Skip to comments.The 'Holy Grail' of the gun world: TRIPLE-BARRELLED shotgun from 1891 goes under the hammer
Posted on 06/17/2012 8:25:18 AM PDT by Lorianne
... back 1891, one gun-manufacturer came up trumps - developing the world's only triple-barrelled shotgun, subsequently dubbed the 'Holy Grail' of the gun world.
Now the gun - built by Edinburgh gun makers John Dickson & Son - has a new owner, having just been sold in London for £43,000.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
That barrel(s) sure has a nice finish.....wonder if anyone ever shot it.
These guns were hand made using chisels and files. Take a close look at the workmanship, the fit and finish, and the engraving. I’m pretty sure at least a 1,000 hours of hand labor went into the gun, and probably more. The firm of John Dickson produced some of the most beautiful guns ever made.
Prolly a little heavy to pack around hunting. If I had the money, however, I would like a drilling in 12ga over some rifle caliber.
It is interesting but just doesn’t look right to me.
You never can tell tho, it might handle better than it looks. Then again it might be awkward as all get out.
Then your in the market for a Savage Mod. 24. There was a rifle round/s over a 12 ga. made. I have a .22LR over a 20 ga myself.
I’ll stick with my old L. C. Smith...
A drilling is typically 2 shotgun barrels over a rifle caliber. Usually European and expensive. I had a Savage 12ga over 30-30 back in the 70’s. I wouldn’t mind having a 20ga over 22 or 22mag.
I once had a Tikka 12 gauge over a .243. It had a flip up rear sight with a square front and square blade. Made a nice sight picture.
One of those guns I wish I had back. The .243 even with iron sights was unusually accurate.
Long time ago I had a chance to buy a Sauer drilling in 12ga/30-06 when they weren’t hideously priced. Did get to handle one at a gun show. JMHO, it didn’t point like a shotgun nor aim like a rifle.
Drillings are masterpieces of the gunsmithing art, even so. Heard of this three barrel gun many years ago but didn’t know it was unique.
Wonder why three barrels didn’t catch on? Seems like it would have been a good coach gun.
Seems like the 3 triggers would just be awkward to me.
I wonder why they did not use lathes and mills and drill presses and stuff that the other gunmakers used.
I can understand Marshall Williams using chisels and files to build his rifle, but not this.
I’ll take a SEAL-modified Stoner, .223 over a grenade launcher. (XM 148?)
The article says it was only 7 lb.s which surprised the heck out of me. Practical or not it’s still a thing of beauty.
There’s also a 243 over a sixteen gauge model I have in the closet.
The joke of the day published in the iconic cartoon Punch opined that if you hadn't taken your prey after exhausting the Trinity, quit hunting altogether, because you were totally lost.
Modern hunters know that state law calls for plugs put into the magazine of pump and semi-auto shotguns limiting them to three rounds. I seriously doubt that a mass produced top break side by side by side would ever be durable enough for routine shooting. It would have been pretty cool to try wing shooting pheasant with three barrels. Leading your target would have become even more fun. American youth hunters like Col. Bong Gen. Yeager might have proven even more deadly fighter pilots; if that were even possible?
There’s also a 243 over a sixteen gauge model I have in the closet.
When was it made?
My mod. 24 was made in 1963. I keep it around for a great small game long arm.
Most upper grade Doubleguns are quite light. Especially the British made guns that were purpose built. Most American Doubles are/were utility built for a variety of game and are generally heavy by comparison. Take note the cocking indicators forward of the safety lever and also the side-lever position. This is a left hand gun.
Back in that day, there were of course lathes, but there were few mills. There was nothing like the Deckel or Bridgeport available yet - most mills were horizontal mills, and most of those were pretty large affairs. Small-scale milling of parts could be done on a lathe (ask if you’ve never seen a milling attachment on a lathe). Many of the operations we currently associate with a mill were done back then on a horizontal shaper. Shapers are slow, but oh-so-versatile.
Those barrels were polished in two stages - first by “striking” with a file (an English term, meaning to draw-file the barrels) and then with polishing compound/cloth. The blue was doubtless slow rust blueing, not the hot salt blueing used in industrial gun blues today. One of the reasons for the slow rust blueing is that the barrels are soldered together. Look at the breech end of the barrels - see those triangular wedges in between the barrels? Those have to be soldered to the length of the barrels whilst the barrels are held in position in a fixture. If you put those barrels into a hot salt blue tank, the solder would either melt and the barrels would come apart, or the salts would work into any small imperfection in the solder joint and attack the solder and steel, eating a hole into the barrels over time.
Today’s very best guns still use slow rust blueing, not hot salt blueing. Most fine guns use at least “express” rust blueing, not hot salts.
OK, some other things to point out to people:
1. See how the wood and the metal come together without a seam or line? That’s because the wood was fitted to the metal and the two were polished down together. The tang and action will have a “draft” to them, where the metal bevels inwards as you go deeper into the wood.
2. See how the screwheads are all “timed” to line up in the lengthwise direction? That doesn’t just happen. The screws have to be fitted to get the heads timed up, then the heads are polished down to the level of the surrounding metal. If the screws are ever removed, they have to be re-installed into only the hole from which they came out of.
3. Look at the checkering on the grip. See how the diamonds no longer come to a point? See how the border line near the rear tang is nearly faded out? That gun has been handled quite a bit.
4. This is not the only three-barreled shotgun made. George MacFarlaine made at least two 20 gauge, 3 barrel single trigger guns of which I’m aware. Their barrels were set up in a triangle, essentially a double set on top of a single. The fine Italian gunmakers, Famars, makes a four-barrel shotgun today:
One more thing on hand files and fine guns:
Among the “London Best” gunsmiths in the latter half of the 19th century (the pinnacle of the “London Best” gun trade, IMO) and all who sought to emulate them (including Dickenson & Son as well as the continental gunmakers), it was long known that their craftsmen had to be able to drive a file. To this day, a real gunsmith knows how to drive a file. To a gunsmith, there are a lot more files than what most people have in their garage to sharpen the lawnmower.
When you have the right files and the right skills, what you see there isn’t difficult to accomplish, but it is time-consuming - hence the prices on “best guns” in the 10’s of thousands of dollars. You will need time and training, but making a fine gun with files isn’t difficult, and it is indeed how more than a couple of them were done.
Why use a file? Because then the craftsman gets exactly the results he wants. These types of “best guns” weren’t manufactured to tolerances, they were fit with a smoke lamp, file and patience.
Still, for all the fancy elegance of European best guns, my idea of a best shotgun to own is a Winchester Model 21.
Compared to US-made shotguns, the barrels of fine English/Scottish double guns are incredibly thin-walled and light. They’re quite easy to dent if dropped.
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