When Shotguns Are Used Like Rifles 101...


Dave McCracken
May 18, 2005, 10:28 AM
By now, you've probably figured out that a reliable, short barrelled repeating shotgun stoked with slugs is a large caliber carbine of great effect and utility. While having less effective range than centerfire rifles, many shotguns and their owners are capable of effective shots up to 100 yards and further in certain circumstances.

Many Eastern deer and hog hunters use shotguns and slugs. Some because of game laws in that area and some because the combination of a big chunk of lead and medium velocity means short blood trails and meat edible right up to the hole. Some use shotguns because that's what they have.

Shotguns with fully rifled barrels are really 12 gauge rifles.They've little versatility, but they can be very accurate at ranges long thought to be excessive for shotguns. A Tar Hunt shotgun or Browning's now discontinued bolt action with proper ammo and a good scope are capable of shots past 100 yards giving clean and humane kills. With the right variable scope, these also work for brush hunting.

More versatile is a short barrelled repeater fitted with choke tubes and with a rifled tube in place. Lots of GP shotguns give yeoman service like this.My pet 870 for deer with the rifled tube in place keeps them under 4" at 100 yards from the bench. Many folks do better after a little slug testing and tweaking. If I swap the tube for an IC, groups open to 5 1/2", but not with that slug. Shotgun ballistics still have a touch of mystery to them.

Still more versatile though perhaps less accurate is a simple open choked barrel with no tube threading. These have the advantage of simplicity and reliability, Some barrels with plenty of choke do well with a particular slug, but not with different brands.

"Serious" shotgunning is that in which Human life or death depends on the tool and expertise. Combat falls under this, of course, and so does hunting dangerous game or just being in that dangerous game's territory. Many guides in Alaska keep a pump loaded with slugs close in bear country. So do those Rangers on our parks that deal with nuisance bears that have to be relocated.

As for combat, a bit of recent history.

A few decades ago, New York City dealt with armed robberies in Harlem and other high risk areas by having a squad of excellent shots stake out high risk businesses and engage robbers when they tried to rob.

The Stake Out Squad had considerable control over their weapons. While all had handguns, their longarms included 9mm subguns, M1 carbines and Ithaca 37 pump shotguns. After numerous real world firefights, the longarm of choice became the Ithaca loaded with slugs. Nothing else could match the one shot stop record of the Ithaca and those .73 caliber hunks of soft lead.

Even today, nothing can.

I see a hand up in the back. You, the guy with the black BDUs....

" Why are you advocating the shotgun when a good rifle can do so much more?"....

Actually, the rifle can do less. While unmatched for accuracy and range, a rifle does shotgun things like small game and wingshooting very badly. A shotgun does rifle things better.

And, one can field a fine shotgun for less than any of the major battle rifles cost. The cheapest military semi auto, the SKS, is an exception.

The best approach for disaster scenarios would be having at least one of each, but how many guns can YOU run with? The shotgun just fills more niches.

I see another hand up.....

"So what do you recommend as a good choice for this?"....

YMMV, but a Big Four Pump with decent sights, good trigger, and a great pad would be close to optimum for me.

Pump for the best reliability with ALL the ammo spectrum.

Decent sights, possibly a peep's the best or a LOW power scope,something less than 3X.

A good trigger, for obvious reasons.

A great pad, with it and the stock fitted to the shooter for reasons equally obvious. Slug guns kick,even with the newer reduced loads.

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May 18, 2005, 10:48 AM

Thanks Dave!

May 18, 2005, 11:10 AM
Yes, thank you Dave.
doesn't mean I'm giving up my lever gun tho... :evil:

May 18, 2005, 11:22 AM
Shotguns vs. rifles - the war continues...


I agree on all points, though shotguns will always have some disadvantages.

I just wish there was a range nearby where I could do practical shooting with a shotgun. I'm not sure skeet and trap skills translate into sound defensive shotgunning. :cool:

May 18, 2005, 11:35 AM
Yes, thank you, Dave.

My reasons are never as well thought out as yours are in your writings.

My 590 w/ GR's is my main choice for a "go to" long gun anytime I'm home (either inside or outside). I have my 5.56x45 or 7.62x39 semis available as well, but think I would opt for the slug gun most of the time.

A Cleaner
May 18, 2005, 11:42 AM
That's a 10 on the well reasoned scale and a 10 on the eloquent scale. Thanks.

Dave McCracken
May 18, 2005, 11:52 AM
Thank you, folks. A coupla things...

Rupestris, there's a lever gun here, a Model 94 HBAR. Still reaching for the 870 first, though.

No war, Mulliga, just differing opinions. Also, acquiring a 4" target at an unknown speed, vector and distance and blowing it to smithereens seems very good training for combat. 4" is about the widest part of your CNS.

Nitesite, such is not ordained. Work on it, it'll come.

May 18, 2005, 12:15 PM
I'm not sure skeet and trap skills translate into sound defensive shotgunning.

I am of the opinion - and this my opinion and experiences...

As I have stated before , underneath any competition I did , was the Self Defense mindset.

I competed in skeet and other "bird games".

Gun fit: I advocate this a LOT. There is a difference in gun fit for clay games, and dedicated Serious Shotguns. When one mounts a gun in a store, or in the privacy of home, not uncommon for the body, and face to adjust to shotgun.

Even if one uses Correct Basic Fundamentals of mounting gun to face, in the store/ home there is not pressure. Step out on station 1 ( skeet field) with a premounted gun, and folks will raise thier head, not get a good set into pocket...etc.

Shoot Doubles and this is more easier to see, Shoot Flurries and that "shoot - don't think" is even more evident -.

That BA/UU/R mantra Dave shares, amongst others thing ingrains the shooter, the shotgun to become as one.

Serious Shotguns often have / recommended to have a shorter LOP. When situations are serious, and these will be fast, getting the gun mounted, and the abilty to move safely with gun is paramount.

Hence the reason a LOT of us shoot low gun anyway , we bird hunt, with low gun - we don't go afield with a pre-mounted gun.

Skeet has station Low 8, I use this as a Tueller drill if you will .

Using target loads, and that BA/UU/ R ingrains skills - one becomes one with the shotgun.

Now I have had the luxury to shoot on Private Skeet Fields, I can do things one cannot on a public range. I can set the machines to throw low and fast, and be at any place on the field. Yes Safe rules are followed.

Even with one thrower, one can get some practice.

Crazy Quail, I am moving and have to shoot a moving target.

Take the same basic skills learned from all this and go out to private property, use old tires to shoot moving targets - great for deer hunting prep too.

Find a lawnmower in a yard sale, make that your charging target....Low 8 from skeet comes into play again...only now you can use the slugs to shoot the teddy mounted.

Basics and fundamentals never change - we just keep learning and practicing these to better instill. If the truth was thought out - just how many presentations are there for targets?

Clays fly as do real birds, rabbit targets as rabbits and deer. Low 8 is "coming at you" , maybe a two legged varmit, a 4 legged one, or fowl.

Being one with the shotgun, makes no nevermind if the load is target loads, or slugs - the basics never change.


May 18, 2005, 01:07 PM
there's a lever gun here, a Model 94 HBAR. Still reaching for the 870 first, though.

Same HBAR here. Its primarily the deer rifle. wouldn't consider it in a HD situation. ;)

Fred Fuller
May 18, 2005, 05:04 PM
Here on The Minor (our home isn't big or fancy enough to be considered a manor) we have a bit of room outside the four walls. From the front door to the driveway gate is about 50 yards, and distances to the 'house fence' in all other directions are longer still. Out to the far end of the driveway from the front door is a bit more than 150 yards. Line of sight in a couple of directions exceeds 500 yards- it's seriously flat country in this part of the state, the highest point in the county is only about 240' above sea level.

The house guns here are short 870s with sights, loaded with buckshot but with slugs available on the SideSaddles. That's in case there's trouble outside, if a fight moves outdoors or starts outdoors and a shotgun is what's handy when that happens.

Now the usual trouble outside hereabouts is a fox after the chickens, or crows pulling up the sprouting corn. Those sorts of problems are better addressed with a slow twist long barreled .22 centerfire bolt gun with a good scope aboard, loaded with lightly constructed lightweight bullets at high velocity. That makes it safer to take shots at Br'er Fox or Mr. Crow or whatever varmint is out causing trouble without worrying as much about holing someones' livestock, house or car (not to mention epidermis) a half mile away.

Unfortunately not all the varmints here are furred or feathered. We have our own problems with prowlers, thieves, kidnappers, rustlers, poachers and various other assorted miscreants. Sometimes they genuinely are looking for trouble. Anyone who comes onto someone else's property through gates and fences and enters homes while people are in residence in this county is either so high on something they have no functional intelligence at work, or doesn't care what they might encounter. That sort of thing is rare but it happens- locals know full well that messing about on someone else's place when you aren't invited is a good way to get perforated.

Close up it matters little what a shotgun is loaded with. That advantage alone- sheer stopping power- is the primary reason shotguns are preferred defensive weapons for many people. But when there is distance involved and what is at hand is a scattergun, the best solution to that particular problem is a supply of slugs. In the hands of a capable shooter with a familiar gun, the shotgun can be a formidable weapon at ranges in excess of 100 yards.

Not only do slugs extend range but they boost penetration as well, if that is what is needed. There isn't a lot in the average home or on the average farm to hide behind if you are having punkin' sized chunks of lead dispatched your way. And would-be getaway vehicles seem not to work so well with their plumbing torn up either.

Nothing else offers the versatility of shotguns in performing so many roles in so many circumstances. The only real cost of that level of power and versatility is somewhat limited range, and effective use of slugs is a necessary ability for any shooter who wants to get the most out of their shotgun, either for hunting or self defense.


Bob F.
May 18, 2005, 11:12 PM
Son (AKA "Pride & Joy") was home from school early week. Trip to the range overdue! A few handguns and the 870HD with loose ammo. That thing is a BLAST! Literally! Low recoil 00 awesome, especially Hornady TAP's. Like sm says, these old eyes can see those slug holes!! Paper plate @ 25yds center-punched with ramped-bead front sight only. Gotta restock on shotgun ammo!!

Need one of the tennis ball launchers, with a plate-steel face, yeah, talk about Teuller drills!!

Stay safe.

May 19, 2005, 01:37 AM
I like using different tools for different jobs. The shotgun can work "ok" as a rifle, but can't match its range, accuracy, capacity, speed, etc.

Besides, it gives me an excuse for a whole safe full of guns ;).

May 19, 2005, 01:48 AM
Gordon LOVES slugs :) :) :)

Dave McCracken
May 19, 2005, 09:31 AM
Obviously, there's lots of interest in .73 caliber carbines.

Rupestris, the 94 here is kept ready in case I have to militia things up, but it's primary function is for when I hunt in a rifle area.

"The basics never change". Steve, this belongs on a Tablet Of Stone in The Temple Of The Shotgun Gods. Back when I instructed for the state, the only folks that moved past basic competency( Load, unload, make safe and fire) the shotgun were those who used one recreationally. A trapshooter who shot 3 times a month was far ahead of a hunter who didn't put more than 50 rounds through his scattergun in a year. The best way to get the basics ingrained is BA/UU/R.

Lee, thanks for that. The shotgun, stoked with a variety of loads, performs many missions well. One tool that can handle raccoons to burglars is muy versatile.

Bob, thanks for posting that. Making loud noises and destroying things with our kids is a great way to build memories.

Nate, the right tool for the right job. Oft the shotgun is THE right tool, but far be it from me to dissuade anyone from buying more guns.

Gordon, Amen. I demonstrated slug effect with 10 yard shots on 2 liter soda bottles filled with water and capped. Always had to wipe off the glasses after.

May 19, 2005, 09:48 AM
With my plain beaded-only barrel Maverick 88, I'm good to about 60 Yards with a slug. Beyond that, I'm going for something with a smaller, but much faster projectile. Can you say US Rifle Cal .30 M1?

Dave, another great chapter in the Shotguns 101 series. When you bind & publish the Shotguns 101 book, I'm in for a copy.

I remember in the early 80's, the Pilgrim Dry Cleaners chain in Houston, TX was having a huge problem with armed robbery. {Simliar to the NYC case Dave cited} Don't remember if it was the Pilgrim folks, or Houston PD/Harris County SO that came up with the "Shotgun Squad", but after a couple of perps got some extra ventilation, the armed robbry stats dropped like a brick. Somehow, the idea of getting a 72-cal venti-port, or several 33-cal ports all at once convinced a bunch of BG's to ply their trade elsewhere.

May 19, 2005, 10:18 AM
My 695 Mossberg isn't a shotgun, nevered fired a load of shot during the time I have owned it.
What it does do is shoot Winchester Platinum Tip Sabot Slugs into deer with telling effect.
It definately isn't a shotgun, it is a large bore, rifled, deer killer.

Dave McCracken
May 19, 2005, 02:16 PM
Fog, convicted felon Gary Klein used a shotgun for stickups. When I asked why, he replied,"Nobody bucks(Prison slang for resists) on a shotgun".

The time I pointed a shotgun at two "Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Youths" trying to break in to my apartment in Venice, Ca, all I got was complete co-operation.

Onmilo, agreed it's a 12 gauge rifle. We are splitting hairs here.

May 20, 2005, 12:46 AM
Dave, et al:

Been carrying shotguns and other things professionally for 40+ years, just returned from sandland from what is my last (really honey, the last) contract as LE/security trainer.

Your remarks on scatterguns are dead on. Sincre retirement from LE I have done business in Bosnia, Kosovo, and many other interesting places. In most places outside the US people are not totally familiar with combat shotguns, but most of them have seen them in movies, and the scattergun gets GREAT respect. Over the years I have settled on a small battery for overseas work: for a rifle nothing beats an good FAL with a decent scope, for real urban social affairs it is the Uzi or a shotgun, for the in between stuff a M4 carbine with a combat sight makes a good compromise.

Even the places where the residents are firearms familiar and good shots(read the balkans, in Bosnia and Kosovo the bad guys mostly know how to shoot really well), a shotgun gets respect. With slugs, with which most of those folks are not familiar, the concept that you can reach out and touch someone at 100+ meters with a really large slug commands attention. For my second tour there I violated my rule about specialized weapons and took a Browning A-Bolt slug gun. With the proper sabot loads the effective range was amazing, and the end results impressive.

The combat shotgun is truly a uniquely american weapon, and one that gets results, frequently without firing it. Add to that the fact that the US has yet to produce a really bad combat shotgun (and I own one of almost every one) and we have one of the most versatile all around sporting/defensive/offensive guns ever built.

BTW, love THR forum, great people and outstanding information.

May 20, 2005, 07:44 AM
My rifles do 'rifle things' SO much better than a shottie can. I don't even bother to use a rifle for 'shotgun things'.

While I love my shotguns, I use them more for birds and small game, and I use my rifles for hogs, deer, other larger game animals, and possible 'social events'.

Dave McCracken
May 20, 2005, 09:28 AM
Jack, let me give you a belated welcome aboard. Nice to see another survivor.

Your input is well taken. I do differ on one thing though.

"... the US has yet to produce a really bad combat shotgun.... "...

The High Standard Flite King, the Mossie Bullpup,the Ithaca Auto Burglar....

Mostly though, we're blessed with fine shotguns that last lifetimes, work flawlessly under the worst conditions and cost less than a week's pay.

Mann, whatever works for YOU.....

May 21, 2005, 10:52 PM
Shotguns and deer hunting is all I know because I live in a shotgun only deer area. I never gave a thought to using a rifle and never knew any better until I got older and learned that other states allow rifles for deer hunting. My main deer hunting rig is a Winchester SX2 Cantilever Deer shotgun with a Bushnell Holosight mounted on it. As for the 3 deer I put down this year with two of them over a 100yds+....didn't even know what hit them. Most people that I know use Remington 870's in any of their configurations and that's a statement to their dependability.

Hunting a deer with a rifle almost seems like cheating. :)

May 22, 2005, 12:23 AM

You make a fine argument for shotguns, tha is at ranges less than 100 yards. The fact of the matter is, a combat style shotgun (without rifling) is usually only good out to about 50 or maybe 75 yards in the hands of an average shooter. I do not advocate average shooting skills but, some people just never do get much better than average so in their hands the shotgun is a closer range firearm than 100 yards. In the event of fighting at ranges out further than that, I would opt for a rifle. There are times to pick the shotgun, and times to pick carbine or sub-gun, and times to pick a rifle. At all times be armed with a pistol too. As for me, the choice of a defensive weapon for in close fighting would be either a Remington 870 with 18 or 20 inche barrel, with ghost ring sights or, would be an MP-5.

The Remington is nothing fancy, but one heck of a fine and reliable weapon for close in fighting. Fairly quick target acqusition, fairly quick repeat shots. The MP-5 is also a superb close in weapon that often allows faster target acquisition than a shotgun and much faster repeat shots even if only set for single round fire. Since I cannot own an MP5 for home defense (although I am issued on at work) I will likely depend more on the 870 at home, as I expect would most of us. Although you never know when I'll have the MP5 in the house. Of course I can always take my 870 on a hunting trip and go for upland gamebirds, waterfowl, rabbits, deer and so on. The interchangeable barrels is a good thing. As you said a shotgun is quite the versatile firearm.

As for the trigger, the stock trigger on any Remington 870 I have ever fired is excellent for defensive type shooting. I see no reason to mess with it if that is what you mean by a good trigger. If you plan to use the shotgun primarily for self or home defense, then any aftermarket work on the trigger group may result as becoming evidence of your prior intent to kill in the event charges are filed against you in something like a manslaughter case. It can also result in you facing a nasty lawsuit. Such work, even by a so called Master Gunsmith can also result in accidental discharges or failure to fire. I am one who much prefers a stock (off the shelf) weapon for such work.

As for fitting the gun to the shooter, I do not have that luxury with many of the shotguns I have ever fired becuise they have been department guns. Then again, even with my own 870, I never bothered to even figure if I needed it to be fitted. It seems to fit me as well as I could imagine any gun could fit. Someday maybe I'll have one fitted to see if it makes a difference for me with an 870. Let me know please, what would be involved in figuring out how to fit the stock to the shooter. Based on my combat style shooting ability with an 870, I just cannot imagine I need it to be fitted but I really don't know for sure.


Find a lawnmower in a yard sale, make that your charging target....Low 8 from skeet comes into play again...only now you can use the slugs to shoot the teddy mounted. Are you suggesting that someone use a moving lawn mower as a target to be fired at with a shotgun? If so, would that be one that uses gasoline for fuel?

All the best,
Glenn B

May 22, 2005, 08:44 AM
My "tactical situation" is a lot like Lee's -- rural home and acreage, neighbours about 150-200 yards away on either side. My 870 has always been considered a short range "rifle" more than a shotgun.

Having experimented with various types of buckshot, I've gone almost exclusively to slugs. I keep #4 buck and some tactical 00 around for porcupines, possums and coyotes. Light buckshot was all I ever thought I'd need until I had a nose-to-nose encounter with a well out of his territory black bear. Not caring to repeat the experience of facing a 300 lb. black bear at 25 yards in the dark with only #4 buck in the chamber, Brenneke slugs are now the ammo of choice.

The shotgun's main disadvantage as noted previously is short range. My outer limit with buckshot is 25 yards and even then I don't have much confidence in dropping an animal cleanly. Slugs might give me a range of 75 yards but in my current situation that's not far enough. Should a problem arise during the day such as a coyote in the horse paddock, I'm more likely to grab for a bolt action rifle that I know can hit accurately at long distances.

At night however distances are shorter and for those low light encounters I'll reach for the shotgun. I have a light mount on mine with a set of Tru-glow rifle sights. Also, in the event that I have to shoot inside the house I'd rather fire a shotgun without hearing protection than a centerfire rifle.


May 22, 2005, 10:56 AM
Glenn -

With engine missing/removed from the lawnmower deck-one can fashion a very good training tool.

Pull Ropes to "charge" the target. Targets can be simple Teddys to Making a Tactical Ted from old clothes, and stuffing like a Scarecrow. One can place paper plates / paper targets/ pcs of cardboard inside the "shirt" / "head" to see hits.

Adding taller tires like bicycle tires, allows easier pulling over various terrain, and less likely to "tump" over. NOT to tall though.... :uhoh:

Old discarded Children's Barbie Jeeps, and cars easily adapted too. You ain't lived until "Banshee Barbie" , replete with Lime green hair is coming at you full bore and driving reckless in a Pink Jeep. :p BTW, I was fixated on that lime hair, I blew her head off with slugs... :uhoh: "aw man, we gotta make her a new head now" :D One guess as to what the grapfruits were used for... :)

*Ahem* - See Jeff White's post in Strategies & Tatics - "How do you train" thread. In case you think I am certifiable.

Gas Powered: Well *somehow* Brister's wife was talked into driving the family station wagon at 40 mph so Bob could test the effects of shotgun performance on moving targets.

Yes - pellets DO pattern different than what one sees on a stationary target.

Yes I had Access to a Riding lawnmower that we *tweaked* - Weight is horsepower, and I had a need for speed. I got it up to 30 Mph as I wanted to replicate Brister's moving target Studies.

All was going so well, until a cable broke, "jumped the track" and "up, over and down" an embankment it went. I could only get it to go 20 mph after that, and forget going in a straight line.

This mower pulled 40 " sq cardboard targets along a really long clothesline with a safe background. What I did not count on was the embankment at end of run - I thought if the cable gave way, the mower would hit the box at the base of hill and stop. Instead it went thru/ over the box, climbed the hill and sailed in the air into a really large drainage ditch for a Resevoir. oops.

Well for a brief moment it was kinda spectacular...had to be there I guess...

Brister wrote a book and got paid. Folks do similar at training schools and these folks get paid.

Me- I spent money, never made money on any of this...I learned a lot and had / have some interesting times. :D

May 22, 2005, 11:24 AM
ROTFLMAO, very good and no you are not certifiable yet! I like the idea so long as the lawn mower is not full of gasoline. Used to shoot at an indoor range with automatic targets. Nice to shoot at various paper targets on that range as they "charged". Now I go to a range with a hand crank system, I'll have to see if my son would be up to shoot at charging targets and, I'll have to hope it is not a violation of range rules.

All the best,

now its off to the range for me....

May 24, 2005, 12:51 AM
the Ithaca Auto Burglar....

Yeah, but I've always wanted one, for some reason...

Dave McCracken
May 24, 2005, 10:16 AM
Understood, Steve. As a toy, it's quite appealing. As a tool, it's egregious.

May 25, 2005, 09:01 PM
I think what some people miss is, there's slugs, then there's SLUGS

I took a moving coyote two years ago (deer season) at a measured 130 yards with an 870, 3" Remmie Copper Solids, and a 1.75 x 6 B&L scope. Dead center.

I've shot more deer than I can remember with Federal and Remington Foster style slugs, and some are accurate. When you get a good rifled barrel and sabots and a scope, you're in a whole different league.

I see very little difference between a .45-70 and a high quality slug from a rifled barrel, except the 12 gauge has a lot more whack.

I have a friend that has taken deer at 200 yards+ with a shotgun. Now, normally I would think this is "ego" talking, but he has 5 deer in the record book, and one is on video (the 200+). Granted, it was ideal conditions, but it shows what is capable. A deer at 200 yards is mighty small.

Zeke Menuar
May 25, 2005, 11:09 PM
Some of us just get a major kick out of putting really BIG holes in things. Slugs or shot.

Western Field 550A. 18.5 " and 28 inch barrels
1906 Winchester M1897 12ga take-down


January 7, 2008, 01:04 AM
Want to try out the 870 Wingmaster I inherited on deer this year. 00 buck will be ammo of choice. Gun is 12 ga, about 28" modified choke barrel. Only has a single bead. What kind of range and pattern can I expect? What is the proper aiming technique? Are those magnetic fiber optic rifle-like sights any good?

Tom Held
January 7, 2008, 08:55 AM
Dave, a few years I was going to buy a hastings rifled slug barrel for one of my 870s. I was at Atlantic Guns in Silver Spring and found out I could buy a Marlin Bolt Action Slug gun with a full rifled barrel at the same price. This is an ugly basic meat on the table slug gun, no fancy checkering, no shiny finish, trigger pull at about 6 pounds and a piece of walnut that you could probably by at Lowe's for about 20 bucks.

But it shoots like hell. It likes Winchester Supremes in the 1700 fps version and will consistently group with 2 inches at 100 yards (off a rest). I have it sighted in at 3 inches high at 100 yards. At 150 it drops to 2 inches below center and the group spreads out to just under 4 inches.

I killed a buck and a doe with it this year. The buck was close in at 80 yards and the doe was 105. buck went about 20 yards and dropped, the doe about 30. This was from a tree stand and measured with a Bushnell range finder. Scoped with a Leopold 1.5-5.

I've got a 30:06 Winchester that won't group 2 inches at 100 yards. From a steady rest I would not hesitate to take a clean 200 yard shot. Tom

Dave McCracken
January 7, 2008, 10:14 PM
Grayrock, a better way to get some attention for your queries would have been to start a new thread. But since we're here....

First, most buck runs out of pattern well before running out of energy. Shoot some patterns with various 2 3/4" 00 loads and see what shoots the tightest.

Use that on shots where the max spread is less than 20" and you'll be OK.

As for aiming, put the bead on what you want to destroy and pull the trigger. The Green Worm sights may help, but see what you can do with the equipment as it is.

Tom, yours is not the first Marlin bolt shotgun I've heard praised like that. One Webfoot I know has a 4-12X Weaver on his and swears he can hit them WOD.

For those not from MD, Eastern Shore folks are oft called Webfeet.

And I've owned a number of rifles that wouldn't do 2" at 100 yards including my Model 94. Congrats....

January 8, 2008, 09:47 AM
You know- damned if I do, damned if I don't. You start a new thread asking a question that might have been addressed before and folks chime in and say "That is what the SEARCH feature is for." So I use the SEARCH feature, and find I should have started a new thread:confused:

Anywho- The buckshot that I have available to me is Remington Express 12ga 00 buck and Winchester Supreme 12ga copperplated lead 00 buck. Any insight to the differences between these 2?

January 8, 2008, 12:17 PM
Yet another sound write up. I do have one argument, very minor, however.

Actually, the rifle can do less. While unmatched for accuracy and range, a rifle does shotgun things like small game and wingshooting very badly. A shotgun does rifle things better.

All quite true, no real dissension here, just that I really like .22s on squirrels. :D Yeah, the shotgun is better if you need the meat, I'll admit, and if you jump a rabbit, well, I'm fulla beans. ROFL

The shotgun is the very best choice for MEAT gathering, I suppose, unless as you point out, the range is excessive. I really don't know how even a rifle nut could argue with your logic here, but post it on the rifle forum and I bet you'll find all sorts of dissension, ROFL. I swear, one guy wanting a select fire M4 for home defense? :rolleyes: sheesh!

BTW, Dave, those rifled choke tubes work? I've heard yay and nay on that one. Never tried one to find out for myself. Will it, maybe, just improve foster slug accuracy or will it actually work with sabots? I guess that's another thread, though.

January 8, 2008, 12:29 PM
Anywho- The buckshot that I have available to me is Remington Express 12ga 00 buck and Winchester Supreme 12ga copperplated lead 00 buck. Any insight to the differences between these 2?

Each shotgun is a being unto itself. What ammo works great in mine could be the biggest piece of caca in yours. The only way to find out what works best in yours is to take your gun and bunch of various types of ammo and use the pattern board to see what works best in your gun.

Dave McCracken
January 9, 2008, 10:24 PM
Like Scout said, Greyrock, each shotgun is a law unto itself. Try some out and see what happens.

FWIW, I've some Supreme 9 and 12 pellets loads here. Good stuff, but not the best load in my "Serious" 870s.

MC, swapping the rifled tube for an IC in my meat 870 gains a bit over an inch at 50 yards, but not with the same slug. Best slug for the IC tube is the Winchester 1 oz HP slug, beating out the KO Brenekke that's best in the rifled tube by a half inch.

IMO, rifled choke tubes are worthwhile but not absolutely essential. Number One is also slug capable, and drops the KOs into less than 5" ETE at 100 yards.Its barrel is chokeless and 18".


Dixie Slugs
January 9, 2008, 11:01 PM
Very Interesting! Being to owner of Dixie Slugs, I had to chime in on this one!
I like the statement about a shotgun with a rifled barrels is really a big bore rifle. I have had that statement on our forum for some time and all are surpriised at the number of hits.
Now...In no way am I going to put down rifles, as I have/shoot/hunt with them.
However....even well beyond shotgun-only-states, there is a growing market for rifled barrels and full bore ammo. Even the cast bullet boys are picking up on reloading full bore ammo....after all it's just a bigger cast bullet.
Full bore shotgun ammo concept goes back the Brit's Paradox guns of Africa/India, where they knocked over some rather large animal. Most do not realize the smashing effect of .730"-730 gr (12 bore) and .625"-500 gr (20 bore) has on tough game!
A fast easy-to-use Remington 870, with a rifled Hasting barrel, and full bore aamo....makes an excellent brush gun on about anythig you might run up against!
So...don't let you mindset keep you from looking into this fast growing concept. The rifled shotgun barrel will never replace rifles for distance, but they sure have a place where the cover is thick and something is clicking it's tusk at you!
Regards, James

Dave McCracken
January 10, 2008, 11:00 AM
Jaames, I'm not surprised at the number of hit you cite, either on your BB or in the field.

I do not have a fully rifled "Shotgun" because my use environment doesn't require one. The longest shot in the last couple decades I recall was 65 yards and my equipment did well.

Others may greatly benefit, though, so thanks for the input.

A gunsmith friend decades ago rifled the choke of the left barrel on a 311 and shot Brenekkes from it. It worked on PA whitetails and Carolina hogs. The other barrel was loaded with 00. Not a Paradox but the same idea...

Dixie Slugs
January 10, 2008, 11:30 AM
Dave...I think the interest is broader than many realize....not only using full bore in the field, but also casting and reloading. Many of the one's shooting full bore come over from handgun hunting with cast bullets. Thay are also interested in casting and reloading.
We sent some production molds to Italy and they have copied our designs. We may be selling their molds for them in the States.
All in All...It's interesting to see this market develop nationwide.
Regards, James

January 10, 2008, 11:45 AM
I see the shotgun as an all around, a do all (with limits). I don't hunt with mine other than birds, but it's fully capable and makes one of the best survival type guns around. Accuracy with Remington's slugger at 50 yards even out of my 20 gauge coach gun is plenty for killing game. I think of that gun sometimes as a combination gun. I was sitting there the other day on my stool waiting to see a dove fly over, late season doves ended last weekend, and heard some hogs in the brush fighting with each other. They hole up down there in these motts, they've infested the place. I pulled a AA out of the chamber and slipped in the slug, but they weren't coming my way, didn't see one. Like you said, you can't hunt dove with a rifle. :D

But, I really have no desire for a rifled barrel for my Mossberg. I can use my .308 here and really prefer to. If I want a monster pill at lowish velocity, I'll load up the Hawken.

Dixie Slugs
January 10, 2008, 01:01 PM
Interesting indeed! Please underatnd that I have many rifles to use where the hunting situation demands.
However, with the introduction of rifled shotgun barrels, first popular in shotgun-only-ststes, there has been a broad market opened up. While bolt action shotguns with rifled barrels are popular with sabot rounds, it's the everyday hunter addding a rifled barrel to his existing shotgun that buys the most full bore ammo. Reloading is after full bore ammo components also.
Then there is the much overlooked buckshot hunters....and there are lots out there. Give them something that kills better and they will buy all you can make!
So....the shotgun continues to be a very versatile setup for the everyday hunter. That sure does not take anything from rifles, it just adds to the overall market.
We need to watch and react to that market!
Regards, James

the naked prophet
January 10, 2008, 03:01 PM
Hmmm... I'd like to get some peep or ghost ring sights on my Mossberg 500, but I can't seem to find any for less than $75 plus what I'd have to pay a gunsmith to solder the front sight onto my barrel. Would it be cheaper to just get a peep or ghost rear sight, and buy an 18" barrel with a front sight already on it?

What do you recommend for that?

January 10, 2008, 06:04 PM
I've seen sights before in the catalogs that clamp to the vent rib. Not great, but hey, better than a bead at extended ranges.

If I wanted to set up with a slug barrel, I'd get a Mossberg barrel with that extension over the receiver for mounting a scope. I think that's a pretty nifty idea. The thing has holes in the top for a scope mount, but just how accurate is a scope going to be mounted on the receiver when the barrel just slides in and rattles around a tad? With the scope mounted to the barrel, you don't lose zero when you switch, either.

Dixie Slugs
January 10, 2008, 06:59 PM
There's a couple of things to consider.
(1) There is only one sight we suggest to go on a vent rib... and we have tried lots. It is the Tru-Glo Gobbler Dot. It have a set screwa in the sides of the sights that clamp on to the sides of the rib....strong. It is adjustable and have fiber front and rear.
(2) We have used accra-glass gel and powder steel many times on the barrel extensions....and stuck the barrels in the frames. Clean the inside of the frame and barrel extension first....then mount the scope of the reciever. To clean the action, pull the trigger group and hose it out with break cleaner. Later if the barrel has to be removed...a little heat will break it loose.
But, within normal ranges, the Tru-Glo sight works great.
Regards, James

Dave McCracken
January 11, 2008, 10:28 AM
James, popularizing the .729 Nitro Express is a worthy cause. Good luck.

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