Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Pair of Verney-Carron Doubles

A mate from Zambia, Zaheed Omar,  owns these two fine Verney-Carron doubles. The case colored frame (top photo) is a .450-400 3-inch and below that is a magnificent and mighty .600 nitro express. I hope to hunt with Zaheed in the near future.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cal's new toy: Holland and Holland Royal in .500 bpe

Here are some pics of my new toy. A Holland and Holland Royal back action Royal side lock in caliber .500 3 1/4" black powder express. 26" barrels and made in 1889. It is a transition between the Royal we know today and the first Royals with the stepped side plates (such as the Rigby). The coolest part of the rifle it was owned by Boyd Alexander, a hunter, naturalist, and explorer who wrote a two volume set of his adventures titles, From the Niger to the Nile. He was killed by natives in 1910. The rifle is original except the scope and mounts were added in the 1920s (approximately). Features are an extended top strap, sights for 150, 200, 250 yards, cheek piece, recoil pad, sling swivels, and an ivory bead night sight. Weight is a bit over 8 pounds--a very trim and petite side lock.

Holland .500 bpe Royal--Cal's new toy.

Here are some pics of my new toy. A Holland and Holland Royal back action side lock in caliber .500 3 1/4" black powder express. 26" barrels and made in 1889. It is a transition between the Royal we know today and the first Royals with the stepped side plates (such as the Rigby). The coolest part of the rifle it was owned by Boyd Alexander, a hunter, naturalist, and explorer who wrote a two volume set of his adventures, titled, From the Niger to the Nile. He was killed by natives in 1910. The rifle is original except the scope and mounts were added in the 1920s (approximately). Features are an extended top strap, sights for 150, 200, 250 yards, cheek piece, recoil pad, sling swivels, and an ivory bead night sight. Weight is a bit over 8 pounds--a very trim and petite side lock.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December 6 update--new double rifle, photos soon

A new double was added to my collection today: a Holland and Holland Royal in .500 3 1/4" black powder express. It is an early Royal begin a transition between the stepped side plates of the first model Royal and the style known today. This is a back action side lock one time called the no2 Royal. The great thing about this fine rifle is it was owned by Boyd Alexander, a hunter, naturalist, and explorer who wrote two books, From the Niger to the Nile, and was speared to death by natives in 1910. I will take some photos tomorrow and post here.
Also, the Double Rifle Primer is selling well and reviews are all positive. I hope you will order one soon and, for those of you who have a copy, thanks for your comments.
Cheers, all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hal Johnson

1159.jpgHal Johnson took these trophies in Mozambique. I was unable to transfer Hal's excellent sable. Look to the double rifle trophies page for more of Hal's safari.

Rifle Appraisal

 I have been asked by many friends and many viewers of this site to appraise their double rifles for insurance purposes. Two samples of my appraisals appear below. One problem that is encountered when obtaining an appraisal for a double is sending the rifle to the appraiser. This can cost up to $100 postage each way and then there is the fee--some charge $200 per rifle. Since I only specialize in double rifles (and have done so for nearly 20 years) by researching them, hunting, load development and shooting, and writing about them, I can give a knowledgeable history and appraisal of them. It is not necessary for your to send your rifle to me. Here is what to do:

First, ask your insurance company if they will accept an appraisal by photos. Many do and I have done appraisals for them. If the company has any questions direct them to this site and they can email or call me. If they agree, then I will need detailed, repeat detailed, threepeat detailed, photos to include the following: with your digital camera on macro, close up pics of the right, left, top, bottom of your rifle. Close up to show all the detail. Pics that show every readable letter and number to include, but not limited to, the serial number, maker's name and address, load data, proof marks--every letter and number. Detail the sights, opening system, forend release, recoil pad, and, if possible, a photo down a clean bore. Also, include the barrel length, weight, any and all specifications you have and any history including details of former owners. The original owner is a premium.

Within a few days I will email or post you my history and appraisal. The fee for this service is $100. I will keep a copy of the appraisal and the photos should I be contacted in case of a loss and claim. All information will be kept confidential--I will not share who owns what with any other.

Please also note my appraisals have a lifetime rewrite guarantee. If you need a change of value or if you find your double was owned by the King of England I will do an update for no charge.

May 24, 2009
Dear ----------:

Thank you for the pleasure of shooting and evaluating your Webley and Scott double rifle, caliber .450 no2, serial number 124xx.

As you may know Webley and Scott stands among England’s finest gun and rifle makers. Wile being best known for their shotguns the firm made many high-quality double and single shot rifles as well as handguns. William Scott founded the company and, as partners were brought into the business and other firms were acquired, several name changes are noted in the records (W&C Scott, Webley and Scott, P. Webley and Sons etc.). The barrel address on your rifle is, “78 Shaftesbury Avenue.” That address was closed in 1921 and the Webley and Scott name was instituted in 1906 so your rifle was manufactured between those years.

The features on your rifle are as follows: 26-inch barrels with a full-length swamped rib, three leaf rear sight, ivory bead front sight with a protective hood and sling attachment, automatic ejectors (a strong plus), “safe” inlaid in gold, two triggers, and the patented Webley action. The stock is of walnut with a cheekpiece, a Silver’s anti-recoil heelplate, and sling attachment. The forend is a semi-beavertail type with a lever release. The safety is non-automatic. (Most rifles of this type had an automatic safety. Your rifle may have had the transfer bar removed as many big-game hunters did not like the automatic feature. This is a simple repair for a qualified gunsmith if you wish to return the safety to the automatic feature.)

The serial numbers match on the rifle and on the barrels and the rifle has the correct proof marks for the caliber.

Each double rifle is unique in itself so there is no set value as each rifle has so many variables to determine an exact value. In today’s market any double rifle is highly sought after and they do not remain long on dealer’s inventory. My estimation of the value of your rifle is between $18,500 and 22,000.

If you wish for a copy of the original factory ledger page for your rifle, contact Mr. Richard Gallyon at 01953-850215

Again, my thanks for letting me evaluate your rifle. If I can be of further service, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Cal Pappas   “The best in double rifles and African hunting”

August 11, 2008


It is indeed a pleasure to evaluate Rodda double rifle number 92xx from the photos you sent and even more so when seeing the rifle in person.

As you may know, R.B. Rodda was a London retailer of firearms and other outdoor gear to India. Rodda purchased finished rifles and resold them at their retail outlets as well as applying their own finish to rifles and shotguns purchased in the 'white'. Rodda was one of the five major retailers in India, the others being Lyon & Lyon, P. Orr and Sons, Walter Locke, and Manton.

Your rifle, caliber .475 3 1/4" nitro express, is a standard rifle sold to big game hunters in India. From the plain finish of your rifle I would guess it went to a military man or modest income who was a big game sportsman during his leave time. The border engraving is quite well done, in standard English style, but not a complete coverage as done on the highly finished arms.

The barrel length of 26 inches is quite standard for the caliber. The three leaf rear sight is set on a quarter rib and the front sight is a bead on ramp. The box lock action sports the standard top lever release and double triggers. The walnut stock is 15 inches to the center of the recoil pad. It is a non-ejector rifle.

As you know, I'm sure, condition is what determines the value of any firearm. The condition of your Rodda is excellent. The blue/blacking is somewhat faded on the action and is quite strong on the barrels. This is common as the steel composition is different between the two parts with barrels holding the original blue/black much longer. The stock finish is original and the checkering sharp. Obviously, this rifle has not been used much considering its age to the early 1900s. (The Rodda records are unavailable for inspection so an exact date of production is impossible to know). Most important is the bore condition and your rifle has excellent plus bores.

Each double rifle is unique do to its individuality--they are not mass production firearms. My estimate of your rifle's worth, if sold on the market today at auction or private sale, would be between $18-22,000 USD.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to inspect and evaluate your .475 Rodda.

Cal Pappas 

African Hunter Magazine

Bore Rifle Articles

Bore Rifle Articles

I Hope you enjoy these nine articles on the biggest shoulder rifles ever made! They are:

Big Bores of the British Empire by Jack Lott. Big-Bore Rifles
Dinosaur Stopper by Jack Weller. Shooting Times, March 1964
8-bore Double Rifle by Jack Lott. Guns and Ammo Annual, 1975
Elephant Stopper Deluxe by Howard French. Guns and Ammo, July 1963
Great Guns by Giles Whittome. Guns and Ammo Annual, 1973
It's a Paradox by Howard French. Guns, February, 1965
Mighty Rifles of the Past by George A. Hoyem. American Rifleman, January 1972
To Down a Mammoth by Harold L. Peterson. Guns and Hunting, July 1965
World's Largest Big Bores by Bob Wallack. Guns and Hunting, October 1966

Of these articles, Jack Lott was the best writer of the bore rifles in the 70s. (Today Ross Seyfried holds that title). George Hoyem has educated all of us with his excellent writings on the rifles, cartridges, and historical data. Howard French was an encyclopedia of big bore knowledge before it was stylish to do so. Again, enjoy!
View all Bore Rifle Articles

Intro to Magazine Articles from the Past

Welcome to the African hunting section of the old magazine articles. As with the old articles on double rifles, these came from the box of cut-outs from James Watts. I saved them for 15 years--not wanting to throw them away--but I knew they had some value to them if only for historical content. In the 1950s and 1960s it was not only the gun magazines that ran articles on African hunting--it was the men's magazines, also. You older guys may remember them--exciting stories about detectives, police work, scantly-clad women--and hunting the big five. The lion articles are here now as are those on the crocs. Rhino will follow then elephant, buffalo, leopard, some good general stories on plains game, etc., and (of course) some Africa stories by the master himself, Elmer Keith. Read and enjoy the stories of Africa that are gone forever. They can't be relived today at any price.

Books by Cal

***************BOOKS BY CAL*******************

The new book is The Double Rifle Primer--how to know and do everything in the world of double rifles.

It is 184 pages, full size, hard cover with dust jacket and thick, glossy paper. The chapters are:

Why a double rifle………………………………...…….7 pages and 6 photos
Double rifle definitions……………….………………43 pages and 77 photos
Double rifle cartridges………………..………...….…8 pages and 27 photos of boxes
Double rifle makers……………………..………...…12 pages and 21 photos of labels
How to buy a double rifle…………………….…….11 pages and 10 photos
How to reload and shoot a double rifle……..28 pages and 29 photos
How to clean and care for a double rifle….…6 pages and 5 photos
Your double rifle………………………………………..19 pages and 11 photos
How to sell a double rifle………………………..….2 pages and 0 photos
Publication on double rifles……………………….10 pages and 0 photos
Where can I get…………………………………....……4 pages and 2 photos
The double rifle today………………………....……15 pages and 39 photos

Ordering details as some special pricing:

Cal Pappas
HC 89 Box 397
Willow AK 99688

phone (evenings Alaska time):


Primer book is 70$ each and 15$ postage to a US address.
However, if three copies are sent to the same US address I will pick up the postage. How's that?

British Bore Rifle is 90$ plus 15 postage to a US address.

The .600 Nitro Express is 70$ plus 15$ postage to a US address.

However, any three copies to the same US address and I will pick up the postage costs.
Also, with any order the .600 book is 1/2 price or 35$.

Checks, money orders, and credit cards are fine.
I am not set up for Paypal.

All books sent via USPS priority mail and insured.
I do not ship media mail.

Foreign orders are approximately as follows:
45$ for medium box--up to three copies
65$ for large box--up to six copies

65$ for medium box--up to three copies
85$ for large box--up to six copies

Call for details as the Bore Rifle book is 400+ pages and the thickness may reduce the number of books to fit in one flat rate box.


Chapter 1. 36 pages of history--users of the bore rifles in the vintage years.
Chapter 2. 21 pages of muzzle loading bore rifles, 14 rifles photographed.
Chapter 3. 37 pages of vintage ammunition, ballistics, reloading tools and moulds.

Chapter 4. 41 pages of 4-bores, 14 4-bores photographed.

Chapter 5. 61 pages of 8-bores, 27 8-bores photographed.
Chapter 6. 22 pages of 10-bores, 10 10-bores photographed.
Chapter 7. 39 pages of 12-bores, 12 12-bores photographed.
Chapter 8. 25 pages of 13-28 bores, 11 rifles photographed.
Chapter 9. 73 pages of the Bore Rifle Today: modern ballistics (11 pages), reloading (13 pages), shooting (10 pages), hunting (14 pages), where can I get...(17 pages), modern history (9 pages).
Chapter 10. 34 pages of modern and non-UK bore rifles, 22 rifles photographed.

The book is 416 pages (nearly 5 pounds!), heavy stock glossy paper, offset printing, full color (except vintage photos and drawings), dust jacket.












Below are a few of the rifles photographed in the .600 Nitro Express. Enjoy them and see many more of the finest rifles in the world in my new book!

Army and Navy .600 with 26-inch barrels and a 100-grain proof.

A rare .600 by Churchill. 26-inch barrels and a 110-grain regulation.

The best rifle Holland and Holland has manufactured. This is the "last .600" from 1975.

The Holland and Holland .600 in the original case with all accessories,

This Jeffery .600 was owned by one of the most famous hunters of them all: the Maharaja or Rewa. Yes, the same gent who had Holland neck down the .600 to accept a .577 bullet.

This Jeffery .600 has 24-inch barrels, is regulated for 100 grains of cordite and weighs 14 pounds.

This Jeffery .600 was found in Kenya in the 1960s. Jeffery made 70 .600s--37 doubles and 33 single shots.

This single shot Lancaster is the most unique and rare .600! Built on a 4-bore frame with a 33-inch barrel, weight of 21 3/4 pounds, a double set trigger, and sights to 700 yards. She may have been used to detonate sea mines in WWI by the Royal Navy.

This Lang .600 has 26-inch barrels, a 110-grain regulation and a good weight of 16 3/4 pounds.

An Osborne .600 hammer, under lever double regulated for the 100-grain charge of cordite. A very light .600 from South Africa.

This deluxe Westley Richards .600 single shot is sighted to an optimistic 700 yards and regulated for a one-of-a-kind charge of 105 grains of cordite.

The only non-English .600 is this masterpiece from St. Entienne, France. Produced about 1909 she weighs a light 13 pounds.

This Wilkes .600 is regulated for 110 grains of cordite but weighs only 12 pounds. Quite a kicker, I bet.

The author's .600 by John Wilkes weighing a good 15 1/2 pounds and regulated for the 110-grain charge of cordite with 26-inch barrels and sighted to 300 yards,

A deluxe .600 by Westley Richards.