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My grandfather recently passed away and left us a few of his firearms. One of which is this triple barrel shotgun. We do not really know anything about it as there are no papers or serial number. From a discussion I had with him about it a few years back, if my memory is correct, I believe it is chambered in 20 gauge, 12 gauge, and .223. In the same conversation I believe he said it was Belgian made and there were only ever three produced. Any help on the identity and value would be greatly appreciated.
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Haha, that “triple barrel shotgun” is actually called a drilling. The upper barrels are 12-16 gauge by the picture and the bottom barrel is a rifle. If you remove the barrels there is a flat spot on the bottom (barrel flats) and on the mating surface on the receiver (water-table). Take good clear pictures of all the markings you can find and someone will be able to give you more information.
 

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Whatever the rifle is, I can guarantee you it is not 223. That drilling, built on the Roux, underlever action, is probably pre-WWI. The daddy of the 223's designer was a toddler, if he was even born when that drilling was made. That and the case head the 223 was derived from didn't appear until 1950. I'm not sure what is going on with the shotgun barrels but to have 12 and 16 in the same barrel set is highly irregular for that period of time. 20 bore is equally unlikely. But, who knows what was done to it between the time it was made and when Grandpa put it away. It's equally possible someone had it built that way for themselves....but again, highly unlikely.

Firpo is correct. You're going to have to take it down and post pictures of the proof marks and they are where he described. Take down is easy. On the bottom of the forearm should be a release. With the action closed, pull it and the fore arm should slip off into your hand. Set it aside, then holding the barrels, lower the operating lever and the barrels will swing down and can be lifted from the receiver. If possible I'd like to see pictures of at least a portion of the shotgun bores. Is there any rifling present in either one, straight or helical?

I don't know where or even how anyone determined there was only 3 made. I've owned more than that and have 3 in the toy box as I type this.....and there is probably hundreds for sale on line right now, not counting those still tucked away in closets, attics, garages and who knows where. It's impossible to know how many were made, even in that configuration, if it's correct and original. Most were brought to this country as war trophy's.

S/N's weren't required then and except for the very largest makers were not used.

Belgian is possible but German is one heck of a lot more likely. The Tyrolean cheek rest screams Germany as well as pre-WWI, same as the Roux action. The proof marks will tell the story. Date of manufacture can only be narrowed to a range and again, need to see the proofs to tell. Without seeing them, everything is speculation.
 

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Hmmm...maybe it was a rhetorical question. OP hasn't been back since he joined and posted.
 

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Yes sir, I've noticed that also.
 
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Heck Larry, I don't know for sure. All I can go on is what I own, what I've seen in the past and what I've read. The shotgun barrels do look....peculiar. To have 2 different gauge shotguns is....well, I've never read or heard of it done. The closer I look at the shotgun barrels I think it might be the angle of the light making them look as they do but....maybe not.

The 11.15 X 60R, (43 Mauser), was fairly popular/common as the rifle cartridge and that drilling would be about the end of the period of it being chambered. I don't know of any chambered for a larger caliber. By then 10.5 and 10 mm were more common for larger calibers, especially those cartridges based on the 43 Mauser shortened to 47mm. From the picture.....to me it looks as if could be any of the three. As I told the OP, the proof marks will tell the story....maybe. Folks did all sorts of things to those war trophies trying to figure out a way to use them. I have a nice, lower end drilling, (lower end that it isn't engraved or has any extra's. quality is the same as others), that was proofed as the 9.3 X 57R, not the one based on the 8 X 57 Mauser, a different case. The chamber has been opened up to accept a case based on the 30-40 Krag necked to 9.3. Weird stuff happened in those halcyon days.
 
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Sharps, I think the barrels look peculiar in the picture because he moved either the gun or the camera when he took the picture. When I expand the picture I can see what looks like a second image of the left and lower barrels but the right barrel is in focus.
 
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I think you're right Griz. 12 bore in a drilling was very, very uncommon at that time. They were almost universally 16's because of the size receiver that could be used. Even newer drillings in 12 bore have a clubby, unwieldy feel. By the time a rifle barrel is added they're just clumsy feeling.
 

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I'm no expert on drillings but we have had more than a few come and go in the shop and all of the ones I've seen were 16 bore.
 

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Recently ran across a gun builder that really impressed me and would like to know more about him and his father. "Suelfmeister" seems to be known for his rifles with triple barrels is what I found in a google search, I'm not sure of its validity! Does anybody know anything about Willie Karl or his dad Franz?
 

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Recently ran across a gun builder that really impressed me and would like to know more about him and his father. "Suelfmeister" seems to be known for his rifles with triple barrels is what I found in a google search, I'm not sure of its validity! Does anybody know anything about Willie Karl or his dad Franz?
You may get better results if you started your question in a new thread in the General Firearms Discussion forum.
 
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