Thursday, January 26, 2012

Confession time

All right, I have to come right out and admit it.  I don't much like shotguns.

There, I said it.

They're big and bulky.  They kick like a mule.  The ammunition weighs a ton: that's bad, bad Zombie juju.  Remember, zombies travel in hordes.

But here's the kicker - I can't hit a barn door with it, even standing inside the barn.  Not much fun there.

For all the talk I do about my modest marksmanship, Ican keep the groups serviceable with a pistol.  With some instruction and practice, I know that I can be a passable marksman with a rifle.  Now that I'll be able to spend time at the range (rather than driving between Atlanta and Austin on I-20), I may be able to take a run at that "Expert" badge that Dad earned back at Uncle Sam's Summer Camp.

But a shottie?  The clay pigeons, they mock me.  Actual pigeons laugh at me.  Fine, then - I'll get my fowl at the supermarket.

Sure, I know that the sound that a pump action makes as you rack the slide will make the home invader go weak in the knees.  That's about the only thing I see as useful in the scattergat.

Uncouth, that's me.  Feel free to help couth me in the comments.


DLS said...

I used to think that. I taught myself to be a decent shot with pistol and rifle, and I thought I should be able to do the same with a shotgun. But no, clay pigeons mocked me, too. But then I got some coaching. Get a good coach, someone who is not only good at busting clay themselves, but more importantly, knows how to teach it.

Dave H said...

Uncouth? Pshaw! You just know what you like. But what is your experience with shooting a shotgun? Being handed the wrong gun and shooting at the wrong target will discourage anybody.

I didn't think I'd care for shotguns until the club I joined last year made me take the shotgun field trial and safety briefing (along with rifle, which is all I wanted at the time). Busting 2 of 2 clays hooked me, and I bought a double barrel the next weekend. And I've bought 2 pump guns since then. And joined a trap club. (No wonder I'm broke all the time.)

You might feel differently if somebody set you up for success. Somebody to loan you a decent gun and throw easy targets until you hit them could change your outlook. And if not, well, there are plenty of other things out there that go bang. (But if you get an M1 before me I'll never speak to you again.)

Murphy's Law said...

1. Ghost ring sights.
2. Reduced-recoil loads.
3. Train to run the gun and reload during lulls in firing or single-load through the ejection port.

There's a lot that you can do with a servicable used Remington 870 that will put any pistol to shame.

bluesun said...

Borepatch? Ditto.

I can shot trap ok (that was all we got in terms of guns when I was in boy scouts) but I'd rather be doing something else.

kahr40 said...

What Murphy said. Most people do crappy with the shotgun because they're afraid of the recoil. Get past that and you'll do fine.

Brandon said...

I love busting clays. We mostly just do some redneck "skeet shootin'". Just sling 'em and shoot 'em. No keeping score. It's fun to shoot a buddy's missed clay before he can get off a second shot.

Once I discovered that you have to really keep your cheek down on the stock to get a good sight picture, my hit rate increased dramatically. Your cheek may be a little sore at the end of the day, but that's part of the fun. A good recoil pad does wonders for the shoulder.

NotClauswitz said...

There's a "Sporting Clays" type shotgun club south of here that local Millionaires join.
I found the recoil OK with Chris's super-pumper Dianne Feinstein Memorial Assault Shotgun (DFMAS) boomerstick at GBR-III, but had no idea where it was all going with the infinity backstop and the tiny shot going all over Nevada. I understand you're supposed to use a refrigerator-sized target and place it about fifteen feet away, and then "pattern" your shotgun.
Boy-howdy there's all sorts of expert Skeet/Trap/Pigeon training available and along with bending the stock to fit perfectly and special glasses and the stock and cast-of and purely technical crap.
My club shoots rifles, period.

Borepatch said...

Bravo and thank you, everyone. I knew that this would be a good discussion.

Old NFO said...

BP- What Murph said, as far as trap/skeet/birds, I'm in the same boat you are! Can't hit @#&*... But I'll shoot tactical shottys all day! :-) We'll have to pitch in and get you an 870 to play with...LOL

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Funny, I just bought another shotgun, today. Odd...

Skip said...

Pulled the 30" barrel off of my 870 and the plug out of the tube.
Dropped in an 18" cylinder choked barrel and filled it with 00 buck.
Paid less for my Citori trap gun than I did for the Kimber and enjoy the hell out of busting clays every Sun. morning.
What Brandon said. Cheek down tight, keep the bird on top of the barrel, aim for the front of the bird.
With a gun that fits you, you will be going fifty straight in no time.
Now me with a pistol? Kinda like Jay G.
Minute of berm...sigh.

DaddyBear said...

Meh, to each his own. I'm fair to middling with a pistol, can shoot OK with a shotgun against a target that doesn't fly, but I prefer shooting rifles. It's kind of like going to the driving range and hitting a bucket of balls.

If you want to, work on that skill set, but enjoy your range time!

doubletrouble said...

I was always a "single projectile" type shooter myself. Then my son took us to a sporting clays place in PA; now, I'm screwed.
Like has been said, keep the cheek weld; if you look up to see where you missed, you will. Also, swing through the shot; think like you have a big broom & are sweeping the clay from the sky.
You'll get better, & then you'll be screwed too.

Dwight Brown said...

" I know that the sound that a pump action makes as you rack the slide will make the home invader go weak in the knees."

If that's the case, wouldn't a tape recording of that sound work just as well as an actual shotgun?

Dave H said...

Dwight: A friend of mine was going to do just that, have his burglar alarm play a tape of a 12 gauge being pumped. He said he figured it had two benefits: it could scare off the intruder, and if it didn't, it would cover the sound of him racking the slide on his Walther.

Joe said...

I know that someone will say that real men only shoot 12 gauge but take a long hard look at a 20.

You only give up maybe a 1/4 oz. of shot depending on the load (it's like the 9mm vs. .45 argument) and the recoil is much more pleasant.

Anonymous said...

Variety is the spice of life. I myself love shooting shotguns. But I know several people who don't. In the end it evens out.

CoolChange©© said...

I admit it hurts my soul that you don't like shotguns. I have been hunting game birds for 35 years. I have too many fond memories to give up my shotgun and it is my go to weapon. But the nice thing is I can wipe a tear and embrace your opinion just as well!

Weer'd Beard said...

I love busting clays, and I love busting clays with a Trench Gun.

That being said if things get ugly I grab for a pistol and use it to fight my way to a rifle and if I have to leave the safety of my home a handgun is an inconsequential burden, so why not? But I'll grab my archaic SKS before I reach for my beloved 590.

Yeah I have vastly more confidence with a rifle than with a scatter-gun.

Oh and I don't keep slugs in stock in my armory because shooting slugs out of a smooth-bore is just a lousy rifle.

I'm with you, Buddy!

ASM826 said...

Next time you come visit, we'll take some time for some coaching. A different skill than rifle for sure, how you stand, how you hold and sight the shotgun. But it can be taught.

It's where I started as a boy, shooting trap with my grandfather. Some very fond memories there and I still do that as well as anything I can do with a firearm.

elmo iscariot said...

Sure, I know that the sound that a pump action makes as you rack the slide will make the home invader go weak in the knees. That's about the only thing I see as useful in the scattergat.

It's cheap.

I'd rather my home defense battery be a pistol and an AR, but that's a hell of a pile of cash for a lot of people. An 870 is a hunting arm, a recreational gun, and a powerful home defense weapon for under three hundred bucks.

If you already have a pistol and carbine, don't like clay shooting, and don't intend to hunt, then yeah, a shotgun is pretty pointless.

BobG said...

Never shot any clays myself, but I have dropped a fair amount of grouse, pheasants, and chukars with my Mossberg.

David said...

Do you KNOW which is your dominate eye. I am right handed, grew up shooting right handed - very good with a rifle, passable with handguns - shotguns, well you stole the same line I have been using for 40 years (couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from inside the barn). I had never hit anything I ever fired a shotgun at. After several years, I gave up. For over 30 years I never touched a shotgun. Why bother?

Then I discovered I was left eye dominate.

I have not changed my rifle shooting I still do it right handed with my left eye closed or squinted, just like I have always done. I feel too old to make a huge change to something that works. I can hit man sized targets at 500 yds with iron sights, thats good enough for me.

Pistol is greatly improved - I simply shifted the gun a little so it was in front of my left eye, and stopped squinting. Accuracy is about the same as I used to be, but am much faster now when transitioning from target to target. Everything just seems more natural, and I don't get headaches from keeping one eye closed.

I am learning to shoot shotgun left handed. It seems awkward, except that I can do something I have never been able to do before - hit what I am aiming at, most of the time.

kx59 said...

Yes, zombies travel in hordes, and they move. Albeit slowly, but they move. Now if you can't hit a moving target with a shot gun within it's effect range, how do you propose to do so at distance with a rifle?
I've got a few sabat slugs left from the last blog shoot. I'll bring'em with me to the next one so you can toughen up your shoulder a bit.
I grew up shooting nothing but shotguns. I didn't know that rifles kicked less. Well, maybe not Bob, and Natasha is no slacker either.

Tam said...

Shotguns don't really do anything for me, either.

I don't bird hunt and I don't shoot clay pigeons, so I really see no need to own a fowling piece.

abnormalist said...


I find this entertaining, personally if I could only have one gun, meaning one licensed receiver, it would definitely be a 12 gauge pump gun.
Its the only gun that "Does it all" as it were.

1. Hunting arm, with a field barrel for small game. With size 6 its great for most small furry or feathered woodland creatures.

2. Hunting arm, with the same field barrel as above, and loaded with 4s, your good for most varments, coyote, ground hog, turkeys, and other mid size game.

3. Hunting arm, medium/large game with a rifled/scoped slug barrel, you are effective to 150 yards easily, and up to 200 depending on the shooter, slug, and barrel match.

4. Home defense, an 18.5" barrel, and either a short LOP stock, or folder with a pistol grip and you have a nasty hallway sweeper for two legged predator control.

5. Field defense, if your fishing in bear country, nothing adds confidence like that 12 gauge loaded with slugs. Skip the rifled barrel, run brenneke slugs out of a field barrel. Spoke with a few fishing guides in Alaska who prefer it over the other commons like 45/70 or .338 win mag

Add in that the bore is large enough to do all the fun incendiary, less lethal, and other specialty rounds.

Maybe I'm one of the strange ones (very likely) but to me a warm shotty is happiness in blued steel

Hat Trick said...

I'll add that chasing Spanish quail in southern Georgia is the best reason to learn to wingshoot. Spanish quail are a test for even the best wingshooters so get a lot of practice before you try.

I've never seen my Dad miss but he admits to going through a whole box of shells on his brother's farm near Albany and not scratching a feather.

You don't need a 12 ga for birds. Go with a 20 ga. for reduced recoil. As I said in comments to an earlier post a 20 ga. does the job perfectly on quail and pheasant without tearing up as much meat as a 12 ga. will. My trap scores with my 20 ga. match my scores with my 12 ga.

Get some good coaching, check to determine your dominant eye and I'm sure you'll be breaking 50 straight in no time.

Choke selection is important. A skeet choke will not work for trap even from the 16 yd arc (I know from experience) and a full choke (what you should use for regulation trap) is too tight for skeet.