Thread: Hiking Shotgun
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Old January 11, 2013, 08:36 PM   #28
Evan Thomas
Join Date: July 7, 2008
Location: Upper midwest
Posts: 5,098
Originally Posted by sccoty
Thanks for all the replies. I guess I should clarify. Hikes will be up to 5 miles in distance. I will also use the gun at camp. So weight isn't a big issue but lighter is better. The largest predator I could encounter is a grizzly bear. I do carry spray but would also like to increase my defenses with a shotgun. The gun doesn't have to fit in a pack. I would like it to have a folding or telescoping stock with a pistol grip, rather than just the pistol grip. Additionally a shorter barrel for slugs while still holding maximum amount of shells and a quick draw sling or holster of some kind. Hopefully this clarifies things a bit.
Ahh. That helps. If you're traveling in grizzly country, a shotgun isn't a bad thing to have along if you don't mind the extra weight.

Is there a particular reason, other than style, that you want the folding stock/pistol grip deal? For your intended use, you don't really need them. A plain-Jane wood or synthetic stock will do just fine -- synthetic might be a bit lighter, but light isn't always good in a shotgun; a heavier gun will absorb more recoil. Also, a stock with a pistol grip will limit your selection a bit: they're not compatible with Mossberg and other shotguns with the safety mounted on the rear of the receiver, as you can't reach the safety very well while holding the pistol grip. They work fine with the Remington-style safety, which is located on the rear of the trigger guard. If you can go to a range and try some shotguns, you'll get an idea of which control setups you're most comfortable with.

Also, a shotgun with a wood stock and forearm will set you back a lot less than one of the black, "tacticool" ones; the latter are way overpriced at the moment, just because people like the look of them.

I also wouldn't worry too much about a "quick draw" setup for the shotgun. Some sort of scabbard attached to your pack should do fine -- and a regular case that's the right size for the gun would give it more protection from the elements, so I wouldn't rule that out.

Your bear spray should still be your first line of defense. It's much more important to have that in a quick draw holster, attached to your belt, not your pack (which you'll take off a lot more often than your belt). And if you're moving through an area where visibility is limited, such as an alder thicket, or around large rocks near water, the bear spray should be in your hand. There's good evidence that bear spray is more effective than firearms in bear defense when it's used properly -- the bear is deterred from attacking, and you're actually less likely to be injured. For an overview of this topic, look here. That said, the shotgun could be a lifesaver if you run into the rare bear that comes back for a second try, or stalks you after the first encounter.

Also, you may find that shotguns are fun, and want to use yours for other things: trap shooting... hunting... If you do, a very short barrel will be a hindrance. Mossberg (and other makers, for all I know -- I haven't checked recently) makes a combo set, with an 18" barrel for defensive use, and a longer one for other uses. (It's absurdly easy to swap barrels -- no tools required.) This would be another reason to steer clear of the "tactical" models, which may not take the longer barrels.

And, of course, when you do get your shotgun, go shoot the heck out of the thing. Get really comfortable with it before you take it to bear country.

Originally Posted by ripnbst
I'd be carrying something with an alloy receiver like the Winchester SXP, Winchester 1200 or 1300, The weatherby TR series, etc. Not an all steel 870, as much as I liek the 870 it wouldnt be my choice.

I'd probably opt for a bare bones 1200 like one I had.
Eeee... yes. That would be just right -- and good-looking, too.

Last edited by Evan Thomas; January 11, 2013 at 08:55 PM.
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