Saturday, April 24, 2010

Introduction to Double Rifles- Recommended Reading

Dear Cal:
What would be recommended reading for an introduction to the world of double rifles? I would like to learn of the history, early users, and some good technical data as well as hunting and shooting stories.
Gerry Whitehead, Zimbabwe

Gerry:
As far as magazines go, the Double Gun Journal now includes single shots so coverage is limited to perhaps one article on double rifles per issue. The African Hunter is the only African journal that publishes a regular column on double rifles. And, where do double rifles really belong? In a magazine about Africa, from Africa! The generic hunting magazines from the States have the occasional article to keep a few readers happy but not on a regular basis. (Personally, I have little interest in reading opinions that are not backed up be personal experience. If you are going to write about a .600 or an 8-bore, own one and shoot it. Often!).

As to books, The Hammerless Double Rifle by Alexander Gray is an excellent source to see how a double is put together. Graeme Wright’s, Shooting the British Double Rifle is the best book for learning how to shoot a double rifle successfully. It is the ‘Bible’ on the subject.(In my opinion, it is a waste to have a nice double in the safe and do nothing with it. Shooting it is the next step and then hunting with one is the zenith of ownership). Craig Boddington’s Safari Rifles provides an excellent look at caliber and rifle selection and is a modern update to John Taylor’s African Rifles and Cartridges. Taylor’s book is the best of the vintage texts on the subject and Taylor is quoted more than any other writer.

Most hunting books are stories of the hunt as most hunters don’t seem to be riflemen. James Sutherland is an exception and his book The Adventures of an Elephant Hunter is an excellent story of his exploits with a .577 Westley Richards. S.R. Truesdale's The Rifle is a composite of hunters before WWII and what were their rifle choices. Lots of good double info here. Greener's The Rifle and its Development is the best technical book on the subject with lots of double rifle info in it.

I hope this helps, good shooting,

Cal

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