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Old March 18, 2010, 11:10 PM   #1
cracked91
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Destructive Power of a 12 Gauge? Pump or SxS?

Well, lately I have been doing alot of back country camping/hiking/fishing. Im talking back country as in 5-10 miles off of any marked forest road, and accessable only by foot, quad, or maybe very potent 4x4. Often I lose cell service, and am in forest areas so dense that a camp fire would not be visible from a short distance.

Well, in light of this I have started carrying things like extensive first aid kits w/ medications/prescripiton anitbiotics, and usually 2 GPS units+compass and map, etc.. Its AZ, so the black bears GENERALLY don't get that big here, usually I just have my P95 with 2 mags of hollowpoints and a rimfire rifle for small game. But, between my last 3 expeditions, I saw 2 bears large enough to make me very uneasy, and a mountain lion about the size of a large dog. None of them got close or acted aggressivley at all, but made me want to rethink my arsenal.

I want to get a better back country gun. There are not many larger caliber pistols in my price range. But I was looking at the mossberg maverick security series, as well as the stoeger coachgun (which I have owned before). It seems that a 12 gauge slug, being about .73 inches in diameter, with close to 600 grains, 1500 fps, and around 2800-3000 ft/lbs of energy, could take down almost any animal in the world at close range.

I don't know if im wrong, Im not a biologist of any sort, but it seems that the the cheapest, and by far most effective option short of 50 cal, is going to be a security shotgun. I am mainly looking for someone who disagrees and can give me a reason why to go with a bigger handgun.


I know and trust the coachgun, and am thinking I am going to purchase another one. My dads remington 870 would begin to fail ejecting the cartridges when it got very dirty, which makes me slightly wary of pump guns.
I know the limitations of having 2 cartridges, and have some formal combat training.

Im looking for thoughts, opinions, advice, suggestions that could help me in this choice. Thanks All.
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Old March 18, 2010, 11:44 PM   #2
noyes
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How about a lever action 5 shot 12 ga. shotgun.






Think i may buy 1. The 18 1/2 inch. barrel with removable chokes.
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Old March 18, 2010, 11:55 PM   #3
the rifleer
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I'd go with the mossberg 500 shotgun. Its light and durable with a solid reputation. Remingtons lately have had problems, but the older ones are solid guns. The lever gun is certainly cool, but i don't know how practical it really is. You can load and shoot a pump faster than you can a lever gun, in general.
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Old March 19, 2010, 01:11 AM   #4
BillCA
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+1 on the pump scattergun.

With the 12ga slugs you're pretty much shooting a boat anchor at a bear. Even still, bears can be tough critters and I want all the reserve power I can get. Especially if that bear takes to the notion you're after it's food or young.

If the SxS style suits you better and you think it's easier for you to shoot, operate and care for, go for it. Just be sure to pack a few extra slugs and buckshot along.

Since you didn't say what part of AZ you were in, I'd still recommend the pump in case you run into those two-legged types of coyotes...or worse.
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Old March 19, 2010, 03:23 AM   #5
cracked91
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I was just lookin at that very levergun

And yeah, the 2 legged critters generally more my concern, so I will still pack a pistol. But I like the have the added firepower in a bad situation, plus the fact that hunting small game with a shotgun is much easier than a rifle if it came down to necessity.

I am from Mesa, but my camping ranges anywhere from Mt Ord to Winslow or Springerville, and I usually go in as deep as my Jeep CJ5 will let me(which is usually very, very far)

Im a sucker for leveractions, and have been looking for a good bush gun for when Im down closer to the valley. My biggest beef with my SxS was that it was a PITA to carry due to how wide it was. On the otherhand, 3 extra shots of buckshot or slugs is 3 extra chances(which I hope I will never need), and pumping is a quicker action.
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Old March 19, 2010, 12:03 PM   #6
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A mossberg 500 pump in 12ga would be my recommendation. You can carry it with 5 rounds in the tube, perhaps loaded with slugs for the highest firepower at ready, but also pocket some buckshot and even birdshot for smaller game. Then you'll have all your bases covered with one long gun, and can still carry the pistol if you feel that is the right choice in a given moment.

My other recommendation would be to get a 18 1/2 barrel for the Mossberg that has rifle sights on it, which will be more accurate than the standard bead sight only. That will give you the ability to defend yourself, or hunt any game you might need to up to around 100 yards or so, and just carry 3 types of 12ga ammo (slugs/buckshot/birshot) so you can select whatever you need at any given moment...but again, I would suggest carrying it with the slugs so that the most dangerous of predators can be taken out with what you have loaded already (rather than trying to load for it under stress).
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Old March 19, 2010, 12:13 PM   #7
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A pump of whichever flavor suits you best, preferably with a rifle sighted barrel to aid in placement of slugs.

May I also suggest Brenneke KO slugs as they're a little harder lead alloy and will stand a better chance of putting Yogi the bear down faster than your standard soft lead Foster slug. I also have found them to be the most accurate smoothbore slug load out of any of the guns I have around here.

In looking for deals don't overlook police trade in 870's with rifle sight barrels. They pop up on occasion for very reasonable pricing (200-300) and typically have some finish wear but very little internal signs of use. With that you bypass the recent Remington quality missteps and get the theoretically more durable internals of the Police issue guns.
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Old March 19, 2010, 03:18 PM   #8
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Count on being quite close with the Stoeger (or any other inexpensive double), since the barrels won't be regulated to put two slugs in the same place & can actually be surprisingly far off at 25 yards. Remember bears can cover 25 yards amazingly fast when they want to, I wouldn't like to let one get that close if I saw it was headed toward me.

The Remington can be reloaded while in any condition (cocked, uncocked, slide open, slide closed, etc.). Current express model is OK, you can do better. The 87 leverguns can't be reloaded unless the action's open, which makes it impossible to top up if you're holding in a ready position on an animal (or two) with only one round left in the gun (chambered), if that makes a difference.

Of the Mossbergs, I'd go with a higher-priced model than the Mavericks. Your life isn't cheap & the pump shotgun you bet it on should not be a bargain basement proposition.
The fallacy in figuring ANY shotgun, even a cheap one, is better than nothing if you can't afford a good one lies in a false sense of security (and adequacy) that can either cause you to take chances you normally wouldn't if "really" armed, or give you a fatal surprise if it ever is needed.

Up north of you in Utah, I tote a short Remington 870 in the UTV on many excursions nowdays. I know a retired Ruger engineer who lives in Arizona who feels quite comfirtable with his 870 ("...slugs can handle anything down here...") when he hits your wild country.

I can understand budgetary constraints, but I'm of the opinion it's better to go without lunches now & then if that's what it takes to save up for reliable equipment, and wait till you do have the money to buy it.

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Old March 19, 2010, 06:54 PM   #9
LynnTX
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Carrying a 12 ga + ammo, + handgun + extra ammo sounds like a lot of weight to be lugging around rough country. I think I would leave the handgun secured in the vehicle and rely on the 12 ga. while on the move on foot. That weight could be allocated to extra food & water etc. Slugs would give you effective range and be more powerful than the pistol.
If you needed camp meat, it would also be the better hunting weapon with the right ammo.

Just saying.
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Old March 19, 2010, 08:32 PM   #10
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Pump is easier and faster to handle for the average shooter than a lever.
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Old March 20, 2010, 01:29 AM   #11
DPris
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Forgot to mention the '87 has a very long lever throw.
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Old March 20, 2010, 05:34 AM   #12
cracked91
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Been talking to a friend and very trusted firearms resource, who is also a sworn game and fish officer down here.
He actually recommended a Remington 870 20 gauge youth, I think the barrel was 21".

The gun actually felt great in my hands, small, light, and versatile, with the ability to chamber 3" rounds.

The lenghth of the 18" barrel security model is 38.5 inches overall, and the 21" Barrel youth 39" being that the stock is much shorter. This gives it a tighter spread for hunting purposes, and still the manueverability for combat purposes.
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Old March 20, 2010, 09:59 AM   #13
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If you are wondering what a slug can do, here are five 16 gauge slugs shot through a box with two 3" phone books and a 900+ page hard back book...

There was also one round of 16 gauge # 1 buck. This was about from 30'

I suppose you'd get a bit more power with a 12 gauge...I'm not sure what it would do to a bear though. It probably wouldn't make him feel too good.
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Old March 20, 2010, 12:20 PM   #14
DPris
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What gives it a tighter spread?
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Old March 20, 2010, 03:06 PM   #15
rantingredneck
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If I had to guess, the 21" VR barrel probably is threaded for chokes where the 18.5 security barrel isn't. That's the only thing that'll affect the pattern. Barrel length will have no bearing on it.

That being said Cracked91, if you want an 18.5" Remchoke barrel for that 870 youth Remington does make one. My daughter's gun is set up so.
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Old March 20, 2010, 04:25 PM   #16
DPris
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That's what I was thinking, chokes would be the difference in patterns & it's possible to get several Remington 870 barrels with Rem Chokes.
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Old March 26, 2010, 10:48 PM   #17
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Personally, I own a Beretta semi auto shotgun, that is a dream to carry in the field. It'll bust your britches when you shoot it (it's really light), . . . but in your country, . . . it would be my choice.

It holds 7, . . . with 5 more in a stock shell holder, . . . has a sling (I'd change to a 1 point sling in your situation) and I would have no qualms carrying it and my 1911.

Just my $.02

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Old March 26, 2010, 11:58 PM   #18
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I will agree with Dwight, Beretta Autoloaders are a dream to carry in the field. I have the Urika.

That said.... What about carry weight? It sounds like you've already got a full load with ya. I'm thinking large caliber handgun. I've also noticed the big cats, javalina, and occasion bears are getting more active during the day now. My thinking is that a suitable handgun may offer a big punch in a small, portable package. Taurus Judge? Casull? Maybe even a Contender (+1 for versitility). One thing all of these have in common is they can all be carried easily and drawn quickly from a holster. You know, those "sling" style across the chest holsters. They work pretty well with a backpack if you put the holster on after the backpack.

Background on this point.... I'm also in AZ, I spend a LOT of time in the Flagstaff backcountry as well as the Mazatzal Range and Superstitions. I backpacks, hike, hunt, you name it. I carry similar gear and sidearmed with my P99 or XD (both are in .40 w/ 180gr HPs). I'm also looking at upgrading my backcountry protection, but wallet isn't fat enough right now.
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