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Double rifle

Old 11-15-2013, 06:01 PM
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Default Double rifle

I've been looking into making a double rifle like they use on safari in Africa, just not such a big or expensive cartridge. I was thinking 308, 30-06, 30-30, or similar calibers. Maybe even 45-70. I know that there is a 45-70 that also shoots 410 shells, obviously it wouldn't be smart to drop a 45-70 shell in a 410. But is there a way you can reinforce it and make it look and work very well? Or could you drop a barrel in each side of a double barrel 20 or 12 gauge and TIG weld it in there maybe? The only thing I could think of is getting one of those barrel adapters and fabricate my own barrel (which I'm afraid isn't that grey of an idea) or maybe just extend it a little longer so I have some have decent accuracy out to 50 or even 100 yards. Not sub MOA or even MOA for that matter, just accurate enough to hit a paper plate consistently at that distance. Let me know what y'all think!
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:51 PM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Oct 2013
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I think, unless you are a heck of a gunsmith that making your own double rifle is a fool's errand. I used to have a William Evans double made in London England in 1898. It was chambered for 450/400 3/1/4 Nitro Express. Such guns have always been expensive because of the sheer amount of labor that goes into making one.

Many people think it is as simple as getting a side by side shotgun and putting inserts into it. That ain't gonna work. Double rifles need to have both barrels adjusted so they both hit at the same point of impact and a certain range. Most of the old British double were regulated to do this at 70 meters, at least that is what mine was regulated for. That was the point the bullets would hit the same place. At shorter ranges they didn't and at longer ranges they didn't because the bullets are coming from an angle and actually cross at the point of regulation. And it has to be noted that different weights of bullets and different velocities will impact regulation since the bullets don't fly the same. This is why every double rifle has the "proof marks" stamped on it, usually under the forearm to show exactly what the rifle was regulated with.

Regulating the barrels is very difficult and time consuming. What they do is install a wedge system that they can move along the barrels to adjust them. They have to solder the barrels together, shoot them and see where the impact it. Then they melt the solder, adjust the wedge, solder it again and shoot it again. They do this over and over until the barrels print together and then they weld the barrels in position. At this point they put sights on the rifle and then adjust the sights and the point of impact to bring them into alignment. This is the stuff of master gunsmiths and not the apprentices.

Since double rifles are break action guns, they come in both side by side and over and unders by the way, everything also has to be square to the barrels and actions. This is critical because when they get off square (known as shooting off the face) the accuracy goes to heck. The rifle then needs to go back in and be readjusted, by hand.

Double rifles are fun and they are very, very effective guns. I really regret selling mine, but I needed cash at the time. There simply is no way to get around the expense of them. That is why they cost thousands of dollars. By the way, most doubles are built for rimmed cartridges because that way there is no special extraction system needed. If you are really serious about a double rifle be ready to drop at least $7K in it for a well made rig. Based on my experiences with them I'd be very suspect of one cheaper than that because it probably needs work done and that will add up real quick. There aren't that many gunsmiths that are really experienced with the nuances of double rifles and you don't want Bubba down the road working on a gun like that.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:04 AM
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Remington used to import a double rifle in 30/06 and 45/70 a couple of years ago. I don't think it cost that much.
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:55 AM
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If you can find them, European American Armory used to import Baikal side by side shotguns, and you could find after market barrel sleeves for them to convert the 12ga down to .45-70. Whole kit, at the time I did it, cost $400. The shotgun patterns regulated together well at 25yrds, but I had to have a smith resolder mine to get the rifle barrels to regulate together at 100, added another $100.

I'm about 80% sure that the Remington import doubles were actually Baikal made (The Remington Spartans).

I had a few Baikal shotguns and rebuilt a dozen or so of them for cowboy action shooters. Eh, it is what it is. Nothing fancy, works well enough.

I'd imagine you could find similar sleeve conversion kits for other models still today.

For what it's worth, however, you'll end up with a crappy rifle if you convert a shotgun. The stock design and especially the trigger are meant for wing shooting, and far sub-par for a rifle. So you'd really be better served to buy a double rifle.

A proper gun builder should be able to build you a double rifle for a lot less than $7k unless you're building one to mimic the old euro versions (elite quality wood and finish, checkering, engraving, etc). I'd be hard pressed to believe it would cost more than about $3000-4000 to have one cut from virgin steel, less if you provided an action to build upon (16ga shotgun action would probably best bet). It's just a matter of mounting barrels at that point.

The .45-70 double I had was a blast. I used it more often as a 12ga x .45-70, with only one sleeve, for coyotes. With 00 buck in one tube and a hard cast bullet in the other, it was a very versatile coyote killer. If only it were faster for follow up shots!
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:12 PM
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Found one on guns international for $250. You pick between 308, 30-06, 270, and a few other calibers. Who would've thought. Found another one (nicer) on slickguns.com for a little more in 30-06 made by Baikal or something. Thanks for y'all's help guys!
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:31 PM
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If you got the bubba itch to shoot a big gun, which is where you see double rifles typically in, I would suggest getting ahold of a 458 Lott, unbraked of course, and see how that goes.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:48 PM
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Double rifles IMO start with either a .375 H&H or a .416 Rigby.

Otherwise I'll use a double barrel 10 gauge with slugs if all my shots are up close.
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:28 AM
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With slugs as expensive as they are ill stick with a rifle caliber so I can hunt dang near everything.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:30 PM
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What Nomercy says. Baikal makes a SWEET .45-70 double.

Alternatively, a 12 gauge double with some Brenneke Maximum Barrier Penetration slugs might do the trick for a little bit less cheddar...
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:31 AM
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The Baikal .45-70s are going on gunbroker for around $800. I tried to get one when Remington was importing them in 05-06, but my distributor never got one.... back then it was a $350 wholesale gun... to me it was cheap enough just to go out in the yard and play Africa with. All the thrill... none of the cost so to speak.

Double rifles ain't what one would consider "accurate" by modern rifle standards either. You are talking about accuracy similar to a slug gun.... most of them are going to be regulated at around 50 yards.... in the case of a double gun selling for less than $1,000, it may well not be regulated at all.... they are not simple or cheap to build well. But if you just want something that's different and pretty cool.... I think its money well spent... still cheaper than race cars and women.
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