h a l f b a k e r y
Assume a hemispherical cow.
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Many people, when using only one barrel of a double-barrel shotgun, prefer to use the lower barrel because its lower bore axis reduces muzzle rise. Indeed, some single barrels designed for installation on double-barrel shotguns have the functional barrel in the lower position and unbored metal with
an extra-tall comb in the upper position.
I would propose that similar benefits could be achieved in repeating (pump or semi) shotguns if the magazine tube were locaded on top and the barrel were underneath. This would require some changes to the mechanism, but nothing severe. A probable advantage would be that the ejection port could be aimed straight downward (some Ithaca shotguns conveniently eject downward, but they have the magazine on the bottom).
The only difficulty I can see with such a design would be convincing the Treasury Secretary that it was "suitable for sporting purposes" in compliance with the National Firearms Act of 1934. Absent such determination, such firearms could only be sold to the general public in 28 gauge (fixed choke) or .410. I don't see why the guns should be considered "non-sporting", given that the goal would be to improve performance when trap-shooting or wing-shooting, but the BATF isn't known for niceness.
||Like the US? I was always happy to slug around my 18-inch barrel Mossberg in the Navy. It didn't ride my pants down like the beretta, and I could shift the weight around from shoulder to shoulder as the need arose. Seeing as how I was on a ship, I figured (rightly so) that I'd never need to use either anyway...
||Whether killing is good or not, a gun that can be used to kill better is a better gun. Shotguns get used a lot by hunters, the police, and home-defense-nuts. Whether I would use one for such purposes ever, I can still applaud an idea that improves upon existing tools.
||There are at least two combat shotguns designed this way. One's russian and hence has alphabet soup for a name and the other's the Neostead NS-2000. Using either for trap would be awesome though. :)