Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cal, I have a Howdah 16-bore.  It has a ball mould and powder measure in the case. Please: what is the powder charge--one scoop of the measure to more, what is the expected velocity, and which black powder should I use? Also, what range is this pistol to be used at? 25 yards? Thanks Mike S. USA Mike: While the Howdah pistols have the power to kill at long range they are a short range weapon. A double rifle is a short range rifle and with 8" or so barrels, the Howdah is even more short range. I understand they were meant to be used if and when the tiger was crawling up the elephant to get at the hunter. A 16-bore ball weighs 1/16th of a pound or one ounce or about 437.5 grains (for a true 16 and a ball of pure lead). If you are sure the measure was made for your specific pistol than one measure of powder will be the charge. To play it safe, begin with 1F as it is much slower burning and less pressure. Check for accuracy and pressure and get a feel for the recoil. Next, jump to 2F and do the same. 3F may or may not be necessary. Don't expect great accuracy. If you can hit a gallon jug at 10-15 yards that is fine for what the pistol's intended use was. And, you may get much better. Some of that will depend if you have a bead front sight or a full rifle sight with a fine bead and a leaf for the rear sight. Velocity will be between 7-800 fps. Cheers, and good shooting. Cal PS. I will welcome photos for m y book on the bore rifles but I'm getting rather close to sending it off to the final layout--a few weeks. Hi Cal: I am looking for a 8, 4, or 2 gauge. Can you help? Thanks for your consideration.  Paul K.        Hi Paul: 2-4-8 gauge what? Rifles, shotguns, cartridges? Double or Single? New or old? Cheers, Cal Sorry Cal: A shotgun to shoot. Any suggestions? Paul Paul: I’ve sold my 8 and 4 gauge shotguns but they are out there. Follow Guns International on the net or auction but expect to pay a good price and a strong premium for the 4s. No 2s were made as shoulder help weapons--they were the true punt guns to be mounted in a boat. Good shooting, Cal Good morning Cal: I was wondering if you can help me out with some wisdom. As you know I am looking for a double rifle and I have located two, a new Merkel 140, the other a used Krieghoff Classic with dies and some brass. Both are in 470 ne, and both are about the same price. I was wondering which rifle would you be more inclined to follow up on. I know the Krieghoff are more money new than the Merkel, but are they worth the difference? Thank you for your time in this. Darren Darren: I think one is as good as the other and it depends you your taste in style. I don't think one should command a higher price than the other as they are from the continent and entail the same amount of work and have like reputations. Both have good reputations as to accuracy and dependability. You can't go wrong with either. Good shooting, Cal Hello Cal: Here's my question: I have a Rigby double (under lever with hammers) in 450/400 2 3/8" black powder express. I would like to have it nitro-proofed (and I would expect it to pass). Do you know if it's possible to have this gun rechambered to the 450/400 3 1/4" round (assuming it would pass the nitro proofing)?  I have not compared measurements of the 2 cartridges  but of course the 2 3/8" round tapers to bore size "faster" than  the 3 1/4" round, and I don't know if there's enough metal for the rechamber. Thanks, Steve, Canada Steve: Thanks for your email and good question. The re-chambering will fit--no doubt about it. I'm sure it will proof to a 3 1/4" bpe load but only a the English proof house will know if it can be done with the nitro charge. Another thing to consider it the rifling twist. The 2 3/8", with it's light bullet, requires a different rate of twist than a nitro cartridge with a 400-grain bullet. This may have a major change in regulated accuracy. The proof house could tell you this also, and you could have the rifle re-regulated if needed. An additional alternative is to develop your own load, a bit hotter than a smokeless 2 3/8", and have it reproofed to that load. Just a thought. Good luck and good shooting. Cal   Hello, Cal: Several years ago I started working on a 12 bore ball and shot or slug type rifle. I wanted to make the mystique of golden age doubles accessible to more people and I thought that a lot of states that require shotgun only hunting could benefit from a gauge double (I planned to produce 12s and 20s ). I built the first 2 doubles on Italian 12 gauges, and regulated them with several common slugs. The 3rd prototype was produced for me in Brescia, Italy, and is also very nice. They have 3 leaf express sights on an integral quarter rib, that is milled for Talley QD rings. The company that made the prototype makes a lot of double rifles as well so I planned to offer multiple barrel set ups as well as varying  levels of finish. I planned to offer them in the 2-3 thousand dollar range, but we never went into production for various reasons. Recently I have become interested in reviving this project, since it seems like Holland and Holland offers Paradox ammunition and rifles and several small companies make ball and shot type guns. I had machined brass cartridges made up with a 12 bore head-stamp, and used a Paradox mold to make a lot of bullets. I thought it would be fun to offer several loaded rounds with the rifles and a case. I would love your opinion on weather you think a project like this has any real market. in the last couple years it seems like there is increasing interest in doubles.  Thanks for your time  Dedan K. Dedan: Good to hear from you. Yes, there is a market if, and it’s a big IF, the price is right. A company in Connecticut makes both a rifled choke and a fully rifled sabot 20-bore and, I believe, their price is about 3,000$. Times are tough in this economy so price is the biggest factor to consider. Then, of course, is fit, finish, and accuracy. Good luck to you and good shooting. Keep me posted. Cal Hi Cal: Quick question, what velocity and pressure was John Taylor’s 600 double? Aaron Z. Aaron: I believe the old ballistic data states about 15 tons for the .600ne at 1850 fps. I'm sure long tons or 2200 pounds to the ton, or about 35000psi. John's Jeffery was regulated for the 100-grain cordite load or 1850 fps (from a 28-inch barrel). I’m on vacation and this is from memory so the data is approximate. Cheers and good shooting. Cal Hi Cal: One more question, what's the case capacity of the 600 nitro? I'm getting more great info on putting a 600 barrel on a Thompson Center Encore. This is going to be fun! I found a couple great guys who are experts in wildcat rounds and Encores, he said to use Reloader 25 and fill 90% so that's why I ask. Have you seen Mark Sullivan’s Marcel Thys .600 nitro? It's a gorgeous gun! I'm not sure what load he uses but I know he shoots 2000 fps from 24" barrels. Aaron. Good day, Aaron: I’m unsure of case capacity but I do know IMR 4831 powder will fill the case to the bullet’s base. Faster powders, such as RL 15, need a filler--maybe some filler on RL 25. I have seen Mark Sullivan’s .600 Thys and it is indeed a beautiful weapon. However, 2000 fps is quite hot for 24-inch barrels as the established velocity for that barrel length is about 1750 fps. Good shooting, Cal Hello Cal: I saw a picture of a 450NE #2 build on a shotgun frame, I recognized the action immediately as I have one of these shotguns, a Brno ZP 49. Do you know these guns and in your opinion will the action be strong enough to build a .470NE on it? Is there a mayor difference in chamber pressures between the 450#2 and the 470NE? Thanx! Xagene, South Africa Xagene: Good to hear from you. The .450 no 2 has about 2-3 tons less pressure than the .470 (this is from memory). Any shotgun action may not be strong enough for rifle pressures but they have been done many times for those wanting a low priced double. If the action is big and beefy enough--a heavy 12 or 10 bore then you will be fine if the work is done by a competent gunsmith who knows double rifles. Good shooting, Cal Cal: I was just reading your notes section and see that you have now acquired a .600" Nitro W.J.Jeffery falling block. I would be interested to hear what you think of the recoil dealt out by this rifle as I have one in .475 No2, it has more felt recoil than any of my other big bore guns(including my .577 NE Westley Richards single shot) I was wondering if it was something to do with the stock geometry. I have the build sheet for my rifle No 24408,and on the same page there are 5 falling blocks in .600NE,(24401--24405),I wonder if one of them is yours? Regards, Chris, France. Chris: The recoil is, indeed, great. Some of the felt kick comes from the stock but the majority is due to the power of the .600 nitro. My rifle is 24,401 and also 24,404 is in Alaska and is featured in my book on the .600s. My rifle was purchased after the book was published. Good shooting, Cal

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