View Full Version : Double Rifles and Drillings

11-28-2011, 01:56 AM
After you round out your defensive armory, and its time to expand well into the nice to have category, then a Double rifle is an itch thats hard to scratch. Ive wanted a DR for years. It started with my yearnings to safari in Afrika for the Big Five. I tried (and mostly failed) to make due with SxS shotguns and slugs (some will work; but dont count on it). I even tried barrel inserts which "worked" but made for an unnecessarily heavy arrangement.

After wanting a Double Rifle for soooooo long and rationalizing that $10,000 (for starters) wasnt toooooo bad, I found another option. Sabatti is an Italian manufacturer distributed by Cabella's. They make "entry" grade rifles for those of us wishing to get into the DR fraternity. For a mere $3000 you can have a very nice SxS rifle in either 45-70 or 9.3x74R. I chose the 9.3 as Im headed to Afrika next year. 9.3x74R is roughly (but not quite) equivalent to 375H&H (and better suited to DRs because of the rim). Its certainly powerful enough for anything in North America. Sabatti also makes heavy caliber DRs 470Nitro etc for $5000.

If youre sipping brandy with DR snobs, chances are theyll look at your Sabatti like youre driving a Corvette to a Ferrari convention; but youll have $10,000 more for the safari then they do.

There are a couple other alternatives in the DR field. Pedersoli makes a very nice SxS in 45-70 with external hammers. Its a clone of the Colt DR and runs about $4000. Then there are the real base models made by Bakial. After years of waiting the SxS's are finally available and can be found for under $1000. These are field grade guns and just beg to to used even in the worst weather. The price savings is because the barrels are NOT regulated; but instead come with a "jack screw" to permit the user to sight both barrels together. They are available in 45-70 and 30-06. Think of them as the AK of Double Rifles.

Drillings are Three barreled guns. Traditionally they have two shotgun barrels over a rifle barrel; but two rifle barrels and one shotgun barrel arent uncommon anymore. Im not familiar with any bargain Drillings, although "Combo" guns with one rifle and one shotgun barrel in an O/U configuration can be found fairly cheaply; but usually at the cost of quality and fit.


I recently took both my Sabatti and my Bakail 45-70 on Wild Boar hunt. I planned to use the Bakail if the weather was foul; but never got a chance as the rain cleared before we left the lodge. The Sabatti was a dream to carry and shoot. I traditionally carry "Afrikan" style (butt over my shoulder while I hold onto the barrels near the muzzles) when hunting four legged animals. The rifle is regulated for 286gr Hornady factory loads. I spotted a good size Russian Boar and approached to about 20 yards. I had hoped for a charge; but this one squared up to face me while he was accompanied by four or five sows. The front on shot would have been perfect except I was trying for a European mount and didnít want to shatter the skull. I ended up hitting him along the right jaw. The bullet traversed lengthwise and after breaking a couple ribs was recovered just under the skin on the left ham mushroomed but it appears to be intact. The Boar spun around and flopped I moved in to give him another round; but he was dead before I needed to fire.

I couldnt be more pleased with the Sabatti or the 9.3x74R cartridge.

11-28-2011, 02:17 AM
Can those Baikal's handle full-house modern 45-70 loads? I'd heard that was the rifle Remington was selling a while back as their double, and some folks were telling me it was only up to classic black-powder-level loads, but I never managed to track down the truth of it.

11-28-2011, 03:19 AM
I wouldnt try "magnum" loads that would only be safe in something like a Ruger No.1; but I wouldnt worry about a "standard" factory load. To my way of thinking, of course the full house loads are hotter; but the original BP loads seemed to do fine on plenty of Buffalo.

I just shoot regular Remington factory fodder and keep the "magnum" stuff for my No.1. Remember even the 470, 500, 577 and 600 NITRO EXPRESS loads are fairly low pressure. Double Rifles arent intended to be magnums. My Bakail is as yet un-blooded; but I wouldnt hesitate to use it on even Big Brown Bears. The DR gives you the fastest second shot amd if you practice a pretty quick third and fourth.

12-14-2011, 07:57 PM
A good friend of mine has a an elegantly simple double rifle chambered in .303 British. Great Missouri deer rifle for a man of breeding and class. I have always wanted a fine double...

12-14-2011, 10:39 PM
silly side note for those who don't know. "drilling" is simply from the German "dri" meaning "three"

I've a book more like a tomb) on converting old double shotguns to double rifles. a .45-70 has long been on my list of guns to make. Oh for the time to play.

I recall an Italian (Pedersoli?) colt in .45-70 that was around 3K

Cherry's has several Kodiaks.


12-15-2011, 01:15 AM
I wouldnt try "magnum" loads that would only be safe in something like a Ruger No.1; but I wouldnt worry about a "standard" factory load. To my way of thinking, of course the full house loads are hotter; but the original BP loads seemed to do fine on plenty of Buffalo.

I think a double rifle in .45-70 would sell well here in Alaska, but only if it could withstand "Marlin" loads. Those are a step below those for the Rugers and Siamese Mausers, but quite a bit more potent than "standard" SAAMI spec ammo or trapdoor loads.

12-15-2011, 04:45 AM
You make me green. I had put the DR on the burner, now you go and bring it up again. It is certainly a very good tool. I am planning on purchasing a 505 gibbs made by CZ, cheaper than a 500 nitro. But if one can get a 4770 for a good price, it may be worth dropping a little caliper size.

12-15-2011, 02:48 PM
If I was a lot richer I would own a high quality double rifle. Totally unpractical except for certain highly specialized hunts where two shots are needed. For the caliber is not so important as would be having a good example of the finest workmanship. I shudder to think what the price would be for a good example. For this species of gun it is certainly a luxury item and quite suitable for the Warrior Bon Vivant (http://www.warriortalk.com/forumdisplay.php?235-Warrior-Bon-Vivant).