Single shot 12 gauge?


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A Person
January 1, 2012, 01:57 AM
First of all, happy new year to all fellow shooters and hunters out there! Second of all, I am wanting a rugged, reliable single shot 12 gauge for rabbit/squirrel hunting. I know that half of you will probably say "get a remmy 870 pump action!" but I have always had something with single shot and double barrel shotguns that I just don't have with pumps and autos, but I don't know what it is. But anyways, would the H&R Topper single shot be a good choice? How about the H&R Pardner single shot? Any other good affordable choices?

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tranders
January 1, 2012, 06:56 AM
I also have an affinity with single shots and just love the H&R Models. My 20 gauge Topper has done me proud. The Winchester Model 37 is another single shot to keep an eye out for.

Good luck and let us know what you get.

CollinLeon
January 1, 2012, 07:02 AM
In my (much) younger days, I killed many ducks with a H&R "Topper" .410... I'm not sure you need anything more than that for rabbits or squirrels... In fact, I've killed squirrels and 'possums with just a single shot from a .177 air rifle... I don't find rabbits to be a pest, so I don't shoot them... For the amount of meat that you get out of them, I don't consider them worth my time skinning them...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iy5Xip5wMQg/R2cvqZASCVI/AAAAAAAACTQ/xPfrUTeDN1k/s912/harrington-and-richardson-topper-model-158--410-shotgun.jpg

303tom
January 1, 2012, 09:48 AM
This showed up at our house the other day, it`s a Winchester Model 37 in .410 !

Noah
January 1, 2012, 10:41 AM
I have 3, and formerly 4, H&R Single shot 12s and 20s, they are all very good guns. One was as cheap as $80. They are very simple and reliable, sturdy and well built. Be sure to avoid the Topper Model 158 (kind of rare anyway), the front stock is purposefully easily removable, and I found it is less sturdy and more prone to wear than the standard ones held on by a screw. Hop around LGSs or go to a gun show, you should find one or ten of them.
They do kick pretty hard in 12 gauge, but BBs in the stock and proper hold fix the problem entirely. If you plan on wingshooting, just deal with the recoil and lose the BBs, they kill the balance of the gun in a swing, way too back heavy. For rabbits, coyotes, squirrels, and cardboard boxes it is worth the odd balance. Even with a weighted stock and good hold and fit, buckshot still makes your arm dumb and jiggles your brain a little.
In my honest opinion, you are better off spending a little more and getting the H&R Pardner Pump or chasing down a used Mossberg or Remington, I'm sure you've heard this before. But if you are on a minimal budget or just set on a single shot, the H&Rs are great. They are really easy to clean, and I have not had a single Fail To anything. They all pattern straight, but, as I said, the lack of a rib and lack of front and mid weight makes them mediocre wingshooting guns.

"I am wanting a rugged, reliable single shot 12 gauge for rabbit/squirrel hunting."

Get one or three or five. All my siblings and shooting friends love them too.


EDIT: My first H&R was the first gun I ever paid for myself, an upgrade from a .177 break barrel pellet gun, which had taken rabbits, racoons, a possum, and dozen of crows. I still have 2 break barrel, 2 pump, and 3 lever action air rifles that see occasional use, particularly when the school nearby is in session. Possibly of consequence, I bought an H&R Pump for $160 just 3 months after I got my single shots.

USAF_Vet
January 1, 2012, 10:43 AM
My LGS has a steady stream of single shots flowing in, and for dirt cheap. I picked up this Ever Best 20 gauge for my yard gun, and it has proven itself to bequite the dispatcher of gophers.

http://i1086.photobucket.com/albums/j452/bensmith995/006.jpg


H&R does seem to be the most prevalent manufacturer of modern single shots, and NEF isn't far behind. You really couldn't go wrong with an H&R in 12 gauge.

A Person
January 1, 2012, 04:41 PM
Well my dad's rare Winchester Model 37 "red letter" kicks like a mule from what ive gathered from the 2 shots ive fired from it, so im probably just going to clean it up good, maybe refinish it, keep it in the safe for a while and see how much its worth in a few years. I have a rossi .410 single shot, and I love it, but it doesn't have the classic looks im looking for. Oh yeah and I might also add that I will be doing a little clay pigeon shooting, nothing competitional, just recreational,and I might also do some grouse and pigeon shooting.

chad523
January 1, 2012, 07:29 PM
To hell with the 870, I'd go with an H&R. I'm partial to single shots myself..

Fred Fuller
January 1, 2012, 08:09 PM
Hint - if it's supposed to be a collectible, LEAVE IT IN ORIGINAL CONDITION. Whatever value it has will be reduced significanty if it's refinished.

A Person
January 1, 2012, 08:37 PM
Ok, ok. Does anybody know the value of the rare Winchester Model 37 "red letter" ?

Bud Tugly
January 1, 2012, 09:01 PM
I love the lightness and simplicity of single shots, but do your shoulder a favor and stick to 1oz or lighter loads. That's all you need for rabbits and squirrels anyway, and using heavy loads in a light gun is an invitation to flinch development.

ldhulk
January 1, 2012, 09:52 PM
I would suggest that you search the used gun market, local or internet, and find a good used Stevens mdl 94. Made back in the day when they still used walnut for the stocks and polished the steel. I f you prefer the hammerless action with a safety instead of the visible hammer, then the Savage 220 is your gun. (more expensive and harder to find). Either of these are nicer than anything sold today new. Don't be too quick to reject a 16 or 20 gauge, the ammunition is not available in all the variations you find in 12 gauge, but for your purposes, fits the bill nicely.

303tom
January 1, 2012, 10:14 PM
Ok, ok. Does anybody know the value of the rare Winchester Model 37 "red letter" ?
YOU must be able to determine the % of factory original condition your specific gun is in. 100% indicates new unfired condition.
Grading ...100% ...98% ...95% ...90% ...80% ...70% ...60%
12 gauge $300 ...$250 ..$200 ...$125 ...$100 ...$90 ....$75
If models are truly NIB, add $125-$175 to 100% condition values only, depending on gauge.
Add 20% for "Red Letter" models.
Add 15% for 32 in. barrel (12, 16, or 20 ga. only).

Deltaboy
January 1, 2012, 10:37 PM
Single shots are great and I love my Ithac m-66 super single in 410 and my H&R 20 gauge.

Marty183
January 1, 2012, 11:13 PM
Like a lot of other posters, I am going to suggest the H&R/NEF guns...I have a couple. One is a 10GA Turkey Thumper that you probably won't be using for squirrels and the other is the 12GA Ultra Slug Hunter. I would purchase a Pardner in 20, 16 or 410 GA if I were you...I am partial to the 16 GA but ammo would be a concern. Maybe the 20 or 410 would be better choices. These single shots and easy to clean, tough, reliable, and just plain fun to teach a young shooter on.

CollinLeon
January 2, 2012, 02:07 AM
Well, it's probably difficult to get a more reliable firearm than a single shot external hammer shotgun...

A Person
January 2, 2012, 10:37 AM
Yeah. I kinda already have a 20 gauge single shot. It's a beat up Iver Johnson champion. I'd love to shoot it (and I know the firing pin works), but it's missing the forend. Does anybody know where I could find a forend for it?

Dave McCracken
January 2, 2012, 04:12 PM
A Person, try Numrich.

A Person
January 2, 2012, 05:02 PM
Thanks alot Dave. That site is really helpful, and it seems legit. Does anybody here own an Iver Johnson Champion? Are they good guns?

Onmilo
January 2, 2012, 05:05 PM
H&R single shots are the best guns going in the category now.
I have a 12 guage and a .410 and use them regularly.
The 12 guage can be pretty stout in recoil with loads heavier than 1 1/4 ounce but anything less than that actually recoils less than a comparable 20 guage load in a single shot since the 12 guage guns weight about a half pound more than the 20 guage guns.

I don't and won't recommend shooting 3" Magnum stuff in a single shot unless you want to risk detaching a retina or knocking a tooth loose when your thumb impacts with your face.

Dave McCracken
January 2, 2012, 05:48 PM
Numrich has been around forever. I've dealt with them for at least 20 years, and maybe 40.

IJs were about as good as the H&Rs and Stevens, and better than Crescents. I would have a good smith look it over before use, JIC.

For new singles, H&R pretty much owns things.

MCgunner
January 2, 2012, 05:58 PM
I bought a H&R 10 gauge for goose hunting and have been VERY happy with it. It patterns amazingly well for me.

I have an old Iver Johnson "Hercules" branded 16 that's still tight as new. It was discontinued in 1947 according to NRA, but have no idea how old this thing is. It was given to me by an uncle around 1968 and I've had it ever since, though I don't shoot it much anymore.

Bud Tugly
January 2, 2012, 06:58 PM
The old "rule of 96" (96 ounces of gun for every 1 ounce of shot) still makes sense for comfortable shooting. Most single shots weigh in at around 6 to 6 1/2 lbs. (96 to 104 ounces) so if you push heavier loads through them you'll likely be sorry.

centurion94
January 2, 2012, 08:03 PM
Always had a soft spot for single shot rifles and shotguns...

156001

Why, what's that hiding behind the bedroom door?

156002156003156004

18.5" barrel, perfectly balanced, 12 gauge Topper with an M1 carbine sling.

First attempt at posting photos, took a while...

centurion94
January 2, 2012, 08:12 PM
And his big brother...

156005

156006

156007

156008

This is a 10 gauge H & R turkey special, as yet unfired (shame on me). The last photo was intended to show the difference between bores, but the 10 has an extra-tight screw-in choke, so it actually looks smaller.

A Person
January 3, 2012, 02:39 PM
Hmm when I was a kid, I had a single shot .410 (that I still have) . I was hunting with my dad. We came across a squrrel in a tree. So, quick as lightning I threw up my gun, cocked the hammer and blasted it away. There was my first squirrel. About a second later we realized there was another one in the tree. It took me about 4-5 seconds to reload and pop the other squirrel before it ran off. first two squirrels in the same day in a time frame of 10 seconds with a single shot .410. Yep. And when I go rabbit hunting, EVERYONE has a H&R Pardner or Topper single shot, or even a rossi, mostly in 12 or 20 gauge. That's why I want one.

CollinLeon
January 3, 2012, 03:08 PM
Is there really a need for having a 10 gauge? I've never found any practical uses for one.
More so before the introduction of the 3-1/2" 12-gauge rounds...

http://www.chuckhawks.com/10_gauge_obsolete.htm

plumberroy
January 3, 2012, 07:06 PM
Location: Republic of Texas, SE Sector
Posts: 322 Quote:
Originally Posted by A Person
Is there really a need for having a 10 gauge? I've never found any practical uses for one.

More so before the introduction of the 3-1/2" 12-gauge rounds...

http://www.chuckhawks.com/10_gauge_obsolete.htm
__________________

B... S... anything A 12 ga 3 1/2 tries to do a 10 does better with less recoil. A 12 ga 3 1/2" shell takes 2500 psi to get close to the 10 gauge. Less cushion and longer shot columns in the 12 make chokes to make it pattern right more difficult. Do most poeple really need that much power ...no but when when you need the maximun Big shot on a target nothing made today does it better than a ten ga!!!

eclipticrider
January 3, 2012, 09:44 PM
I bought a used H&R 12 ga about 5 years ago. I got it because I needed a home defense weapon and I only had about $100 to spend, and picked it up from a local gun show for $70. (When I got some extra money I picked up a Rem 870 for home defense)

I haven't had a single problem with it using small game loads, but while running though 00 and slugs I ran into extraction issues after about 6 or so shots back to back... I'm pretty sure it's because they heated up more than light loads. Not a big deal for hunting purpose but not acceptable for defense.

Carl N. Brown
January 3, 2012, 10:16 PM
Winchester 37 was one of the first single shot single barrel shotguns with a high quality steel receiver at a time when the single shot market was dominated by cheap iron frame shotguns. The collectors in this neck of the woods are crazy about them and try to get one of each gauge. The prices are through the roof.

As far as I am concerned, the H&R/NEF are good guns at reasonable prices on the used market. Winchester 37s are priced as collectibles, at least around here.

goon
January 4, 2012, 02:24 AM
The NEF/H&R guns are great hunting guns. They're effective, light, and can be had for about $75 if you look for a used one. The 12 gauges can kick a bit hard with 3" loads or with buck and slugs, but are totally manageable with 2.75" loads. I prefer the 20 gauge in a single shot though.

SWAMPUS
January 4, 2012, 08:48 AM
Went by fav pawn shop and found M-66 Ithaca 20ga.Never saw one 'fore.Probably over paid @$175 but had to have it!The lever opener fascinated me.Mechs and metal damned good ,but wood looked like a shagbark hickory tree!Under all that gunk was a nice piece of what looks like maple.Very light,almost blond.My advise on a single is to look around and find something different and old.I don't normally buy singles,but the M-66 raises alot of interest and is a gun you can carry proudly.

A Person
January 5, 2012, 10:06 PM
I agree. Even a .410 can kill a turkey at close range, and my turkey gun is a 20 gauge.

Chedderbob
January 6, 2012, 08:23 PM
IN an attempt to get this thread on track...

You cant make a purchase until you fondle a Remington Spartan. (Story Incoming)

Me and the shooting buddies decided that the best practice for our home defense guns was bustin' some clays. We all showed up with our 18.5in pump guns. We were shootin pretty well when I noticed the old man of the group had one gun case too many. I inquired, and he produced a 20ga Remington Spartan. I honestly didn't know a single shot could have features. Dis assembly is done at the flip of a lever, loaded shell indicator, extractor to ejector swap at the flip of a switch, safety, and the break lever is extremely ergonomic.

By the end of the day we were digging to the bottom of our range bags for more 20ga shells :). Needless to say I shopped around the next day, and a 12ga Spartan is the proud owner of a new safe spot. All for the low price of $125 out the door.

Onmilo
January 7, 2012, 12:04 AM
Remington Spartans are repackaged Russian made Baikal single shots which are copies of the old French made Manufrance guns and I don't believe Remington is carrying the line any longer.
On the plus side, European American Armory is again carrying the line of Baikal guns and more and more are trickling in.

The Baikals are very decent guns for just a bit more money than what an H&R will set one back.

BCRider
January 7, 2012, 12:27 AM
I've got one of the Baikal trap singles. From what I can find with a quick check the Spartan looks just like the trap model I've got. On that basis you would really like it for what you're talking about doing. Mine came with a set of screw in chokes and the barrel also has a muzzle brake to aid in controlling the recoil and muzzle lift. A VERY nice shotgun from all I've seen with it so far.

But it's not the lightest thing around. For that I'd say the H&R/NEF options already mentioned would take the prize. But I'm not sure I'd want to shoot 4 or 5 boxes of shells at clays with an H&R/NEF gun compared to the slightly heavier Spartan/Baikal that comes with a decent recoil pad to boot.

GojuBrian
January 7, 2012, 12:45 AM
I have an FIE single shot I'm pretty fond of. It opens with a press infront of the trigger guard.
http://img.tapatalk.com/46b29a62-cde6-2118.jpg

firemanstrickland
January 7, 2012, 01:28 AM
i love my pardner, excellent firearm

shiftyer1
January 7, 2012, 01:39 AM
I have an H & R 12 ga my grandfather left me, don't know the age but I know it's at least 60 years old. When I was a kid I blasted away with it all day, who knows how many pigeons and blackbirds it took out. Not to mention the pheasents, ducks, rabbits and a few geese. It was the only choice I had and I never complained because it always did the job. I haven't shot it in a while and I think i'll drag it out tomorrow to make sure it still works ;)

I haven't seen many single shots that worried me as far as reliability other than the ones with repairs done with bubble gum and duct tape. And these guns are simple enough to sort those out at a glance.

wolf695
January 7, 2012, 04:39 AM
Most single shot break-opens are designed on H&R pat. So that should say something! They are a good gun and they do stand the test of time.

plumberroy
January 7, 2012, 10:26 PM
But as we all know there are more types of shot out there all the time and eventually the 10 ga. is likely to fade away again because people don't need the extra power and they don't want to carry the extra weight.
Not denying that the 10 ga is dying and it is heavy but lower pressure help on recoil too! there will always be a few old curmudgeons that keep one around for when they need a heavy shotgun A ten gauge patterns better. yes with a superchoke you can get super patterns I have shot both I don't like a 12 ga 3 1/2 loads . As far as a 12 ga doing any thing one needs . A 20 ga will do that. I don't have aproblem turkey hunting with a 28 ga or 410
Roy

A Person
January 29, 2012, 09:09 PM
Don't mean to bring back an dead thread, but think ive decided on an H&R Pardner Compact 20 gauge

Geno
January 29, 2012, 09:32 PM
Single shots are awesome. They have a certain nostalgia. I don't often miss a rabbit or pheasant when I use a single shot. I think that it is really about self-discipline more than anything else.

H&Rs are nice. :D Also, look into T/C Arms.

Geno

bdjansen
January 31, 2012, 12:36 AM
Always had a soft spot for single shot rifles and shotguns...

156001

Why, what's that hiding behind the bedroom door?

156002156003156004

18.5" barrel, perfectly balanced, 12 gauge Topper with an M1 carbine sling.

First attempt at posting photos, took a while...
I really like that single. Did you cut the barrel yourself? I don't see any on their website at that length.

drsfmd
January 31, 2012, 10:39 AM
Not denying that the 10 ga is dying and it is heavy but lower pressure help on recoil too!

There's absolutely no correlation between pressure and recoil! Felt recoil is a function of payload speed, payload weight, and weight of the gun. Pressure isn't even a consideration in the equasion.

plumberroy
January 31, 2012, 07:28 PM
There's absolutely no correlation between pressure and recoil! Felt recoil is a function of payload speed, payload weight, and weight of the gun. Pressure isn't even a consideration in the equasion.
this could be true But is also true that matching shot type and size on a very top end of shotgunning A ten will out preform a 12 in speed and patterning at a lower pressure than a twelve. Sure a 12 is more versitile no denying that . where do you really need 3 1/2 " 12 ga ? I kill turkeys with a muzzle loading 12 ga single shot. To many times. people buy more gun instead of improving there hunting skills. I have a ten for one reason .... because I wanted one and can shoot a box (25) shells in a setting with out effecting me . 12 ga 3 1/2's start hurting after a few shots. and then there is the H&R choate stock 24 ' barrel :what: I'm a big H&R fan but the dumb #$$ that thought that was a good idea should have to shoot it 25 times a day for the rest of his life. :cuss:
Roy

tactikel
January 31, 2012, 11:32 PM
IMHO it is essential to have a safety on any hunting shotgun with external hammers. I own 3 and no longer use them in the field due to safety concerns. For an extra 50 bucks, a pump has several important advantages: safer, follow upshots, less recoil, and better pointing.

plumberroy
February 1, 2012, 08:09 PM
I typed a long reply then deleted as not to offend . I am 50 years old this week . I started hunting at ten. My Dad, my teacher was an old school Hillbilly . I was told don't even think about a repeater until I was safe and proficient hunter with a single shot.

tactikel : you are mistaken on one point a single or double barrel break action gun is all ways safer, open it up and look down the tubes it is easy to see if it is loaded or not . there are no internal places for a shell to stick then work loose the next time you cycle the action .

CollinLeon
February 1, 2012, 10:01 PM
IMHO it is essential to have a safety on any hunting shotgun with external hammers. I own 3 and no longer use them in the field due to safety concerns. For an extra 50 bucks, a pump has several important advantages: safer, follow upshots, less recoil, and better pointing.
I would be more concerned with a shotgun with internal hammers not having a safety...

Onmilo
February 2, 2012, 10:26 AM
Just to clarify,
Most all modern single barrel shotguns have safety features in the form of a rebounding hammer and a transfer block which will not allow the hammer to come in contact with the firing pin until the trigger is pulled to the rear allowing the hammer block to drop down which then allows the hammer to hit the pin.

Rebounding hammer prevents the firing pin from protruding into the chamber when the hammer is at rest and combined with the transfer bar make modern single barrels VERY safe firearms to carry in the field hammer down and full loaded.

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