The German Luftwaffe M30 Drilling,
The drilling has been a tradition of high German hunting culture dating back to the 19th century. Based on the german word for three “drei”, a drilling is a three barreled firearm typically with two shotgun barrels and a rifle barrel. The purpose of this is so that a hunter can used the same firearm for small game, flying game, and medium to large game. Typically, drillings were not firearms for the common hunter but the well to do and wealthy, as they were heavily decorated, made with fine quality, and very expensive.
During World War II, the German Luftwaffe (air force) contracted with the firm Sauer & Sohn for 4,000 drillings. Sauer & Sohn was a firm who for decades had produced fine quality custom drillings for German hunters. The Luftwaffe intended the drilling to be used as an aircrew survival weapon. If a plane was to be shot down, the pilot and crew could use the drilling to hunt for food until rescue.
The M30 drilling featured two 12 gauge barrels and a rifle barrel chambered for 9.3x73mm. 9.3x73mm is a very powerful cartridge intended for hunting large game, particularly effective as a big game cartridge for hunting in Africa. The M30 was issued with
with 20 rounds of 12 gauge birdshot shells, 25 twelve gauge slugs, and 20 rounds of 9x74mmR. It was typically stored disassembled in a crate with ammunition and accessories. The M30 drilling was little different from the custom drillings that Sauer & Sohn had produced for civilian clientele. It featured engraved chambers, an engraved case hardened receiver, a walnut stock, a checkered handgrip, foregrip, and cheek piece. Indeed it must have been the classiest standard issue firearm in military history. I can’t find specific information on how much the Luftwaffe paid for their drillings, the contract with Sauer & Sohn was under the table, but they must have been very expensive. Today, they sell for as much a $25,000.
I find that I must point out how ridiculously absurd it is that the German’s issued these guns as survival weapons. At 42 inches in overall length weighing 7.5lbs they were large for a survival weapon, taking up a lot of valuable space and weight on an airplane. Compare the M30 to other survival rifles, such as the American M4, which is small, light, inexpensive, and yet probably a much more effective survival rifle. While not as powerful as the M30, it was ideal for hunting small game, and it’s unlikely that a stranded airplane crew is going to shoot a moose for food anyway.
The gun was very expensive, firing ammunition which was likewise expensive and uncommon. If you wanted to argue ad absurdium that the drilling was a good survival rifle because it is versatile, I ask you imagine if the US Air Force issued $10,000 elephant rifles in their survival kits today. So why did the luftwaffe bother with these drillings? It all had to do with Luftwaffe head Herman Goering, who was an avid hunter and among his many titles was Reichminister of Forestry, basically the chief of the German game commission.
Goering believed that if German pilots were every to be placed in a position where they must hunt for survival, then they should be equipped with the finest traditional German hunting weapon available, no expense spared. However, Goering’s dream was not completely fulfilled, as only 2,500 were produced out of 4,000. I imagine this was as a result of excessive cost and waste of resources.