Petzal: One More Round of SCI

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to The Gun Nut…here are more noteworthy guns I found at SCI.

Mark Bansner Safari Hunter, .416 Remington: Bansner is known for building slim, trim rifles, and the Safari Hunter, even though chambered for the .375 H&H, .416 Remington, and .458 Lott, is still as slim and trim as a medium-heavy rifle with a drop magazine can be. This gun is built on Bansner's own action which is equipped with a heavy recoil lug and an M-16-type extractor. As Bansner points out, the people who hunt the most dangerous game of all--Army and Marine snipers--do it with push-feed rifles, so spare him the full-length-extractor b.s., please.

This rifle comes with a specially reinforced High Tech DGR fiberglass stock, New England Gun Company iron sights, and a muzzle brake, which you don't want. The Jewell trigger is set at 3 pounds even. Price is a bit over $6,000. Bansnersrifle.com.

Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company RBL Professional 20-gauge Slug Gun:
It is quite possible that Tony Galazan, who runs CSMC, knows more about fine scatterguns (and in particular, how to make them) than anyone in the U.S. This, however, is not a scattergun; it is a 20-gauge double rifle built for sabot slugs, and is a truly nifty piece of machinery. It's built on a round action, has 24-inch barrels THAT YOU CAN REGULATE YOURSELF FOR YOUR OWN BRAND OF SLUGS, a single trigger, auto ejectors, iron sights, and all sorts of options available including fancy wood, straight or pistol grip, single or double triggers, and assisted opening. The base price is $3,995. You can see it at connecticutshotgun.com.

Heym 88B PH .500 Nitro Express: One of the things that I was told in my youth was that double rifles were superior for dangerous-game work because "they handle like shotguns." After swinging a bunch of them over the years, I decided this was a bunch of crap because most shotguns weigh 7 ½ pounds and most double rifle in the major calibers weigh 3 to 5 pounds more and all of that is up front. So imagine my surprise and delight when I hefted this Heym (which weighs about 10.5) and discovered that the sumbitch really does come up to your shoulder like a shotgun.

Heym builds four different side-by double rifles, based on four different frames which are based on the cartridge. The 88B PH is a no-frills boxlock that's chambered for a half-dozen very serious cartridges including the two that make the most sense in a double gun, the .470 Nitro Express and the .500 Nitro Express. It comes with double triggers, including an articulated front trigger, excellent iron sights, intercepting sears, and ejectors, which some people do not like on doubles, but which I do. As for base price, Heym suggests that you contact them directly.

If you feel morose because .500 NE is not enough for you, there is a sidelock 88B called the Jumbo which is chambered for that cartridge and for the .577 and .600 NE. It's considerably heavier than the PH, and does not share its sublime handling qualities. You can see these rifles at HEYMUSA.com.