Have you ever looked at your favorite bird pistol and thought, I wish this shotgun was a rifle too? Or maybe after shooting your AR you felt something was missing, like a front mounted sawed-off shotgun.
Combination rifles have always pushed the boundaries of what is practical to carry around the field. They come in many configurations and sport multiple guns in a number of chamberings. They were built in small shops by guild-level craftsmen and mass-produced in factories. Some gunsmiths create them for specific situations while it seems like others make them for just about any situation.
Either way, all combo rifles do the same thing – they let hunters and shooters have their cake and eat it too. Having the right combo gun will allow you to take on different types of game in one outing, like birds and deer, or hopefully give you an edge on the battlefield. We don’t have space to list all the possible barrel combinations and configurations, but here are some of the more notable. Some may seem impractical, but they are all a testament to the extent to which gunmakers will go to turn two guns into one.
1. LeMat Revolver
If you had fought in the Civil War from start to finish, you would have witnessed one of the fastest advancements in military small arms ever. You would have gone into battle on day one with a musket and been shot at by levers, revolvers, and one of the first machine guns. Just about anything weapon designers could imagine was tested in real time, on the battlefield. But few Civil War gun inventions are as cool as the LeMat revolver.
The LeMat was invented by Jean Alexander LeMat of New Orleans and used primarily by the Confederacy. This is a nine shot .42 caliber muzzle loading revolver with an 18 caliber shotgun barrel mounted under the barrel in front of the barrel centerline. The pistol was designed for cavalry troops, and the shotgun part was intended for use as a miniature submachine gun on fast moving targets.
A LaMat worn by Confederate General PGT Beauregard sold for $ 224,000 at auction in 2016. Before the war, he wanted the design made for the US military. After attacking Fort Sumter, he was probably glad it didn’t. Most recently, Ed Harris used a Hollywood version of the LeMat to terrorize humanoid robots from the HBO Westworld series. About 3000 LeMats were made in the 1800s, and you can pick up a file.Pietta 44/20 caliber reproduction for just over $ 1000.
2. Wild model 24
Unlike the complicated hand-built European combination weapons, the Model 24 is a hunting tool designed for the masses. But the Model 24 is by no means a poor quality pistol. With a rifle barrel for long shots and a shotgun for anything that runs, jumps or flies, the Models 24 were designed for just about any gun-related task in the woods.
Before Savage began manufacturing the pistol in 1950, Stevens sold it under the model name .22-410. During World War II, the US Army Air Corps ordered more than 22,000 .22-410 models at $ 10.62 each to serve as a survival pistol for the crew. Military weapons were stored in an early version of plastic called Tennit, which would tend to break. Savage discontinued the Model 24 in 2010 and small game hunters who had experience with it were sad to see it go.
The Model 24 is a station wagon with an exposed hammer and a single trigger. A selector on the receiver can be used to move a transfer bar and switch between barrels on the fly. Its most popular configuration is .22LR on .410. But over the years it has also been chambered in a variety of cartridges including .22 WMR, .22 Hornet, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .30-30 Win, .357 Magnum, and .357 Max for the rifle. ; and .410, 20 gauge and 12 gauge for the shotgun. Used 24 models are quite affordable, but their owners don’t usually part with them lightly. If you find one in an armory, buy it.
3. M30 Luftwaffe Survival Pistol
The M30 is an extravagant gun on its own, but when placed alongside other crew survival guns it really shines. This is best illustrated by a comparison:
The American M6 Survival Pistol did not take off during WWII, but it is an example of a typical pilot’s survival pistol. Constructed of stamped sheet metal, it could fire .22 Hornets and .410s and holds a handful of shells in the butt to bag small game. The M30, meanwhile, was intended for a full-fledged safari. This is a drill, with the prefix dri meaning three (drei) in German, which means that the weapon has three barrels: two 12 caliber barrels on a 9.3x74r rifled barrel, which is comparable to the .375 Nitro Express. The guns were built by Sauer & Sohn in the gunmaking town of Suhl where they were engraved, case hardened, stored in walnut, covered with swastikas, and packaged in a handy aluminum travel case with plenty of ammunition.
The M30 drill saw action primarily in Africa, where one could claim a shotgun of its caliber. But most of the game that requires a 9.3x74r lives in Central and Southern Africa, and the Nazi aviators were fighting in the north. The rest is a bit of a mystery. Some believe the weapon was the product of cronyism on the part of General Goering, who was the leader of the Luftwaffe and the hunting master of Nazi Germany. Whatever the reason for such a luxurious survival gun, it didn’t last long. Around 4,000 M30s were ordered from Sauer & Sohn, but only around 2,500 were delivered before someone figured out the numbers and shut down the project.
The most interesting thing about the Luftwaffe drill is that when you turn the rear tang selector switch to fire the rifle barrel, a small rear sight automatically rises from the rib, turning your front heel into a sight. . The left barrel was also set to fire a bullet at the same point of impact as the rifle barrel, and the Airmen were given 20 Brennake bullets in their kit. Had they gone further south, the downed Luftwaffe pilots might have enjoyed a hunter’s paradise, but in the sandy deserts of the north they would have been hungry.
3. Peter Hofer Jagdwaffen Autumn
A drill is a three-barrel combined rifle, a four-barrel vierling, and a five-barrel funfling. Peter Hofer from Ferlach, Austria makes them all, plus just about any other gun, trigger, and steel setup you can imagine. If you’re willing to fork out the kind of cash to afford one of Hofer’s weapons, this is the kind of variety you should expect.
Hofer combines engineering, artistry and a mind-blowing level of craftsmanship to build combination weapons. Rather than just stacking gun barrels on top of each other, her shop finds interesting ways to integrate them with each other. A good example of this is one of Hofer’s boreholes called the Autumn. It’s a side-by-side shotgun with a .17 Hornet barrel hidden in the rib. Most drill holes get big or go home, inevitably adding weight to the gun. But using such a small rifle barrel, the fall is said to have similar weight and balance to other 12 gauge side-by-side.
There is something devious and almost nasty about the way the Fall Rifled Cannon hides in plain sight. The pistol has two triggers, but the barrels are not fired via a selector like the Luftwaffe drill or the Model 24. Instead, the front trigger fires both shotgun barrels in a right / left sequence while the The rear is a trigger defined for the .17 Frelon.
The big game is a stretch for the fall rifle part, but I imagine it would be at home on a quail hunt that involves a mid-range hare or two. The oil baron or the oligarch who ends up buying it probably wouldn’t be caught dead hunting hares in the desert, but if I had the money to afford one of Hofer’s wells, I like to think that’s exactly what I would do with it.
5. Crye Precision / Vantage Arms SIX12
On its own, the SIX12 is a 12 gauge rotating bullpup shotgun, which is pretty cool on its own. Hit the gun on the front of an AR, and he becomes another animal. The SIX12 debuted in 2014, and it was created by weapons designer Eric Burt. It uses a removable, rotating cylinder that works by pulling the trigger, making the gun completely mechanical. It was designed to be strapped under the front of a gun to shoot locks on doors that don’t want to be opened.
Before options like the SIX12 arrived, those who wanted to open a door with a shotgun had to bring a separate shotgun, open the door, then step aside as their buddies walked through the door firing their rifles. . With a SIX12 / AR-15 combination pistol, a shooter can punch a hole in the door, kick it open, and simply raise their rifle.
For anyone breaking doors for a living (or playing Call of Duty), it may remind you of the Knights Armament Masterkey, which was essentially a short Remington 870 attached to the bottom of an M16. But the SIX12 is more ergonomic and, as the name suggests, keeps six 3-inch 12-gauge cartridges close at hand – three more than a sawn 870.
The SIX12 can also be mounted on a picatinny-rail chassis and used as a stand-alone shotgun without AR. And its barrel can be replaced with a longer one, which makes it very versatile. Vantage Arms, the company that makes the SIX12, also worked with SilencerCo to make a suppressed version, and they even make a wood-fired hunting version of the weapon. A quick look at The Vantage website shows that the SIX12 has not yet been released to the public, but you can sign up to be notified when it is.