Chiappa Triple Crown 20ga
Oleg Volk 05.02.16
While I’ve played with Chiappa Triple Threat 12ga since early 2013, the long-barreled 20ga variant is new to me. For some reason, perhaps the anticipation of recoil, I don’t wingshoot with double-barrel shotguns well, and trying out the 20ga was more a nod to curiosity than anything else. Being a fan of shorter barrels, I also wasn’t expecting much joy from the 26″ triple tubes. I handed the shotgun and a box of birdshot to competitive shooter Chase Orr, grabbed my camera and recorded the results.
Turns out the gun handles and points well even for 13 year old shooters. Once Chase finished busting clays, I tried the same shotgun: it made me look like a much better wingshooter than I am most of the time. Three barrels balance very well and make muzzle rise on recoil quite small. The 26″ length provided excellent sighting for both clays and more distant steel targets. The fiber optic bead helped alignment without blocking downrange visibility.
Each barrel can be set up with its own load and choke tube. For example, the two bottom barrels may be equipped with rifled chokes for slugs, and the top with cylinder bore for buckshot — that’s if you are out hog-hunting. Or the barrels could be set up, in order of firing, with open, modified and full for use on departing clays or birds.
The single double action trigger is fires barrels in rotation. Specific barrels cannot be selected. In case of misfire, you can shoot the next barrel — double action is mechanical, not dependent on recoil for re-cocking as with some over and under guns. The trigger is light and crisp. The break action is very tight, with no play in any dimension.
Safety is a tang slider, very convenient. The shotgun itself is very smooth in use, making the process of lining up on a clay or a steel clanger effortless. Thanks to the very short action, the extra barrel length doesn’t make the shotgun feel over-long. While the 20ga is lighter than the 12ga by a little over a pound, the reduced payload keeps recoil mild even for Brenneke Knock Out slugs. By the way, slugs is where the extra barrel length comes in so handy for accurate aiming: hitting steel silhouettes at 75 yards is not hard. For closer range around 10-15 yards, hitting three different targets with buckshot is a matter of a second, faster than any bump or semiauto I’ve tried.
While I am a great fan of Triple Crown for every task that can be solved in three shots, it has extractors only. Great for people who reload hulls, but slows down reloading a bit. It is still a niche solution for people who wish to use shotgun for home defense but prefer something with super simple manual of arms.
The 18.5″ Triple Threat variant (now available in 20ga) is short, handy and well balanced. The operation is extremely uncomplicated. For the rest of us, it’s a very fun, well balanced sporting smoothbore.