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No one needs a tiger gun anymore, but if you did want one, here it is: a Holland and Holland double rifle in .500/.465. There are two gold inlaid tigers cleverly engraved on the rifle as if emerging from the scrollwork on the hand detachable sidelocks. There’s an elephant carrying hunters on the bottom, as well. Interestingly enough, the engraving was done by Eric Gold, an American, which is unusual on H&H firearms.
While it may evoke days of shikar in colonial India, this rifle was made in 1998. It’s another of the guns for sale at next week’s Fall Premiere Auction at Rock Island Arms, which runs from September 7-9, with a preview day on September 6.* The gun weighs about 10 ½ pounds, heavy enough to absorb recoil, but probably light enough to feel like a toothbrush if you ever took it into heavy cover to hunt dangerous game.
The .500/.465 Nitro Express cartridge dates to 1907. It was one of many big-bore cartridges developed to take the place of the popular .450 Nitro Express. The British banned the .450 NE along with all other .450-caliber sporting guns from India and the Sudan, fearing that mutinous native troops armed with the 577/.450 Martini-Henry might pull the bullets from .450-caliber cartridges to reload in empty 577/.450 cases. The .500/.465 fired a 480-grain bullet at 2,150 fps, about the same as the .450 NE.
The rifle comes with a leather case and is expected to fetch somewhere between $150,000 and $220,000. Keep your old gun pictures coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Even if you don’t plan to bid on anything, if you live anywhere near the Rock Island, Illinois, the preview day is well worth attending. There are antique guns, military guns, high-grade guns, rare guns, and lots of regular affordable guns, too. It’s like visiting a great gun museum, except you can touch almost everything.