Dave Campbell appreciates a good shotgun—but that sentiment isn't necessarily universal.

Recently my friend and fellow scribe Richard Mann penned a piece for his website titled “Five Guns I’ll Never Own.” He said readers love this kind of stuff and that this was a blatant effort to drive more traffic to his website. One of the five was a shotgun—any shotgun—other than the Model 12 that belonged to his father. He considers himself a caretaker of it. I don’t know whether he generated much traffic to his website, but he started quite a discussion on Facebook with it.

Richard likes shooting rifles and pistols…a lot. Apparently he is not a devoté of trying to keep up with a bird dog in the nearly futile pursuit of feathered game. He stated elsewhere that leaning a shotgun next to a door jam just gives you something to trip over while trying to get to your rifle…or something to that effect. Obviously, he finds the shotgun a less-than-useful tool for self-defense. Opinions are like armpits; everyone has one or two, and they all stink. However—at least for the time being—we all have a right to our opinions.

Like Richard, when I think of shooting, the first thing that usually comes to mind is rifles and handguns. I’m kind of a stickler for accuracy, and the shotgun is not noted for pinpoint pellet placement. However, I do have a little English setter and she loves to hunt. And I do get quite a kick out of knocking down roosters over her. There aren’t any quail in Wyoming (dang it!), but I do dream of visiting a friend or two in quail country sometime soon. At one time I was a dedicated waterfowler and spent a lot of time chasing ducks and geese. I don’t hunt waterfowl much anymore; not because I don’t enjoy it, but because wading in a mucky pond or lake is too difficult with an artificial hip.

As for self-defense, I think keeping a short-barreled shotgun next to one’s bed is an excellent idea. Aside from the fact that it has beaucoup more stopping power than most any handgun; it is easier to operate—especially when rudely awakened—and it’s an intimidating thing to have one pointed at you.

So while I’ll agree with my West Virginia hillbilly friend that a DoubleTap pistol, an AK-47, a Glock and a Rhino revolver are very unlikely to take up residence here in my little Wyoming conclave (There are plenty more, but I won’t go into that now), several shotguns will always be welcome. If memory serves, I’ve got about eight 12 gauges hither and yon around here and a couple of 20s. I need another 12 gauge—a Winchester 1897 for Wild Bunch shooting—and I have a lifelong dream of a wispy 28-gauge sidelock that I may never see come to fruition.

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4 Responses to Shotguns

Left Coast Chuck wrote:
April 15, 2014

While you and your readers may realize the damage a 12 ga shotgun can do and having one pointed at you would make you cease what caused the holder of the shotgun to point it at you, please do not assume that a criminal who is zonked on alcohol and/or drugs is going to be fazed by the sight of a 12 ga. pointed in his direction. A news story prominent in the recent past told of a home invasion where all three of the residents of the home pointed their weapons at the intruder who continued his advance toward them. He's now deceased. Ask any cop how many times a potential arrestee has offered to insert the weapon the officer was pointing at him, including shotguns, in some handy body orifice. More than likely the response will be 'Lots.'

Scotty wrote:
April 10, 2014

From a fellow Wyomingite, I enjoyed your comments. No gun sport I enjoy more than hunting over my Brittany.

jeff wrote:
April 09, 2014

Here in New England a shotgun has a lot more usefulness than a rifle. Many areas do not let us deer hunt using my .270 but my 12 guage rifled barrel 870 is legal and frankly all I really need given the distances 90[%] of big game shots are taken. Small game, waterfowl and turkey are all shotgun game, although my .22 gets to speak occasionally it is a safety issue when I choose the scatter gun over it for bushy tails. Self protection is a personal issue but I would agree that a shotgun is far preferable, and less likely to need to be fired, when in a situation where an intruder is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Steve Tracy wrote:
April 08, 2014

Thoroughly enjoyed your comments Dave! I grew up thinking of myself as a handgunner. Over the years I now find six shotguns staring back at me from my safe. A couple other scatterguns have come and gone as well. Opportunities in life come and go. Trap, skeet, sporting clays and pheasant and duck hunting, along with Cowboy Action Shooting have caused shotguns of various makes and models to enter my gun-shooting life. I welcome them all. By the way, a ground blind and a good lab to get your ducks will make you forget about your hip!