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Old April 21, 2021, 05:44 AM   #1
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Coach Gun Safety Question

I am not familiar with side by sides in general let alone hammer guns, so forgive my ignorance Which would you prefer in a coach gun, hammers or not?

Obviously lacking in fire power but I like the idea of a short barreled shotgun as a close range defense weapon.

I might be wrong but it seems a hammer gun is best if you are going to keep it fully loaded all the time as opposed to a normal breech loader. How safe are hammer guns that are loaded with the hammers down?
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Old April 21, 2021, 06:59 AM   #2
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Totally depends on individual design. A hammer gun may be less safe as a hit on a hammer could fire a loaded gun. If you are paranoid, don't keep it loaded.
What could have happened... did.
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Old April 21, 2021, 09:48 AM   #3
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Coach guns are very popular with cowboy action shooters. The hammerless (internally hammered) versions are more prevalent since they are self cocking (one less thing to do on the clock). We do not load the shotgun ahead of time. Instead we “stage” it open and empty. When it’s time to engage shotgun targets we pick up the gun, load it with shells that we carry with us (usually from a shotshell belt or a “slide” on the gunbelt), close and fire. With some practice the gun can be loaded and fired quite rapidly.
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Old April 21, 2021, 10:06 AM   #4
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The only hammer shotgun I have any experience with was one of the Chinese imports. I didn't like it at all. There were two tapped screw holes, which I guess hold the hinge pin in(?). Those were both boogered up which caused the screws to come out and pucker out the flimsy thin bottom metal. The hammers themselves weren't fit to their posts very well- I don't know if they would have rounded off, or just lose the screws which hold them on. It wasn't even my shotgun, but I did end up being the one to re-tap screw holes and make new screws for it.
I wouldn't have a Chinese copy.
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Old April 21, 2021, 11:02 AM   #5
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For defense I prefer hammers as long as there is a mechanism to keep the firing pins behind the receiver face until the trigger(s) is/are pulled.

I like hammers because of the lack of compressed springs (yeah, I know it is movement cycles that wear out springs, not extended compression time) and the very visual indicator of gun status/readiness.

I have a 12.5" barreled Norinco (in Canada this SG was called the Dominion Arms Outlaw) SxS. Barrels are Modified choke. I would have preferred cylinder so that flares and bear bangers could have been fired out if it without the risk of the flare stopping at the choke.

It is a pretty crude piece of kit but it goes BANG everytime, never fails to open/close, shells are easy to extract and it is SHORT. I mean really SHORT. SHORT enough to make antigunners cry and Fudds to point their fingers at me.

It was only $225 new, delivered to my house. Cheap enough that I don't care about it and I can leave it in my truck (properly stored, compliant with the law) 24/7. It's been in the locked modified briefcase below for seven years and no rust.

I had the misfortune of being on a remote northern highway where a deer had been hit by a truck and needed to be put down. None of us had a gun nor an ax and it was dispatched with a tire iron. Every guy there swore that he'd keep a gun or an ax in his truck after that. For me, for only $225 this is money well spent.

It has badly regulated barrels ( I bet many SxS's are the same). The right barrel shoots on line with the bead but around 9 inches high at 25 yards. The left barrel is also 9" high but also 11" left of the bead (tested with slugs).

I solved this by JB welding a higher height, green magnetic TruGlo tube over the bead/rail and then JB Welded another red tube to the left of the green. I use the green for the right barrel and the red for the left barrel. This has improved the POI with respect to the POA. Bubba RULES!

So put me down for hammers.

Shane: A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.

Last edited by geologist; April 21, 2021 at 11:08 AM.
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Old April 21, 2021, 12:57 PM   #6
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I would pick hammers BUT the danger is decocking. If your thumb slips while decocking, it’s gonna go boom. In a stressful situation or when very cold and wet... be very careful.

Internal hammers rely on the safety. I would bet money that one can find an abusive enough way to drop an internal hammer coach gun as it will go off when dropped. Not to mention the hammer springs stored compressed. That’s why you see fine gentlemen strolling with their side by sides broken open when not shooting.

“Obviously lacking firepower”??? Cripes! Pull both triggers- 2.5 ounces of lead at 1100 FPS is like 12 rounds of 9mm. All hitting at once. (Assume 90 grain bullets.)

Geologist, that’s a nice setup. I’ve seen some grim highway animals and it’s heartbreaking watching the suffering, helpless. You have me thinking.
I hunt, shoot bullseye, plink, reload, and tinker with firearms. I have hung out with the Cowboy Action fellas. I have no interest in carrying firearms in urban areas.
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Old April 21, 2021, 03:32 PM   #7
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What about CZs Hammer Coach SXS? Seems it can even be made ready "cocked and locked" since it has a tang safety?
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Old April 21, 2021, 06:16 PM   #8
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I’ll bet you $100 I can drop that cz and it goes off. Will you bet your life I can’t?

Why, oh why, would you store it cocked?

I don’t mean to be mean- think of the advantage.. uh... half a second? Maybe not even that.

The disadvantage? The gun is dropped and goes off.

Risk vs reward.

Oh, shotgun safeties are not the same as modern pistol safeties, which are evolved for protecting from drops.

Like old pistol safeties, smack em hard enough, boom.
I hunt, shoot bullseye, plink, reload, and tinker with firearms. I have hung out with the Cowboy Action fellas. I have no interest in carrying firearms in urban areas.

Last edited by stinkeypete; April 21, 2021 at 06:23 PM.
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Old April 22, 2021, 04:08 PM   #9
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Over the years I have had two outside hammer coach guns. One was a Rossi, and the other from China. Both had safties (I think its an import requirement), and neither would I trust to prevent the gun from firing due to a blow on the COCKED hammer. The safety is there to prevent the hammer from falling when the trigger is pulled nothing more.

With the hammers down, both guns had "rebounding hammers" meaning the hammer in the at rest position (down) does not contact the firing pin. Therefore, if the gun was dropped on the hammers it is unlikely to fire.

UNLIKELY is not the same as impossible. Don't drop a loaded gun!

Interesingly, both guns, made decades apart on different continents shared the same feature with the hammers. Right barrel hammer has a half cock position. Left barrel hammer, does not. Never did understand why.

Tradition, perhaps, though I have asked, haven't ever gotten a good explanation. Traditionally, the left barrel is the long range barrel (tighter choke) and used after the right barrel, if needed. Not something that matters much with a coach gun, usually.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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