Double Triggers and Their Use

Mar 03, 2014
I was brought up with double trigger side by side shotguns and was taught to fire front (right barrel) first followed by the rear trigger. Right barrels normally had less choke than the left, if the tighter choke barrel was required first it was selected by simply using the rear trigger, doubling was unheard of.  This was standard practice in the UK.

Moving on to double rifles for dangerous game it follows to use the same instinctive operation.  Front trigger first.  Instead of using the choice of trigger to select the choke, the choice of trigger could be used to select a solid or soft nose bullet if one or each was loaded in each barrel.

I’m not wishing to pick a fight but if you have to pull the rear trigger first to avoid doubling then you are doing something wrong. Maybe a single trigger double rifle for you, although I personally feel that you are loosing some of the benefit of having a double when you opt for a single trigger.

I use a Merkel 140 double in 9.3 x 74R, I purchased her new, I have fired over 800 rds in the last two years, a mixture of reloads and factory and never had her double. This Merkel  is a firm favorite of mine and she will be leaving with me for  another Safari on Saturday.  My rifle was ordered with no set trigger and manual safety as I want to have her as a back up rifle for dangerous game (my first rifle been an old English .470 NE) and I wanted to keep the operation the same as my .470 and simple.  There is no adjustable muzzle device on my Merkel.  I instinctively always fire the front trigger first.  I should also add that I am left handed,  my guns are unaltered and I never have a problem.

I also operate Wolverine Supplies  in Canada, we stock and sell  Merkel double rifles. We have had three reports of customers double rifles (Merkel all .470 NE) doubling. Two operators have had it happen once each, they admit it may have been operator error.  I have asked them to pay particular attention to how they operate their rifles and report back if it happens again.  The third operator had it happen once, he admitted he was using the back trigger first as he had heard that using the back trigger first was the correct way!

Set triggers are normally standard on the smaller calibers double rifle, these are very much a personal previous. Safeties are normally automatic and on a non dangerous game rifle this is fine, unless like me, you prefer to have your personal rifles standardized.

My personal view, which is a strong one, is that on a double rifle intended for dangerous game, the choice of which trigger is pulled first should have absolutely no bearing on the whether the rifle is likely to double or not.  I will only accept 100% reliable operation and with my option of barrel selection. Why anyone would accept anything less for the price is beyond me.  Next week I will be carrying my old.470with a solid in the right barrel and a soft nose in the left whilst I hunt Cape Buffalo, I do this with 100% confidence in my ability with her.

I hope this information is of assistance, but as with any new piece equipment you should give a new double rifle a good work out before you bet your life of its reliable  performance.

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