Sunday, September 4, 2016

Army and Navy .577-450 bpe

Gents:
A friend sent pics of an fantastic A&N double in a fairly rare caliber (for a double) .577-450. I don't have any specifications, but here are a few photos.






Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2016 caribou with H&H .450-400 and a .350 Remington Magnum (yes a single barrel)

Double Rifle Caribou, August 29, 2017
Cal Pappas

KC Kaltenborn, MD (my endocrinologist), and I were dropped of to hunt caribou about a half-hour flight from Talkeetna on the 28th of August. A big bull was at the shore when our float plane touched down on a cloudless and warm fall day in Alaska. We didn't see any animals on the flight out and after this bull ran off we didn't see any for several hours due to the heat of the day. About half-four to five pm the caribou started appearing on the hills to the east and south and west of camp. A few average bulls and females, nothing really spectacular but our hopes were high for tomorrow (the first legal day to hunt).

Before sun up, at first light we were out of our tents and glassing. The hills to the east were in shadows but we could see four bulls feeding between 1/4 and 1/2 mile away. Three were average and one was outstanding. I mean high, wide, and lots of long points. KC is a meat hunter with no interest in trophies and says younger animals and females fast better. With that I mentioned I was off for the big fella. I was carrying my Harrison and Hussey double rifle, box lock ejector, made in 1920. It was owned by Douglas Jardine (google him). He was the captain of the English cricket team in the 1930s, and was responsible for defeating the Australian championship team with an unethical (but then not illegal) body line tactic. Jardine was the most hated man in Australia at the time. The rifle sports a Swarovski 1.25-4x scope, and is cased in oak and leather.

Before sun rise, the big bull.


As I was gathering my rifle and other items the big bull moved to my left behind some alders and out of sight. I moved into a draw to my left hoping to ambush him on the other side of the alders some way off. I made it to the area I expected to see the bull, was quiet, the wind was in my favor, and I waited a bit. Moving on the bull appeared and saw me as soon as I saw him. He turned to run and I fired the left barrel and took him just behind the shoulder with a lung shot. The 400-grain Woodleigh soft nose entered his left side at 80 yards about a 20+ degree uphill shot, and exited his right side just under the spine. He ran 20 yards and fell. Upon approaching him I realized in my haste to shoot he was one of the average bulls and not the big bull I was after. As I was finished cleaning the caribou and taking the last load of meat to camp with KC I noticed the big bull high on a rocky hill to the south feeding peacefully. After a short while he moved over the horizon and was out of sight. Damn!

In haste to shoot, I took a smaller bull with the .450-400.


In camp for six hours and no caribou movement with the hot and sunny day. Unusual for Alaska in August. At 4:40 KC called me from my tent that he saw a bull on the hill to the south. I glassed and it was the same big bull. I took my pack with some water, knives, sharpening stone, and bone saw. KC took his pack with meat sacks, food, water, and his rifle. The question was how to maneuver for  a shot as it was uphill, lots of alders in a valley between us and the bull but it was now or never and we were off. I'm 61 old and slow and KC is 62 and a trim marathon runner. He was using an extra rifle I have: a Remington model 600 from 1967 with an 18-inch barrel and chambered for the .350 magnum cartridge. Not a long range rifle by any stretch of the imagination. It was a rapid uphill hike for 20 minutes to get into position.

We moved up to a valley on the left and the caribou was above us on the right, about 300 yards off, maybe more. We used the alders to our advantage to keep out of sight. KC had to shoot now as to go down into the valley that was choked with thick alders and up the far side the caribou would be completely out of sight and could possibly be aware of our approach. KC settled in for a long shot with his bipod down. First shot was a hit but not fatal. The bull did not move as he did not know where the danger was coming from. Second shot was a miss and the bull actually walked 50 yards in our direction. Third shot dropped the bull. It took 10-15 minutes to make our way to the bull. A long shot with a .300 Weatherby but a near impossible shot with the short .350 RM. Scope was a Leopold 1.5-5x.

KC (a great doc and friend) with his bug bull and the .350 Model 600.

KC shot from the alders on the knoll to the left and the bull was on the hill under the top rocks to the right.



A magnificent animal, blue sky, wind so no bugs, and McKinley as clear as could be. We took down one load of meat that evening and the second the next am, called for a flight out, and were home that afternoon. Doesn't get any better! KC is still not a trophy hunter so I will hang his antlers in my home after a European mount is complete. Most of the velvet was naturally gone. If I was not able to get the big bull, I'm pleased KC did.

McKinley was out with 100% blue sky.


A last note on our pilot. Dave Hicks is an excellent pilot--safe, honest, and ethical. KC and I met up with Dave for the flight in an unusual way. The flight service we planned to use stopped flying hunters earlier this year but was still taking (non refundable) deposits, keeping the money, and farming their hunts out to other pilots: in our case, it was Dave. Not the best way to do business in my opinion. Dave's company is N2Alaska. His contacts are: 907-616-1010 (phone), fly@n2alaska.com (email), and wwwn2alaska.com (web site). Dave can fly you hunting, fishing, flight seeing, and drop you off at his remote cabin for a wilderness experience. His wife, Peggy, is a retired teacher (as am I) and substitutes at the Talkeetna school (as do I) and their two great kids are in the local high school. KC and I will fly with Dave next year and he comes to you gents with our highest recommendation.

David Hicks' Cessna 185 with the antlers.


Thanks for reading this.
Cal 

PS. You can read a few pages back on my experience with a flight service in the arctic and that is the reason I now hunt closer to home. ANWR hunts in the arctic are getting expensive--$3000 per person and the flight may be as short as 15 minutes. Closer to home is now the way to go for me. The area KC and I hunted in is open only to Alaska residents but for you out-of-staters you can contact myself or Dave Hicks and get information on hunting moose, caribou, black bear, and wolf in close by areas open to all. Cheers.





Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Turner double rifle

Thomas Turner made some fine doubles although I have seen only a few in 25 years. A gent from overseas sent these two pics of his Turner in .577-500 magnum 3 1/8". This rifle shoots 6 drams and a 440-grain bullet and is cased with its original mould.



Joseph Lang 10-bore

A second double rifle has just arrived: a Joseph Lang 10-bore from 1863. She rests in her original case (inside has been refurbished). Specs are 10-bore of .775"., 28-inch barrels, sights a 50-100-150 yards, all three sight leaves folding as she is a ball and shot gun--a smooth bore. The bores are excellent plus, steel butt plate, checkering is worn from 150 years of use, wedge for end fastener, non rebounding hammers.

Baker 12-bore

This fine Baker 12-bore double rifle has entered my gun safe just prior to my Zimbabwe trip. Specs are 26-inch barrels, rebounding hammers, case colored, steel butt plate, excellent bores, three leaf rear sight, excellent condition in and out, cheekpiece, and VERY accurate.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Waterbuck 0, .600 Wilkes 1

A wonderful Zimbabwe waterbuck taken outside of Gwanda in Zimbabwe. Cal's rifle is a 1914 John Wilkes .600 nitro express, firing a 900-grain bullet at 1900 fps. Range was 65 yards. One shot kill (if course).

Update August 1, 2016

Gents:
A good summer to all of you.
Just returned two days ago from Zimbabwe. First off, let me say the country is safe and peaceful. No problems anywhere and food and fuel are plentiful. Police road blocks are passed through quickly and politely.

I visited with Ant Williams of the African Hunter magazine. It is the best there is and I would encourage all to subscribe. The AH has gone through a major makeover--double the previous size as to page count and all glossy paper.  Also visited with the Whitehead family in Chiredzi. Greatest people on earth, Gerry and Rose, but such a shame they lost their ranch in the land takeover 15 years ago.  Then four wonderful days on a tobacco farm east of Harare with Peiter and Christelle Pasques. Lifelong friends with a great family of two beautiful daughters.

However, I was there to hunt elephant with my .600 with PH Wayne van der Berghe. Great guy and PH. The elephant had moved out of the area so we spent some time looking for plains game. My best trophy was the waterbuck pictured below. A vintage .600 is not a plains game rifle by any standard but it is great fun to shoot and take game but not much fun any longer to carry it!

August 13 is the next Alaska double rifle shoot and all are welcome. 10am at the Birchwood range.

Forgot to mention, I saw two wonderful doubles whilst in Zim--a .450-400 double rifle and a 12-bore shotgun by Westley Richards. Both are well-worn from decades of use in the Zim bush but I will work to obtain them as they have a wonderful history of Zim written in each scratch and point of wear.

Off for caribou the end of August and for elk in Idaho the second week of October.
Cheers, all.
Cal


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tim's bear

A mate from the lower 48, Tim F. was hunting in Manitoba with a .470 double rifle. The owner of a lodge asked him to rid the camp of a bear that was breaking into cabins. Tim agreed and the bear dropped quickly to a 320 grain bullet propelled by 103 grains of 4831. Tim is finding, as am I, that this one load regulation has been a bit over stated throughout the decades. While not every load will shoot well in a double, certainly more that one will shoot accurately. Tim's bear was taken at 22 paces but his rifle shoot well beyond that.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Krieghoff double

A follower of my site sent in this pic of his unique Krieghoff double rifle. Three barrel set: .470, .375, .30-06 and scopes for the .375 and '06 barrels. A very well done set and one is capable of worldwide hunting with this set. One or two sets of 20 bore shotgun barrels would be a fine addition to use the action for some wing shooting. Thanks for the submission!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Westley Richards .500 NE double for sale

Gents:
A mate from Accurate Reloading has notified me he has a .500 Nitro Express by the famous Westley Richards for sale. It is priced very well for a nitro rifle as it has the exposed hammers and under lever action. Many feel the hammers and under levers were out of vogue when hammerless designs came into being. Well, that's not really so. Hammerless designs were developed in the 1880s and hammer rifles and shotguns were popular for the next 20+ years. Why? Folks liked the old style and the hammer rifles are 100% silent to reload. The ledgers of the London and Birmingham makers show many orders for hammer rifles and shotguns well into the hammerless era. Anyway, this rifle has been refurbished, shoots very well, and comes with dies and brass. For 14,000$, one can't go wrong with a vintage double, from a famous maker, and in a full nitro express cartridge. The .500 nitro is perhaps the most sought after double today for big game hunting but many shy away from one due to the excessive price. Now, I have no stake in this sale but can recommend this rifle long before you shell out the same money for a modern European double, or 1/3 this amount on a Sabatti, or 1/10th this amount on a Baikal in .45-70. If you want more info, email me and I will put you in contact with the owner as well as email you more photos. This would make a fine piece for your next African hunt or, if you are a PH, a classy vintage double from WR in an excellent caliber.
Cheers,
Cal



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

One Huge Brown Bear

Will Gay, a good mate here in Alaska, shot this world record brown bear with a .450 no2 double rifle. You can see this bear in the Anchorage airport. Will has a few fine doubles he has shared with me but to take a huge bear with a vintage hammer and under lever doubles---well---it just does not get any better!



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Steven Howell's double rifle. Read and learn--as did I.

This story is too fascinating for me to tell it. Let Steve tell it in his own words:

Cal;

Sure, you can put the photos on your site.  I took a series of photos during the building of the rifle barrels as I had never built a shoe lump set of barrels before and if you like I can send you several e-mails with photos attached and you can decide what you want to use.  I am not certain that any other person in the USA has attempted to build a set of DR barrels on the shoe lump method.  It was a significant emotional event for me to tackle this and set me back 3-4 months on schedule as I had to teach myself how to build these and correct the errors till I was able to make a shoe lump perfectly.

The DR weights 7 lbs 15 ounces without the ribs.  The barrels are 22 1/2" in length and I spent weeks in getting them balanced and to the light profile I wanted.  The barrels together with the lumps, fore-end loop and muzzle collar weight 4lbs 4 ounces.  I started with two barrel blanks that weighed 5 lbs each, and the shoe lump began as a 2" diameter round bar of 4140 alloy steel 2 1/2" long weighing 2 lbs.  After machining, the lump weighed 4 ounces requiring several days of work.   I plan on the DR weighing in with scope, Talley QD rings, ribs, ramps and so forth at 9lbs.  The barrels are 4140 alloy steel as well with .367/.377" bore/groove diameter.

The cartridge is near the standard .38-55 size and wall thickness, except that the cartridge length is 2.125" versus about 2.080" of most .38-55 cartridges manufactured today.  M.L. McPherson, a sporting firearms author and sportsman and I suppose ballistics expert developed this longer  case for better accuracy a few years back.  Due to the extra length and therefore propellant capacity, the cartridge case can be loaded to meet the ballistics of the .375 Winchester with only 38,000 or so psi chamber pressure, versus the 52,000 psi chamber pressure of the .375 Winchester round (brought to the market by Winchester in the late 1970's).  To my mind this makes a wonderful cartridge for a light DR, because the cartridge can be handloaded  to take all the large non-dangerous game in North America; and it can be loaded with pointed or round tip bullets since it is used in a DR.  The .38-55 is one of those "sleeper" cartridges that can be loaded to equal the original  circa 1890 H&H  2 1/2" flanged nitro express that even took elephants before the real cartridges were developed by the Brits.  I would not want to try them on elephants.  The loading of such heavy loads in the .38-55 cases is the reason my rifle has a bit over 1 inch diameter barrels at the breech end.  The recoil on this rifle so far is about like my 1954 M/S .270.

Attached are a couple more photos of starting the machining process as well as a link to Verney-Carron video showing how they make shoe lump barrels.  The youtube video is in French, but you will have no trouble knowing what is happening.  Pay close attention to the brazing of the barrels to the shoe lump as this is how I did my DR as well.

Good shooting on your turkey hunt,  I may go later on this week myself, 15 minutes away to my daughters farm.

Thank you for your interest in my work.  Also, since I retired 8 years ago I have learned to engrave and I will later engrave the DR.  I will attache a photo of some of the engraving on the first DR I built.  Turnbull did the case coloring for me.

Steve Howell

On 4/12/2016 11:28 AM, cal pappas wrote:
Thanks for the email Stephen. I'm impress with your work (I don't even turn a screw on my doubles I have so little skill).
From the barrel thickness at the breach I'm curious about the weight. Of course no recoil will be felt. Is the cartridge the standard .38-55 WCF, or close to it?
I'm in the states to hunt turkey and will be home in early May. Can I put your pics on my website?
Cheers, and thanks again.
Cal
On Apr 12, 2016, at 7:20 AM, Stephen & Yvonne Howell wrote:








Cal;

Last year I decided to build another DR for myself and that this one would be a .375 2 1/2" flanged NE.   However, after looking a ballistics and the availability of 2 1/2" flanged cases, I decided to build a rifle in .375 that I could load to same or similar ballistics to the 2 1/2" flanged NE.

The cartridge is the 2 1/8" .38-55 McPherson with new cases being made by Star and chamber reamers by Pacific.  Buffalo Bore already makes a 255 gr Heavy .38-55 with velocity of 1950 fps.  Hawk Bullets of Salem, NJ  have made some custom order .375" 250 gr Round Tip bullets to my specification for this DR, which have only a 0.025" thick soft copper jacket.  This should cease the problem that .375 shooters have with poor to no expansion of bullets under 2,200 fps velocity.

I also decided to build the barrels using the dog lump process famed by Heym and Verney-Carron and to also build the lumps where the face of the rear lump will lock up tightly against it's mating surface of the action ( the "draw") and remove the pressure from the hinge pin (about 0.003") during firing.  I have done all this and the rifle works very well and more importantly shoots very well in the preliminary regulation.  I am in the process of fitting the ribs and quarter ribs as well as the sights and ramp.

I hope to have the DR ready by end of this month to start the engraving.

Here are some photos that I thought you would have interest in seeing of the DR as well as my shop.  I am retired from the heavy engineering and construction business (Fluor Corp), having lived and worked in South Africa and the UK.

cal pappas
pappas@mtaonline.net

HC 89 Box 397
Willow Alaska 99688
USA

calpappas.com
the best in double rifles and African hunting





Monday, May 9, 2016

May 7 update and double shoot

Gents:
Not much to write about until now as I've been building an addition on the my house for my mother to move in as she is getting up in years a bit. In April I drove to the People's Socialist Republic of Taxachusetts to bring her and her belongings back to AK towing a horse trailer. Made it back a few days before the May 7 AK double shoot. Please look to the Double Rifle pages to see pics of the rifles at the shoot. Great fun.

On the way down I stopped in Kansas to hunt turkey with some good friends but it was a bit early in the season and the males were not coming to the calls. Oh well, next year.

I may be getting some black powder express doubles in this summer so if you are in the market for anything, let me know. Should be 12-bore rifle, .577-500--both the magnum and no2, .500 and 450 bpe.

In July I'm off to Zimbabwe with a mate from Anchorage. He is after plains game for his first safari and I will seek bull elephant and plains game with my beloved .600 Wilkes. I will keep you updated.

Last of all, check out the new posts of double rifles added to the page of the same title. Outstanding rifles, all.
Until next time.
Cheers,
Cal
PS. Also, the African Hunter magazine has gone through a complete makeover and is a sight to behold.  If you don't subscribe already, please do so and show support for this, the finest of all African magazines.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Alaska double rifle shoot,May 7, 2016.

Here are a few photos of the rifles at our latest double shoot.
Good weather, good food, good friends, great rifles. All make a super day.

Hank's 500 nitro

Hank's 8-bore

I forgot the caliber of Hank's fine single shot

Cal brought 10 doubles, from left: 4-bore Hughes, 8-bore Locke, .500 ne Watson, 12-bore Whistler, .600 Wilkes, .450-400 Harrison and Hussey, .450 no2 Lang, .350 no2 Rigby, .450 Rielly bpe, .500 no2 Gye and Moncrief with 12-bore barrels, too.

Dave's 8-bore Westley Richards is the only muzzle rifled 8 WR made (Paradox style)

Dave's fine .577 ne Westley

Ron's .303, .577 nitro, .577 light nitro

Ron's .577 ne, .577 light niter, .375 flanged


Rob's 8-bore and 10-bore and young Daniel's BB double

Rob's .577 Howdah

Rob's Thompson, 4-bore single, and ??

We won't mention this one

Some of Rob's toys

Cal's ammo, 4-bore, 8-bore, and .500 Watson Brothers once owned by Jack Lott


Cogswell and Harrison--forgot the caliber (damn)

A follower of my site sent in these two pics of his Cogswell double rifle. I lost the original email and can't remember the caliber. My error.

.577-500 magnum 3 1/8" case

A gent down under send these a pic of his Jeffery .577-500 magnum bpe. 26-inch barrels and a good shooter. This rifle is for sale so contact me if you are interested and I will put you in contact. The second rifle is a Lancaster .400-350.

10-bore Greener

Jim Johnson picked up this Greener 10-bore for his first double. Stunning wood.