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Are bolt action shotguns any good


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Old 02-17-2016, 08:55 PM   #1
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Default Are bolt action shotguns any good

Are they I've asked and got mixed opinions I think they're good but I don't know.


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Old 02-17-2016, 09:14 PM   #2
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Are they I've asked and got mixed opinions I think they're good but I don't know.


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good for what? I guess it depends on what your definition of good is, and what the intended purpose of the shotgun is. good is rather subjective term and will vary from one person to the next.

several manufacturers use to make them for years and sold thousands of them in various gauges and styles.

if you want better answers, you really need to give a little more detail as to what you are wanting to find out.

is a Corvette a good car? as sports car, it's decent, but it can't haul too many bales of hay!
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:51 PM   #3
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Well..... that calls for an opinion. Not bad, but generally would not be my first choice.

The only one that is still in production that I can think of is the Savage, but they have been made by Marlin, H&R, High Standard and most notably, Mossberg. They are still used in states that do not permit rifle hunting.

They are generally not as quick on a second shot as a pump or auto, but with practice, you can be faster than you think.

Most were durable, reliable, and inexpensive. They tended to be the gun of the working man or the young shooter. If the gun fits the shooter, they can be as accurate as any shotgun.

Somewhere in the safes there are a couple of Mossberg bolt guns, at least one H&R Gamester and a Stevens .410 bolt action. Useful as loaner guns, or to introduce a new shooter to shotguns.

One special note- there has been a long standing safety recall on the Sears JC Higgins 12 g bolt action. While there is disagreement over the exact nature of the safety issue, it is possible for the bolt to come back and strike the shooter in the face. There is no "fix" for this, and Sears is still paying $50 for the return of the bolts on their guns. Google "Sears shotgun recall".
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Old 02-17-2016, 11:51 PM   #4
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Well just in general I was saying if there where draw backs and then pluses and negatives. What better a tube fed or magazine fed



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Old 02-18-2016, 12:01 AM   #5
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You have the specialty slug shooting bolt actions, which are generally quite good for that intended purpose. As such they are really more like rifles however.
Run of the mill bolt action shotguns generally had one endearing characteristic; they were cheap. They did not point well for wingshooting and the term repeater was almost a misnomer. Some people will say how great theirs was, yada, yada, but I had one as my first shotgun 56 years ago and I have never had even the tiniest desire to ever own another. I would not recommend one to a friend.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:37 AM   #6
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C3. Browning still makes the A Bolt in 12 and 20, for Sabot Slug hunting, and there's always Tar Hunt for the more money than brains club.

I have used a Mossberg 185-d since I was 12, for both small and big game, that was my grandfather's deer gun for about a decade. That ended when he bought his 870.

As a slug gun, I personally prefer to use that 185-d, but I use my own 870 as a brush gun if hunting in a shotgun only area. If rifle is an option, the shotguns stay home, and that's just the fact of the matter. Where I lived in NY was shotgun only until 2010, and now that I'm in PA, my collection of shotguns is just for fun or small game hunting.

Now, I myself like the bolt shotguns, but I also say that they would not be my first choice in certain uses. They are not the fastest option when you may need a followup shot, but you can get pretty fast with practice. HD, a pump or auto is a better choice. Truck gun? their low cost is a plus there. They are easy to clean, and robust, so they are able to hold up to abuse that would make some pumps and autos cry Uncle, but so are most single shots. If you remember their limitations, they can be a decent shotgun.

I do have a few of the BA shotguns floating around here as well. I have a Mossberg 185d, 185ka, and a 195da. 2 marlin 55s, one a Swamp Gun, the other a Goose gun, a Kessler Model 30C, and a JC Higgins 583.25 20 ga. that belonged to the same grandfather who owned the 185d. I collect them because you don't see them as much anymore, which is also why i picked up two other shotguns as a pair a few years back. I found a pair of Mossberg 200s, one a d, the other a k, and picked them up in a private sale. What makes them part of this post is that the 200 12 ga model was an early pump action that was based in the BA design. As I said, I like odd guns.

The BA shotgun was not the end all, be all, but it was a step in the evolution to what we have now. Folks that didn't have a ton of disposable income used them to put food on the table for decades, and they were a starting point for many new shooters to get into shooting and hunting. they came into common use around the same time the hunting rifle went from being a single shot or lever to a bolt. For me, they are a way of touching the past, as are a good double or a muzzle loader. And that whole thing about a follow up shot? If you do it right, you usually don't need one. A bolt gun has taught more young shooter that lesson than any pump or auto can.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:07 PM   #7
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great posts Mr. Kfox and Mr. C3shooter.

I still have few of them stashed back, but haven't shot any of them in years. I simply hang onto them for sentimental reasons.

the bolt action shotgun was the first inexpensive repeater shotgun made. at the time of their popularity, pump action and semi-auto shotguns were expensive in comparison.

they were the best option for many on a workingman's budget at the time, and for many years, they served a purpose of an option over a single-shot shotgun. but as technology moved forward, pump and semi-auto shotguns became more affordable and the bolt action shotgun lost it's place and favor.

I think Savage is the only one that currently manufactures one from the major gun manufacturers, but it's priced at about $600, and that's because as Mr. C3shooter mentioned, some states don't allow rifles for deer hunting, so there a limited market for them now.

there are much better options in shotguns in my opinion. not something I would seek out to find, but if I ran across one in decent condition at a price I couldn't pass up, i'd probably snag it, just for nostalgia's sake, but for not for any other purpose.
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:25 PM   #8
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Well I live in a no rifle for deer hunting state could see how it's useful and I learned how to shoot on a bolt shotgun.


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Old 02-20-2016, 06:52 PM   #9
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Bolt shotguns are not all equal. Some have just a bead front, others are smoothbore with rifle sights, others are rifled barrels. I owned a Mossberg 12a slug gun with rifle sights and a smooth bore. I took my 1st whitetail, 1st mule deer, and 1st elk with it. Very capable of 100 yards. But like any other firearm, it takes rounds down range to become proficient.
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Old 02-21-2016, 01:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by c3shooter View Post
Well..... that calls for an opinion. Not bad, but generally would not be my first choice.

The only one that is still in production that I can think of is the Savage, but they have been made by Marlin, H&R, High Standard and most notably, Mossberg. They are still used in states that do not permit rifle hunting.

They are generally not as quick on a second shot as a pump or auto, but with practice, you can be faster than you think.

Most were durable, reliable, and inexpensive. They tended to be the gun of the working man or the young shooter. If the gun fits the shooter, they can be as accurate as any shotgun.

Somewhere in the safes there are a couple of Mossberg bolt guns, at least one H&R Gamester and a Stevens .410 bolt action. Useful as loaner guns, or to introduce a new shooter to shotguns.

One special note- there has been a long standing safety recall on the Sears JC Higgins 12 g bolt action. While there is disagreement over the exact nature of the safety issue, it is possible for the bolt to come back and strike the shooter in the face. There is no "fix" for this, and Sears is still paying $50 for the return of the bolts on their guns. Google "Sears shotgun recall".
C3 is that recall on all of the J C Higgins 12 gauge bolts, just curious, I have a 16 gauge and have been halfway looking for a 12 and 20 to put in the cabinet on either side of it. Mine has the "multi-choke", and was bought new by grandpa in about 1954 or 55 when they moved out to the farm so dad and my uncle could hunt with the neighbor kids. They had to take turns with the shotgun though.
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