My Favorite Cartridges for Africa (Part 19)

by david on November 15, 2012

The advantages of a double rifle have been argued over the years; if you ask two different people, you will almost always get two different answers.  The reason most often given is the ability to put two quick shots into something big and nasty before the big and nasty has a chance to have an up-close-and-personal meeting with the shooter.  In my humble opinion, this is a valid argument.  Everyone can pull a trigger twice faster than they can pull the trigger, work the bolt, and pull the trigger again.  The argument comes to a head when you add the recoil factor in.  These guns are short and quick-handling and the recoil tends to take them off-target enough to make a quick, accurate second shot somewhat difficult.  The same thing happens with a bolt rifle, but some claim that working the bolt with the rifle still mounted on your shoulder helps with the speed of the site picture recovery.  I have never shot a double rifle so I can’t say for sure, but I personally think the double would still be quicker.  One last plus for the double rifle is they will not jamb when you go to reload.  Every shooter will have a bolt-action jamb on them sometime.  This is impossible for a double.  There is still room for human error, but mechanically, simpler is definitely better.

            One of my main reasons for wanting one is the pure romance of the gun.  Ask almost anyone who has thought of hunting in Africa what the classic rifle is and the answer will be a double rifle over 80% of the time.  There is also the awe factor when you open up the gun case and there is gorgeous weapon waiting to go to work.  The owner of the rifle would be the envy of the group.  When the large cartridges (larger than your index finger) make a comforting “thunk” as you drop them into the barrels and the action makes a barely audible “click” as you close it, you have to be grinning from ear to ear.  

            Lest I get too far off course, let me get back to the cartridges.  There are many of them but I am going to describe two.  The first is my favorite and the one my double (if and when I get one) will be chambered for, the .470 Nitro.  The second is one of DVD and television fame:  the .600 nitro.

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