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Lancaster Four-Barrel Shotgun With Double-Action Trigger

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In this episode of Forgotten Weapons, Ian talks about the Lancaster Four-Barrel Shotgun With Double-Action Trigger. In 1826, Charles Lancaster started his gunmaking business in London. More than a 50 years after his death, the business survived through the management of his sons, and in 1878, an apprentice bought the rights to the firm.

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By then, the company already had an established reputation for quality. They pioneered some innovative work on the modern breechloading shotgun, as well as developed interesting technological advancements, such as the Lancaster’s oval-bore rifling. Their most noteworthy products to date include a series of 2-barrel and 4-barrel handguns. Eventually, they expanded the mechanism from those into a small number of 4-barrel shotguns, and later on, an even smaller number of 4-barrel rifles.

This focus of the video is a particular four-barrel shotgun in 20 gauge that has a unique trigger mechanism derived from the pistols. Interestingly, it has two triggers. The bottom trigger acts as a cocking lever and the top trigger is for firing. This allows the shooter to either cock the gun and then make a careful shot with the light upper trigger, or to pull all the way through with the upper trigger. This action is very similar to that of a double action revolver.

This system was created mainly because the firing mechanism had four firing pins but only one striker, which rotated to fire each barrel in sequence. The “cocking” action of the trigger was in fact the process of retracting the striker and rotating it to the next barrel.

As expected of a gun of this quality, it has some basic decorative embellishments to the metal and some fine woodwork as well. For those who think a two-barrel gun doesn’t cut it and a three-barrel gun still isn’t enough, maybe the Lancaster Four-Barrel Shotgun is for you.

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