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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 6/15/2005 12:28:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/15/2005 8:59:32 PM EDT by Mattl]
I recently saw an old photo from Vietnam, it was a SEAL displaying his shotgun. On this shotgun their was something refferred to as a duckbill. The Duckbill is a peice added to the barrel that causes a horizontal(FLAT) dispersal of the shot.

Is their truth to this?
How does it work/built/added?
Is it legal?
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 5:00:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/15/2005 5:01:51 PM EDT by dfariswheel]
The "Duckbill" was originally developed by the US Navy Weapons Lab in China Lake California, for the Navy SEALs.

This shot spreader flattened the shot "cloud" into a long oval-shaped pattern, which made it easier to hit moving targets in the jungles of Vietnam.
The spreader was brazed on the muzzle of the Navy/SEAL standard shotgun, the Ithaca Model 37.
It worked by squeezing the shot column between the upper and lower prongs of the spreader, reshaping the shot pattern into an oval shaped pattern.

As I recall, the pattern was about 1-2 feet high, by something like 8 feet wide at 15 yards???.

The first models had an open, double pronged end which gave it the Duckbill name.
After it was found that extensive firing caused the open prong ends to spread apart, reducing the spreading effect, the later models were built with a closed end.
This fixed the spreading problem, but also slightly reduced the shape of the shot oval.

These Navy spreaders were designed ONLY for use with the Navy standard #4 buckshot loads, and could not be used with larger shot.

The SEALs gave them extensive use in Vietnam.
The first user, and possibly the most experienced shotgun user of all time was Navy SEAL Chief James "Patches" Watson.

Watson had the Navy Weapons Lab build him a custom Ithaca Model 37.
Watson's Ithaca had the first extended magazine ever on an Ithaca. Due to the barrel design, it was necessary to remount the barrel attaching assembly farther toward the muzzle, and fit a longer magazine tube.
After Ithaca saw a Navy Weapons Lab extended Model 37, they started producing their own version.

Watson had the Weapons Lab fit his Ithaca with a pistol grip-only stock with a ring on the bottom, to which he attached a cord and wore the gun around his neck.
Watson said that the pistol grip-only stock worked at the extremely short ranges typically found in Vietnam.

Watson used his "Baby" in two eventful tours of Vietnam, including one as a PRU and Phoenix program advisor with the Vietnamese.
In his book, Watson remarked that he'd been told since the war that #4 buckshot was ineffective, to which he stated "Nobody I shot ever complained".
He said that the combination of #4 buckshot and the Duckbill spreader made hitting running targets in the dens jungle at night easier.
He said the #4 shot preformed well on the small Viet Cong.

Eventually, China Lake stopped producing new spreaders, and the SEALs finally wore the remaining devices out.
No new spreaders were obtained by the SEALs due to the end of the Vietnam war and the specific conditions under which the SEALs used shotguns.

The spreader was and is entirely legal, unless there's some weird local ordnance.
In that respect, the spreader is no different than any other shotgun choke, except that instead of tightening shot patterns it reshapes the pattern.

There was a commercial company that made a version of the Navy Duckbill spreader, and there's a good write-up of it in an older Gun Digest Law Enforcement Weapons Digest.
This company is apparently out of business, and as far as I can tell, no new Duckbill spreaders are available.

The last I heard, the company was located in the Great Lakes region, but no one could get a response from them.
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 5:05:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/15/2005 5:07:06 PM EDT by ikor]
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 5:32:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 7:54:01 PM EDT
Faris, Sir could you point a dog in the right direction to obtain a copy of Watson's book?
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 8:39:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dfariswheel:
The "Duckbill" was originally developed by the US Navy Weapons Lab in China Lake California, for the Navy SEALs.

This shot spreader flattened the shot "cloud" into a long oval-shaped pattern, which made it easier to hit moving targets in the jungles of Vietnam.
The spreader was brazed on the muzzle of the Navy/SEAL standard shotgun, the Ithaca Model 37.
It worked by squeezing the shot column between the upper and lower prongs of the spreader, reshaping the shot pattern into an oval shaped pattern.

As I recall, the pattern was about 1-2 feet high, by something like 8 feet wide at 15 yards???.

The first models had an open, double pronged end which gave it the Duckbill name.
After it was found that extensive firing caused the open prong ends to spread apart, reducing the spreading effect, the later models were built with a closed end.
This fixed the spreading problem, but also slightly reduced the shape of the shot oval.

These Navy spreaders were designed ONLY for use with the Navy standard #4 buckshot loads, and could not be used with larger shot.

The SEALs gave them extensive use in Vietnam.
The first user, and possibly the most experienced shotgun user of all time was Navy SEAL Chief James "Patches" Watson.

Watson had the Navy Weapons Lab build him a custom Ithaca Model 37.
Watson's Ithaca had the first extended magazine ever on an Ithaca. Due to the barrel design, it was necessary to remount the barrel attaching assembly farther toward the muzzle, and fit a longer magazine tube.
After Ithaca saw a Navy Weapons Lab extended Model 37, they started producing their own version.

Watson had the Weapons Lab fit his Ithaca with a pistol grip-only stock with a ring on the bottom, to which he attached a cord and wore the gun around his neck.
Watson said that the pistol grip-only stock worked at the extremely short ranges typically found in Vietnam.

Watson used his "Baby" in two eventful tours of Vietnam, including one as a PRU and Phoenix program advisor with the Vietnamese.
In his book, Watson remarked that he'd been told since the war that #4 buckshot was ineffective, to which he stated "Nobody I shot ever complained".
He said that the combination of #4 buckshot and the Duckbill spreader made hitting running targets in the dens jungle at night easier.
He said the #4 shot preformed well on the small Viet Cong.

Eventually, China Lake stopped producing new spreaders, and the SEALs finally wore the remaining devices out.
No new spreaders were obtained by the SEALs due to the end of the Vietnam war and the specific conditions under which the SEALs used shotguns.

The spreader was and is entirely legal, unless there's some weird local ordnance.
In that respect, the spreader is no different than any other shotgun choke, except that instead of tightening shot patterns it reshapes the pattern.

There was a commercial company that made a version of the Navy Duckbill spreader, and there's a good write-up of it in an older Gun Digest Law Enforcement Weapons Digest.
This company is apparently out of business, and as far as I can tell, no new Duckbill spreaders are available.

The last I heard, the company was located in the Great Lakes region, but no one could get a response from them.





Damn I am impressed, Should I call the ATF to see if this mod is legal????
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 8:54:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By underdog75:
Faris, Sir could you point a dog in the right direction to obtain a copy of Watson's book?


Amazon?
I picked mine up at the bookstore.
It's called Point Man, by James Watson and Kevin Dockery.
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 9:16:07 PM EDT
Matti:

As I said, the Duckbill device is completely legal anywhere that doesn't have some odd-ball legislation.

All the thing does is alter the shape of the pattern. The ATF has nothing to say about that, and there are no Federal laws concerning it.

If you can find one, you can use it.

However, keep in mind, this device was only useful in tight jungle situations, and when the SEALs left Vietnam they soon stopped using them due to their being of very limited use in general shotgun situations.

Watson goes into some detail about his "Baby" and how it was developed by China Lake, in his book.

"Pointman" is also available in paperback from Amazon.
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 9:25:33 PM EDT
Damn, no wi want one, guess I am gonna hit the machine shop, make it out of nice steel I guess, I wonder if silver solder woudl be enough to hold it on? or should I weld it?
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 9:44:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/15/2005 9:45:20 PM EDT by Stryfe]

Originally Posted By TacticalPenguin:
Damn, no wi want one, guess I am gonna hit the machine shop, make it out of nice steel I guess, I wonder if silver solder woudl be enough to hold it on? or should I weld it?


Thread it for the choke tubes, and use a jam nut after indexing it place.
Link Posted: 6/15/2005 10:17:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Stryfe:

Originally Posted By TacticalPenguin:
Damn, no wi want one, guess I am gonna hit the machine shop, make it out of nice steel I guess, I wonder if silver solder woudl be enough to hold it on? or should I weld it?


Thread it for the choke tubes, and use a jam nut after indexing it place.



What if your smoothbore no choke tube?? Maverick 88 if relevant.
Link Posted: 6/16/2005 6:27:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/16/2005 6:31:13 AM EDT by Mesa_Tactical]
I believe the last commercially marketed duckbills were sold by Chuck Madurski of Great Lakes Arsenal at the SAR Show in Phoenix this last December. He was representing Mark Serbu at the show (since Serbu was very busy in his shop filling lots of last-minute .50BMG orders from California). Chuck doesn't make them anymore, though might have still some units available (for Remington 870, as I recall).

I have a number for him, but I am not sure whether it is business or personal. Perhaps he can be reached through his friends at Serbu Firearms.

We briefly considered making something like this, using custom barrels or choke threads, but fear the market is just too small. Not to mention the liability should some idiot try put a slug through the duckbill.
Link Posted: 6/16/2005 11:48:45 AM EDT
Matti:
The Duckbill was designed to be brazed (or silver soldered which is really silver brazing) on the end of the barrel.
If done right, this will do the job.
Link Posted: 6/16/2005 4:31:48 PM EDT
dfariswheel - great treatise on the duckbill. Thanks.

R.
Link Posted: 6/16/2005 4:50:41 PM EDT
When I was in the central highlands in 66 - 68. The secutiry police that worked the base perimeter had duck bill attachments on thier weapons (shotguns). The 12 gauge hulls were made from brass and my hootch mate must have shipped thousands of the hulls home; pickup off of the base range. I wish I was interested in the shooting sports then, I would have policed up a few myself. Does any body know if there is a soucce for them now?
Link Posted: 6/16/2005 9:15:04 PM EDT
Yes, but the price will be fairly steep.

There's at least one company still making them.
Magtech makes them in several gauges.
Link Posted: 6/17/2005 4:59:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/17/2005 4:59:34 AM EDT by Zoub]

Originally Posted By dfariswheel:
As I recall, the pattern was about 1-2 feet high, by something like 8 feet wide at 15 yards???.

These Navy spreaders were designed ONLY for use with the Navy standard #4 buckshot loads, and could not be used with larger shot.


Great info here.

I would just like to comment that unless you also plan to use #4 buck, covering a target that is equal to 16 square feet with anything larger than #4 means major holes in your pattern. In other words one pellet for every 1.5 to 2 square feet!

I personally like #4. In my own "tests" it shreds the living hell out of things but gives less penetration. I truly believe the amount of shock given by a load of #4 buck would be major. The Federal buffered loads in #4 are outstanding.

I could see in a jungle with a lot of soft plant material this would be a great choice at close range on a moving target dressed in light weight summer clothing. Same goes for indoors. But if you step outside with a gun intentionally modified to throw wide patterns and loaded with something larger, and you start spraying .30 caliber balls all over the neighborhood (calcute the rate of spread at 50 and 100 yards) truly your ass will be in one major liability sling.

If I can see this, any attorney coming after you will be able too as well.

When I step outside with a shotgun, I have decided slugs is how I go. Yes penetration can be an issue, but now it is no different from when you go hunting. Hunters know how to set up safe shots. Well, most do. With a slug I am accountable for only one projectile per shot. If I am outside of my home, I am in essence hunting down a target, my liability has changed drastically. I also should be using cover and only shooting when I am in danger. If he is behind a trash can or rear of a car, I want his ass down the first shot....slug. No cats, dogs, old ladies or neighbor kids hit by accident with buckshot.

Another reason cops are using carbines on the streets instead of shotguns. Just think about how and where you would use this, that aside it is cool.
Link Posted: 6/17/2005 8:05:35 AM EDT
Nice write up faris
Link Posted: 6/17/2005 8:17:41 AM EDT
worthless without pics.
Link Posted: 6/17/2005 8:35:55 AM EDT
Franchi makes them for the SPAS and LAW 12.

I have a buddy with one on his LAW 12 he uses for IPSC stuff. Works well on steel poppers.
Link Posted: 6/21/2005 3:58:05 AM EDT
Duckbill for sale on Sturmgewehr. Looks pretty neat... I wonder if someone brought this up with some good shotgun smiths if they could build something like this...

Spooky
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 5:50:42 AM EDT
Sorry to bring this back from the dead. Anybody have any new information on finding duckbill chokes?

Thanks
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 11:31:55 PM EDT
Nope, but I plan to be at the SAR Show in Phoenix in December 2005 and will look for these for my Ithaca 37s. If I locate a source, I'll post it.

Note that since the device disperses in an oval, if turned sideways, the shotgun can be used for a vertical dispersion as well. The utility of this would been to be limited, although it might be useful for firing in a hallway. I've always wondered why someone didn't make one of these that could be indexed or quickly removed.

Link Posted: 9/24/2005 6:09:23 PM EDT
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm? [scratchs head] Here's what I'd do: go get a cheap shotty at the discout store, better yet get a Mossberg combo with the 18" & 28" barrels, take the 28" and cut it back to 20" (this is so if you fuck it up you can still cut 2" off to "save" it), it will have a vent rib , that makes it easy to get it straight in a vice, put the last 1" in a vice and smash it down a little, probably a good idea to test pattern as you go, when done drill hole in vent rib about 1-2" from end and J-B Weld your bead back on.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 5:49:29 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/26/2005 6:52:06 PM EDT
The "squashed muzzle" trick works, but not too well, and only for a short time.
The shot impacting the muzzle will quickly spread the muzzle back out.

The early SEAL Duckbill spreaders were two "prongs" with a completely open end. Under heavy use, metal fatigue set in and the spreader started to open up, causing the pattern to change to a more and more round shape.

To fix this, China Lake changed the design to a closed end. This stopped the opening of the spreader, but the pattern wasn't quite as good.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 4:54:50 PM EDT
If you took an extended turkey choke you could have it bored out "squashed" at the end and re tempered.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 5:53:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nyeoj:
If you took an extended turkey choke you could have it bored out "squashed" at the end and re tempered.


I almost posted that on the first page.
The problem comes when you need to index it.
You may as well start from scratch and build a spreader choke tube.
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