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Inherited a couple of shotguns -- looking for advice

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Inherited a couple of shotguns -- looking for advice

Old 11-10-2013, 03:47 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Inherited a couple of shotguns -- looking for advice

Hello,

I'm new to posting on this forum, so my apologies if this post belongs in the individual hunting sections, but I thought I'd try here.

I'm a novice upland bird hunter (mostly grouse) but looking to start hunting duck soon. I just inherited a couple of old shotguns from my grandfather -- the first guns I've owned -- and I'm wondering if anybody can help with some advice. In terms of my experience, I'm used to hunting grouse and rabbit with a single-shot break action .410.

1. A Winchester Model 12 Featherweight (12ga, full choke), very good condition. Would this be a good starter gun for getting into duck hunting?

2. A Mossberg 185k-a (20ga, adjustable choke) bolt action with 2-round clip. I know bolt action shotguns aren't ideal for getting rounds off quickly, but I'm curious about opinions for this as an upland bird/small game gun.

I'd been considering buying a new gun this winter, but seeing as I'm cash-strapped I'd rather not. Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:47 PM
  #2  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Both guns will serve you for duck ... if needed, but I'd tell you to take the Model 12 out the first 3 times you go duck hunting. I think you'll find with different types of hunting ammo you can hunt ducks, deer, grouse, rabbits, woodcock, squirrels ... the list is endless, ....

All you would really need is another Model 12 in 16 gauge. Wish I had one in 16.

The Mossberg, if in good condition, will last several lifetimes. 20 gauge is a very nice starter shotgun for smaller framed folks, but fit is more important than poke.

I have one of each (or nearly the same) of the 2 guns you received from your grandfather. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.
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Old 11-10-2013, 11:16 PM
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My dad just gave me a Mossberg 183D .410 bolt action. I took it squirrel hunting a few weeks back and I couldnt believe how perfect it was for it. I hit everything I aimed at even out to 45 yards in a tree. I love hutning with guns that are sentimental and just thinking about how my dad was shooting birds and squirrels with my uncle back in the 50s was pretty cool.

You are right though the bolt action isnt ideal but for small game hunting you shouldnt need more then one shot.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:33 AM
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That model 12 is a classic!

I wonder about that bolt action as a slug gun. The choke issue ought to be discussed with a gunsmith first.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:43 AM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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Model 12s are very well built guns. But if you want to duck hunt, you are going to have to use non-toxic shot. This gives you two options with that model 12:

1) You will have to buy a special softer shot. Steel shot, and most high-density non-tox loads (which are required by law) are VERY hard. Much harder than lead. They will (over the course of several shots) do perminant damage to the barrel of that gun. Moreover, because that full choke is very constrictive, you likely won't get very good patterns with it.

That said, you can purchase softer non-tox loads such as Kent Tungsten-Matrix or Tundra. Environmetal makes a "Classic Doubles" load which is designed for older guns like that model 12. Only problem with these is they are not for cash strapped hunters. On average, you will be spending $35-40 for a box of 10 shells. That's $3.50-$4 every time you pull the trigger.

2) You can spend another $250 and have a gunsmith put interchangeable choke tubes in the barrel. While this will make the gun much more versitale, it will negatively effect the value. Once you have those choke tubes installed, you will be able to safely shoot any type of shot, including economincally priced steel shot which is often around 50-75 cents a round instead of $4.

I guess you do always have the option of buying something else used too.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SwampCollie View Post
2) You can spend another $250 and have a gunsmith put interchangeable choke tubes in the barrel. While this will make the gun much more versitale, it will negatively effect the value. Once you have those choke tubes installed, you will be able to safely shoot any type of shot, including economincally priced steel shot which is often around 50-75 cents a round instead of $4.
I believe that the barrel walls on a Mod. 12 are too thin to install threading for choke tubes. And I suspect that he would ultimately regret doing it. For not much more than 250.00 he could buy a used gun that will accept choke tubes and still have an unaltered Model 12.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:20 PM
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Spike
 
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You can have the constriction opened up to modified making the gun much more useful but killing the resale value. Since you inherited it you may not ever want to sell it.
I would ask whoever reamed it out not to remark the barrel.
The best option is to use non steel non toxic loads that will not hurt the old girl.
I have an old A5 Full Choked I want to hunt with some but I have not tried the softer shot.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:19 PM
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Spike
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Thanks so much everyone for all of the great feedback. I knew about needing to use steel shot for duck, but hadn't even considered how this might affect the barrel of the older gun (lots to learn, still...).

As a couple of you guessed, based on sentimental attachment alone (my gramps was the man), I won't be modifying or reselling the Model 12. I know it was one of his favourites. I'll need to bite the bullet and buck up for the more expensive loads if I end up using it for duck hunting.

Your input raises a couple more questions for me. Again, excuse these questions if their answers are obvious to you guys:

-Would the softer non-tox loads pattern much differently than similar-type lead shot? In other words, would it be feasible to practice/target shoot with a matching lead shot and save the pricey stuff for the pond?

-More generally, ammo aside, thoughts on the 12ga Model 12 Featherweight with full choke for a beginner duck gun? I understand that so much depends on distance and what type of shots I'll be taking, but as a versatile beginner's gun, is it generally considered to be more favourable to have a Modified or IC choke?

Thanks again!
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:35 AM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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Originally Posted by Wingbone View Post
I believe that the barrel walls on a Mod. 12 are too thin to install threading for choke tubes. And I suspect that he would ultimately regret doing it. For not much more than 250.00 he could buy a used gun that will accept choke tubes and still have an unaltered Model 12.

Might well be so. I figured having a full choke bore might help... but I certainly agree that you can pick up a used 870 or 500 for $250 and save the model 12.
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ZoSo View Post

-Would the softer non-tox loads pattern much differently than similar-type lead shot? In other words, would it be feasible to practice/target shoot with a matching lead shot and save the pricey stuff for the pond?

-More generally, ammo aside, thoughts on the 12ga Model 12 Featherweight with full choke for a beginner duck gun? I understand that so much depends on distance and what type of shots I'll be taking, but as a versatile beginner's gun, is it generally considered to be more favourable to have a Modified or IC choke?

Thanks again!

Tungsten Matrix I know from personal experience will pattern just like similar sized lead shot. So yes, you don't want to go shoot clays with TM. Unless you are Bill Gates or Warren Buffett.

Chokes affect your pattern by inches... hunters miss birds by FEET. As long as that gun patterns well, it will work just fine for waterfowl.
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