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Plight of the Lefties 12ga Options

4392 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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Hastings barrels are made by Verney-Carron in France. They have been fine with me quality-wise. I did a search about this firm and they have a long established reputation for sporting arm production. The blueing is beautiful (matches with the Wingmaster finish) and the accuracy been pretty good (3-5" at 100 yds) for a slug gun. To be honest, I haven't tried all of the sabot loads out there yet since they're soooo expensive. Maybe I'll get better groups with more effort. Also, the cantilever is set up for Weaver-style rings. I suggest extra-low rings and a good low power scope made for shotgun recoil (e.g. Leupold, Burris, Weaver, etc.). BTW, Hastings also has a selection of LH regular barrels (24, 26, 28, 30") for the 870. They don't have LH 1100 or 1187 barrels.

Good luck,

I'm a lefty, but would not want a lefty semi auto. It is more convenient for this lefty to load a RH auto than for a right hander. I carry shells on the right side. when loading my left hand holds the gun where it is normally gripped,while putting shells in w/ the right. For hunting this is great since your trigger hand (left) is already in place. It would seem to me to be very awkward to load a left handed gun, unless you held the gun by the forearm in your right hand.
I'm a lefty. I too would rather load while holding the gun with my left hand. It is much easier for me to get back on target quickly.

Look at all the Colt SSA and Ruger Single Action shooters that are right handed. These are really left handed designs. Sam Colt was a lefty.

The only gun I really have a hard time shooting is the traditional percussion muzzle loader with the lock on the right side.

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

what I meant to say and you might not have understood is that I shoot right handed guns, left handed.

I am left eye dominant, and shoot everything left side. My Benelli Nova, Beretta 1201FP and Ithaca are all shot the same.

I like having the port available with a quick inside turn or the left wrist. Powder residue and shell casings bouncing off my skull and right arm has become sort of an agreable experience.

I have found that Remington 870 safety buttons in front of the trigger gaurd work well for leftie, use with trigger finger. Action release buttons can be a problem, my Nova has this issue, but how many times in the field do you use the action release button, hopefully once, at the end of the day.
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...
Hey, the majority of my comments are a55backwards. So, I thank you for your patience.

I would recomend going to a local trap club and renting a couple pump guns and trying them out for fit and feel. I very much recomend the Benelli Nova, they have an excellent Rifled Barrel with scope mount choice or not. I love my Nova 20g. I just acquired a smaller Benelli recoil pad to improve the LOP for me. I hope to improve my shooting scores with it. I usually avg 21 on the trap range with it. I hope to go up a hit or two. The large port makes is so easy to load shells, especially with gloves on. It is light weight, sling can be attached quickly if needed. I use a sling when grouse hunting because of the long, treacherous hikes in the mountains trying to find my dogs. It comes apart so simply it is somewhat unnerving. But it does make it simple to clean. I plan on getting the 18" Tactical model for HD sometime soon.
Problems with the Nova, Benelli is shipping them as fast as they come in from Italy, there are very little spare parts yet. dont need them, but they are hard to find if you do, and they can be expensive to get plus the accesories. The mag tube 2 round extension can run $70, unecessary in my mind. If I cant solve whatever issue I have with 4+1 rounds of shot, well thats why J. Browing invented the Colt 1911.

Here is a used rifled Nova... ... m=12574089

and a new one .. ... m=12269501

M1 are great choices ... and about the same cost as a LH 1100
Email this guy ... Get his price. ... m=12620607
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sorry, that last comment was from me ...axeman.
After having shot right-handed flintlock muzzleloaders as a left hander, all I can say is, the right-handed semi-auto is a piece of cake.

It's not like the spent shells come out and hit you in the face, or even cross your line of vision. I have a Browning Gold and I don't even notice the shells coming out. In fact I have been more bothered by OTHER people's shells hitting me than any problems from my own gun.

That said, as a lefty/partially ambidextrous person I have had to learn to live in the right handed world all my life. I'm ambidextrous because I've had to be (right handed scissors, guns, etc. are just readily available, where lefties are not). I can break and load a right handed O/U faster than most right handers can. I can operate my Gold without a hitch. It's an adjustment to the normal way of doing things, but as a left-hander I've learned to create my own efficient ways that look weird to other people, but they work for me.

The only gun I cannot abide in a right handed version is a Bolt Action rifle where the bolt handle is on the right side and I have to cross my arm over the gun to operate it. Fortunately, bolt action guns in left hand seem to be quite a bit more common than other types.

Now you want problems? Try being a lefty, AND a woman, and then just go out and attempt to find sporting gear that fits you in THAT combination.

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Lefty, i had the same thoughts as you about what gun to buy. I wanted 1 shotgun with an interchangeable rifled barrel. I decided i wanted a 11-87 for birding, but I hunt a state with shotgun/blackpowder only for deer, so wanted a rifled for sabot slug. After finding out how much the extra barrel would cost, I decided that the H&R ultra slug would run me about the same. That way I had a dedicated slug gun. My initial concern was I wanted a follow-up shot for my slug, but in all honesty, do you need it with 1 clean hit? Not with a slug, and where I deer hunt 1 shot is all you'll get anyway. The H&R is a great gun, very acurate and reliable. Get 2 guns, that's what I sugest..Oh, by the way, I'm a lefty too, I've just learned to adapt to regular, righty guns. Pistol grips are the only exception, on rifles, even auto's I don't have a problem..good luck on your quest!
Remington made a fair number of Wingmaster 870s in the 1970's and 80's, and plenty are available on the surplus market...although often at inflated prices. Several are on offer at now.
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