Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Reintroduction to Scattergunning

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I bought a Stoeger Uplander 20 gauge side-by-side last week. I have always been much more of a rifle and handgun shooter, although I did some dove hunting with an H&R Topper 12, and a Pedersoli percussion 12 bore double many years ago. In the past 10 years I've probably fired less than 30 rounds through shotguns, mostly slugs through a Norinco 1897 trench gun which I subsequently traded off.

Anyway, today I went and did some trap shooting with my dad and brother. Aside from the Stoeger I also brought an H&R Topper 20 gauge. I bought this a year or two ago, mainly because it came with a .22 Hornet barrel. Today was the first time I fired it as a shotgun.

Before going to the range, I went over to Dick's Sporting Goods, where I bought the Stoeger, and picked up a couple boxes of Remington clay pidgeons, along with a box of Remington STS #9 shot target loads. I also had a 100 round value pack of Remington #8s.

We burned through all 125 rounds of 20 gauge ammo and both boxes of pidgeons. I did surprisingly well for someone who hasn't done any wingshooting in a decade or more. I figure I busted around half of the birds I shot at, even managing to bag a double or two.

The Stoeger weights a little over 7 lbs. and with the target loads was pleasant to shoot. I plan to shorten the stock a little to improve the fit, and add a recoil pad, because at some point I will try it with buckshot.

The H&R Topper weighs maybe 6 lbs. and kicked noticeably more, even with the thick factory recoil pad. I did pretty well with it but the Uplander is a lot more fun to shoot. The H&R would make a heck of a backpacking gun, though, since it's so light.

One thing caused some consternation, though. A number of the Remington bulk loads required two hits of the firing pin before going off. This occurred only with the Stoeger, never with the H&R, which really whacks the primer. I didn't experience this with any of the STS loads, only the bulk rounds, so I'm hoping it's the ammo. I plan to try some different ammo before thinking about sending the gun in for warranty service.

One of the reasons for getting the Uplander was as a potential home defense gun. I seem to shoot well with it but I'm reconsidering it for that role, as it has extractors, not ejectors. While I think that 2 rounds of 20 gauge buckshot should handle pretty much any HD situation, having to manually pull empties from the gun significantly slows a reload. I'm pretty sure that I don't want this in a defensive gun.

My brother brought his 870 along with a few boxes of Estate 12 gauge target loads. It was pretty obvious that he's spent more time with a scattergun than I have.

After we exhausted all our ammo we went and picked up enough unbusted clay birds (not just ours) to file 2+ boxes. So the next time we go trap shooting we don't even need to buy targets.

Today was fun. I plan to repeat the experience.


Anonymous said...

why in the world would you need a gun for home defense. i mean sure it gives you piece of mind but how many times has somebody broken into your house while you wee home and then proceded to allow you to go to the closet or room where you keep your guns. also the uplander was not made to be a home defense shotgun or ever to be shot at humans if u think that you truely need a gun for home defense then i would get a remington 870 the rarely jam and the sound of the old trombone stile shotgun putting a round in the chamber is enough to make any would be crook think twice about continueing with his crimes

Anonymous said...

dude you are one paranoid guy