Friday, May 13, 2011


There are  questions that I have about combination rifle/shotguns and the fact that none are currently being manufactured or even made elsewhere and sold in America. Why are none of the companies continuing to make this great idea for a firearm? 

Second, why are there no intermediate or custom shop copies of these guns being made, instead of the basic lower grade quality that most of these rifles exhibit?  A common complaint with the Savage 24 and other combo guns is based upon inadequate design of the way the rifle barrel is mounted, accuracy suffers. Surely this could be rectified through design and modern technology. I'm sure there are people who could afford some over the top engraved and otherwise accurized custom shop versions of these guns, but I'd want an intermediate grade gun made of stainless steel with a nice stock. Something more than the basic entry-level version of combo guns that Savage made for years.

Third, why has no company marketed the Savage 24 equivolent to the legendary Thompson Contender pistol with interchangeable barrels? By this I mean that the same receiver could be used for different barrel combinations. You could have a .22/20 and a .30-30 or .223/20 if you, like me, prefer the lighter weight 20 gauge gun frame/receiver over the heavier one used with the 12 gauge model of the Savage 24 series. Since many of the variants of the Savage Model 24 can be taken apart at the barrel-receiver junture into two pieces, it begs common sense as to why no company ever sold a combination gun where you could switch barrels. It's an idea whose time has come, and I'll elaborate on that in a moment.

Fourth, if there had to be just one combo gun made for marketing and sales reasons, I would think a take apart travel gun would be the one to make, as the kind of person who would be interested in a combination gun to begin with would often be the kind of outdoorsman or fisherman like myself who would take such a firearm on fishing expeditions. If there was just one model, a .223/12 gauge would be the way to go. That's two of the most popular calibers in America and although.30-30 is up there and might even be more popular than .223 in America,  the .223 size has the advantage of being able to chamber a .22 long rifle shell with the use of a cartridge adapter.

In terms of a multi-purpose camping and fishing and outdoors gun, having three potential calibers to shoot (.22 Long Rifle, .223 and a shotgun shell in either 20 or 12 gauge) out of one gun makes this combination versatile indeed. I'm guessing Remington and Savage discontinued these combo gun models due to poor sales, but it would seem if a mid-quality gun were made in this one configuration that enough outdoors enthusiasts might buy it to provide a profitable line for a rifle making company.

I want to revisit the third question and discussion from above. I have thought for years, every now and then and then recently about the great design of the Thompson Contender, and how it was a shame that the company had never branched into either a double barreled weapon with interchangeable barrels/calibers. Billy Ray and I used to discuss this in depth when we were shooting my two Contenders A LOT back in the mid-80's.

And it's a logical progression that a combo gun like the Savage 24 that already breaks apart at the receiver/barrel juncture is a prime candidate for having replaceable barrels with different calibers. The lighter weight 20 gauge receiver could be paired up with one of several popular calibers, or the rifle caliber could be paired with a smaller .410 gauge barrel.

The larger 12 gauge receiver used in the Savage 24 line could have combinations with both the .410 and .20 gauge, since the larger receiver used with 12 gauge guns can handle the pressure of smaller shells but not vice-versa. It's significanly heavier in weight than the smaller receiver used in 20 gauge guns, and given preferences at this time in my life in a plinking gun, I'd go for the lighter in weight as well as recoil 20 gauge.

The key point is, one could have a lightweight, take apart gun with two barrels that would allow the use of 4 different kinds of ammo: a .22 LR/.410 barrel and a .223/20 or .30-30/20, for example. Different situations would allow use of different barrels and calibers.

Snakes. Predators. Game Animals. One gun for them all. It might not be for everybody, but based on the crazy high prices I've seen on the gun auction sites for some of these guns, they are quite popular and people are willing to pay high prices for excellent condition guns. And these are not collectors guns. I suspect most of these folks are buying these guns to shoot, not to invest in.

So maybe one day soon some gun company will have the idea to make a combo gun or two in their line.

Here's my dream gun:

-A decent mid-quality gun with heavy duty parts.
-Stainless steel receiver and finish on barrels
- It doesn't need rails all over it, but a detachable scope rail would be nice as a stock feature. A real "thinker" that wouldn't cost a lot extra to offer is a shoot through scope mount/rail that allows use of the stock sights with a scope mounted.
-An 18" set of barrels.
-The shotgun barrel could be steel, but the rifle barrel should be made of some lighter weight alloy to allow it to be made larger and mounted in a better fashion to the shotgun barrel. Pundits of combo guns always complain that rifle accuracy suffers because of the mounting method of the rifle barrel.
-Having some spare ammo storage in the bottom part of the stock would be in line with the purpose and use of the gun.
-Pre-drilled for scope mount and sling.
-Be innovative and pre-drill either the side of the front portion of the foregrip stock or the bottom of the shotgun barrel and include a short rail FREE so that the user could install a flashlight or laser or both, since both would be handy to have as the "go to" varmit gun around any household that has one. Varmits are usually out at night anyway. If you don't want to go this route, how about including a METAL clamp mount with short rail(s) attached that can be clamped to the front of the shotgun barrel for this purpose. Something durable that works. Not plastic. 
-Speaking of innovation, how about partnering with Hogue or Pachmayr and making a synthetic stock and foregrip out of the infamous recoiling absorbing material in their grips. Again, the durability of the material in these products are in line with the purpose and use of this gun by outdoorsmen, and would render great service under adverse weather and environmental conditions but also would provide a solid and comfortable grip as well as major recoil relief. I would also think that the Pachmayr and Hogue grip material that I'd want the foregrip and stock made of would absorb shock if they were banged against an object or dropped, or at least would transmit less shock to the gun than a wood or hard synthetic stock would do. I also think a properly constructed Pachmayr stock would not shatter or break if dropped or banged hard, as I've seen some wood stocks do. I would think an interior polymer frame with an exterior Pachmayr grip covering would be just excellent.

Right now, I'm thinking that a gun in .223/12 or 20 would be a damn near perfect combination, and that using a cartridge adapter for .22 L.R. as well as slugs for the shotgun would make this gun versatile for many situations.

And that's it. That's the dream gun.

1 comment:

  1. I've pondered the reason(s) for the demise of the combo guns... we can only guess...

    Maybe the base unit of rural folks who once cherished those affordable yet versatile guns as essential for putting meat in the skillet have vanished from out society. Campers seemed to have changed from tents in the backwoods to pop-ups and roll-outs in wooded parking lots...