Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Double Rifle 1

Gordon Courtney of the UK certainly has some guns making skills. He completely refinished this Thomas Bland .577-500 no2! The rifle was made in 1890 and nitro proofed in London in 1906. They don't get any better than this!

Ben Mostert of Zimbabwe sent these pics of his Kettner .500 express. Kettner is a fine German maker with an outstanding reputation. The proof marks show this rifle to be made post 1891 and prior to WWII.

Sam Phelps' Merkel 9.3x74r is an outstanding choice for a young gent's first double.

Below is an E. London 11-bore muzzle loader from an anonymous gent in Europe. He should have great fun with this!

Mauro Benitez of Argentina has some beautiful doubles and he would like to sell them. Below is his Holland Royal in 7x65. He also has a Rigby rising bite .400-359, a Manton .360 no2, and a Bazinger 8x57. One does not usually think of doubles and South America but the ARE there.
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Below, from Dr. Will Westlake, is a fine Thomas Bland .500-450 no1 express double rifle. The workmanship on these treasures is not equalled today.

Pete Cameron sent int his pic of a wonderful Jeffery in .577-500 magnum (3 1/8" case). 

A Holland and Holland Royal in .375 2 1/2 inch original with a set of after market barrels for .375 H&H. From the collection of Nigel Minton.

A Horton .360 bpe is shown below in all it's glory and original case. Also from Nigel.

Nigel sent in the Westley Richards .400-360, drop lock.

Nigel's Watson Brothers .500 NE is shown below. It is identical to mine and only a few serial numbers apart. Made 1907. UPDATE: this rifle was just purchased by a mate here in Alaska, Dr. Brett Barringer. The doc is back in the world of double rifles ('bout time!).

Jim Audette from the Accurate Reloading forums send in this pic of three of his ball and shot guns.

Peter Cameron sent in this pic of his fantastic Howdah pistol, cased with all accessories, in .577 Snider. Absolutely beautiful.

At the Big Game Rifle Club shoot in Darwin on July 20 I had the pleasure of seeing many fine rifles and meeting their owners. Below is a pair of .600s at the shoot. The lower rifle is my .600 Wilkes and the other is a Holland and Holland Royal ejector. Both rifles are proofed for the 110-grain charge of cordite. The Holland has 24-inch barrels and my Wilkes has 26-
inch tubes.

While in Australia in July of 2013 I had the pleasure of meeting many fine folks--both old friends and new friends. I spent three days in the small town of Katherine which is about a three-hour drive south of Darwin. I had the honor of being the guest of Mark Paterson, aka Patow. We spent some time in the bush as well as seeing Patow's fine collection of firearms. 

Below are seven double rifles of Mark. Above each rifle is a brief description. The first pair of photos below is a Raick Feris double in .450-400 3 1/4-inch. Made in Leige, Belgium, it sports 26-inch extractor barrels and some gold work that is very well done. (I state this as I have seen a few double from India with gold work that looks like the engraver had his kids do the work).

Thanks, Patow, for the wonderful but too short visit. I hope to see you in Alaska in a year or two and allow me to return the favor. Good luck in Zimbabwe next month.

Here are a pair of photos of Patow's second Feris double. This one sports 25-inch barrels, ejectors, and in the great caliber .375 flanged.

A true work of art is this John Blanch double in .450 3 1/4. 26-inch barrels, ejector and a back action side lock.

Below is a Cogswell and Harrison in the fairly rare .475 straight 3 1/4". 25-inch barrels, sidelock, non ejector. Another fine rifle in the city of Katherine.

A .256 with 25-inch barrels and a 1.5-4x German scope is on this Cogswell and Harrison double.

Below is an Army and Navy .450 3 1/4 nitro express with ejectors and 26-inch barrels. Patow has killed some nice buffalo with this beauty.

Below is Patow's Simson of Suhl .318, with ejectors and 26 3/4" barrels.

E. Paton and Son certainly made a fine double rifle in this .450 3 1/4" bpe. John Moore sent the pics from New Zealand. The bottom photo shows a good illustration of Henry's rifling. The barrels are engraved: London Perth Inverness.

Below is the mother of all .600 doubles. The FIRST Jeffery double .600! Lever Over Guard and regulated for the 120-grain charge. An amazing and historical!

Victor Alger sent in this pic of his Holland 12-bore double rifle, proved for a heavy charge of 7 drams and a conical bullet (1:48 twist) as heavy as 1100+ grains.

A gent in a far off land send these two photos of his Dickson 4-bore. I don't have any additional info and no permission to use his name. However, this is ONEdouble that must be shared.

A mate whom I will be hunting in South Africa with in a couple of weeks sent in these pics of a .450 3 1/4" Army and Navy nitro express. 28" barrels and extractors with a new refinish, new case (old case if for photos), and has a history of African use: stopping a charging elephant, three buffalo, and a lioness, by the current owner. This rifle is for sale for about 15K.

Below are three pics of a Perrins 8-bore with 11-groove rifling, a unique 20-inch barrel, and a weight of 19 pounds.

Size matters! A rising bite Rigby and a 4-bore Rodda. Owned by a gent across the pond.

Below are six photos from the double rifle shoot in Alaska on May 4th. Typical Alaska spring day: 35 degrees, rain, spitting snow. Great burgers, chips, pop, fine double rifles, and friends. A few machine guns showed up to add to the show. Below are:
Ron's .577 A&N, .450 no2 Webley & Scott, .500 bpe Reilly
Chuck's .450 A&N
Chuck's .500 Boswell
Rob with two of his 8-bores
Rob's 4-bore Bland
Cal's .450-400 Harrison & Hussey, .500 bpe Reilly, .450 no2 Lang, .600 Wilkes, 8-bore Locke, 4-bore Hughes, .470 Lyon & Lyon.

Clive Rew of the UK sent these pics of his new treasure. An outstanding Cogswell and Harrison .450 cordite double that was completed on October 24, 1906. A heavy rifle at 13 pounds and 11 ounces and proved for a 440-grail bullet and 65 grains of cordite. I hope she shoots as well as she looks, Clive. Thanks.

A gent from the UK, Gordon, kindly sent in these photos of a Manton .450-400 regulated for the 60-grain charge. I love the Greener cross bolt and the traditional leaf sight. Beautiful working rifle. It screams "Africa."

A gent from the lower 48 just purchased this Westley Richards 318. Absolutely stunning wood and craftsmanship as only the fine folks at Westley can do it. While so many of us are caught up in the mania of dangerous game calibers and the romance that goes with them, a .318 is the perfect caliber for hunting in the lower 48 and for Alaska if a big brownie is not on the docket. And, 90+% of African critters, too. My friend would like to remain anonymous but agreed for me to feature his fine double rifle. My thanks. In the bottom photo, with the .318, is a Chapuis .450-400 3-inch.

Bob Woodfill ordered a copy of my bore rifle book and today sent me a photo of his bore rifle: "I only have one Bore-Rifle, a H&H 12-bore, fully rifled double, slow twist, made in 1876.  The action is marked “Charge 6 Drams, Case 2 5/8” Inches” as shown on the attached somewhat blurred picture.  I have got the gun to regulate at 50 yards with 164 grains (6 drams) of Goex 3Fg, 0.735” diameter RB cast pure lead, in a Federal paper case with lubricating wads.  6-shot groups are 2-3” across, so the old gun definitely regulates with a RB at 1471 fps by my chronograph." Thanks, Bob, for permission to use the photo. You have a great rifle and I wish it was in the book.

A friend from Zimbabwe sent these photos for my evaluation. This .470 Bentley and Playfair looks to have had the receiver nickel plated (note the nickel plating in the doll's head recess) and been worked over quite a bit. In 1991 an appraisal in the UK valued this rifle then at 16,000 pounds! It is for sale now at 20K USD.

Below is a Lancaster oval bore .500 express muzzle loading double rifle from the late 1850s. In fine shape and quite unique as this rifle dates to just after the oval bore was patented. Owner is anonymous.

If you want the biggest on the block, Colin Stolzer will be pleased to make you a 2-bore double!! The 2-bore, as a shoulder-held rifle, is a modern invention as no 2-bores existed in the vintage years except as punt guns anchored into a boat to kill flocks of ducks. The specs from Colin's website are: 44 pounds, 1.326" bore, 700 grains of FFg, and a 3500 grain ball. You can see the details and a video at:

The five photos below are of a Lyon & Lyon .470 boxlock extractor with 24-inch barrels. A super rifle owned by a friend.

Terry Buffum is a gent I became acquainted with via my website when he purchased my bore rifle book. He was kind enough to send this photo of his fine Holland and Holland 16-bore Paradox as featured in Lake's book. Steve Helsley took the photo, John Millar made the tools, Ray Sterck the case, Keith Kearcher worked on the metal, and James Tucker the wood. An amazing piece of history here. Thanks, Terry.

Below are seven photos sent in by Abhijeet Deshmukh of India. He has a nice collection of doubles. They are: top photo is a Bland .470, the next three are of a Heym .375, and the lower three are also a .375 but by A. Courdy. Thanks for the photos, Abhijeet.

Christian Klueter from Australia send in the three photos below of his fabulous Dougall Lok Fast 12-bore double rifle. I wish I had this one in my book! I've seen Lok Fasts in shotguns prior but this is the first double rifle I've seen with the unique Lok Fast system. It's really an amazing invention and can't shoot loose. You can see in the top photo how the barrels slide back to lock over the protrusions on the face. Other features are 2 1/2" chambers, a weight of 11 pounds, a charge of 4 drams (110 grains) and a 750-grain conical bullet. Thanks, Christian.

Jeff Davis send in these photos of his Kodiak .45-70. Looks like a nice set up with the 12-bore barrels. In Jeff's words:

"This is a Kodiak Mk IV deluxe rifle in 45/70 with 12 ga barrels. It was made in 1988 by Pedersoli. I bought it from the original owner who bought it years ago at an SCI booth. The Trail Guns Armory listed on the box is no longer around. The old Colonel must have passed away as I've had no luck tracking him down.

Pedersoli claims they never made 12 ga barrels. All of their literature I've seen says this thing was made on their 20 ga frame and you could order a set of 20 ga barrels as an option. I've recently sent them pics of the markings on the barrel flats to see if they help them research it. They are 27.75" long with 2.75" chambers and full/extra full chokes. The 45/70 barrels are 24" with fairly short throats. They will chamber the flat nose bullets used in lever guns, and the long, pointed 500-grain cast bullets from my Lee mold. But they will not chamber 450- or 500-grain round nose cast bullets from my Lee molds.  

I've shot it at 50 yards and every load I tried went under 3" for both barrels. When I get the load data from you, I intend to review that, then go back to the range and shoot some more.  The groups are centering about 8" low, so I'm going to have to do something about the sights. The rear sight is a fixed blade with 3 flip up blades in front of it. The unit is set into a dovetail, so I can move it for windage. But the front sight is already pretty short, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do to bring the poi up."

This rifle is now owned by my Alaska friend and double rifle man, Mike Brooks.

Pieter Pasques of South Africa has a new toy--a Sabatti .500 nitro express!! It won't be long 'til Pieter field tests this beauty on big game as he comes from a hunting family. In June of 2013 Pieter and I spent some time in the bush and fired each of our respective doubles and I hope to be seeing my mate again in June of 2014.

Joe Ehlinger of Michigan builds flintlock bore rifles and, from the photo, does an excellent job! Below the rifle is the target and Joe stated to me the other day when he called to order the bore rifle book he has no problems in regulation. Perhaps he knows something the double rifle makers don't.

Rolland Huff of Arizona sent this pair of photos of a 12-bore rifle he built on a Sauer 12-gauge shotgun frame. Regulation is in process as I write this. Looks like a nice job and I trust it will shoot as good as she looks.

Andrew Hepner sent this photo sequence of Tony Kelly and his 4-bore. While not a double, any great 4-bore needs to be shown. Recoil of a 4 is stiff in a double, more so in a lighter single shot. Tony shoots 150 grains of shotgun powder and a 2080-grain bullet! "It's a bit of a mother" Tony understates.

Does it get any better than this? Eliot Lee sent this photo of his E.M. Reilly 12-bore in its case with all accessories. Beautiful rifle!

A fine group of gents from down under, all armed with .500 rifles, some bolt and some double. Photo from Andrew Hepner. The lineup is as follows:

From Left to Right.
Geoff McDonald ( Mr. Woodleigh Bullets) .500 N W & C Scott
John Marozzi (Woodleigh Hydro's)         .500 N Sabatti
Andrew Hepner                         .500 N William Evans
Robert Christopher                 .500 N Blaser
Misosh Kracklejack                 .500 Jeffery Custom
Tony Kelly (4 Bore owner)                 .500 N I. Hollis
Mario Blasco                         .500 Jeffery Custom
Neil Hibble (BGRC Vic. Pres.)         .500 Jeffery Custom
Michael Gibbs                 .500 Jeffery Custom
Mark Hibbet (QLD>)                 .505 Gibbs Custom
Adam Smeibert                         Sharing above rifle
Bill Poymton.                         .500 Jeffery Custom/ also
uses .500 N Holland & Holland SLE Royal with extra finish in Gold.
Clive Haug                         .500 N Charles Boswell

I just added this nice EM Rielly to my gun safe the other day. A gent in Texas had it for sale. 28-inch barrels, hammers are non rebounding, perfect bores, nicely engraved on the action, rib, and sight leaves, Jones under lever and heel and toe plates. Should be fun to shoot and not too difficult to come up with an accurate load.

Unver Shafi Khan of Pakistan emailed me these photos of his outstanding Osborne double. The caliber is .500 x 3 black powder express. A second set of barrels is chambered for 12-bore. And, most interesting, is a .22 caliber insert for one of the shotgun barrels. Note the rear single folding sight leaf on the shotgun barrels. It is amazing what is out there! Thanks, Unver.

Below are three photos o Unver's .32-40--a unique caliber for a double rifle. The workmanship is outstanding but the maker's name has been scratched off and replaced with Holland and Holland! It would not take much to undo this and what a nice light rifle for small game.

Gordon Courtney sent these photos of his Thomas Bland .577-500 no2 express. When refinished a bit, it will be a head-turner.


Tomas Lahi just added this beauty to his gun safe and will take her to Zimbabwe in April of 2012 for a tusker. A Charles Lancaster .450-400 3 1/4".

A new addition to the gun safe of Cal Pappas: John Graham (Scotland) .450 black powder express, ok bores, 28" barrels, lever forend, sling, Jones underlever, peninsula locks, horn butt plate. The rifle has been used but not abused and the best feature of all is accuracy--1 1/2" groups at 40 yards. 


Paul Smith, a viewer from Alabama, just purchased a fine .500 Jeffery from George Caswell at Champlin Arms. Here is the description to go with the two photos below:#15380,  W.J. Jeffery & Co., 13 King Street, St. James's St. London S. W.: A Heavy Duty  500 3" Nitro Express, It was built around a Large Toplever Action with Rebounding Hammers, It is with 24" extractor chopper lump barrels with rib extension crossbolt, 1/4 rib with 1 standing & 4 folding express sights, Original Nitro Proof at 80 cordite & 570 grain bullet, Bushed strikers, Percussion style fences, Anson forend release, Steel grip cap, Sling eyes, No cheekpiece, 14 1/2" LOP over a checkered butt with steel heel & toe plates, The proper and correct 500 Nitro Big Bore weight of 12 lbs. 10 oz., No engraving, The barrels have been reblacked & now are at 98%, No case colors as the frame & lockplates were wire brushed, The trigger guard & tang were reblacked as well, Very solid wood that remains stout both fore and aft, The wood was reoiled and the checkering sharpened up, The good news on this piece is the bores as they are excellent with square rifling the entire way and totally free of any pits. This is a solid working hammer 500 nitro with proper weight to go the distance.

Thanks, Paul, and I'll be waiting for some trophy photos!


Tomas Lahi sent this photo of a BRNO .375 sidelock over and under double belonging to a friend.


Dennis Jones of Oregon sent in photos of a pair of fine doubles he owns. Top photo is a Cogswell and Harrison .577 2 3/4" bpe double completed on 11-16-1882. Captain J. Ewing did not pick up the rifle as planned so it sat for a few years until purchased by a surgeon, E.H. Fenn, who paid 28 guineas. Below the .577 is a Thomas Turner .500-450. This rifle came out of India with shot-out barrels so Dennis made up an identical set of barrels. Two beautiful rifles. Thanks, Dennis.


John Shirley, at Unit 7 Gunsmith House, Price Street, Birmingham, B4 6TZ is a maker of fine double rifles. Here is a photo of some of his work in progress.


David Antanitus (Rear Admiral USN, Ret.) send in a couple of photos of his .470 Searcy. Dave's is one of only two that Butch Searcy personally signed! No doubt, Butch produces a fine rifle!


David Antanitus (l) and Ken Williams in Chewore South in 2010 with their Searcy .470 doubles. Great sign!! Below is David's .500 Searcy deluxe.


Patrick Tinsley sent in these photos of his Thomas Bland .500 black powder express. The rifle has 28-inch barrels and weighs 12 pounds--a bit heavier than the standard .500 bpe. I appreciate all contributions and would like a thousand double on this page if possible. Thanks, Pat.


Robert Rose e-mailed this photo of his Gibbs .450 3 1/4" What a treasure!