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The Mystique with the Double Rifle

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

Victrix Armaments
Ahead of the invention of smokeless powder, semi-automatic rifles or perhaps bolt action rifles, it had been the hunter armed with a single shot rifle and cartridges packed with black powder. The thing that was needed was a large and thus powerful cartridge so that you can bring down an elephant or charging lion with all the one shot on the hunter´s disposal. If this shot failed, then there would be one less hunter on this planet!! Enter the double rifle. If still fired a big diameter projectile with black powder, however it had two barrels if your 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 to the target. Some of the these double rifles specified for into what is called a paradox double rifle. Describes of the barrel was smooth bore and toward get rid of the barrel it had been rifled to give the projectile a spin and therefore give stabilization through its flight.

Since the gun smithing art progressed, calibers including the 577, 577/450, 450, 470 and eventually the 600 nitro express were positioned on the market with the double rifles chambered of those cartridges. At first a few of the these cartridges use black powder as the propellant but later the cartridges were packed with smokeless powder and were dubbed nitro express rounds. The smokeless cartridges had many perks: first when the cartridge was fired there wasn't any large cloud of smoke to give away the hunters position and 2nd they had a much higher chamber pressure and thus more foot pounds of deliverable energy when an animal was hit. I might add that collects within the bore of a rifle fired with black powder can create a caustic mix that could pit the barrels. Remember, black powder has a key ingredient, sulfur which can form sulfuric acid when when combined water.

Witch these large powerful cartridges, there is 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 by the powerful cartridge and can weight in the 15 to 25 pound range. This rifle would be a heavy load for a hunter of middle age 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 presented with to the hunter for the shot. After the shot was fired, the rifle was handed back to the bearer.

Usually double rifle cartridges stood a tapered case with a rim with the base to facilitate extraction. In our contemporary world some double rifles were manufactured with rimless cartridges, however the extraction of these rimless cases can fail using the inherent problems of a cartridge case stuck within the chamber.

Double rifles are created with both box locks (the least expensive) and side locks (the priciest). The side locks cab be hand detachable and thus can be removed in the field if the spring breaks, for instance. Of course, an extra ser of side locks would need to be carried inside the field and this raised the buying price of the rifle with hand detachable side locks.

Aside from the inherent labor needed 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 can drive the price skyward, with respect to the owners taste to the very best that money could buy.

Regulating a double rifle, to have both barrels hit in a specified area at 100 or 150 meters, was a gun maker´s nightmare. As soon as the barrels were made and fitted as well that could be done, the rifle was taken up the range and fired together with the specified load that the new rifle ended up being to be regulated. After firing, the barrels must be readjusted and re-soldered and fire again, and again.... and again. the process was only stopped if the proper regulation of the barrels was achieved. Firing expensive, high intensity cartridges was a tedious and dear part of the final manufacturing process.

The double rifle can be a rifle of all-around moderate range and isn't for varmint shooting at ranges of 3 to 5 hundred meters. Once the range is extended after dark distance in which the rifle was regulated, the point of impact for the two projectiles will deviate greatly. Not only are we talking about the normal bullet drop because range increases nevertheless the lateral dispersion with the projectiles.

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

To fireplace a double rifle, fire the proper barrel first and so the left barrel. For best results fire left barrel within five seconds in the right barrel. If not the heat generated in the right barrel might cause the barrel to maneuver with a resultant loss in accuracy. Do not support the barrel with you free hand! Lightly hold the fore end, without the undue pressure and after that fire the rifle. Never let the barrel rest on the fence rail, branches or perhaps the side of a tree trunk.

Why would want a double rifle seeing the few points outlined within the paragraphs above. Well to begin with, a double rifle is not for everyone. In fact it is only for the chosen few. You need to follow the rules carefully if you are intending to have any luck firing the rifle accurately. When you can find factory loads that work well in your rifle then you can definitely stick to these loads. Otherwise, you may want to reload. Reloading is also a requisite if you have a rifle in the absolute caliber or it the factory ammunition is extremely expensive. Cartridges to the 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 worry about the cost of ammunition as he loads his double rifle into his Most highly regarded.

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

If you are interested in a double rifle, look into the many firearms auctions which can be held around the country. Have a copy of the Double Gun Journal at Barnes and Noble and acquire some books on double rifles. One which comes to mind is Shooting the British Double Rifle by Graeme Wright.

I hope I have piqued your interest on the world of double rifles. Within the second part of this discussion I will go over a German double rifle which i have had for many years and it is still my favorite rifle.

Last updated 261 days ago by garycostello1