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Single shot 12 gauge?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by A Person, Jan 1, 2012.

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  1. A Person

    A Person Member

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    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?
     
  2. tranders

    tranders Member

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    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.
     
  3. CollinLeon

    CollinLeon member

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    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...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  4. 303tom

    303tom member

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    This showed up at our house the other day, it`s a Winchester Model 37 in .410 !
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  5. Noah

    Noah Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  6. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]


    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.
     
  7. A Person

    A Person Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  8. chad523

    chad523 Member

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    To hell with the 870, I'd go with an H&R. I'm partial to single shots myself..
     
  9. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  10. A Person

    A Person Member

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    Ok, ok. Does anybody know the value of the rare Winchester Model 37 "red letter" ?
     
  11. Bud Tugly

    Bud Tugly Member

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    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.
     
  12. ldhulk

    ldhulk Member

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    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.
     
  13. 303tom

    303tom member

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    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).
     
  14. Deltaboy

    Deltaboy Member

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    Single shots are great and I love my Ithac m-66 super single in 410 and my H&R 20 gauge.
     
  15. Marty183

    Marty183 Member

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    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.
     
  16. CollinLeon

    CollinLeon member

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    Well, it's probably difficult to get a more reliable firearm than a single shot external hammer shotgun...
     
  17. A Person

    A Person Member

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    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?
     
  18. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    A Person, try Numrich.
     
  19. A Person

    A Person Member

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    Thanks alot Dave. That site is really helpful, and it seems legit. Does anybody here own an Iver Johnson Champion? Are they good guns?
     
  20. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    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.
     
  21. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    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.
     
  22. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    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.
     
  23. Bud Tugly

    Bud Tugly Member

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    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.
     
  24. centurion94

    centurion94 Member

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    Always had a soft spot for single shot rifles and shotguns...

    IMG_3831.jpg

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

    IMG_3832.jpg IMG_3833.jpg IMG_3834.jpg

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

    First attempt at posting photos, took a while...
     
  25. centurion94

    centurion94 Member

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    And his big brother...

    IMG_3835.jpg

    IMG_3836.jpg

    IMG_3837.jpg

    IMG_3838.jpg

    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.
     
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