Saturday, May 8, 2010

What is a good double rifle?

Hi Cal:

I too am very keen on purchasing a quality sensibly priced double. I cannot afford the English doubles but have had a good look at Krieghoff, Chapuis, Merkel and Blaser mainly in 470 caliber.

I currently use 9.3X62 scoped and 416 Rem with open sights as my two rifles and hunt primarily Southern Africa's plains game and every 5 years or so a good buffalo.

What are your thoughts on a really good double? I must say that the Blaser and Chapuis do not really appeal to me.

Kind Regards

Alex B.


Greetings from Alaska:
The rifles you mention are all good, working, utility rifles (including the Chapuis and Blaser) and may be upgraded with engraving and figured wood for a personal treasure. One maker you failed to list was Verney-Caron of France. They make a good rifle with a unique locking system that won’t shoot loose. If you are looking for a big caliber the V-C may be the best choice. Their .577 and .600 were priced less than 23K (USD) at the SCI show in January of 2010. Ken Buch imports the V-C. Heym is another fine rifle and Chris Sells will help you select the rifle that is right for you.

The Merkel is a fine rifle, also. I believe the company has gone to just ejector doubles so the prices of used extractor rifles has fallen to very reasonable levels. As to Chapuis and Blaser I don’t have any experience but what I hear is positive.

Remember, if you shop around, you can find a used English double for a very good price. Look for a caliber that will do what you want but is not popular--such as a .475 or .476. I have personally seen several English doubles in such calibers for less than 15K USD. While I favor the lines and history of English doubles, the new European rifles (and the American Searcy, too), all work fine.

Good shooting,

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