Break Action Inquiry

Discussion in 'Break Actions and other cowboy shotguns' started by GreatGazoo, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. GreatGazoo

    GreatGazoo Li'l Green Guy Supporting Member

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    One of those "school me" posts. Let's see whether I can do this without writing War & Peace.

    Considering:
    • A break action 20-gauge (probably single shot). Btw, the for the specific model I am considering, the 12-g and 20-g list as essentially the "same" weight.

    Niche:
    • acclimate to a shotgun (don't have one) - learn how to hit what I'm aiming at.
    • simple mechanism s.t. if SHTF less concern about the potential "how do I fix this?" question.
    • potential hunting ability.

    What I (probably) don't require:
    • self-defense (other things for that).
    • clays (nothing against it, just never have).
    • competition (nothing against it, just never have).

    Why not 12-gauge?
    • I'm not exactly a big guy (I might be bigger than granny on Beverly Hillbillies) and am approaching 60. Figure I can buy a lot of 20-g shells vs. 12-g compared to the expense of shoulder surgery. But am I exaggerating ... ?

    So ... what thinkest CFF? Suggestions or thoughts (get a CZ, yes, I know! :D)
     
  2. Windini

    Windini SWDD Charter Life Member

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    Shot guns are fun.
    12 isn't so bad if you learn to shoulder it properly: use your body to absorb recoil, don't hold it away 'cause yer scared. If you do, it'll (feel like it) punch you harder.
    12 & 20 are readily available almost all the time in a bewildering assortment of configurations. Low recoil stuff s out there.
    You probably don't need a 3" chamber, but take it if it's a feature on the gun you like.
    I'm a 12g guy, but probably only because I didn't shoot the 20g's I've shot as well as I did the 12g's I've had.
    You can't eat just one. (Translation: you are looking for your first shotgun.)

    Enjoy!

    ETA: Try to shoulder as many as you can before deciding on one. The entry level guns you'll likely be looking at will vary in terms of LoP, comb height, drop, etc. You cpuld spend a decade or two researching shotgun fit, but shouldering a bunch to find one that points well naturally is a good way to start.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
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  3. GreatGazoo

    GreatGazoo Li'l Green Guy Supporting Member

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    PS

    Any opinions on shooting ammunition shorter than the chamber specification in break action shotguns? E.g. 3.5" chamber for a 12-g firing 3.0" shells. I'll concede it took me a few moments of looking around to realize one could even do that ... I'd been "raised" on 'is 5.56 "really" different from .223' ... so ... yeah.
     
  4. Crazy Carl

    Crazy Carl seriously? Life Member

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    Look for a H&R/NEF youth model 20ga. Short LoP, 22" barrel, modified choke. Bought it for a squirrel gun & it's a nice little shooter.
     
  5. Charlie

    Charlie Member

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    I have a M37 Winchester 20 gauge my father bought for us back in the early 1960's. It is a wonderful gun that I often carry around on a tractor on the farm. It has accounted for lots of game. It kicks worse than about any shotgun I have ever owned. The thing is so light that recoil is inescapable. I also have one of those short NEF 20 gauge shotguns that kicks about as bad. I really like a 20 gauge because I shoot mainly 7/8 ounce loads out of both 12 and 20 gauge guns, but like one with a little weight to tame the recoil a bit. I also like SXS double barrels, and a nice 20 gauge double is hard to beat. Over/unders are fine also, but I have always liked the SXS. For ease of shooting and low recoil, a gas operated autoloader is about as good as it gets. There are plenty of them around. A pump like a Rem 870 should serve you well. There are even some very good deals on M12 Winchesters. I have seen several of them lately very reasonably priced.

    You can certainly shoot shorter shells in a longer chamber. No problem except in some of the older 3" autoloaders that require heavy loads to cycle.
     
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  6. lasttombstone

    lasttombstone Active Member

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    The older I have gotten the smaller my shotgun gauges have gotten. I'm a lightweight guy to begin with but I had to go away from the 12s some years ago. I don't deer hunt with a shotgun any more so I wasn't disappointed when they sank with the canoe. If you don't mind sitting around with me while I clean the stuff up you are welcome to come up this way sometime and shoot. I have a 20 ga. SxS as well as some .410s in single shot and SxS. We can break out a 12 pump if you want to see what you would be missing. I"m probably less than 20 miles away.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
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  7. Schattenreiter

    Schattenreiter Member

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    Very good advice has been given already. Learn to shoulder it properly. Once you do that shoulder a bunch. Buy the one that shoulders to the same spot and has you on target effortlessly and recoil will be only a small consideration. At that point accuracy will probably have been taken care of.

    The preceding advice comes from someone who can completely cover a three shot group at a hundred yards with a dime and can't hit a wall with a shotgun. But with the right shotgun I can do pretty good. It is all about fit.
     
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  8. GreatGazoo

    GreatGazoo Li'l Green Guy Supporting Member

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    FWIW, the most recoil that I have fired to date is my JRA M-14 (.308/7.62NATO). From that I did learn that a good tight shoulder weld is advisable.
     
  9. lasttombstone

    lasttombstone Active Member

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    You definitely don't want any part of a 3,5" 12 ga. load then. LOL. I think I gave all those shells I had away years ago. They were scaring me just looking at them.
     
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  10. Windini

    Windini SWDD Charter Life Member

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    Ha ha! Yeah, those make for a different kinda "break action!" :eek:
     
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  11. lasttombstone

    lasttombstone Active Member

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    I once had an H&R Topper Turkey Special that was a 3.5 in. That Topper has a straight stock on it so it was near impossible to hold the thing when it went off. If you tried to grip the stock it put your nose right on top of your thumb and you know what that led to. The only thing I found to make it controlable was a thumbhole stock from H&R but it still beat me up so bad I got rid of it.
     
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  12. GreatGazoo

    GreatGazoo Li'l Green Guy Supporting Member

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    Now, you can't be talking bad about "B00ger" in this thread. :p
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  13. GreatGazoo

    GreatGazoo Li'l Green Guy Supporting Member

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    Thread denoument:

    Henry 20-gauge break action, single-shot. This is the youth 13" LoP variant as I was looking for something with WAF and it actually fits me as well rather nicely (hat tip to CrazyCarl for the notion).
     

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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
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  14. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

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    We have 2 early 80s vintage color-cased hardened reciever H&R break actions in .20 and .410 that both my boys hunted with up until they both upgraded to repeating shotguns. They are light, accurate, and never malfunction. I was tempted to round out the collection with a 12-ga but...I have plenty of 12s. Those 2 will let anyone of any stature become proficient with a scattergun quickly. The only caveat is the price of .410 shells is rediculous.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
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  15. GreatGazoo

    GreatGazoo Li'l Green Guy Supporting Member

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    Thought to post some "range" (read: "out back") photos with different loads from the above Henry 20-ga break action. All shots were at 20- yards; standing with no support; using the as-shipped modified choke; target was maybe 5' below shooting elevation (down a gentle slope). I should say/confess that this was the first time I've fired a shotgun, ever, not just this particular one so please be gentle (and - to be honest - even at 1100 today it was really hot). I probably was flinching (two are definitely low-left), but I was certainly not "still" (could see the bead oscillate) so was trying to time my trigger pull to a small degree of oscillation. Not the best target choice for the purpose either, but these are what I had. Need a nice overcast, cool day here weather gods.


    Win AA low recoil, low noise target: 2-3/4" 7/8 oz #8 shot
    Win SuperX 2-3/4" 1 oz #6 shot
    Win SuperX 2-3/4" 1 oz #4 shot low/left here
    Win SuperX 2-3/4" #3 buck shot (20 pellets) : two shots here on the one target, one was low/left.
    Win XX 3" 1 5/16 oz #5 shot
     

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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020