View Full Version : Best load for H&R single 12

November 25, 2000, 12:06 PM
Here's the question. Select a non field/clay/game load for a single 12.

November 25, 2000, 02:35 PM
What are you trying to do with it? I ask because it will run anything from buckshot, to steel for waterfowl, to light rabbit loads. Personally mine gets used a lot to kill ducks. When you show up to a duck hunt with a single shot, you get everyones attention. When you go home, if you did your job, you will have everyones respect.

November 25, 2000, 04:00 PM
Well, basicly I am wondering what loads it can take that will take down deer.

Al Thompson
November 25, 2000, 06:15 PM
Depending on your sights, slugs or buckshot. If you have a rear sight, slugs work. If you have a bead, they still work but it's hard to get good groups. Your eye becomes the rear sight and most have a tendency to lift their heads and shoot high. (been there, done that)

Buck (#1, OO or OOO) will work fine. You have to know your pattern and the only way is with a box of shells and a range session.

If the gun is choked full, try the #1 buck first. If it's anything less, go with the OO or OOO. I like the plated buckshot best, but it all works. (maybe not the tactical though)


Dave McC
November 25, 2000, 08:37 PM
I suggest checking to see how long the chamber is, first. Some of the very old H&Rs are chambered for a 2 9/16" shell, and modern shells,even 2 3/4" aren't a good idea. Assuming it's newer than the Truman Administration, 2 3/4 shells are a sure thing, 3" possibly. BUT....

Probably that thing weighs way less than the Rule of 96 permits. IOW, heavy loads turn it into a vicious kicker. I'd add a recoil pad if it doesn't have one,and use it only with my best form.

As to deer loads,if buck is OK where you hunt(It's not where I do)I'd try 00, #1, and even #4. One of them will pattern OK, probably. Keep your shots close and it'll work.

As for slugs and singles,they can drive you crazy. The first shotgun I had, a 16 ga H&R, wouldn't group ANY slugs worht beans, but it did have a nice 20 yard pattern with one brand of #3 buck. If I HAD to use THIS type shotgun on deer, I'd upgrade the sights in a heartbeat and test lots of loads. OTOH, the new slug hunters from H&R have people whose opinions I value on such things singing Hosannahs...

Hope this helps...

November 25, 2000, 09:20 PM
Thankx fellas. This a new H&R, and sure does abuse you if you use slack form. I'm getting a recoil pad soon. I think I'll try 000 for deer.

Dave McC
November 26, 2000, 06:11 AM
You're very welcome, Shin. Hope the 000 works out for you. My experience is that the bigger the buck shot, the less choke it takes to work well. Also,if you're handy, or there's a smith in the family, get a forcing cone reamer from Brownell's and lengthen that one. It should improve patterns and cut the kick a bit.

Oh,yes, with a forcing cone job and a reasonably tight choke, you have a decent turkey gun there also. Ever do a turkey shoot? Lots of fun.....

Al Thompson
November 26, 2000, 07:41 AM
What's the gun choked Shin-Tao?

November 26, 2000, 01:59 PM
The little guy has a FULL choke.

I love this gun and it's my least expensive buy. Only 70-odd bucks. I would like to get a few more to get creative with.

If their shotguns work so good, I wonder what their rifles are like. Having one in .223 would be nice.

Al Thompson
November 26, 2000, 06:18 PM
Usually the smaller buckshot (# 4, # 1) will pattern better out of a full than will OO or OOO. The shot in the bigger sizes will be pressed against the choke constriction and flatten out, giving worse patterns. (or so they say) I have noted that # 1 gives me better results with modified choke that OO.


November 27, 2000, 12:22 AM

I have an H&R single 12g TOPPER Model M48, Choked, bead front sight. I've used it for skeet, ducks, deer, rabbit and other small targets of opportunity. Ammo includes #9, 8, 7-1/2, low and high brass 6 and 4 and 00 buck.

In 1948, at age 15 in New Jersey, taking some earnings from pin setting for bowlers, I rode two buses to the sporting goods store, looked (longingly) at a double and settled for this H&R, a box of shells and a hunting license. With the box under my arm and the bag in hand I rode two buses home. Try that today!

I have been happy with this shotgun, had good times, took some game. It is here today, 52 years later, still shooting. I will pass it on one day to a son or grandson who should get, no doubt, another lifetime of value and good times. In all this time, only the firing pin has been replaced.

I paid $16.00US (hard-earned at $.05 a line in bowling).

Enjoy, even if it kicks... it's a great shotgun.


Dave McC
November 27, 2000, 07:39 AM
Shin, while I had and enjoyed a 30-30 H&R SS, I've reservations about using high intensity cartridges in that iron(not steel) frame.OTOH,30-30,357 and 44 Mags, 45-70 (Lots of kick in that one),or their defunct but interesting in line ML on that frame should be safe and durable,since pressures are not that high.

IMO, leaving well enough alone is a good option here. The H&R shotgun is a delight to carry and use,and it will keep on working well after the fancier jobs have packed it in.

November 28, 2000, 11:52 AM
Shin, if you can get the October 82 American Rifleman, there is an excellent article titled "The Truth about Buckshot". The did extensive testing with wide variety of buckshot sizes and shotguns of different chokes. The 9 pellet 00 Buck load was the best in the full choke shotgun they used out to 40yds. The 8 pellet load of 000 Buck also gave acceptable patterns out to 40 yds. and provided even more knockdown power than the 00 Buck load out to about 30 yds.

Surprisingly (and you'll be glad to hear this) the heavy magnum loads of 00 Buck (12 pellet) and #1 Buck (20 pellet) didn't do as well.

In any case you should pattern your gun, because your mileage may vary.

As for the H&R in .223, I have a NEF in .223 and absolutely love it! The trigger absolutely sucks, but can be improved. It will shoot sub MOA groups with good handloads (I just have the standard weight barrel). I also have an NEF in .308 Win that I'm working the bugs out of. I've only been able to get about 2 - 2 1/2" groups at 100 yds. and cases tend to stick. Most of the accuracy problems with the .308 Win. can be attributed to my reloads.

Regards! DaMan

November 28, 2000, 10:31 PM
Thank you 4 the data.

November 29, 2000, 01:59 PM
I shot a deer last year from 35-40 yards away with a 15 pellet 3" Federal 00 buck from a 21" Improved Cylinder Remington 870. The pattern was about 30" and he was DRT. It looked like someone had shot him in the lungs with a 9mm subgun 6 times. One pellet went through the muscle in the right shoulder and went all the way through breaking the left shoulder. Most pellets were found against the skin on the far side. None broke through. I'll probably use a tighter choke and 000 buck next time, but I can attest that a 15 pellet 00 buck load has more than enough power to drop a deer.

Dave McC
November 29, 2000, 05:47 PM
If it's a DRT load and shotgun, Kilgor, why change? Sounds like you've arrived at a great combination.

But feel free to experiment. I'd try that load with a Modified tube first, and see if any improvement is noted.

November 29, 2000, 08:50 PM
The biggest reason I would go for 000 buck over the 00 buck I used is because I would rather the pellets have exited leaving several holes for blood to run out of. My next shot may not be placed so well, or the deer might just not want to cooperate.

The tighter choke would be to tighten the pattern and give a little more range with it. The 30" pattern worked, but I would rather have seen a 20" pattern.

November 29, 2000, 09:02 PM
For sure get a recoil pad!

That lightweight shotgun can REALLY kick the snot out of you with heavy loads.

I shot a 3 inch 2 Oz turkey load out of one once and I tore off the trigger guard from the recoil! :)

November 29, 2000, 09:08 PM
KilgorII, I'd try the modified barrel first as Dave McC recommended. Full choke barrels don't seem to pattern as well with the large sized buckshot and heavy loads.

Regards! DaMan

Dave McC
November 30, 2000, 06:49 AM
Kilgor, 20" patterns at 40 yards with any buck load are kinda pushing the envelope. It's not impossible, but darn hard to find a combo that will do this consistently.

Meanwhile,just keep your shots within the limitations of range and spread.


Since buck depends on multiple hits to be effective, trading off pellet numbers for bigger pellet size may or may not be a good idea. And the deer stopper here is going to be shock, not blood loss.

BTW, are slugs legal where you hunt?

November 30, 2000, 12:30 PM
The rules here are no rimfire and nothing under #4 buck.

I'm not hunting this year, but I will next year. Not sure if I'll use 12 gauge buckshot, slug, 7.62X39R, or .308 win.

You probablt have a point about the shock of buckshot, but I do know that what kept him down was massive internal bleeding. When I gutted him his thoracic cavity had about 3 liters of blood that came rushing out.

Dave McC
November 30, 2000, 08:26 PM
That kind of bleeding is typical of hits in both lungs, Kilgor.Major blood trails, if the critter gets to make one.

All of the stuff you mention will do the job if you put it in the right place. Good luck...

November 30, 2000, 11:05 PM
>Also,if you're handy, or there's a smith in the family, >get a forcing cone reamer from Brownell's and lengthen >that one. It should improve patterns and cut the kick a >bit.

Is lengthening the forcing cone in a single shot 12ga. actually something you can do yourself? I was under the impression that you more or less had to take it to a smith to have it done, I've got a NEF 12ga. w/ FULL choke that I like to use as a turkey shooting gun (among other things) and I'd like to do a cone job on it. If it's not really something I should mess with myself about how much would a gun smith charge to do it?
Thanks for the help,

Dave McC
December 1, 2000, 08:16 AM
First,off,I'm no smith. I took a couple of mine to a smith friend and he suggested I get the reamer and do it myself.

Last time I looked, it was about $50 for the job, and not much more for the tool. My guess is that anyone who's handy and has some metal working skills won't have a problem, but it's a semi educated guess.

Maybe posting this in the Smithy Forum might get some input from the smiths there as to the difficulty of this.

Also, a NEF full choke with a cone job and some judicious patterning would make a great Turkey/ turkey shoot gun. Enjoy...