I love hammerguns. To me they’re the peak…the pinnacle..the apex, even, of the gunmaker’s art. Few double-barrels are as elegant as this 12 gauge W. & C. Scott Premier, and what hammerless, side-by-side shotgun can match this sexy little 20g Powell bar in wood?
That being said, I know hammerguns can be PITA. The breechloading, hammer gun period lasted just twenty years, from about 1866 to 1886. As the 19th century chugged into modernity, hammerless doubles by Purdey, Boss, Holland & Holland were the cools kids. Hammerguns were pretty much done.
These days, many of the hammerguns you see are old and tired. Most have damascus barrels and short chambers. The American ones have too much drop and the British ones have been honed, polished, and worked over like Rodney King by the LAPD.
That’s why this 12 gauge J.P. Sauer hammergun by caught my eye. With 27 1/2″ fluid-steel barrels, a straight, English-style stock, good dimensions (14 3/4″ x 1 5/8″ x 2 1/2″) , and 2 3/4″ chambers, it’s has all the plusses of a hammergun and none of the downside. You know it’s quality, too (it’s German). Best of all, it’s cheap. Where else can you buy that much elegance for $1495?