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Thread: Pump shotguns

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    Default Pump shotguns

    Is there really any firearm more useful (utilitarian) than the pump shotgun for wilderness survival?
    One firearm with a messenger bag filled with various shot-shells & slugs can harvest or protect during any wilderness situation.
    Is there even a need for any other firearm?


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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Depends on what you are surviving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Depends on what you are surviving.
    Not sure I'm following you.

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    A hammer is a good tool, and can be used for many, many things....but would rather have more tools in the tool box.

    This thread seems to going in a round about way to"If you only had one gun" (?) ....What would it be?

    My advice would be a 12 ga pump shotgun......but that is only if I have only one choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    A hammer is a good tool, and can be used for many, many things....but would rather have more tools in the tool box.

    This thread seems to going in a round about way to"If you only had one gun" (?) ....What would it be?

    My advice would be a 12 ga pump shotgun......but that is only if I have only one choice.
    Do you really need more than a 12 gauge pump? Not do you have or want, but is there a task that the 12 gauge pump won't perform? Can you think of a more economical utilitarian tool to begin /or retain any usable firearms collection? There are many firearms for many specialized purposes, but is there any other firearm more useful afield? Perhaps I should have opened with how many people have firearms that don't have a pump shotgun?
    Last edited by M118LR; 09-01-2016 at 02:41 PM.

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    I just meant if distance is an issue then the shotgun is probably not your first choice. That aside, I'm with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    I just meant if distance is an issue then the shotgun is probably not your first choice. That aside, I'm with you.
    Understood. The pump shotgun forces you to stalk a bit closer than most modern high power rifles. But it still outdistances an arrow, stick,spear, or rock. (Perhaps this is the time to mention that evasion/not engagement is the best course of action during a Combat survival situation)

    So is it time to get into the differences of pump shotguns?

    Do Y'all prefer top mounted safeties or trigger guard mounted safeties?

    Short heavy barrels (IE 590 Mossberg), interchangeable barrels, or just interchangeable chokes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by M118LR View Post
    Understood. The pump shotgun forces you to stalk a bit closer than most modern high power rifles. But it still outdistances an arrow, stick,spear, or rock. (Perhaps this is the time to mention that evasion/not engagement is the best course of action during a Combat survival situation)

    So is it time to get into the differences of pump shotguns?

    Do Y'all prefer top mounted safeties or trigger guard mounted safeties?

    Short heavy barrels (IE 590 Mossberg), interchangeable barrels, or just interchangeable chokes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Why yes I do!
    Well that works for everything other than do you prefer top mounted or trigger guard mounted safeties.

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Covers that too!

    If one is to accept an item due to its versatility they should not limit themselves due to lack of personal versatility on the placement of a simple device like a safety.

    I have them with button on top, button at the back of the trigger guard, button at the front of the trigger guard and no button at all, just a big old hammer sitting up there.

    It's all good.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Actually in a all around shotgun...and we are not in the tactical attack mode ....I would go for a DB or even a SS with barrel inserts for extreme versatility.
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    I am old school I bird hunt with a Model 1912 Winchester 20 gauge that was made in 1913. I have a couple of 870 Remingtons. Went to school on them for field maintenance in the Navy. (Our tax dollars at work) I like trigger guard mounted controls. I own and used routinely three different double barrel muzzle loading shotguns. I use them to stay "tuned up" on using them. I have killed quail, dove, turkey, ducks deer, squirrels and pigs with them. They are pretty much the height of versatility in many ways. Buck and ball is awesome. I have a flint fowler in .62 caliber that I feel extremely confident using on pretty much any North American game animal except for a grizzly bear. BUT I am a rifle man at heart and so in response to the question posed. I just can not find it in my heart to choose a shotgun, of any design, over a reliable repeating rifle. I do not disagree with any of your talking points but if it comes to it you carry the shotgun and I will carry the rifle. Great team operating on/in our strengths!

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    The term 'survival gun' can mean a lot of things! I think the short answer is- it depends. The OP is certainly correct; even though the range will be limited, sabot slugs will reach out a lot farther than an atl atl or bow. A 12ga can probably take just about any animal in North America, from grouse and ducks, geese and rabbits, up to deer and elk, even moose. But as another fellow said it depends on what you're surviving. It would be pretty easy to stow a long gun in a kayak or canoe but many of us have had bad experiences combining guns with boating! Is the gun something you want to have along just in case? If so than a pump shotgun is pretty bulky. I suppose it depends what part of the country you're in, the season, etc. Most survival situations that I see in the news don't require hunting or fishing and tend to be over (for good or ill) in a few days. Obviously there are some well discussed exceptions, such as the couple that got their van stuck and the woman survived a month and a half, or the native Canadian that got stuck in the boonies and had to kill and eat his dog to stay alive.

    If Survival/Evasion is the scenario I don't think I'd want the shotgun. Too bulky and too little firepower. Better for fighting than a sidearm but as you say, evasion beats confrontation.

    I suppose a good case could be made for an over/under rifle/shotgun. Maybe a .30 cal of some type on top and a 12ga barrel beneath. If you don't have a lot of big game maybe a .22LR, .22 Hornet or .223 on top with the 12ga below.

    To be honest I wouldn't feel too bad with my AR in any survival situation I would likely find myself in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M118LR View Post
    Do you really need more than a 12 gauge pump? Not do you have or want, but is there a task that the 12 gauge pump won't perform? Can you think of a more economical utilitarian tool to begin /or retain any usable firearms collection? There are many firearms for many specialized purposes, but is there any other firearm more useful afield? Perhaps I should have opened with how many people have firearms that don't have a pump shotgun?
    I don't have a shotgun at all. I used to have a Remington 870 Tactical in 12ga. It was a nice gun but I simply didn't have any use for it.

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    The shotgun (particularly a pump with a variety of shells) is a gun that can indeed do everything, but it doesn't do anything well. Sucks at distance, even shorter distances requires compensation at varying ranges, then there is the issue of happening to have the right shell in the chamber at the right time, too close to small game and you have an inedible mess, etc. I am particularly fond of shotguns (ask KyRat, he's seen me behind one or three) and I love them, but you have to really understand their limitations. A person who is good with the shotgun is because of their ability, not the gun's capability.

    Last time I met up with KyRat, we went to a range. A guy in his late teens to early twenties had a 870 20ga slug barrel with a scope. We were at the 50yd range and he was shooting slugs all over the place with about a 5 foot spread! Me, kinda showing off, happened to have my 870 12ga slug barrel with rifle sights with me. I fired three shots. All three were within 3 inches and two key-holed. The guy next to me just kinda looked in disbelief as I put my 870 back. The problem wasn't the gun, it was the shooter. He was obviously a little inexperienced and was relying on a scope to do the job for him. The only way to get good with a shotgun is to practice, and practice, and practice, and then practice some more. Getting familiar with a shotgun until nothing surprises you and everything becomes "instinctive" is what will get you to the ideal you have presented.
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    There are some other factors to consider in the decision, delema or debate, whichever you view this as.

    The main one is that there are still several states that ONLY ALLOW SHOTGUNS for hunting inside their borders.

    That means it does not matter what your opinion is, or if you think you NEED one, if you hunt deer in that state you must use a shotgun.

    And just by chance, 75% of the record trophy deer come from those shotgun only states.

    My own state does not allow use of centerfire rifles on WMA land and many other states and local governments restrict centerfire rifle use in their domains. Shotguns are allowed.

    It does not have to be a pump shotgun, but it has to be a shotgun, and at this point in time the proliferation of good quality pump shotguns makes them the first practical consideration if you do not already own a smoothbore.

    I also live in a semi-rural area. We have some distance between houses, more than suburbia, and we are out in the sticks, but if I shot one of my rifles down the hall in a self defense situation I still stand the chance of killing 4 people before that bullet stops. I have two neighbors with bedrooms lined up with the hallway to my house. I would also take out a nice TV on my own wall but that is not in consideration. I would have the same problem if shooting a 9mm/40 or .45 pistol.

    We shoot out here. Rifles and pistols are being fired all the time, but each homeowner has their own thought out shooting range. They are shooting into a hill or a berm and not in alignment with any of the dwellings in our little community. And when you hear a shot in the night, dispatching a varmint or problem, it is always the boom of a shotgun.

    When you can not control the chance that a shot may stray you need to be using a shotgun. Even #00 buckshot slows down dramatically with a little range and several sheets of drywall between the outside and inside.

    I actually cringe when I hear folks talk about their home defense weapon being a centerfire rifle, used in an area where houses are less than 10 yards separated and made from vinyl siding and drywall. They seem to have no concept of the penetration abilities of their rounds. Or they just do not care! Most are quick to tell you how much penetration they have compared to the FBI standards.

    And just think about it, there are some people that will tell you flat out and immidiately that YOU DO NOT NEED A "MODERN SPORTING RIFLE"!

    I was a bit on that side of the fence until I found a role in my needs that they filled, bought my first and found out what a hoot they are to use, then got on the bandwagon.

    We all know how that works, after the MSR and handguns are gone they will decide that we do not need 10 shot tubes on our shotguns, then we need to plug the 5 shot tube to one in the mag and one in the chamber.

    Ask the British, they will tell you how it is done.

    So I am little inclined to project my feelings of need or want onto someone else. Needs change.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 09-02-2016 at 01:42 PM.
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    Perhaps I should reverse my train of thought and ask what other firearm can be used with relatively little training to efficiently take and defend any and all North American Game. While surviving it is obvious that game which can fly shall be shoot while on the ground, but calibers unable to stop dangerous game while charging would be unacceptable. Likewise, calibers that sufficiently defend against dangerous game would be destructive of small game. One could only perform head shots, but that wouldn't be folks with slight training. Calibers that work on dangerous game can be loaded to lower levels, so they would be of better use than those incapable of stopping the charge of dangerous game. But the training & practice required to remain proficient is relative to the difference between a shotguns pattern and a bullet hole. (Better odd's of a hit with the shotguns larger pattern with less training/practice.)

    While SS or OU double barrels do offer instantaneous selection of either barrel for wing shooting, they don't have the capacity/repeatable rapidity of either a pump or semiautomatic. This could be a consideration if pack hunting carnivores, or herding game is encountered. (a bunch of pigs, even a herd of bison) So location can effect selection.

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    Like I said, I have no logical argument or reasonable response to your original statement. I realize that, as Kyrats has said, in many, many states shotguns are only only option. I also agree that rifle marksmanship is a very high maintenance skill involving extremely fine motor skills.

    As to the defense aspect, you make an excellent case for repeaters/self loaders. I think I would rather have a 3" 12 gauge 870 loaded with slugs to stop a Grizzly charge than just about anything else (reasonable) that you might name. I feel like even in that high stress, fear filled, Adrenalin filled moment I could still operate it better than any other firearm I have ever been trained on.

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    As your original post was with regard to wilderness survival I have to ask why you require taking large game? What will you do with all the meat? I'm not advocating any specific instrument but if the problem is truly wilderness survival then something that will take down anything that walks or crawls really isn't germane to the discussion. There are several good rim fire or even center fire rounds that will take small game and the ammo is light enough to carry a goodly supply. If you happen to be in bear or lion country then that would change the variables quit a bit. Most of us don't have to deal with either so the need to stop the big stuff isn't a consideration for us.

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    You guys are rolling around in perpetuated myths on this thread!

    I have seen exceptions to about everything that has been mentioned so far both for and against one device or another.

    Contrary to myth you do still have to aim a shotgun, after a fashion. The shot does not go everywhere when you pull the trigger. Nor does it fall to the ground in 20 yards and become useless.

    And big game cartridges normally do not blow up rabbits and squirrels. Usually they go through without expanding.

    And the need for constant training??? I sat Winnie down behind a .303 Enfield and watched her shoot a 1 1/2" group @ 100 yards with her first three rounds after she had gone 30 years without pulling a trigger. I did almost the same thing last week with two people being introduced to the shotgun for the first time.

    The jest of the matter is that wilderness survival situations are not planned. They are emergencies that take place in spite of planning. We therefore have no control over the weapon, caliber or type we might have to use, other than it is what we had along at the time.

    If all you own is one shotgun the problem is simple. Sorry, I got more than one and what I have along might not be what I wish I had. There are also times when all I have available is the 9mm in the glove box that gets stuck in my belt when I go for a walk.

    So the correct answer is that we should be proficient in the use of all types of firearms, weapons, and implements of destruction.
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