The Desperado by American Gun Craft is a Black Powder Double-Barrel Hand Shotgun

Now everyone has an excuse to get into black powder with the Desperado. (Photo: AGC)

American Gun Craft is happy to announce the Desperado, a handgun-style break-action double-barrel muzzle-loaded black powder shotgun with 12- or 20-gauge bores. This follows on their break-action Diablo with longer barrels and full-size grips.

The Desperado is no pocket pistol weighing in at 4 pounds with two 8-inch smooth-bore barrels, but then again, not many people want a featherweight handheld shotgun, not in 20 gauge, let alone in 12 gauge.

Being a black powder design, the Desperado is far less regulated than modern firearms, although it’s slower to reload than even your typical coach gun. Still, that makes this a very appealing and inexpensive-to-shoot shotgun that will be sure to put smiles on faces every time it comes out.

While American Gun Craft offers the Diablo with a number of different options, for now, the Desperado is only offered in 12- or 20-gauge with rubber grips and a deep, hand-polished blued finish.

The longer sight radius and barrels give the Desperado a bump in accuracy, especially when shooting single ball or slug loads, and the full-size rubber grips will help handle the felt recoil and make it easier to use in general. It has a straight mid-rib with a simple brass bead front sight.

A muzzleloader, this double-barreled shotgun uses standard cards, wads and primers. (Photo: AGC)

For controls, the Desperado has a hammer with a half-cock notch, a manual barrel selector, and a pair of latches to unlock the shotgun. It also has an oversized trigger guard for use with gloves and to protect the shooter’s finger when shooting.

SEE ALSO: 12 Gauge ‘No FFL’ Pistol – Full Review – Diablo – American Gun Craft

The Desperado is capable of firing up to 1-ounce loads up to .729 inches with up to 60 grains of FFg black powder or its equivalent using standard #209 primers. American Gun Craft recommends using .740-inch shot cards and wads all of which are easy to find or even make.

The Desperado uses adjustable and removable primer cups for headspacing ease of maintenance, and American Gun Craft recommends Goex and Pyrodex powders.

All in all, the Desperado is an eye-catching conversation starter, and a welcome tool to teach newcomers the basics of shooting black powder, albeit with hopefully light loads. As a muzzleloader, depending on the location, it may also be a handy hunting shotgun, especially for small game.

The Desperado is priced at $639 in 12-gauge and $659 in 20-gauge. The smaller Diablo starts at $479 and is also offered with black oxide and nickel finishes as well as walnut stocks and grips.

Whether or not you’re already into muzzleloaders the Desperado has a curious appeal and makes a good case for anyone looking to get a new black powder handgun, or specifically, handheld shotgun. For more information head over to the American Gun Craft site.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Albert January 27, 2021, 11:43 am

    Have a Diablo with the 6″ bbls, it is nickel-plated and came with the faux wood grain grips. Obtained from a gunshop in MN for only $275, it was a hell of a bargain and has been a fun gun to shoot, as well as a fearsome piece to carry in the cross-draw holster I purchased for when driving around questionable areas of town. I load 65gr of Triple 7 xxx under 7 balls of 000 Buckshot, and the recoil is somewhat stout. Winchester 209s round out the load specs and work superbly in this piece. Bought the larger grips and extended forepiece, but can not use the forepiece when carrying in the holster. Very satisfied with this rig, and have full confidence in its double-barrel ability to work well as “openers” to be followed up by my 1911s, should the need arise!

  • deao January 11, 2021, 3:39 am

    those barels too short for me try making a 16 incher bet u would sell more or just customize make some fo r those who want longer barrels i want a 16 incher

  • michael smith December 19, 2020, 11:04 am

    sounded like a good idea,until I heard the price.

    • Russ December 21, 2020, 7:15 pm

      Yeah the price definitely took away anything fun or interesting about it. Non deal at that price.

  • Scotty Gunn December 18, 2020, 12:36 pm

    ATF will change their minds on this, trust me. They do whatever they want.

  • Sam Meyer December 18, 2020, 12:06 pm

    Another useless POS firearm targeted to take advantage of the moron market. It will bring smiles alright, among idiots. Those smiles will fall off when the shooter gets to enjoy the hand/wrist pain caused by the excruciating recoil this abortion will inflict. Oh, and let’s not even discuss accuracy. Definitely a tool for the “spray and pray” crowd.

    • T. Page December 18, 2020, 9:35 pm

      Guess you don’t have to get one, killjoy!

    • Ned December 20, 2020, 9:38 am

      Wrist breaking recoil if you’re a seven year old girl maybe.

    • Anna December 20, 2020, 10:46 am

      Obviously you have no experience with BP nor and knowledge of history. Its a modern take on Howdah pistols. To save you the trouble of scratching your head in ignorance, a Howdah is the chair mounted on Indian elephants and from where tigers were traditionally hunted in the 19th century. The Howdah PISTOL came about because tigers often took exception to being hunted and would often choose to attack the elephant and its riders by climbing up the side. At such close range and moving elephant, even a short rifle was a bit much to handle; here a pistol firing a large heavy cartridge was the prescription of choice. The pistols were often double and even four barrelled. Early ones were muzzleloaders and later cartridge guns, often made from shotguns and double rifles.

      The Diablo and now Desperado are modern translations of that concept and of course that of sawed off shotguns. They arent perfect Howdahs, nor perfect sawed off shotguns; but they are fun guns. Yes they have limited practical use; but then they have about as much as you want to use them. As for sore wrists, have you ever fired a heavy magnum, then decided to switch to lighter loads. Im sure there will be plenty of stupid videos but there are tonnes of them. Its NOT a firearm so there are limited rules that apply, only idiots that think they know the law and share their ignorance

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