Friday, April 3, 2009

homestead working guns Part 2 Shotguns

For most of his life my Grandpa used one gun on this homestead for everything. It was a single shot 12 Ga. shotgun. He was not a hunter but used it for groundhogs. It sat in the garage on a shelf with a box of shells.
He killed untold numbers of groundhogs with it. I still have his shotgun on the farm. It no longer sits in a garage but in the house. I would shoot it but it shoots high and left for me so I use some of my other shotguns.

A shotgun is probably the most versatile working gun you can have. If you have been on forums where they talk about guns I'm sure you have seen the famous "if you can only have one gun" thread. Asking what gun to get if you could only have one. There are many arguments back and forth but in reality there is no one gun that is best for every thing but a shotgun will do just about everything you need a firearm for.

The only thing I can think of that it would not work well for is a slaughter gun. This is a gun used to put down an animal for slaughter. Usually a .22 pistol or short rifle (see part 3 when I write it).

There are three main types of shotguns you will use for your homestead. These are break action, pump or semi-auto. Here I think personally I would not get a semi-auto just for homestead work. They tend to be more expensive and dirt sensitive. (you need to keep them clean) I have nothing against them and I used to own one I competed with it years ago when I shot IPSC all the time. For the homestead I would recommend a break action or a pump.

The bottom gun is my granpa's old single shot break action gun. The top one is my old Winchester 97 pump.
Both are 12 Ga. and will get the job done be it killing groundhogs or hunting turkey,deer or rabbits. I recommend a 12 gauge since it is very common and ammo is still somewhat cheap. Also you can get a wide variety loads for a 12 Ga. from slugs to birdshot and everything in between. If you are going to use your shotgun for strictly pest control I would suggest #4 shot sometimes called pheasant loads. This is a good size shot and a powerful groundhog killer. Normally I would say get a good variety of loads in all shapes and sizes.
#6 is used for the widest range of small game hunting but it tends small for pheasants and large for doves but is usable for both. Slugs for big game and buckshot for defense or deer if your area allows it.

A quick story as to why to use #4 instead of buckshot for varmint control. As I said my grandpa used his 12Ga. for groundhogs and being a thoughtful son my dad got him some 00 buckshot so he could be sure and get good kills. One day my grandpa saw a groundhog out by the barn and he snuck out with the shotgun and the new ammo. He snuck out through the barn and lined up a good shot and killed the groundhog. A few days later my grandma was cleaning the house and she noticed some plaster on the floor by and outside wall. There were 3 holes in the wall from where the buckhot had traveled 100 yards hit the house and gone through the outside wall and lath plaster inside wall hit a chair and ended up on the floor. Normally with a shotgun your backstop isn't as important as with a rifle or pistol but in the case of larger projectiles like Buckshot or slugs you need to be safe.

Here is a 12 ga. between two extremes a 10ga. turkey load on the left and a .410 bird load on the right. A .410 is a very handy gun to have on your homestead and if you have kids it is a great way to get them shooting. My kids started on it when they were 5 and could handle the recoil fine, even though I have to hold the barrel up for them. I used it for a while for groundhogs but it just doesn't have the punch to put them down at any kind of range. Plus .410 ammo is very expensive compared to what you can get for your 12 Ga.
If you feel like feeding you own try this.

Reload your own. Top is my .410 reloader and bottom is a Lee Loader for my 10 Ga. this way you can formulate whatever type of load you want for your guns. I will write a post about playing with .410 loads one of these days.

In the first picture you will see a bandoleer between the guns. I have loaded in this in order slugs, birdshot, #4, #4 buck and 00 buck top to bottom. This is my grab and go ammo I keep on hand if I hear something getting into the chickens I grab it and throw it over my shoulder and start loading buckshot as I go out the door in case it is something big. Then I have the option of putting in something else if I need another type of load. This is not to be confused with a survivalists grab and go kit. This is merely a way I can have all types of ammo available for pest control when I am in a hurry as when something is in the chickens.

A shotgun is so versatile I can't say it enough how it should be included in your homestead plans.

Still clinging to my God and my guns,


ali awan said...

Hi would u tell me from where I can get hand reloading kit . please repply thankyou

ali awan said...

I need for my 12 gauge shot shell

Randy Augsburger said...

Check ebay or midway