Survival Shotguns 101

A shotgun (also known as a scattergun and peppergun, or historically as a fowling piece) is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug.

Shotguns come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 5.5 mm (.22 inch) bore up to 5 cm (2.0 in) bore, and in a range of firearm operating mechanisms, including breech loading, single-barreled, double or combination gun, pump-action, bolt-, and lever-action, semi-automatic, and even fully automatic variants.

A shotgun is generally a smoothbore firearm, which means that the inside of the barrel is not rifled. Preceding smoothbore firearms, such as the musket, were widely used by armies in the 18th century.

The direct ancestor to the shotgun, the blunderbuss, was also used in a similar variety of roles from self defence to riot control. It was often used by cavalry troops due to its generally shorter length and ease of use, as well as by coachmen for its substantial power. However, in the 19th century, these weapons were largely replaced on the battlefield with breechloading rifled firearms, which were more accurate over longer ranges.

The military value of shotguns was rediscovered in the First World War, when American forces used 12-gauge pump action shotguns in close-quarters trench fighting to great effect. Since then, it has been used in a variety of roles in civilian, law enforcement, and military applications.
The shot pellets from a shotgun spread upon leaving the barrel, and the power of the burning charge is divided among the pellets, which means that the energy of any one ball of shot is fairly low. In a hunting context, this makes shotguns useful primarily for hunting birds and other small game. However, in a military or law enforcement context, the large number of projectiles makes the shotgun useful as a close quarters combat weapon or a defensive weapon.

Shotguns are also used for target shooting sports such as skeet, trap, and sporting clays. These involve shooting clay disks, known as clay pigeons, thrown in various ways.

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26 Comments

  1. Hi Dave, I don’t have good audio on my laptop. Could you post the 12 gauge make and all the products you mentioned to make it like yours? Thanks, Chuck

  2. I recently became the owner of a H&R survivor in .308 Winchester, it came with the survivor stock but chose to remove it for a youth conventional. My thinking is to get the 12 gauge barrel with a glow sight (take both barrels to be machined to 18.5 / 20 inches to fit in my pack) and have a handy rifle for both hunting all the game in my area and protection in an urban environment WROL setting. The adapters are another component to the kit aswell.

  3. Hello Mr. Canterbury, I was wondering if you could give me any tips on removing the machine screw holding the stock onto the receiver.

  4. May I suggest adding an AR-15 grip plug as to add storage capacity to the hand grip. P.S. I really enjoy your videos.

  5. You’re the best Dave. I can’t thank you enough for all of your knowledge filled videos.

  6. Get a shotgun with a shorter barrel for wilderness survival, it’s easier to carry and to maneuver through branches and brush. Just my 2 cents

  7. Hey Dave-
    I’m new to this but it there a chance that the bullet from one of those 3″ adapters could hit the side of the shotgun barrel and damage the shotgun?
    Thank you.

  8. Dave mentioned that the stock is a Choate stock. That would be Choate Machine and Tool. Google it and you will find dealers.

  9. Excellent presentation of what could be a very viable survival weapon. I enjoyed the ‘how-to’ on the shell making for the 12 ga. Like you said, the adapter make this even more of a survival situation gun. Just how good do the rifled adapters do as far as accuracy, distance?? Thanks…keep up the great work!

  10. I really like the adapters. Especially the .45/ 410. For someone like me who owns a Taurus judge (which shoots the .45 and .410) that would great to carry ammo and use it in both guns. The 20 gauge is also great.

  11. Hi Dave, What do you think about the Rossi single shot 12ga. They are on sale at my Gunstore (Vance’s in Columbus) for $109 brand new. Do you have any experience with them?

  12. I also use a 12 GA for my walking around in the woods gun. Diffrence is mine has two 20″ barrels, two hammers and two triggers. Like this little guy alot. You have a good one. 😉

  13. hey dave,thanks man for he latest video,you didnt have to do that one but its cool,none of is perfect,i enjoy your videos and where you was at in ky is where i grew up and still love it here like to meet you soon time

  14. hey i was wondering if this gun will last a long time because the price is so low.
    (is this the h&r single shot shotgun)

    need to know asap

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