Table of Contents
- Add photos of the 20ga Double Badger.
- No longer recommend Baikal .22/20ga in "choosing a combination", since they are impossible to find now. :(
- Mention the FIC Bronco and Marlin Model 90 in the intro with the rare guns.
- Mention the Marbles Game Getter, Winchester Super Grade XTR, Blaser B95/98, Krieghoff Ultra, Merkel B3 in the section about crazy expensive guns.
- Rework the info in the Valmet section to reflect the more accurate Finnish Wikipedia translation that Mr. Apajalahti helped out with. Thank you, sir!
- Also merge in the Valmet 412 information set to me by Russ of Whitworth Arms. Thank you too, sir!
- And more Valmet info from Rolf Kollström. Thank you, sir!
- Add M6 photos from Ms. Dingus. Thank you so much!
Valmet Info, Russ from Whitworth Arms
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2016 20:53:12 -0800 (PST)
Subject: FInnClassic 512 and 612
I came across your article on combination guns (very thorough) and as the importer (for the last 10 years or so) of the FinnClassic guns, I can help you with some points on the 412/512:
1. The 512 is now out of production (2 years ago), ending that design. This was a good system, strong and durable. It did have some negatives, the main one being weight. Even as a shotgun, it was heavy at 8lb. This was out of necessity as the receiver and monobloc had to be big enough to accommodate a 12ga chambering, and at the same time strong enough for modern cf rifle cartridges. Marocchi did offer a "lightweight" shotgun barrel set and I have a few left in stock, it saved about a half pound. The firing pins (and they are all the same, there is no such thing as a "fat" pin) have to work on both shotgun primers as well as rifle. This takes some doing… to get a shotgun shell to fire, the pin has to be on the long side. To ignite rifle primers the pin has to be skinny. The bottom line is the firing pin on some guns "drags" on the fired primer but this is not a fault as some blowhards (Chuck Hawks for example, who attributed this to lack of a rebound spring!) have opined.The trigger pulls likewise have to withstand the recoil of a 12ga without doubling so don't expect a 4lb rifle trigger pull. (Double trigger kits are still available but while they have a slack takeup screw, they are not adjustable for weight). The other issue was the combo guns had fixed chokes and extractors, all of them. 2. Every barrel set has to be fitted initially, and once fitted it cannot safely be transferred to another receiver. It may appear to fit, but the recoil lugs under the barrel are not likely to touch the recess in the receiver and that's a problem that most people are not aware of. Sometimes the barrel will not close fully and that's dangerous as well. The Finnish guns were sold with the barrels numbered to the receiver. The Italian guns have a separate numbering system for the receiver and barrel sets so there is no such thing as a "matching number" 512. 3. Your comment about the rear folding sight not being adjustable is incorrect. There is a small allen screw on each side and the sight can be moved side to side by loosening one and tightening the other. The later double rifle barrels had a fixed rear blade as there is no reason to fold the sight flat. The scope mounts were made by Sako and were available in 1" and 30mm, in low med and hi versions. These are no longer available. The front blades were interchangeable and available in 3 different heights. 4. We stock OEM Valmet-pattern choke tubes for the 12ga barrels, around $25 per each. They come in five sizes: cyl, ic, mod, imod and full. We don't have 20ga tubes and these are not available from any source as these were never made by Marocchi .. only a few 20ga barrel sets with screw chokes were made in Finland. Some guns were threaded for Invector tubes. The very last series of 512 guns were threaded for Marocchi's "MAXI" tubes which are longer than most. We also stock most commonly needed spares but already there are several parts NLA, eg extractors for the double rifles, rear folding sights, replacement wood, barrel sets etc. I have a small inventory of most items. The item that seems to need replacing the most is the ejector on the shotguns .. these break with a lot of use (eg trap shooters). In the process, people lose the springs and the plunger. I get a few requests for firing pins. The rest of the parts seem to hold up. 5. Briley can put choke tubes in a combo barrel. I have had it done several times. 6. I don't buy the "superior" steel argument … I doubt any of the "experts" offering this opinion have any metallurgical knowledge at all and I have never seen any lab test to support any such comparison. Even if the Finnish steel is "harder", that does not make it "better". Marocchi makes world class shotgun barrels, end of discussion. Further, they use Lothar Walther cut-rifled blanks for the rifle barrels and these are the finest production barrels in the world. The one thing you can say is the polish on the Finnish guns was taken to a mirror finish, while the Italian guns went with a more satin finish on both chromed and blued receivers. They also offered 3 grades of engraving on the receiver, as well as a Titanium finish that is corrosion proof without being shiny. Neither one is superior, it's a matter of taste. To my mind a mirror finish on a hunting weapon is not practical. And the stock finish on the later guns is a classier hand-rubbed oil finish, much nicer than the wood finish on the Finnish guns. The checkering is better as well.
I have a few 512 guns left in stock in combo, shotgun, and only very few double rifles.
Now the 612. This came as a surprise to all of us. The main objective appears to be weight reduction, achieved through the use of a dural receiver (with steel wear points) and carbon-fiber wrapped rifle barrels similar to those used by some high end rifle companies. The guns are lighter by almost a lb. The sights on the combo barrels are adjustable for windage (rear) and elevation (front) but the rear no longer folds flat, I have told them to look into this as a folding sight is a necessity on a combo in my opinion. And hallelujah they now have screw chokes as standard in the combo. And finally, I was able to persuade them to offer a 223/12ga barrel. The 222 is a great round but the 223 has overwhelmed it for obvious reasons, at least here in the USA.
While the mechanism is similar, most of the new parts are not interchangeable with the 512. It's too bad the barrels don't interchange. The calibers are pretty much the same with the notable addition of a 223 combo; the 12ga 3 1/2" "supermagnum" chambering has been dropped, at least for now. The regulation mechanism has been improved: the old "ramp" had a tendency to slip if you did not use the locktite trick, esp on the heavy cals like the 9.3
There are some things I don't like about the 612. Aluminum cannot be blued so you are stuck with a silver receiver. On special order, we can do the Titanium finish which is a dull gray. I can also have the guns partially or fully camo dipped. There is a very flashy engraved version available. Not my taste but who am I to judge, and it does tone down the bright receiver a bit. The carbon fiber wrap on the barrels looks very high tech, a bit too shiny perhaps. You can paint it if you are into varmint hunting, or we can supply camo-dipped barrels. The good news is it doesn't rust (neither does Aluminum). I have not seen any double rifle barrels yet (first ones on order expected soon). The scope mount is now made by Kozap who makes a lot of mounts for CZ and others. It's compatible and seems to be of good quality but so far only low 1" in stock. Medium 1" are on order. I still have some 30mm Sako-made mounts so I have not tried to order 30mm yet, I suspect they are available from Kozap.
Price of the 612 is comparable to the 512 … a bit higher but two years have passed and the 512 would probably be at the same place by now. The 612 comes in a two barrel fitted plastic hard case, white and blue (in deference to the Finnish flag), the 512 case had to be purchased separately.
Bottom line, it's still a unique and high quality weapon especially useful if you travel to hunt, are a bush pilot, or a prepper. And you don't have to be Paul Bunyan to handle it any more.
PS We are now located in May, Texas (we have to engrave that on the guns and we picked May because "May, TX" is the shortest inscription we could come up with.)
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2016 02:04:21 -0500
From: L. Adamson firstname.lastname@example.org
Wonderful information! Thank you very much, sir! :)
I shall work your information into the article and credit you for it soon.
What is your opinion on having used barrels fitted to used receivers?
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2016 08:16:56 -0800 (PST)
To: L. Adamson email@example.com
There are six points of contact that need to be "smoked" and the chances of a used barrel and a used receiver having enough meat left to resmoke the points of contact are very low. This can mean lever to the left, lever too far to right (in which case gun will not fire), forend loose, forend latch won't close, gap at breech, or gap at recoil lugs.
In particular the two recoil lugs under the monobloc need to touch. You may be able to put the barrel and forend on fine, but you won't see a gap in this area and that will overstress your receiver. I have seen one case where a person did this and he could not extract his brass after firing.
As with any double, the barrels are hand fitted to the receiver and they stay married for life.
Valmet Info, Rolf Kollström from Norway
Received: Mon, 15 Feb 2016 14:08:55 +0100
From: "Kollstrøm, Rolf"
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
Subject: On the article "The Field-Grade Combination Gun", regarding Valmet 412S
Thankyou for a nice article, always something new to learn!
I have some comments:
I bought my first Valmet 412S combination in 1988, 12/6.5x55*, with extra 12/12 shotgun barrel set.
I bought this as a combo, and it was supplied with a double trigger. I always thought this was standard for combos, as I believe that two triggers on a combo makes firing the wrong barrel more unlikely?
Later I have bought for my son a Valmet 412S shotgun with extra combo barrels (12/222), which has a single trigger.
But the reason why I send this e-mail is that the combination barrel* has a screw-in choke. I have read that the models 1986/87 were the only model/year with this feature, and only in cal. 12/ 6.5x55.
This is a fantastic weapon system!
Regards from Rolf Kollström, Norway.