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.
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.
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.