The Mystique of the Double Rifle
For those 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 from the most dangerous game on the "dark continent. It elicits respect due to the fine workmanship bestowed on double rifles along with the technology involved to really make the rifle into a highly efficient firearm.
Prior to the invention of smokeless powder, semi-automatic rifles as well as bolt action rifles, it had been the hunter with a single shot rifle and cartridges loaded with black powder. That which was needed was a large and so powerful cartridge so that you can bring down an elephant or charging lion with all the one shot at the hunter´s disposal. If this shot failed, there would be one less hunter on earth!! Enter the double rifle. If still fired a big diameter projectile with black powder, nonetheless it had two barrels if the first shot should fail. These rifles were created in large calibers like the 12 bore (12 gauge) so that the black powder propellant could deliver maximum shock towards the target. Some of the these double rifles were designed into what is called a paradox double rifle. Part one of the barrel was smooth bore and toward no more the barrel it had been rifled to give the projectile a spin and thus give stabilization through its flight.
Since the gun smithing art progressed, calibers for example the 577, 577/450, 450, 470 and eventually the 600 nitro express were added to the market with the double rifles chambered for these cartridges. At first many of the these cartridges use black powder because propellant but later the cartridges were full of smokeless powder and were dubbed nitro express rounds. The smokeless cartridges had several advantages: first when the cartridge was fired there was no large cloud of smoke to give away the hunters position and second they had a much higher chamber pressure and so more foot pounds of deliverable energy when a pet was hit. I will add that collects inside the bore of a rifle fired with black powder can certainly produce a caustic mix that can pit the barrels. Remember, black powder features a key ingredient, sulfur that may form sulfuric acid when when combined water.
Witch these large powerful cartridges, there is a great deal of recoil and which has been transmitted to the hunter´s shoulder. These double rifles were created heavy to decrease this heavy recoil generated through the powerful cartridge and can weight in the 15 to 25 pound range. This rifle will be a heavy load for the hunter of mid-life or order to bring the tropical heat of Africa or India so gun bears were utilised to carry these heavy rifles. When game was spotted, the loaded rifle was presented with to the hunter to the shot. After the shot was fired, the rifle was handed back to the bearer.
The double rifle cartridges had a tapered case with a rim in the base to facilitate extraction. Nowadays some double rifles were manufactured with rimless cartridges, nevertheless the extraction of these rimless cases can fail together with the inherent problems connected with a cartridge case stuck within the chamber.
Double rifles are created with both box locks (the most affordable) and side locks (the costliest). The side locks cab be hand detachable and so can be removed in the field if your spring breaks, for example. Of course, an extra ser of side locks will have to be carried inside the field and this raised the buying price of the rifle with hand detachable side locks.
Apart from the inherent labor forced to produce a fine double rifle, a lot of the well to do hunters with the era had the stocks and metal embellished with engraving, carving, inlays, and checkering. This may drive the price skyward, with regards to the owners taste to the very best that money could buy.
Regulating a double rifle, to have both barrels hit within a specified area at 100 or 150 meters, was obviously a gun maker´s nightmare. After the barrels were made and fitted the best that could be done, the rifle was come to the range and fired with all the specified load in which the new rifle ended up being to be regulated. After firing, the barrels would need to 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 expensive part of the final manufacturing process.
The double rifle is really a rifle of near moderate range and isn't for varmint shooting at ranges of 3 to 5 hundred meters. Once the range is extended beyond the distance in which the rifle was regulated, the aim 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 from the projectiles.
The point of impact for that two projectiles can also be altered with respect to the powder charge used, the sort of powder used, the weight of the projectiles, the type of jacket materials used on the projectiles, etc. Each time a double rifle is regulated, this act of using a typical load in the rifle prevents one from going to the gun shop and saying, "Give us a box of ammo of the caliber"! Stick to the regulated load to the double rifle.
To fireside a double rifle, fire the right barrel first and then the left barrel. For the best results fire left barrel within five seconds of the right barrel. If not the heat generated in the right barrel might cause the barrel to go with a resultant reduction in accuracy. Do not support the barrel with you free hand! Lightly grasp the fore end, without the undue pressure and then fire the rifle. Do not allow the barrel rest over a fence rail, branches or even the side of a tree trunk.
Why wants a double rifle looking at the few points outlined inside the paragraphs above. Well for starters, a double rifle is not for everyone. In fact it is simply for the chosen few. You must follow the rules carefully if you are going to have any luck firing the rifle accurately. If you're able to find factory loads realistically work in your rifle you'll be able to stick to these loads. If not, you may want to reload. Reloading is a requisite if you have a rifle in an absolute caliber or it the factory ammunition is incredibly expensive. Cartridges for that fairly new (in double rifle years). 7000 Nitro Express can cost in the neighborhood of Seventy dollars per ROUND! Naturally, anyone who awns a. 700 Nitro Express doesn´t need to panic about the cost of ammunition because he loads his double rifle into his Top guns.
What do double rifles cost? The textbook response to this questions is ... whatever your need to pay for them. The double rifles of continental Europe would be the least expensive. The British double rifles include the most expensive as they are virtually hand made and hand fitted together with the finest finish, engraving and stock wood. Being a ball park figure, the very best British double rifle will definitely cost some $ 60,000 on the low end. Used European doubles can be found for $ 5,000 on up. I might say, for clarification, that the right buys can be has in great britain for used double rifles who are not of the Royal grade.
If you are interested in a double rifle, look at the many firearms auctions which are held around the country. Have a copy of the Double Gun Journal at Barnes and Noble and get some books on double rifles. The one which comes to mind is Shooting the British Double Rifle by Graeme Wright.
I really hope I have piqued your interest about the world of double rifles. Inside the second part of this discussion Let me go over a German double rifle that I have had for many years and is also still my favorite rifle.