Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Single vs. Double Trigger

Hello all. Here are some additional questions from readers and my answers. I hope they help. These have been or will be published in the African Hunter magazine.

Dear Cal:
What is your side of the single vs. double trigger argument?
Harold ‘Nick” Nickles, USA

I would imagine this question goes as far back as the first rifle or shotgun with twin tubes. There is probably no right or wrong answer but John Taylor had it right in the end when he suggested all your rifles be of the same style. An excellent suggestion from Taylor’s era and the mindset of a professional hunter. Sound wisdom today also but, perhaps, not such a necessity as few of us will ever be in a life or death situation.

The thought behind a single trigger is, of course, a quicker second shot. Double rifles are quick for the second shot and even more quick if one does not have to adjust the trigger finger. How much time is saved? A fraction of a second at most. To some, single triggers look nice and they are a higher refinement of the double rifle’s mechanism. James Sutherland, who hunted with a pair of Westley Richards' single trigger .577s wrote that the mechanism never failed to shoot the second barrel--they were perfectly reliable. A friend in Alaska just sold Andy Anderson’s single trigger Westley and agrees with Sutherland--never a problem.

In the vintage years when hunters in the Dark Continent were literally months away from a gunsmith, having two triggers, and thereby two separate rifles, could be a life saver if one trigger or lock failed to operate. If one failed, the hunter still had a single shot rifle. Not so with a single trigger. A failure and the entire rifle is negated to a boat anchor.

Today, we don’t hunt for ivory to make a living and our lives are not in jeopardy on our African hunt. With this, most rifles are in collections and used only occasionally. Having a combination of double and single trigger rifles will make for a complete collection. As for me personally, I prefer the double trigger as it looks more traditional but, given the right rifle, the right caliber, at the right price, a single trigger would be welcome in my gun safe at any time!

Good shooting,