Introduction: The All in One Gun
A double rifle can be a very flexible hunting arm, especially if it comes with additional shotgun barrels and/or combination rifle/shotgun barrels: and the Valmet 412 series were one of the best of the affordable combination guns on the market.
There is a limit to what one can expect from an “all in one gun” combination however. Yes the combination gun can provide interchangeable barrel sets for shotgun, rifle/shotgun combination, or double rifle, but it cannot be expected to be a tack-driving “reach out and touch” long range rifle that delivers sub-MOA groups out past the 200 yard mark. For a lot of shooting opportunities these combination arms can be a perfect choice, but if you need to be able to take shots out past the 200 yard mark into 300 yards and beyond territory then you’re likely to need a properly set up bolt action in the rifle safe as well.
The Valmet Model 412
The Valmet Model 412 was a nicely made European combination gun that earned a good reputation for itself, primarily in Europe and Britain. Its design was very much like the Remington 32 (i.e. 3200) and was built to provide a shooting system based around an over/under double shotgun style barrel break action with the option to buy shotgun, rifle/shotgun combination, and/or double rifle barrel sets for it.
The Valmet Model 412 could be had in 12 gauge 2¾” chambering with a choice of 26″, 28″ or 30″ barrels. For the rifle barrels one could choose .308 Winchester, 30-06, 7.62x54R or 9.3x74R. Barrels for rimless cartridges were fitted with extractors while those for rimmed cartridges were normally fitted with ejectors. The combination shotgun/rifle barrels were typically 12 gauge for the shotgun (although 20 gauge was offered briefly) and a rifle barrel in the owner’s choice of available calibers.
The normal action of the Valmet Model 421 used a monobloc system for barrel attachment, and featured a single trigger. The safety catch was automatic and the trigger system was mechanical, so it did not depend on recoil to reset the trigger to enable the second shot. So if a first shot failed to discharge for some reason the second one would fire when the trigger was released and depressed the second time.
The sights fitted to the Valmet Model 412 shotgun barrels normally comprised a ventilated rib with two beads. The rifle barrels were fitted with a plain foresight and a folding leaf rear sight.
Barrels were also provided with dovetails for fitting optical sights such as a rifle-scope or red dot sight. Valmet made their own quick detachable optical sight mounts that were attached to the barrel dovetail by a screw.
The Valmet Model 412 Rifle Barrel Regulation System
A double rifle or shotgun/rifle combination needs to have the barrels regulated to shoot close to the same point of impact. There are some different schools of thought on how a double rifle’s barrels should be adjusted; one school of thought is that the barrels should be set up to place shots from both barrels to the same point of impact at a set distance, typically 60 yards or 50 meters. The other school of thought prefers to set the barrels so they shoot closely parallel to each other so that for an over/under double rifle the bottom barrel is set to shoot slightly below the upper one. For most double rifles the job of regulation is done by the gunsmith who makes the rifle and he regulates the barrels for one specific loading. If the owner purchases a large quantity of the ammunition for which the double rifle is regulated then they will normally not experience problems. But if the owner wants to change to a different loading, especially if that involves a change of bullet weight, then the barrels may shoot the new loading inches apart, necessitating having a gunsmith re-regulate the barrels for the new loading.
The Valmet Model 412 was provided with an owner adjustable barrel regulation system to make it easy for the rifle’s owner to regulate the barrels of their double rifle or combination gun to shoot as they wanted it to: and to be able to re-adjust their barrel regulation if they changed ammunition or handloads.
In the Model 412 the upper barrel remained fixed and the lower barrel was adjusted to move its point of impact to the upper one. For lateral adjustment there was a screw adjustment in the block joining the barrels at the muzzle. For vertical adjustment there was a wedge system in the middle of the barrels. The adjustments that need to be made were very small and were accomplished by bending the lower barrel through a very small amount to adjust it.
Practical Uses for a Combination Gun/Double Rifle
A combination gun or double rifle set has a very convenient set of practical uses but it can’t be a “one gun for all applications”. It can provide a shotgun for your bird and bunny busting expeditions. It can provide a combination shotgun with small caliber rifle for fox shooting or similar activities. For fox whistling such a combination gun can be ideal because sometimes a fox will come in close in response to the whistle, moving fast, perfect for a shotgun shot: and sometimes they’ll keep their distance and require a longer shot from the rifle barrel.
A double rifle is a far more flexible gun than just a dangerous game rifle for that once in a lifetime trip to Africa. A double rifle can be a woods deer or pig hunting rifle without peer. It is short and fast handling, and the second shot if needed is quicker than even a lever action can accomplish. If your quarry is large and hard to stop then a double rifle in 9.3x74R can be an excellent choice. It isn’t really a dangerous game caliber, but it is a superb cartridge for the larger deer species.
The two Valmet Model 412 rifles featured are coming up for sale by Rock Island auction at their Regional Auction to be held from February 14th-17th, 2019.
The Valmet Model 412S over/under double rifle in 9.3x74R is to be auctioned on February 15th and you will find the sale page for it if you click here.
The condition of that rifle is described by Rock Island Auction as follows: “NB – EXCELLENT- near new condition 95% – 98%, used but little, no noticeable marring of wood or metal, bluing near perfect (some wear at muzzle or sharp edges can be expected).
WW – WOOD IS WORSE FOR THE PERCENT FINISH RATING GIVEN“
The rifle comes with a Leupold Vari-X III 1.5-5x rifle-scope and Gun Guard case.
The Valmet Model 412 Shotgun/rifle combination with three barrel sets will be offered by Rock Island Auction on February 16th, 2019.
The three barrel sets comprise:
- 12 gauge 2¾” choked full and improved modified, 28″.
- 12 gauge 2¾” upper barrel choked full. .222 Remington lower rifle barrel.
- 30-06 double rifle barrel set.
- Black leatherette case.
The condition of this set is described by Rock Island Auction as follows: “NB – EXCELLENT- near new condition 95% – 98%, used but little, no noticeable marring of wood or metal, bluing near perfect (some wear at muzzle or sharp edges can be expected).”
You will find the sale page for this set if you click here.
(All Pictures courtesy Rock Island Auction).
Jon Branch is the founder and senior editor of Revivaler and has written a significant number of articles for various publications including official Buying Guides for eBay, classic car articles for Hagerty, magazine articles for both the Australian Shooters Journal and the Australian Shooter, and he’s a long time contributor to Silodrome.
Jon has done radio, television, magazine and newspaper interviews on various issues, and has traveled extensively, having lived in Britain, Australia, China and Hong Kong. His travels have taken him to Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan and a number of other countries. He has studied the Japanese sword arts and has a long history of involvement in the shooting sports, which has included authoring submissions to government on various firearms related issues and assisting in the design and establishment of shooting ranges.