Watch: Liberator 4-Barrel Survival Shotguns by Winchester
Russ Chastain 12.19.16
Talk about an impressive sight with which to greet a home invader! These 4-barrel shotguns never made into widespread production, but they are definitely interesting–and menacing. They were designed as cheap survival guns that could be used by guerilla fighters, and for that they might have been useful.
The Mark 1 had some problems, and Ian was unable to get his hands on one, so after examining a wood mockup of a Mark 1 we begin looking at a sure-nuff Mark 2. Of the removable wire shoulder stock, Ian observes that it is “probably the least-comfortable stock ever envisioned by humankind.”
No, it doesn’t fire all 4 barrels at once. Talk about recoil! Instead, it fires them one at a time.
Ian talks about shotgun gauge and mentioned .68 inch as the muzzle size. He then claims that is non-standard and that it is in the neighborhood of 14 gauge. This surprised me for a couple of reasons. First that Ian is incorrect, and second because Ian is rarely incorrect in his videos.
Go ahead, grab a caliper and measure the muzzle of your 12 gauge shotgun. I’ll wait.
I suspect Ian was thinking of shell size rather than bore size, because a 12 gauge shell is certainly larger than 0.68. To check that, he should have measured a chamber, not the muzzle.
A little later in the video we see some text saying “they could also be in 12ga with very tight chokes,” which is more accurate. In measuring some choke tubes, 0.68 is just about right for a full choke.
No, these guns are not in some proprietary gauge; they’re 12 gauge. Moving on.
Looking at a Mark 3, we get to see how the gun manages to fire each of the barrels with just one hammer. Turns out, the face of the hammer has a rotating protrusion that strikes one of the 4 firing pins each time it falls, then when it’s cocked the protrusion rotates counterclockwise to contact another firing pin.
In the mid-1960s these guns were marketed to just about any government agency that would listen, but none were interested and in the end the idea fizzled out.