Here’s a cool look at hunting Cape Buffalo with a SAFARI IMPERIAL .700 Nitro Express boxlock side-by-side double rifle made by the gunmaker Verney-Carron.
The 700 Nitro Express was created by Holland & Holland in 1988. It shoots a 1,000 gr (65 g) bullet at 2,000 ft/s (610 m/s) and with about 8,900 foot-pounds of muzzle energy . In an 18-pound rifle, this load pushes back with 160 ft·lbf — 10X more recoil than most .308s. Ouch.
Price and quality aren’t always linked together in the gun world. You can pay a lot for a mediocre shotgun, and you can pay a little to get a great double. The little/great scenario is the case with this 12 gauge sidelock side-by-side by Verney-Carron. At just $1,795, it looks like top quality at a rock-bottom price.
Verney-Carron is one of Europe’s oldest gunmakers. Founded in 1820, they’re one of few old-school, Euro makers around today. The reason for this longevity is simple: they make nice guns.
The shotgun pictured here is a true sidelock and it also has ejectors. The 27″ barrels are made of Verney-Carron’s top grade “Acier Diamant” (Diamond Steel), and the shotgun is stocked with a nice piece of walnut. Best of all, it weighs just 6 3/4 lbs – just right for an all around game gun.
So why is it so cheap? In France, shooters know and respect the Verney-Carron name. Over here, that’s not true. And because most guys buy names, shotguns by unknown makers are hard to sell (and cheap to buy).
BTW: check out this video on gunmaking from Verney-Carron. It’s a fascinating look at how much time and skill goes into a quality double-barrel rifle and shotgun.