Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
Posted: 12/15/2003 4:14:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2003 6:39:44 PM EDT by cyoung]
Spent three days and one night with these guys in a really wonderful shotgun course:

http://www.morrigan-consulting.com

This was not my first firearms course, but my first with the shotgun. I attended with a Remington 870 police magnum equipped with ghost rings, Wilson 2-round extension with sling swivel plate, Speedfeed series III pistol grip stock, 18" bbl with Trijicon front night sight, and a black nylon sling with plenty of slack. If I get a chance, I will take a picture of the shotgun in post-class configuration and post the link.

Well, I had a lot to learn about how to set up a shotgun! I had a few things right, but not all, that is for sure. Here is what I learned:

1. Your shotgun is probably too damn long from trigger face to end of stock (also known as LOP or length of pull). My shotgun was a colossal 14" LOP and was hard to handle. Most are 13.75" out of the box; fine if you are 6'5", but not good for most of us. I am not a small guy but I could not get a good consistent grip on the forearm with a 14" LOP. I put on a shorter stock and got the unit down to a 12.5" LOP. It was like getting a new shotgun. It balances and handles better, especially when my vest is loaded with gear.

2. Reloads on the gun are a good idea. The four or six round units that bolt onto the side of the shotgun are pretty good, but there are other options too. In lieu of relaods on the gun, reloads really quick at hand, like on a bandolier, are a must.

3. Ok, your gun holds six in the tube and one in the chamber. Only load five in the tube and one in the chamber. This way, when you need to switch loads quickly, say from buckshot to slug, you can put the new round in the tube, cycle slide once, and you are ready to go.

4. Sights are a must-have on a defensive shotgun. Inside 15 yards, most people can do a pretty good job with bead sights, but for 50-yard slug shots, you need sights. Ghost ring and rifle sights are fine. Beads are not really that good with slugs past 30 yards.

5. Very few shotguns can keep all the pellets from a 00 buckshot cartridge in a human target, but the pellets can be lethal for much farther. Pattern YOUR load in YOUR shotgun and find out how far you can safely shoot buckshot. Beyond that, switch to slugs or do not shoot. Nearly everyone in my class found that buckshot was suitable from 0-15 yards at the max.

If you want to learn more, take a class. :> These are the most important things I learned from this class. I hope they are helpful.
Link Posted: 12/15/2003 6:43:11 PM EDT
Front of shotgun showing Wilson 2-round extension and front sight, which has a Trijicon insert:



View of sights from left rear:



View of sights with front sight in ring:



Grip area. The pistol grip seems large, but it was comfotable for me:



Along right side:



Link Posted: 12/16/2003 4:17:06 AM EDT
cyoung, What I do not understand about "tactical" shotguns offered for sale today is the lack of screw in chokes. I have patterned a lot of buckshot and have found the same results as the people in your class, that improved cylinder, which is what most of these guns have, has too open a pattern to put most of the pellets on a man sized target a 25 yards. This could be easily fixed by experimenting with modified and full choke tubes until the right load/ choke combo is found.

But instead of solving the choke problem and finding the right load to hit a man size target at 25 yards with buckshot the experts tell you to use slugs. Well if a singe projectile is the answer then why are we using a shotgun and not a pistol or carbine in the first place? But it gets better, when we switch to slugs then we need a more open choke like improved cylinder to shoot the slugs better but the pattern opens up too much for the buckshot that we were trying to use in the
first place.

And lastly because we are using slugs now we "need" sights on our shotgun to shoot the slugs more accurately but destroy the simple pointability that our shotgun had in the first place. It looks like a answer in search of a question.

Am I the only one that finds this absurd? MIKE.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 6:06:52 AM EDT
Actually, mike, most standard short barreled shotguns are choked straight "cylinder" which means no choke at all, so even the Improved Cylinder is a help. Try shooting patterns with a standard bead sight Cyl. 870 then one with the rifle sights (old style) the rifle sighted guns are choked Imp Cyl and will shoot tighter.

Screw in chokes work fine for a shooter who will keep them clean and knows what to do, but for LEO issue guns...especially if they are assigned to the car and not an officer...no way! I say choke the gun for buckshot and let slug performance degrade if necessary... even Modified guns can do fairly well with Foster slugs out to 100yd. JMO
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 6:39:39 AM EDT
What was your instructor's opinion on the pistol grip stock? I've heard arguments against them on shotguns from the instructors at Gunsite.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 6:43:19 AM EDT
Thanks for the info, cyoung. I only have pump shotguns and most of them are for hunting. The only "tactical" shotgun I have is a Mossberg 500A. Other than the sidesaddle, it isn't very tactical. I'll be putting a Surefire foregrip (replaces the standard foregrip) on it in the near future. Any other info (like on types of drills you did) you can provide would be great.

I'd love to setup a shotgun for some 3-gun matches.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 7:48:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2003 7:51:09 AM EDT by Zoub]

Originally Posted By mike103:
cyoung, What I do not understand about "tactical" shotguns offered for sale today is the lack of screw in chokes. I have patterned a lot of buckshot and have found the same results as the people in your class, that improved cylinder, which is what most of these guns have, has too open a pattern to put most of the pellets on a man sized target a 25 yards. This could be easily fixed by experimenting with modified and full choke tubes until the right load/ choke combo is found.

But instead of solving the choke problem and finding the right load to hit a man size target at 25 yards with buckshot the experts tell you to use slugs. Well if a singe projectile is the answer then why are we using a shotgun and not a pistol or carbine in the first place? But it gets better, when we switch to slugs then we need a more open choke like improved cylinder to shoot the slugs better but the pattern opens up too much for the buckshot that we were trying to use in the
first place.

And lastly because we are using slugs now we "need" sights on our shotgun to shoot the slugs more accurately but destroy the simple pointability that our shotgun had in the first place. It looks like a answer in search of a question.

Am I the only one that finds this absurd? MIKE.


No, I agree with the sights thing. I use to have some great picks of groups I shot at 25 yards using just a large bead, both buck and slugs.

My 870 barrel was made by Kurt at KKF. It is 20", IC and is ported. AND is affordable. I think porting helped tighten the groups. He left enough space after the porting so I could add threads for choke tubes too. I don't know why I didn't do it then? Da!

For me a shotgun is great because it is versatile. A single large bead is best and is fastest. People shoot clays moving at 60mph with just a bead.

I have always shot good groups to 50 yards with just a bead. How hard is it to remember to hold over 4 to 8 inches with a cheap Foster slug at 50 yards+, and they drop like lead turds at 100 yards. For me the best sight is the bead or side profile of the barrel.

What I think good sights might do well, is help people who do not have a lot of shotgun experience in general. I wish more guys would transition back to a plain barrel later.

A pistol grip helps me to keep the heavy gun shouldered and pointing down range while I load the gun. In my case this is especially true with damage I have in my right hand and elbow. I also use a stock with shortened LOP. Helps to get my elbow under the gun to hold it up.

Good info Cyoung, thanks for posting it.

Here is a fun drill. Put out ballons (or empty milk jugs) on the ground at various ranges and some tied on wood dowels/sticks pushed in to the ground so they are 2-3 feet off the ground. Now run the targets. makes you move the gun side to side and up/down. Bird shot works fine for this.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 10:24:47 AM EDT
Ok, to answer a few questions.

- The instructor for this course favored a regular stock versus pistol grip. The choice of stock is mine. I find it a little easier to control, but the guys in class with regular stocks did just fine. On a regular stock, though, do not wrap your thumb over the top!

- Chokes - our instructor said he had seen some failures related to removable chokes but basically said, if you want to use them, fine. He preferred not to, instead favoring a bbl with fixed choke.

- Sights - the guys with beads did just as well as the guys with sights and optics up to the point we were shooting slugs from 50-75 yards. There they just could not match the precision of the guys with sights. For buckshot at close ranges, the bead was not a hinderance at all. Once again, personal preference.

- Drills - there are a few I can remember and share. A big one is to practice shooting, loading, and clearning jams while moving. Also, remember the shotgun mantra "Load one shoot one." Practice topping off the shotgun and replaceing the rounds you just shot, without looking at the gun. Learn to load, make ready, and clear the gun without looking.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 11:15:47 AM EDT
Thanks again. Cool info.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 11:22:21 AM EDT
Good info, and good training obviously. Just curious cyoung, did anyone bust or cut the palm/base of the thumb area of their support hand open using the short forends? There will usually be at least one. Ha!
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 11:43:56 AM EDT

On a regular stock, though, do not wrap your thumb over the top!

Then what do you do with your thumb? Do you point it at the target like you do with a knife? That definitely makes self-defense with a knife more intuitive.z
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 12:11:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2003 12:15:34 PM EDT by cyoung]
Ah, the thumb. Put it on the side of the receiver, pointed at the target. If you have it over the stock and fire something mega magnum and your face is too close, your thumb may help break your nose. Let off a few 3" magnum buckshot rounds and you will see what I mean!

A few people pinched thumbs and pinkies in their actions. I did it once and got a little bruise to show for it. The semi-auto guys did not have this trouble, of course, but they discovered really quick that semi does not necessarily mean better or faster!

Actually, I have to say that with shotguns, the guys with the fancy SPAS-12s and EOTECH sights really did not have a distinct performance edge over the pump guys. The only gal in the class used a box stock Mossberg 590 with a 18" bbl bead sight unit and she kept up just fine with her sig other's Benelli Super 90 with an Eotech. Simple seemed to work very well in shotgun world that weekend.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 7:54:45 PM EDT
Did they have you try shooting prone with the pump?
Link Posted: 12/17/2003 4:25:22 AM EDT
We did a sight-in session with slugs from 25, 50, and 75 yards. Some of us tried the prone position and it worked, but with two caveats: it hurts, and to work the action, you push the shotgun forward with the right hand and pull it back.

I found the recoil to be manageable from the prone position and accurate, but it is hard to smoothly work the action on a pump gun from down there.
Link Posted: 12/17/2003 5:41:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/17/2003 5:41:39 AM EDT by Zoub]

Originally Posted By cyoung:
you push the shotgun forward with the right hand and pull it back.


I figure I just got about $75 worth of free training! Thanks.

I was discusing this the other day and it reinforced why I wanted to take a shotgun course. Shooting from prone with a pump was not something I ever put much thought into doing until lately.
Top Top