Chiappa Resurrects the M6 Survival Gun w/ 10+ Caliber Options

The X-Caliber in 12-gauge. Note the double triggers and picatinny rails.

The X-Caliber in 12-gauge. Note the double triggers and picatinny rails.

TFB’s staff scoured SHOTShow 2014 for all the latest, but the show is so big, something is bound to slip through the cracks. One such gem is the pictured Chiappa X-Caliber, the 12-Gauge version of Chiappa’s M6-22, a 20-Gauge replica of the Springfield M6, a .410/.22 over/under survival rifle for US Military air personnel.

chiappa-x-caliber

The X-Caliber in 12-Gauge. Note the double triggers and picatinny rails.

The X-Caliber adds some noted improvements over the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon, namely separate triggers for the shotgun and .22, enhanced trigger guard, better loop and post sights, and three picatinny rails for sights, lasers, and accessories.

The original M6. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

The original M6. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

The real advantage of the rifle is that it is a true multi-caliber system. The X-Caliber includes 8 steel adapters from Gear Up’s (X Caliber) system, which converts the 12-gauge smooth-bore into a rifle for 8 separate pistol calibers including:  .380 , 9 mm , .357Mag/.38SP , .40 S & W, .44 Mag, .45 ACP , .410/.45colt, and down-sizes to .410 and 20-gauge for a total of 12 calibers. Gear-Up has tested .223 and .308 inserts.

Top view of the X-Caliber

Top view of the X-Caliber

The butt-stock includes space for 3 12-gauge shells and (1 taken up by a factory cleaning kit) and 5 .22 rounds. The barrels are both 18.5″  and feature M1-style adjustable sights. The front post is fiber optic. The X-Caliber retails for $749.00 (including the full insert kit), while the .20-gauge M6-22 expects to priced up $375.00 (no inserts).

Rest assured, we will request a sample for review. This may just be the ultimate survival weapon…

The full gamut of caliber options.

The full gamut of caliber options.

Author’s note: The title photograph comes from the RockyMountainBushcraft blog, who has excellent coverage and hands-on impressions of the combined rifle/shotgun here.


Nathan S.

TFB’s resident Jarhead, Nathan now works within the Industry in Operations, Sales & Marketing. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, MSR’s, high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries in the last three years working with US DoD & foreign MoDs. You will likely find him either in an international airport or on the local range in NE Indiana.

Nathan can be reached at [email protected]


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  • Kav

    “The X-Caliber includes 8 steel adapters from Gear Up’s (X Caliber) system, which converts the 12-gauge smooth-bore into a rifle”
    Does it?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Yes it does—

    • Anonymoose

      Heh. I remember when I was a little kid and I was out at a farm with some family and friends, an old fudd told me “wen ah put dis hurr [slug] shell in muh shawtgun it turns it intuh a roffle.” A lot of caliber conversion sleeves for single-shot shotguns have a short length of rifled barrel them, so you do get some spin as opposed to just throwing it down an entirely smooth bore.

      • Giolli Joker

        I can’t find data on the length of the inserts, but they seem to have around 6″ of usable barrel… They won’t get you a sniper rifle but they should be well enough not to have the bullet hit the 12ga barrel walls.
        I wonder what’s the weight of the full set (the rifle/shotgun should be 5.8 pounds) and how does such a gun kick in 12ga…
        Anyway, it looks like an interesting gun, even without inserts the choice of calibers seems sound and probably very well suited for survival applications.
        I kinda like it, looking forward to reading a TFB test! :-)

        • Kav

          Interesting. Referring to the weapon as a rifle when talking about its functions as a shotgun, and saying the barrel inserts are “conversions” seems a little bit misleading, but that’s just semantics.

          • Giolli Joker

            I answer to myself:
            http://www.gearupcenter.com/products/x-caliber-shotgun-gauge-adapter-system-new-pre-order-available.html
            Inserts are 8″ long (that’s not bad, I’d say), made of steel and fully rifled (20ga aside).
            The kit weighs 4 pounds.
            So the full set gun + kit is around 10 pounds.
            Of course you might just carry the inserts you’re more likely to need depending on the environment/ammo availability, thus cutting down the burden.

          • Jida

            Ironically, a solution like this is far better suited for home/truck use than as a carry option. Carrying this rifle with the inserts is a losing proposition as,

            1) If you find the ammo chances are you would also find the firearm with it
            2) Different loads in different calibers will have different POI which (if you are “surviving”) means that you may miss just enough to lose that game you had a bead on
            3) Out of the 5lbs of inserts you are likely to use maybe 1 of them, which means that you are carrying the rest as unneeded weight the entire time you are traveling
            4) The amount of shots that you would need to take in a bad situation should be covered by the ammo that you have for .22lr and 12g

            As a solution at home it is quite nice since the weight conversation goes out the window and as a fallback solution, all scrounged pistol ammo *could* be used effectively for close range defense. For the truck, you could leave the inserts and only retrieve them as needed.

            As a carry option though, unless you are Mad Max running from town to town trying to survive zombie (shufflers) and cannibals (idiotic ones) the weight is of the inserts and the loss of expected POI make it less desirable to burden yourself with.

          • Zebra Dun

            Canoe gun, .357 magnum and 20 ga.
            Add the .22 lr and ya got something.

        • V1

          To be exact you will consider yourself luky if you hit a barn with those inserts.

  • guest

    …. or for the same weight you can carry more of the same ammo you would otherwise use, and use it far more effectively in the weapon that it is intended for.

    • bbmg

      True, but it is a neat idea and a good way to capitalize of the market generated by those obsessed with the sort of post-apocalyptic scenario more likely to be seen on a movie screen than in real life.

      More details here: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/27/the-awesome-adapter-for-your-12-gauge-shotgun-that-turns-your-gun-into-an-ultimate-survival-rifle/

      It’s clearly not a target rifle but if you’re in an unlikely “anything is better than nothing” scenario, seems like a handy set to have.

      A big bore air rifle would also make an interesting addition to your armory if you are obsessed with ammunition shortages, something like this and a hand pump can be had for less than a thousand bucks: http://www.quackenbushairguns.com/308_exile.html

      • Giolli Joker

        Crossbows as well usually are in that price range…
        But in an unlikely survival situation, a 12ga and a 22lr are more suited to put on your improvised table a small prey… :-)

        • bbmg

          Very true. I’ll take the gun with a full magazine, otherwise it’s just a fancy club :)

          • HappyDog1

            I agree, also the multi-bore options means you are limited to how many shells you may carry, plus extra weight. My take-down Browning .22 cal SA LR has a 10+1 capacity and I also have a Walther PPK/S .380 and Walther P99QA .40 cal for easy carry.

      • guest

        IMHO the best thing one can always do is 1) own a gun in a standardised and popular calibre 2) have plenty of ammo.

        In absolutely ANY “survival” situation same ammo type is the best thing to have. There is no excuse in not stocking up on ammo if one actually goes this far as to buying a special multi-calibre kit.
        Also another aspect is that the only likely scenario this “weapon” will ever be used is against non-dangerous animals and at very close range. Any other, let’s just say more demanding survival situation and you simply won’t have time to fiddle with this setup.

  • wetcorps

    I like Chiappa’s creativity, at least compared to many other gun compagnies. Shame some of their guns have a reputation of shoddy quality.

    I really wonder about the foam stock. How resilient is it to scratches, high and low temperatures, humidity, salt water and various chemicals? Can it make the rifle float? How flammable is it? I can see how it would help tame recoil by compressing, so let’s see how it does.

    Also, for safety and reliability nothing beats external hammers. Over/under shotguns tend to need constant dry firing. At home where you can have snap caps handy it is not a problem but on a “survival” rifle I would prefer more options. Especially for its survival scenario of choice where you salvage ammo that might be old, weathered or homemade with unreliable primers.
    On the other hand the original M6’s pivoting hammer might be more prone to breakage, so it would need some designing to be strong enough. You would be able to safely carry the rifle loaded with the hammer down, and easily see which barrel you are about to shoot.

    Compared to Chiappa’s little Badger, I like the opening lever on the X-Caliber/M6 better. On the little badger it is a tiny tab in front of the trigger guard which alone seems to prevent you to fold the rifle completely. At least on the X-caliber it seems more solid.
    I still wish they came up with a system allowing you to fold the rifle further, and maybe lock it in this position.

    In both cases the quad rail seems a little overkill to me, I wouldn’t buy a light, streamlined and (supposedly) reliable rifle to cover it with heavy accessories. But the rails are removable so it’s cool.
    How well would an optic work with the different inserts?

    I knew about the x-caliber adaptors which they named the rifle after, and I wonder why they replaced the .308, .223 and 7.62×39 with more pistol calibers. Maybe they weren’t deemed safe and/or accurate enough.
    Anyway I always liked the idea of sub caliber adapters. I’m not sure how usefull they would be in a real survival situation but well, as long as they don’t happen we are reduced to “what if” scenarios.
    The whole rifle+adapters package smells a bit of marketing surfing on the “survivalist” wave. This wave seems to be mostly composed of people who prep by buying tons of gear, so you can’t really blame Chiappa here ^^

    Finally, the price: ouch! The x-caliber set is relatively expensive by itself (and will be available separately), but even the M6 which doesn’t have it isn’t cheap.
    Let’s hope it has at least a decent build quality.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Nathan S “Writer, TFB”

      An excellent opening synopsis. We will request the unit for testing. I think we owe it to the readers to try and answer some of the questions above.

    • bbmg

      I certainly know why they are not taken seriously by those who can understand Italian… http://www.wordreference.com/enit/buttcheek

    • Fred Johnson

      “I really wonder about the foam stock. How resilient is it to scratches,
      high and low temperatures, humidity, salt water and various chemicals?
      Can it make the rifle float? How flammable is it? I can see how it would
      help tame recoil by compressing, so let’s see how it does.” – wetcorps

      If that stock is good old fashioned styrofoam like found in cheap coolers, hand thrown gliders, or lining the inside of motorcycle helmets, I think the foam will compress just fine. Especially if touching of 12 gauge loads. But, will the foam uncompress like a rubber recoil pad? I sincerely doubt it.

      I can see the foam butt stock mushroom over the metal stock arms after repeated 12 gauge use until the mushroomed pieces just chip off. Kinda like a mushroomed head on a steel punch that’s been pounded with a hammer over time.

      I guess the thing to remember with this Chiappa is to not use hard recoiling loads of any caliber unless it’s a last resort. It’s probably not going to be a good idea to butt stroke an oncoming zombie, either.

      • http://www.rockymountainbushcraft.com/ Rocky Mountain Bushcraft

        The stock is actually made from Polypropylene foam, a form of blown plastic that is much tougher than styrofoam.

        • Fred Johnson

          I’ll take your word for it. I can’t tell from the photos that it doesn’t have the little formed together styrofoam balls.

          Anyway, thanks for the info!

          • http://www.rockymountainbushcraft.com/ Rocky Mountain Bushcraft

            You’re welcome Fred

    • Giolli Joker

      “I knew about the x-caliber adaptors which they named the rifle after,
      and I wonder why they replaced the .308, .223 and 7.62×39 with more
      pistol calibers. Maybe they weren’t deemed safe and/or accurate enough.”
      My guess is that, being high pressure cartridges, they were not deemed suitable to work in the oldest 12ga shotguns still around. I’m pretty sure that the inserts by themselves already put a sufficient amount of steel around the case, but on an old O/U or SxS the stress on the breech might end up being too high and it’s easier to stop selling the inserts than trying to find out which shotguns can handle them.
      Anyway, it’s just my guess.
      However the last picture of the article is outdated and therefore a bit misleading. ;-)

  • iksnilol

    Or you could be classy and get a drilling? A drilling is also more practical/modular.

  • Michael

    The little badger is cute and inexpensive, but it did not make me want to buy it. This sounds good, but way too expensive.

  • erwos

    I am confused about this thing. Why not just go with a double barrel 12 gauge? Is there something magical about having a 22lr barrel on the top? Or, hell, just go with a single 12ga barrel and include a 22lr insert?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Nathan S “Writer, TFB”

      No reason why you cannot get a H&R break action and the insert kit.

  • Thumper999

    Looks like a bag of fun to me….

  • Steve

    While some of the Springfield M6 rifles did come chambered in .22LR (or, as Chiappa prefers to call it in their ad, .22 Long Colt…), I’d still prefer a .22 Hornet/.410 combo, as in the original military M6. Yes, .22 Hornet would be much more difficult to find than .22LR, but the survival rifle idea was not meant to be the one gun you grab in a long-term survival situation (where you’d run out of, and need to scavenge for ammunition); but rather, something to keep you fed for a short-time until you were rescued.

    For a gun more in-line with Chiappa’s marketing – you’d probably be better off with an 870/500 with a couple of caliber-change barrel inserts.

  • wicked_bear

    Great, they designed a football bat.

  • Broz

    I’d like to see Chiappa manufacture a 20 in barreled ‘drilling’ style survival gun…in a choice of 12 or 20 Ga with interchangeable barrel sleeves for .30-06; .308/7.62 NATO; .223/5.56 NATO; 7.62×39; and .22 LR. They currently manufacture a three barrel shotgun, but a ‘[drilling’ style guin with 20 inch barrels would be (to my mind) a perfect survival gun,,,if you could only have ONE gun.

    CB in FL

  • JT

    Holy crap. It turns my single shot into an MP5. This just saved me 10K+ dollars. THANK YOU CHIAPPA

  • ozzallos .

    On one hand the foam seems like an incredibly bad idea; easily prone to lacerations, gouging and tears if put to serious use in the field. On the other, it’s easily replaced if needed, I guess. Cut out your own insert, drill some holes and g2g. For $375 (hopefully less at street prices) I can’t help but to think they could have done better.

  • David169

    I bought an M-6 to put in my plane as a survival gun. The 22 is sort of OK with and with the best ammo it will hold about 1.5 inches at 25 yards which should be adequate for small game. The .410 bore shotgun is a nightmare. I have tried every factory load and loads on new primed cases with all types of shot in reasonable sizes 7.5, 7, 6.5, 6 & 5.5 with all different wads or lack there-of plus many different powders and I have yet to have it produce a 60% pattern at 25 yards. If this new combo-gun is durable enough maybe the 20 gauge will do better in the shotgun department. I can’t see carrying anything for survival if it won’t pattern.

  • justme

    I am curious to see how this pans out

  • V1

    This big piece of BS, twelve fold/ Who has ever gained an acceptable accuracy with those fancy inserts? Chiappa would be much better off making a combos in 30-30/12, 303Br/12 or 20ga – the niche left by savage and others.

    • lottery

      I wish savage would return with model 24, not 42 with only .410 gauge….

  • Lee Shoemaker

    I think, take the 20gauge/22 and make a 243 cal. insert as log as possible for fit in the 20 gauge barrel. If a 243 won’t fit try 223, but 243 will drop an elk at 400yards with proper shot placement.

  • Dean Seaman

    Don’t see what was wrong with the original. Trigger was very innovative and fitting for the use the gun was originally designed for. Only change I would’ve made was inclusion a .22 mag/28 ga. chambering. Both are sort of “super sized” versions of the original’s chambering.
    Also, price is way out there. Would prefer .22LR / .410 @ $199.99 with the .22 mag / 28 ga. version going for about $249.99. Gun would sell like hotcakes then. JMHO.

  • Zebra Dun

    I could live with this little package, I’d rather have the normal set up of wood and steel please, I bet that M-6 frame kicks like a mule.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    The X-Caliber option seems to offer a huge amount of versatility that will probably make a lot of end users very happy, and is deserving of further consideration, although I personally prefer the basic 20-gauge / .22LR weapon for the sake of straightforward simplicity ( after all, it is supposed to be a survival rifle ). The X-Caliber’s detail improvements — specifically, the sights, trigger guard and separate triggers — are all desirable features, but I’m not too sure about the need for Picatinny rails in a basic survival rifle. They are nice to have, but are they really necessary in the truest sense of what a survival rifle is supposed to be? I guess the jury is still out on this topic since there are so many pros and cons involved.