Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Triple Barrelled Rifle

A while back on Kim du Toit's site he had a game- pick some weapons to carry with you on an imaginary journey crossing America coast to coast around 1650. The rules were one long gun, one handgun and two knives. It's an interesting idea and it gave me more than a little fun thinking about what I'd take with me on such an epic journey.

However, for me the most striking thing about the article was one of the suggestions sent into Kim- "one of those WW2 African survival (Luftwaffe?) drillings (9.3x74mm under two 12 ga. barrels)". I'd never heard of such a thing and every now and then I'll do a spot of Googling for it, but nothing ever seems to come up. If you know more, please put me out of my misery and let me know! Was such a thing ever issued during WW2?

There are modern variants on this theme, and 9.3x74mm seems to be a fairly popular calibre for drillings and even double rifles, particularly among the European manufacturers. One make of these types of weapon stood out when I finally decided to abandon my search for the WW2 variety and that is Heym, creator of excellent bolt action and double rifles in big game calibres.

They make a variety of drillings- twin 12 ga. with single rifle beneath, double rifle with single 12 ga. beneath, and the unusual looking single 12 ga. with single large rifle beneath and small rifle to the side. They also offer the Vierling, the Model 37V four barrel gun. This has double 12 ga. barrels with a small calibre between and below, and a large calibre barrel below that. The large rifle barrel can be had in a number of calibres including 9.3x74mm and the excellent 7x57mm. It weighs in just over 9lbs which is reasonably hefty but it's a gun which offers an amazing amount of versatility. With the small barrel in .22 Hornet, the big rifle in 9.3x74mm and two 12 ga. you have a gun which could handle pretty much any survival situation. Of course, there's an awful lot more ammo to carry when you have a gun in three calibres instead or just one, but the Vierling seems adaptable to just about any place on Earth.

In Kim's scenario this might not be the best choice as there was an 800 round long gun limit (of course with such a gun you would not need to take a side-arm and thus could use the 1,000 round maximum for the various calibres) but the usefulness of such a weapon is very desirable. It's also easy to see why a 12 ga./9.3x74mm would be issued as a survival weapon in Africa- I'm sure the Vierling would fit the bill nicely too.

BTW, for Kim's scenario I originally opted for a Springfield M1A Scout Rifle, a Bowen Classic 'Alpine' Redhawk in .454 Casull (with a mix of this and .45 Colt ammo), a Cold Steel Bushman (as well as being used as a spear, it's a very strong and light knife- you don't even notice you're wearing it when it's strapped on and the blade can very easily be brought up to a razor's edge) and a Cold Steel Rifleman's Hawk.

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