The combination rifle/shotgun has always been popular in Europe, but not so much here. It has a lot to do with tradition, as well as hunt-ing methods. Combination guns are usually over/unders, but drillings are also popular—most of which consist of a side-by-side shotgun with a rifle barrel centered beneath. In either case, such guns are fairly common over there because Spanish Monterias and driven hunts are popular, and where anything hooved, furred or feathered is fair game, the versatility of having the instant selection of bullet or shot is valued by European hunters—especially professional gamekeepers. Furthermore, long-range shooting is not as common as it is here in the States. Though there’s nothing to prevent scoping a combination gun or drilling, using iron sights is de rigueur. Some of the more popular gauge/caliber combinations are 12 or 16 gauges over a .243, 7×57, 7x64R or .30-06 rifle barrel. Typically, these guns are very expensive and highly embellished.

Here, combination guns have never really caught on, but there has been one exception the Savage Model 24. Introduced in 1939, the 24 was originally a .22 LR over a .410 shotgun,but over the 60-plus years it was in production, the gun went through so many permutations of gauge/caliber, mechanics and cosmetics that we couldn’t possibly list them all here. Suffice to say that it was offered in various combinations of 12, 20 and .410 barrels over .17 HMR, 22 LR, .22 WMR, .22 Hornet, .222, .223, .30-30 and .357 Mag rifle barrels. Some of the later models came with interchange-able choke tubes. Obviously, the 12 gauge 3-inch chamber/.30-30 was the most competent as far as a game gun was concerned, but the 20 gauge/ .223 was no slouch either…

Find out more in the Complete Book of Guns 2014—on newsstands NOW!

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