Winchester 21 Double Rifle?

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by Ray B, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    In a conversation recently I was told that due to it's strength (compared to other SxS shotguns) that the Winchester Model 21 is "readily" changed from a shotgun to a rifle, particularly rifles chambered for the large rimmed African cartridges. Does anyone know if this has been done and would it be feasible to have a M 21 with a set of 12 ga barrels and have it interchange with a set of rifles such as 450/400? I know that given enough money anything can be built, but I'm referencing "practical".
     

  2. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    Ive seen a Winchester 21 that was converted to a double 45-70.. but never heard of or seen one converted for "African" big bore calibers...

    but.. I'm guessing the action is probably strong enough for some... especially if you were willing to make sure you loaded them "mildly"..

    Max chamber pressure for a .45-70 is 29,000 PSI

    600 NE = 32,000
    470 NE = 35,000
    5050 Gibbs = 35,000
    450/400 = 38,000
     

  3. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    As far as practical, like Slick Willie said, "it depends what your definition of is, is! Searcy started building his doubles off of Browning BSS shotguns and I have seen doubles built off of various donor guns of less quality and strength than the M 21 Winchesters. I would say it is definitely doable but won't be cheap, especially considering the lack of qualified double rifle smiths in the country. Also with a little dedication a good deal can be had on modern double rifles. There was a post on here about this subject and I believe the gunsmith was in Texas that built the gun and it appeared to turn out great, I believe it was @buckstix maybe.
    The link below seems like a fine deal on a 470NE with a set of 12 ga barrels.
    http://www.gunbroker.com/item/591646091
    Good luck and keep us posted if you have one built!
    Cheers,
    Cody
     
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  4. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Ray,
    A gunsmith in Louisiana (http://clarkcustomguns.com/) use to convert CZ SxS shotguns to double rifles for around $5,000. Their website no longer shows
    them though. I think the final fit and finish was viewed as only so-so. A better option for a "budget" double might be the Sabatti. I have no direct experience with them but they have been discussed on AH and a few folks have them and like them. Here's a listing on GB: http://www.gunbroker.com/item/593317521

    upload_2016-10-22_16-30-38.png
     

  5. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    Well Im pretty sure you could use any of the BPE cartridges. If you dont want real or substitute black powder loads, there are smokeless loadings too.

    The question is WHO is going to do the conversion and HOW are they gonna do it?

    IF you just have to have it, then go for it; but yo can get a double rifle in a true DG cartridge for less. (Sabatti's run about $3k for a 9,3x74R and maybe $5K for Nitro Express chamberings)
     

  6. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Take a $5000 shotgun and add $6000-$12000 for new barrels and regulation and in the end you've made a $3000 bastard of its former self.

    Why not buy a double rifle for same money and not molest a highly collectible shotgun?
     
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  7. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    The question was not to convert a M21 to a rifle, but the feasibility of having a set of barrels made for the action so that much like a shotgun with multiple barrel sets, it would be a shotgun that would have a set of shotgun barrels and an interchangeable set of barrels for a rifle cartridge.
     

  8. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    @Ray B that nuance is actually more expensive. Modifying a shotgun to fit rifle barrels while still retaining the original shotgun barrels may be a harder choice. A set of rifle barrels from Westley Richards, for example is 16,000 GBP. ($20,800 roughly) Those handful in the world that will do this are all very pricey.

    The assumption is that you will chop off the 12 bore barrels, make it into a monoblock and fit rifled barrels to the action using the monoblock from the old shotgun barrels so you don't have to fuss with ejectors, extractor shoes, bite lock up, dolls heads, etc....all that stuff stays put. You'll then relay the lower rib and fashion a new upper rib, 1/4 rib and front ramp sight with a regulating wedge at the muzzle. This path can be done for say $6000-$12,000.

    So the cheap route destroys a model 21 to make a near worthless double rifle. The expensive route costs more than a lightly used best gun.
     
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  9. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    Yeah, it can be done but is a question of cost. A monoblock is one way to go (the most popular) but this assumes a good fit from the get-go (not at all certain).

    Nick Makinson (http://www.nickmakinson.com/), a Birmingham-trained gunmaker living in Canada, has done the conversion, to 470 NE. His work I would trust.
     

  10. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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  11. Excessexpress

    Excessexpress AH Senior Member

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    Frankly, if you want a modestly priced double rifle, order a merkel.

    You can get them with a set if shotgun barrels to order.

    For over/under, take a look at the 2000 series.

    Merkel build shotguns on DR actions, not the other way round.
     
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  12. Tony kerala

    Tony kerala New Member

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    Hi there follow hunters. I am new here and new to African games but not new to hunting and outdoors enthusiast.

    I want to get back to this thread since I am interested in it. Did you ever get some answers on your quest?

    I have a 21 and we all know how strong it is, to digest 2000 over proof loads without any mechanical issues, that it strong. I have a friend who takes his to Argentina doves each year and digest close to 6k rounds each time, shooting sporting clays...so we know that for repetitive shooting, the 21 design and metallurgy is more than enough.

    But I never heard of anyone have a double rifle converted in those big caliber.

    I always hear that you need a bridge or fit the barrel on the circle to make it stronger. I don't know if I believe this. What you say about this particular design?

    I say the longer barrel help minimizing the stress instead of concentrating it, but maybe for big caliber, someone needs to add or machine a cross bolt or dove tail on top of the receiver, this will help minimizing or even eliminate the flex.

    I am interested on your thoughts

    Thank you
     

  13. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Tony, see my answer above. The math doesn't work. Taking a valuable shotgun and making an expensive, near worthless double rifle is not advisable. So many superior options for less exist.

    Yes, you can bleach the Mona Lisa and reuse the canvas for your intro to art class, but why?
     
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  14. Tony kerala

    Tony kerala New Member

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    Totally agree rook hawk, I will never attempt this, but I am always curious about action type and if it is doable and what takes to do it.

    So from your experience, what takes to convert the 21 to DR? Just to keep this conversation going...

    I think a top fastener is a necessity. I have seen searcy BSS converted into 470 NE, but not before it went to some reinforcement such a 3rd fastener.
     

  15. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    A barrelmaker could make two barrels, the outside dimensions were such that it would fit the shotgun bore similar to the gauge reduction inserts. The breech could be notched and ejector machined to connect the shotgun's ejector to the case. Some means of adjustment could be added so the inserts could be regulated. The Limitations: the inserts would change the balance of the gun so that it would likely be unwieldy; the action strength even shooting proof loads is designed for loads a quarter of standard rifle loads- I suppose you could limit use to blackpowder; Lastly, the operational surety of it would be in doubt, particularly in the safari environment. Just because no one has done something (that we know of), doesn't mean that it can't be done, but it also doesn't mean that doing it would be a good idea.
     
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  16. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Aha! That's a pivot in the conversation and a great point for more knowledgeable minds then mine to jump in upon!

    Here is what I know from the annals of shotgun lore:

    Several features have been added to the double barrel under the theory they make tangible improvements to the structure and in the end, most were debunked. While the feature implies quality, it's function is placebo.

    Some examples: the third bite. We once thought a third bite (any third bite location) was better than two...not much difference. Sideclips: we thought they kept the barrels on the gun...nope. Greener crossbolt: grabbing a braised on rib for extra strength, or a doll's head, may not be the best plan. Side bolsters: more placebo. Extended tangs: things rarely get stronger by removing more material....it borders on homeopathic philosophies.

    So you don't need most of the above to make your double rifle.

    What does work? Great metallurgy. Proper hardening and Annealling. The right amount of carbon in the steel for the job. Chopper lump : monobloc barrels. Micro tig Welding to manage heat transfer.

    The 21 is an ugly duck to me but it is built like a brick sh&$&house as you know. It has all the bite it needs to hold a gun barrel together. The 12 is really too big and they don't make a 20 frame so that leaves the 16 gauge frame. It probably is best suited for a .577 or .600 since you've got such substantial breech face that means big, heavy barrels by necessity.

    Now you've got a plan, kill a 16 gauge ejector model 21. Amputate the barrels to make a monobloc. Rework ejectors. Remove barrel selectors. Find vintage double triggers unless gun had them. Make a new stock and forend for proper rifle dimensions. Now thread new tubes to the monobloc we made. Tig up the seams. Re-lay bottom rib. Make a barrel wedge. Make a new top rib and quarter rib. Chamber. Sight it. Regulate it.

    It will certainly hold up, it should sell for $3500 or so when done. Cost of the work: $10,000+. Cost of donor gun: $6000.

    Gunsmiths, please step in and correct my statements on how it would be made technically please.
     
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  17. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Ray is giving an alternative done all the time on drillings. If you wanted a .22 hornet or a .221 fireball, this will work. Barrel inserts are made in Germany for this solution. Just as Ray said, this is a low pressure option for small bore or black powder options.
     

  18. Tony kerala

    Tony kerala New Member

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    I was trying to contribute to this thread and get more specific. I am not trying to convert any 21. Actually Ray the OP was asking about it.

    Just as the 21 action is strong, what would be the steps to convert it completely to DR and not just inserts. But rook hawk, you answered it well.

    Ray, a low pressure shotgun shell is respective to the barrel containing it. It is not the frame in question. In other words, any of these frames converted into rifles such JP sauer, simson, merkel or bss were originally built for low pressure 12ga or 20ga shell.
     

  19. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Turnkey solution for low pressure cartridges:

    8785792.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2017

  20. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I am not a Mod 21 expert, but have seen many. I have seen these used for as little as $3500-$4000. And new ones up to $40,000. So I tend to agree with RH, many 21s are for collectors, and I could see how an unknowing person could easily have $20,000 in a DR worth $5000-$6000. Buy a new Merkel!
     

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