The Surface to Surface shotgun


Andrew Wyatt
December 31, 2002, 02:03 AM
I've been doing some thinking about the concept of a shotgun specifically adapted for use against all types of ground target.

Such a shotgun would be suitable for everything from pig hunting to competition use, with Home Defense an important consideration as well. Actually, i think a shotgun with these characteristics makes a fine pass at being not limited to ground targets, but it is specially adapted for those beasties that walk or crawl or simulations thereof.

Such a shotgun would necessarily have the following characteristics:

1. it must fit properly, and have a good trigger See Dave's essays on these for more details.

2. it would be a 12 gauge. Most Competitive events don't allow
anything smaller than 12 gauge in their rules, and 12 bore guns are the most versitile, anyway.

3. It would have an extended 7 or eight round tube and a short (18-22 inch barrel)

4. It would have Rifle sights, or (preferably) ghost ring or aperture sights. A tritium front post is a good idea. A surefire forend light is an even better one.

5. Pump action would be preferable because of reliability issues. Detachable magazine fed weapons are also not desired because of problems relating to changing ammunition types in a hurry.

6. sling swivels are a definite must, as a sling allws the user to climb over obstacles and whatnot, in addition to the obvious convenience issues in between stages at a match.

7. some method for storing ammunition on the gun but not in the magazine tube. (i prefer a butt cuff, but a sidesaddle would work as well)

8. Interchangeable choke tubes. (this allows the user to suit the pattern to whatever they are doing, like the use of birdshot or the ability to use a rifled choke tube)

(edited to include Dave's suggestions)

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December 31, 2002, 02:32 AM
I can't find fault with your Spec's and Criteria.

I have always been one to feel the 12 bore is the most versatile for fowl, furr, predators and any game for practice for such uses.

Even without some of the acessories, effective. That old 12 bore single shot and fixed choke has and continues to be a formidable tool.

Dave McCracken
December 31, 2002, 06:09 AM
Good post, Andrew. A few small additions and so on...

Along with fit, a trigger in the sub 4 lb range is of infinite advantage in shotguns shot like rifles. A bonus in wingshooting, but critical here.

Sights should be usable in low light by THAT shotgunner.Lights are nigh a must have for some of this, but check your game regs before hitting the woods with one. Some Critter Cops view light enhancement dimly.

The spectrum of use includes militia weaponry. We all are members of communities that may need defending.

Amen to pumps for reliability. This may change, autos have been getting better all through my shooting life, the best are getting close now.

Let's see what some other folks think....

December 31, 2002, 10:40 AM
Be aware of how much weight you're adding. Extra rounds are nice but too many will get heavy quickly. The same goes for all the bells and whistles. Then you wouldn't want to be carrying it when you should/could. Also be aware of what the weight changes will do to the handling characteristics of the shotgun (i.e butt cuff adding weight to rear, dedicated weaponlight weight in front etc)

December 31, 2002, 12:12 PM
I disagree with ONE spec. A buttcuff prevents you from shooting the weapon from your off side. I presume we all practice shooting from our weak sides correct? I hope so, if the cover mandates it or you are wounded on the strong side it will be very highly desireable.

Put the ammo on a sling, or a side saddle, or a vest/clothing.

December 31, 2002, 01:05 PM
So an 870 with a side saddle, a sling, ghost ring and a lightened trigger.

Substitute a 12gauge Win 1300 Defender for me, comes with the 8 round capacity, sling mounts, reasonable trigger etc. Although the aluminum reciever is a problem for some...


December 31, 2002, 01:46 PM
Out-of-the-box, and IMHO better than 870's and 1100's:

'Cause "surface-to-surface" is all I do!


Andrew Wyatt
December 31, 2002, 02:27 PM
I disagree with ONE spec. A buttcuff prevents you from shooting the weapon from your off side. I presume we all practice shooting from our weak sides correct? I hope so, if the cover mandates it or you are wounded on the strong side it will be very highly desireable.

Under most circumstances where i'd be shooting with my right shoulder, I've loaded all of the ammunition on the butt cuff into the shotgun already. (i keep my shotgun unloaded and locked a closet but with a full butt cuff on it, and a bandolier full of ammo right next to it (15-20 rounds of buckshot, and 5 slugs).

I do keep the majority of my ammo in an off the shotgun location, but the butt cuff means that when i grab the shotgun, there's ammo with it, even if it's not loaded.

A sidesaddle would perform the same purpose, but I don't like it, because it seems to unbalance the weapon more, and it is rather in the way when firing through things or using things like walls for support. It also can cause reliability problems and reciever damage with aluminum recievered guns like my mossberg.
The butt cuff also helps retain the cheekpiece i installed to help make the gun fit where the sights were aligned. even though i used black ubertactical duct tape to do the installation, the elastic putt cuff can't do anything but help hold it on.

December 31, 2002, 04:10 PM
Have to disagree that detachable box mags make ammo changes difficult. Say you had 00 buck in your shotgun, with 4 rounds remaining in the mag and one in the chamber. Badguy ducks behind hard cover and you want to switch to slugs.

All you'd need to do would be remove the magazine, replace it with one full of slugs (you'd probably mark your slug magazines somehow for easy recognition) and pull the charging handle/slide/whatever to chamber the fresh round, and eject the buckshotshell that was in the chamber.

Whereas with a tube fed pump gun, AFAIK, you'd have to pull back the slide, and try to get the fresh round in the chamber without having the round on the elevator double feed on you. I'm not positive how to do this, but I haven't owned a repeating shotgun for awhile now.

Problem with mag fed shotguns is reliability. Rimmed shotgun shells are hard to stack in a box magazine, though improvements have been made in recent years. The Russian Saigas are supposed to be very reliable (especially the honest to goodness military ones you can't get over here).

Andrew Wyatt
December 31, 2002, 05:31 PM
with a tube fed shotgun, all you have to do is shove another type of round in the tube, rack it and you're ready to go.

I think detachable magazines fall on their face when you have to deal with multiple ammunition types. Sure, you can carry one type per magazine, but all magazines look the same, magazines can be lost, broken and otherwise rendered unuseable and your gun won't work without them. If you only have one magazine with you, you're up ****e creek if you have to switch to slug.

I'm a bit leery about using a shotgun for serious purposes that requires a readily detachable and easily lost part to function.

December 31, 2002, 05:39 PM
The joy of a tube fed pump gun is the "self-contained" factor.
With a side saddle (not a butt cuff) and a full tube you can grab the SG and have "serious" firepower 8 in the tube and 6 in the saddle!!:D

Although I have no real problems shooting from the left with a butt cuff on, the side saddle is much faster and "safer" for reloading (allowing the SG to still cover possible threats with the trigger hand still in place).
As long as the side saddle is installed correctly you should have no trouble with the aluminum receiver. 2000 shells through mine no probs.


Andrew Wyatt
December 31, 2002, 06:00 PM
I've seen instances where the sidesaddle pins wallow out the pin holes in the reciever and cause problems due to recoil from lots of rounds with a fully loaded sidesaddle in place. this can be worked around by not shooting lots with it fully loaded, of course.

I'm just not fond of sidesaddles for my personal weapons, for the aforementioned reasons. :scrutiny:

Dave McCracken
January 1, 2003, 09:09 AM
We all have opinions on this, including your kindly old grey haired Moderator. And there's more than one way to get there, certainly.

A coupla things to stimulate discussion, and these ARE opinions....

The big prob with box(Detachable) magazines is the size of the ammunition. Anything over 5 rounds or so capacity removes shooting from low prone as an option, like AK 40 round mags.

I dislike butt cuffs because they get in the way for mirror side shooting, at least for me. While Sidesaddles aren't perfect, they seem to have less effect on cross-shooting.

And while extra rounds on the weapon are close to essential, an ammo belt/carrier of some sort stored nearby for a grab and go scenario, is a darn nice thing to have.

A couple things to avoid, going by reports and personal experience are bandolier slings and Speedfeed style stocks. The former get to swinging like a pendulum during fast firing and the latter has the rep of loosing rounds while employed.


January 1, 2003, 01:08 PM
I'm a bit leery about using a shotgun for serious purposes that requires a readily detachable and easily lost part to function.

You mean like a self loading pistol or one of the myriad of magazine fed rifles out there?

See, this is a common opinion I see when it comes to shotguns. Pump action for reliability. Tube magazine only for reliability.

Are shotguns REALLY so far behind technologically that we can't make a reliable, self loading shotgun that feeds from a box magazine? May or may not be any better than a standard pump for home defense, but can it be done? Magazine fed, self loading rifles and pistols have been reliably serving for a hundred years now.

Dave McC: True on the necessary length of shotgun magazines. Though, to be honest, maybe it's just me, but I don't see many people firing shotguns prone. *I* do it, but that's mainly because that's how I learned to shoot and have this crazy idea in my head that I should lay on the ground if ever shot at.

Dave McCracken
January 1, 2003, 06:12 PM
Everyone should know how to shoot from all positions. Prone's just part of it.

Shotguns and rifles usually have different missions. Suppressive fire needs mag capacity, and shotguns are hardly ever used for suppressive fire and area interdiction.

A tube mag shotgun lends itself to the fire one, load one process. Box mags do not.

January 1, 2003, 07:11 PM
My Winchester 1300 is almost there, except that it doesn't have screw-in chokes, rifle sights, sling, tac-light, sidesaddle or buttcuff. It does just fine though because, like the Bumble Bee, it doesn't know it isn't supposed to be able to do what it does.;)

January 1, 2003, 07:55 PM
It's true you can't fire one, load one with a mag fed weapon. You can't do it with a submachine gun or a carbine, and both of those are very popular in the close quarters environment these days as well.

So, obviously, traditional shotgun doctrine won't do with a magazine fed shotgun. You'd have to treat it (when it comes to handling) like any other magazine fed weapon. You can change a box magazine a lot faster than you can shove seven or eight rounds into a shotgun, should you happen to run dry (it's not supposed to happen, but **** happens in combat).

I think perhaps a smaller, brass-cased, higher pressure shotgun round, with a recessed rim, would be ideal for a box mag fed weapon. HK tried it, but it never flew. It'd be tough to market, being that the rounds wouldn't work in normal shotguns (and it'd be a bit more difficult to chamber rimless rounds in a tube magazine), but it's technologically feasable.

With a slightly smaller bore size, you could fit more into a reasonably sized magazine. A very fat double stack mag would make for less length of the magazine, as well.

Of course, there are silly legalities in the way, but the idea of a reliable, semiautomatic shotgun, firing high velocity (comparatively) buck and slugs (probably 14 or 16 gauge, or somewhere in there, mayb as small as 20) from a 12 round double stack box magazine sounds very appealing. No, you couldn't shoot one, load one, but with double the capacity of a typical pump, you wouldn't have to reload as often.

Just musings, since we're dealing in the theoretical. For law enforcement and home defense, tube fed pump guns work fine. (Of course, I think many police departments would do better with peep-sight fitted lever .30-30s than spending thousands of dollars to buy the latest whiz-bang AR clone, but call me backward.)

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