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Thread: The shotgun as a rifle

  1. #1
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    The shotgun as a rifle

    Shotguns make terrible rifles...in some cases. Many people, however, are looking for a do-all tool, and are on a budget. In close quarters, the shotgun is the indisputable king of traumatic injury. No justification is needed, here. However, they may also want a deer hunting rifle. Now, if you live in Texas in the southern region where 800m+ shots are very possible if you have the skill and gear, and you may not even get to within 300m of the deer, please stop reading, this is not for you. However, if you live in a wooded or hilly area, like South Louisiana, or the Ozarks, or any of the other myriad of places in America (and elsewhere) that have vision limited to <100 yards, this might be for you!

    Alaska is also a place this applies. One of the most popular solutions to bear is a 12 gauge with slugs, typically Brenneke's, although Federal's DP slug is making a strong showing in punching deep holes through things.

    When you consider that a pump-action shotgun like the SuperNova Tactical I use in my video can be had for <$500 NEW (I got mine for $349 shipped, barely used, off of a forum, + FFL fees), and that it can be used ethically to kill any animal found in North America, AND it lends itself so well to home defense, it becomes a very appealing weapon for someone who only has a few hundred bucks to spend and is on a limited budget.

    I know we poo-poo it. "Save up". "How much is your life worth to you?" and on and on and on, but all the rhetoric in the world isn't putting money in that bank account, and we don't know the situation, so let's not go down that path, here, as it rarely puts guns in the safe or by the bedside, and usually devolves into E_contests of financial savvy and so on.

    This thread is intended to show that while the shotgun is NOT A RIFLE, it is also not a hopelessly useless tool when the ranges stretch out to around 100 yards, which in many areas, is as far as one is likely to see game animals, and is CERTAINLY far enough for home and property defense in all but the most extreme of situations (yes, they happen, and yes, you can find all 3 or 4 that went down in the last decade online and link them...)

    The shotgun may make a poor rifle, and this "grouping" isn't likely to win over any long range aficionados, but I hope that it shows that dropping prone and throwing the weapon (and support hand...you have to support shotguns to absorb harmonics) over a pack can net you some game-killing hits out at distances that most people consider the shotgun "out of its element".

    I would also note the terminal ballistics of this slug at 100 yards are still rather effective. It is a 437gr projectile, and leaves the barrel of my 18.5" shotgun at roughly 1500fps (chronographed). At 100 yards, it's still moving faster than most .45's at the muzzle (around 960fps) and carrying around 2-300% the energy that the hottest .45's muster (900+ pounds). Not to mention, it's diameter is 0.728" barring any expansion that may occur! This is a force to be reckoned with. Also of note, I did not have to "aim high" on the target. The shotgun is zeroed with slug at 25 yards, and they were dropping what appeared to b e about 3-5" from POA.



    I would also note that I have had better results using Truball slugs, but terminally speaking, from the gel tests I have seen, I prefer the Hydrashok's, and they also do not lead my bore hardly at all, compared to the Truball slugs. The Truball slugs feature a polymer ball in the base of the slug, which is backed by a wad which is near identical to the HS slug's wad (polymer). The ball, pushed by the powder charge and subsequently the wad, expands the skirt of the Truball slug against the bore, creating a tight seal, and more even travel of the slug down the bore. The side effect of this is that it leads the bore much moreso than other slugs without the ball in the skirt. Accuracy is, honestly, notably better, however. It's a trade-off I chose to make, and I think you'll agree that the Hydrashok's are accurate enough.

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    A short 12 gauge shotgun is still sort of a do-all tool for us, though it no longer gets fetched along for rides like it probably should. A handgun is just a lot easier to take along on a day or overnight trip and I have gotten lazy in my old age. That being said, I proved to my own satisfaction some years back that at 50 to 75 yards, I could get enough accuracy from Foster-type slugs out of an 870 Marine Magnum to justify hauling some of them along with the standard 00 buck loads "just in case."

    Physical limitations keep me from firing full-power slug loads anymore and the reduced-recoil slugs suffer a bit in comparison, but I can still get useful groups out to 50 yards or so. As you say, a shotgun makes a terrible rifle, but it can still do everything it has always been able to do. Today's premium slugs out of a good shotgun fitted with user-friendly sighting equipment are nothing to sneeze at.

    The ghost ring you have on that SN Tactical is probably as good a non-optical sight setup as any shotgun is likely to have (even if the front blade might be a bit thick). I have toyed with putting a ghost ring rear on my shotgun specifically for the occasional use of slugs, but I have a history of being oddly slow with shotguns thus equipped. My personal 870P now wears an 18.5" IC barrel with the low-profile XS irons... the type that has the "express" shallow "V" just ahead of the receiver. I don't pick up the rear all that well, but even blurred, it is a good "navigational aid" for my old eyes when I am trying my damnedest to attempt something resembling marksmanship... and it has the added benefit that for most shooting - i.e., non-slug - I am not even consciously aware of it.

    toc

    My painfully KISS shotgun with the home-brew carry strap:

    870P.jpg
    Last edited by theorangecat; 02-25-18 at 08:04.

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    At 100 yards, full power slugs (1500fps actual) vs LR (1300 fps actual), the difference is only 59fps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WS6 View Post
    At 100 yards, full power slugs (1500fps actual) vs LR (1300 fps actual), the difference is only 59fps.
    Yeah, the differences between full power and reduced recoil - at least FPE at the muzzle - aren't a real night and day comparison, but even if my retinas and shoulder could stand more guff from full power slug loads, my visual accommodation makes slugs fired from an open-sighted smoothbore a bit shorter proposition than in days gone by.

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    I decided to test out some full-power Remington Sluggers. These leave my 18.5" Benelli Super Nova Tactical at around 1375fps actual.

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    That is good grouping with those full house Remington slugs.

    I have picked up a couple of boxes of the low-recoil Brenneke Home Defense Tactical slugs for my 870, and once things warm up/dry out I will see if they group any better or worse than what I have been lugging around.

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    May be outside the scope of this thread, but i know guys who run rifled barrels and sst slugs and are gettting very good accuracy - about half the group size i get with my smooth bore and rifled slugs.

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    Appreciate the original content OP. I have always been a fan of the pump action shotgun as a sort of 'do-it-all' long gun. And I'm with you, a decent 18" 12ga shotgun with rifled slugs is a pretty potent 'rifle' out to 100yds. If we limit ourselves to most likely real life defense/actual use scenarios, that's great. Once we start venturing in to the fantasy world of zombies, nuclear apocalypse, foreign invaders etc, then yeah, it's hard to want to pick the 12ga over an AR.
    Again, I love the 12ga platform and think it's a beast of a long gun, and in pump form it's somewhat "ban proof" so I think it's a good idea for people to know how to handle one. Which leads me to my biggest complaint about the shotgun: people need to learn how to use them. Not that this concept is exclusive to the shotgun, but i've seen too many people love the "idea" of a shotgun and then the first time they fire it they're so intimidated by the recoil/noise that they never want to shoot it again. But with a little technique to include proper stance (maybe a shorter stock), and the push-pull method, shooting a 12ga can be a lot of fun.

    Keep up the content, love it.

    For fun here's a couple of rounds of 12ga 00 buckshot at 25yds


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    Thanks for those vids/links!

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