A double-barreled shotgun usually offers just two charges, but this unusual Belgian-proof DeWalle Freres superimposed charge gun doubles that. With its quartet of hammers, this smoothbore can fire two sets of charges—but the trick is to fire the forward charges first. If an unwary shooter decides instead to utilize the rearward set of hammers first, both rear charges will go off, but the front loads of powder and shot will be added to the proposition, resulting in potentially dangerous increases in pressure and recoil. A crack in the wood stock at the wrist of this shotgun indicates that at some point in the past, a shooter might have done just that.
This shotgun is presently on loan to the National Firearms Museum from the Thurston collection.
The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va.; the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.; all have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit nramuseums.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email [email protected]. | Photo by Michael Ives