Video: Rare French Shotgun Loads Sideways – And That’s Not All

   09.23.15

Video: Rare French Shotgun Loads Sideways – And That’s Not All

Now here’s a real oddball. This is a French 12 gauge over/under shotgun that loads through the side of the frame.

The barrel assembly appears to be fairly conventional, though lacking a top rib, but the forend is unusual. It’s made of two wooden pieces, apparently walnut and very well checkered. Each piece lies alongside the barrels and appear to be held together with a cross-screw. Interestingly, the bottom of the barrel assembly is not covered by the wood.

Unusual two-piece forend only covers the side of the barrel assembly.
Unusual two-piece forend only covers the side of the barrel assembly.

The unique action features case-hardened breech blocks that pivot, allowing shells to be inserted into (or removed from) the chambers. When properly manipulated, the extractors also act as ejectors, kicking the shells rearward far enough for easy removal. The barrel remains rigidly attached to the frame, rather than pivoting as do most over/under guns.

The top of the Lefaucheux over/under shotgun frame.
The top of the Lefaucheux over/under shotgun frame.

The action features two triggers, which are apparently tricky to operate. The first time the demonstrator pulled one trigger, both hammers dropped.

Even more oddly, the butt stock can be removed from the rear of the shotgun frame by merely moving a latch, rotating the stock, and pulling it to the rear.

The buttstock is easily removed from the Lefaucheux.
The buttstock is easily removed from the Lefaucheux.

There’s even a blooper at the end of the video. What’s not to like?

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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