Sunday, October 30, 2022

Prepping Lessons from John Titor

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Some of you may have never heard the name "John Titor"; for others, it's a blast from the past. Regardless of your familiarity with the name, I'd like to beg your indulgence as I talk about this fascinating character. His story is fantastical, but given that we are approaching Halloween, I think a little fantasy can be forgiven in the name of seasonal spookiness. 

In late 2000 and early 2001, a man going by the name "John Titor" on internet message boards claimed to be a time traveler from 2036. According to him, the United States would have a second civil war in 2004, followed by a brief nuclear World War 3 with Russia, and eventually the fragmented USA would re-form in a much more decentralized manner. 

If you don't mind spending 30 minutes watching a video, a very detailed breakdown of the John Titor story can be found here.
As someone who not only lived through that time period but was also online throughout it all, and therefore aware of the Titor Phenomenon, let me say the following:
  • While I didn't believe his story, I found it plausible enough. I guess you could say that, like Fox Mulder, I "wanted to believe". 
  • The events of 9/11/2001 gained an especially eerie quality when viewed through the lens of Titor's predictions. For a while there it seemed like his claims of "a Waco-level event each month" might come true. 
  • Despite the fact that this seems like a well-crafted internet hoax, there is still some wisdom to be gained from the fictional Titor's advice. 

In one of his final posts, Titor gave the following advice to people on how to survive his future:
  1. Do not eat or use products from any animal that is fed and eats parts of its own dead.
  2. Do not kiss or have intimate relations with anyone you do not know.
  3. Learn basic sanitation and water purification.
  4. Be comfortable around firearms. Learn to shoot and clean a gun.
  5. Get a good first aid kit and learn to use it.
  6. Find 5 people within 100 miles that you trust with your life and stay in contact with them.
  7. Get a copy of the U.S. Constitution and read it.
  8. Eat less.
  9. Get a bicycle and two sets of spare tires. Ride it 10 miles a week.
  10. Consider what you would bring with you if you had to leave your home in 10 minutes and never return.

My thoughts on these:
  1. This is a reference to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), aka "Mad Cow Disease", which is caused by a prion. Explaining what that means is a deep rabbit hole that I leave to the curious reader; for the less curious, let me just say that there's a very good reason why humans generally regard cannibalism as a dangerous and unhealthy thing, and so eating cannibalistic animals is likewise a bad thing.  
  2. If you don't know someone, you don't know what diseases they have. Yes, HIV and syphilis are awful, but in a long-term grid-down disaster, even the flu could prove fatal. 
  3. Poor sanitation and impure water lead to disease and possibly death. 
  4. Guns are useful for hunting and for self-defense. 
  5. You are your own first responder in the best of situations. At the worst, you are your only responder. 
  6. We have talked about the importance of having a Tribe in many articles. 
  7. In my opinion this is 50% "be aware of your rights" and 50% "if you have to rebuild society, this is a good blueprint for that". 
  8. "Stop eating junk and lose weight."
  9. "Get in shape, too. Also, a bicycle is transportation that doesn't need gasoline or electricity to operate."
  10. This is why preppers have Bug Out plans and bags. 

Even if they're from a fictional person crafted for an internet hoax, these are still good rules for survival. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Prepper's Armory: Air Guns

Air guns have a much broader and more interesting history than the .177 and .22 caliber target and pest control arms most people are familiar with today.

There’s considerable debate about the initial development of the air gun. Many historians consider them to have come on the scene sometime in the mid-1500s; few examples have survived from that time, of course, and those are mostly in museums.

The earliest air guns fell into the same two categories used in modern designs: spring powered and compressed air. 
  • Spring powered guns were fairly low power, but could be extremely accurate at short range. Therefore, their use was generally relegated to indoor target ranges.
  • Compressed air (or pneumatic) guns were another story. Over the years, their power and reliably improved to the point they could be used for hunting. In fact, this became the fashion among European nobility of the time, and compressed air guns powerful enough to cleanly take stag and wild boar were produced to meet this need. 

Their chief advantages over black powder were resistance to weather and near silent operation. Because of these advantages, in many parts of Europe, commoners were specifically forbidden from owning air guns. 

Fast forward to the 1780s, when the Austrian Army equipped an entire regiment with Girandoni .46 caliber repeating air rifles. The effectiveness of these soldiers was so great that it has been stated Napoleon ordered any Austrian soldier captured with an air rifle to be summarily executed. France, Japan, and several other countries also armed soldiers with advanced air guns, though in smaller numbers.

Girandoni Air Rifle

At the recommendation of President Thomas Jefferson, a Girandoni air rifle was brought along on the 1803 Lewis and Clark expedition. The Indians they met along the way were very impressed with the “smokeless thunder stick” that could fire 20 aimed shots without reloading, each of which was nearly silent and still powerful enough to take large game at reasonable ranges. On top of all that, the Girandoni could be fired almost as fast as the shooter could pull the trigger. 

After this heyday American and European air guns reduced in size and power, once again becoming curiosities used for shooting paper targets, primarily indoors, and generally at short range.

Following World War II, air guns saw another resurgence. Many of the German arms companies, specifically prohibited from manufacturing firearms, turned their ingenuity to air guns instead. In 1984, air guns were added as an official event to the Olympic Games, partially due to the increasingly restrictive firearms regulations in Europe but also because of the ever-increasing accuracy, quality, and popularity of air guns.

This brings us to the current day. Spring and pneumatic air guns of every style, size, and power level abound. Pneumatic guns are also divided between pump and pre-packaged compressed air cartridge styles.

Now, as then, the benefits of the air gun remain the same:

  • Very quiet in operation
  • Reasonably to extremely accurate
  • Economical in comparison to cartridge firearms
  • Nearly immune to weather (though this point is less of an issue when using modern metallic cartridge ammunition)
For dispatching pest (or food) animals quickly and quietly, especially in more urban environments, it's hard to beat a small caliber air gun. In addition to the more common .177 and .22 caliber air guns, there are also larger caliber options available on the market capable of taking big game. 

As an added bonus, air guns are legal to own in nearly every state and city in the USA. I'm less familiar with laws outside this country.

There are even options for the do-it-yourself crowd, with books and guides available for making an air gun at home.

Take a look at what’s out there -- there’s an air gun for everyone.

(Editrix's Note: Air rifles are a popular topic at Blue Collar Prepping. You can find more information on them from several different authors here.)

Friday, October 21, 2022

CPAP Battery Solutions

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
In my last post I talked about wanting to be able to power my CPAP during a sustained power loss of several days. I don't yet have a solution, but enough readers expressed interest in the topic that I thought it might be useful to show the progress of my research. 

Power Requirements
I bought the electricity usage monitor plug I talked about and found the information very useful. For example, even though my CPAP (a Philips Dreamstation 2) is rated at a draw of 80 watts, the actual wattage it draws depends on how much pressure and humidity it provides. In fact, it's the humidifier which is the greatest power hog: with it running at the highest level my CPAP draws about 76W, but with then humidifier turned off that number drops to 25W! 

This information is exactly what I needed to know, because it tells me three things:
  1. How many nights of performance I can get per battery bank (which are typically rated in Watts of storage);
  2. I can triple that number by turning off the humidifier;
  3. I need to research non-powered humidity alternatives, because dry air up my nose really irritates me. 
For those who are wondering "Why not just turn the humidifier down to level 1?", the answer is that doesn't make enough of a difference energy-wise. My CPAP's water reservoir has a metal plate at the bottom which is heated electrically until the water in the reservoir evaporates at the chosen rate. Regardless of whether it's humidity level 1 or level 5, I'm still running what is basically a hot plate, and that is what eats the power. 

The difference between levels is at most 5 watts; that's 40 watts over the span of an 8-hour sleep. Assuming a 600W battery, level 1 will drain about 560 watts over the course of a night, leaving me with insufficient battery for the next night unless I can recharge it in some way. With the humidifier turned off, though, that drops to a draw of 200W per night, which gives me about three full nights of sleep before the battery is drained. This is a much better use rate of battery power. 

DC vs. AC
Speaking of use rate, my research tells me that I will increase my battery's endurance if it comes with a 12V DC port into which I can plug a 12V CPAP power cord

Put simply, the electrical theory goes like this:
  • Electricity comes out of the wall as 120V Alternating Current. 
  • This device runs on 12V Direct Current. 
  • When I plug my CPAP into the wall, there's an adapter between the outlet and appliance which converts 120V AC into 12V DC. 
  • This conversion reduces efficiency because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
  • Normally this isn't a problem because houses have a constant supply of power, but when you're working from a fixed battery, this becomes a problem. 
  • Batteries store and provide power as Direct Current. 
  • It would be dumb to waste DC battery power by converting it to AC via inbuilt inverter, only to then plug an AC to DC adapter into it to convert it right back. 
  • I can skip that wasteful step and power my DC device by plugging a DC plug into a DC port. 

Heat Moisture Exchanger (HME)
Even though I plan to use DC power, I still need a humidity source that isn't an electricity hog. This is where Heat Moisture Exchangers, or HMEs, come in.

HMEs capture the heat and moisture in your exhaled breath, and  then return it to you as you inhale, giving you the benefits of a humidifier without actually using one. They do not draw any power and last for one week of use, which ought to suffice for all but the worst hurricane-caused power losses.

What's more, you can buy them in bulk; Amazon sells them in packs of 10 for $30, which at $3 per HME is quite reasonable in my opinion. 

I am looking forward to testing these, because pre-COVID I used to travel a fair bit giving interviews and presentations for my charity work, and hauling a container of distilled water for the humidifier was an inconvenience that often caused spills. Being able to toss an HME into my bag and skip the water use for a week will make my life that much easier. 

I am still shopping for a battery bank and solar panels, but I have my selection narrowed down and I should be pulling the trigger on it soon. My next post on this topic may not be for a while, but when it comes I will give you my recommendation for batteries and, hopefully, a solar panel to charge them. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Putting the Garden to Bed

Now that mid-October is upon us, most gardeners will be looking to prepare their beds for winter. At this point in time, many areas of the country will have a frost coming soon if it hasn’t already occurred. A hard frost, also called a killing frost, is generally the beginning of the end for outdoor plants for the growing season. 

A light frost means temperatures fall only a few degrees below freezing and just for a few hours. Hardier plants may not be damaged by this, but more delicate ones will. In contrast, a hard or killing frost is when the temperature drops below 28 degrees Fahrenheit for a longer time, such as overnight, which will kill pretty much all perennials and root crops. Some plants, such as garlic, can benefit from a hard frost as I mentioned in a previous post. Most don't, however, so there are some precautions that we should take. 

One of the easiest and most common ways to protect plants from frost is to cover them to help retain heat and moisture. The most frequently used material for this purpose is burlap, though for smaller, low-growing plants a cardboard box can suffice.

Placing covers over the plants at night and removing them during the day, assuming the temperature allows, can extend their productivity slightly. However, eventually most areas will get too cold for this to work; at that point, we can tuck our beds in for their long winter's nap. 

We start by removing any plants still in the ground (especially weeds) and turning the soil. This is also a good time to mix in any natural fertilizers, such as manure or home-made mulch, so they can break down over the winter.

Once the soil is prepared, we cover our raised beds for the winter to keep seeds and debris out and our leaf mulch top cover in. We typically use the same burlap we covered the plants with before we pulled them, but we've also used layered newspaper or sheets of cardboard. Make sure that whatever is used, the edges are weighted down against the wind.

When spring rolls around again, all we have to do is pull off the covers, give the soil a light turn, and start planting.

Good luck, and may your garden sleep well.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Prepper's Armory: Shotgun Chokes and Their Use

Ask, and ye shall receive a discourse on shotgun choke types and uses.

While there are a variety of choke types, I'm going to limit this post to the five most common: Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Improved Modified, and Full. Each of these types has a specific constriction with a predictable effect on shot pattern at different ranges, and therefore best use conditions.

Choke Constriction
The concept of choke in shotgun barrels is quite old and, once understood, is fairly simple. Put plainly, a choke is a tapered constriction near the end of a shotgun barrel which is designed to slightly compress the shot column and delay the spread of pellets. The tighter the choke, the greater the amount of compression (relatively speaking), which provides a corresponding improvement in effective range.
  • Cylinder Bore:               0 inches (no constriction)
  • Improved Cylinder:       0.010"
  • Modified:                       0.020"
  • Improved Modified:      0.025"
  • Full:                               0.030"

Cylinder Bore, which applies no constriction, is best for close range applications such as a home defense shotgun. 

Improved Cylinder is preferred for trap and skeet shooting, though if longer shots are needed, Modified may be a better choice. 

For bird hunting, Modified and Full are the most common options, depending on range.

Choke Ranges
Being able to accurately judge distance is one of the most important factors whether bird hunting or shooting clay pigeons. Most people have a hard time with this, causing them to shoot either ahead of or behind their target. To quote Bruce Bowlen, author of The Orvis Wing-Shooting Handbook:
“My experience as an instructor has led me to believe that most shooters tend to use too much choke rather than too little,” he said. “This is directly related to most folk’s tendency to overestimate range… and is particularly true when the targets are overhead.”
While there are many variables such as pellet size, wad performance, and power, the generally accepted optimal ranges for the different chokes in a 12 gauge shotgun using lead shot are as follows:

  • Cylinder Bore:            0 to 20 yards
  • Improved Cylinder:  20 to 30 yards
  • Modified:                  26 to 42 yards
  • Full:                          30 to 50 yards

Improved Modified choke distances fall somewhere between modified and full.

Lead vs Steel Shot
Even though lead is banned for many types of hunting, it's still the standard used for determining distance. If you are using steel shot, be aware that there is a performance difference between lead and steel  due to relative mass, so it is advised to go up one or two shot sizes when using steel shot to achieve similar performance.

Never use a full choke with steel shot! The excessive constriction can damage the muzzle of the shotgun. In fact, when shooting steel shot you should always use a more open choke than you would with lead in order to widen the pattern. 

Fixed Chokes
Some shotguns come with a fixed choke which cannot be changed short of swapping out barrels. While fixed choke barrels may have marks at the muzzle, it is more likely they will be marked near the breech with the other barrel markings.

Choke markings from top to bottom:
Winchester 1897; Remington Model 11; Mossberg Model 500

Removable Chokes
Many removable choke tubes are identified by the use of notches at the muzzle end, so choke type can be identified quickly and easily.
Removable Choke Markings
  • Cylinder (no choke):     IIIII (5 notches)
  • Improved Cylinder:       IIII (4 notches)
  • Modified:                       III (3 notches)
  • Improved Modified:       II (2 notches)
  • Full:                                I (1 notch)

For easier installation and removal of threaded choke tubes, choke wrenches of various types are available. They range from a simple stamped metal card to fancier crank driven systems.

Hopefully this article has helped you to understand the different chokes and their effects on shot pattern. 

Good luck, and safe shooting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Post-Hurricane Ian Report

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
So it's been a week-plus since Ian hit and things are pretty much back to normal here. This was the first hurricane I've bunkered down for and I found it an excellent learning experience. Before I share with you what I've learned, though, I first need to say something: 

I don't care what the news says, that was a Category 1 hurricane and NOT a tropical storm that hit us. I base this assertion on two factors:
  1. I have lived in Florida since the late 1980s and I've experienced plenty of tropical storms. I have never seen a tropical storm knock out power across entire counties that took days to restore, nor have I seen it knock down trees. Tree limbs, yes; entire trees, no. But I have seen the after-effects of Cat 1 hurricanes which have done exactly that. 
  2. When Ian hit Florida it missed being a Cat 5 by only two miles per hour of windspeed, and it was a Cat 3 (likely a high Cat 3, too) when it made its way to central Florida. I don't know if I have the vocabulary to tell you just how impressively strong that is; most hurricanes rapidly lose strength when they come ashore, but this beast was a Cat 3 at the halfway point. Further, when it finished crossing the peninsula and hit the Atlantic, it didn't take Ian long to be classified as a Cat 1 hurricane, which is also very rare and impressive. 
So I don't care what the media says, Ian was a Cat 1 when it came through my part of Florida. Fortunately, we only had some knocked-down trees and a power loss of about 30 hours; no one in our neighborhood suffered any damage except for losing some roof tiles (which, again, hurricanes do, but not tropical storms).

With that said, I'm going to review what I learned from this experience. 

I get bored very easily without power, especially if I'm also hot. When I don't have air conditioning I basically turn into a sloth, keeping my activity to a minimum in order to stay as cool as possible. Without power, that means either reading or using battery powered electronics to entertain me. Fortunately for me I have all sorts of battery banks for electronics and spare AA and AAA batteries, both rechargeable and alkaline, so this was never a concern for me. 

My back yard gets a lot of good light, suitable for solar panels, from at least 9 am to 5 pm. I was worried that I might have to recharge in the side yard, or worse in the driveway, but no, my secured back yard can handle that. I did have to move the panels a bit over the course of those 8 hours, but it was only a few feet rather than hauling them across the yard. On a related note, I also learned that if you have a lot of devices with panels (such as the ones mentioned in this blog post), set up a card table and put the panels on it. That way, when you need to re-position, you can just move the entire table at once rather than moving each piece individually.

The 'candle' function of my Maglite Minis, which I first thought was laughable, proved to be surprisingly useful. We had plenty of light in the form of lanterns and headlamps, and we used those, but these flashlights were the surprise MVPs in terms of sheer convenience. Headlamps are great for reading and working, but it's annoyingly easy to flash someone else's eyes while using them. Lanterns waste a lot of light by throwing it everywhere; rather than  illuminating an entire room, they instead only lit up a five-foot radius around the lantern sufficiently to read or do tasks. Everything past that was at the level of "We can see where things are, but really need more light for tasks requiring perception and/or fine motor skills, like preparing meals." The Maglite Minis occupied a sweet spot for us: small enough to be easily portable or stowed in pockets, throwing a bright enough spot far enough for most tasks, and easily converted into a mini lantern (i.e. 'candle mode') to light up what we need to see without blinding us. As a bonus, the fact that they use two AA batteries meant that we didn't have to worry about running out any time soon. 

The BioLite CampStove proved its worth. As I mentioned in a previous post, the BioLite isn't a great survival stove but it works like a champ with wood pellets. Instead of firing up the barbecue grill to heat our meals -- which would have taken time to build the fire, making us hotter while we tended to it and leaving us smelling of smoke -- I just lit some wood pellets inside the BioLite and we were ready to eat within five minutes. As a bonus, I was able to recharge my phone as I heated our meal. This was useful as my phone was the only way to stay in touch with loved ones, keep tabs on the storm, and check to see where we were in the repair queue.

I had a secret weapon: a 10,000 mAh battery-powered fan. Just having air blowing over my face makes me more comfortable, even if the rest of me is hot, and this really helped me relax enough to fall asleep. Its Amazon page claims it has enough internal power to run for 6 hours on high, 12 hours on medium, and 24 hours on low. I didn't test those claims because I hooked it up to one those aforementioned battery banks, and it ran for 9 hours on medium without any problems. 

I need a battery solution for my CPAP. Now that I've become used to sleeping with something strapped to my face shooting pressurized air into my lungs, going to bed without it feels awkward and difficult, like I'm trying to perform a complex task without the right tools. Most CPAP batteries are only good for one night, maybe more if I don't use the humidifier which heats a plate to evaporate water inside a reservoir. I think the best solution for me is to get an electricity usage monitor plug to determine how many watts I'm drawing, then find a "solar generator" -- essentially a large power bank with the ability to deliver 12V output and a corresponding solar panel for it -- in the biggest size I can afford. That will give me at least one night of CPAP, possibly more, and the ability to recharge the bank during the day. This will be expensive ("new gun" expensive, if that means anything to you), so I will be doing a lot of research on this before buying anything. 

I am extremely fortunate that the extent of Hurricane Ian's effect on me and my family was inconvenience and minor discomfort. Others weren't so lucky, so if you'd like to make a charitable donation I recommend the Florida Disaster Fund

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Going for Grub(s)

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

Due to circumstances sometimes under my control and other times not, I've been absent from BCP. There are more posts in my notes and if work smooths out, I will be back to contributing regularly. 

Insects as Alternative Foods
The news was recently full of reports on the World Economic Forum supporting the eating of various insect as a way to combat the supposed scarcity of food worldwide. This report is tough reading to get to the important parts, so I'm linking to an earlier article from the WEF on the topic.  

(Full Disclosure: I have eaten cooked/roasted insects and found the taste... not good, but not terrible either. I've eaten things that were much worse. The grasshoppers were sort of nutty, and if you can ignore what they are, not bad. It helps to know the people who are serving, so everything is prepared properly. Beer is also recommended.)

There is an actual UN agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization, that promotes insect harvesting for food and as a cash crop. The selling of potentially crop-damaging pests as a benefit to the local people is something I never thought about.

Here is an article with a definite survival focus that discusses eating insects, especially which ones to look for and those to avoid. 

While insects could maybe, possibly, sort-of supplement diets, I don't see how this will be normalized any time soon in the USAViewed globally, the eating of insects is seen as occurring in Third or Fourth World countries.

However, if a fair examination of different cuisines is made, things aren't that different in First World gourmet menus. For example...
This is the common Garden Snail, which is considered a pest here in the USA. It is an example of an invasive species brought here and allowed to ruin our environment. The snail pictured is the same type of snail native to the Mediterranean region, and is raised as a food source there. 

For those interested, here is the recipe. Enjoy! Or not. You get to decide.

Escargot a la Perigourdine
As you can see, there seems to be a "menu creep" where what once  started out as peasant (i.e. subsistence) food made its way up the food chain and on to expensive plates. That may happen in the future with eating insects, but that will take a lot of time and a lot of work to happen here. 

Recap and Takeaway
  • Besides the fact that multinational organizations and potentially our government want to change how we grow our food and what we eat, insects do have a place in feeding many people in the world.
  • As a normal part of a western diet, insects will not be added any time soon.
  • Knowing which insects can be eaten and those to avoid is important information to learn, especially in a wilderness survival situation.

 * * *

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If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Prepper's Armory: Shotguns

When it comes to firearms, a very good argument can be made that the ubiquitous shotgun is the most versatile of them all. Whether loaded with lead shot for use on smaller birds, small game, or clay pigeons,  steel shot for waterfowl, buckshot for home defense, or slugs for large game, a single shotgun can successfully be used for all these applications.

Shotguns are available in a wide variety of different bore sizes, actions, and configurations depending on their primary intended use, but there can often be considerable overlap between these roles.

Caliber and Gauge

When first learning about shotguns, bore size may be confusing. Other than the diminutive .410, shotgun barrel diameter is defined  by a gauge number. This is calculated by counting the number of lead balls, the diameter of which are the same as the bore of the shotgun, which total one pound. A 12 gauge would need 12 balls of 0.727 inches, whereas a 20 gauge would require twenty balls of 0.617 inches. 

As mentioned above, the exception to this are .410 shotguns, which have a caliber designation. Using the above system, they would be considered just over 67 gauge; conversely, 12 gauge is around .73 caliber.

Patterning Shot

Whether birdshot or buckshot, when using shells loaded with multiple pellets the chosen load needs to be patterned, a method of testing to make sure the density of pellets is sufficient for the purpose intended. This process is well understood and involves shooting at a large target at a specific range, such as a four foot square at 40 yards, then counting pellet hit percentages while keeping an eye out for voids in the pattern. Here are two references on the procedure of patterning a shotgun.

If firing slugs, a shotgun is sighted in using the same techniques as any rifled long gun, though often at a shorter range.

One of the elements that effects pattern is barrel choke, which is a specific restriction at the end of the bore that either allows the pellets to spread immediately or compresses them slightly to delay the dispersal.

There are a variety of chokes available, but the five most common are, from loosest to tightest: cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved-modified and full choke. Most modern shotguns have removable chokes, so they can be changed as needed.

Depending on the intended use of the shotgun, one of these will be optimal, though often one of the adjacent chokes will be acceptable.


A selection of the author's shotguns

There are a number of different operating mechanisms for shotguns, but the three most common are break-open double barreled shotguns  (either "over-under" or side by side), pump, and semi-auto. While popular for a long time, single shot and bolt action shotguns are of less interest to the buying public these days.

In addition to actions, shotguns are also set up for a variety of uses. While there can be considerable overlap between them, there are specific features that benefit certain purposes.

  • Skeet: These will have mid-length barrels (26" is fairly popular) and are often of lighter construction than other shotguns. Double barrel and semi-auto dominate this type.
  • Trap: Shotguns intended for trap will have longer barrels, but are otherwise similar in setup to skeet shotguns. Barrels over 32" aren't uncommon.
  • Hunting, ground: When going for small game such as squirrels or rabbits, shotguns will often have barrels slightly shorter than those used for skeet (24-26") and will usually weigh more being of heavier construction. Pump and semi-auto seem to be most prevalent here.
  • Hunting, waterfowl: Longer barreled (28-30") semi-autos rule the roost (heh) for this use.
  • Defensive: As 18" is the legal minimum without getting into the National Firearms Act of 1934, most shotguns designed for defensive purposes have 18 ½" barrels. They may also have additional "tactical" elements such as attached shell holders, adjustable stocks, slings, barrel heat shields, and even bayonet lugs. The most popular type in this configuration is pump-action.

In the shotgun world, there are many different options in both form and function. As such, there should be something for everyone.

Have fun, and safe shooting.

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

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