It becomes clear to me that I am an outlier when I look at used cars and start popping air filter boxes open in front of bystanding owners. The look on their silent faces usually says, “What are you doing?!”, “Don’t break it!”, and “Interesting, I’ve actually never looked in there before…” all at once.
I realize in that kind of moment that I have no problem venturing into the mechanics of something where many fear to tread. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve always been good with puzzles, which naturally, has prompted me to take things apart so that I have the pleasure of putting the pieces back together in the right place. Sometimes it gets me in trouble. Sometimes I can’t put things back together as easily as I took them apart. But no doubt, it always leaves me wondering if I can’t put my hands on something I’m interested in. Like, “lay awake” wondering…
Usually, this wonder can be quenched by reading a service manual, owner’s manual or an enthusiast’s forum to ply me with photos of the internal design and construction of something. With cars, it’s easy… but with firearms it’s difficult. By looking at the pieces that make up the assembly, I am able to gauge an understanding of quality. And for a couple years now, I’ve been laying awake wondering about the build quality of Chiappa Firearms’ Double Badger.
The first thing that pops up when you search online for a firearm by name is the manufacturer’s website, quickly followed by reviews. And consistently, I found article after article that fell short of my expectations. Reviewers love to repeat everything that’s said on the manufacturer’s website and what was told to them at the store. We’re lucky to find authors who at the very least take the firearms outside or to the range and punch a variety of rounds through the barrel. But my itch had yet to be scratched. Breaking the action open and looking down the barrels still leaves much to be desired for someone mechanically inclined.
So with a price tag worth gambling, I realized waiting around for another year wasn’t going to offer up any further insight into the Double Badger. I was only going to sleep contently when left to my own devices. I purchased the .410 and .22 WMR (Magnum) model and set out to determine its true value, by actually taking it apart, and put it out there for others to benefit from before I get too carried away with bashing all gun reviews in general.
But first, compliments to the ladies and gentlemen at Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, offering up the most detailed experience of the Double Badger in the real world across multiple articles. Aside from their work, I consistently found article after article that fell short of my expectations of a review. If it wasn’t for their long term update posted about 2 years after their initial impression, I would have remained on the fence and refrained from purchasing a Double Badger to call my own. Their articles accurately displayed the firearm and its features, no doubt put it to use and weighed their conclusion in the context of a specific use for the firearm, which goes beyond the commonly accepted review.
Please consider this not a review, but a visual insight into the design and build quality of the firearm. I put the Badger to use at the range, but believe enough people have done the same thing and don’t care much to repeat what’s been said. I was able to make what I believe are some important findings with a simple yet partial disassembly, which I feel is lacking in the world of reviewing. I don’t wish to become a reviewer, but do wish to see more disassembly in reviews as it offers up much more to say when speaking about cost and quality of a firearm. Hopefully that becomes clear to readers and reviewers alike.
This Double Badger does not exhibit quality out of the box. Neither was it actually ready to use out of the box; yours will likely require a basic disassembly to clean and lubricate. If you are looking to have a Double Badger which stands the test of time, expect to spend the time and money to correct for the mistakes Chiappa Firearms may make, and/or address some design flaws that the average consumer is blindly putting up with but will surely leave you with a deteriorating and unsafe firearm.
On the other hand, Chiappa’s done a fine balancing job of putting a beautiful, functional and inexpensive folding combination firearm in our hands, all things considered. Everything I’ve managed to negatively pick apart is manageable, and it’s up to you to determine whether these things reflect the cost. Nothing in my experience using or disassembling the Double Badger will prevent me from continuing to use it, and I hope to keep it indefinitely, so I will be putting the extra time and money into it. I speak from a desire to take things apart and fix them though.