"I fell under the spell of the double rifle as a kid, as I pored over my Dad’s well-worn copy of Jack O’Connor’s 1961 “Complete Book of Rifles and Shotguns”. While Jack was a staunch proponent of bolt rifles, he could appreciate the double rifle concept…advantages and shortcomings alike. And, like most who had weathered the Great Depression, Jack was close with a dollar…and he described the double rifle as “fearfully expensive; in England a good one costs between $750 and $2000”! Well, it would be years before I saw enough discretionary income to be able to consider double rifles any more than academically, but since then I’ve been fortunate to toy with a few and, if anything, I’m more smitten now than when I was a kid!
Over the course of several years, I determined that what I desperately NEEDED was an “every day” double…one that I could shoot every day without fearing detached retinas or shaking crowns loose from my teeth. One that I could afford to feed without weeping over component costs. Something practical for carrying around the ranch on a day-to-day basis.
About the time that I became convinced that my misspent life wouldn’t be complete without this imagined double, I learned of Aaron Michael Little, owner / operator of AM Little Bespoke Gunmakers LLC. I contacted Aaron, and we proceeded to discuss this project: to wit, converting a SxS 28 gauge into a trim DR chambered for .30-30 WCF.
Once the basics were agreed upon, Aaron set about sourcing a donor shotgun for the conversion. In relatively short order, he located a vintage Victor Sarasqueta sidelock that, upon inspection, he determined would serve (provided that he was allowed to re-work the atrocious overly long semi-beavertail fore-end!).
I assembled the ammo for regulation, keeping things simple and affordable and in line with the “everyday double” concept. Twenty nine grains of 3031 under a Hornady 150 grain RNSP would deliver the goods on deer and hogs, at any range that a double rifle and my aging eyesight need bother with!
When Aaron texted to say that she was ready to come home, I couldn’t wait to see her…and (in my opinion at least) Aaron did wonderfully! The rifle is a svelte 6 ¾ pounds and balances just ahead of the hinge pin. Her 24” tubes wear a sculpted ramp and white bead up front and an elevation adjustable aperture at the rear (hey, I don’t wear these tri-focals for my looks!). We discussed the possibility of using one of the small red dot sights, but somehow the idea of using a Tokyo-by-night sighting system seemed completely out of place.
The She-Wolf and I promptly took her down to the barn, where I spanked the swinger twice with the first pair of shots. Dropping two more into the chambers, I handed it to Jane who promptly swatted the swinger twice more. Not bad…not bad at all!
A week later we had a cold front rage through during the night, and dawn found a crisp fall morning with temps in the high 40s. I slipped out of the house with the Sarasqueta in hand, intent to see what was moving as the sun got higher (and to look for an injured calf while I was out).
Slipping thru a dense thicket of post oaks and blackjacks, I caught movement in a clearing up ahead. Six or eight hogs were present; doubtless some of the same lot that had recently been plowing up one of my newly-planted oat patches. As I cut the distance to the pigs, they slipped further east and I lost sight of them in the trees.
Figuring they might cross a low wash nearby and head south toward that oat field, I turned south myself to parallel their anticipated course. After making about 75 yards, I pulled up short as a large black hog emerged from the post oaks, crossed a small clearing and dropped into a dry creek bottom. With the terrain covering my approach, I quickly slipped across the clearing to within 40 yards of where I’d last seen the black hog.
Seeing some brush wiggle down in the wash, I slipped the safety forward and was surprised to see not the black hog but a big brindled sow emerge walking across an opening. Swinging with her, I pasted the big, white bead behind her shoulder and leaned on the trigger. The bark of the .30-30 was followed by the squealing rush of the sow, who made about 20 steps before going down in a kicking cloud of dust.
Reloading from my belt, I dropped down into bottom to see about the hog. Even if I hadn’t been able to see her from where I stood, it would have been an easy tracking job. The slug had taken her tight behind the left shoulder and exited just ahead of the point of the shoulder on the right, leaving a substantial blood trail.
As I climbed out of the draw to head back to the house, I spotted the injured calf I’d been looking for for the past week…still favoring its right front leg but otherwise healthy. So, a successful “proof-of-concept” excursion for the “everyday double”, a dead hog, and a found calf…not a bad way to start a morning!
Many thanks to Aaron Little...a fine young man with a bright future ahead of him and the skills to make that future a reality!"As written and pictured by Mark P.