As rare as the sighting of a decent Bongo in the Central African Republic, so goes finding a truly affordable side-by-side or double rifle. And when I talk about a double rifle, I’m not referring to the ones imported through Baikal in ’06 or .45/70. I’m referring to the classic cartridges. Whether it’s a European metric starting in 9.3 mm, or a classic big bore like .500NE. I know where my preferences lie . . .
In the last installment, during the Safari Club International convention, we checked out the Blaser S2 Luxus, priced about like a used Lexus. In this installment, we’ll look at a Merkel in .470NE. Ahh, a classic. I just love big bore rifles. And if they have scroll work or engraving? Ohhhhh…
The fit between wood and metal is perfect. The hand cut checkering? Beautiful.
Note the cross bolt sticking out to the left. As soon as the action closes, that moves right. It was so flush, it was difficult to tell it was there.
Wow. OK, so this is a higher grade Merkel. It retails for a bit over $14,000. Used, I have seen them on Gun Broker for around $8,000. But if you want pristine beauty, you will want to pay the price.
The nice thing about engraved screws is that you know exactly where they turn to if one comes loose…
The Trijicon on this beauty was a really nice touch. Getting on target fast in an “uh oh” moment can mean the difference between a harvested trophy or a really bad day. This model also has selective ejectors. I liked that.
Still a little too much money? I guess it comes down to wants versus needs. Do I need a dangerous game rifle like this? Not really. Do I want a rifle like this? Oh, heck yeah!
I’ve got a great opportunity for Cape Buffalo this year, and this would be just the ticket. But, I’ll check out an even more affordable double rifle next.