Why are there no Double Rifles which are Over and Under?

NewForester

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I am used to hunting in the UK where just about everyone uses a bolt action (saw a Ruger No1 once), but new Safari
Hunting and am learning of the passion for Doubles rifles, particularly for Dangerous Game.

The Doubles only seem to come in Side by Side? Is there a reason for this? Is there any move to Over and Under as there is with shotguns?

regards

Chris
 

mark-hunter

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The reason is faster loading in side by side configuration, plus, maybe tradition.

But it is not, that there are no O/U rifles.

There is for example one very well known:
Browning b525 O/U - 9.3x74r

You can also find it in Browning UK catalogue, it is also reasonably priced.

b525 ou.jpg
 
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TONYC

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I am used to hunting in the UK where just about everyone uses a bolt action (saw a Ruger No1 once), but new Safari
Hunting and am learning of the passion for Doubles rifles, particularly for Dangerous Game.

The Doubles only seem to come in Side by Side? Is there a reason for this? Is there any move to Over and Under as there is with shotguns?

regards

Chris
There are, many of my friends use them particularly for wild boar - I have a Fabarm in 9.3x74 and others use Brownings in the same calibre.
 

Foxi

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I've a Ferlach o/u .
The same gun in sbs would cost € 3.000.- more without a logical argument therefore.
When I see on a side by side how the forehand barrel and aim is hidden it is actually nonsense
It has only tradional reasons.
The small opening angle is only an argument for untrained hunters.
However, the myth of a double rifle only exists with side by side.
But look at clay shooting,no one is using a sbs gun during a competition.
 

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Completely agree with @Foxi. In fact, I would guess OU rifle production has outpaced the SxS configuration by at least ten fold over the last century. Had Germany not lost the First World War and retained its colonies in East and Southwest Africa (modern day Namibia and Tanzania) I am certain OU rifles and metric calibers for DG would be as popular as the English concept of a DG rifle. However, they did, and when wealthy American sportsmen began to arrive in numbers in the twenties for their first African Safaris it was to be greeted by someone with an English accent carrying a SxS rifle built in Birmingham or London.

I know this is heresy, but the SxS configuration is no faster to reload (prove it to yourself with an OU and SxS shotgun), is more difficult to regulate, and is far more difficult to scope effectively. However, since the 20’s the “double rifle” became synonymous with SxS with those who could afford them. When the Renaissance in traditional DG calibers began in the late eighties it was only natural that the American ammunition company leading that charge produced ammunition for those traditional rifles.

Meanwhile, on the Continent, German and Austrian hunters continued their love affair with the OU rifle. Because these rifles were being used primarily in Europe, the 9.3x74R dominated as the “heavy” caliber, and those rifles are built and regularly used today. They are particularly popular for driven wild boar.

So, there is no mechanical reason that the OU isn’t more often built in traditional DG calibers (though a quality .375 is not difficult to find). If you don’t need to ask the price, a call to Hartmann & Weiss will get you one started in any caliber you like today.

If those first Americans had been greeted by a “white hunter“ named Hans, I suspect our choices in action and caliber would be far greater today.
 
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Foxi

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Red Leg,
There is hardly a more interesting pasture for double rifles in our country.
Not even in the classical domain of driven hunt and Nachsuche(woundsearch).
It is not the money, it is in many of these circles in abundance (if also not with me :-( )
The missing third shot is a shortcoming for many
A friend went to a bunch of boars in the wheat with his double rifle. The first one fell in the fire and when the pack broke up he shot another one with his left barrel and they attacked immediately. Luckily a Wutz (small one) under 35 kg and he wore rough boots to fend them off and could reload.
With a rough pig this could have been his death.
Many people swear in thick cover and driven hunts by R 93 and R8 (just like you :)
But the beauty of a s+s double is not to beat.
 

Red Leg

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Red Leg,
There is hardly a more interesting pasture for double rifles in our country.
Not even in the classical domain of driven hunt and Nachsuche(woundsearch).
It is not the money, it is in many of these circles in abundance (if also not with me :-( )
The missing third shot is a shortcoming for many
A friend went to a bunch of boars in the wheat with his double rifle. The first one fell in the fire and when the pack broke up he shot another one with his left barrel and they attacked immediately. Luckily a Wutz (small one) under 35 kg and he wore rough boots to fend them off and could reload.
With a rough pig this could have been his death.
Many people swear in thick cover and driven hunts by R 93 and R8 (just like you :)
But the beauty of a s+s double is not to beat.
I never said either one was the “best” choice for boar or dangerous game. ;) For sheer effectiveness, give me my R8. :cool:
 

The Engineer

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My PH had beautiful 470NE over and under. Shot great but just a bit slower reloading than a side by side.
 

Red Leg

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My PH had beautiful 470NE over and under. Shot great but just a bit slower reloading than a side by side.
I just do not believe that is true in practice. I have read it my whole life, and heard it repeated sagely by folks who have never owned or fired an OU double rifle. I have both, and I have shot a bazillion rounds of shotgun shells from both. I can drop two rounds of rifle or shot into either and have the gun remounted in the same time. In fact, many OU's tend to have smoother actions than the typical double - particularly those of recent manufacture. There have been a few "assisted opening" double rifles built over the years (I have fired one such H&H), but they are difficult to close.
 

Foxi

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furthermore James Bond keeps the myth of an s+s double rifle alive (with a .500 Nitro)
the o/u belong to the poor relationship:cry:
 

Kevin Peacocke

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Completely agree with @Foxi. In fact, I would guess OU rifle production has outpaced the SxS configuration by at least ten fold over the last century. Had Germany not lost the First World War and retained its colonies in East and Southwest Africa (modern day Namibia and Tanzania) I am certain OU rifles and metric calibers for DG would be as popular as the English concept of a DG rifle. However, they did, and when wealthy American sportsmen began to arrive in numbers in the twenties for their first African Safaris it was to be greeted by someone with an English accent carrying a SxS rifle built in Birmingham or London.

I know this is heresy, but the SxS configuration is no faster to reload (prove it to yourself with an OU and SxS shotgun), is more difficult to regulate, and is far more difficult to scope effectively. However, since the 20’s the “double rifle” became synonymous with SxS with those who could afford them. When the Renaissance in traditional DG calibers began in the late eighties it was only natural that the American ammunition company leading that charge produced ammunition for those traditional rifles.

Meanwhile, on the Continent, German and Austrian hunters continued their love affair with the OU rifle. Because these rifles were being used primarily in Europe, the 9.3x74R dominated as the “heavy” caliber, and those rifles are built and regularly used today. They are particularly popular for driven wild boar.

So, there is no mechanical reason that the OU isn’t more often built in traditional DG calibers (though a quality .375 is not difficult to find). If you don’t need to ask the price, a call to Hartmann & Weiss will get you one started in any caliber you like today.

If those first Americans had been greeted by a “white hunter“ named Hans, I suspect our choices in action and caliber would be far
The two formats are so different that I agree with calling one simply an OU, and an SxS a 'double'. So in answer to you NewForester there are many, many makers of OU's in DG calibres. An OU handles very differently to a Double, you feel the slim fore end and grip it vertically - to my mind it assists control and point. I can fully understand why competition shot gun shooters prefer this platform, it just feels right for rapid flowing swings. Everything up to here I will qualify as applying to the lighter end of the DG scale, say up to 450/400. These smaller rifles are commonly built on 20 gauge sized actions and they are quite light. Mine is a 375 Flanged Magnum OU, and it is pure finesse.
Then you cross over into the Big bore territory. The OU's now are built upon 12 gauge sized actions, or larger, and suddenly, to me anyway, the SxS configuration seems more suitable and natural. The object of large bores os not finesseful pointing, but staring down, and no nicer a sight than two tapering tubes ready to deliver oblivion.
 

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Before I purchased my 470 (SXS) I fired both O/U and SXS DR's to see what I would prefer. My years of hunting upland with a O/U made me prefer to go the same route for a DR. I was very limited in what I could find and not wanting to spend a small fortune, I decided on a SxS DR that is as perfect in function as it should be, that was acquired relatively quickly.
I completely agree with @Red Leg & @Foxi that the "time to reload" argument is simply null and void. I still think I'm faster loading my old O/U 16ga. w/ extractors than my 470 DR w/ ejectors. Thousands of shells vs a few hundred cartridges makes all the difference...

That all said, and having my SXS DR, I find myself communicating with a DR smith to convert a strong O/U into another DR of my liking. Ive succumb to desire to fill my first instinct and go with a O/U 'big bore' DR.
 

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Somewhat related:
Do DRs strictly come with two triggers, or also in single (hopefully mechanical) trigger configurations? And which is preferred, especially for an old O/U clays shooter with single trigger muscle memory?
 

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The myth of O/U doubles "slower to reload" is just that, a myth often repeated, but not measurable by anyone who is objective.

For example, I hunt geese and ducks over decoys every year. Multiple opportunities to shoot 20-40 shots per morning session. I have done so for many years with O/U shotguns, and Side by Side, and also of course with semi auto and pump shotguns. I have shot many geese as a third or fourth bird flaring away from the decoys after re-loading my O/U after the first two shots are spent. And quite a few with my side by side doubles.

I actually feel the O/U fits my reloading style a little better. But that may be personal prejudice. That's all the Myth of side by side doubles reloading "faster" is - a Myth based on prejudice. I don't believe there is any real difference between rifles and shotguns in this instance. I have a Merkel 140 AE SxS .450-400 and a Beretta Silver Sable O/U 9.3X74R. Reload times are the same as far as i can tell. I like the handling and reloading and accuracy of the Beretta better. Your experience may differ, but my opinion is based on my experience.

Shootist, I would personally not own a dangerous game double rifle with a single trigger. Kinda defeats the original purpose and intent. Two barrels, two cartridges, two locks, completely redundant safety margin in case one mechanical part or the cartridge in either barrel system fails. Depending on a single trigger that may or may not function to fire both locks? No thank you. I'd rather train my muscle memory by shooting clay targets with a good double shotgun with double triggers.

I have had too many fail to fire experiences with a single trigger O/U shotgun to trust them on a dangerous game rifle. Especially with an inertia reset system such as the typical system on Browning and many other good quality target / game shotguns. As you imply, mechanical single triggers are better, but I've had them fail too. Can't say the same about double triggers. They always work.

With a single trigger system all it takes is a dud primer or some crud in the switch mechanism and you're holding a single shot. And a failure to fire when shooting a double at skeet or a charging quail is quite different than shooting a charging buffalo! ;-)
 
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shootist~

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Thanks @Longwalker
Good explanation on the double trigger reasoning.
 

NewForester

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Somewhat related:
Do DRs strictly come with two triggers, or also in single (hopefully mechanical) trigger configurations? And which is preferred, especially for an old O/U clays shooter with single trigger muscle memory?

As someone who has never shot a double rifle (but has shot shotguns with two triggers) I think that this question probably deserves a thread of its own!
 

Red Leg

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I shoot both interchangeably with my SxS's (and a couple of my OU's). While shooting a clays course or driven pheasants, I literally would have to look to tell you which I was using at that particular moment. That said, That sort of unconscious trigger manipulation is the result of many thousands of fired rounds. The smartest thing a new double rifle owner can do is buy a of glove for the left hand, and an affordable but usable SxS shotgun with double triggers. Then shoot the hell out of the shotgun.
 

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I currently have two O/U doubles (450/400 and 8x57JRS Verney's Carrons) . and a few more SXS doubles. The all have double trigger except the VC 8x57. Like many I grew up shooting SxS shotguns for birds and have many thousand rounds of muscle memory that makes the SxS my preference. That said in a 3 way trade a few years ago I acquired my 450/400. Was planning on shooting it a couple times and trading it off on a SxS. Well the darn thing is so accurate that I had to scrap that idea and it was used on my hippo and Roan in the 2018 safari. When ever I shot the single trigger small O/U I have to remind myself as I step out of the truck that there is only one trigger or I will shoot it once and move my finger back looking for the second trigger. The availability of DG class O/U is small but can be found. Get what you want and enjoy shooting/hunting with it. and the advice that @Red Leg gave on getting a similar shotgun and shooting many round is great advice.
 

Professor Mawla

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The Doubles only seem to come in Side by Side? Is there a reason for this? Is there any move to Over and Under as there is with shotguns?
@NewForester , oh but there are . Plenty , as a matter of fact .

There is Verney Carron , who manufacture excellent over under double rifles in calibres as large as 9.3x74 mm R .

There is Sabatti , who manufacture over under double rifles in calibres as large as .450 Nitro Express .

There is Merkel , who manufactures over under double rifles ( the Model 323 ) in calibres as large as .375 Holland & Holland Magnum .

BRNO used to offer an over under double rifle which was chambered in .458 Winchester Magnum . It used to be called “ The Stopper “ .

Austria’s Franz Sodia used to offer exceptional quality over under double rifles in calibres as large as .458 Winchester Magnum .

Auguste Francotte in Belgium also used to manufacture top notch over under double rifles in calibres as large as .458 Winchester Magnum .

As would Fabrique Nationale and Dumoulin .

The over under double rifle is admittedly more of a Continental European sporting arm , rather than an English sporting arm . This is rather ironic , because Boss & Co . ( an English brand ) happens to one of the earliest pioneers of the over under double rifle . Today , they remain Great Britain’s only surviving manufacturer of over under double rifles ( barring Watson Brothers ) . However , they are immensely expensive .
2AB0E333-590C-4EDA-B904-976888F14741.jpeg


Now , let us answer your second question : Why is the side by side format more popular in a double rifle , than the over under format ?

1 ) In Continental Europe , I dare say that the over under format is far more popular ( especially during driven boar hunts ) . This applies also , in regards to combination guns .
2 ) I ( personally ) find that side by side format weapons are far more well balanced and more instinctive to shoot , than over under format weapons . I find that the side by side format weapon comes up to the shoulder far quicker and easier than an over under format weapon ( however , this is a matter of personal taste as many experienced gentlemen will beg to differ with me ) .
3 ) There are also psychological factors at play here . It was the English authors ( during the British colonial era ) who first romanticized the concept of safari hunting . Since they invariably were armed with side by side double rifles , it grounded an image into most people’s minds that a side by side double rifle is the traditional weapon for a dangerous game safari .
 

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The subject of O/U double rifles always brings up differing views,traditional,un traditional & so on,no offense intended,it's strictly a personal choice,depending on which side of the pond you are on & what is available?you will favor whatever is popular on your side,I started my journey with a Chapuis in 9.3x74r,long sold,I am fortunate to own at this moment,two Heym's both SxS's,one Krieghoff also a SxS,& two O/U's,A Brno stopper plus another Brno super,I shoot the following calibers,458 Lott (O/U),375 H&H (O/U),470 NE SxS,450-400 SxS,500-416 NE SxS,I enjoy all my guns,all are accurate,if I had only one of these guns? it would be no problem,the job will get done,my favorite is the Stopper though,inexpensive for a DR,ugly as sin:),I would hunt with either configuration anywhere anytime,but I will state that if you have not experienced an O/U? do not knock this style of DR,my 458 Lott is easily the most easy gun to load for,I find it's also the least finnicky with different weight bullets,looking down one barrel is for me way more natural than looking down two.
 

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