Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Trunk Guns

American Rifleman | 9 Field-Tested Trunk Guns:

9 Field-Tested Trunk Guns by B. Gil Horman

 - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Anyone who has spent much time wandering the online shooting forums or reading gun magazines has picked up on some of the less formal firearm categories folks like to talk about, such as BUGs (back-up guns), Kit Guns (small .22 handguns) and Perfect Packin' Pistols (for hiking). A Trunk Gun is a sturdy, reliable, and not-too-expensive firearm that can be kept tucked away in a car or boat for plinking, hunting and, in a pinch, self-defense. Here are a few of the guns I've worked with that make good passengers without breaking the bank. Don't forget to check regulations for legal methods of transporting firearms in your area." (Read more at the link.)

My remarks: This repeat from last year showed up in my email "American Rifleman Insider" today. The author rounded up the usual suspects, and I recommend the article. But there are a few very good trunk  guns that went unmentioned. The single-shot, break action shotgun will do more than most people think if you learn to run it efficiently. Surplus, bolt-action military rifles from the last century (or even a little farther back than that) are extremely durable. They were made to take a beating; use as a trunk gun is easy duty for them. One of the best trunk guns of all is a lever-action carbine in .30-30, for it is light and versatile, and the many examples with no collector value are economical to buy used. You can buy .30-30 ammo throughout the Americas, for it has proven to be a useful hunting and general purpose cartridge for more than a century.

Winchester Model 1894.jpg

Photo credit: By Antique Military Rifles - originally posted to Flickr as Winchester Model 1894, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Update: More trunk gun recommendations in a follow-up article from the same source:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shotgun zones A, B and C.

The shotgun "zones," A, B and C,  describing the shotgun's behavior at varying ranges, are not much emphasized in my practice sessions anymore, because it was always a clumsy teaching. It is easier to tell people that the farther away you are from your target, the more likely you are to pelt the downrange danger zone instead of putting pellets into your target. That is really all the zones have to teach us, and you can demonstrate the same lesson in a few minutes at the range. Here is how the matter was taught, and my critique.

Zone A: Very short range. The pattern has hardly spread. All your pellets will hit the combat silhouette target, for they are hitting en masse.

(Bad assumption. All your pellets can miss the target too--same reason. But, if you are reasonably proficient, it is quite likely that all of the shot charge hits--and the wad as well.)

Zone B The pattern has spread out, but not so widely that you can't still put all your pellets on the target.

(But imperfect aim will mean you hit with some and miss with some. A clearer way of saying it is that you cannot be sure they'll all hit but there's a pretty good chance.)

Zone C: Some pellets are certain to miss because the pattern is now larger than the target.

(You need to be very aware of the downrange danger zone. That is also a splendid idea when firing at the closer  ranges. )

There should have been a Zone D: You are so far away that only by a sheer fluke will you hit your target.

(Buckshot will work for merely suppressive fire at 100 yards or more, but that is because people have a superstitious dread of "the one with your name on it." The odds of connecting are slight.)

Summation of critique: You should ALWAYS scan the downrange area. Be aware that the danger area is wider for a shotgun than for a rifle. But it is not much wider than for a pistol, because people shoot pistols so badly, especially when they are under stress. The shotgun zones were never more than a laborious elaboration of Rule Four.