Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cal: Can you recommend a Blue Dot load for a 10-bore double rifle? Thanks, Steve W. USA Steve: I no longer have a 10 but a friend suggests the following with a 700-grain round ball: 40 grains of BD for 1160 fps 45 grains of BD for 1320 fps 50 grains of BD for 1423 fps. Use a 1/8” thick over powder wad with 80-100 pounds of pressure, filler wads of fiber, and set the crimp just ahead of the equator of the ball. The spacer wads will put pressure on the ball and hold it snug against the crimp. Remember, any specific 10-bore is unique to itself. I have seen one that is proofed for 10 drams with a 3 1/2-inch case (to nearly equate to an 8-bore) and others that are proofed so light to make them on par with a 12-gauge light game gun. The above will help but will be on the light side for a heavy double. You will need to adjust the powder charge to bring the rifle into regulation. I hope this helps and good shooting. Cheers, Cal Cal I am preparing for my fourth safari with Gary now. This time we are going for a leopard in the Omay. But I am still considering English doubles. Westley Richards has three interesting rifles for sale. I suppose that there is no reason to be ashamed of carrying a WR rifle.  These are two 470s and one 500. They are made in 1895, 1908 and 1913. WR says that there is some frostiness in the throat of the barrels. Can I expect anything else with 100 year old rifles? The 500 is a black powder rifle converted to full Nitro express standard. Is this something that I should be careful to buy? How is the quality of a vintage rifle today? Can it be used just like a modern rifle? (100 years of use does something to any mechanical device.) I have used 100+ year bolt rifles, and they have worked perfectly, but I have been more careful with the loads. All the rifles are box locks. How do you consider this compared to a sidelock? Best regards Anders M. Anders: Good to hear from you again. I’m sure you will have a great time on your hunt and please pass along my regards to Gary and Crystal. Vintage English doubles today are as sound as when they were new. No finer piece of work exists than an English double rifle from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Frosting in the bores are a sign of hot cordite burn from the nitro ammunition and is common. It should not affect the shooting qualities or regulation. I would be careful of a black powder rifle with full nitro proofs. Now, a light nitro proof is both safe and very common as the nitro-for-black charge both duplicated black powder pressure and gave acceptable regulation. And, even if the bpe rifle was safe for a full charge of nitro powder and the heavier bullet, the recoil would be excessive as most bpe rifles weighted two or more pounds less than a rifle made for the full nitro load. Boxlocks, may people say, are superior to sidelocks as less wood is removed from the front of the stock and also they are more weather and water resistant. A good boxlock is just as fine a rifle as a sidelock but the sidelock has more area for the engraver to ply his trade. As to Westley Richards rifles, there are none finer and, in my opinion, are on par with Holland or Purdey. Cheers and good shooting, Cal Hi Cal: I have a question for you.  I'd like to pull the Woodleigh soft points from a few Federal CapeShock rounds to use in some of my reloads and I can't seem to find a bullet puller large enough to fit a .474.  Any suggestions?  I have the Hornady factory ammo, both softs and solids, shooting to the same POI at 50 yds. as my own reloads with Hornady softnose bullets.  The CapeShock ammo is several inches out of the other group.  I think the Woodleigh bullets would perform better than the Hornadys if they would shoot reasonably close to the same POI.  Before I go try to buy a bunch of them, it would be easier to just pull a few of the bullets for testing.       I may not even need softs for the trip, but I'm taking some of them anyway, since the decision will be entirely driven by my PH's preference.  I will try to send you some photos and/or video sometime after the trip. My best regards, Tim  F. USA Tim: Good day. The easiest way to pull bullets from cartridges that are too large to fit a standard commercial bullet puller is to do this: place the cartridge in the shell holder of the press and raise the cartridge so the bullet only protrudes though the die hole. Slip a piece of soft rubber surgical tubing over the bullet and lightly grab it with some vise grips. Back the ram down and the bullet should stay in place. Don’t squeeze the bullet too much as you don’t want it out of round. This has worked for me since the late 1970s. Good shooting, Cal Cal: Can a 600 grain bullet be used in a .500 NE double rifle?  I have one and have typically shot 570 grainers but had some 600's from some .500 Jeffery handloads. Thank you, Beech M. USA PS  Love your editorials in African Hunter magazine! Beech: Thanks for the kind words and for reading the finest African magazine on the market! Your 600-grain bullets are approximately 5% heavier so if you reduce the powder charge 5% (or a bit less to begin with) you should be in safe pressure. However, regulation is another matter and the bullet’s point of impact may be off by a bit or by a lot depending on your rifle. Hope this helps. Good shooting, Cal Cal: Thank you for your insight. I will try what you suggest. Any thoughts as to the powder used? Graeme Wright's book on shooting the British doubles indicates that the .500 prefers IMR 4350 over 4831 with less felt recoil. But how would it perform with a 5% reduction like you suggest?  I guess there is only one way to find out!  Lastly, could the 600 grainers be loaded down and used as practice rounds with say 36 grains of Accurate 5574? Thanks again, Beech M. USA Beech: I have used IMR 4831 in all of my nitro hand loads as it fills the case and rarely do I need any filler. Also, I have a lifetime supply of the stuff so I may as well use it. It is true the faster the burn rate the less recoil. Even less than 4350 would be Reloader 15. I shot a friend’s .600 in Texas a couple of years ago and the recoil was so mild I asked him if it was a reduced charge. No, it was full velocity, but with RL-15. As to a reduced load, do as you wish as it is safe but the more you vary from the original, the more regulation of both barrels will suffer. Good shooting, Cal Cal: Thanks for the information you gave me about how dealers value their rifles and the websites for gun sales. I glanced over the selection of English doubles for sale. There were several rifles cheaper, but none I liked as well as the  H&H Dominion Champlin has for $39500. What would you think is a fair value for Champlin rifle? Dickie, USA Dickie: Any and all dealers won’t give rifles away. They are in the business to make a profit and not to break even. Some are better than others and Champlin Arms’ George Caswell is among the best. He has by far the most detailed and accurate descriptions of this guns and rifles, good photos, and he will stand behind what he sells. The Dominion rifles were lower priced weapons for the enlisted man or working man who wanted a Holland but could not afford a Royal. While the Dominions were and are priced lower, the quality is excellent--as is anything from Holland and Holland. If you want to keep the rifle, go for it and enjoy it. If you want to shoot it for a year or two and sell it, a Dominion is more difficult to sell. $39,500 is at the top end of fair but an individual can’t get that much as individuals do not have the large market base a quality and known dealer has. Good shooting, Cal Good morning How is everything in Gods Country ? I have picked up a Sabatti 450 NE. Someday I will be able to afford something nicer I hope. For now it will have to do. I have been  reading over your  advise about going to Africa. I just found a duffle bag large enough to cover my gun case for camouflage. Now I am going to pad it with clothes etc. I was wondering if you knew anything about the ammo they regulate the Sabattis with. All it tells me that it is regulated with Hornady DGX 480 grain ammo. I have not been able to find what powder  or how much. I thought that if anyone would know it would be you.  I would appreciate any help/advise you might have. Looking at the target they used to regulate this rifle it is pretty much dead on at 50 meters with about a  1 1/2 " group. Guess I cant complain about that. I will still be looking for a better double rifle. I may have to trade off a couple of guns etc. to get it but keep me in mind if you run across anything. Thanks again for all of your assistance. Steve N. Tenn. Steve: Good to hear from you and I’m pleased you enjoyed your Alaska weekend at my place and the double rifle shoot. Sabatti rifles have had some problems with regulation and accuracy. The only way to find out is to buy a box and check the regulation your self. If all works out, pull a bullet and weigh the powder charge. The weight will tell you if it is RL-15 or IMR 4831. But that really does not matter as you will reload to what charge and type of powder works best for you. Good shooting, Cal Cal: I often come across weird stuff in the box lots of stuff I purchase. A number of years ago (12) I came across an unusual bullet stamped Kynoch 23/4" .577 soft tip. My question is what gauge or bore would that be paired with on a double rifle? Rifle/shotgun? Thanks. Just curious. Pete Q. Hi Pete: What you have is a 2 3/4” black powder case for a double rifle (but also for old single shots, too). It was loaded with 5 drams or about 136 grains of black powder and a common bullet was 570 grains, but they went heavier at times. This was not a shotgun shell and don’t fire it an any shotgun, even if it fits! Good shooting (well, maybe not in this case) Cal Cal: Hi again. Enjoy reading your articles. Do I need shotgun mag. primers for the 4 bore with 100 gr. of smokeless or a 209 will do? Thanks. Avi N. Avi: All I ever use is 209 and do not know of shotgun magnum primers. If you mean rifle primers I have found the spark not enough to ignite a large volume of smokeless powder and hang fires will result. You can’t go wrong with 209s. Good shooting, Cal Cal: I’m new to the world of double rifles but am learning--especially from you column in the African Hunter but two terms confuse me: barrel ring and chamber ring. Are they the same thing? Thanks for the insight. Ty C. New York City Ty: I understand the confusion and the two are far apart in definition. Barrel ring is a simple way to check to see if the barrels of a double rifle or shotgun are solidly fitted together. Dismantle the rifle and support the barrel bu resting one of the lumps on your finger and let the barrels hang there pointed to the floor. Tap each barrel with something hard and you should hear a ring, like a tuning fork. An audible ring will tell you all is well. A thud will tell you the solder that holds the barrels, wedge, and ribs is coming loose. If you hear the thud, don’t buy it as repairs can be expensive and only a few folks on this side of the pond can join barrels--and the subsequent regulation--correctly. Chamber ring is another matter entirely. In the 1970-80s it was common knowledge in the double rifle world that shooting black powder double rifles with a charge of smokeless powder would leave a large air space between the powder and the bullet’s base. To keep the powder close to the primer for proper ignition an over powder wad was put in place. Many have said, but none have actually seen (an urban legend in the double rifle world), that when the wad began its forward motion towards the bullet upon the primer’s ignition the air in that space would compress and bulge the chamber a bit. It was called a ring as it was not visible from the exterior such as a barrel bulge. When I entered the world of double rifles with a Mortimer and Son .500bpe I was warned of this but in 20+ years I have never run into anyone who has had this happen. Good shooting, Cal Cal: What say you about OSR or over stressed rifling? Corbin M. Massachusetts, USA Corbin: I have to eat crow and bite the bullet on this one as I thought for many years OSR was a dream of the arm chair league. I shot Barnes Banded Solids in my vintage .600 Wilkes with no problem and showed the folks at Barnes the recovered bullets. My rifle was fine. I laughed at the stories of rifling shown on the exterior of the barrels and, my favorite, was a fella said he saw the rifling lands get pushed out the the muzzle upon firing. (Of course he could not remember any names and didn’t take photographs). However at an SCI convention Graeme Wright, author of the excellent book Shooting the British Double rifle discussed OSR with me. Now understand Graeme is a fine gent, speaks from logic and fact and not emotion, and has forgotten more about double rifles than I will ever know, and he asked me to accompany him for a short walk and see a rifle with OSR. He handed me a nitro .450-400 3 1/4” and I had a look. The bores looked good and the outside of the barrels showed no deformity. Then, Graeme asked me to hold the barrels to the light and examine the exterior by the reflected light form the surface. There it was! It could not be seen nor felt, but in the light was the rifling marks slightly showing in the light. I then met the owner and he told his story about mono metal bullets in double rifles. There are two sides to every story. Yes, OSR exists. I have seen it. But what I have not seen or any knowledge of is the type of bullet, powder type and charge, and diameter of the bullet, that was reloaded and fired. As Joe Friday said, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Those are the facts as I personally saw them and the questions raised but not answered. Good shooting, Cal

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