IF…
By Montana Grant

Posted: August 1, 2020

You could have just one shotgun what would it be? Semiauto, pump, single shot, side by side, over under? There are a lot of choices for a variety of purposes.

The first question that needs to asked is Why? Do you need protection? Are you a bird hunter? Do you hunt waterfowl? Will you use this shotgun to hunt deer? Do you plan to shoot trap, skeet, or Sporting Clays? Do you just want to purchase shotguns as a collector or as an investment? Different shotguns will meet the different needs that you may have.

The Brand of the shotgun you pick will determine the quality and cost. Guns like Mossberg and Ithaca will cost less but still be made well. Instead of wood stocks, they may be fitted with fiberglass or plastic composite stocks. More expensive Brands like Berettas and custom-made companies can cost thousands of dollars.

Features such as vent ribs, changeable Invector chokes, slings and swivels, sighting beads, or camo finishes will all add to the cost. Red dot scopes may also be an add on if you plan to deer hunt. Some shotguns will cast empty shells at your feet or several feet away. Shotguns with magazines normally hold 4 shells and one in the chamber. A magazine extension will hold more.

Home Protection    Nothing fancy needed. You want simple, durable, and easy to use. You may be using in a stressful moment. Mossberg makes a pistol grip stock which is shorter lighter, and easier to handle. You may be in a hallway or confined space where swinging a long gun is harder. The sound of a pump shotgun is a great deterrent. The “CaChunk” sound means that the gun is loaded. For home protection use Double 00 buckshot and an improved cylinder choke.  In a 12-gauge gun, it means several BB’s, the size of 45 caliber slugs will do some damage out to maybe 30 yards. If you are protecting yourself from bears or large predators, rifled slugs are the better choice. They are the size of a 50-caliber slug and can travel a mile. They can also damage a vehicle if needed. A pistol gripped shotgun is a great personal protection weapon at home, in a vehicle, or camping.

Gauge    Shotguns come in 10, 12, 15, 20, 26, and 410 gauge. The smaller the number the bigger the bore. This means more power, shot, and shells. Bigger gauges mean a heavier weapon.

Choke    The diameter of the barrel determines the density of the shot pattern. You can also adjust the shotshell BB cups inside the shells when reloading. This will create a dense, full choke, modified, or improved pattern. There are also skeet chokes and other variations. A full choke may allow the shooter to kill a turkey, or goose, at 60 yards or more. An open choke will take down a door.

Rate of fire    A single shot gun needs to be opened and reloaded after each shot. Double barreled guns allow for 2 shots. Automatic ejectors clear the barrel for a reload. A pump gun normally allows for 5 shots that need to pump ejected after every shot. A semi-automatic gun will shoot, eject, and reload 5 rounds after each trigger pull. Rate of fire is not as important as accuracy. Slowing down the rate of fire allows the shooter to better adjust and aim fire. Magazine extensions allow for more shells between reloads, but also add weight and make the weapon front heavy and longer.

Find an experienced Mentor to help you select your shotgun. Gun ranges and shooting sports clubs are often happy to help. They will ask these same questions and help you select the gun you truly need. Next, get them to take you to the range and let you shoot. The gun is only as good as the shooter. The more practice you have, the more accurate, safe, and comfortable you will be with your weapon.

Aim Small, Miss Small!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, find him on target at www.montanagrantfishing.com.