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The Eight-Barreled Colt Defender: An Interesting Footnote in Shotgun History

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February 01, 2013

The Eight-Barreled Colt Defender: An Interesting Footnote in Shotgun History

By Phil Bourjaily

Seeing the Chiappa Triple Crown at SHOT made me think about multiple-barreled shotguns. Besides the hunting model which I really want to try for waterfowl, the Chiappa also comes in a cut down home defense version because, well, that’s where the money is these days. There is no denying the intimidation factor of looking down three shotgun barrels if you are an intruder. Of course, three barrels wouldn’t be anywhere near as scary as eight, which brings us to Robert Hillberg’s Colt Defender shotgun, of which prototype versions were produced in the 60s.

Hillberg, who designed prototypes of the Winchester Liberator, a four-barreled, 16 gauge update on the WWII Liberator single shot pistol, went on to design another multi-barrel gun that never caught on: the Defender.

The Defender had eight (8!) 3-inch 20 gauge barrels that fired on a double-action trigger pull. Later versions also included a center barrel tear-gas launcher. Colt built a few guns and shopped them around to law enforcement agencies, but while many were interested in the design, there were not enough orders for Colt to justity production, so the Defender became an interesting footnote in shotgun history.

Comments (15)

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I have a feeling that thing wouldn't have been that reliable. I can see a double action moving a pistol cylinder through its rotations but I'm thinking rotating eight 20 gauge shotgun barrels is going to take some kinda leverage with just one little finger. Scary looking for sure, but for real live tactical work, scary looking should be way down the list of desirable characteristics. It's like these new cars with all kinds of crazy options (e.g. backing themselves into parking spots). The more stuff that's attached to a car - or a gun - the more likelihood something is going to malfunction. Great for the bank account of garage mechanics or gunsmiths ... not so great maybe if someone is breaking into your home or trying to overrun your outpost.

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from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Suppose they would have banned those in NY too?

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from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

It'd be fun to own one of those as a gatling gun configuration.

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Isn't there a military version that shoots 40mm grenades or was it just a movie prop?? That thing would definitely put the PUCKER FACTOR UP TO A 8 OR 9.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Cool...

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from RJ Arena wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

It is cool looking, I wonder on the recoil and flash though.

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from Amflyer wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

It's legal in New York, you just have to remember to only load 7 of the barrels.

Sounds reasonable to me.

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from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I just saw a photo of Obama firing a shotgun. He says "he does skeet shooting all the time". Yes, I'm sure he does. The photo is staged. Where is his shell pouch? Where is his shooting vest/jacket? Someone that shoots Skeet "all the time" uses these items. I have shot a lot of skeet over the years. Only a first timer shoots as he is.

MG

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from Giggidy-Giggidy wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

How much does this monster weigh? It looks like it should be mounted to a cart and pulled by draft horses.

I seen the pic of O'bama shooting skeet also, he looked pretty stiff, or maybe its because he's posing? Hmm? The only thing he shoots is B.S.

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Yeah, I saw the pic of Pres Obama shooting skeet. Doesn't he just look like a good ole down to earth shooter? If you believe that I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

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from wisc14 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

i'm thinking the obama picture was definately staged. however if you read the article he does have a nice quote about the traditions of hunting

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from RJ Arena wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Yes, without question it is a staged picture. If he really did skeet "all of the time" he would have made a short propaganda film on it to justify his gun regulation actions, but they did not because they are cleaver enough to know that he could not fake it long enough to fool real shooters, so they just release this photo.

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from Del in KS wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Now fellers you know prezeedint Obomber wouldn't tell a lie. He probly shoots skeet right out the back door of the white house.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago
from oakwood phantom wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Hello Briley, I would like to order eight choke tubes...

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Post a Comment

from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I have a feeling that thing wouldn't have been that reliable. I can see a double action moving a pistol cylinder through its rotations but I'm thinking rotating eight 20 gauge shotgun barrels is going to take some kinda leverage with just one little finger. Scary looking for sure, but for real live tactical work, scary looking should be way down the list of desirable characteristics. It's like these new cars with all kinds of crazy options (e.g. backing themselves into parking spots). The more stuff that's attached to a car - or a gun - the more likelihood something is going to malfunction. Great for the bank account of garage mechanics or gunsmiths ... not so great maybe if someone is breaking into your home or trying to overrun your outpost.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nixstyx wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Suppose they would have banned those in NY too?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

It'd be fun to own one of those as a gatling gun configuration.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Isn't there a military version that shoots 40mm grenades or was it just a movie prop?? That thing would definitely put the PUCKER FACTOR UP TO A 8 OR 9.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Cool...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

It is cool looking, I wonder on the recoil and flash though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

It's legal in New York, you just have to remember to only load 7 of the barrels.

Sounds reasonable to me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I just saw a photo of Obama firing a shotgun. He says "he does skeet shooting all the time". Yes, I'm sure he does. The photo is staged. Where is his shell pouch? Where is his shooting vest/jacket? Someone that shoots Skeet "all the time" uses these items. I have shot a lot of skeet over the years. Only a first timer shoots as he is.

MG

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Giggidy-Giggidy wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

How much does this monster weigh? It looks like it should be mounted to a cart and pulled by draft horses.

I seen the pic of O'bama shooting skeet also, he looked pretty stiff, or maybe its because he's posing? Hmm? The only thing he shoots is B.S.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Yeah, I saw the pic of Pres Obama shooting skeet. Doesn't he just look like a good ole down to earth shooter? If you believe that I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

i'm thinking the obama picture was definately staged. however if you read the article he does have a nice quote about the traditions of hunting

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Yes, without question it is a staged picture. If he really did skeet "all of the time" he would have made a short propaganda film on it to justify his gun regulation actions, but they did not because they are cleaver enough to know that he could not fake it long enough to fool real shooters, so they just release this photo.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Now fellers you know prezeedint Obomber wouldn't tell a lie. He probly shoots skeet right out the back door of the white house.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago
from oakwood phantom wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Hello Briley, I would like to order eight choke tubes...

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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