Single shot shotguns - Pardner or Topper?


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Robert Hairless
March 25, 2008, 11:34 AM
I'd be grateful if you would let me pick your brains about single shot shotguns so I can answer someone's questions.

What are the major differences between a NEF Pardner and an H&R Topper?

I've heard that the perceived recoil on these in 12 gauge is fierce. Is that so? Is it any worse than that of a 12 gauge Remington 870? If so, why and can it be improved with a better recoil pad?

What's the shortest length barrel produced now or in the past for these? Do they approach 18", 18.5", or 20", or are they always longer? The idea here is for it to be a plinker mostly.

Do they hold up, and is there any danger in buying an older one used?

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Fred Fuller
March 25, 2008, 12:02 PM
What are the major differences between a NEF Pardner and an H&R Topper?

Near as I can tell, just the markings.

I've heard that the perceived recoil on these in 12 gauge is fierce. Is that so? Is it any worse than that of a 12 gauge Remington 870? If so, why and can it be improved with a better recoil pad?

It's ferocious with heavy loads, because it's a very light gun. Put one on the scales and you'll see. The weight of the gun is a factor in perceived recoil- the lighter the gun, the more felt recoil given the same load.

Good recoil pads are never a disadvantage, but they aren't a cure-all. Adding weight to the gun can help too, birdshot in the stock and in recesses routed out in the forearm (glued in, there) can help too.

What's the shortest length barrel produced now or in the past for these? Do they approach 18", 18.5", or 20", or are they always longer? The idea here is for it to be a plinker mostly.

The 'youth' guns have shorter barrels (22" IIRC). Break-open guns tend to be short due to their short receivers anyway. And they are easily shortened to any legal length you desire.

Do they hold up, and is there any danger in buying an older one used?

They seem to be about as durable as rocks. Broken firing pins from excessive dry firing seem to be the most common problem- check the firing pin protrusion on any used SS you intend to buy.

hth,

lpl/nc

Robert Hairless
March 25, 2008, 12:28 PM
Thank you, LL.

For a new and/or casual shotgun shooter, would a 20 gauge show a commensurate reduction in perceived recoil? Any disadvantages to one of these in 20 gauge?

Have I misread between the lines of what you wrote or is there some difference between the Youth guns and the standard guns other than a shorter stock and smaller LOP?

Dry firing of these is to be discouraged?

plumberroy
March 25, 2008, 12:44 PM
in current production topper tend to be fancier grade guns in times past it was the same gun. Lee is correct on barrel length and recoil. my 32" barreled 10 ga single shot is 2" shorter than my 28" barreled 870 pump my 28 ga youth gun with stocks changed to adult length synthetic stock is 37.5" long and a joy to carry I might add
Roy
Youth guns are 22" barrels

sm
March 25, 2008, 12:57 PM
Robert,

Lee did an excellent job as always sharing.

Mine is the Topper Junior - 20 Gauge (SB1-258)
Go here, scroll down.
http://www.hr1871.com/Firearms/Shotguns/topper.aspx

I wanted the 20 Gauge (SB1-288), instead the order was goofed by Distributor, and I keep the one I have.

I know both of these guns quite well.
A LOT of folks have bought one of these two, because of me.

Total length is 36".
Fixed modified choked barrel is 22" and honest to goodness it tosses some of the best pellet/buckshot patterns and slug groups - I have shot.

I want choke in a barrel

Recoil pad is not bad, I have left my personal one, bone stock, I have not bothered to even add sling swivels. I want folks to see and actually shoot a bone stock gun, for them to "try before they buy".

Pachmayer Decelartors are a nice addtition over factory pad, then again I am biased toward tweaking fit and Pach Decels.

I don't recommend dry fire - without a snap cap, or dummy shell, or even a fired hull in a single shot.
Just how raised.

My personal gun: I have no idea how many rounds through it.
I know I have fired 50 slugs and 50 #3 buckshot in a day.
It has fired 300 light target loads in a day.

It has felled deer, ducks, small game, doves, shot clay games and who knows what else.
Still tight, and shoots fine.

Mine stays home now, handy, real handy.
I just show up and use other single shots, like mine and some in other gauges.

The reason for many folks using the Youth, is the gun is that small and light.
Adults can use it, and so can a smaller person , even one in a wheelchair.

Just a bone stock youth shotgun...honest.

The fact I am 6' and stand there with gun in hand and the muzzle not touch the floor...
And one cannot see I have a shotgun in my hand is just because I am a big people with a kids gun.

sm
March 25, 2008, 01:33 PM
20 gauge is the recommended single shot for a general purpose shotgun that includes serious matters and deer with slugs.

Rule of 96 dictates this.
The advantage of having choke, in a factory gun, is huge over taking a 12 gauge and just whacking off the barrel, in a lot of ways, including a courtroom.

28 gauge is the gun for a new shooter to learn on.
This gun is used a lot for property duty, small pests, woods walking, small game, doves, and just down right fun with clays.

This gun fits a niche with some folks with physical limits, temporary or permanent, from detached retina, back, neck, shoulder, surgeries in the past , and some with arthritis , some with hip and knees surgeries.
Recovered, still toting a gun more than shooting and this gun is quite effective for use, where the option of a slug is not needed.


.410
I am one that feels a .410 is not the best gun for a kid to learn on.

I am old school, and sometimes a kid is just not that big, or has a .410 passed down to them.
I get down to kids level, and am honest and we shoot a pattern board.
The kid understands all this, does not get feelings hurt, or feel bad. In fact they appreciate learning , and having someone be honest with them.

Too many kids over too many years had a .410 stuck in their hands and were made to feel inferior - "just a kids gun" - and with less effective patterns, missed game and were turned off shotguns and hunting and other things.

What I and mine do, is if a kid has a .410 grandparents passed down, then we all shoot a .410, we are all on the same playing field.
We are not taking down to a kid, we are not "here kid, shut up and use this gun".

Fun! Oh yeah! .410s and rabbit hunting and kids making hits adults missing...
Dove hunting and a kid will will get a smirk and "listen, you shoot and I'll back you up!".

Still that kid understands - "We were on that sucker, just the pattern was not there".
or
"Wait, wait until he gets closer, to get a better pattern", and the kid get it, about patterns".


My assisting tool ...if you will , is often a .410 single shot one of the bunch has.
Youth size.
Yeller (not yellow there is a difference).
With 70's era tie dye pattern that really shows under black light.

I can hold, tote and use that gun to show what I am doing.
Anyone from littler to bigger can use it, when I am doing stance, hold points and other things.

Anybody wanna get high? is a private saying we do , not about drugs, instead shooting stuff.

Me with that that Rock-n-Roll gun, yeller bandanna, 4 year old with her "shotgun" with feets in the feets on a mat, a mom with a pump shotgun doing defensive drills and last time the music from Rocky Horror Picture Show.

You put your left out, your right foot in...

Awerbuck has red gun I hear...

I got a thing going on too...

"We are supposed to throw stuff at the screen now!"

This is part we blast a bed linen, or pattern board, with popcorn loads or whatever.

Like totally awesome dude....

Ed Ames
March 25, 2008, 01:48 PM
The voice of partial ignorance here... I recently picked up my first of these guns, a 20ga, so my research is fresh and experience narrow.

The difference between H&R and NEF branded guns is a lot smaller than the differences between the individual guns within each line. About the only thing that stays the same from model to model is the receiver (and even that varies a little). Going from a standard to youth model means a different stock, different barrel, and so on. A 10ga will get a different stock than a 12ga, which will get a different stock than another 12ga, which will... you get the idea. They tweak each configuration to maximize usability for the gauge and intended niche. That's apart from the finish and feature variations. To reduce the simplicity further they have a barrel accessory program you can use to put just about any barrel (from .410 on up) onto your receiver... but they don't change anything but the barrel. If you start out with a 12ga and have them fit a 28ga barrel you'll probably end up with a different gun than if you bought a 28ga from the factory.

I wound up with the base model 20ga topper for basically the use you are describing. These guns can be purchased new for under $120 and go for a lot less when used. I opted for the 20 because I'd been using a lot of low-recoil (7/8th oz) 12ga for practice and standard (7/8th oz) 20ga (which, odd as it may seem, has about the same recoil as 7/8th oz 12ga) is significantly easier to find (not to mention cheaper).

I like it quite a bit... fun to shoot, low recoil, inexpensive... no complaints really.

Some people advocate the youth models for that role because they are smaller, have thicker recoil pads, and can be used by a wider audience. Shrug.

sm
March 25, 2008, 02:17 PM
Here is the page for the 28 ga guns.
http://www.hr1871.com/Firearms/Shotguns/pardnerYouth.aspx

Re: Youth.

For me, this goes back as to how I was raised and mentored.
The idea being a bigger person could effectively shoot a smaller gun, whereas a smaller person could not always shoot a bigger gun.

A 20 ga Youth was kept behind the door and anyone in the house could use it.
Or in a barn, or farm truck or whatever.

Loaner gun, and especially with cooler temps and wearing a coat which essentially increases LOP.
So a younger person with a coat on using an adult gun might not have the gun fit, as they would with a youth or compact model.

Time passes, and now it is not uncommon for defensive guns to have 12 1/2" LOP.
This was what we were doing, back when I was coming up.

Add...
The total length of a Youth or Compact is only 36", as opposed to 43" for the adult model.

We have those that can conceal one of these Youth/ Compacts in homes, business and even vehicles with no problem.

One popular real use example are college students. They go off to college and stay in an apt. Easy to have this gun at the apt, something they can hunt, or do things with, and in traveling, they can stick this in a garment bag and nobody sees a gun, which is handy if they stay at a hotel/ motel.

More political and jurisdiction friendly, being a "kids single shot shotgun" and some thing they use to small game hunt or go down to some property to shoot clays or cans or whatever.

Awerbuck travels with a break open shotgun as well...
For the same reasons.


Adult size for an adult is fine...

Heck I think folks should collect the whole set of these. *grin*

Striker
March 25, 2008, 03:24 PM
Robert,

Most of what I have to say has already been covered by Lee, Steve, and Roy.

My favorite is the 20ga/26"/Mod choked variant, I currently have 2. I've owned a few in 12 ga, but have gotten rid of them. For me there wasn't any "felt" about the recoil in the 12s, it was brutal. The 20ga is much more pleasant to shoot, and totes nicely as a walking about gun. It has become my preferred trunk & travel gun as well because it is legal in virtually every state as is. Not my first choice for a self defense situation, but quite capable with slugs.

Bottom Line: I like em!

Robert Hairless
March 25, 2008, 11:20 PM
Lee did an excellent job as always sharing.

Agreed. And the contributions of everyone have made the thread yet another example of why this Shotgun section is the best resource of its kind on the Internet. It's what first attracted me to The High Road and it continues to be a source of pleasure and knowledge.

Nice people too, even when the temperature rises on a controversial subject. There's solid character here.

Thank you all. I was asking so I could help a friend. Now I might just get one too. That seems to happen often.

If you enjoyed reading about "Single shot shotguns - Pardner or Topper?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!