Monday, May 3, 2010

Who makes 4 and 8 bore rifles?

Dear Cal:

Sir, can you please e-mail me the name of 4 and 8 bore rifle builders and if they have a company web site.

A.J. :
It looks as if you have been bitten by the bore rifle bug. While some folks today do have bore rifles made to their specifications, I would guess it would be more cost effective to search out and purchase an 8- or a 4-bore vintage rifle. The one-time production cost of tooling up and making a rifle today is very expensive. Ken Owen has made some outstanding bore rifles as well as .600s and many other firearms. Clayton Nelson has done so, too, but a friend waited 12 years for his rifle! If money is not an object of concern, I’m sure any of the English makers and those on the continent will do so, also. I would guess the price for a new US or European double in one of the larger bore rifle sizes to be 60-75,000USD. From England, perhaps 150,000$ or more.

With that in mind, why not buy an original rifle that 1) you don’t have to wait for, 2) has some history with it, and 3) costs much less? Excellent condition 8-bores can be bought today for $35-40,000 USD with lesser-quality and conditioned rifles selling in the $20,000 range. On the other hand, the 12- and 10-bores cost much less and the 4-bores cost much more. As this is being written (March 2010) three 4s are for sale: A Horsley for 70K, a Hughes for 85K, and a Rodda for 125K.

Unless you must have a rifle made to your specifications, go for the vintage rifles. Reloading dies, bullet sizers, and shell holders can be made by Dave Davidson at CH Tool, bullet moulds from NEI, and wads from Precision Reloading. Have a bore and chamber cast done to assure the correct size for your dies and sizer. GOEX FFg will approximate the velocity of the original charge of black powder or Blue Dot will give the smokeless equivalent.

Good shooting,

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