View Full Version : 4 gauge shotgun??? What???

February 21, 2001, 01:24 PM

Have you guys seen or ever heard of a 4 gauge? Well there is one for sale on http://www.tennesseeguns.com/firearms.html for $800.00. I can only imagine.

February 21, 2001, 01:47 PM
I've seen 4 gauge shotguns but never had the pleasure of firing one. Before cordite was introduced they were the choice of African hunters who wanted the ultimate in stopping power. They may also have been used by market hunters in North American around the turn of the century. I saw one in England a few years ago and it was meant for use on safari.

Dave McC
February 21, 2001, 02:32 PM
Some market hunters used 4 ga guns to sluice entire resting flocks of ducks and geese on the water with one shot. Often,these were mounted to the boat and resembled small cannon more than shoulder arms.

Others were shoulder fired, and banned about 100 years ago from sporting use,along with anything else of more than 10 gauge.

February 21, 2001, 02:40 PM
I've heard of 4-bore and even 2-bore RIFLES, but those haven't been in production for almost a hundred years, if I'm not mistaken.

February 21, 2001, 02:43 PM
I believe that is the term for the small howitzer used in the manner Dave decribed.

I cannot *imagine* putting one to my *shoulder* and firing it. I was once kicked in the thigh by a quarterhorse...I'll bet it would be something like that. Can you imagine the flinch you'd develop?


Daniel Watters
February 21, 2001, 06:35 PM
The Russian Ministry of Interior troops would seem to have these in their inventory. The Tula TOZ-23 (http://toz.vpk.ru/eng/123.htm) sporting model has three para-military variations:

KS-23 (http://www.mvd.ru/d/d1/r1/armor/c45.htm#???????????%20???????%20???), KS-23M (http://www.mvd.ru/d/d1/r1/tula/c40-1.htm#???????%20???????????%20ks-23m), and KS-23K (http://www.mvd.ru/d/d1/r1/tula/c41-2.htm#???????%20???????????%20ks-23k).

February 21, 2001, 07:07 PM
Punt guns are still legal in and are still used in England. Shooting Sportsman magazine had an article on them several years ago. Seems the gun is mounted in the bow of a small boat and the entire boat is aimed at rafts of ducks. Real sporting:(

Wonder if those russian 4 GA guns are used for grenades, like the US M79?

Geoff Ross

[Edited by K80Geoff on 02-23-2001 at 09:59 AM]

Daniel Watters
February 21, 2001, 07:31 PM
The KS-23 series come with spigot attachments for launching grenades (using blanks). Similiar attachments have been available for 12 gauge shotguns. However, I haven't seen a hull for the KS-23 which contains its own explosive payload.

Mike Irwin
February 22, 2001, 12:26 AM
I've fired an 8 gauge, and have seen 4 gauge shells, but never a 4 gauge shotgun.

February 22, 2001, 02:33 PM
I've fired a 10 gauge ONCE and only ONCE. I had nasty bruises for weeks. I can't imagine what would happen to my poor peewny little body parts should I shoot a 4.

February 23, 2001, 10:03 PM
I'm looking at an article in G&A from last year about one Giles Whittome, who makes exceedingly large firearms in England. His black powder 4 bore (which is rifled) throws an 1880 grain projectile. If the dinosaurs come back, a 4 bore would be a good camp gun...

February 24, 2001, 01:40 AM
Saw a punt gun at the Harrahs Museum in Reno when I was really young and impressionable. Longest thing I had ever seen.
Few years later when I was not as young but still impressionable there was a tavern by Weston, MO which had a 4 gauge shotgun hanging on the wall. Simply amazin' how big the hole in the end of the barrel was.
In both instances was told that they were used for market hunting.
And no the thought of holding and firing either one did not intrigue me.


February 24, 2001, 09:23 AM
Don't the English 4 ga. guns weigh 25 pounds or more? I think the last time I read that was in the G&A article bobs1066 referred to. In any case, I still don't long to shoot one. John

February 24, 2001, 11:42 AM
A fellow once brought a 4 Bore rifle to my range. He allowed me to fire it three times. Why 3? Because after the third shot, nausea overcame me. I was seriously bruised and flinched for months. Yikes!

February 26, 2001, 01:53 PM
Saw an article yesterday, I believe it was in American Shooter, about the shotguns of England. They talked about the 4 Bore and how it is still used in England. Any gun of .50 caliber is banned for civilians in the US so the 10 guage is as big as we'll see. The guy in the article has built a custom 1 Bore magnum. They show a picture of the shell he is stuffing in it, it looks like a stick of dynomite, and yes these guns are fired from the shoulder, pics are in the magazine.

February 26, 2001, 02:12 PM
"Any gun of .50 caliber is banned for civilians in the US so the 10 guage is as big as we'll see. "

You're mixing your categories. Any *rifle* over .50 is a destructive device, but even a 12 ga is .729 and 10 ga shotguns are only the max for *hunting* but smoothbores over 10 ga aren't destructive devices.

February 26, 2001, 03:01 PM
My apologies for the error, I was attempting to paraphrase the article. The 4 guage they showed being fired from the shoulder looked huge, the total length of the gun may have been more that 6 feet. I'll see if I can post a pic tonight.

February 26, 2001, 04:21 PM
at last year's Vintager shoot where a gunner touched off both barrels of a 4-bore. He was shooting a hammergun and made the mistake of cocking both hammers. An old rule says fire each barrel indedpendently or, at least, pull the rear trigger first. There's a video of the blasts. The shooter remained standing but was twirled around and hit an observed in the head with the gun. Bloodied him, too. Word had it that this was the first recorded incident of a gunner still standing after lighting off both barrels of a 4-bore. Selous reportedly did the same while on horseback in southern Africa and was knocked to the ground. If I can, I'll post the loads commonly used, but do remember that they are ferocious.

February 26, 2001, 09:09 PM
I erred in my last post. Mr. John Miller actually was shooting a 4-bore rifle when he dropped both hammers. Nevertheless, here's what was inside the barrels of his 24-pound undelever hammergun: 3,000 grains of lead, launched by 730 grains of F blackpowder. Think about that load for a moment.

February 26, 2001, 09:25 PM
About a coon's age ago at Ft. Knox, I was told that you could roll a Sheridan if it was moving across a slope & you fired a 157mm conventional round uphill. I expect the gentleman with the both-barrels-go-at-once 4 bore had a similar experience....

Doc Hudson
February 27, 2001, 02:48 AM
According to the version I read, Selous was using a 4-bore single barreled muzzle-loader as his #1 gun.

The gun mis-fired and Selous passed it back and continued the hunt with the #2 gun in hand. #1 gun made it's way back to the loader who assumed the gun had been fired. Rather than reseating the charge and putting a fresh cap on the nipple, loader poured another overly generous measure of powder down the spout, followed by a wad, a bullet, and another wad.

I due course, #2 gun and #3 gun were both discharged and #1 gun made it's way back to Bwana Selous's hot little hands. Allegedly, Selous drew a bead on a monstrous tusker and pulled the trigger.

An enormous explosion resulted. The gun stock broke at the wrist, and Selous was knocked out colder than a wedge with a dislocated shoulder.

The gunbearers, loader and trackers swiftly made tracks back to camp. Some time later, Selous regained consciousness and returned to camp in time to overhear his staff discuss the relative merits of returning to the coast and reporting the death of BWana Selous, and simply melting into the jungle. (Melting into the jungle and avoiding blame for the death of Selous seemed to hold the winning edge until Selous showed up.) When he staggered into camp, Selous scared hell out of his staff who were convinced he was a ghost. Supposedly, it took some time to convince them that he was actually alive and not a ghost.

Selous repaired the gunstock with rawhide, brass tacks and copper wire. He used it for several months until he returned to the coast to sell his ivory.

Doc Hudson

February 27, 2001, 01:18 PM
I bet that left a heck of a bulge in the bore! Absolutely amazing that the barrel didn't burst.

February 27, 2001, 05:10 PM
The newest Outdoor Life has an article about a British Shotgun maker who makes 1, 2, and 4 gauge shotguns. It shows a picture of him firing one of his handmade 2 gauge shotguns. The 1 gauge he is crafting (with hand tools) I believe will weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 56 lbs. There is also a picture of him loading one of his 2 gauge shells - he made them out of brass. It seems that he can reach out and touch those high flyers at 80 yards with the 2 gauge and estimates that the 1 gauge will easily reach over 100.


March 1, 2001, 04:37 PM
When I purchased my USAS-12, I ended up learning a lot from "regulation spelunking" on the BATF website. I highly recommend it if you are bored, some interesting concepts (in violation of the 2nd) throughout.

Mere civilians are not allowed to have firearms of more than .5-inch bore UNLESS they decide it is particularly suitable for sporting purpose. Shotguns like a duck gun, skeet/trap, sporting clays...all OK. "Tactical" guns are frowned on, except they (for now) seem to understand there ins't much legal distinction between a 18.5" ghost ring folding stock 870 and a 28" 'conventional' 870. However, if it looks TOO mean...that is where rule 94-1 (which says the USAS is a Class III because it has "no sporting use") and others fill the gap.

The shooting sports are NOT sports, by the way. Several lawsuits attempted to bring up the existence of police-type competitions, IPSC, etc, but the offical government position is that they are NOT sports.

Oddly enough, I use my semi-auto M4 and that USAS-12 as the lead shooter for my base shooting team...chartered through Base Services as a SPORT. Go figure.

4 bore? Scary...my shoulder hurts just thinking about it.