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11/26/12

The Single Shot 12-gauge: Bad choice for survival long gun

I'm a huge fan of Dave Canterbury - the amount and quality of the content he gives away, for free, on YouTube is pretty amazing. But, he's been promoting the single shot 12-gauge as a primary, go-to survival firearm for a while now. He's not alone - seems the single shot 12-gauge has a lot of advocates out there.

Sure, you can pick up a new in box H&R 12 gauge for right around $100 bucks, and used for well under $100. And yep, there's not a lot to 'em - pretty simple mechanically. 12 gauge is certainly quite versatile; from bird shot to slugs to random improvised loads, there's a lot you can do with it. And, of course, there are readily available chamber adapters that allow you to shoot a variety of ammo - from .22lr on up - through a 12 gauge single shot. 

But, there's some deal breakers that need to be called out, that are rarely mentioned by the single shot's proponents.

Reliability and Repairs
First, while the H&R is often hailed as having bombproof durability, that's actually not the case. The H&R's action has some weak spots--one specifically being the transfer bar. A Google search of "H&R broken transfer bar" will get you lots of hits - it's a fragile part that can/will break on a new gun, even dry firing with snap caps.

I know because I have an H&R single shot, popped in some snap caps and on the pull of the trigger, the transfer bar snapped and locked up the action completely.

What's worse - the action is not easily opened up/repaired by the average end user, and certainly not in field conditions. You need a vise, pin punches, and a jig to get everything all back together again. A pain in the butt. The transfer bar is one common failure point, but if you have anything - springs, etc. break inside the action, you're going to have a hard time getting it open, repaired and back together again.

Mine went back to the factory for repairs because it was going to be too much of a pain to work on (and it was under warranty), something I wouldn't dream of doing with my other firearms. This isn't like a Glock or an AR-15, where you can disassemble most of the firearm without much trouble, pop in the new part and resolve the problem. For their part, H&R was very helpful with the repair and it cost me nothing out of pocket.

So, if the transfer bar breaks on you in the field, or there's some other mechanical problem, it's not likely you're going to be able to repair it on your own. Reliability and ease of maintenance/repair (not just cleaning the barrel) are essentials for a survival firearm, and the H&R doesn't pass the test in my book. Older H&R shotguns do not have the transfer bar, but then they may have issues of firing if dropped.

The H&R single shot is often hailed as being tough as nails reliable, but for many, that's just not the case. And not matter how tough a firearm may be, parts will inevitably fail. If you can't repair those busted parts, then that firearm will be little more than a club or fairly awkward paddle.

Limitations Of a Single Shot
Of course, there are some other limitations inherent with a light weight, single shot 12 gauge shotgun.

First - and obvious - you've got one shot.

Yes, with training you can reload that single shot fairly quickly, but you're going to be behind the rate-of-fire curve against anything more advanced than a muzzle loader. For hunting, that means difficulty with a follow-up shot--that can mean losing your quarry and having your family go hungry. There's a reason hunting shotguns the world over are pump action or have two barrels - often, you need that second shot.

For defense, a single shot means you're at a disadvantage to most anything remotely modern. Instead of missing an airborne duck, you're dead, trying to break open your firearm and shove in a new shell. In an ambush situation or one-on-one showdown, that one shot may be all that's needed. But, for anything else, you're going to be outgunned. You are going to need to do a heck of lot more time reloading, sitting with a non-functional firearm, than your attackers are going to.

Yes, a single shot is better than nothing in a fight. But it's something that should be pushed in a defensive capacity out of dire necessity, not right out of the gates.

Another potential detriment: on the H&Rs at least, you're looking at a single action firearm without a manual safety. The sights are not visible until the hammer is cocked. There is no de-cocker, so you've got to manually lower the hammer. While not a problem if handled carefully by someone who knows what they are doing, it's a combination for potential safety problems for a novice shooter. And let's face it, if a $100 single shot 12 gauge single shot is the best you have, there's a good chance you don't have loads of trigger time.

Limitations of 12 gauge
12 gauge itself is wickedly powerful and a proven stopper of anything that walks North American soil. But, it has its limitations, too. There's are fairly well known, so I will just bullet point them out:
  • Limited effective range - even with slugs, you're not going to get much beyond one hundred yards, and slugs generally pale in accuracy when compared to a rifle.
  • Heavy ammunition. A single Remington reduced recoil 00 buckshot shell weighs in at 1.5 ounces; in comparison, a single round of M193 5.56mm weighs .4 ounces. With 12 gauge, you can only carry so much ammunition before it starts to get really heavy.
  • Potential for abusive recoil out of lighter guns - especially single shots. Pop some one ounce slugs in your single shot and tell me how pleasant an experience is. That recoil limits the amount one can practice with full-power defensive rounds and can make a shotgun unusable for some shooters.
  • Cost of defensive ammo. Yep, target loads can be had for cheap, but if you want buckshot, slugs, etc., expect to pay north of .50 cents a shell; you'll see $1/shell quite frequently at big box stores.
Common Man Alternatives
Now if the 12 gauge single shot was the only choice at the $100 to $150 price point, then heck, it'd be the only choice. But, there are lots of options at the price point, and many of them are better suited to survival, self defense and so on.

Here's three:

Budget Pump Shotguns
Entry-level pump action shotguns can be had for only a little bit more cash than a single shot, especially if you wait for sales or find a deal at a gun show. This past Black Friday weekend, there were multiple options available for well under $200, and a few for under $175, new in box. For not much more than an H&R single shot (they're really around $120 or so NIB), and you get a massive upgrade in capability. A pump action 12 gauge is a viable option for a survival firearm, and overcomes many of the deal-breakers associated with a single shot.

What would you rather go into a gunfight with - one shot in your gun, or five or six or more? That's worth the $50-$75 extra.

What do you lose by going to a pump action? Not much. You have less variety of chamber adapters you can use, but you can (carefully) use shotgun-shell length adapters inside a pump action shotgun by breech loading the adapter. Don't believe? Check this. But yes, longer adapters aren't going to work.

I'd get something based on the Remington or Mossberg actions; spare parts and aftermarket support should be plentiful.

Semi-Auto 22lr Rifle
Of course, there's also the .22lr semi auto rifle. No survival armory is complete with out at least one .22lr, and if you're scraping together cash for your first firearm, this is the direction to go. They are the platform to learn to shoot on - cheap ammo, low recoil, excellent accuracy, etc. Throw a scope on one and you can be jumping golf balls at 25 yards without too much trouble.

While many dismiss the .22, the cartridge is plenty deadly - a CCI Stinger, Velocitor or other "hot" .22lr out of a Ruger 10/22  packs more punch in foot pounds than a .32 ACP out of a pocket gun, and does better than some .380 ACP loads out of similar sized pocket pistols. No one wants to get shot with a .22, especially out of a rifle. With proper shot placement, they will do the job. .22lrs are great for small game, foraging, and they can also be used for taking larger game if required. It's not the fight stopper that a 12 gauge is, but you have multiple shots, greater accuracy, and the minimal recoil allows you to engage threats as quickly as you can pull the trigger.

A basic Ruger 10/22 was my choice for "first" firearm, and it remains a staple of my armory. Expect to pay around $200 for a base model. If you are really on a budget, there are other, less expensive .22lr semi autos that will work - several to choose from at the $130-$150 price point. You will find more aftermarket support and widespread popularity for the 10/22, including 25-round magazines, folding stocks and more.

Mosin Nagant
Finally, if your version of survival is more insurgent defending against invading forces or hordes of zombie bikers, a $100 Mosin Nagant rifle will also probably serve you better than a single shot 12. Sure, they're 100 year old Commie bolt guns, and most are pretty rough around the edges, but they've got 5 rounds on tap, fire a potent cartridge and can be reloaded relatively quickly via stripper clips.

7.62x54R is a 1000 yard capable cartridge, and the Mosin is capable of incredible long range accuracy with the right shooter. Don't believe? Again, check out YouTube. There's enough power there to drop anything that needs dropping.Corrosive surplus ammo is dirt cheap, and new production stuff is available, too - from Hornady, Wolf, Winchester, Silver Bear, S&B and others. If you wanted to reload,  components are out there.

With good tactics, fieldcraft and a skilled shooter, a Mosin could do a plenty good job in a sniper role - harassing fire, pinning enemy forces down, taking out high value targets, etc.

Hunting large game? Check for that, too. I'd stock some new production soft points for that purpose.

What about small game? Well, they make chamber adapters for 7.62x54R, too. .32 multi-caliber - shoot .32 ACP, 32 S&W and others. Or a 7.62x25 adapter if you've got a Tokarev or similar kicking around.

Plenty of other after market support for replacement parts, upgrades, etc.

And then there's the bayonet. Zombies beware.

Heck, I don't own a Mosin, but I mighta just talked myself into one...

Closing
All three of the firearms discussed above are better survival options than the single shot shotgun, and in a similar price ballpark. Really, if your heart is set on a shotgun for survival, just get a pump shotgun.

Yes, some of the alternatives may cost a little bit more than a single shot 12 gauge, but we're talking $50 or so, and the rewards are great. If you can't pull together $50-$75 extra, ever, then you've got bigger problems on your hands than selecting a survival firearm.


Don't get me wrong, single shots are inexpensive and they generally work. Cheap range fun? Yep--and I've heard of people finding 'em at pawn shops and gun shows for as little as $40. A fun "project gun" - sure. A backup hunting firearm that you stash at the cabin? If you've got one kicking around, why not?

But, as your primary go-to survival firearm? For that important role, I think the single shot shotgun makes a poor choice.

34 comments :

  1. I must agree, Mr. Wolf, on all counts.

    Locally, even at pawnshops, used H&R single shot 12ga guns are about $10 MORE expensive than Mossberg and even Remington pump-guns is similar condition, about $30 less then great condition 10-22's and just about the same as nearly-mint Moisin-Nagant's (the sniper-gun that won the Eastern Front in WWII)

    Depending on the day, different things get "hype" - look at utility. I once had a neighbor who bought a Dodge vehicle for $5K less than a coworker who "wanted quality" and picked up a Mitsubishi. Except for the badge they stuck on the back, they were identical.

    Look at what you need, not what someone else tells you that you need.

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  2. How about a pistol? A high point is not too far out of that price range, neither is an older revolver.

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  3. Totally agree. The 10/22 is a far more formidable weapon considering the capacity and range available. Thread the barrel and you're looking at a great foraging weapon for hard times. Cost/weight/range per round isn't acceptable IMO. 12 gauge gives you very little standoff distance as well. Once outside 40 yards, a car is sufficient to stop turkey loads, 00 buck at 80. Accuracy is highly suspect unless you are using a rifled slug barrel.

    The 12 gauge is a tool for taking birds of close up bad guys. Close up bad guys would be difficult to surmount with a single shot.

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  4. The only selling point for the H&R that passes the smell test is the fact that you could press it into service as a black powder gun, but even that raises questions; is black powder lying around in great quantities? Not that I know of, and if you did scrounge some it would probably be accompanied by a firearm or two.

    I think Dave just likes it because he likes 18th century trapper stuff and has a lot of it lying around already, which is fine for him but not worth getting into just for that one incredibly obscure usage.

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    1. I don't see the necessity to use a single shot as a muzzle loader. In order to do so, you still need powder, a primer and some kind of shot...and with those, you can reload a shotgun shell.

      Reenacting is one thing, but we're not reenacting here.

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  5. I bought my first firearm today, having previously been shooting a Winchester 190 that my grandfather has loaned to me with the promise of passing it on completely oneday. Hadn't seen this post, but I'm glad that I didn't fail horribly in my selection of a Moisin-Nagant. Spent two hours cleaning the preservative it was covered in. God aweful stuff, but now I cant wait to shoot it.

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  6. I agree with you on the Mosin. A lot of people talk up the 5.56 round or the .223 but they are no man stoppers by any means. In quantity yes they might be but you put a 7.62 round into someone's butt and they are most likely out of the game for good. I am an old Special Forces operator and the Mosin for the money is a great buy. Yes they need a little updating and a little practice but they have been around for 100 plus years for a reason. Remember that the likelihood that you will ever get into a full on gun battle is very remote. Having a full auto or even a heavy semi auto is nice but not really necessary. Most of the time shooting a warning shot and letting your enemy know you have weapons is going to be enough of a deterrent For the same price as an AR-15 you can have 5 Mosin's pointed at them.

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  7. Well now there's no guarantee of anything; my father interviewed one of the last living WWI vets for his masters in history. The first time this chap was shot he was running from one trench to another and felt something slap his upper thigh, but thought he was okay and kept running. He then felt something warm and wet running down his leg but thought he had peed himself. Only once he got to the other trench did he realize that he had been shot through the leg.

    Even old full power rifle rounds are no guarantee; and frankly I'd rather have 27 behind that first shot and a 3 second reload with 28 more. That said if I had $150 to spend on my first gun, a Mosin would be at or near the top of my list. The H&R isn't a bad gun; it's just terribly outgunned.

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    1. I'm sure a lot of that had to do with adrenaline, cold wet weather, etc. There are endless stories of people getting shot and having no idea it happened. Heck, even Forrest Gump did it.

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  8. You did a great post some months (years ?) back on combination guns, the single shot rifle over shotgun firearm. Not designed for use on personnel, but for foraging - A LOT to recommend it. Bullet or shot is just a click away without carrying a second firearm. A brick of .22s and a mixed box of slugs / buckshot / shot would make for a vesatile firearm.

    One big plus for break opens - lightweight. Easy to carry, break down pretty quickly without needing a lot of tools (some no tool at all). Pretty brutal in recoil for the 12, even the 20 gives you some extra bounce when fired.

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    1. I think the combo guns have more going for them for sure - you've got two barrels at least. Still not something I'd pick for my one-and-only survival gun...you really need something that can do well in a defensive role.

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  9. I'm probably going to get stomped all over for this, but here goes...Dave Cantebury isn't praising the wonders of the single shot 12 as a combat rifle for use on people, or in a bug out situation, the series of videos you are reffering to are his "Modern Day Longhunter" series, and his recommendation for the single shot, break open 12 gauge is as an "all around, versatile, and field expedient meat getter".

    He is not suggesting it be used as a combat weapon, he is saying that for the ability to reload (which he demonstrates in his videos), the ability to clean and maintain in the field, and the ability to use a wide range of loads, and ammo types (between different loads, and barrel inserts), the versatility of it as a single weapon to carry that can be adapted to most needs with a bit of work, is what he is talking about, not that it is the be all and end all combat weapon.

    While it certainly CAN be used against two legged prey, that wasn't the point, and there ARE mush better options available for that, but as a general purpose, I can carry ONE firearm in the bush on a daily basis, this is what he recommends and why, and I think some of you may have missed that point.

    As for his choice of the H&R, I can't speak to that, they ARE known to be problematic (I personally carry a 20" Winchester Model 37 as mine, it has been working fine and handed down through 3 generations in my family) but I think the choice of the H&R was meant to go along with his "common man" mantra of a low cost, sub $100 single shot multi use meat getting tool...but I may have missed something

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    1. No stomping here.

      Dave certainly has mentioned the 12 single shot in a survival/bug out/shtf capacity, not just hunting and trapping. Certainly for camp defense as well.

      None of the alternatives I mentioned are expensive combat rifles, but they will serve you better than a SS shottie. If you are sold on using a shotgun, just get a pump action. You have all the versatility of 12 gauge and a tube full of shells ready to go.

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  10. In (somewhat of a) defense of Dave (I’m a fan too), his idea of SHTF is going back to a mountain man existence and having to use black powder. I do agree with you though. In a more likely SHTF scenario (economic collapse, political and civil unrest, major grid down scenario), a single shot anything is not the best choice if you are limited to 1 gun. I think if we were forced back to black powder, some sort of lever-action rifle and revolver would be a good combo. Till we have to go to black powder, a semi-auto w/ multiple magazines is the tool of choice.

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    1. You can reload 12 gauge with black powder - it was originally a BP load. Dave's done this on his channel in the past.

      Of course, good luck making black powder in the field. Got that source of salt Peter and sulphur ready?

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    2. I did say "in (somewhat of a) defense of Dave" :D

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  11. UGLY ROOSTER
    I have to second Mr. T-Blog's assertion that the 12 ga single is a bad one-gun choice... Even for getting game and all around survival. Mr. T, I like that!
    Further, that brand needs work. I have an older single shot that has none of the HR problems, albeit a $600 shotgun.
    That being said, the argument is difficult to win or even conclude. You should have a minimum of two guns. But, if a feller was to need to bug out, get food, only has $100 for the gun, and only MIGHT have to fight... Then...
    I recommend a Cricket, aka Chipmunk. They cost exactly $100
    For the same weight, you can carry more than ten times the ammo
    In a sniper guerilla application, the gun it's suitable for head shots
    Scope mountable
    Weight is comparable to a handgun
    Practise cheap!

    Not ideal, but with the set parameters, a clear winner... Imho

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  12. The One Gun arsenal, for under $100?

    I would like to begin by thanking Mr. Wolf for a great web-site that is entertaining and informative. I enjoy visiting the site and do so often. That said, I'm going to pick-a-nit with you sir, about the general tenor of this article.

    First, Where can one buy a Mosin Nagant for under $100.00? As I sit here in November of 2012 the best price I am aware of locally (Front Range of Colorado) is a black friday deal from Big-5 for $109.00. Big-5's normal price for these are about $120.00+ so I'd call into serious question whether those under a Benjamin deals still exist. If they do they are mostly loss leaders and to get one shipped here won't be all that great a deal (after dealing with the transfers). Also the ammo for these on Cheaper than Dirt are about $220.00 for 500. Not exactly dirt cheap, IMV.

    Operating that Nagant under stress is not the easiest thing to accomplish. These guns are no panacea. They require allot of practice to function with any adequate level of effectiveness. Their original users were considered cannon fodder who probably would never run 100 rounds through them in combat before being shot down, or more likely, dieing of exposure on the front. The Russians investment in them was commensurate to that reality. They are okay guns but I'd never recommend them for a novice shooter to carry through teotwawki.

    I'm not going to argue that the single shot 12 ga, H&R is an ideal answer to any particular situation, zombie apocalypse or other, but it is probably a more useful tool than this article would have us believe. Allot of these guns are knocking around in closets, basements, and attics from years gone by. If you have one already you ought to buy some mixed ammo for it. A 100 round pack of Federal bird shot, some packs of buck shot, and slugs. Keep it around, just in case. If you find one at a garage sale, go ahead and make a 50.00 offer for it. I remember using a similar gun in 20ga with tremendous effectiveness against game, including dove hunting where I got pretty damned good at reloading. Also, I found them to be very reliable. I've personally fired thousands of rounds through one and my cousins did too. I don't remember any failures. I do remember allot of older guy's expensive automatics choking fairly regularly while our little single shots just kept dropping doves, quail, ducks, and geese. This arm can be broken down and hidden in a pack. Not many long guns can do that. There is a great you tube video I've seen where Clint Smith from Thunder Ranch uses one in defensive training with amazing speed and accuracy (with a cheap Wal-Mart flashlight taped to the front stock!). If that is what you own it is a very good tool to have.

    I agree with the sentiments about a 10/22, but try to find one today priced under $200.00!

    Chinese built 12 ga pumps are flooding the US market today priced under $200.00 but I am skeptical about their quality. Yeah for a closet queen it might be okay but for betting my life I'd rather scrounge up a used 870 or Mossberg. An ugly 870 is probably 10x the gun of that Chicom pump gun new in the box.

    Concluding I'd say that Msr. Canterbury has it more right than not. The 12 ga single is a useful tool. I'd recommend finding a used Mossberg or 870 pump as a defensive firearm and game getter, but if you own one don't hang a bag over your head!

    Best wishes & Merry Christmas to teotwawki,

    Colorado

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    1. The point is not that a single twelve is not a useful tool, but that there are better choices at a similar price point.

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    2. And surplus 7.62x54R is available for as cheap as $70 for 440 rounds, packed in a spam can.

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    3. "This arm can be broken down and hidden in a pack." Uh...so can an AR platform. Pop two pins and you have two seperate and distinct pieces that fit in a pack. No magic there. Not sure what the point of mentioning it was. Like the argument but in a fight, you take the single shot with whatever you can hold in your pockets and I will take the AR with one magazine. The finest tool cannot make up for the weakest man and the greatest shooter cannot compensate enough for the limitation of a basic firearm. What's next? How a musket is a better option than a Chicom pump gun new in the box....well maybe.

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  13. So many issues here. First is price point. Comparing a $100ish single shot shotgun to a $700+ AR-15 or a $600 Springfield M-6 isn't really equitable.

    Dave's theme is more of a hunting/ gathering thing than defense. In one video he mentions that choices for defense would be different. I would like to think Dave is smarter than to have his defense gun be a single shot...

    Variety of roles is a real plus for shotguns. With a variety of shells you can take Black bear all the way to squirrels appropriately. No other gun can do that.

    Range is a consideration but Dave's stomping grounds seem to be a lot more woods than open spaces. In a lot of the country a shotgun would excel.

    As to the single shot. They are cheap but pump shotguns are not expensive. I've bought Remington 870's and Mossberg 500's for under $200 but it has been awhile. These days $225-250 for a good used 870/500 is probably realistic. Yes there are cheaper shotguns but I do not think that is a good option unless you are seriously hard up for cash.

    Single shot's have the benefit of being able to stick one of those little .22 conversion's in easily. That is about the only advantage I can think of.

    For one gun for game gathering a 12 gauge is a solid option. That being said mine would be a Remington 870.

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  14. A good example of why magazine capacity is important... Custer. He refused to rearm his troops with the lever action rifle, preferring a single shot rifle with better range. He lost because he couldn't put enough rounds down range, against an enemy that countered the advantage of good range by sneaking up close before attacking. He might have survived if he'd rearmed even half his well trained troops with lever actions. Give me round capacity in an accurate gun, any day.

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  15. If I could have only one weapon in a survival situation and considering the price point, I’d go with a Marlin Model 60. Semi-auto .22 with a tube-fed magazine, so a good amount of follow-up shots and no magazine to drop/lose/damage. Can be had for under $150 used, and for $160ish new. No, it’s not a combat rifle, but I’d hate to be shot with one after TSHTF.

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  16. This is an older post, but hopefully still gets enough traffic to warrant a quick point on the H&R spare parts comment:

    If you disassemble the gun, and remove the stock from the main part of the action, you have a complete "spare parts kit" for your single shot, for the same size and weight and about half the cost of a spare AR-15 BCG + field parts kit.

    Also, re: black powder, saltpeter can be made from urine, if you aren't mobile. Sulfur remains an issue, but is REALLY cheap, and has many uses. Every survivalist should own a 50 lb sack.

    I agree with all of your conclusions, and would NOT pick a single as my first choice... but was hoping this might be food for thought nonetheless.

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  17. AnonymousJune 16, 2013

    I'd have to go with the Henry lever action capable of holding 16-21 rounds lr or short .22

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  18. I do and dont agree. I have a 12 gauge Rossi and I love it. I agree that in a gun fight you would need something else, but for hunting a single shot can be very reliable.

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  19. There are many types of survivalist out there . I would relegate Dave Canterbury as more of a wilderness survival /17th century re-inactor then an end of the world fighting the UN invasion that is trying to take over the USA . Even though he is capable of doing that his emphasis is on bushcraft not insurrection and guerrilla tactics . His firearm selections for his videos are more for taking game then for self defense. The single shot 12ga with a set of adaptors that can fire 22LR 9mm and even 45LC and ACP .

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  20. good ;) i love H& R single shot 12 ga.

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  21. You don't need sulfur for black powder unless you plan to shoot a flintlock or matchlock. Black powder can be made with 4 to 1 (weight) saltpeter to charcoal. Both available in the wilds if you know how to harvest them. Primers / percussion caps would be the problem.

    I have several mosins. None of them would be my choice to lug around for SHTF scenario. I have 22lr rifles and pistols, but would take my single shot break barrel (have had it for 40 years now) before I'd take anything else. Pump shotguns have much longer receivers, so you're gun is longer without the benefit of increased accuracy. Pumps are heavier as well, and are JUST as susceptible to malfunction. Give me a 12 gauge break barrel and some chamber adapters and I'm good to go. Dave is right on.

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  22. AnonymousMay 30, 2014

    25 years out the single shot will still be repairable with hand made parts and in operation
    It's amazing how quick machines breakdown and become clubs without a supply chain.

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  23. Dave Canterbury is a survivalist. That is his mindset. He can go out into the woods naked, make his own tools, create fire, hunt and trap and build shelter without a knife. If he has to rely on a manufactured tool, it's a knife and a single shot shotgun because of the weight and luggability. If he's hiking 30 or 40 miles through thick woods, he doesn't want to be carrying lots of ammo and a large rucksack and an 11 lbs. weapon. If this country gets invaded, he can easily hide himself in the woods, and take out people using a bow and arrow he crafted. Most people would want a weapon and knife and ammo. But, it's important to know how to do without. That is why I train with a 22lr pistol, 22lr rifle, 5.56mm AR, 7.62x39 AK, a bow and arrow, and know how to flintnap to make tools from nature and bow strings from sinew and trees. I can make natural rope from plants and trees. I can even make aspirin and gunpowder from mother nature.

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  24. I think versatility is the strong suite of the single shot shotgun. The first cartridge gun I purchased was an H&R in 20 gauge and I have been playing with it for over 40 years and it is still going strong. Although I do carry an extra for some of the more important springs, only thing to ever break was a firing pin which was about an hours worth of work to make a new one. I have shot everything from rocks to arrows through it and just about everything in between, loaded it with black, pyrodex, smokeless and untold combinations of these (for Christ sakes people don't be stupid and learn a little bit about what you are doing before trying any of this on your own). Have made half a dozen different sub caliber adapters for it at one time or another. Broken down it takes little space, doesn't weigh too much, and isn't nearly as delicate in that condition as many other weapons. It has spent countless hours of travel by boat, plane, or horse across a large portion of Mexico,Canada,and the U.S. it has been rained on, frozen, submerged for hours, lived in the back of an airplane in Alaska for a couple of years and pitted and sad looking as it may be it ggnever fails to go bang. And have never once been somewhere where ammunition was sold that didn't have something available that it would shoot. I have used it to take every sort of game from wing shooting birds to still hunting deer. If I was going to have to have to take one gun to feed, and take care of myself in the wilderness, the single shot shotgun is a pretty good choice. If you are looking for something to take into combat, there are probably better options some of which have been mentioned here.

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  25. I was out hunting squirrels this morning with my nine-year-old son and 2 H&R single shots: mine a 12 made in 1970 that I paid $50 for in 2003 and his a .410 youth gun that I picked up for exactly $100 a few weeks ago. I have a complete spare parts kit for the 12...another 12 that I bought at a yard sale for $70...we also have a .20 with a modified barrel made in 1970. We don't EVER dry fire a H&R single shot because it breaks the transfer bar. My nine-year-old knows it, and so should you guys. As you can see, we love our single barrel shotguns. We live on a farm and I use the guns often to dispatch various varmits--groundhogs in the garden, anything other than chickens near the chickens etc. I have found my H&R to be completely reliable and robust. Dave Canterbury is a bushcrafter. An H&R is a great gun for bushcrafting weekends. If you are establishing a homestead, A COUPLE of single shot shotguns should be in your plan. If you can only afford ONE gun, it probably should be a 1970 to 1990 something Remington pump with a magnum receiver and two barrels: a short defense barrel and a poly-choke barrel. If I was heading to the hills in an emergency, I'd leave the shotguns at home and take my 30-30 and my Ruger MKII. I'd add a Glock under certain circumstances. With all that said, I like Canterbury and his videos. I consider him to be a Kephart/Nessmuk woods loafer (A good thing) and a skilled outdoorsman with a passion for experimentation and the H&R is as at home in his yurt, or his shelter, as it is on the seat of my farm truck.

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