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March 23 2016


The Mystique in the Double Rifle

Gary Costello
For individuals who know anything about firearms, the double rifle has always elicited awe and respect. It reminds in the early days of hunting dangerous game in India and Africa; when men pitted their hunting prowess contrary to the most dangerous game about the "dark continent. It elicits respect due to fine workmanship bestowed on double rifles as well as the technology involved to make the rifle into a highly efficient firearm.

Victrix Stubby Rifle

Prior to invention of smokeless powder, semi-automatic rifles or perhaps bolt action rifles, it absolutely was the hunter furnished with a single shot rifle and cartridges set with black powder. The thing that was needed was a large and so powerful cartridge in order to bring down an elephant or charging lion with the one shot on the hunter´s disposal. If this shot failed, there would be one less hunter on earth!! Enter the double rifle. If still fired a large diameter projectile with black powder, but it had two barrels in the event the first shot should fail. These rifles were made in large calibers including the 12 bore (12 gauge) so your black powder propellant could deliver maximum shock for the target. Some of the these double rifles were designed into what is called a paradox double rifle. Describes of the barrel was smooth bore and toward no more the barrel it had been rifled to give the projectile a spin thereby give stabilization through its flight.

As the gun smithing art progressed, calibers such as the 577, 577/450, 450, 470 and eventually the 600 nitro express were put on the market with the double rifles chambered for these cartridges. At first many of the these cartridges use black powder because the propellant but later the cartridges were full of smokeless powder and were dubbed nitro express rounds. The smokeless cartridges had several positive aspects: first when the cartridge was fired there wasn't any large cloud of smoke to give up the hunters position and second they had a much higher chamber pressure and therefore more foot pounds of deliverable energy when an animal was hit. I may add that collects in the bore of a rifle fired with black powder can make a caustic mix that may pit the barrels. Remember, black powder carries a key ingredient, sulfur which can form sulfuric acid when when combined water.

Witch these large powerful cartridges, there were a great deal of recoil and which was transmitted to the hunter´s shoulder. These double rifles were created heavy to decrease this heavy recoil generated with the powerful cartridge and might weight in the 15 to 25 pound range. This rifle has to be heavy load for a hunter of mid-life or order to carry through the tropical heat of Africa or India so gun bears were chosen to carry these heavy rifles. When game was spotted, the loaded rifle was handed to the hunter for that shot. After the shot was fired, the rifle was presented back to the bearer.

Most of the double rifle cartridges were built with a tapered case with a rim with the base to facilitate extraction. In modern times some double rifles were manufactured with rimless cartridges, nevertheless the extraction of these rimless cases can fail with the inherent problems of the cartridge case stuck from the chamber.

Double rifles are made with both box locks (the most cost effective) and side locks (the most expensive). The side locks cab be hand detachable and thus can be removed in the field if your spring breaks, as an illustration. Of course, an extra ser of side locks would have to be carried from the field and this raised the buying price of the rifle with hand detachable side locks.

Apart from the inherent labor required to produce a fine double rifle, the majority of the well to do hunters from the era had the stocks and metal embellished with engraving, carving, inlays, and checkering. This could drive the price skyward, depending on the owners taste for your very best that money could buy.

Regulating a dual rifle, to have both barrels hit in just a specified area at 100 or 150 meters, would have been a gun maker´s nightmare. Following the barrels were made and fitted as well that could be done, the rifle was come to the range and fired together with the specified load in which the new rifle would have been to be regulated. After firing, the barrels will have to be readjusted and re-soldered and fire again, and again.... and again. the procedure was only stopped once the proper regulation of the barrels was achieved. Firing expensive, high intensity cartridges was a tedious and costly part of the final manufacturing process.

The double rifle is often a rifle of near moderate range and is not for varmint shooting at ranges of less than six hundred meters. After the range is extended beyond the distance in which the rifle was regulated, the purpose of impact for the two projectiles will deviate greatly. Not simply are we talking about the standard bullet drop because range increases but the lateral dispersion in the projectiles.

The point of impact for that two projectiles can also be altered depending on the powder charge used, the powder used, the weight of the projectiles, the type of jacket materials on the projectiles, etc. Each time a double rifle is regulated, then this act of using a typical load in the rifle prevents one from coming to the gun shop and saying, "Give us a box of ammo of this caliber"! Stick to the regulated load for that double rifle.

To fire a double rifle, fire the correct barrel first therefore the left barrel. For the best results fire left barrel within five seconds from the right barrel. Or even the heat generated inside the right barrel might cause the barrel to go with a resultant decrease of accuracy. Do not retain the barrel with you free hand! Lightly hold the fore end, without undue pressure after which fire the rifle. Don't let the barrel rest with a fence rail, branches or the side of a tree trunk.

Why will want a double rifle reading the few points outlined in the paragraphs above. Well first of all, a double rifle is not for everyone. In fact it is simply for the chosen few. You should follow the rules carefully when you are planning to have any luck firing the rifle accurately. If you're able to find factory loads that work well in your rifle then you can certainly stick to these loads. If not, you may want to reload. Reloading can be another requisite if you have a rifle in an absolute caliber or it the factory ammunition is incredibly expensive. Cartridges for your fairly new (in double rifle years). 7000 Nitro Express can cost in the neighborhood of Seventy dollars per ROUND! Needless to say, anyone who awns a. 700 Nitro Express doesn´t have to worry about the cost of ammunition as they loads his double rifle into his Most highly regarded.

What do double rifles cost? The textbook reply to this questions is ... whatever your wish to pay for them. The double rifles of continental Europe would be the least expensive. The British double rifles are the most expensive as they are virtually handmade and hand fitted with the finest finish, engraving and stock wood. Like a ball park figure, the best British double rifle will set you back some $ 60,000 around the low end. Used European doubles can be had for $ 5,000 on up. I might say, for clarification, that some really good buys can be has in the uk for used double rifles which are not of the Royal grade.

If you're interested in a double rifle, confirm the many firearms auctions that are held around the country. Get a copy of the Double Gun Journal at Barnes and Noble and obtain some books on double rifles. The one which comes to mind is Shooting the British Double Rifle by Graeme Wright.

I am hoping I have piqued your interest for the world of double rifles. From the second part of this discussion I am going to go over a German double rifle that we have had for many years and is still my favorite rifle.

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