View Full Version : Backpacking Shotgun?

April 3, 2005, 11:27 PM
I have been planning to do some extended stay backpacking and hiking in the near future. I have been thinking about a firearm to bring along.

I was going to bring my SKS as it is cheap and handy. My other options are a 10-22 and Remington Model 7. I love the model 7, but in 7mm-08 it is a potent cartridge and don't really want to shoot critters with it.

So... any suggestions on a LIGHT shotgun, 16-20-28 gauge? I prefer 16 for no particular reason. I just need something light. Most of the singles I've handled are heavy!

Thanks for the replies.

Forgot to mention... this will be in mountainous new england. So heavy cover and rough terrain, some lakes and water.

chris in va
April 4, 2005, 12:06 AM
How about this? Comes in .40, and someone mentioned possibly .45 soon...


The thing is darn slick, folds in half and weather won't affect it with the polymer. You can even specify which mags you want to use (Glock, Sig, Beretta etc).

I'm not really sure what you want to use it for though.

Lawyer Daggit
April 4, 2005, 12:18 AM
Hi Wraith, what are you going to be shooting? I will assume you want a foraging fun for small game rather than a rifle for protection against Bears.

In terms of pack guns I have carried an M6 survival rifle (.410 / .22 magnum) which I would discount for accuracy reasons, ditto for the Marlin Papoose semi auto if standard sights are used.

More recently I have acquired a Marlin 39 TDS which packs down nicely, and have used a Winchester 9422 in this role as well.

The 39TDS is now hard to get hold of and in any event is chambered for the LR rather than Magnum rimfire. I would suggest getting a Winchester 9422 Magnum and having its mag and barrel shortened to 16 1/4 inches. You will need to carry a little container to carry the bolt and bits and pieces though.

I would replace the factory sights with a Williams peep sight that will fit on the dovetail and a fine blade foresight.

The other alternative that I have experience with is the Contender Carbine. It will also do the job nicely, but does not pull apart as readily- you need a hammer to knock out a pin and a screw driver. It is a great firearm if you are looking at carrying a gun assembled rather than inside your pack.

April 4, 2005, 02:04 AM

Yeah, I should have been more specific.

I don't care about take-down, looking for a rifle or shotgun that will be used to take primarily small game, with the ability to take larger game if need be (deer).

I agree that the .22 LR is probably the best foraging cartidge, but I like the idea of a shotgun for versatility. Smaller and lighter is better, I would be willing to consider all gauges except 12 and .410 bore.

I don't like the idea of shooting a large animal with a .22, although I know the caliber can take deer if need be.

Black Majik
April 4, 2005, 02:36 AM
Hmm... I guess my suggestion would be a 870 in 18" configuration, no ext. mag. tube and pistol grip stock. Carried using a sling.

Although I dont usually recommend using a pistol grip, nor a sling for that matter, I feel for general backpacking, any shotgun of the big 4 would work great. They have been proven reliable and durable.

The pistol grip would make the shotgun much more compact. Not fun to shoot with the GP, but sometimes you just have to make sacrifices.

Good luck

Dave McC
April 4, 2005, 06:36 AM
Over the last 40 years and more, I've run across a good dozen woods runner shotguns that would fill the bill here. Most were US made single shots, including NEFs, H&Rs, IJ Champions, and one great looking Winchester 37 in 20 gauge.

All had some lightening done. The stock was either hollowed out, skeletonized and/or shortened. Some barrels were also bobbed, and the lightest of these came in around 5 lbs.

Few were 12 gauge, most were 20 gauge with a couple 16s in there also.

The downside, of course, is that light shotguns kick hard, requiring good form and a decent pad. Since something like this is carried miles between rare shots, t'is best to accept the tradeoff.

Savage's excellent Model 24 would work,with both 22LR and 20 gauge barrels, but the thing is no lightweight.


April 4, 2005, 01:54 PM
id recommend a braztech - rossi matched pair in a 20g or 28g and a 22lr or 22mag barrel. you can also get a biger cal rifle barrel but id say it would get heavy. i have a 12g 22mag for treking through the woods and its very light and accurate. It cost $108 from wally world.

April 4, 2005, 03:22 PM
How about an Ithaca guidee series in 20 gauge? They are nice and light, also very versitle.http://www.ithacagun.com/product/firearms/guide.shtml

chris in va
April 4, 2005, 08:06 PM
Well, in that case...yet another Kel-Tec. SU-16, maybe the 'b' model.


April 5, 2005, 02:07 PM
ohh so thats what thouse O/U 22/12gauges where for... i was wondering about that but now it makes perfect senice..

perhaps i'll look for one to take backpacking with me as well.

April 5, 2005, 02:13 PM
How about a winchester?

April 5, 2005, 03:08 PM
Oh yeah! Forgot about the winnys. They are great scatterguns. This is a "light" gun at 6 pounds but also has the benefit of the larger 12ga. shotshell,(also a 20ga version).http://www.winchesterguns.com/prodinfo/catalog/detail.asp?cat_id=512&type_id=104&cat=012C

April 5, 2005, 03:47 PM
perhaps one in a smaller centerfire like .223, and then 20 gauge?
Savage makes a .223/12 gauge combo, or a .22LR/20 ga. combo. WallyWorld $483.00~$520.00
The 12 gauge may give you more options, carrying light recoil target loads and heavier stuff up to slugs. With the .223 you can take along the light HP bullets as well as the heavier FMJs as well. Might give you the versatility you need. Carry a variety of ammunition to fill any forseen needs.
Just my few pesos.

April 5, 2005, 08:45 PM
Thanks guys. I think I'll be trying to find a Rossi in 20 gauge to try out. I really don't want a pump or anything with too many parts. The Rossi also seems fairly light, at 5 something pounds.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Lawyer Daggit
April 6, 2005, 12:53 AM
How about a TC encore? this should give you a good variety of chambering options inc shotgun.

Sorry when I answered initially I had not noticed that you were specifically looking for a shotgun.

April 6, 2005, 10:27 AM
A trimmed down 12 ga winchester might be the ticket. You could cut down recoil and ammo weight and bulk by picking up some aguila 2" mini shells (winchester is the only gun that will cycle them reliably) in shot loads and/or slugs.

April 7, 2005, 10:11 AM
Whatever you do DON'T get a Stoeger Backpacker .410.

April 8, 2005, 06:50 AM
Now you have to tell us why...

April 13, 2005, 03:05 PM
They're super short and very light, so the .410 kicks like a 10 ga.

April 15, 2005, 12:15 PM
Wraith, let us know how it goes with the rossi.

April 16, 2005, 02:29 AM
One option I didn't see above: sometime around the late 1940's, Savage/Stevens made their single barrel shotgun in some models with a hollow mottled brown plastic stock. I think the plastic was called Tenite. The first real gun I ever fired was one of these in .410. Got a lot of squirrels with it later on, too! :D I've seen some in 12 ga, & bet they made some in 20 ga too. If you could find one in 20 or 16 ga it would be ideal for your purposes. But a new Rossi or other inexpensive single barrel will be a lot easier to find!

April 19, 2005, 10:15 PM
If you're actually going to be packing this thing a long ways, over rough terrain, you need light, light, light. That means single shot and rules out doubles, pumps, tube mag guns, etc. - too much metal on them. A single shot .410 would actually be perfect - take a few different shotshells and some slug shells for larger game. Or possibly a 28 gauge. Something like the Stoeger backpacker - very small, short and light - lightening cuts on the stock, etc. Or possibly a "Springfield" M6 Scout - can be had in .410/.22lr combo, or .410/.22 hornet combo (didn't know it came in .22 mag...hmm). If you take the large trigger guard off, it folds up nicely. I would think that you DO need one that breaks down or folds up because are you really wanting to carry something in your *hands* the entire time - you may want your hands free to negotiate steep areas, etc. using your hands, and how are you gonna sling the rifle over your backpack even if it has a sling? So that means folding up and putting inside backpack, or strapping to outside of backpack. Marlin papoose .22lr comes to mind if you opt for a .22 over a shotgun.

April 19, 2005, 11:26 PM
Beretta used to make a Backpacking single shot shotgun that was really nice. I used to have one in .410.

I am real partical to the H&R / NEF Youth 20 ga. So much I gave my Mom one as a HD shotgun. I'm 6', 175# with 33" sleeves - I have no problem shooting this Youth model...felled a lot of game with one.

These come in Blue and Wood ( my preference) or Black Wood with Nickel reciever. Real nice Recoil pad . Fixed mod choke bbl , well Mom's for instance throws better patterns and slug groups than some really expensive guns, or those that have spent monies to shoot better patterns/ groups. B/T the one's I've had, and mom's - every bit of twenty folks have bought one.

Uses vary from Backpacking, Truck Gun, to HD...Fun factor.

20 ga ammo is available anywhere , priced right, lots of choices for pellet and Slug use is a plus.

That said - I really like toting a single shot 28 ga. That 28 ga needs NO explaining to folks that shoot them. Ammo is more expensive ( unless you reload) availability can be hard , no slugs...

The .410 - well I have taken a LOT of critters with the .410, slugs are too much fun, taken my share of game with slugs.

Everyone should have a Youth 20 ga single shot, and .410 single shot.

May 20, 2005, 07:37 PM
dont forget about the weight of ammo. 500 .22LR is prolly about the same weight as 3 boxes of 20ga shells.....


June 14, 2005, 09:12 AM
Well, did you get the Rossi. How about a range report? I want to buy my son in 12g, my daughter in 20g and their father in 357Mag. ;)


June 14, 2005, 10:05 AM
I think the need for a firearm of any type is highly questionable. If you do want to bring something anyway, I'd bring a midsized handgun - 4 or 5" barrel. That way, you can still hit something, but this type of firearm will still weigh about 2lb - an awful lot for backpacking.

If you are going to be having a reasonably ambitious route, going over a lot of summits in one of the "high peaks" areas... one of the first things people figure out after a trip or two is that number, size and weight of objects carried are really to be minimized.

I have backpacked from NC to ME in the Appalachians, as well as in the Rockies, Cascades, and AK, and I always chose my destinations for the most rugged/spectacular terrain. What most people don't realize is that although the elevations don't sound that impressive, the rugged trails and elevation difference between base and summit make the premier areas of the Appalachians as tough to travel as anywhere.