single Trigger -> Rather than a double trigger.

    After sitting for nearly a decade, it was sold super-cheap to a gun dealer. And another, and another. I've seen that gun pop up for $28,000-$35,000 still unfired and new at least 3-4 different times with different gun shops.

    It's only hope of being sold is to someone that isn't at all knowledgable about what a dangerous game double rifle's characteristics should be. We can argue all day about whether a DR can be O/U, Single Trigger, or in 458 Winchester but you can't argue all three things. One of them makes a gun a pariah on the market, all three makes it unsaleable, upside down, backwards, just wrong.

    So if you want one, I bet $22,000 will get you a gun that is $95,000 quality, albeit nearly impossible to sell ever again at any price.
     
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  13. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Speak of the devil, here is one of those new S06 3-barrel set models. Didn't even meet low auction estimate. Under $20k, roughly the price of an S06 shotgun alone!

    https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/75/576/beretta-ss06-overunder-double-rifleshotgun

    *Spoke too soon, that gun has been passed around more than a $0.10 tramp on double coupon night. :)

    First it didn't sell at RIA. Then it went to Morphy's and couldn't bring $20k. Then it didn't sell in March at Poulin's auction! Coming to a flea market or yard sale near you!

    ***Those new to dangerous game hunting write yourself a note. Rimless cartridges and Over/Under rifles don't sell. Combine them and you cannot give them away.
     

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  14. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Which makes them a really good buy should you intend to use it the rest of your life. Some folks, like myself twenty-years ago, went through guns like some people do Kleenex's - well maybe not in allergy season. Rookhawk strikes me as someone with the same affliction. One always eyes the next acquisition through the lens of its trade or resale value. Other more practical people buy a gun to last the rest of their lives. Hard to beat a 50K - 70K OU double rifle for under 20K. Tony's .458 shot lights out. The 30'06 Sable I owned also shot.

    Someone walked off with an incredible buy on that three barrel set - and a double trigger gun to boot. With buyer's premium, a roughly 22K purchase.
     

  15. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Agreed, @Red Leg , if that's what you want, you can get a very steep discount due to configuration. For no or less cost in manufacture, it could have been a .470NE and been way more marketable. If you love .458WM, and you like O/U DRs, why not...provided you don't pay too much.

    FYI. The second gun in question above didn't result in "walking off with an incredible buy", it has literally been offered at every US auction house and no one has paid the $20k yet. I would wager, after the next failed sale you could come to the auctioneer with an offer of $14.5k to $16.5k and get the gun. Now the gun doesn't sound so terrible after all. ($40k MSRP?)
     

  16. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    I have little experience with breakaction rifles- either SxS or OU, however I have shot breakaction shotguns for more than 40 years. the SxSs were Parker VHE & DHEs and Win 21s; the OUs were Browning superposed and Merkel 201s. On the target range any of them were quite sufficient for the task, however in the field I'll use one of the SxSs. I find they have better field handling qualities and are faster to reload due to the more exposed breach- compared to access to the bottom barrel of the OUs. It seems to me that those qualities in shotguns would also be applicable to rifles, so I can see why a SxS DG rifle would be generally more saleable than an OU- but that's just one opinion.
     

  17. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    You nailed it. It's not about tradition or what is pretty, it is really a pragmatic matter. A side by side has a shorter gape, making reloading faster. It also is likely to have less jams. If an O/U dangerous game rifle cannot open all the way, it can get jammed and that can be a life ending event for the operator. MOST of the dyed-in-the-wool O/U shotgun people I know still understand why DG double rifles are preferred in SxS configuration. I like SxS guns period, double triggers period, so my transition to double rifles was seamless since I already had easily a quarter million rounds fired out of side by side guns to build muscle memory and instinct.
     
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  18. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Rookhawk you and I love the same sorts of firearms. I particularly love SxS's. I do 90% of my hunting, virtually all my competitive pigeon shooting and clays shooting with them, and I have several double rifles (that I have hunted). I expect I have as much time on two triggers as any other person I know. But honestly, I shoot a an OU just as well (or a model 12 or the latest BeretBrownBenel clunking stomper auto loader.) They just need to fit. And as a rifle, I truly don't see a real advantage in a SxS regardless of its trigger mechanism. I am personally convinced this is indeed far less about technology or dependability and far more about tradition.

    Had much of East Africa and Southwest Africa stayed German, and therefore, had the modern perception of the professional hunter been far more Teutonic than English, I suspect OU dangerous game rifles would be every bit as "proper" as our more Anglo taste demands today. In my experience they are inherently more accurate and easier to regulate, they are just as dependable, and I believe the extra bit of drop at reload is a total red herring. One doesn't have to own a double rifle to prove it. Shoot a round of clays with a SxS and an OU and see how real the difference in speed is. In fact, the extra drop increases the chance that the reload will drop in quickly and smoothly. I'll lay real money the average shooter with the OU will actually be quicker by a nano-second or so. But not enough to matter - which is sort of my point.

    I would prefer two mechanical triggers on an OU rifle - like the one shown at auction. But my S2 seems to function with monotonous dependability with one.
     
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  19. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    I have a two trigger Parker side by side. I would prefer one.
     

  20. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    I think Miller triggers are still available, at least so my friend , a Parker collector says.
     

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