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While roaming the aisles of the Safari Club International convention, One of my goals was to find affordable classic double rifles. It’s not an easy task and I was trying to find something under $10,000. The Blaser was nice. But the hooded barrels were a turn off and looked to be an impediment to reloading.  After all, one of the purposes of a double is the follow up shot in a that-critter-charging-me-has-to-be-stopped-now moment. It’s also handy for when that trophy doesn’t go down with one shot, you can hit it again without manipulating a bolt or lever . . .

The Merkel was more to my liking, but still a bit pricey when new. Even used they can command close to 10 grand. For affordability, it’s hard to beat the Sabatti. Enter the model 92 Deluxe.

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Sabatti has been in business for a bit over 50 years, so they must be doing something right. This one was chambered in .450-400. It also comes in most of the popular large bore calibers including .500 NE and smaller calibers for those of you not of the “recoil  masochist” persuasion.

I thought the fit and finish of the Sabatti was on par with its more expensive brothers. On this deluxe version, even the lever was an adornment.

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The wood had some beautiful grain to it, and what looked like hand checkering. It also has the three leaf express sights on the quarter rib, for those with younger eyes.

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For those of us with eyes a bit over a half century old, it’s becoming more and more popular to fit these with a miniature red dot sight like this Zeiss.

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For the price point of this rifle, I thought that the “engraving” was very nice remember my comment about knowing when an engraved screw comes loose?).

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There is one identical to this right now for sale on Guns America listed as “used as new.” Price: $4,500. Currently, Cabelas is the sole retailer for Sabatti. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But I couldn’t find one for sale through them. Sold out? In my opinion, that’s an affordable double!

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26 Responses to Finding an Affordable Double Rifle: The Hunt Continues

  1. Dood!?!? For ten grand you can pick up a sweet SMLE, several hundred thousand rds of premium ammo, reloading gear and supplies to last for a couple of decades.

    • This may be true. But a double rifle is designed to kill things that want to kill you. I want a gun that will hit point of aim with both barrels. Baikals do no do this. If one wants to truly play in the double rifle game, one must posess the finances to do so. A CZ safari rifle, or Win Model 70 is a much more affordable option for the rest of us.

      • Hey, hey, hey! Don’t be dissin’ the smelly! It throws a big rock real fast and real hard. 😉

        And yes, I admit my shame, I would love a double barrel rifle chambered in .303Brit.

  2. Cool gun! Although I’d much rather have a “normal” calber like .375 H&H, .416 Rigby, .45-70, or .458 Win Mag. Plus I don’t have $4500 for a gun. That’s half my shooting / hunting budget for a year.

  3. I would unconditionally second the idea that you talk to Jim Clark. When we were in Louisiana filming SHOOTOUT LANE with the Miculeks and the Clarks, I had some time to spend Jim (who’s been my friend for, like, forever) while he was working on one of the double rifles for a customer, so I know what goes not one of his guns. I also put some rounds through his personal double in .405 Winchester…Jim, who is an accomplished international hunter in his own right, made a great case for the .405 as a “do-it-all” caliber, for plains-sized game up to and including buffalo. The ammo is generally available (and at a sane price,compared to my .450/400 Ruger #1) and there are a lot of heavier bullet reloading options. Jim agreed that a perhaps equally good option would be 45/70, which has a lot of factory dangerous game ammo options as well as lighter ammo for practice.

    Jim also built a double rifle in .22 Hornet, which is truly as cute as a button.

    Michael B

    • Got to compete against Jim jr. back in the day. Super nice guy.
      Their rifles look like a good bargain. Bonus is they are in the U.S.!

  4. I certainly wish Zeiss or leupold would make a quality red dot like the one above that had a bit more style to it. I just could not force myself to spend $10,000 on a rifle and then adorn it with the proverbial fly in the soup. I understand that the red dot is extremely quick. But it certainly looks hideous on such a beautiful firearm.

  5. Speaking of SMLE…The current world record for aimed bolt-action fire was set in 1914 by a musketry instructor in the British Army—Sergeant Instructor Snoxall—who placed 38 rounds into a 12-inch-wide (300 mm) target at 300 yards (270 m) in one minute.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee-Enfield

    That’s pretty good shooting I don’t care who you are.

  6. Take an old 20-gauge side by side, shorten the barrel to behind any choke (while leaving it still legal), have a gunsmith install good rifle sights, and you’d have a pretty serviceable short-range double deer gun. You should do it with a 12 gauge too, of course, but if deer hunting with a 20 is legal where you are, this is the more elegant solution.

  7. I’ve been in the gun room at L.L. Bean and they have a few “pre-owned” double rifles and drillings for sale. When I am there, I always take the time to admire them, but I don’t recall prices except that they were beyond my budget. Also the local Cabela’s has a few such firearms in their gun room. You might want to check out your local Cabela’s to see what they have.

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