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deer hunting with shotguns

4873 Views 21 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Anonymous
My 14 year old son hunts squirrel. He has a New England Firearms 410. He wants a deer rifle. We live in the mountains of Tennessee with very little chance for a long shot. He is looking to get a 12 ga. shotgun. What would be the best shotgun for hunting squirrels and shooting slugs. What barrel type. I like the safety features of the New England Firearm shotguns.Any help you can give me would be appreciatedT. Prince
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for a good starting gun I think the Mossberg 500 combos the best value. I just bought one for my wife and she loves it. It comes with a 26" VR ported barrel and 3screw in chokes. the combo also comes with a ported rifled slug barrel. I picked it up for $259 at a local Wal-mart. Just a mossberg 500 is 189 or 199. for his first Shotgun it would be the best. even if he does not continue the money lost is min.hope it helps,
I agree with Mr John Here. Though not knowing your son, and how much you have to spend the Mossberg 500 is a good way to go. You can even find some used 500's at a much lower price. I shot deer for years in Ohio with just smoothbore and a bead sight and brought home 2-5 a year that way. Just keep your shots 50-75 yard range. Also, Mossberg sells rifled choke tubes ($18) for the 500 so you will not have to buy the Rifled barrel if you do not want to. (You can put True glow sites on the smoothbore. $30) Athough the rifled barrel gives you better accuracy. The saftey on the tang of the mossbergs is another plus in IMHO. It will keep an inexperienced hunter from having to hunt for the saftey in the trigger housing with thick gloves on, is sometimes very frustrating. Especialy when you get buck fever!! I lost a turkey that way one time, having to move my head to look for it, and that sharp eyed turkey was GONE! Use 2/ 3/4 shells somewhat less kick than the larger shells, don't know how well your son takes the recoil.If you have some $ to spend just go ahead and get him an rem 11-87 combo. Fine/smooth shooting shotgun. You can get all the accesseies you will ever need for the 11-87 real easy and cheap. The 11-87's come in many different configurations from 2 3/4- 3"-3 1/2. Plus it will last him a lifetime, and can go through all the different hunting seasons with this one gun. Try finding parts and accessories for other (foreign) shotguns.Last, I started with a single shot brake open shotgun as a kid. You can get these for $90 at wally world. Cheaper used. I still used it to this day! I hope this helps. John
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IF the single shots are still made as they were several years ago I think they could be a very dangerous shotgun in young hands....there is no safety, just the hammer. If the hammer is dropped with a finger in the trigger guard it could get real bad real quick as those hammers have a stiff spring.As mentioned the Mossberg500 has a lot of options for not a lot of money, as would a Rem 870 youth model, it is a 20 gauge, but I can garuantee that a 20gauge slug is fully capable of taking deer and hogs.It was mentioned in one of the sporting clays mags about cutting the stock down and either buying a full size stock to replace it when the youngster grows into it or hang on to the peices to add back as he grows. There is a fine line between a hobby and insanity.
We're never going to agree on this point are we Rick?"IF the single shots are still made as they were several years ago I think they could be a very dangerous shotgun in young hands....there is no safety, just the hammer. If the hammer is dropped with a finger in the trigger guard it could get real bad real quick as those hammers have a stiff spring."I say it's the difficulty in dropping the hammers that make it safer than a standard 'push button' type safety. Plus, it's much easier to look over at the gun and see if it's 'live'. Jay
The first gun I shot was a 12 gauge single shot with the exposed hammer. The gun was never unsafe, because I was never unsafe. That is the key, nobody's finger should be in the trigger guard untill you aim. Learn safe, Practice safe, Hunt safe and shoot safe. An exposed hammer is perfectly safe if you are safe. Let the dog hunt the birds, ... you hunt the dog.Edited by: GordonSetter at: 1/30/03 10:51:01 am
What state do you live in because i just got a mossberg 500 at wal-mart for $159. and i live in AZ... Thanks..Patrick
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i won a 12 gauge 3 1/2 mag super x2
i really love using this gun for deer it is a complete semi auto i bag 2 big 8 points with it :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x :x
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Rick618, The new singleshots that I've looked at (NEF), use a transfer bar system. The trigger must be pulled all the way back to move the transfer bar into position to fire the gun. That's about as safe as anything.

I do tend to agree with you about the older hammer singles. They can be a problem IF you haven't been properly taught and grounded in firearms safety (which you should be before being in the field with a loaded gun).

..and then God created Pheasants. Seeing that they ran like the dickens and refused to hold, God said man needs beagles to chase these rascals! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
Here come the trolls :roll:

Check out the link below.

NEF (New England Firearms) has a barrel exchange program and can fit an extra 20 gauge slug "Tracker" barrel to your son's single-shot shotgun, for approximately $60 plus S&H. Your son's gun is most likely a an SB-1 type single-shotgun, and with NEF's barrel exchange program can be up-graded to anything larger than a .410, except 10 gauge.

Two conditions you need to keep in mind when taking advantage of the barrel exchange program are that the SB-1 action CANNOT be fitted with rifle-caliber barrels, and you will have to send your son's receiver to the factory to be hand-fitted.

I realize an 14-YO boy may not be as big as his dad yet, but if your son can handle the recoil of a 20 gauge slug, you might look at that route. I don't have a youngster of my own to take hunting, but I started with a single-shot .410 myself, and if your boy was properly taught to shoot his gun with another barrel (probably with open-sights, although NEF makes barrel that can also be scoped) if he's patient the 20 gauge will easily take a deer at most ranges.

NEF Barrel Accessory Program
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I agree with Cougar on this one...Call H&R/NEF, give them the serial number off the side of the .410 and they will be able to tell you what barrels can be fitted to it is any at all.

If the gun was manufactured after 1987 with a serial number beginning with N or H they will fit barrels to it. I would recommend the 20 Tracker II barrel if you want open sites and the 20GA Ultra Slugger barrel is you want to use a scope. The Tracker II barrel is lighter than the Ultra Slug because the US is a bull barrel. Both are fully rifled and will reach out to 100 yards and beyond.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

I also recommend that you visit H&R 1871's web site at and go to the Barrel Accessory Program Page and check things out.
go with the nef barrel or a new nef ultra 20 slug hunter. i have one in 20 ga. and love it.!!!!!!!!!!.these can be bought for under 300$.or you can get a tracker11 made by nef for under 200$.the maine differance is you cant put a scope on the tracker11,but if shots are under 125yds go for it!!!!!!!!!!. you can get a ultra 20 ga. barrel for the .410 he has now for 90$ plus 10$ for s/h. go with the nef and you wont be sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One other answer (and the cheapest and best) is to order/buy a 20 gauge modified barrel from H&R for his .410. a youth model in 22" or a 26" standard model 20 gauge barrel. It will have a bead sight and will shoot inexpensive foster style slugs great and accurate out to 40-50 yards with the bead sight or have the chamber area drilled and tapped for a H&R scope rail. No problem with a 20, plenty of steel to drill into. Barrel $39.00, scope rail w/hammer extension $18.00, return shipping $5.00, a better deal could not be found anywhere. If you get the Tracker II barrel you will probably want to shoot sabot slugs which are much more expensive than the foster style, nice but the barrel is more money and so are the slugs. The way to go is to save money, have fun, and shoot deer...<><.... :D (Of course you could look around for a used 20 Gauge H&R Topper, Model 158 or Pardner, cut the choke off (only needed if it is a full choke, mod shoots slugs fine) and set it up for foster slugs, you might be able to find a used one for about $50-$65...)
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If its legal in your state then the 410 is a fine short range slug gun.

I used my Winchester 9410 for deer season last year and it worked great. Please see this link for my full story about deer hunting with a 410.

Generally, any American pump 12 gauge shotgun will work for both deer and squirrels. Get a combo with both a shot barrel and a rifled barrel and you should be all set. -Matt Latham
Many parents and hunter safety instructors use the NEF single shot as a first gun or training tool. The only problem I see is the new shooter is seldom, if ever, taught how to return a cocked and loaded gun to a safe hammer down position. The reason this is avoided has to do with the hand size and strength of the young shooter. It is indeed hard for most youngsters to control the hammer while pulling and then releasing the trigger to lower the hammer.

The NEF system has an interlock that prevents the action from opening while the hammer is cocked. The older single shotguns (ie. Savage/Stevens Mdl. 94, 95, Winchester Mdl. 37, etc.) had no such interlock. The action could be opened with the hammer cocked. Thus, the youngster could simply open the gun and lower the hammer in complete safety. Of course the gun could also be fired with the action unlocked if you held the action lever open and pulled the trigger! This is why the current NEF guns have an interlock system.

Rossi gets around this by adding a safety lever that puts a block in front of the hammer. One still has to lower the hammer manually as this system is not a hammer drop safety and does not appear to be designed to take a continual pounding.

Moral of the story: Teach your youngster to lower the hammer on a live round (or primed case) to make the gun safe. If this gives you the jitters, teach with another gun.

Rick 618, is this what you were trying to convey?

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I dont think the safety is an issue as long as u are taught proper gun handling as a youngster I mean come on guys isnt it one of the firearms 10 commandments to never trust a safety? when I was little I learned to shoot using an old .410 w/ a suicide safety and never had any trouble and never worried about it because I was taught proper gun handling

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