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Combination Guns

Combination guns used to be fairly popular, and they were huge in Europe. They're pretty simple, break open over/under guns intended for hunting. Usually a rifle barrel over a shotgun barrel, though the German dreilings had two shotgun barrels AND a rifle barrel. The benefit is pretty clear--you get the versatility of having a shotgun AND a rifle in one long gun. Very handy for going out hunting/foraging--with the right gun, you could engage any kind of game at basically range.
 
If you've seen the Springfield M6 Scout--a .22lr or .22 Hornet over .410--that's a combination gun. The Savage Model 24 is another example that started production in the late 30s and came in a variety of chamberings. Some of the 24s have a built in

Unfortunately, both are out of production, though I guarantee Springfield would sell a truckload of M6s if they brought them back. They can be found on the second hand market at widely varying prices.

I've been doing some looking, and there are a couple variants of the Savage 24 that look especially appealing to the survivor:
  • .22lr over 12 & 20 gauge
  • .22 magnum over 12 & 20 gauge 
  • .30-30 over 12 & 20 gauge
  • .223 over 12 & 20 gauge
My personal preference would be for the .223 or the .30-30 over a 12 gauge. The .223 is a flatter shooter with better range, cheaper, more common and already stacked deep for my AR. You can also get .223 to .22lr chamber adapters, which would let you use the full rifled barrel like an AR conversion kit. On the other hand, the .30-30 can shoot cast bullets, run on black powder, has a bit more OOMPH and I've got family/friends who stock the caliber.

Dave Canterbury has shown a lot of the versatility of the shotgun and ease of reloading in an "extended" scenario on his YouTube channel. The 12 gauge is never going to be a long range gun, though, and the ammunition is difficult to carry in quantity. Pairing a good rifle barrel with that extends your options--you'd have a hunting/foraging gun that could just about do it all.

Anyways, interesting option for hunting and long term post-collapse.

I don't have a 24 and have never personally handled one, so  if any of you, my faithful readers have experience with them, let me know. I also may be overlooking other makes/models of combo guns--let me know if that's the case. Would be groovy if there was a current production model of the right flavor.

27 comments :

  1. I had a Savage 24 in 22LR/20ga. Good little squirrel gun, but a little short. Would be a good youth gun. It had a trap door in the buttstock that would hold two shotgun shells and 10 rounds of 22lr. The fit and finish were not particularly great, but it was a serviceable gun. Neat little softside carry case that was about 24" long with the gun broken down inside it. I think I'd rather have the 30/30 and 12ga combo if I ever get another one. The only real drawback I saw was that the manual said never to shoot the shotgun part if there was a scope attached to the upper barrel. So, iron sights only. A positive was that if you put a slug in the shotgun barrel you could aim with the rifle sights. Not a gun I would have in normal circumstances, but one of the first ones I would grab in a TEOTWAWKI situation.

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    1. Anon, I had Ace Dube from MCA make a 30/30 barrel sleeve for the 20 gauge barrel for my Camper (24C), it adds some weight but made the firearm a .22lr / 30-30 Winchester / 20 gauge, extremely versatile! And having rifle sights for the deer round really did make it easier to shoot accurately, thought rimfire and centerfire did have different points of impact of course.

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    2. This sounds like a very nice set up!

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    3. I am in the process of working on a Savage 24 .22LR/.20 gauge - It is an gun I've had for 20+ years. The original stock developed some cracks and replaced it with a youth stock and added a slip-on recoil pad - now it is gun both my wife and I can use easily and practice with at low cost.

      I also bought an McAce insert in 30-30 - it is eighteen inches long and adds some weight, but 30-30 ammo weighs 4.92 pounds per 100 rounds, has more range than a .20 gauge slug, and the slugs weigh more than 8 lbs. per 100 rounds in 20 gauge. That's significant in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Still carrying a small amount of .20 gauge ammo, like maybe 10 rifled slugs, would provide at least a chance to defend yourself even from a black bear, if you were to meet up with one. You'd only get one shot, but one might be the difference - that's my thinking at least. A box or two of buckshot would also likely come in handy, though that is going to be about 8 pounds per 100. Maybe 50 rounds or so = 4 lbs., but as a defense round at close range is hard to beat.

      With that setup you'd have a shooting option for just about any type of game there is.

      The sidearm/back up weapon here is key I think. I am thinking about a Bersa Thunder Pro 17+1 in 9 mm. That ammo is pretty common and weighs only 2.63 lbs. per 100 rounds. In case you ran into folks who prefer to take what you have instead of getting their own, it would be a benefit to have something that can fire more than two shots, or in the case of a revolver, 7 shots with the S&W 686 without reloading. Plus, .357 magnum ammo weighs nearly 1 lbs. more per 100 rounds than 9mm ammo.

      I have two questions for anyone who might have an opinion:

      1) The 24 weighs about 6.5 lbs. unloaded. The barrel is 24 inches long, and I am considering having it shortened (my gunsmith says that is do-able) to 18.5 inches or 20 inches. That would reduce the weight, which is the one thing I believe is way underestimated in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Does anyone think this is a really bad idea, and why? I am not reselling it, so that isn't going to be an issue. Shaving off that 5.5 or 4 inches is ammo/other provisions I could carry instead. Lots of .22LR have barrels that length, and so do police riot shotguns.

      2) My second question concerns a second long gun - since in my imagination I see both my wife and I both carrying two guns each, one long gun and one sidearm. For the sidearm for her I am again thinking a Bersa 9mm, but in the UC model - it is lighter. However I am torn on the second long gun. I lean towards a Ruger 10/22 with several HC mags. The ammo weighs only .75 per hundred rounds - you can carry substantially more rounds than anything else you can carry, aside from an air rifle.

      There are other options, like a Citadel M1 carbine in 9mm, or an AR-15 in .223 of course - the downside is that the ammo would weigh more. An AK-47 would give a raider a substantial advantage obviously, but you can carry over 100 rounds more of .22LR per pound than you can 7.62x39 ammo. When it comes to .308 ammo, you're talking over 5 lbs. for 100 rounds. If whatever it is turns out to be a long-term type of scenario, I think the Ruger .22LR would be a much better game provider.

      Still, when you add it all up and consider that carrying more than 25 percent of your weight - even if you are in good shape, which should be Job No. 1 - I think you need weapons that can help feed you for a substantial amount of time without counting on finding more ammo.

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  2. I used a model 24 as a teenager hunting upland game. It's a pretty nice setup. If I'm remembering correctly, the barrel selector was at the back of the receiver and was thumb operated. We had a mix of birds and the occasional rabbit and it was legal to take grouse on the ground. So, if you saw a grouse or rabbit on the ground and fairly still you used the top .22 barrel and if you jumped something (grouse, rabbit, pheasant) and it took off you used the bottom 20 gauge barrel. I 'spose you could also use slugs in it for deer, but I never fired it with slugs or hunted deer with it.

    The .30-30/12 gauge combo would probably be a good close range gun for deer, hogs, feral dogs, or as a chicken coop defender.

    It looks like you can get a Russian made copy of one. The USSG Model MP94, but I don't know anything about that gun.

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  3. They also made a 357 magnum over 12 guage in both a long and pistol type version, very unweildy. I had a .22/410. Light weight, fairly accurate and would mount a scope and never had a problem with it. The only dislike I had was the plastic stock, BP, before polymers, It was a little light for anything more than a 410. I would still have it but my brother lost it in a suspicious, pig pickin. I would love to find another one but they are upwards of $400 + dollars in any condition and rare. I now have the Rossi Wizard rifle which will accept 4 shotgun barrels and about 12 rifle barrels. I have 308 and plan on 12 guage, and 7.62x39 and possibly 45/70 and 30/30. They have many other and it is in the $200+ range. Mine is extremely accurate and has scope mounts.
    Not an assault rifle but a reasonable game getter.
    Semper Fi

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  4. I was at a gun show a while back and saw an MK 1 crossfire which has a 12 guage on the top and a 223 on the bottom with a 30 round mag. The gun is a pump action. Flip a switch up and pump through 12 guage and flip the switch down and pump through 223. The guns were never mass produced so they can be hard to find. For me the downfall of this gun is the pump. A pump shotgun is fine but i like my 223 in semi auto

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    1. The Crossfire is crazy. Cool tool! Looks like something out of Aliens - http://bit.ly/xRCVEb

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  5. Baikal currently produces a comibination gun. Not sure who imports them at this time.

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    1. EAA-European American Armory imports the Baikal.

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  6. I think the .223 option is great since it lets you use the whole riffled barrel if you convert to .22. I loved Dave's recent video on using adapters to shoot just about anything from a single shot 12 guage. He says accuracy isn't the main priority--he's right, what we are going after is versatility. BUT the fact remains that versatility AND accuracy is even better. Unfortunately I went the AK route over AR so I have tons of 5.45 instead of .223. Oh well you live and learn.

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  7. I have several combination guns, they are as versatile as you describe. The rimfire over shotguns are especially good to have, you can do a lot with these. I've kept one of these as my 'camp gun' and quite a few rabbit and quail on the grille are compliments of these guns. What is especially nice is that they take down just like the single shot break open shotguns, taking up much less space.

    I own the last model of Savage combos, a Savage 24F Predator in 30-30 over 12 gauge - one heavy beast! About 9 pounds unscoped, no surprise as you have two barrels and a receiver designed for the extra size. With buck shot, very handy.

    I almost bought another of what Michael above described, the Russian made 12 gauge over .308 Winchester. The seller had one with a laser, he claimed he could put the red dot on target and hit very close to without shouldering the firearm. Maybe - but in Texas, it is illegal to hunt game animals with these sights, iirc.

    Great topic, these combination rifles aren't often mentioned.

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    1. Anon -

      I'm jealous. I'm keeping an eye out for one locally...

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    2. Don't be that jealous, they are still available. Went to a gun show this morning and saw two of them for sale, $425 for a .22lr over 20, $450 for a .22 magnum over 20. Not all THAT expensive.

      I forgot to mention above, try the CCI 22 CB type of ammunition, its no long range number, but boy is it quiet. If bugging out, that low report would be very useful for close range birds and small game.

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    3. The Savage 24s are certainly out there - I think the .22lr over .410 or 20 seem to be the easiest to find.

      The Aguila Colibris are even quieter, though I'm not sure how they'd fare for hunting small game.

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  8. Normally do not post, but had to comment on this item today - SpentFortune

    Hunting season for Turkey and Deer overlap here in Virginia along with some other game. Early in the season I was working a group of Turkey (about 30 feeding in a group) when I looked up at a wonderful buck. I was not about to wound the animal with my miserable Turkey loads. Had I I combination 30-30 or the aforementioned .308 over the 12 gauge, the family would have been eating well for through the New Year on Wild Feather and Hoof. The need for a good combination gun is real.

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    1. Exactly! You can't predict what you'll run into.

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  9. My .22/20ga. Savage was the first gun I got as a kid. It's now one of many and the most versatile I own. I can hunt anything from squirrels to deer with it (slugs). It's a great trapline gun.

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  10. Ive got a mod 24 20/.22 mag ,also a american made m6 410/.22 as well as a H&r survivor that shoots 410/45 LC , the stock is hollow and contains ammo fishing gear 2mini bicks . They all have there pros and cons.The m6 is very cool , but the trigger sucks . The survivor only has a front bead sight , and no.22 , the model 24 uses .22 mag, harder to find. I thought I had found the perfect bug out gun w/ the baikal in .223/12 ga. Come to find out when I went to put it on layaway the twist was 1in12 ????? far too slow for a world full of 55 grain .They do however have it in 308/12 Ga. After I eotech my m1a socom I may be going there.Hope this is helpful.I enjoy your blog ,stay safe. High desert livin

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  11. I own and have owned bunches of these over the years and the 'need' for them is highly over rated. It's not that they are without use but are way too heavy for what they can do. If there really was any demand due to 'need' companies would still make them. Plus after the end of the world there will be no game wardons telling us not to spotlight deer with a 22lr. If you want a very versitile single shot gun get a Topper or a TC single shot in .357 Max or .44 mag. Your brass will last a very long time, you can come up with any load imaginable, and you're not needing the massive amounts of shot and powder that a 12ga requires. Who's going to be pass shooting geese atfter the end?

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    1. I think part of the reason there's lower demand is due to how people hunt. There are distinct "seasons" for game and most people go out with a specific animal in mind - deer hunting or whatever. In a collapse scenario, you'd be putting food on the table and looking to get anything you could eat - whether it's a squirrel at 20 yards or a buck at 150 yards.

      Weight is not always a bad thing, especially if it's helping to tame the recoil of a 12.

      I am also a fan of .357 for survival reloading, and agree with you on the shortcomings of 12 gauge (you can add heavy ammo, limited range and heavy recoil as well). In its defense, 12 gauge can be loaded with all kinds of oddball things, though, from dimes to slingshot ammo to fishing sinkers to lead musket balls in a pinch, and field reloaded with really minimal tools, and it's probably only second to .22lr in terms of commonality.

      But ya, given the same amount of powder and lead, you would be reloading .357 for years longer than 12 gauge. For example, a pound of smokeless will give you around 1200-1500 reloads worth of .357, where a similar pound of powder would only give you 300-450 reloads. (And yes, those are rough figures, but you get the picture)

      If you want to part with any of your combo guns, drop me a line.

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  12. Something like the Stoeger Condor Outback might be a good choice as well. They list 20 gauge at 6.5 pounds and $450.

    http://m.stoegerindustries.com/shotguns/condor-outback/index.php#specifications

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  13. Simplified solution to those not wanting to buy MORE guns, or who cannot, but want to accomplish the same task.... UGLY ROOSTER style-
    Strap on a $100 Chipmunk, aka Cricket. Just add a sling to it and throw it on your back. It is only a couple pounds and gives you a very accurate .22 LR for only a couple pounds.
    Strap on or carry a $100 NEF shotgun, aka H&R, switch between the two with ease; as needed.

    There is your combo rifle for $200. Even less if you have one or both already. And remember, you can hunt with a buddy now, and Two = One... One = None.

    And avoid .410 shotgun caliber-ga. It is woefully inept as a scatter gun and pathetic as a distance shooter.

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    1. I'd agree that the .410 may not be the best for self defense, big game or shooting distant targets but would argue it has some big advantages over the bigger bores when it comes to foraging.

      1) Wing shooting will likely become much less used, as not only too noisy (I'm here - I'm here!) but also wastes ammunition. Shots at perched or standing animals (i.e. 'Pot Shots') will be much more commonly used - sportsmanship be darned.

      2) The larger shot loads of 12 and even 20 may then become too destructive and cause a lot of meat damage. The .410 shot load is much less, (about a 1/3, more or less) - better than picking out shot or risking a cracked tooth.

      3) Reloading supplies will go much further, much less powder burned, less shot. And for long life shot cases, full length brass cases might want to be considered.

      If the .410 is appealing but the cost or availability of finding a combination is too much, there is an alternative - the .410 pistol. The best one imo is the .410 T/C Contender.



      The smaller .410 ha

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  14. That's two MORE guns!

    A .22lr kit for an AR-15 would get you some of the versatility...small game up to whatever you can get with .223

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  15. Savage has brought back the combination gun. Look up the Savage model 42 came out in March of 2012.

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  16. Here in Norway the combination guns are very popular, especially for deer hunting. The most common is 12 ga. on top, and a rifle on the bottom. The rifle calibers vary, but the most common are.
    .222
    .223
    .308
    7x57R
    and 6,5x55 Swed

    I have a Baikal 12 ga./.223 combo, and it really is bulit to last. Probably made from an old T-72... The comboguns are much cheaper than the dreilings, and the Baikal is dirtcheap.

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