Where have all the bolt action shotguns gone?


November 21, 2011, 05:05 AM
I have noticed over the last 15 years, no one but Savage makes a bolt-action shotgun anymore! I mean is there no cause or room for skill anymore? I was taught the old saying" one shot one kill' I got to use my Dads old J.C.Higgins bolt-action single shot. When I was older I bought mossberg 185's then 195's,then 300 series, and finally settled on 695's. I taught my son's with old bolt mossbergs and even my exwife. I mean granted they aren't as pretty as many new shotguns,but they do the job!

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November 21, 2011, 05:16 AM
Browning currently makes an A-bolt shotgun.

November 21, 2011, 05:50 AM
The only bolt action shotguns I have are 410. While they are fun to shoot once in a while it is like everything else, people are getting lazy. They want a semi auto shotgun so they don't have to do anything but pull the trigger. The days of conserving rounds is pretty much over. Watch people when in the field, they will just walk along and blast anything. When I started shooting if you did not get something with each shot or close to it, you did not get to go the next time. Rounds were expensive and you made each one count. Just look at the shooting areas. People leave hundreds of thousands of spent cases without a thought. The waste is out of control.

November 21, 2011, 05:54 AM
If you think they are great fine, but its obvious the market went away when most people wised up. If you are a good enough wingshot to kill one duck with every shot, no zero cripples, my congratulations to you.

November 21, 2011, 06:47 AM
I've never shot, or even seen a bolt action shotgun. While I will agree, there are instances when a manual action shotgun is preferable to a semi auto, what advantage does a bolt gun have over a pump gun?

November 21, 2011, 07:54 AM
I mean is there no cause or room for skill anymore?You'll find that most shotgun sports center around the ideal of two rapid shots. (Skeet, Trap, Sporting Clays) and many traditional shotgun hunting forms gave the opportunity for two or three (or more!) rapid shots at several birds in a flock. (Quail, ducks, geese, etc.) It is not imperative that you miss much, no matter how many shells the gun holds.

Back when folks were market-gunning for ducks, and even later when just hunting but before waterfowl laws became stricter (or were enforced) it was not uncommon for a decent wing-shooter to bring down four or five ducks out of an incoming flock. I have past relatives who shot a Remington 11 loose (i.e.: wore it out) over the course of a commercial hunting season. That wasn't because they missed a lot. They were packing ducks in barrels to ship to restaurants in Baltimore.

The bolt action shotguns were marketed largely to goose hunters. They usually came with very long full-choke barrels and were intended for making REAL long shots at geese from ground blinds. They've never been much more than a footnote in shotgun history. Most folks can't seem to convince themselves that there's any reason to use one for much of anything.

Heck, break-action single shots have been traditionally more popular. I mean, why do you want a bolt-action repeater? Isn't one shot good enough? Whatever happened to skill?

November 21, 2011, 11:15 AM
The way of the dinosaur. :D Is it SAVAGE? Somebody makes a slug gun out of a bolt action, I think. I think I've seen the advertizing somewhere, or maybe I haven't had enough coffee this morning. :rolleyes:

Fred Fuller
November 21, 2011, 11:35 AM
Custom slug guns -


Bud Tugly
November 21, 2011, 11:44 AM
Back about 50 years ago and earlier there was a very large price gap between single shot guns and repeaters (pumps/autoloaders). Even the cheapest repeaters had much more handwork involved making them so they were too costly for many average working stiffs. The bolt action filled the gap and served as the "poor man's repeater".

Modern manufacturing methods eliminating nearly all the handfitting have signifcantly narrowed the price gap so these days you can buy a pump and even some autos for only a little more than a single shot, so the bolt shotgun lost its niche.

November 21, 2011, 11:54 AM
Back about 1960 I had a Mossberg bolt action 20 gauge.
I'd been drooling over the full page ads for it in Sports Afield and such and thought it was the coolest looking shotgun ever :D
I finally talked my Dad into getting me for my birthday I think.
Don't remember what they cost back then, but I doubt it was very much.
They really were clunkers. I still remember how it was almost impossible to get off a quick second shot without the thing jamming. :rolleyes:

November 21, 2011, 11:54 AM
I agree completely.

It was never about efficiency or making you a better shot.

Back when, bolt-action shotguns were very cheap to manufacture, so could be sold very cheap as entry level guns that cost not much more then a single-shot.

Today, it costs just as much to make a bolt-action on a CNC machine as it does to make a superior pump that sells for very similar prices.

As a matter of fact, the cheapest Savage bolt-action is $419.
The cheapest Savage pump gun is $206!


November 21, 2011, 12:42 PM
Bolt actin shotguns handle like the proverbial "pig on a shovel" if nothing else

Bud Tugly
November 21, 2011, 02:07 PM
Also, while not impossible, it takes a LOT of practice to successfully shoot doubles with a bolt shotgun. I saw my dad do it a few times, but the only shotgun he ever owned was a 20 gauge bolt and he hunted with it all his life.

Even a relative beginner can stay on target fairly well with a pump or semi-auto for follow-up shots, and, with practice, second shots from a single shot aren't that much slower than with a bolt. Without the price advantage, bolt guns just don't have much going for them.

I suppose they have some appeal for deer hunting since bolt rifles are so common. Also, the receiver on a bolt action locks up very securely so theoretically they might be able to handle very heavy loads better than some other actions.

November 21, 2011, 02:36 PM
the receiver on a bolt action locks up very securely so theoretically they might be able to handle very heavy loads better than some other actions

So you think that bolt-handle is real strong?

Only thing that keeps the bolt from coming right back into your face is
the the bolt handle riding in a slot on the receiver.

Essentially, its a single two-piece locking lug.

I've never heard of one failing - but that doesn't mean I'm impressed with the strength of the design.


November 21, 2011, 02:56 PM
All of my shotguns will fire just a single shot. If I load a single shot. :)

I shot quite a few used .410 bolt guns as a kid and hated every single one of them. Handling like a pig on a shovel is exactly right. Maybe they've improved over the past 50 or 60 years.


Bud Tugly
November 21, 2011, 03:17 PM
Well, I'm certainly far from being an expert so I defer to those with more knowledge and experience about the relative strengths of actions. Also, I'm no fan of bolt shotguns since I bought one once over 40 years ago and got rid of it as quick as I could.

Just saying they once had a niche.

Red Cent
November 21, 2011, 04:05 PM
Ya gotta have at least one.:cool:

November 21, 2011, 04:12 PM
I have one of the Mossbergs 20 gage down in the safe. I kind of keep it for a loaner gun when a friend or relative wants to use it. The magazine holds two shells, one usually falls out when attaching the mag to the gun. As for pointing, kind of like a 2x8.

November 21, 2011, 04:14 PM
i learned to shoot on a 20 ga mossberg bolt....i still have it. i killed a lot of rabbits, a few ducks and a world of squirrels with it when i was a kid.... it was heave (at the time) clumsy, a pita generally and everytime i take it out of the safe i feel like im back home. As far as its relevance in this day....dunno....not for me i think

November 21, 2011, 04:14 PM
Red Cent, I used to have a 98 converted to 12 guage. It was my turkey shoot gun way back. With a peep sight it was very accurate.

November 21, 2011, 04:15 PM
Ya gotta have at least oneWell at least yours has real locking lugs on the bolt!! :D


November 21, 2011, 04:15 PM
:D:DThe magazine holds two shells, one usually falls out when attaching the mag to the gun. As for pointing, kind of like a 2x8.

That one I had sure wasn't one of my better choices :rolleyes:
I sold it in about 65 along with some others when I needed some money.

Red Cent
November 21, 2011, 04:26 PM
Chawbaccer, probably semantics but as I understand it, Germany was not allowed to make rifles after their surrender. So they made shotguns. I have never fired the beast. But like RC said, its gotta be strong.

November 21, 2011, 05:33 PM
So you think that bolt-handle is real strong?

Only thing that keeps the bolt from coming right back into your face is
the the bolt handle riding in a slot on the receiver.

Essentially, its a single two-piece locking lug.

I've never heard of one failing - but that doesn't mean I'm impressed with the strength of the design.

I've got an old .410 that's oneof the earlier models of this and it has never failed me and the bolt handle is extremely strong. I love shooting it because it's always a nice challenge.

November 21, 2011, 06:08 PM
Nice parts list - I like the "no order accepted under 35 cents".....wish parts were that way now

November 21, 2011, 06:29 PM
I had an old Mossberg my aunt had, got stolen, didn't care. :D Actually, she was my step dad's aunt, so she wasn't really kin. Buddies have owned and I've shot a Marlin Goose Gun and a 10 gauge Marlin Super Goose. These were specialty guns with full choke fixed barrels that were past they're usefulness in a steel shot world, but sorta okay for goose hunting. I think I can shoot my H&R 10 gauge about as fast, though. :rolleyes:

Here's a pic I googled....34" barrel on the super goose, 36 on the 12 gauge goose gun.....


November 21, 2011, 07:41 PM
Where would I be without my trusty ol' Marlin 55? It ain't the "Goose Gun," it's just a 2-3/4 inch, 12 gauge shotgun:



November 21, 2011, 07:57 PM
I have an old Wards Western Field (Mossberg) 20 ga bolt. I shot several ducks, pheasants, grouse, and even a deer with it in my youth. One thing I learned was to make the first shot count! As far as the bolt handle being the only thing locking the bolt- have you seen the locking blocks on any of the newer pumps and autos? There is less material there than the bolt handle. Shotguns operate at 1/4 the pressure of most centerfire rifles, you just don't need that much strength.
Keystone Arms, the folks that make the Cricket and Chipmunk rifles are making a new bolt action shotgun, but it is priced at around $400, I think that is going to be a hard sell in a market full of $300 pump guns.

November 22, 2011, 03:54 AM
Thanks for all the feedback! I do value other opinions,I admit for blasting away a more than one deer at a time,the 695 is not your gun! I dont hunt that way! Nor do my kids! As we dont leave crippled deer wandering around to die,as I see after every season because some people just blast away! As for shotgun shell use, they do fine for turkey and average game! It also sayes alot if you know the 695 was made in 3 versions. The first was blued smooth bore, second was rifled matte, and the third was camo smooth with screw out chokes. It's kind of like using a muzzleloader, you take care,and make your shots count! I do own pumps and semiautos, but I myself perfer to challenge myself. The browning is a good one,as is the savage, cost wise I get more bang for my buck with mossberg!

November 22, 2011, 04:02 AM
Thankyou all, Its nice to know there are people that use bolt-action shotguns! Now I don't feel so old, and out of date!

November 22, 2011, 04:06 PM
First 12ga shell I ever shot was from a Glenfield bolt action. The second shell tended to hangup from the detachable mag. I long for a tube-fed bolt 20ga, just because.

El Mariachi
November 24, 2011, 12:30 PM
I have four JC Higgins Model 10's that I bought for less than $300. With some creative swapping of parts, furniture refinishing and wire brushing, I ended up with these two as my favorites. And just as soon as I can find one or two more bolts, I'm gonna polish out the third gun (leaving the full length barrel) and then do something REALLY creative on the fourth......:D









November 24, 2011, 12:45 PM
i had one of them mossberg .410 boltguns and it was the sweetest starling gun ever smooth bolt always feed right never gave me an issue so maybe i was just lucky

P5 Guy
November 24, 2011, 03:06 PM

My brother has one like this, and no that is not my brother.

November 24, 2011, 07:37 PM
i had one of them mossberg .410 boltguns and it was the sweetest starling gun ever smooth bolt always feed right never gave me an issue so maybe i was just lucky

I know it is not just you. I have several and all have never given me any troubles. I know that the guys I shoot with that don't like bolt guns is because they miss the first shot and want to quickly cover the miss.

November 25, 2011, 03:07 PM
I'd say it's because more people would buy a rifled slug barrel for a pump or semi auto in this day and age, for use with sabot slugs. In single shots the H&R slug gun is popular, and as someone mentioned Savage makes a bolt action rifled slug gun.

February 10, 2012, 07:20 PM
Should be getting my 20ga bolt this Sunday, if all goes well. Probably spent too much ($125) but it looks pristine in the pics.

February 10, 2012, 07:38 PM
I'd say it's because more people would buy a rifled slug barrel for a pump or semi auto in this day and age, for use with sabot slugs.

Old post, but why would anyone want a rifled slug barrel unless they're in one of those commie states that don't allow real rifles for deer hunting? The logic escapes me. And, I don't think Alaska has that big a market, either. There's what, the same population in that state as Corpus Christi? :D

Slug guns collect dust on gun shop shelves around here unless they have rails and pistol grips and 20 round magazines and other such tacticool ornamentation.

February 10, 2012, 07:49 PM
Yeah, and only $6 for a barrel.

February 10, 2012, 08:15 PM
I'm selling my 95% Super Goose 10 Ga. for $300 and allready have 5 offers on it! It shoots steel out of it's full choke and super thick barrel very well ! Puts steel BBS into a 24" pattern at 50 yards with Ballistic Pattern driver wads. I used to keep it in the blind as a second gun while shooting 3" Benelli Black Shadow 12ga. for those high fliers until the club asked me NOT to ! Now I just use the BPS 10gauge for all water fowl and vary the loads,screw them!

February 10, 2012, 08:37 PM
... unless they're in one of those commie states that don't allow real rifles for deer hunting? The logic escapes me. ...
It's got nothing to do with communism, it involves public reaction to incompetent and unsafe hunters, one of whom, in New York State just a few years ago, killed a 3-year old girl as she played in her trailer. The hunter IIRC was using a .300 magnum and wasn't sure of his "target and what's beyond," to quote the rule he was taught during his hunter safety course. He was remorseful, but is now doing time and petitioning for his release. I suspect that as the population of NYS increases, it will eventually become a "shotgun only" state like New Jersey, and I'll be listing my rifles on Gunbroker.
In the meantime, I'm keeping an eye out for a good buy on a rifled barreled shotgun "just in case." :)

February 10, 2012, 09:00 PM
Starting to veer off topic on the shotgun slug only states but the laws are as stupid as those that make them. I can't use a rifle for deer, only slugs, but I can use a muzzle loader with rifle bullets and sabots producing rifle ballistics that are way better than my 30-30. I can shoot saboted slugs out of a shotgun that run 2000 fps and are jacketed softpoints but I can't use a 30-30. I can shoot my contender handgun with any length straight walled case (45-70, maybe 32-40) or certain bottle necked cases 300 whisper, but can't use a 30-30. Makes no sense to me. I can use a 460 or 500 S&W too but have to stay with a shotgun and slugs for deer.
BTW...I can shoot coyotes with a 300 Weatherby if I want to.

February 11, 2012, 04:59 PM
Starting to veer off topic on the shotgun slug only states but the laws are as stupid as those that make them. I can't use a rifle for deer, only slugs, but I can use a muzzle loader with rifle bullets and sabots producing rifle ballistics that are way better than my 30-30. I can shoot saboted slugs out of a shotgun that run 2000 fps and are jacketed softpoints but I can't use a 30-30. I can shoot my contender handgun with any length straight walled case (45-70, maybe 32-40) or certain bottle necked cases 300 whisper, but can't use a 30-30. Makes no sense to me. I can use a 460 or 500 S&W too but have to stay with a shotgun and slugs for deer.
BTW...I can shoot coyotes with a 300 Weatherby if I want to.

Same here... muzzle loader with sabot are ok any straight walled pistol 5" barrel above .357 dia. or shotgun sabots are ok handi rifle in 44 mag no!
But it is just fine to squirrel hunt with a .600 nitro express :banghead:
A 20 ga rifled tracker II is a blast to shoot with hard cast round balls doing 1260 fps :evil::D:evil:

February 12, 2012, 10:56 AM
When I was little more than a speck my brothers jammed up a bolt shotgun. apparently it had a history of jamming. I do not remember the gauge. They brought it in the house and dad was trying to get it unjammed at the kitchen table. "Someone" goofed and the next thing we know there is a hole in floor.

There was never another bolt action anything at the homestead.

February 12, 2012, 11:10 AM
sounds like they would make good turkey guns,too

February 12, 2012, 11:31 AM

My older brother gave me my first shotgun. A Mossberg 190 20 ga. bolt action with the adjustable poly-choke on the end of a 26" barrel.

It was very accurate and built like a tank (almost as heavy)...

Here's a 16 ga. for sale on gunbroker: http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=273463174

February 12, 2012, 12:00 PM
I had seen a few bolt shotguns at gun shows cheap, and was considering getting one and shortening it to the legal minimum to make a cheap trunk gun.
One day, I stopped at Gander Mountain, a store I never go to due to their high prices. On the used rack was a Mossberg 12ga bolt gun which looked absolutely like new...I was surprised to see it was marked $65!
At that price, I couldn't resist.
I have not shot it. I won't carry out my trunk gun idea on this one, because it is just too nice. One of these days, I will get it out to the range. It seems to hand cycle 2/34" shells fine from the two round mag...three inch, not so well, without tweaking the mag lips.

February 12, 2012, 01:54 PM
This is the first gun I ever had. A .410 that I got for Christmas in 1955.
It's a Savage Stevens Model 59A.


Smokey in PHX
February 14, 2012, 05:05 PM
My hunting buddy as a kid used a Mossberg bolt .410 and I had a Winchester singleshot 20ga. We shot piles of rabbits, squirrel, and grouse with those guns. I don't ever remember him complaining about his gun.

February 15, 2012, 12:14 AM
I learned to shoot a 'Red Ryder' bb gun, then an old Rem. .22 with a bolt you had to 'cock'. I traded the Rem for a Stevens single shot .410 bolt action. It was a little beatup, but I never had any trouble with it. I liked it! After I married, I received a Stevens single shot break action .410 from my wife for Christmas, 1968. I still have it and love it. I also have a Stevens 311 sxs 20 gauge. AND, last but not least on my 'I like it" list: a Stevens 258a BOLT action 20 gauge with a 2 shot detachable magazine. It wasn't in the best of shape when I got a few months ago. I disassembled it, cold blued the metal, and sanded the stock. After about 8 hand-rubbed coats of boiled linseed oil, I put three layers of a polycoat on it. It will probably be sold in a few years. It will NOT be sold by me. The kids and grandkids can do with my guns as they please after I'm GONE!!! LOL

February 15, 2012, 04:01 PM
Thanks everyone for the replies, I tested Browning's new A-bolt and savage's 12 gauge. The price for the Browning was upthere, but it is worth the $. After all its a browning! The savage is set up like a big bore, I could get to like it! The keystone I will get,the thumbhole stock is nice it brings the gun up to your cheek more. They are all good deer guns, but they do all lack one thing a mossberg has; no porting! With wife and kids that helps alot! Porting a rifled barrel that size is a good undertaking, I may still get them.

February 15, 2012, 04:33 PM
I have a bolt 410 that we use on squirrels around the house. It has the pointing characterisitics of a truck axle, with no follow up shot. I think that's what did them in.

February 17, 2012, 01:11 PM
I picked up my 20 yesterday. Stock has been refinished, but it's well done and looks great. Action and barrel are rebluedl, but looks good. I like how it cycles. It's tube fed. First shotgun I ever fired was a Mossberg with a box mag, and it jammed a lot, so I opted for the tube fed gun. Very positive ejection and feed. Bore is like a mirror. Polychoke functions fine, though I do need to investigate this odd circlip that looks broken or the wrong size.

What I failed to do before buying it though, was ask if it could shoot 3" shells. :banghead: Oh well, I wouldn't shoot steel through it anyway, and it's too nice to bubba into a smoothbore slug gun.

February 18, 2012, 10:17 AM
Most bolt guns magizine fed, standard practice is to have the bolt open when loading the mag in the gun. This makes a no brainer for the mag to catch in the gun. When using a bolt gun of any kind , skill comes into play! Those people that can shoot well, like a challenge but also a gun that they have knowledge of. I understand in this fast pace trade in, throw away world that skill is lost for speed and volume. The truth is a bolt shotgun is the old ways, but for anyone that lived that old saying, One shot One kill, that bolt shotgun is like a slug gun verison of that rifle. Please try one out, you might surprise yourself and have some fun. At the very leased your aim will improve.

February 18, 2012, 07:30 PM
Don't know why no one wants a bolt action shotgun anymore. Personally, I love shooting my old .410 BA.

March 6, 2012, 06:56 PM
I blame this thread for my most recent purchase.


Winning bid on gunbroker = $84.00

Reminds me of hunting with my older brother = priceless

March 6, 2012, 07:52 PM
Not many people want them which is great because you can get them cheap. Heck, I bought one for $20 a week ago. For a lot of hunting applications you don't need super fast follow up shots...plus they don't rattle like some cheap pump guns. If you want a super cheap, lightweight shotgun you can use and abuse.....a bolt action or a single shot will get the job done. Sure I like the big money o/u guns and I shoot a lot more shells through semis and pumps..but bolt actions have their place and they do just fine. If you want a dedicated slug gun they aren't a bad choice too.

June 28, 2012, 02:42 PM
I have become the boltgun guy around home, Some of them were poorly made! Kessler,etc. The condition had a lot to do with it! My older son loves his springfield his first 12 gauge, so much so when home on leave he found another one. Which Im duracoating, to give it a new look! In my experience Marlin 55 or 512 is a heck of a deer gun, but Im a mossberg man! The 100, 300,400,and the 695 work well! If you get a ka or kb model it can do it all! All my kids and the wife started with a 185. It has a ported barrel and clect choke which adds a little weight on the end to help recoil, and muzzle climb. All in all a good starter gun! Yes, some you can get cheap others not so much! You get what you pay for! If they are young, cut down the stock and add a soft butt plate. It works great! It's funny after yrs of hunting they all use their bolt guns for deer hunting.

Still Shooting
July 1, 2012, 12:58 AM
More years ago than I care to think about, I took my Hunter Safety course and got my first license at age 14. My family had a camp in the Finger Lakes (west central NY), and my Dad and I went out for my first hunting trip. It was winter, and the snow was knee-deep. My Dad had bought himself an 870 and I had inherited the 1912 Marlin pump that had been his, and his Dad's.

My Father gave me one shell. I said, "But Dad, the gun holds 3. Why can't I have 3 shells?"

"Because, son, you should only need one."

"But what if I miss?"

"If you miss, then we'll talk about it. If there's a good reason, I'll give you another shell. If not, then you'll carry the gun empty for the rest of the afternoon."

"Why, Dad?"

"Because, Son, shells cost 25 cents apiece."

-That was not, of course, the real reason for my Father's doing what he did. He was teaching me to make every shot count.

I have taken many second shots since, mostly when bird hunting, and I have to admit that my success rate after a first shot miss is pretty darned low. I have also had opportunities (duck hunting, and a couple with grouse) where the second shot was pretty nice to have. But I think there is still a reason to start a new shooter with a single shot gun.

fallout mike
July 1, 2012, 01:08 AM
I recently sold a bolt action Mossberg 20 gauge to buy another gun.. I got it free to sweeten a sale from a sale of my sports memorabilia a couple years ago. I ended up with 5 guns with the money. I despised the gun and sold it to a uncle that has a bolt action shotgun fetish. He has many of them.

July 1, 2012, 01:26 AM
I saw a Browning at last years Deer & Turkey Classic here in Illinois. Nice but, tips the retail scale at $1200.

July 1, 2012, 10:28 AM
My brother has a JC HIGGENS,16 gauge bolt action shotgun,with a poly choke on it.Nice looking good working shotgun.Bought it at a sport shop for 30 dollars.biker

July 1, 2012, 01:21 PM
My first shotgun was a bolt action .410 without a magazine. My brother hacked it up and ruined it. I still miss that old clunker.

July 2, 2012, 12:27 PM
Just because you have the option for a faster rate of fire with a semi-automatic or even a pump (compared with a bolt action) doesn't mean you HAVE to shoot faster. You can still take your time and take one shot at a time if you want. However, with the bolt action, you don't have the option to go faster.

Why do people assume that just because the gun holds more rounds and is capable of shooting faster that everyone wants it just to mag dump?

July 2, 2012, 04:10 PM
Looks like this thread is bring back some memories for some folks. A good friend of 25 years still has the J.C. Higgins bolt action 20 Gauge he received as his first gun. I can remember blowing up gallon milk jugs filled with water with 20 Gauge Slugs from that gun.

Good times.

Just my .02,

July 2, 2012, 04:35 PM
Where have all the bolt action shotguns gone?
Young girls picked them, everyone.
When will they ever learn.

July 2, 2012, 06:38 PM
I still have my old JC Higgins 20 ga. BA, and a .410 BA that was my grandma's. Ain't pretty, but they work. Haven't shot 'em in years, but they both bagged a lot of quail in their days.

July 3, 2012, 09:00 AM
Yes they are still out there & still being produced by several different makers & you can pick up a used one up fairly cheap, I picked this one up for under $50.00 a couple weeks ago...........

July 4, 2012, 11:48 AM
Okay, for fyi ! a marlin 512, 512p or a mossberg 695,695t used cost more than a used remington 870 or a mossberg 500. Im trying not to be cranky, but 70 percent of hunters arent real hunters! They poach, trespass, and use illegal guns! They act like a pack of jackals to make a kill! So, yes they need as many shots as possible to actually drop something! Everyone is right, there is no accounting for skill anymore! Someone skilled can pick up any shotgun and do the job, Its not the gun its a man holding it! Besides other forefathers had only one shot at a time, and they survived! If you truly know how to shoot turkey or deer with a shotgun then you have a boltgun already! They teach you skill, one shot! one kill! Every buddy I have that shots when it counts, has a boltgun for deer hunting and a single for turkey! Dont knock them, buy one get to know it! before you go and get a pump or auto for hunting deer or turkey anyway! Your skill will improve, I promise!

July 4, 2012, 12:08 PM
Thanks everyone! For all those out there with bolt-action shotguns, YAH!!! We need to keep the old ways around! Besides skill never goes out of style!!! For everyone that wants to improve ones skills, or likes a challenge! Get One! Also, if you really clean your gun, it will work better! Its like anything else if you half you know what it! there you are! I guess what Im saying is get one, use one, and have fun out there! Its in the 90s this wk not so good on hardware! Anyway thank you all for the replies!

July 4, 2012, 12:16 PM
Seems much faster to ride a pump forearm than to operate a bolt.

Reminds me of efficiency in motion studies. It takes 2 movements, foreward and back, with your off hand to run the forearm. However it takes 6 movements to operate a bolt with your firing hand - 1) remove hand from grip, 2) grab bolt action, 3) rotate bolt up, 4) pull bolt back, 5) push bolt forward, 6) push bolt down, and 7) return hand to grip/trigger.

And you lose your site picture with a bolt more than with a pump. Pumps are much more efficient.

Only drawback from a pump is it's difficult to shoot prone and operate the pump.

July 4, 2012, 05:32 PM
My step dad has a bolt action .410, but it is old.
A couple years ago, I saw a bolt action 12 gauge for $99. Didn't have the cash on hand and didn't even need it, so I slept on it and decided to buy it the next day. The wife went up to buy it while I was at work, and it was gone.

I see them more as a novelty than anything else. I don't think a bolt action has any real advantage over a semi or pump. Slight advantage over a single shot, but then you figure the weight is a disadvantage. I like my single shot 20 because it is light weight and it's easy to hit a critter on the move.

July 7, 2012, 02:22 PM
Keep looking! they are out there! You may pay 30-150$ on average for a good 185,195,385,395, mossberg. The cost is going up! I finished my next kids 385, cut it, crowned it, ported it then duracoated it. Added a truglo front sight, he loves it!My oldest came over and I handed him his 385kb, we went to practice at a wooden deer target at 35yrds with 3 slugs. He shot a 5" group in the sweet spot, all 3! lol Thats my boy! Not bad , since he hasn't shot it in 6yrs! It goes to show, then old boltguns teach skill. If anything else they are a good trainer gun! Hes going deer hunting with me and the family this yr, and no surprise HE WANTS TO USE HIS 385! He must want a deer! Now if I can get him on a 695, or a 512.

July 7, 2012, 06:40 PM
Tried to sell my mint-condition Marlin bolt 12-gauge last year for 150 bucks. Not a scratch or flaw on it. Now I'm thankful nobody bought it, as I've re-aquainted myself with the allure of the bolt-action shotgun. I love it!

July 14, 2012, 04:35 AM
I wouldn't mind having a bolt action shotgun, but my left hand is messed up such that it makes it really hard to work a pump gun. I can hold up the forearm, just not much grip in some directions. (Fingers down, I can squeeze the clutch lever on a '72 Triumph 650!) I generally don't like semiauto handguns bigger than .22 cal for the same reason. One thing I remember about bolt action shotguns: one of my grandpa's bootlegger buddies had a severely shortened lefty bolt action. I guess the idea was for rapid fire, though from what I've read so far, that was probably not the reality. I was a kid, so I don't remember what size the thing was.

July 14, 2012, 07:42 AM
A few years back, I was looking at old .22 rifles at a local Gun&Pawn. Picked one off the shelf, and wondered at the thick barrel. A Stevens. Hmmm....what's with the bead front sight? And the huge loading port...? It dawned on me it was a .410 singleshot boltie! I bought it, and refinished it to match my old Stevens Model 15 "Boy's Rifle" that an uncle gave me when I was a kid, some fortysome years ago. They make a great pair!
Then, having developed an interest in bolt shotguns, I soon bought an old J.C.Higgins 20 gauge, and a Kessler 16 gauge.
The J.C. Higgins has a funky sheet metal safety that gets bent and it's hair trigger makes it unsafe for field use. You look at it hard it goes off!
The Kessler has a slightly bent barrel - so I installed a TC Contender rear and front ramp sight, and it's a good shooter. The box magazine system is a bit cranky.

I like the odd and unusual. I have a lot of singleshot rifles too. I'm just funny that way. :)
I like a gun with a certain quaint charm. I like odd calibers too - I love my singleshot .22 Hornet and reload for it. It ain't the greatest round, or the most 'efficient', but like a bolt action shotgun, it has a certain charm.

July 14, 2012, 10:06 PM
I had a Mossberg 16, bolt action when in high school. Several friends also had em. They were about 30-35 bucks in the late 50s.

I dont know what happened to all of them??

Carl N. Brown
July 14, 2012, 10:11 PM
Prices on inexpensive pump action shotguns came down close enough to make the price advantage of a bolt action shotgun less attractive.

July 15, 2012, 02:54 PM
I thankyou you all for the responses! It brings a smile,and the knowledge that somethings never go out of stile. If your looking for one,gunbroker and auction arms always as a few for sale! Im still committed on my boltgun hunting! Its funny the looks I get,when they see that Im using a mossberg camo695 to make those long shots, and they have 1500.00$ autos! I proudly wear a mossberg cap, and patches on my coat,I never claim not to be a hillbillie, only half of one! As everyday passes I found myself grapping that 695 more everything rather than a rifle or a pump gun even my autos! I guess its a fact I have to skill the shot ! But this form has really opened my eyes, that we are out there skilled shooters!

July 15, 2012, 03:34 PM
I have two bolt shotguns both handed down from my grandfather. A Mossberg 185k-a, I think that is correct, in 20 and a Marlin goose gun. I killed a lot of dove with the 20 while in college and my first deer ever with the Marlin. I have not shot the Marlin in years but I do shoot the Mossberg every few months. It is a really sweet shooter and a good beginners shotgun.

July 16, 2012, 11:19 AM
The two things that have gone away as of late are pump rifles and bolt shotguns. Both of which I think are pretty cool but I don't own either.

July 16, 2012, 03:38 PM
I had a Mossberg bolt action 20 gauge for a time. The MOD choke was perfect for squirrels. But it was traded off for something else. So it goes.


July 25, 2012, 01:34 PM
Most of us have never seen a mossberg 595, 12 gauge! They made few of them, and that 4rd mag! Yeah baby! I have the mag, it took 8yrs to get one! It came with a 495t, Im always on the hunt for one! Found shotgun forum, and saw a pic brentd of maine 06 had a nice one!:) I made some more wooden deer targets for family practice, deer season is coming! Everyone grap your boltgun and have some fun! Thanks for the feedbacks!! They are great first hunting guns, they teach skill! Every kid should start with a boltaction rifle and shotgun as well as a single break open! They will be great shots! Its also about fun, too! They need to respect what it can and cant do,a gggggood fear of what could go wrong if they take the gun for granted! But also to trust it, and be happy with it! I taught soldiers, by teaching my own kids was the best! Those skills learned served them well in the field as in life! Even if you dont hunt, get your kids a boltgun! It teaches the basics, and those are good skills to have!

July 25, 2012, 02:56 PM
I have a Stevens .410 in the closet.. it's bolt with a magazine.. and I think I have a Mossberg .20 bolt with an accuchoke. It too has a magazine.

I've not fired them in probably 20 years, but I take them out and wipe them down once a year.

July 26, 2012, 09:04 AM
Before & After, check it out

August 14, 2012, 12:23 PM
I purchased another 385 and a marlin 55 swamp gun! My 10 yr old gets the 385. They are in great shape, I have no doubt they will get the job done! I got them both for under 200.00$ so thats not bad cost wise! Passing the torch to another generation brings a smile. He cant wait to try it out! Keep on shooting those boltguns!:)

July 20, 2013, 02:45 PM
I still feel the same way!

July 20, 2013, 03:02 PM
Its the man or woman not the gun! Skill is learned from experience,not a new toy! If you bow hunt deer , you stalk, and snipe them! The same skills for using a bolt shotgun, since I wrote this tread. Many people have wrote, and I thankyou all for your opinions. I learned a few things. My family and those I taught to deer hunt with boltguns, mostly mossbergs! Very rarely have to spend more that a few minutes to locate that dead deer, they are not wondering around looking for sign. The best part is that many of them years later still use a copy of the one they started with or a newer one! But still a bolt-action shotgun. Last year I shot my tag fill, with my 695! as always. If you want to bush up on those one shot skills then a boltgun is the way to go! Think bolt rifle in a shotgun, and with the exotic ammo out there its more practical than one would think....

July 20, 2013, 10:34 PM
Mossberg my father in law gave me.


Jim K
July 20, 2013, 11:41 PM
Those bolt shotguns were roughly made and operating them was like beating on a cheap tin can. But that was not the reason they went into the closet or on the scrap heap. The reason was simply because the magazines became unavailable.

When the factories discontinued the guns, they stopped making the magazines and didn't make enough spares. When the original magazine got lost, or broken, or split at the seams, the gun was useless and the owner trashed it and bought a pump gun. At one point, one shop where I worked had a couple of dozen bolt action shotguns without magazines. The shop owner finally told the customers to take the guns home - we were never going to be able to get magazines.


July 21, 2013, 09:53 AM
I've got a Mossy 20ga bolter that was mfg. about 1958/59 that I inherited from Grampa and I use it for trap/skeet. It's got all 3 chokes with it too.

It's not the quickest for follow up shots, but I do like when I can run a string of 20 or more with it and the guys with the $2k plus guns just look at me.


July 21, 2013, 10:09 AM
I use my 20ga bolt gun for deer hunting south of the shotgun line in Michigan. Only problem now is the stock cracked right behind the trigger guard and it needs fixing.

July 21, 2013, 12:44 PM
My first gun, given to me by my brother when I was 13, is a Stevens Model 39A. A bolt action .410, with a tube magazine. We did a lot of rabbit hunting back then, and it got to the point that I could get a 2nd round off as fast as he did with his .410 pump. Like anything else, it just takes practice.

I've still got that gun, and still rabbit hunt with it. To this day, I can still shoot better with that gun than any of the others I own. There's literally no way I could estimate the number of rounds I've put through that old gun.

Mat, not doormat
July 23, 2013, 06:54 PM
My granddad had an old Sears & Roebuck 16 gauge bolt, with a polychoke. On the good side, he used it to take enough squirrels, rabbits, deer, and the occasional grouse and goose to keep his family fed over several winters, when he was laid off from the railroad. But, he was the first to say that it wasn't a likable gun. Like many 16s, it carried like a twelve, but hit like a twenty. Like most bolts, it had all the handling characteristics of railroad tie. As soon as he could afford it, he swapped it for the first of the 1100s that he used and loved for the rest of his life.

I myself owned a Marlin rifled slug gun, for about a month. I bought it for deer (obviously,) but couldn't get gun season off from work that year. I hadn't really bonded with the gun, so I sold it. Never got another one.

July 28, 2013, 12:05 PM
Wow, this thread jumped form August 2012 to July 2013 in one post.:eek:

July 29, 2013, 10:14 AM
Steel shot killed the Marlin goose gun. You are required to use steel shot even when pass shooting at ducks in the middle of a pasture, miles away from wetlands. I have heard people who have never done any hunting bash ducks unlimited for opposing such laws.

The Savage slug gun is alive and well anywhere hunting laws make it a pain in the ass to use a rifle. If hunters are forced to use slugs they need a dedicated slug gun with a scope mounted on it. Here in NC we have to have written permission from the landowner to use a rifle to hunt deer. Quite often the use of a shotgun will get you permission to hunt land no one else can hunt. I bought a 91/30 to leave in the barn during hunting season. The 91/30 has already paid off. I got three deer with it last season.

July 29, 2013, 10:16 AM
Heh! I didn't even notice the date of the original post. I don't know why people want to revive old threads that have been beat to death.

August 4, 2013, 01:24 PM
Thankyou all for your responses on this. Yes, Savage makes a slug shotgun in both 12 and 20 gauge they are around 500-600.00$ range. The magizines are plastic, the older 210 model is an internal mag. It also came in smooth bore, and camo! Its A Savage, set up like a rifle, no sights scope mount only. I have put sights on them for people, and its heavy! If you have to sit for hours in a deerstand 12-20 ft off the ground with the wind blowing below 0, and snow mixed in the picture to add to your hunting day. Its not very practical! I myself have used many different shotguns to deer hunt with over the yrs, and the mossberg 695 has proved the best! Its lite, takes a beating, but to each his or her own! The point is SKILL is required , not how much lead you can through at it in a few seconds! I have two sons in the US ARMY, that will agree to that! My point is that they teach skill and accuracy in shooting, those skills last a life time!

August 5, 2013, 12:05 AM
I've never handled any bolt action shotgun that was anywhere near as comfortable as an NEF/H&R single barrel.

I suspect that the reason they're not made in great numbers is that there isn't much demand for them.

About the only one I'd want would be a converted SMLE in .410, and that's just because they're cool.

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