TEXAS TACTICAL by Dustin Ellermann – June 2020

May 24, 2020
BARE BONES HUNTING by Lou Marullo – June 2020
May 24, 2020

Another Look at the Diablo

AMERICAN GUN CRAFT is now producing “The Diablo” double barrel 12 gauge shotgun pistols. That’s right—pistols.

Not only that, but they ship right to your door with no federal infringements such as a form 4473 or FFL because they are black powder muzzleloaders.

Just like the old howdah dangerous game defensive handguns, the Diablo can be a powerful up-close, bad-breath distance, get-off-me-or-I’ll-cut-ya-in-two last resort, double-barreled-blaster.

Or it can be a very fun range toy.

Since the Diablo is a muzzleloader, the load is limited only by your imagination and risk-taking tendencies for the loads you wish to shoot. Being more safety conscious, I stayed close to the owner’s manual parameters of 60 grains of FFG under one ounce of shot or one .715-inch lead ball.

The double barreled 12 gauge Diablo loads from the muzzle and primes from the break-open breech with #209 primers.
(Photo: Dustin Ellerman)

However, several folks on YouTube are experimenting with twice that amount and FFFG powder turning the Diablo into a real wristbreaker. The published loads were plenty pleasant enough for me to shoot single-handed.

The Diablo can take a little time to load being that it’s a several step process. You insert powder, powder card, ram it down, fiber (cushion) wad, shot, shotcard and ram it down again. Now all over again for the other barrel, and finally follow-up with #209 shotgun shell primers in the break-open breech.

For my testing I used a blend of #7 and #8 chilled lead shot designed for black powder shotguns and either 000 or 00 buckshot. However, my favorite projectile was the solid .715-inch lead balls. They hit hard and would leave quite a mark.

However, I did have to learn my windage holds since each barrel had a different point of impact. I even shot the solid lead ball straight through a clear ballistic gel torso—and I do mean “through.” I figured the slower moving mass might not have too much penetration, but it traveled through more than14 inches of gel and kept moving.

I did attempt to chronograph the large lead balls with 60 grains of FFG and got an average of 260 fps out of that 6-inch barrel—not too fast. But remember, that’s a 525-grain ball so it’s got some heft. As I mentioned earlier, others have tested far hotter-hitting loads.

There is no choke in the double-barreled Diablo, so with naked shot it shows an extreme spread. For true hunting you would probably want to experiment with some type of flight control shotgun wadding rather than just the cards I used. However, for across-the-room, bad guy distance, two barrels of 00 buckshot from the Diablo would be quite catastrophic.

As a self-proclaimed trigger snob I was pleased with the Diablo’s trigger. The grip itself was only comfortable enough for one hand. The fit and finish of the firearm was excellent.

The Diablo is a quality build that will last for generations and be for everyone at the range. It comes in several variations from the black or nickel finish to black synthetic or wood grips. It also comes with an 11-inch double hammer/double trigger version with a rail setup for hunting purposes.

Prices start out at $445 and you can find out more at AmericanGunCraft.com and watch my full video review on YouTube.


Email Dustin Ellermann at [email protected]


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