Double Discharges ... Ready for Your Close-Up

A Franchi o/u that fires from both barrels...carrying a second gun to call in predators.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Q: Two years ago I purchased a Franchi 20-gauge over/under. Last year it started discharging both barrels at the same time. What do you think could be causing this? The gun was cleaned after each outing. I contacted Franchi by e-mail, but I guess they didn't feel it worthwhile to answer. I'm thinking about purchasing the matching 28-gauge but am having serious doubts. --R.K.

A: The gun could have been defective from the beginning and just took a while to break down, or you could be overcleaning it. When you say "cleaned after every outing," do you mean sprayed down with lubricant in every crevice? Spraying aerosol lubricants like WD-40 into every hole is a sure way to build crud on moving parts. The lube attracts dust, which combines with the lube to foul things up.

In either case, I can't tell for sure. Your two solutions are to get serious about contacting Franchi with a phone call or letter (especially if the gun was purchased new) or contacting a full-time gunsmith who knows shotguns. I can recommend Heckman Specialties, www.heckspec.com.

Q: I've become interested in predator hunting. I'm in the Army and am stationed in northern New York. I have a Ruger M77 MKII Varmint in .223. Would you suggest carrying a second, quicker-handling gun for close-in shots? --M.T.N.

A: If you're calling coyotes, foxes, etc., yes, a second gun can help at close range, where your long, heavy rifle is a handicap. Some shooters even use a handgun at close range, and others use a shotgun with large bird shot like No. 2s or BBs, or a quicker rifle, such as a light lever action in a handgun caliber. You could even use one all-around rifle such as a lighter, shorter .223 with a medium-power scope.