Winter SWATriplex-18: The original dual magazine shotgun

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I did not realize that the dual magazine bullpup shotgun concept goes as far back as the 1970s. John W. Winter produced a bullpup shotgun called the Winter SWATriplex-18 back in the late 70s. It could feed from either one, or both, of its 9 round magazines.

PT-The Italian Commie wrote at SecurityArms forum

Consortium W (Winter) SWATriplex-18 prototype 12-gauge semi-automatic combat shotgun

Designed in the late 1970s specifically as a combat shotgun by John W Winter, the SWATriplex-18 had a number of unusual features, some of which appeared in later shotguns. Unfortunately, the company which was supposed to manufacture the weapon (Consortium W), pulled out after only a few prototypes were built and Winter was never able to attract anyone else to manufacture, let alone buy his unusual shotgun.

The SWATriplex-18 used a semi-bullpup design using twin tubular magazines under a single barrel. Feed could be from one magazine at a time, or alternately between the right and left magazines. Operation was semiautomatic, using gas operation and something quite unusual in a shotgun, a telescoping bolt. Construction was with a combination of light alloys and steel (for the barrel and where strength was critical). The 22-inch barrel was surrounded by a shroud/handguard which was ventilated for cooling. The SWATriplex-18 has ejection ports on both sides of the weapon; each could be sealed, and this allowed use of the weapon by both left and right-handed shooters by simply reversing the ejection direction, charging handle, and cheek rest (something most designers of bullpup weapons seem to overlook). The SWATriplex-18 used rifle-type sights on raised stands; both were adjustable for elevation and windage by knobs. (The raised sights were thought of as a potential problem, and Winter reputedly was considering either removable sights or moving the sights down to the receiver itself.) The stock was of light alloy, but the butt was synthetic with a rubber recoil pad. The top of the receiver had a carrying handle which could be folded flat against the receiver if desired.

The SWATriplex-18 was most likely a design which was way ahead of its time; many companies thought it was simply too weird-looking to sell, despite its reliability and advanced features. This may have killed the SWATriplex-18 more than anything else. Unfortunately, even the prototypes seem to have disappeared, and examples of the weapon now exist only on paper. However, the SWATriplex-18 design can be credited of a modern spawning as can surely have been a source of inspiration for the South-African designers Tony Neophytou and Heyns Stead for their highly successful Truvelo NS-2000 “NeoStead” pump-action combat shotgun

I would not classify that the NeoStead as being highly successful. Does anyone know how many were produced and in what countries it was sold in?

[ Many thanks to Thaddeus for emailing me the link. ]

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • http://homeplace-artsstuff.blogspot.co Arthur B.. Burnett

    Greetings from Texas,
    I consider myself well versed on weapons of this sort. It astounds me how many have slipped past me.

  • Sian

    Well, here’s the dual-tube semiauto that everyone seems to be clamoring for. Maybe someone will buy the paper it’s on and try to modernize it. Certainly seems rather crude as-is.

  • Avery

    Neostead is at least still in production from what the Truvelo website tells me. The import restrictions to the United States seem to have dampened whatever potential success it may have found. But it does look like it received garnered sales in Europe’s private security and law enforcement communities, as well as South Africa. So, it’s more like moderately successful.

    Honestly, I was looking over the articles on the SWATriplex-18 over the weekend and did notice some similarities with the KSG. The SWATriplex patent has gone into limbo long after John Winter’s death, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the KSG used some of design details from the SWATriplex.

  • drewogatory

    Wow! That thing is STILL ahead of it’s time. John W. Winter, hats off to you my forward thinking friend.

  • Thaddeus

    The Neostead, Keltech KSG, and UTS-15 are all pump action this shotgun is interesting because it is a semi-auto.

  • Kurt

    Looking at that shotgun in profile, it immediately reminded me of the Kel-Tec Sub2000.

  • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

    Mr. Winter was profiled in the May/June 1979 issue of “American Handgunner”. The positive reader response to this article led to the introduction of a magazine column devoted to Winter’s designs in the October 1979 issue of “Guns” magazine. An article on the SWATriplex can be found in the December 1979 issue of “Guns”.

    A Wiki article on the SWATriplex was deleted because it wasn’t considered notable. The original article was pretty crappy, and this seems to have started the ball rolling to its nomination. I tried to add material to it using Winter’s column, but wasn’t able to save it from deletion.

    “The Winter SWATriplex-18 was an advanced, semi-automatic, 12 gauge shotgun prototype designed by John W. Winter. The weapon’s designation was derived from the intended user base, and the triangular profile of the receiver, which contained two magazine tubes, each containing nine 12 gauge shells for a total of 18 shells. The weapon was configured as a bullpup, with ambidextrous controls and selectable ejection (right or left side). The shotgun’s adjustable iron sights were elevated given the straight-line configuration of the receiver and stock. Forward of the rear sight was a collapsible, luggage-style, carrying handle. The front sight base served as guide and brace for a planned, optional eight-inch bayonet. The magazine tubes fed one side at a time, with the side selected by a lever located just forward of the cheekpiece. The lever also served as a bolt stop. Once one tube emptied, the lever had to be manually switched to allow the other side to feed. The spring-tension in the tubes could be relieved for storage by a centrally mounted sliding latch which would pull the tubes to the rear of the weapon. The loading of the magazine tubes and the field stripping of the shotgun was accomplished through the rear of the receiver by unlatching a folding buttplate. To load, the tube would first be pulled to the rear by the before-mentioned latch. Then five shells would be loaded into each tube. The tubes would then be pushed back forward by the latch, and then four additional shells could be added to each tube. The exact locking system used was not detailed by Mr. Winter; however, it is known that he utilized a telescoping bolt.

    The development of the shotgun was reportedly hindered by financial problems and the poor health of Mr. Winter. A selective fire version was planned, but it appears that this version was never made.”

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      Daniel, thanks for the info.

  • asdf

    If you look at the barrel band/front-sight-ears thing, with the two mag tubes in it, it looks like a nutsack. I like that. As somebody above says, it’s crude. Hell yeah, can’t get much cruder than shooting somebody with a steel nutsack.

    Nobody tell the poor anti-gun loons, they’ll go berserk.

  • Higgs

    Looks like a 12gauge Sterling SMG

  • G-man

    dude could you imagine if someone simply made a more sporting version and sold it for less than mossberg 500s and remington 870s…..dude everyone would want it!!! Assuming that someone could produce it for less money….although i think that a saiga 12 really would be a more simple alternative if someone simply wanted to get a higher capacity 12 gauge shotgun…..

  • http://www.securityarms.com/forums Pierangelo Tendas (PT-The Italian Commie)

    As for the success of the NEOSTEAD shotgun, the sales on the military market are limited worldwide mostly due to the Country of manufacture and of its cost, not competitive in comparaison with, to say, American or Italian tactical shotguns, not to mention due to its weight and its difficulty in operation (cycling the NEOSTEAD requires considerable force). Although a certain number of NEOSTEAD shotguns have been sold to military forces not only in South Africa, but also in South America and Europe (basically in the UK, where it is used in limited quantities by the S.A.S.) the NEOSTEAD has found a substantial commercial success on the European civilian markets, which in most Countries do not limit the civilian availability of this item. The lots imported in my Country, Italy, were sold out pretty quickly, and importers are now trying hard to persuade TRUVELO to sell more. The NEOSTEAD shotgun is also available on the civilian market in Canada, as an UNRESTRICTED weapon, while in the United States of America the BATFE is still resisting in its positions of prohibiting the import of this item.

  • Thomas “The Worlds Fighting Shotguns”

    I have a wooden model of the Winters SWATriplex-18 that my grandfather took to different manufacturers trying to help sell the design. How would one post pictures on here?

    • Para

      Upload it to imageshack.us and then post the image url here.