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Double Barreled 12 Gauge Shotgun Pistol Review – THE DIABLO!!!

American Gun Craft makes a double barrel 12 Gague shotgun called the Diablo that is a ton of fun to shoot. What is better than a 12 Gauge double-barrel shotgun pistol? The fact that it can be shipped directly to your house! That is because this is a black powder shotgun. According to the ATF, black powder shotguns, rifles, and pistols are not firearms.

Shotgun Versatility

Another great thing about the Diablo is, because you load your own shot, you get to decide how and what you want to shoot in each barrel. I used several different loads in my testing, and I purchased the shot from Track of the Wolf, a site that specializes in black powder. 

For the Birdshot, I used #7 chilled lead shot. It is actually a blend of #7 and #8 shot for use in black powder shotguns. It came in a 5-pound box and this is enough to last you a long time.

With the Buckshot, you have a few options. I tested two different loads #000 and #00 Buckshot. The #000 Buckshot are .350″ balls and the #00 Buckshot are .330″. Both of these are made by Hornady and come in 5-pound boxes. Again this will last you quite a while. 

Lastly, for the shot I used .715″ solid lead balls. Honestly, these were my favorite and they hit hard. Beyond the shot, you need to order wads, powder, and primers. For the powder, I tested with Hodgdon Triple Seven powder FFg substitute. You can use any FFg powder you want. For primers, I tested with Winchester #209 Shotshell primers.

Black powder shot and wads
Black powder shot and wads

Next, you will need 3 different types of wads to load the shotgun. If you order on Track of the Wolf the wads you need are WAD-12-A, WAD-12-B, and WAD-12-C. They are the over powder card, thick fiber wad, and the over shot card. Now there are several ways to load these but this is my method. If you want to see the loading in action then jump the 11:05 in the video below. 

  1. First, load 60 grains of FFG or equivalent powder and use your rod to pack it down.
  2. Next, put your over the powder card in and ram it down hard and compress the powder.
  3. After that, put your thick fiber wad, also called a cushion wad, remember this protects your shot from being deformed and gives you a more consistent pattern.
  4. Now it is time for your shot. You can use a few different loads here, but I used 1 ounce of shot unless I used the solid round balls.
  5. The last wad to put in is the over shot card, this keeps the shot in place and doesn’t let it fall out.
  6. Last step is to load your primers.

Diablo in Action!

Watch the video below for more details and some slow-motion video of the Diablo in action. There are more details of how to load and shoot the Diablo.

Final Thoughts

The Diablo is very safe, but be sure to follow all the safety precautions. Don’t overload it and don’t put the primers into until everything is loaded. De-cock the shotgun only when the shotgun is broken open.

The trigger on the Diablo is surprising. I was expecting a bad trigger since this is a black powder musket, basically. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the trigger. It was just over five pounds and didn’t have much travel and was very clean.

The shotgun has a wide pattern so if you plan on trying to bird hunt with it then keep that in mind. When aiming the Diablo hold left for the right barrel and right for the left barrel. Because the site is in the middle of the two barrels. 

American Gun Craft makes several models of the Diablo in different finishes. They even have a Nickel-plated version with Rosewood grips. In addition to the different versions of the Diablo they offer a leather cross draw holster. The holster worked perfectly and if you plan on hunting with the Diablo I highly recommend the holster. 

The only thing I would change would be to make the barrel selector switch slightly larger. It is plenty adequate on the range but when you are flying down a zipline or in a follow-up for self-defense it’s a little small. 

If you want some more information on the exact legalities with the American Gun Craft Diablo or some more use scenarios you can check out the Modern Mountain Man look at the Diablo.

Key Features: Diablo 12GA Shotgun

Barrel Length: 6″ Length Double Barrel Side-by-side, smooth-bore
Barrel Type: Break Open Double Barrel Side-by-side, smooth-bore
Overall Length: 10”
Caliber: 12 Gauge – Conventional 209 Primer Breech Plug Design BP muzzleloader
Finish: Black Oxide with Black Grips
Weight: 3.2 Lbs
Type: Single Hammer, Double Barrel, Single Trigger, 209 Primer Ignition ML
Stock: Synthetic Grips
Stock Finish: Grips: Midnight Black
MSRP: $489

American Gun Craft Diablo 12GA
American Gun Craft Diablo 12GA
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