Any kid (or adult kid, like yours truly) who has played Duck Hunt on Nintendo knows the frustration that comes from blasting at a duck only to see it fly away without so much as a ruffled feather. Luckily in real life my dog doesn’t cackle at me from behind a bush. He, more than most, knows how seriously I get when I go duck hunting.
In real life, someone very smart decided that bird guns should have two barrels. You let fly with one shot, and if the bird is still going, you have that second chance. As I got older and a little more accurate (less jittery, mostly), I found that I could bag a bird with my first round and then pick off a second in short order. Double barrels. Double birds. Good news.
But at some point, some rich guy from Scotland was either so good or so bad that he wanted a third shot. So in 1891, this beauty, known as The Holy Grail, came into existence. It was made for a rather wealthy fella named John Adrian Louis Hope, the 1st Marquess of Linlithgow. Anyone with a title that complicated had to have had some cash on hand.
This triple barrel shotgun was made by John Dickson & Son, a famous gun making duo out of Edinburgh, Scotland. It was made so well that it still fires today. But the mechanism that made it work was so complicated that it wasn’t used for mass production.
It’s a 16 gauge side-by-side-by-side design and is the definition of a one of a kind piece. When it went up for auction at a London auction house, bids flew in from all over the world. The price to take it home that night was $66,000. That’s $22,000 per barrel. Sheesh.
Maybe the buyer was so good that he can get three birds back-to-back-to-back. Maybe he’s so bad that he needs three shots just to get one. If you’re the man with the triple barrel shotgun in your case, why don’t you just let us know.