View Full Version : Combination Guns
03-08-2006, 03:14 PM
I have been visiting some Scandinavian websites devoted to hunting and I note that many of the hunters in the photographs are carrying combination guns, usually a combination rifle and shotgun. These websites are devoted to the breeds of dogs used to hunt the Capercaillie (large turkey sized grouse), so not surprisingly, the rifle calibers appear to be small bore. Do any of you have knowledge and experience with the commercially available combination guns beyond the Savage 24? Thanks.
Yes, both the CZ584 series, the BRNO300 series and the Blaser95BBF.
All good guns, although the BRNO has an odd trigger arrangement.
The Blaser 95 (7x57R/12g) is easily the single most useful gun I own, it covers about 90% of my hunting. Where I hunt, I never know what type of critter I am going to see, it could be a rabbit, fox, gamebirds or deer, and I got tired of always having the wrong gun in my hands. I would have the 270 Win, and see a rabbit or hare, or the 12g and see a deer.
With the choice of a shotgun BBL or a rifle BBL, I can cover anything I am likely to see.
They are not perfect though, you only get one shot of each, so you must pick your shots carefully, and you will have to pass up and you aren't sure of.
But, after 5 years or so, the freezer stays full, and I have still managed to have a lot of fun! Even if I do have to pass up the occasional shot.
Lots of people I hunt with look at the gun funny when it comes out of the case, the first time they see it. No matter, I still have fun, and some of those people now have their own combo guns. They are possibly the best choice for 'mixed bag' hunting.
03-09-2006, 06:25 AM
Europe makes it difficult for its citizens to have guns and getting more than one can be a real problem hence, the combo gun (and the sophisticated adapters that have no restrictions).
The European guns are generally beautifully made, on the heavy side, and very expensive. The shotgun barrels are mostly 12 and 16 ga. the rifle barrels can be any centerfire (usually) or rimfire. I've seen all sorts of combinations, over/under, side by side, side by side barrels with under barrel, and 4 barrel with a rimfire barrel tucked in there.
These included double rifle with shotgun under and double shotgun with rifle under.
Be prepared to spend many thousands, even for a used gun and to carry 8+ pounds.
There are quite a few of these around, a lot were brought home after WWII by GIs. Most of these are European sporting calibers. The Euros also have a thing about military loads in the hands of civilians. (The Euro attitude about these things is a source of constant wonder to me and is one of the reasons I periodically thank my ancestors for having the good sense to leave.)
03-09-2006, 07:07 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Ralph:
(The Euro attitude about these things is a source of constant wonder to me and is one of the reasons I periodically thank my ancestors for having the good sense to leave.) </div></div>amen.
03-09-2006, 01:04 PM
I'd love to have a combination gun; something in a 3" chambered 20Ga and 6.5 x 57R would sure make me happy. But alas, they all seem to cost too darn much and are too heavy. I saw an old beat up German made drilling locally, which I drouled over briefly, a 12 x 12 with a 9.3 x 74R barrel under, only about 1,200 dollars, it wasn't in the shop long before it was gone...Rusty.
Ralph, at 2.5 kg, the Blaser 95 BBF is the lightest centrefire I own. Even my 270 Rem 760 is heavier than that. You are right though, they can be expensive. But at $3200 AUD, when you consider that it replaced 5 guns in my safe, I think it was a bargain. And it solves the problem of having the wrong gun in my hands when I need it.
03-10-2006, 09:38 AM
I have a Valmet .308/.12 it weights 7 lb. 6 oz. and the .308 shoots 1" at 100 yard
-these are about the only quality combos commonly available on the used market as they are discontinued, in Canada the various Brno models are common and good for price
-some Valmet are heavy a friend had a .308/.308 which weighed 10 lbs. the Valmet scope mount itself looks heavy mine, takes any Sako compatible ring, I would weigh any I considered
-you can build up an arsenal on the Valmet with o/u shotgun, combo and double rifle barrels, many are sold with 2-4 barrels and barrels are available on Guns America and between Valmet collectors.
-in bear country this gives you a .308 followed by a .12 Brenneke as fast as you can pull the trigger
-I am currenly looking for a 9.3x74R/.12 ga. double trigger, ejectors, ideally, but any 9.3 combo or double barrel set or complete rifle in 9.3 in Canada or anywhere except the US as the export from there is worse than any firearm regulation we have in Canada
03-10-2006, 10:28 AM
Bonasus, would you mind sharing some of the aforementioned websites?
03-10-2006, 04:48 PM
Lejon, here are some of the websites I have visited. Some have a shadow english site, others are in the original Swedish, Norwegian or Finnish. Those end up like reading Playboy: you just look at the pictures.
<a href="http://www.nsfn.no/klubben/klubben.htm" target="_blank">http://www.nsfn.no/klubben/klubben.htm (http://www.nsfn.no/klubben/klubben.htm)</a>
<a href="http://www.spj.fi/uk/paasivu_uk.htm" target="_blank">http://www.spj.fi/uk/paasivu_uk.htm (http://www.spj.fi/uk/paasivu_uk.htm)</a>
<a href="http://www.svenska-laikaklubben.com/" target="_blank">http://www.svenska-laikaklubben.com/ (http://www.svenska-laikaklubben.com/)</a>
03-11-2006, 01:35 PM
Thanks, Bonasus. Very interesting links. The dogs featured seems like very versatile hunting dogs going after bear, elk, boar and birds. I reckon they could probably team up to pull a sled as well.
Tanana (aka lejon)
03-12-2006, 09:46 AM
Tanana: In some of the scandnavian countries you can't hunt big game with out a dog; their retrival rate is much closer to 100 percent than ours is because of the use of those dogs...Rusty.
03-12-2006, 12:37 PM
An all-around hunting dog like that seems just the kind of company a rambler would want to keep, Rusty. Have you got one of these dogs?
Re: combination guns, I don't believe anyone mentioned the imports from Russia. Check out the Canadian importers website at http://www.baikalcanada.com/rifles_combos.htm. That Blaser 95, incidentally, looks like one sweet piece.
If you can find one of the Baikals in a rimmed cartridge, give it a try, try to steer clear of the ones chambered for rimless cartridges, they have (in the ones I have seen) been nothing but trouble with extraction.
Tanana, the Blaser is a nice gun. Expensive, but very nice!
03-27-2006, 03:58 PM
Do any of you guys remember the end of a bunch of Warner Brothers cartoons where the character, denied something special, would say to the screen: "Well, I can dream can't I?" That's the Blaser 95 for me.
03-27-2006, 08:47 PM
Good one, Bonasus. Out of curiousity, did you rule out the Savage M24 or were you just already familiar with it and not looking for input? It's a gun I've been interested in but don't know much about. Seems like it would be a possible contender.
03-28-2006, 07:37 AM
Tanana: I have had various dogs over the years which were backpacking, fishing and bird hunting companyons but not really bird dogs. My present companyon has become too old to go any longer. You can use a dog for deer hunting in California. The number of dogs allowed for bear hunting is only limited by your pocket book. But in deer season only one dog is allowed whether you are hunting for bear or deer. I have never had a dog I could use for deer hunting since I started hunting 10 years ago.
The Savage 24 is a contender. There is a lighter model available with synthetic stocking and there are ways to make it even lighter than the way they come. But it will never become anything close to a Blaser 95, and that's a pitty. Getting one with a 20 Ga barrel will make for a lighter and better handling Savage Model 24 and still be capable of throwing 1 1/4 oz of shot if that much is needed...Rusty.
03-28-2006, 04:53 PM
Tanana: I have looked at the Savage 24. If I were to decide to go that route, I would look for an older model in .22LR over 20g. As O understand it, the older models can be significantly lighter in weight than the current models. I had the opportunity to handle a new 24 in 12g and found it to be very heavy and clunky. It would not suit me as a rambling firearm. The Blaser is something that would have to wait until after my spawn are done with college (and no 5 year plans either!) Given that my youngest just now turned 8, that will be awhile. In the meantime, I'll take the Ithaca 20g ultralight shotgun, or the CZ .22 and risk cursing that I didn't have the other.
03-28-2006, 06:00 PM
This has come up before on this board but bears repeating in the present context: Springfield Armory's M6 Scout, if you can find a used one as they are no longer being made, would be a much more user friendly small game backpacker friendly arm as it weighs in at about 4 lbs compared to the Savage's 8 lbs.
You are limited to a .410 Ga shot gun barrel and 22 LR or 22 Hornet rifle barrels, but there is a wildcat that uses 9.3 x 74 brass to fire .45 caliber bullets in .410 chambers and also .410 slug loads which could be effective on deer at very modest ranges in this gun.
Look for the thread titled: M6 Survival System back on 3/31/2005 on the Hunting Forum. The gun is kind of cute in a butt ugly sort of way but highly functional or click on the following link:
03-28-2006, 07:20 PM
We also had a lengthy discussion on the M24. The lightest .22/20ga version is the 24-C (Camper) with 20" barrels and a slimmer straight grip stock weighing about 5.5 lbs. Not current but available used.
03-28-2006, 08:25 PM
Bonasus: thanks for your comments. A .22lr/20ga. combo is what I have in mind myself. Too bad the M24 is such a chunker. Guess we'll have to save our pennies.
Rusty: thanks for the reminder. The M6 does deserve another look all things considered. Interesting link. By wildcat, I assume you mean the stock gun gets some sort of chamber modification in order to use the 9.3X74 brass, or?
03-29-2006, 08:11 AM
does anyone have experience shooting the 9.3X74 wildcat out of the M6. i was wandering if the action would be strong enough. if it is that would be one sweet gun. i would even think about starting to reload if i got my hands on one of these guns. i would keep my eyes open for a 22mag or 22hornet. mainly because i am a horsepower junky.
03-29-2006, 09:55 AM
Tanana and 338Fan, no chamber work is required; just fireforming to take the remenent shoulder out of the case after expanding the neck to accept the .45 cal bullets.
The pressures can be kept to 45 Colt and .410 shotgun levels, but this cat was developed for use in 45/410 Contender pistol barrels, where the jump of a 45 caliber bullet in the .410 shotgun shell chamber adversly affects accuracy with the 45 cal bullets.
The problem in using a .45 cal bullet in a M6 is that there is no rifling to stabilize the bullet in flight like there is in a 45/410 Contender barrel, so you you would have to be really close to hit what you were aiming at. The Contender barrels have an add on choke for shotshell use, which must be removed before firing the 45 Colt or the 11.5 x 74 wildcat.
This also introduces the possibility of using a Contender pistol or carbines with the 45/410 barrels as semicombination gun. It wouldn't make a true combination gun because use of the choke would limit the gun to shot shell use only. It might be possible to attain acceptable really short range patterns with out the choke in place. That would have to be tested by patterning to find out.
But a 410 is basically only good out to about 25 yards anyway, and 10 yards might be good enough to harvest a lot of small game in the woods with out a choke in place. Spiraling rifling doesn't help shot patterns any, and the choke has straight groves to stabalize the shot charge before it leaves the gun, so you would have to try it and see what kind of patterns you could get. It might be better than you would think at short ranges.
338FAN, the 22 Hornet can be loaded with 50 Gr and heavier bullets made for higher velocities than the Hornet case can produce for small game hunting to limit distructive expansion on small edible critters. The 35, 40 and 45 Gr Hornet bullets are ment to blow up varmints, so there wouldn't be all that much left to eat if you shot small game with those loads...Rusty.
03-29-2006, 09:37 PM
Rusty: thanks for expanding on the .45 wildcat thing. Never hurts to have options, but your points regarding the general incompatibility of rifling and shot are well taken. We're talking about a .410 slug analog, albeit a reloadable one, are we not?
Ralph: I gather from previous threads that you have an M6 or no? If so, do you like it?
I found a could couple second-hand M6s on gunsamerica for $289 and $395 respectively. A little pricey for such basic affair IMHO. I'm considering it along with the Henry survival rifle or a Ruger Mk II pistol as a pack gun. At 4 lbs I'm not sure the M6 is going to make the cut but having the .410 barrel might be decisive...
03-30-2006, 03:25 AM
To be very honest, for the bulk of hunting here in America combination guns aren't that practical. As a rule when you hunt it isn't a mixed bag. You generally go after one or maybe two big game species i.e. deer and bear. So you hunt them with one rifle such as a 30-06.
In addition, at least here in Massachusetts, when deer hunting that is the only legal game for the two week shotgun season. You can't hunt any other game except waterfowl on the coast. Since a combo gun has a rifle barrel on it, it would'nt be legal in my state for hunting deer. So what do you hunt with it in this state or even in the rest of New England? Again, when one hunts most places it is species specific.
The combo guns were designed for the European style of driven hunt. My father's old friend was stationed in Germany and went through the process of getting his license to hunt. He did participate on a driven hunt once. The way it is conducted , a peice of land is scouted by foresters and they determine what game is to be shot on that particular hunt. The hunters and foresters will post on one side and drivers on the other. He said that on his hunt, they were allowed to shoot roe deer, young wild boar, and hare. So a combo gun where you can shoot big game and small game all in one session is very practical. We don't have that type of hunting here in North America.
I do see a combination gun as being practical for a survival rifle or maybe varmint hunting where you may get a close running shot at a coyote, but that is about it.
03-30-2006, 03:56 AM
Bigbore: the .22/.410 or 20ga combos are useful and practical for small game hunting. You're right about Euro-style hunting but another factor is the Euro penchant for making it difficult to buy a gun. A rimfire/centerfire/shotgun combo counts as one.
Tanana: I do indeed have a .22LR/.410 M-6 I bought new for $225. I suppose there may be some collector interest that explains the higher prices you cite. I like it very much. It's light, compact and accurate at reasonable ranges.
I also have a Henry Survival rifle (AR-7) that, at 2.5 pounds, is about as light as you can get a rifle. Also very accurate.
Because it floats, I generally have the AR-7 in the canoe "just in case," and carry the M-6 during small game season.
03-30-2006, 07:58 AM
The situation here is a little different than Bigbore's but he makes a good point. I am reluctant to compromise my deer hunting posibilities by shooting at quail, grouse and squirrels wile deer hunting. We can also hunt bear during deer season if you get a bear tag. We can also hunt wild pigs on a year around basis, which may be a big consideration where Tanana lives.
For a lot of us, there is a desire to have a gun that we could use for any opportunity which may be presented. I would like to have a light weight combination gun and would probably carry it a lot if I had one during deer season. I have been hunting 10 years nao and have yet to get a deer, but I have had the opportunity to take a lot of quail, grouse, squirrels and a few marmot while deer hunting. I just haven't had a firearm with me that I could harvest deer and birds on the wing, so I would like to be able to do that and I don't think it would compromise my deer hunting all that much to be able to do that.
About the M6s being pricy, its supply and demand. Since they quit making or importing them, that made them automatically more valuable because you can't get them any longer. The stainless steel ones would also command a higher price and are worth considering in my view. You can always paint the gun black if you don't like the light finish; the M6s are pretty utilitarian guns anyway.
Tanana: If you are willing to go to something other than a long gun, there was or is a handgun based on the M6 action being made. It has a 45/410 barrel with rifling in addition to the 22 LR or Hornet options so the 45 Colt can be fired in it. The 11.5 x 74 wildcat would be a good candidate for that pistol. I'm sure they are even more rare than the M6s are, but that might be another posibility for you to look into if you didn't live in California. The 45/410 barrels are considered to be a sawed off shotgun barrel here and are not legal to bring into the state or own.
The Rugger MK II or the AR-7 would probably be the easiest to come by and lightest weight alternatives available to you.
Although limited to one barrel at a time, the New England Firearms Company makes a line of light weight break action rifles and shot guns with interchangeable barrels that are fast handling, reasonably light, accurate, and relatively inexpensive. The barrels have to be fitted at the factory to be changable but they will also do a nice trigger job on any of their arms free of charge, after you have taken delivery, if you request it. There are boards dedicated exclusively to the NEFs which have a dedicated and loyal following on the net. You could probably get one of them and two or three barrels for a lot less than what one good, not great, combination gun will cost...Rusty.
03-30-2006, 10:28 PM
My hypothetical use of a combination gun is as an all-around rambling rifle. Smallbore rifled barrel up top for making hearty, but basically serving-size portions of seasonal meats. Smoothbore down below for less optimal shots at the above as well as being useful as a big bopper up close. Also perhaps for showering the hypothetical intruder with buckshot.
If I've got my bow with then it rides in the pack. If not, it rides in my gunbearer, probably cased.
If I'm hunting big game then I'm doing it with my bow, in all likelyhood, anyway. For me, the combo gun is primarily a small game getter. The shotgun barrel will suffice for larger game as well as for defensive purposes, if necessary, assuming a high degree of shooting discipline.
However, as regards big game hunting with a combination gun, I find the prospect of a 30 cal rifle bore over a 12 shotgun barrel to be a very appealing choice, particularly for eastern conditions. One would have the widest possible array of projectiles from a single weapon. Probably very handy. 30/30 might be fun. Shotgun for those fast shots. Titanium would be welcome. You could ramble anywhere with that setup. You could even lauch a signal flare with it.
Ralph: thanks for your feedback. My current plan is to acquire both when funds are available. The only question is which one first. Nice job on that PALS truck organizer. Very impressive piece of kit. Well done. From time to time I take on a sewing project myself though I must say that my attempts appear rather crude in comparison to yours.
Rusty: I do remember seeing the folding stock version of the M6 to which you refer. I find it intriguing. A combination handgun would certainly be a candidate for my intended purpose.
The Handi-rifles are cool. My interest in them has waxed and waned but the remain an object of curiousity. Unfortunately, to my eye they are just plain wierd looking. Not necessarily in a bad way, but startling. Can't figure out if I like it or not.
03-30-2006, 10:56 PM
The large bore version would be the ticket on a turkey/boar hunt. Of course, I could also do it with the bow...
03-30-2006, 11:06 PM
Rusty: I'd like to hear more about the all-around hunting dog concept. Do think that would be worth starting another thread on?
Rusty and Bigbore, the points you raise about mixed bag hunting are quite valid. But, for the vast majority of my hunting, the combo gun offers the best of both worlds. Additionally, I remain unconvinced about the effect of the noise of gunfire on deer.
Example: during the last year, on numerous occasions, I put up bedded deer after shooting foxes or hares (both of which take priority, if I wish to remain welcome on this particular property!) sometimes within 100m. I should add that this is wooded farmland, with timber plantations on 3 sides, and I typically hunt along the farm fringe.
Perhaps this deer behaviour is peculiar to this type of terrain, where the deer are exposed to the noise of farm machinery and gunfire.
However, since this type of hunting is about 90% of my hunting, this particular combination works for me.
For that once a year trip after big stags in the high country, I usually take my Rem 760 in 270 Win, mostly for the quick follow up shots, and wouldn't think of making undue noise or shooting, execpt for a trophy stag. Perhaps next year, I might try the combo gun on a high country hunt?
JMHO, if what you are doing works for you, then why change it, execpt for the better?
Combo guns will not suit everyone, but they do fill a useful niche in the gunsafe, whether an expensive sporting gun or a more basic survival type of arm. I've got some (Blaser 95, CZ584, and two Savage 24's) of each!
As for the all around hunting dog, you could do worse than a Large Munsterlander. Just don't try to go hunting without it if you do get one.
Mine, as soon as she sees the guncase come out of the safe, doesn't let me out of her sight until we both get in the car to go. Even if it's just to go to the gunshop, she doesn't seem to mind, but if I leave with a guncase and without her, she whines the whole time, and then gives me a dirty look when I get back.
I get the same dirty look if I miss the critter I am shooting at too!
Bloody smart alec dog!
03-31-2006, 03:37 AM
You are right. Those types of firearms aren't for everyone. The regulations here in the US are more complicated from state to state, thus hunting with a combo gun difficult at best. As an example, here in Massachusetts you cannot hunt on a wildlife management area with a rifle during the season when pheasants or quail are stocked. So the combo gun would not be allowed at such a place and about 95% of the pheasants are found at wildlife management areas in the Bay State. Say you wanted to hunt waterfowl here in the US. You cannot have rifled arms while hunting waterfowl.
I can see the point about gunfire and its effect on deer, but I do know that once opening day of shotgun season hits the Bay State, the deer get really jumpy. I do believe that after the shock of thousands of hunters plying the woods and all the shooting deer do get the jitters . I myself don't want to do any excessive shooting during the hunting season.
04-01-2006, 09:33 AM
Doc: My deer hunting gun of choice at present is a single shot pistol, but I would love to have a nice light combination gun. I'm with you 100 percent on this one but being recently retired, I don't know how many more expensive gun purchases I am going to make in my life. But I would really like to have a nice drilling or combination gun and would probably leave the pistol at home a lot if I had one. That kind of versatility is pretty hard to beat.
Tanana: It looks like the 12Ga/30-30 Savage Model 24 would be the gun for you. Eight pounds sounds heavy but it is a lot lighter than carrying a shotgun and a handgun or a rifle and a shotgun. Cheaper too and you have the option of using what ever barrel you may need and you are all set for both big and small game.
The 30-30 becomes a much more effective round in singleshot mode because you can use the higher ballistic coeficient bullets or the new soft rubber tipped factory rounds instead of flat or round nose bullets and factory rounds.
Buck shot is not very effective even at close range, so if you go that route I would do some patterning and penetration tests with before putting all your eggs in that basket for selfdefence...Rusty.
04-01-2006, 06:22 PM
I would like to point out varmint hunting as one area in which a combination gun can serve a unique purpose. Some coyote hunters like the rifle if the coyote hangs up out of shotgun range, and they like the shotgun if the dog comes blasting right in close to your set and offers a moving shot. Squirrel hunting is another activity in which a lightweight combo gun would offer some benefits: use the rifle barrell for a stationary squirrel, the shotgun for a running squirrel. With Fall squirrel and bird seasons overlapping, the occasional grouse might fall to the shotgun tube.
06-02-2006, 09:16 AM
To revive this thread, which deals with one of my major enthusiasms in firearms, I would mention that the CZ company is now importing a fairly decent "bockbuschflinten" in various calibers into North America. I have examined two of these here in gunshops in the G.V.A. and they are a lot of gun for the $$$$$; at present, there is one in 12-9.3x74R for sale in a loacl shop.
With this type of gun, you are better off to go with the 9.3x74R, one of the real gems of hunting cartridge development. Due to barrel diameters and other technical issues, a combo gun with the 9.3 bbl. bore actually weighs less, oftimes and is much better balanced that many guns in smaller bores. The ballistics are just excellent and mine shoots like a target rifle, better than I can hold.
Valmet, Brno/CZ and Winchester O/U combos are available in this chambering and others on both the new and used market, at prices that are affordable by many. Where I live and hunt, big game and grouse seasons are concurrent and I often use my two combo guns to bring home the meat. Actually, for the "rambler" style hunter with his self-contained Kifaru outfit on his back, a good combo gun is about the best possible choice.
My Merkel 96K drilling holds two 9.3-286gr. NPs at 2375 fps-mv and a 2.75" Brenneke slug; all of these can be fired FASTER with a bit of practice that ANY manually operated shoulder firearm that I know of and the effects are considerable. I often carry this when hunting alone for that reason and have lined up on Black Bears at very close ranges in seconds, with every confidence that I could drop them instantly, should I need to.
I really recommend getting a combo gun, if you hunt where this is legal; I would LOVE to have more of them, but, the nicer versions can be a tad $$$$$. Check out the Brno, it is a pretty useful piece. I actually have sold off all my highend shotguns because these combo work so well for grouse, etc.
06-03-2006, 02:28 PM
I too am enthusiastic about the combination guns. I'm a rank newbie in the club, however, as my collection consists of an M6 Scout Gun and a Savage 24C neither of which I have been able to take delivery of yet (#@%*! 10-day waiting period). These will be my bang-around guns and I expect to get plenty of use out of them both. In the meantime, I'm already thinking about a "real" combination gun. Not a fine gun, but a nice one.
I've been following the thread on the 9.3 X 74R with some interest. Looks like a nice round and very appropriate to the combination gun on esthetic grounds.
I'm curious: what was the model and asking price of the CZ piece you recently handled, Kutenay? Also, what does the Merkel 96K weigh, if you don't mind?
06-03-2006, 08:28 PM
I don't know the model designation, it is the latest produced by CZ and does NOT have a third fastener or top lock. The price is about two grand plus Canuck bux and there are two of them here in Vancity, one a 12-9.3x74R at Reliable Gun, an old firm where I have dealt for nearly 40 years and utterly trustworthy; they just D&T'ed my genuine, very pristine Oberndorf sporter in 9.3x62 and put EAWs on it....this is NOT a job I would entrust to most shops as these rifles are extremely rare as factory sporters and quite valuable.
There is another in 12-.30-06 or .308, can't remember, at Royal Sportsman in Burnaby, B.C. These guys also have a Heym Light Express rifle in .375H&H that I almost had heart failure over. I would class the new models by CZ as superior to any of the earlier versions, equal to the current Bernardelli combos, better than the current Zolis and noit quite up to the Valmets, especially the original Finnish production. They are an inexpensive way into a very useful firearm, as are the Valmets.
My Merkel has extensive custom work done on it and is not really typical of production guns with respect to weight, it is about 8.25-8.5 lbs. scoped and this is about right for the 9.3-74R. IF, I were to buy a current "bockbuschflinten", I would buy the Heym 55 over the present Kreighoff and Merkel production. But, these guns cost substantial bux and, although I have an opportunity to buy one at close to dealer cost from a friend in the industry, it is too much money for my tastes.
A vigilant person can find a real deal on this type of gun, if, you know what to look for and are patient. I have passed up a couple of fabulous deals in recent years as I have what I need, but, the "Gun List" can lead you to a prize if you really want it. Big gun shows, on the last day, IF you have cash are also excellent "hunting grounds" and estate sales often produce fine pieces. HTH.
06-04-2006, 11:51 AM
That's good info, thank you. I'm prepared for a patient search.
Right now, the Valmet 412 in 12 gauge/9.3 X 74R is the goal. I saw one on the internet that sold for $995. I'm hoping to get one for around that maybe a little more. I found a number of barrel sets including one .243/.243.
Seems like the Europeans like the shotgun over/rifle under while the Americans like the rifle over/shotgun under. Any idea if this preferrence has a functional implication or is it arbitrary?
06-04-2006, 11:58 AM
With the rifle barrel on top you can put the precision sights right where it counts. On the other hand, I've seen double shotgun barrels with a rifle barrel under and am told they shoot just as accurately - so it's probably arbitrary. Maybe it just what looks best.
06-04-2006, 01:49 PM
The sights have nothing to do with it, both my Browning 7500 O/U in .308-12 and my Merkel in 12x12-9.3x74R shoot sub-moa with the factory irons and with the custom "ghost rings" I have had installed, as well. Actually, the somewhat higher line of sight that results from the sights being on the shot barrels super-imposed on the rifle barrel gives a slightly "flatter" trajectory from a shooting point of view, although it is hardly a concern with a gun of this type.
The REAL issue and a very important one is the stresses placed on the gun when it is fired; the barrel set MUST come off-face at the moment of firing or you could not open the gun at any time. So, in order to prevent excessive opening, possible stretching of the action ( as seen in certain O/U trap gus with 100,000's of rounds through them-one very famous make being notorious for this) AND "loosening of the action requiring expensive "re-jointing"; the higher pressure rifle barrel should be lower in the standing breech and supported by the water table.
I would not own a center-fire combo with a rifle barrel over the shot-tube and all of the quality makers place the barrel set relation as I have described. You also need a "bushed" firing pin in the lower standing breech for high pressure rounds such as my .308; this can be done with "disc'ed strikers" to change into both O/U shottie and O/U rifle barrel-sets from the combo set, but, it is very pricey and not, IMO, worth it.
There are several dealers in the USA that deal in these guns, who are knowledgable AND trustworthy, Champlin Arms is one that has an outstanding and deserved reputation. This is one place I would look as you will not have to worry about buying a "pig in a poke" AND they can adjust, repair and customize combo guns. The Valmet works fine, I had one for years and the low pressure rounds such as the 9.3-74R avoid any of the problems with "coming off the face" that one sees in some combos and shotguns.
Believe me, I used to have a MINT English double, by the famed firm of William Powell & Son. This was a factory 2.75" gun that fitted me like it was "bespoke" and I found it locally for a tiny fraction of it's value. Yahoo....OH YEAH???, the bloody thing was very slightly "off-face" from the factory and it cost mucho $$$$$ before it was trued and tight
Given the absurd price that people will pay for these "fowling pieces", I still doubled my money when selling it, as a favour to a friend who hounded me for it, but, unless you KNOW what you are doing, buy from Champlin's, Puglieses or that type of dealer, it pays in the long run, like dealing with Kifaru. Hope this helps, if you need specific assistance, PM me here or on 24 Hr. and I will get back to you or give you my phone number, but, it may take some days. Cheers.
06-05-2006, 10:31 PM
Again, Kutenay, thanks for the good info. Not the answer I was expecting and to the extent that my technical knowledge allows, I'll buy it. I too thought it had mainly to do with sighting.
Incidentally, while tooling around the net, I discovered that the Valmet 412 is now being made by Marocchi, rechristened the Finnclassic 512:
I also came across a post on another message board regarding a gunsmith specializing in the Valmet 412 who makes custom barrel sets:
I'm glad to hear you had good results with it as it seems to be the best gun in my price range.
Your advice on dealing with a reputable dealer is well taken. Likewise, thank you for your offer of specific assistance. I may take you up on it when I've formulated more specific questions.
I wonder if the old 412 BBL sets can be fitted to the new 412/512? If so, it would increase it's popularity somewhat.
The 412 is (was) a popular choice here in OZ, mostly for fox shooters, or people who only wanted the one gun for everything.
Tanana, good luck in your search, hope it works out for you.
06-18-2006, 07:14 AM
Interesting. I've never owned a centerfire/shotgun combo, so have no experience with high-pressure loads in these guns.
Years ago, when Abercrombie & Fitch had their gun room I handled a variety of combos (it was a great place to browse). Stoeger used to list an Italian? 4-barrel that weighed about 9 lbs. Double shotgun on top (16 ga.), centerfire under, with a .22LR tucked in. Nice piece - and about a years pay at the time.
06-18-2006, 09:09 AM
That type of gun is correctly known as a "Vierling" (for four) and they are quite rare, rather complex and usually too heavy for my tastes. I have seen only two of these in decades of searching out fine guns, both were from Ferlach, the Austrian gunmaking town, where they are still made by Joh.Fanzoj and other pricey makers.
I doubt that the gun was Italian, it was almost certainly a Ferlach piece and Stoeger used to import, as did A&F, many guns from there, in the "good old days". I like the "Bockdrillinge" or three-barreled guns with shotgun, rifle and smallbore barrel and almost scored a Fanjoz in 20-7x65R-.22 Hornet two years ago, but, the "Vierlings" don't do it for me.
The simple rifle/shotgun O/U combo is the most practical type and are one of the best guns for a meathunter/backpacker ever designed. Here, in B.C., one can hunt Elk, Moose, Deer,Sheep,Goats, Bears,Turkeys, Grouse and Ducks and Geese in over-lapping seasons; this makes a gun of this type really useful and my Browning weighs about the same as most of my big game rifles, so, I use it a lot and bring home meat with it.
I wish Ruger would bring out a .356 Win.x 12ga. on the O/U they now build, with quarter rib, front post sight, Recknagel detachable peep as used for their other rifles and their excellent mounting system. This would be a hell of a gun and they should be able to do it under two grand,,with a factory mounted, Leupold made, 3x scope; I think that they would sell a lot of these to average guys who cannot aford the Euro guns due to family duties, etc.
Combo guns were made in the USA and I would like to see this revived.
06-18-2006, 11:47 AM
Thanks, Doc. I haven't found "the gun" yet, but am enjoying the hunt.
Originally posted by Kutenay:
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I wish Ruger would bring out a .356 Win.x 12ga. on the O/U they now build, with quarter rib, front post sight, Recknagel detachable peep as used for their other rifles and their excellent mounting system. This would be a hell of a gun and they should be able to do it under two grand,,with a factory mounted, Leupold made, 3x scope; I think that they would sell a lot of these to average guys who cannot aford the Euro guns due to family duties, etc. </div></div>Amen! Just about exactly what I'm looking for. I could use it for everything from quail to trophy hogs. Would 7 lbs scoped, slung and loaded be too much to ask for?
While I'm wishing, how about a similar rig in .307 win/20 ga? Only this time, let's make it really short and light. Say 18.5 barrels, total weight 6 to 6-1/2 lbs? Could it/should it be done?
06-18-2006, 01:24 PM
It would be too muzzlelight, unless Ti were used for the receiver which would put the price out of reach for most. The .307-.356 Win, cartridges are the best options for this type of gun and the 12 is much better than the 20, while weighing only 1/2 lb. more. A properly dimensioned gun of this type in the above carts. would weigh 75.-8 lbs., all up and that packs very nicely.
Some "drillinge" made for "Forestmeisters" have had short (20") bbls. I have handled a couple and did not care for the balance; a breakaction or dropping block gun can be amde as short as you need with 24" tubes and that is as short as I would go.
I would ONLY buy a combo in 20 if I could not find one in 12 and prefer 16 to 20, as well. My Merkel prints the Brenneke 1oz. slug right with two 286 NPTs at 25M; this hits MUCH harder than any 20 can and is therefore a more versatile choice, IMO.I have a lot of guns, too many, but, for sheer versatility, especially as a meat hunter, nothing beats one of these in 12x9.3 or 12x.308, my two favourite choices.
A Canadian dealer who stocks a lot of these is European Arms of North Vancouver, B.C.; he has Merkel and several other makes on hand and can export to the USA. My best friend and hunting partner, German by birth, works there as a second job (he is a gunaholic as well, a horribly expensive illness) and is about the most honourable man I know. This is one good source for this type of gun, plus high-end shotguns and double rifles.
I guess it's obvious, I can go on about combo guns forever, they are my real love among all guns and I would own dozens if I had a lot of $$$$$$. Try to find a Miroku-Browning 7500, this is the real "sleeper" of these guns and is just a superb piece; not common, but, they are out there.
06-19-2006, 02:41 PM
I have run into a few Antonio Zoli double rifles in Canada but the prices vary between $2000 and $4000 and I cannot find a reference price is US or Canada, anyone with experience with these? Also looking for a 9.3x9.3 or 9.3x.12 barrel for my Valmet.
07-12-2006, 08:38 PM
Tanana, I've owned several of the guns being discussed here in years past. My first was the Savage. I quickly discovered that I did'nt care for it. It was the single selective trigger. It always seemed I had it set for the wrong critter. And even if I had it set right I would catch myself double checking it before shooting. And of course, the shot was gone when I when I looked back up. Double triggers are the way to go in a combo gun. The Valmets I had shot great but the double rifles looked a bit funky with all the space between the barrels and most have single triggers. But single triggers are good in a double rifle. My Kreighof Ultra (12-270) is light with two triggers. But you could buy a Valmet used for what they want to scope it. I had a local smith build me something for $65.00 bucks that works just fine. Another option not yet mentioned here is a double shotgun with a centerfire rifle insert barrel. I've seen inserts for sale occasionly. They are usually in a low pressure rimmed cartridge like 22 Hornet, 30-30, 444, 45-70. The accuracy depends on the fitting, if any. So the tend to be good for medium range at best. Good luck with your gun hunting. It can be almost as much fun as the actual hunting.
07-12-2006, 09:30 PM
Birddeerhunter, thanks for your input. I happen to have been giving your point on selective triggers a fair amout of thought in the past few days. You see, I don't have much experience really with doubles with the exception of my Springfield M-6 and Savage 24C both of which are recent acquisitions. After some field time with those two, however, I can definitely see an advantage to a double trigger.
Much more of a problem for me so far with these two guns, has been getting used to the external hammers. I don't know how many times I've been going for a shot and find myself thinking, "Man, this trigger sure has a lot of creep" only to find that I forgot to cock the hammer. I'm sure with practice I'll get used to it, but it may take some time.
What exactly was the "something" your smith put together "for $65.00 bucks that works just fine?" Scope mount for your Krieghof?
07-12-2006, 09:53 PM
A quick point here concerning Antonio Zoli rifles, the O/U versions often sold here as "double rifles"; this in response to 9.3's query of last month. Frankly, these are about the worst p.o.s. crap-junk on the market, I wouldn't use one as a boat anchor.
Most, not all, O/U DRs are NOT well-regulated and this includes the pricey "Ferlacher" pieces sold in gunshops today. I dislike O/U DRs as they must be opened too wide to reload the lower barrel, thus negating the speed factor which was/is their main feature. I base this on actual experience, BTW.
Kreighoffs are fine guns, I have handled some superb examples and once missed a superb drilling in 12x12-7x65R for $3200.00 CDN. with claws, Zeiss scope and like new by not telling the owner of the gunshop that I would buy it.
A Euro gent snapped it up along with a sidelock version in the same cartridge combo, with "nail nicks" and fabulous engraving for a SONG, just two days before I made my move. I used to shoot beside this guy at my old gun club and just drool over these two guns, much finer finish than my Merkel, IMO.
I have seen older drillings with THREE triggers, something to be avoided as two are enough to manipulate. I would also avoid hammer drillings unless you really know your stuff as they have serious issues as well.
The British and Americans once made drilings, but, they were not widely received and thus were not commercially successful. Westley-Richards and L.C. Smith both made them with rifle barrels on top of the shotgun and one of these in nice shape would be a find!
07-15-2006, 08:34 PM
Tanana, Kreighoff mills one ring cut in their barrel rib like Ruger. But the only mill one! They want $1200 buck to mill the second and install the rings. I had my smith machine a Leupold one peice base to fit snugly over the rib with a two inch cantilever. Then he screwed to the rib. Not traditional but quite functional.
07-15-2006, 09:17 PM
Some of the options on Teutonic combo guns are SO pricey that you seriously wonder about their desire for customers. I had a local machinest make a q-rib, incorporating the "guts" of an Ashly-XS ghost ring adjustable sight and a custom front ramp with a Euro gold post; this was installed on my Merkel drilling by a dovetail sustem that fits TIGHT, plus custom 8/40 fitted screws and serious epoxy. The rib is also cut for Ruger scope rings and I prefer this to the claw mounts or EAW systems I have, cheaper, more rust-resistant and very functional.
Of course, certain hide-bound "traditionalists", the kind that never actually hunt with their guns, have sneered at this system; I like it and since I paid for it, that's that. You can often modify a combo gun to a higher level of function and spend far less than a claw mount system.
I know what you mean about the costs, Blasers are by no means inexpensive! If what you have done to your gun works for you, who's to say you are wrong?
There always seems to be some jerk imposing their image of 'perfection' or standards on other peoples ideas.
As my old SGT said once, "If it's stupid and it works, then it's not stupid!"
A saying I fall back on all the time when I need something to work, and be damned the asthetics.
Besides, every cent you save on needless gunsmithing or parts, is another to spend on something you really need!
07-17-2006, 05:35 PM
I bet there are a lot of us running around with our old SGTs' sayings bouncing about inside our heads. The first words out of mine in hour one of basic training: "be patient." He was giving us advance information about life in the Army, but he could have been advising us on all of life. I'm sure my parents told me the same thing over the preceding decades but it had to come from an old Vietnam vet for it to stick. Go figure.
Yep, they have a way of knowing everything, don't they.
I never cease to be amazed at how, when I was 15, my Dad didn't know a darn thing! Now, however, it seems he has learnt a great deal in the interim. Or has he.... Hmmm.....
Example: dad has an old Savage 24c. I was looking to get a shotgun for walking up rabbits and a .22 for spotlighting (pest control) the same.
dad says, just find one of these, you won't ever need another gun, unless you need a centrefire, or take up clay target shooting.
Huh! what did he know! Of course I needed a 10/22 for spotighting and a 1500 XTR Winchester for walking around, everyone knows that!
Ah well, live and learn.
08-05-2006, 06:15 PM
I was at the LGS this afternoon and came across a Savage 389 combination gun in 12 gauge over .222 Remington. It was a consignment sale and the manager didn't know much about the gun but thought that it was basically a Valmet 412 to which it did bear an apparent resemblance (at least to my untrained eye). It appears to be in excellent condition and felt rather lively in the hands. It had been for sale for the past year or so, asking $700.
When I got home I searched the net with no luck. Anyone know anything about the Savage 389?
08-07-2006, 01:36 PM
I vaguely recall that Savage and Valmet had a cross-licensing agreement for some years and that Savage did make a Valmet-type - with some modifications - O/U for a few years.
Try looking through
<a href="http://www.savage24.com" target="_blank">http://www.savage24.com (http://www.savage24.com)</a>
there may be more info there.
08-07-2006, 08:44 PM
That makes three people know that have told me the same thing. I poked around the website you referred to without finding anything. Sure wish it had a search feature.
While searching the web for info with very little success, I did find out that all the Valmet 412/Tikka 512's were sourced originally from Marocchi of Italy where the parts were forged. Valmet/Tikka/Sako did final machining, assembly and marketing; etc. or something like that. Marocchi is still making them as the FinnClassic 512. I think that the Savage 389 was also made by Marocchi. The gun in question was stamped "MAR" on the bottom of the receiver.
What I really want to know is whether the Savage 389 can be fitted with the Valmet/Tikka barrel sets and whether or not the Valmet scope mount can be used.
I'll tell you, the quality of this gun appeared to be head and shoulders above the M24; a different animal altogether.
08-27-2006, 04:56 PM
I have a Heym mod 22S combination gun. 20ga over 7x57R. Single selective trigger. Scoped it weighs 7/14 lbs including a 22LR insert in the top barrel.The only problem I have is that the second "follow up" shot is always about 3 inches higher than the initial shot.I am assuming that the lower barrel stretches with the heat and throughs the second shot high. Is this normal for combo guns? Any ideas?
It can be 'normal' depending on the method used to attach the BBLs. With soldered BBLs yes there will be some heating and twisting, and your POI will shift. With free floating BBLs (like the Blaser, the only free floating one I am familiar with), this is usually not an issue.
In one unusual case I know of the problem turned out to be the scope (a cheap Bushnell), which was replaced under warranty, solving the problem.
Ok, sorry, twisting is the wrong term. I should have said flexing of the BBL leading to POI shift.
09-10-2006, 08:31 PM
Thanks Doc, I've since visited the Blaser website where they say that a rising point of impact was common with combination guns until they fixed the problem in 1995.
09-11-2006, 05:10 PM
Blaser did NOT fix the problem in 1995, I have a Browning O/U built about 1987 on a Type III Citori action that has partially floating bbls. This was copied from one of the REAL masters at making combo. guns (as well as other guns) KREIGHOFF, who have done this, for a measely grand or so extra for many years.
I have handled a lot of Blasers and I would not buy one, find an older Sauer, Merkel, Kreighoff or Greifelt, Kettner, Reeb, Hubner or, especially Whm. Foerster combo and you will really have something. Many nice combos are to be found from Ferlach makers, as well, Sodia, Fanjoz, Kruschitz and Borovnik are names to watch for; I have handled and fired most of these over the years and would KILL for a Whm. Foerster or Robt. Hubner in 12x9.3-74R with claws and 1" rings.
09-12-2006, 09:31 PM
Thanks for the info. I used to have a Sauer 16ga over 7x65R with Kirsten lock. It came with a 21/2-10 power Zeiss scope [ 56mm obj ] and claw mounts. I had a Kreighoff 22lr insert in the shotgun barrel. Because I was used to the single set trigger on the Heym I didn't like the double triggers on the Sauer and the fact that the shotgun trigger had such a heavy pull when firing the 22.
kutenay, Blaser DID fix THEIR problem in 1995. Krieghoff didn't have a problem they needed to fix. /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/laugh.gif
I like the Blaser 95 BBF, it's a good gun for the money, and the sight mount system is very good. After using mine for a couple of years with no problems, I would recommend them to anyone seeking to start out with BBFs, and who wanted a good gun, for reasonable money.
Typically, a standard Blaser 95 BBF will run to about $3,500 (including mounts and case) here in OZ. A Sauer will be about $ 8,000, and a Krieghoff about $14,500. I'd like to be able to afford a Kreighoff, but hey, as a military pensioner, the $ just won't stretch that far. Especially with a young child to worry about.
So, I make do with what I could get, and the best I could afford.
That's not to say I am not keeping my eyes open for a second hand Kreighoff, or Sauer. Maybe one day....
The last Browning O/U BBF that I know of in OZ went for (from memory) about $6,500 second hand, with no mounts, just the fixed sights. 12g/308. Nice gun. I still see it around in the field (the owner and I occasionally hunt the same area), it is the owners favourite gun.
09-22-2006, 12:05 PM
Probably like a lot of us, I've drooled over various drillings - new Krieghoff guns start at around $6000 and get over $10k real quick. The used guns that I've found so far were still at least $3-4k and weren't in the best shape. (And often chambered in very uncommon rounds.) - - at this point at least, there are too many other things on my "Wish List" to spend that kind of money. I end up carrying my shotgun while grouse hunting and a 4" barrel S&W 629 44 Mag handgun on the hip for defense or any close opportunities at larger game. I'm a bow hunter, so the revolver is a step up in range for me. - - -
Pointshoot, I did something similar for many years (12g O/U and Rem 600 in 350 Rem Mag), but when the chance came to get the BBF, I grabbed it. And haven't looked back.
If you aren't totally set on having a drilling, maybe you could try a BBF? They are (usually) much cheaper than the equivelent grade drilling.
It might give you more options for your search, anyhow.
Just a thought.
10-03-2006, 05:46 PM
I think that the Browning BBF you refer to is the same as I have 12/.308; as a strong, well-finished, quality gun, this makes most contemporary Euro pieces look pretty sad. My Merkel cost a great deal more new and is not nearly as good a gun. Function is what counts to me, names mean squat.
10-03-2006, 08:22 PM
Thanks Doc - I guess I'll have to find out more about the Browning combo gun as I am not familiar with it. - -
10-03-2006, 08:32 PM
This gun was only made for a short time during the late '80s and they are very rare, the Browning senior "rep." for Canada told me that only six of these were ever sold in this country.
I doubt that you would find one for sale as I have never seen one listed on any of the high-end gun dealers sites or in the "Gun List"; even Browning USA had no info. on them when I phoned them in 1989, looking for a spare barrelset in 12 ga.
But, ya never know.......
Pointshoot, kutenay is right. Keep looking, you never know....
Best of luck.
The gunshop up the road has just got in a 2nd hand Sauer sidelock BBF in 16g/30-06. Beautiful to look at, fine timber, handles like a good shotgun.
Light, at just over 6lbs.
Pity about the $$$ though. At $6,500 AUD, it will just have to stay there.........
Pointshoot, how goes the search?
The same gunshop also jhas a Baikal (IZH 94) BBF in 12g/308. Very agricultural in looks, but otherwise seem to be functional. And at $450, it is far cheaper than any other new BBF on the OZ market.
A farmer whose land I hunt on has one in the same combination of cartridges, his is accurate enough (1.5MOA) for the task (deer out to 150m or so), but has occasional extraction problems.
Anyone else run into this problem with a rimless round in combo guns?
10-27-2006, 10:16 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Doc:
- - -
Pointshoot, how goes the search?
[/QB]</div></div>Sorry Dave - I haven't looked at this thread for awhile. I keep an eye out for a number of items on the "Wish List" If I spent money for a drilling or combo gun it'd have to be in nice shape and for a reasonable price. Haven't found one yet, but will keep looking. And as I mentioned, in the meantime I'll grouse hunt with a shotgun and carry a 44 Mag handgun in case I happen to run into a big game opportunity. Regards, - - -
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