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Plight of the Lefties 12ga Options

4394 Views 30 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Anonymous
I currently own an Ithaca Deerslayer 37 (2 3/4'' smoothbore) which I have had for 18 years (only shotgun). I love my gun... but for the last few years, I have been thinking of making a change. I am interested primarily in getting a fully rifled barrel and scope (preferably cantilever) for deer hunting. I am also contemplating going a different route and getting my first autoloader. The problem is.. I am left hand, left eye dominant. Not that this in itself is a problem... but based on the last few weeks of research.. it is quite evident that the lefties are left high & dry from almost all gun manufacturers out there. The company that deserves the most praise in this area are Benelli who gives us lefties three great choices (but at a very high price tag). Of course Ithaca and Browning pumps work for left or right... but there is no such thing as an bottom ejecting autoloader shotgun.

From what I can tell, these are ALL the 12ga options available to lefties:

Ithaca Deerslayer
Ithaca Deerslayer II
Remington 870 Express
Browning BPS (Cantilever Game, Hunter, Micro, Stalker)

Remmington 11-87
Benelli Super Black Eagle
Benelli M1 Field
Benelli Montefeltro

Berretta - nope (though you can change the cast and safety of the 391)
Mossberg - nope
Winchester - nope
Weatherby - nope
Savage - don't think so

This leaves out a number of well regarded shotguns such as:
Benelli Nova
Remington 870 Wingmaster
Remington 870 Special Purpose
Mossberg 500
Mossberg 835
Winchester 1300

Remington 1100
Remington 11-87 Special Purpose
Remington SP-10 Magnum
Beretta 391
Browning Gold
Winchester Super X2
Wetherby SAS

How very sad.

Well, rather than turn this into a rant, I would like to pose a number of questions that I have come up with. I have tried asking various dealers but nobody seems to know the answers. I have also emailed manufacturers (Ithaca & Remington) but they haven't responded yet.

I find your site very useful... and have read a number of old posts that have been very beneficial. I would like to pick your brains for any additional information you might have regarding the plight of the left hander. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide!

- Did I miss any left hand 12ga shotguns that are worth checking out?

- I am trying to see if I can get the Ithaca Fully Rifled Cantilever barrel (S/N 371882185). The reason I don't think I can.. is because my 37 is chambered for 2 3/4'' and the barrel is for 3''. Does this make a difference? Does it affect performance in any way?

- How does the Deerslayer II compare to the original Deerslayer?

- How cheap is the 870 Express vs the Wingmaster? I would rather get the Wingmaster (of the two) but it is not offered. What differences are there between the two?

- Does Remington offer a fully-rifled cantilever barrel for the 11-87 or 870? From the looks of things, they do not. Here is what their site specifies:
29615* Premier Deer Barrel Fully Rifled Cantilever 12 21" CL Fully Rifled $308
29606* Premier Fully Rifled Deer Barrel w/ Rifle Sights 12 21" RS Fully Rifled $259
29623* Premier Deer Barrel w/ Rifle Sights 12 21"RS Rem Choke¹ $200
29625* Premier Left-Hand Deer Barrel w/ Rifle Sights 12 21" RS Rem Choke¹ $221

24611 Express Deer Barrel Fully Rifled w/ Rifle Sights 12 20" RS Fully Rifled $187
24622 Express Deer Barrel w/ Rifle Sights 12 20" RS Imp. Cyl. $126
24547 Wingmaster Left-Hand Deer Barrel w/ Rifle Sights 12 20" RS Rem Choke $219

- why would the 29625 LH be different from the 29623 unless they are NOT interchangeable? If they are not interchangeable, does that mean that the 29615 would not work for a left hand 11-87? Same goes for the 870: why would it list one as left handed unless they were NOT interchangeable??
- Why would the Wingmaster be listed with a Left Hand barrel when only the Express comes in Left Hand?
- No Cantilever avail for the 870

- Is there any after market barrels that would fit my need (ie Hastings)?

- Does Benelli make a fully rifled barrel for their left hand guns?

- Are Rifled sites removable if you want to add a scope?

- Remington states that if you go below 26'' (I believe) you will no longer be using the pressure-compensating gas system (without modification). I have tried to find out what modification is necessary.. but have been unable to find anything. What modifications are required and how much does it cost? What is the drawback to not using the PCGS?

- What is the difference between Light contour and Standard Contour? Is one better than the other?

- Every manufacturer seems to use a different Rate of Twist. What amount of twist is best?

ok, just a little rant:

- When will Remington step up to the plate and make a left hand 870 Wingmaster?

- When will Browning step up to the plate and make a left hand Gold?

- When will Beretta step up to the plate and make a left hand 391?

- When will Benelli take that one last step to make a left hand Nova

- When will Ithaca drop their old traditions and come out with an auto-loader (LH & RH)?

- When will they all step up to the plate and make a fully rifled cantilever barrel for ALL their guns?

Sorry for the long post. I have been lurking here for a while trying to gather all the information I can. These should probably all go in separate threads.. but I thought it would be worse to have a newbie post 20 threads his first time out.
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Anonymous said:
get a benelli
Can you elaborate? Which Benelli? and why? I know they are great guns, but are they that much better for an extra grand? Do you use it with sabot slugs (rifled barrel, smoothbore, rifled choke)? Have you compared them against all the others.. or are you saying this because you have a Benelli and love it?

Also- I am unable to find any information on extra barrels for the Benelli. My guess is.. they do not make any rifled barrels (cantilever or rifle sight) and you have to use a choke. Therefore, there is no fully rifled barrel for a Benelli. Is this true? Do you have any information on this?
jlptexashunter said:
I came across this site during my search.. and thought it was intersting. I had never heard of it.... and I am glad there is something else out there. I am however, pretty much set on either a pump or autoloader. It is something to consider down the road if I become a gun 'accumulator' (as defined in a different thread)... but for now, I am not ready for a single shot.
Anonymous said:
Franchi Alcione(sp??) O/U comes in a lefty version.

Left handed here too---but shoot right handed---guess you could call me ambi----more than right or left handed.
Something to consider in the future.. but not just yet. Thanks for the tip though...

As for me, I bat and golf right handed... but everything else is southpaw.
Dale - Thanks for touching on many of my questions! I can't say that the answers make me a happy man... but thanks for the info.

Dalee100 said:
Hey Lefty, I understand, being a southpaw myself. But I don't think anybody on that list is going to add any lefty versions any time soon. We are a niche market. Not enough of us to justify the added expense of the tooling to make something for us.
I agree that we are a niche market.. but I think almost all categories (especially related to hunting/guns/etc) cater to a niche category. Most of these companies rely on designs made 50-100 years ago. There are probably only a handful of parts that need to be 'reversed' to accomodate a left hand model... which with computers could be done with the touch of a button. I don't think it would be that much additional effort to change a die one or twice a year for a lefty production run. I agree that it would not be the most profitable niche.. but I think there are more lefties out there than they give us credit for.

That 3" barrel for your DeerSlayer won't fit. The recivers are different sizes. The 3" (or magnum) reciever is longer.
I could see how width (or diameter) would fit into the equation.. but how does length? I would think length would be irrelevant as a longer barrel would just extend further from the receiver?

I don't know much about the DeerSlayer 2. But I would think it is as good as the original.
Here are the specs from their website: ... yer2.shtml ... ayer.shtml

The differences I notice are (II vs I):
- fixed, free-floating rifled barrel (1" in 34 twist) vs Interchangeable, slug, vent rib, turkey
- non-engraved vs engraved
- Length of Pull: 14 1/8" vs 14''
- Drop at Comb: 1 3/8" by 1 3/8" vs 1 1/2"
- Drop at Heel: 2 1/8" vs 2 1/4"
- Stock Type: Walnut Monte Carlo vs Walnut
- Total Weight: not a valid comparison

The 870 Express won't match the WingMaster for fit, finish, or wood, but is still as good a functioning gun as the WingMaster.
Yes, the wood and finish lack the higher quality of the Wingmaster. I wonder if these are interchangable and can be purchased separately. Are they contoured differently for a right vs left hander? What is the difference in fit? Are the dimensions different?

A lefty barrel is different from a righty because the barrel extention, (the part that fits into the reciever) is on the opposite side. The parts are "mirrored". Hence the need for completely different tooling to make them. So you would need a left-hand barrel.
I still don't understand why? Why can't a barrel be put on the same way for either gun? What piece gets in the way causing it to have to go on one way or the other? If they put their notch on both sides of the barrel.. this seems that it would solve the problem. Is this the piece that attaches to the top of the magazine cap that is causing the problem? If anybody has pictures of the two barrels side by side.. I would love to see them. Such a simple design and they couldn't make it interchangable.

I'm personally unaware of any aftermarket barrels made as you want. Again, there just aren't enough of us to warrent it. Hopefully, someone else might know of one.
This amazes me. I would think Hastings would jump at the chance. Zero competition. They would own the market! If only I won the lottery...

A light contour vs. Standard, neither is better until you figure out how many miles you intend to carry it in a day. And again, barrels won't be interchangable. For slugs I would stick with the standard. It should be a bit heavier for recoil absorbtion and a little more ridged for accuracy with slugs.
So is a light contour have thinner walls (therefore lighter) than the standard countour? Are they made that way for a particular purpose (for light loads) or just to save money by not using as much raw material?

What rate of twist? Well that depends. What ammo will you want to use? Rule of thumb is the longer the projectile the faster the twist needed. So for the faster twist, those guns are going to probably work better with sabots vs. more tradtional designs.
It would be interesting to see an article that compares the rate of twist and charts the performance gain or loss. Your point on longer projectiles makes a logical point.. but I'm sure there is a breakpoint somewhere where performance is at its highest point after which it will start to decrease. I am sure each company did their own R&D comparisons when coming out with their rifled barrel. It is interesting that they all came out with different numbers. Perhaps the first one was able to patent a particular ROT and others had to make it slightly different in order to avoid lawsuits...?

jlptexashunter has an excellent suggestion. That H&R is a very good deer gun! If I still deer hunted with a shotgun (I'm strictly muzzleloader now) that would be the gun for me! I've looked a several and shot one. Well made, inexpensive, and a tack driver to boot! I think you'd have to buy a Tar-Hunt bolt action to surpass the accuracy of that H&R.
This doesn't really fit into my criteria of a pump or autoloader.. but it is something that I would certainly like to try. I haven't noticed them in any of my local shops.. but I will keep an eye out in the future.
sorry- forgot to log in last time (and don't have the login feature set)...

fyi- this is the response I got back from Reminton:

"Thank you for your inquiry. The right and left hand barrels are not interchangable. The only difference between 29623 and 29625 is that 29623 is right hand and 29625 is left hand. Unfortunately, we do not offer a fully rifled barrel for the left hand model.

Unfortunately, there is not a fully rifled barrel offered for the 20 gauge. We have received several suggestions similar to yours and appreciate you taking the time to write in. We routinely forward all suggestions to our marketing departments for review. Consumer feedback allows us to understand consumer perception of our products. The greater the number of suggestions for a particular issue, the greater the likelihood of implementing the suggestion."

note: I confirmed that the reference to 20 ***** was a mistake.. but the answer applies to both 12 and 20 *****

this reminds me of a political campaign... but get out there and vote! Even if you don't plan on buying one in the future (even if you are right handed).. your email might help the sport along. I'm sure somebody you know is a lefty and could benefit from your actions... all the sites I went to (ie Remington, Ithaca etc) had simple web forms or email hyperlinks that make it so easy.

just my 2c
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jlptexashunter said:
Hastings make a fully rifled LH Model 870 Scope Mount Barrel.

1377H40 M-870LH, 2 3/4" & 3", 24", Scope Mount
Hmmm.. you are right. I am suprised I didn't catch that one. I guess because I was leaning more for an auto (11-87) or still hoping that I could get Ithaca's rifled barrel.

Speaking of the rifled barrel for my Ithaca.. they have 2 Hastings barrels listed for the 37 as well:

810H40 M-37 24'' 2 3/4'' Scope Mount
1376H40 M-37 24'' 2 3/4'' Scope Mount w/CSD

These are definite possiblities (sounds like it will fit my gun). How is the CSD feature?

Not Cheap though... and I only came across 2 avail on the web searching via item number (CSD version)

$320 @ Gander Mountain ... arrels.asp
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jimmy p said:
Hastings does make left handed barrels for Remington shotguns (at least for Remington 870s). I bought a rifled one with a cantilever mount for slugs.
How is the quality of Hastings barrels? I see they are made in France via a different company and just imported by Hastings. Is the quality above or below that of certain manufacturers?

Have you tried a barrel with CSD? Is it a useful feature?
Ithaca never responded to my email.. so I decided to give them a call. Here is some of the info I found out:

- They are just starting to come out with a number of rifled barrels with the cantilever mount (3'' AND 2 3/4''). It will fit my gun (based on S/N) and can be ordered from them for $250 (YEAH!). They can't guarantee it will be shipped by Nov though as they are currently trying to fill orders for distributors/retailers. They suggesting contacting them first (ie Gander Mtn) and see if they have one before placing an order with them. The are filling their orders before they ship to individuals.

- The Deerslayer III is a special order gun (from them). It can be ordered for $900.

- They do not make any left hand barrels for other manufactuer's guns (ie Remington, Benelli). They do make right hand barrels though.

- Ithaca guns are neutral cast by design
axeman said:
what I meant to say and you might not have understood is that I shoot right handed guns, left handed.
I was understanding you... just wanted to know more specifics like what you mention (ie if the shells actually hit you etc).

[I just reread my thread.. and my comments were a bit backasswards... thanks for the clarification]

Interesting point with the loading. I think that would be easier to load a right hand gun using the left hand to hold the gun (as you, Gunnut & Equismith mention). That is one advantage...
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