The photos are at these sites and they are worth a look:
It is odd isn’t it! Those triggers in a hollow nest in the stock, the Over Under that opens to the side, the ridged monobloc, the overall look is just odd. .
But beyond the oddity and the eccentricity it has a technical message. So let’s race through the odd bits first to get to the technicalities. My French, whatever of it I can remember, allowed me to glean that the Actionless OU was invented by Maurice Thonon and in 1947 it was offered by the firm Pieper as a moderate priced, lightweight OU. The sales pitch used to promote the Actionless 47 stresses its light weight, comparable to a side by side, its praticality in so far that it allows the owner to mix and match barrels, rifled and smooth, as well as its low kick and limited muzzle rise. Judging by the infrequent appearance of specimens on the used market it is safe to say the Actionless did not have a high production run.
But some survive and emerge on French sales sites in fairly good working order at nearly 70 years of age. Add their ability to survive French proof at 1000 kilos per square centimeter and what we have is a workable OU action that goes against hallowed principles of gunmaking.
The action is not made from the solid. Its name, Actionless is apt. There is no distinct action. A central flat steel bar is the anchor point for the barrels and the action bits. The photos show the action to be two halves attached to the central bar.
The barrels are two single monobloc tubes attached to each other via round mortices that entrap the action bar. The barrels clip together by what looks like a clothes peg arrangement behind the loop. There is not a drop of braze or solder in the barrel joint. In fact it is not a permanent joint. The barrels on this double unclip, by hand, no tools necessary, and can be rearranged as a double shotgun, double rifle, or a combination shotgun rifle. There are photos on the net of a double 8X57, which indicates the proof pressures the Actionless withstood and the service pressure it endured during its 70 years of use.
In a world where the word “action” is an almost universal add -on to any gun type, the Actionless goes against fundamental gunmaking assumptions both symbolically and practically.
Its mere existence challenges notions about barrel jointing, action form and construction, double rifle regulation and more. It shows, and arguably proves, that double gun design remains an uncharted area.