From the Book of Dave Brown

Discussion for firearms and less-lethal equipment.
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Bitterman
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Bitterman » Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:17 pm

Yeah, even in competition it's often said that when it comes to the shotgun it's not really a shooting contest, but rather a reloading contest.
I have run many action shotgun matches and I can will that the way my OPP friends reload their shotguns is painfully slow.
But... given the context in which they have been trained to load their POS 870's (Crude, but effective is the best I have to say about the beloved Remmy) it's probably the best way for them to do it.
I'd also submit that no matter what weapon you're talking about, becoming proficient takes time and effort.
One or two range sessions a year isn't enough
Admit nothing.
Deny everything.
Make counter accusations...

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:28 pm

Rule #1. Don't call it a "shottie."

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:04 pm

In all seriousness though, for police and defensive use, the shotgun is a simple firearm that can be accurately fired by the average person at short range in a life-threatening situation with very few fine motor skills and with a minimum level of training.

It brings a lot of impact into a target at short ranges. Within it's design range, it carries the impact of five rounds of 9x19 NATO cartridges with one pull of the trigger. This is important when it is critical to stop a threat as quickly and efficiently as possible for the safety of yourself and of others.

Due to the human body's well-developed survival mechanism, a shot from a handgun, no matter how well placed, is unlikely to stop a threat instantly. (In the Dade County shootout in 1986, two murderers absorbed MULTIPLE fatal wounds but lived long enough to kill two FBI agents and seriously wound five others.)

A shotgun is both very fast to shoot and very accurate at short ranges. It's a myth that a shotgun does not need to be aimed. It MUST be aimed. (One is legally and morally responsible for every projectile that leaves that barrel!) The difference is that the aiming of a shotgun is much more instinctive. While it takes time (and training) to line up a front sight and a rear sight with both each other and a target - particularly difficult when that target is trying to kill you - with a shotgun, the rear sight is your eyeball.

Shotguns can be equipped with ghost ring sights and even rifle sights, but that just slows them down for most uses. At close to intermediate ranges, a bead sight is fast, accurate and instinctive.

A shotgun can carry an immense amount of power in a compact weapon. There are few parts or skills in the manipulation that require fine motor skills, and any complication in shotgun handling is because it has been added unnecessarily by certain people when they try to turn it into what it's not.

A shotgun is extremely fast to engage multiple targets (or engage a single target in a dynamic situation.)

A shotgun is relatively modular, meaning it is easy to customize for the very wide variety of purposes that a shotgun can be used for.

A shotgun is versatile. It can defend against wild dogs with buckshot; it can stop a charging bear with one shot when loaded with slugs; it can be used as an intermediate force weapon when loaded with less-than-lethal rounds; and it can be effectively used for training, target practice, fun shooting and survival when loaded with birdshot.

A shotgun is a LOT of fun to shoot for sport or recreation, especially when shooting quickly on multiple targets.

When used in wildlife defense, a shotgun can be quickly fired by the average person at short range. The amount of energy equivalent to a shotgun slug at 3 meters or closer can only be found in the most powerful rifles; none of which could be snap-fired at close range on a charging bear except by the most experienced hunter or outdoor professional. (This is why the firearm that a typical person carries in bear country is NOT the same as what their professional hunting guide may be carrying.)

Trust me on this one. Train the average person on the shotgun for about four hours and they can confidently fire accurately on a bear-size target at close range, plus know how to reload quickly. Train a person who has never fired a gun before on a typical short-barreled, iron-sighted bear rifle like a .458 Weatherby Magnum, and training STOPS INSTANTLY after one shot.

A shotgun can quickly and safely dispatch wounded wildlife humanely with one shot. (Handgun rounds have been know to ricochet off a skull pretty easily, and carbine rounds often take multiple shots because this is beyond their design capabilities for large animals.)

Did I mention that a shotgun is a lot of fun to shoot?

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:31 pm

So, what are the downsides?

Shotguns can be intimidating. Most of the "recoil" of a shotgun is poor training, poor technique or just a fear of its reputation. We can effectively train someone who has never fired a gun before in their lives on the shotgun in four hours. The secret is to remove the intimidation factor by good training, proper technique and NOT trying to make it a patrol carbine with goofy stances that serve only to torque your body sideways with every shot.

Shotguns have been made more complicated than they should be by "operator" training that tries to turn every shooter into a SWAT member. If you are an operator, you don't need to read anything I ever say about shotguns anyway; you know what to do. If you are NOT an operator, which includes all but a few dozen people in Canada, then don't try to become one by treating it like a carbine. Learn how to speedload by holding the shotgun in your support hand (the gross motor skill part) and dropping a spare shell into the ejection part with your strong hand. (The fine motor skill part.) You will speedload just as fast, drop far fewer shells on the ground and can do this without thinking with five minutes of practice.

So why do some officers LOVE the shotgun, and others HATE the shotgun? Training.

Train with 100 rounds of duty buckshot; learn the wrong way to speedload; try to turn it into a patrol carbine by exercises involving barricade shooting off the wrong shoulder ... and everyone soon learns to hate it. Train with birdshot, learn good techniques, and always ensure everything you train is with a good understanding of the performance of the AVERAGE human body under stress, and you will come to love it.

KEEP IT SIMPLE. It's not a complicated weapon; don't make it one.

So endeth the Book of Dave Brown.

Yes, I LOVE patrol carbines. Every officer should have access to one. But not at the cost of a shotgun. After all, da Vinci didn't paint the Mona Lisa with just one paintbrush.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Ziggy Stardust » Thu Jan 01, 2015 3:04 pm

We don't have a "like" button, so I just wanted to say; Thanks Dave! This has been an informative thread.
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Longarm9 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 11:29 pm

Dave Brown wrote:Rule #1. Don't call it a "shottie."


Okay, boomstick it is! :smirk:

In all seriousness though, thank you for a superbly detailed and helpful response, Dave! I'm definitely thinking that my old winchester mod 12 and I need to spend some more time at the range getting acquainted.

Now I'm also wondering how much barrel length matters in terms of effectiveness when it comes to shotguns. I know that the shorter barrel increases the spread, but is it a concern given that shotguns are short range weapons?

I'm wondering if it's worth taking a look at the grizzly again for a home defense gun. I'm currently using a non restricted .223 carbine in that role. I love the compactness and the magazine feeding system of the grizzly, but the reliability issues I encountered when I fired one definitely put me off. I'm hearing that perhaps I had a lemon in my hands and as a rule they;re more reliable.
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:17 am

Barrel length has absolutely nothing to do with spread.

Spread is strictly a function of choke. Choke has little effect on buckshot and no effect on slugs, of course. This is why police shotguns tend to be improved cylinder choke or cylinder bore (no choke.)

It is a complete fallacy that a longer barrel will shoot farther or will shoot tighter. A longer barrel increases the sight radius, which is important for some types of bird hunting and in trap shooting. If you are not using it for hunting, then 18" is just fine.

Here in Canada, pumps can have shorter barrels as long as the OAL is 26" or greater and it is a factory barrel. One cannot cut down their own to under 18". But there are some factory shotguns with 14" barrels (and shorter.) Personally, I love the 14" barrel for police because it is easier to manipulate around vehicles and it swings quickly from threat to threat.

As for the Dominion Arms Grizzly, it may be a fine shotgun and many people own them with few problems, but I will not buy a Chinese-made shotgun. It's just my own beliefs. Companies like Norinco got started many years ago by North Vietnamese troops prying the 1911s and M14s from the hands of dead American soldiers and shipping them to China to be reverse-engineered.

The other issue with anything knocked off in China is the reverse engineering. They basically copy the parts. (They obviously aren't given the rights to the drawings but China has weak copyright laws that no one in China bothers to enforce anyway.) But any part has a range of dimensional tolerances. If the part they copy to reverse engineer their own shotguns is already at one end of the acceptable tolerance range, the new part ALSO has a range of acceptable tolerances. This simply means that sometimes the most well-made parts will still not work correctly.

But, as I said, that is strictly my opinion. Lots of people own Norinco and Dominion Arms and love them. People who buy North American are not immune to their own quality-control problems either. (The very first thing you need to do with your brand-new 870 made in the last ten years is polish the chamber. Strange, but trust me on this.)

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Longarm9 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:50 am

Okay, so then what exactly is choke? My only experience with it is that my model 12 has a compensator at the end which has different lengths of tube you can screw into it, which I presume are the chokes, but the only difference I see between them is their lengths, hence why I figured spread must be a function of barrel length.

If I were to buy another shotgun, I'd want one with probably a 14 inch barrel, for exactly the reason you mentioned - quick handling.
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby RGW » Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:41 pm

Now that the rcmp is switching to vertical vehicle racks a shorter barrel length is needed, imo, for easier deployment. As well, a magazine tube extension wasn't possible with the horizontal rack, but could be now, along with an attached light.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Homer » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:15 pm

Longarm9 wrote:Okay, so then what exactly is choke?

A choke on a shotgun is a narrowing just inside the muzzle. If there is no choke in the barrel it's called 'cylinder'. 'Improved cylinder' gives a slight reduction in diameter, with 'modified' and 'full' chokes being progressively more restriction. A 'turkey choke' would be even tighter than a full choke. As Dave mentioned, a slug can be fired through cylinder or improved, but nothing tighter. (Trying to send a slug through a full choke would be a bit like putting a .337 bullet in a 30-06 round - although the rupture would be at the muzzle end in the case of the shotgun.)

So that's what a choke is. What a choke does is tighten the pattern (or spread of shot). When shot comes out of the barrel it will spread out in a cone shape. A tighter choke means that cone pattern is narrower, and takes longer to spread out. This is good if you are shooting longer distances, but it also means you have to be more accurate with your aim.

For most situations where police would need a shotgun (and similarly for self-defence at home or in the woods), you would not want to tighten the pattern much. You want to point-aim-shoot very quickly and usually it will be at relatively short range.
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:19 pm

Longarm9 wrote:Okay, so then what exactly is choke? My only experience with it is that my model 12 has a compensator at the end which has different lengths of tube you can screw into it, which I presume are the chokes, but the only difference I see between them is their lengths, hence why I figured spread must be a function of barrel length.

If I were to buy another shotgun, I'd want one with probably a 14 inch barrel, for exactly the reason you mentioned - quick handling.

That Model 12 has what is called a Cutts compensator. (A compensator redirects gas pressure upwards in order to reduce muzzle rise, as opposed to a muzzle brake, which redirects gas sideways - usually equally in each direction - in order to reduce recoil.) Compensators seemed like a good idea back in the 50s, but today, we accept that compensators always had zero effect on muzzle rise. There is not enough gas volume in shotguns to affect anything. At best, gas volume is about 4% of the weight of the shot charge, and even if a compensator redirected 50% of the gas upward (which is impossible) the reduction would be less than 2%.

An AR rifle, on the other hand, has a gas charge that runs about 40% to 50% of the weight of the bullet, and if you can redirect even 20% of that charge sideways, it is conceivable one can easily reduce recoil a significant amount.

But that Cutts compensator on yours also has the replaceable choke tubes, a very early version of what would be very popular today, with Winchoke tubes and Remchoke tubes. It is likely one is marked IC, for improved cylinder, M for modified and F for full. Full would be good for trap shooting or goose hunting; modified for ducks and IC for upland game and skeet shooting.

The other problem you will find with your shotgun is the choice of ammunition in 16-gauge is very limited these days. I would definitely get a 12-gauge more suitable for your purposes, and save the 16-gauge for hunting.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Longarm9 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:03 pm

Ahhh good info :) The gun was originally my grandmother's; she used it for skeet and trap shooting (so awesome that I had a shotgunnin' grandma).

You can get buckshot in 16 gauge; wouldn't that be adequate for defense?

In any case, I can use the Mod 12 for fun/practice/competition type shooting and maybe look at picking up a compact 12 gauge one if I decide I need one.

They also have SKS's on sale nearby....so many guns, so little money and time... :((

EDIT: Found out a bit more info about my Model 12. It was manufactured probably in the early half of 1941 based on its serial number. 16 Gauge, 2 3/4 chamber "Full" marked on the side of the barrel. FULL is the choke, I understand, which makes sense for a shotgun intended for use in skeet and trap shooting. The compensator is marked "Weaver Choke 16 Ga."

Finish is excellent for its age, with barely any bluing gone and only slight surface discoloration in places. The stock is plain walnut with original Winchester butt plate and the pump is the traditional wood ribbed kind.

Oh, and I also found out it's a takedown model, which is pretty darn awesome.

Sweet little gun and it shoots nicely from what I've seen.
Last edited by Longarm9 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby HiPowered » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:20 am

Dave Brown wrote:As for the Dominion Arms Grizzly, it may be a fine shotgun and many people own them with few problems, but I will not buy a Chinese-made shotgun. It's just my own beliefs. Companies like Norinco got started many years ago by North Vietnamese troops prying the 1911s and M14s from the hands of dead American soldiers and shipping them to China to be reverse-engineered.

The other issue with anything knocked off in China is the reverse engineering. They basically copy the parts. (They obviously aren't given the rights to the drawings but China has weak copyright laws that no one in China bothers to enforce anyway.) But any part has a range of dimensional tolerances. If the part they copy to reverse engineer their own shotguns is already at one end of the acceptable tolerance range, the new part ALSO has a range of acceptable tolerances. This simply means that sometimes the most well-made parts will still not work correctly.


Just a heads up Dave - 1911's were present in China during WW2 thanks to Lend-Lease, and there is some information suggesting that the Chinese may have actually been provided US Government machinery, tooling and blueprints for the 1911 either directly or by way of Russia. Not all of their firearms have been reverse engineered or stolen. At various times, various factions within China have been allies of the USA and were voluntarily provided weapons and support.


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