now, i am not talking about bird shooting to feed the family, or shooting clays for competition. the old pump gun has been used for that successfully, but the semi auto's and the double guns apparently have a competitive edge in those sports, or so i am told.
i am talking about the shotgun as a fighting tool. the trench broom. the street sweeper. (not to be confused with a model of shotgun by the same name.)
some shot guns have tried, but nothing really has the all around utility of an old pump, carrying 6 or 7 rounds in a tube under the barrel, and operated by, well, the operator. they are compact, light, easily handled in tight spaces and dependable like a solid steel claw hammer. ruling the roost for years in this regard have been a couple of winchester stalwarts and an ithica/remington model in wwi and wwii, and of late the remington model 870 and mossberg 500, and to a lesser degree, the winchester pump whose model number i cannot remember. see what i mean?
i have a model 870 stacked in the corner of my bedroom. it is my "chinese 870," a chinese copy, which i kept because it cycled more reliably than my "real" remington 870, that had a feeding malady which no one could figure out. perhaps it was me. it is a testament to the remington 870 that it is probably the most copied shotgun on the face of the earth. someone gets into the shotgun business, and the first thing he does is to make a copy of the remington 870. if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then remington arms is the most flattered company on earth. you can buy an italian made copy of the 870, and a turkish rip off, and the chinese clone and i am sure that there are others floating around.
the united states military usually insists that person selling it firearms jump through a whole bunch of hoops and meet a whole contractually designated host of contract specifications to sell it a firearm. no exceptions. well, except that, the remington 870 and the mossberg 500 will do just fine, right out of the box, thank you very much.
true. you can look it up.
i am noting all of this in case you are interested in buying a shotgun to protect you and your family, or to carry on a civil war, or to go skeet shooting to learn the sport and don't feel the need for a super expensive gun to start out. in that case, or in any or all of those cases, a remington 870 and/or a mossberg 500 will do you just fine. if you are familiar with guns and shooting, buy a 12 gauge. if you are new to shooting, and don't feel like getting knocked out from underneath your hat by recoil, buy a 20 or 28 gauge. (i stole that line from layne simpson, a noted firearms writer & authority, because i liked it.)
whatever you get, i do not recommend a 3" magnum chambered gun, but that the shotgun have 2 3/4" chambers. yes, the others are more powerful, but the standard length round is going to be plenty powerful enough at the ranges you are likely to be using it, and, most assuredly, just as lethal and effective as the more powerful rounds. in this case, shotgun shells oddly enough are just like nuclear weapons ... all the extra power is just dissipated off into the ether where it does not particular good.
i don't load double-00 buck in my shotgun stacked in the corner, but usually no. 4 or no. 2 birdshot, depending which is on sale the cheapest, and that is usually no. 4 in a game load, especially effective for early season pheasants. now pheasants are shot at, say between 15 and 30 yards or so, where the patterns open up a bit, and a bit is only hit with 3 or 4 pellets: plenty lethal for a pheasant. if you are using such a game load in your house at distances of 15 or 20 feet the "pattern" can be encompassed by your thumb and forefinger, and you may rest assured that it will do the intended job: plenty lethal on a 250 lb. burglar, in other words. against wolves, bears, isis terrorists or democrats. a soup de jour sort of a deal, in other words. plenty lethal. within its range limitations, on just about anything.
to sum up. for any number of reasons, including compactness, utility and ease of use, and yes having "plenty lethal" lethality, the pump shotgun is hard to top. i'd go 12 gauge for an adult male, and 20 gauge for a youngster or smaller woman. 2 3/4" standard shells will work just fine. (yep, plenty lethal.) and, as for solid as a rock dependability, i would recommend the remington 870 or mossberg 500 models, in an 18" barrel configuration. no, you won't be invited to any given game hunts on an englishman's estate with a pump shotgun. but, then again, the snobbish son of a bitch who puts those hunts on his estates won't pop into your bedroom in the nick of time with a brace of double guns to hold off an assailant, either. every little thing has its pluses and minuses, doncha know.
caveat no. 1.: within reason, the greatest abuse a gun can suffer is neglect and lack of use. if you buy a gun, learn how to shoot it properly (you'll be very surprised to find the n.r.a. types who teach such things are actually sorta nice), learn how to take it apart and clean it, and practice every now and again just to stay familiar.
caveat no. 2.: store the gun so that it is not accessible by children, especially minors whose education might not have kept pace with their imaginations. educate your children in the use of guns, and make sure they know how to handle them safely. i find a close range demonstration on a good ripe watermelon convinces people of one thing about a shotgun: plenty lethal. a child should not be given a weapon to shoot unless educated in its use, and made completely responsible & trustworthy by your care and supervision. kapish?
john jay @ 02.02.2017
buy guns. buy ammo. by staples and potables. learn how to reload. be jealous of your liberties, and willing to fight for them.