Your favorite new production double rifle manufacturer?

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by matt85, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. matt85

    matt85 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    as the title says, whats you favorite double rifle manufactuerer and why? im only interested in current companies that are still producing rifles. i figure this thread could help people who are looking to buy a new double rifle but cant decide on what to buy.

    dont forget to explain you decision.

    -matt
     
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  2. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Just about as uninformed an opinion as you can get for free, but those Verney Carron's had me all kind of boogered up last week.
     

  3. matt85

    matt85 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    im after opinions here so there is no wrong answer to his thread. why do you like VC rifles?

    -matt
     

  4. Excessexpress

    Excessexpress AH Senior Member

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    Well I've got a Merkel, but those Chapuis, not to mention Verney-Carron. Oh and SIACE, even Fausti, plus the London and Birmingham firms, if I could I'd ask for an Alex Beer......oh the list is endless.....
     
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  5. Bruce

    Bruce AH Elite

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    I'm with Matt here... WHAT issues on each of these choices makes your mouth water?
    Is it the degree of chequering/ inlays/ the ejectors/ locking mechanism/ wood finish... overall finish & look... how about the shooting accuracy ( zeroing)... how deep must your pockets be? etc etc. I'm in the market to buy a double, but fall short of all the above answers!!!!
     
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  6. matt85

    matt85 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    sorry but "all" is not an option here, which one is your favorite and why? this thread is here to force people to pick a single brand and give a reason why they like it over the other brands. im aware this is a difficult decision to make but humor me.

    -matt
     
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  7. peras

    peras AH Elite

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    I am going a bit of a different way, I like the Blaser S2. Regulates easy, big front bead, no fancy wood and engraving which means using it as a working rifle for me works,(a scratch does not hurt me more than the rifle). Affordable. I like heavy rifles, very little muzzle climb.
     
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  8. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Heym box lock.
    Under 20 thousand US dollars new, sometimes slightly under 15 (occasionaly with promotional sale pricing).
    Reliable, accurate, robust internal parts of today's modern steel, yet externally highly resembles classic rifles from 100 years ago.
    Intercepting sears.

    Available in .375 H&H (and flanged either one) .450/.400 3", .450 NE and .500 NE - some of my favorites, (especially the .450/.400 3".)
    26" ejector barrels seem to be standard or at least very common.
    Articulated front trigger.
    Their standard engraving is sparse and tasteful/real engraving, not cast or stamped or lazered.

    If you want to go over the 20K price and get a side lock with game scene engraving, Heym's Engraver/s seem to cut their animals to actually look like 3D African wildlife.
    Unlike some other makers, who's animals not only just look flat but they each and every one all look like a flat Labrador retriever, with a flat buffalo horn boss or flat lion mane or flat rhino horn, etc.
    (Perhaps Napoleon Dynamite is doing their engraving?).

    I also like both Verney Carron and Chapuise because they are most of the above things mentioned about the Heym but definitely not as classic looking externally.
    They are a little less money than the Heym though.
    However, for my taste, I'd rather save up for a couple extra years and just get the Heym or, find a barely used Heym at a reasonable price (as I did).

    If 26" ejector barrels were a standard feature/option on Merkel doubles, I might have considered another one (my first double rifle was a Merkel).
    But their short barrels put me off a bit (as does their engraving).

    It is a shame none of the above (or for that matter any I can think of) offer an affordable double in .303 Brittish with 26" barrels.

    If I was rich, I'd only want Westley Richards drop lock doubles but alas, I shall never be rich.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
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  9. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    The only double I've ever fired is Pieter's Blazer S2 in 500 NE. I liked it but would want a recoile reducer installed for regular use! To Pieter's point it is a heavy rifle but felt very comfortable on my shoulder! Good looking but not over the top.
    I would buy one for sure!
     
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  10. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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    Well, Pieter mentioned the same reasons, so I went with a Merkel. I don't have to worry about every scratch and the Germans don't build crap. I was looking for one with history already attached to it, scratches done, blue carried off about 5 inches from the muzzle, but guess I'll have to give it it's own history. Although the chequering/ inlays are nice on other doubles, it's not my style.

    Matt, I can see though you. I know exactly where you are going with this thread.......
     
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  11. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Well perhaps it was just me, but the one I picked up last week just came to my shoulder and cheek with the bead sitting right in the notch of the rear sight. The gun while much heavier than my Benelli shotgun, just felt very much the same, pops up right where it was supposed to be. Fit and finish to this untrained eye was everything I think it could be.

    What made VC stand apart versus other times I've gone into the booths of the other double makers was the rep. He immediately addressed me but politely. I in turn not wanting to waste his time, told him I was just dreaming and really not in the market. I did not want to waste his time when he might have someone there that was giving serious consideration to a double. In spite of this he took time to explain some things about doubles to me. This included the part about why at least in his opinion a .500NE would have less FELT recoil versus the .470NE. He even invited me if I was in France to come to the factory and he would prove it to me by having me shoot both "blind" to the caliber being used. And there was a bit more to the discussion which I won't bore you with. But just an overall pleasant experience.

    This latter part was big to me. I've read on here so many times that the fit of a rifle in the big bores is so important when it comes to handling the recoil. Unless a rifle's length of pull is grossly short or long, I have really no idea if it fits me. As such if I ever do put the kind of money it takes to buy a DR, I would more than likely buy a new one that was built for me and not someone else/others.
     
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  12. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    Purdey, period. The workmanship is obviously of the highest standard and I've a thing for the Beesley self-opening action. As for caliber, 450/400 3" all the way.
     

  13. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Bet it's a great elephant gun!
     

  14. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    +1....Agree with everything Paul has said. Heym PH model all the way for me. Come on lottery!!!!!
     
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  15. Spooksar

    Spooksar AH Fanatic

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    I have a Merkel in 470 NE. Have shot Buffalo and Giraffe with it, regulated to put 2 Woodlieghs less then an inch apart at 50 yards. Fits me right. If I was to buy another it would be a Merkel or Searcy as first pick with the VC has third.
     
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  16. tarbe

    tarbe AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Yup. I was going to say "+1 exactly what the Dog said" but you beat me to it!
     
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  17. sandman0921

    sandman0921 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Interesting topic....

    I have been close to pulling the proverbial trigger on a modern double rifle for 2-3 years now. Every time I thought I had it figured out, and was ready to order, I would think of something else, read something else, etc., and hold-off. I guess it was just stalling plain and simple. After all, when you're thinking of dropping $20-25K on a "gun", it makes you swallow very hard a few times. Even as short as 5 years ago, I would have never thought I would spend the kind of money I have spent, or will spend, on custom rifles. However, as my understanding of firearms in general has evolved, and my appreciation of finely built rifles and shotguns has matured, I have come to recognize what those firearms represent.

    Some guys are fine watch guys, some guys are luxury car guys, and some guys are luxury vacation and travel guys. I myself, like fine firearms plain and simple. I have a few synthetic stocked rifles for rugged hunting like sheep, goats, elk, etc. and they are very practical and shoot like a dream, but I drool all over blued steel set in a highly figured, hand-rubbed oil finished stock made of English walnut. Most of the general public could never fathom spending the kind of money it takes to commission a custom double rifle.

    Being in the market for a solid double rifle made by a modern manufacturer left me with a few choices. You have the finely made, and beautiful custom double rifles made by the British such as Holland and Holland, Purdey, and Westley Richards, as well as a smattering of other London and Birmingham makers, and man I would love to own one of those, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and spending north of $85,000 is just not feasible right now. I had hoped that I would win the $1.6 billion dollar Powerball, and could then buy one of each, but alas, I didn't, so off to plan B......

    I have researched the many "other than British" makers, and after looking at, talking over with owners, researching the merits of the various brands, etc., I narrowed my choice down to 3 rifle makers which were B. Searcy, Heym, and Verney-Carron, as I felt that those 3 rifles makers represented the art of double rifle making very well, but didn't command a premium price that the British doubles do, instead costing around the $25-30K mark for similar features and engraving. Several months ago, I spoke with the rep for Verney-Carron, and had pretty much decided on having them build me one. However, after talking further with the rep, the major factor against going with them is that they only regulate the rifle with factory ammo, which means Hornady most likely in the caliber I wanted. Apparently this is what Heym does as well, although I don't know that to be totally true. It was hard to get a straight forward answer as to if they do, or not. If you're a factory ammo shooter, then this is great, but I am a hand-loader and wanted a specific bullet, and velocity for my rifle. As such, it led me to Butch Searcy, and I couldn't be happier after speaking with him.

    A few things regarding Butch. I had heard a few things about his rifles. Positive things I heard were they locked up like a bank, they were built like a tank, they balanced and pointed well, they shot like a dream with the regulated ammo, and they were very forgiving as far as loads. A few negatives I heard were that the older models were a little bulky and not as trim and svelte like the Heym. Also, there were some concerns about Butch's health, and if he would be continuing to build his doubles. After talking with Butch, my fears about his back problems were put to rest, as he said after his surgery he feels great, and plans to ramp up production again. In talking with others as well as reading everything I can about his rifles, his Classic version is a trimmer version of his previous versions, and has more traditional lines akin to the Heym. Having not compared the 2 side by side, it's hard to say. I've also heard that he will fix anything that is not right, and having a gun maker in the US that I can simply ship the rifle to via common carriers if anything goes wrong with it is reassuring. The final thing in Butch's favor is that he will regulate the rifle with whatever bullet you want (within reason), as well as to whatever speed you want (again within reason). For me, this was the key factor that sealed the deal. Finally he is a straight shooter, and a nice guy to talk to.

    I emailed Butch and asked a bunch of specific questions, as well as spoke to him over the phone. He was courteous, funny, and very straight forward to deal with, and was very patient in answering novice questions. After talking with him, I sent a deposit for a new B. Searcy Classic with the following specs:


    Model: B. Searcy Classic
    Caliber: 450 N.E. 3 1/4 in. regulated with 500 grain North Fork flat point solids (better S.D. and penetration than the traditional 480 grain bullets) at 2150-2200 fps
    Barrel Length: 25 in.
    Sights: standard express rear sight and standard from sight
    Color: Case Color Finish
    Engraving: Standard Rose & Scroll for the Classic version
    Stock: Fancy English walnut stocked to fit
    Options:
    1) long trigger guard
    2) intercepting sears
    3) articulating front trigger
    4) tear drop on the stock
    5) leather covered recoil pad

    I am anticipating 8-12 months for the build which is great, as I can save up the final amount for the balance due on the rifle. The price is approximately the cost of the Heym 88B-Safari which has roughly the same options as the rifle I ordered. I am planning on meeting Butch at SCI in February for him to tweak any final measurements before cutting the stock blank. In anticipation, I've purchased reloading dies and a shell holder for the 450 N.E. 3 1/4 in, as well as brass, and North Fork bullets. I'm going to try and order a box or two of the NF 500 grain FPS bullets every month until I get a good supply of them stockpiled. They aren't cheap!

    Interestingly, Butch wanted to make sure I wanted to regulate the rifle with the 500 grain North Fork's instead on the traditional 480 grain bullets. His reasoning is despite what everyone always says, if I ever wanted to sell the rifle, it may make it more difficult to do since it wasn't regulated with factory ammo. I appreciated his input for sure, but barring some unforeseen circumstances, I plan on passing this rifle down to my son, and hopefully he will do the same someday to his children. After all that, Butch did say that he has built a few of the rifles in that caliber to regulate with the 500 grain North Forks, and they will still shoot well with 480 grain factory loads which I've heard from many B. Searcy shooters. That was reassuring.

    Getting back to the original question as to who is my favorite double rifle maker I will vote for Butch Searcy for the various reasons mentioned above. Most owners I've talked to have said that his rifles feel good and balance well in the hands and shoot great. The fit and finish won't compare to a fine english double rifle most likely, but for the money, his rifles appear hard to beat.

    As this will most likely be my only double rifle, I hope I made the right choice. I feel I have.........
     

  18. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I think the "best" double rifle in the world would be a bespoke Holland & Holland Royal - any caliber. However, I can't afford to indulge that opinion, so in the world of affordable doubles, I have little complaint with my S2. Fabulous ergonomics, easily scoped and easily regulated. It also uses a host of interchangeable barrels. A close second would be a Krieghoff.
     
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  19. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Elite

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    Merkel = best value for money

    Heym would be my first choice but I can not justify almost double the price , therefore Merkel
     
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  20. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Elite

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    And that's why I have the Merkel in .470 NE
     
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