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Joined: Dec 2010
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Mike A. Offline OP
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I realize your answer will depend on WHAT you hunt, and on HOW your gun works.

But what I'd like to know is the safest realistic procedure for hunting with a combination gun (or drilling: I assume the uses are about the same and the problems could be similar).

I have four combination guns, all O/Us: a no-name Suhl O/U 16x6.35x52R (.25-35), two Savage/Valmet (Finnish) 2400s (12 over .222R and 12 over .308WCF), and a Savage Model 24D .22WRM over .410.

These guns, except the 24, are used for hunting when bird and big game seasons overlap, or when I'm hunting birds in a place where there are lots of varmints (12x.222).

Do you consider it safe to carry the rifle barrel loaded when you are very likely to have to make a quick shot at upland game with the shotgun barrel? I don't, but would like to know what others do.

What worries me is that I normally carry a double shotgun, very often a Savage/Valmet 333, which has "controls" just like the 2400: SST with the selector in the trigger blade and the trigger is automatic--if you have the rifle barrel loaded and pull the trigger twice, the rifle barrel will be discharged. That possibility kinda scares me when I'm hunting quail in close cover like we often do.

The other combos aren't as likely to have this problem: the Suhl gun has double triggers to select barrels, and the little Savage has a selector button which requires conscious manipulation to select the rifle barrel. But with the Savage/Valmets, it would be very easy to fire both barrels inadvertently, since they are so like my similar double barrel shotguns, and with quail you have to shoot FAST.

Is this one reason most classic combos have two triggers? Anybody else dealt with this problem? How?

Last edited by Mike A.; 11/13/11 11:05 AM.
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Hey Mike,

I use the Valmet 412 most often. Always both the shotgun barrel and rifle are loaded. The shotgun load depends on what is being hunted.

All my Valmet 412's have double triggers. Which makes barrel selection very easy....

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Mike A. Offline OP
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Doug, I think double triggers are a great idea, too. Unfortunately, my Valmets have just the one.....

I don't have a problem when I'm hunting deer or pigs or little varmints only. Then I also keep both barrels loaded; pig loading is a .308 under a Brennecke slug; varmint loading is a .222R under a load of "Dead Coyote."

It's when I'm hunting "birdznmaybedeer" that I feel like I might have a problem.

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I hunt a habitat that supports a lot of deer and turkey, when hunting them I load both barrels of my combination gun. when hunting birds (upland) I load only the shot barrel. I think it's too easy to make mistake when a covey flushes.

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Mike A. Offline OP
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I agree. One's "muscle memory" sort of takes over when the quail go up, and what my muscles tend to remember is "pull the trigger twice if you have two clean shots"!

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In truth, it's tough for me to hunt both small and large game, for the simple reason that if I want to see a deer, I'd best not blast away at the other offerings. Once I have given up on the deer, I may jump shoot ducks or something else, at which case I will unload the rifle barrel. I might reload it if I want to call predators later on...Steve

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Mike A. Offline OP
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Thanks, guys. I think this confirms my suspicions that my single trigger combination guns are just "two nice single shots" unless you are big game or varmint hunting exclusively (My Valmet 12x.308's shotgun barrel shoots pretty close to the crosshairs at close range, good enough for a finisher with a slug if needed, and I know where the shotgun barrel on the 12x.222 shoots Dead Coyote in case I get one close-in).

Mike Armstrong


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