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CHOOSING A DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUN.

1. How to Distinguish Between a Good and a Bad Double Barrel Gun?

2. Which should one choose - Light or Heavy Double Barrel Gun?

3. Which is preferable - Ejector or Non-Ejector Double Barrel Gun?

4. Defects in a Double Barrel Gun?

5. What is a Pattern of a Gun?

6. What is the Range of a Gun?

7. What is the Difference Between a Cylinder and a Choke Barrel?

8. Which Guns for Defense and which for Sports?

9. Why Prices vary for the same Brand Guns?

10.What are the Different Types of Cartridges?

11. How to Shoot Straight?

12. In Which Circumstances can a Shotgun be Used?


1. HOW TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN A GOOD AND A BAD DOUBLE BARREL GUN

The difference between a good gun and a bad one can be narrowed down to two general criteria; a) material used in its manufacture and b) the quality of workmanship:

Material used: A gun is made up of three major assemblies which are taken apart while dismantling, 1) The Body 2) The Barrel & 3) The Hand Guard.

Metal used: The Body and the handguard parts are made from mild steel. Barrels are mostly made from Mild Steel with a few using EN-9 or EN-19 steel. One manufacturer of Mandi (H.P) reportedly uses High Carbon High Chromium Steel.

How to distinguish between the steel used: The material used for barrel making throughout the world is EN-19. The manufacturer which use EN-9, EN-19 or any alloy steel for barrel making display prominently by way of permanently engraving on the barrel the type of steel used. Most of the manufacturers who produce cheap guns generally use mild steel. The internal mechanism of all the guns is of mild steel except that of the guns produced by the Indian Ordnance Factories, the production of which has been discontinued.

Some "Case Harden" the moving parts resulting in a non-breaking tough core and a hard external surface which does not wear easily even by repeated use. One can easily find out if the metal used for internal mechanism is of hard or soft material by dry firing the weapon and listening to the tone of the sound. Soft material will produce dull sound and hard material will produce high pitched shrill sound.

Wood used: Walnut, Assam Teak and Shesham are the preferred choice for wood used in stock making. All the manufacturers in Jammu use walnut (Being easily available), those in Monghyr you Assam teak except a few who use walnut and the manufacturers in other parts of the country mostly use shesham wood.

Workmanship: Every gun manufacturer will claim to produce guns with superior workmanship. The only method to judge is by

Physical examination: a) Metal Finish: There are two types of metal finishes prevalent in India. One is the cold rusting process and the other hot caustic bluing. In the cold rusting process the gun takes a dull sheen with a very durable surface whereas in the hot caustic bluing the metal takes a very shinny look, which wears out comparatively quickly. The colouring is chosen as per individual choice and has no bearing on the working mechanism of the gun.

b) Visual Examination for accuracy in fitting: Particular attention should be paid to check out the following:

 

Fig. 1(a)

Fig 1(b)

 

There should not be any gap between the barrel, the body and the hand guard in a fully assembled gun. In other words the metal to metal and metal to wood fit should be tight and snug as seen in Fig. 1 (a). When the barrel, the body and the hand guard are separated the surface on the under side of all these parts should be smooth with no rough marks. Improper fitting is seen in Fig. 1(b).

Fig 2

The fitment of the working parts of the gun can be reasonably ascertained by checking the seating of the barrel on the body. The Hand Guard is removed from the Shotgun. It is then opened by pushing the top lever till it just disengages the slide (this is the piece which holds the barrel in place). Any further opening the gun the top lever will fall back in its place. Pressure is applied to the barrels in the sideways direction while holding the butt firmly to see if there is any movement, as seen in Fig. 2.. The better gun will have less sideways movement in half open condition. Excess movement results in loosening the barrel from the body after a few cartridges are fired and consequently more recoil is encountered.

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2. WHICH SHOULD ONE CHOOSE -LIGHT OR HEAVY DOUBLE BARREL GUN


Fig. 3

The weight of all guns made in India vary from 3.75 kg. to 4.5 kg. A light gun is definitely preferable due to ease of carrying and using it. But, this criteria should not be solely kept in mind while purchasing a locally produced gun. All the Indian guns are proof tested by the Indian Ordnance Factory before being released in the market. The Ordnance Factory fires a charge equivalent to three times the power of normal cartridge and then certifies it. Sometimes the practice is not meticulously followed and in many other cases the manufacturers lightens the barrels by scrapping off the metal after it has proof tested (as shown in adjoining Fig. 3) Because of this the gun becomes light and often dangerous. A heavy charge when fired may injure the shooter himself. Barrels made of EN-9, EN-19 can withstand heavier charge as compared to mild steel barrels of same thickness, so these should be preferred.

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3. WHICH IS PREFERABLE -EJECTOR OR NON-EJECTOR DOUBLE BARREL GUN

When we describe the gun as a selective ejector, it means, on opening the gun, only that cartridge will eject and fall to the ground which has been fired and the other, if not fired will remain in the chamber, extracted by about 0.5” for easy removal by hand, if required. When the cartridge has to be manually lifted from the chamber after firing, it is called a Non- Ejector Gun. The selective ejector is much preferred but should not have the following drawbacks which makes it less attractive:-.

1.Loading and unloading the gun should not be difficult. If we place two spent cartridges in the chamber and open the gun after pulling both the triggers, opening the gun should not be difficult. Similarly closing of the gun should not be difficult. In some ejector guns opening of the gun is difficult and in some closing is difficult and still in others both the opening and closing the gun is difficult.

Fig. 4 (a)
2. Retrieving a live cartridge should be trouble free. If we place two live cartridges in both the chambers and close the gun, then, there should not be any problem in extracting them as seen in Fig. 4 (a). In some ejector guns the extractor does not bring the live cartridge sufficiently outwards on opening the barrel that it becomes a problem in removing them from the chamber except by way of tilting the gun and letting the cartridges slide out as seen in Fig. 4 (b). If, however, the cartridge is slightly moist and has expanded then it can only be extracted by a long rod pushed from the muzzle end of the gun.
Fig. 4 (b)

3. Repair of the ejector is time consuming and very costly. When the ejector has become defective the cartridge becomes struck inside the chamber and can only be ejected with the help of a rod put in the barrel from the muzzle end. The ejector strips in a double barrel gun are very thin and the material used is mostly Mild Steel, which is soft and easily wears out.

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4. DEFECTS IN A DOUBLE BARREL GUN

  The most common problems encountered are
  1. Misfire
  2. Non extraction of cartridge
  3. Accidental discharge of live cartridge.

1.Misfire:  The firing pin should strike at the center of the cartridge. Spring tension should not be checked by striking coins and making them jump in air. Misfire because of low spring tension can be reasonably ascertained by striking the firing pin in a hard wood and checking the depth of penetration. The gun after purchasing, should be fired with loaded live cartridges to check the readiness of the gun. This is because Indian guns are not test fired with live cartridges at the factory premises before dispatch.

2.Non ejection of cartridge (Specially in an ejector gun: Firstly, one dummy cartridge entered in one barrel and the gun is closed, then the gun is opened to see if the cartridge extracts easily. Then the process is repeated with the second barrel, then two dummy cartridges are placed simultaneously in both the barrels and the process repeated to check that cartridge does not get struck inside the barrels. The entire process is repeated again but this time each trigger is fired before ejection of the cartridge. This process should be meticulously followed as there are many defects in new guns.

3.Accidental discharge of live rounds: When we open the gun to place the cartridge in the chamber, the gun automatically gets loaded. There are three functional parts trigger, hammer, and sear. When the gun is loaded, the hammer has displaced from its original position and is locked in the new position by sear. By pulling the trigger, the sear gets disengaged from the hammer. The hammer by spring action falls back to its original position thereby firing the cartridge placed in the chamber. To check that it does not fire accidentally, the gun is loaded slowly (as slow as possible) to see if both the sears load simultaneously. Each sear will load with a click sound. Both the sounds should be simultaneous. If a person suddenly closes the gun after placing the cartridges in both the barrels when only one click sound is heard, then there is a possibility that it may fire the moment the gun is closed. This is because only one sear has engaged the trigger where as the other sear is free and on suddenly closing the gun the sear which has not engaged the trigger falls back in its place thereby firing the cartridge. Also the sounds should be loud and clear which shows that the sears have engaged firmly. If the sound is feeble and muffled it means the trigger has not engaged properly and the gun may discharge on minor jerks.

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5. WHAT IS A PATTERN OF A GUN

 
The distribution and spread, around a targeted region, of pellets from a shotgun is called its pattern. Generally, the patterning of a gun is measured in an area of 30 square inches because the shooter is expected to hit the target in this area. The patterning of a gun at 30, 35, 40, 45 meters etc. is represented by the percentage of shots hitting at a target of 30 square inches.

Range (yards)

True Cylinder %

Improved Cylinder %

Half Choke %

Full Choke %

30

60

72

83

95

35

49

61

71

82

40

40

50

60

70

45

33

42

50

60

50

26

33

40

48

55

21

27

32

39

60

17

22

26

32

The above table shows the percent of total pellets in the thirty-inch circle for four different choke borings of barrels at the range indicated

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6. WHAT IS THE RANGE OF A GUN


As a layman when we say “range of a gun”, we mean that the effective distance at which the gun hits a target. There may be many reasons for not hitting the target like, 1) The shots have dispersed too much, the bird being small escapes being hit 2) The shots have not uniformly distributed, there being clusters of shots in a small area 3) The effective strength of the shots have decreased thereby not harming the bird.

The specifications of the cartridges produced by Indian Ordnance factories is that it propels the lead shots in 16 inches of the barrel, thereafter the gun powder does not contribute to the thrust of the lead shots. This is because the major portion of the gunpowder has already been burnt and its speed becomes less than the speed of the shots. The shots are further controlled only by the barrel. In a short barrel they start spreading earlier. It means that the percentage of pellets hitting a target  with the same type of cartridge with a short barrel gun will be less than that with the long barrel gun. The penetrating power of the shots is the same irrespective of whether they are fired from a short barrel gun or a long barrel gun. This can be checked by firing two cartridges, one each from a long barrel and from a short barrel gun at a wooden piece from the same distance, then, it will be seen that the shots penetrate equal distance in both the cases. To check whether a particular gun is suitable for the intended purpose patterning chart of the particular gun should be asked for. At present no manufacturer is giving its patterning chart and it is best to test the gun itself to see its usefulness.

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7. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CYLINDER AND A CHOKE BARREL

 

Fig. 5

To a layman Choke simply means that the inner diameter at the muzzle end is less than the diameter at some point before the muzzle end. Any shotgun barrel constricted at the muzzle to the extent of .005 inch may be termed a modified cylinder bore. A full choke may be reduced to the extent of .030 inch. Some even constrict the choke more which are found on the cheaper arms. After passing a certain limit in reduction, the choke always defeats its main object, by giving irregular patterns; often it reduces the pattern to such an extent that it does not spread, except at a certain distance, which often varies. The above diagram shows how the shots disperse in a choke barrel gun and a cylinder barrel gun.

In a cylinder barrel gun the shots are widely spaced and there is a fair chance that the bird may not be hit at greater distance. The figure below illustrates the three usual forms of' "choke". The last type of choke is found on cheaper guns and is also referred to as Swedge or Jug Choke. Many times we come across barrels which have a perfect taper from chamber to the muzzle which should never be more than .002 inch in different places throughout the entire length. Barrels having more taper will behave very inconsistently. Different Types of Chokes are seen in Fig. 5.

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8. WHICH GUNS FOR DEFENSE AND WHICH FOR SPORTS
 

For self-defense we mean that we want to scare away a thief, or hurt him when he attacks. The distance which lead shots travel or the energy they possess does not change whether it is fired from a short barrel gun or a long barrel gun but only the size of the pattern varies. For self-defense we need a gun which can be handled easily which means that it can be pointed at the target quickly; concealed easily; and carried easily. Only a short barrel gun can fulfill all these conditions. Moreover a person needs to carry a weapon while traveling, Car is the most popular means of transportation and very often a weapon needs to be carried in it. A short barrel gun can be carried easily whereas a long barrel gun whose barrel length is 32 inches will damage the roof of the car if carried in an upright position. In the market the shortest barrel length available is 20 1/2 inches. This also comes in two models one is in which the butt length is standard 16 inches and the other is in which the butt length is hardly 4 inches and is folded downwards like an end of a hockey stick. The drawback of the hockey stick butt is that it cannot be lifted up to the shoulders and fired. Due to this proper aim cannot be taken, but who cares, it is to be-used only for scaring the criminals away (A new model of Shotgun Butt has come in the market which can either be folded like a hockey stick or extended like a full size Butt. Click here to see it) Choose a gun with maximum barrel length, which you can easily handle. The length of the barrel will depend on the height of the shooter, the taller the shooter, the bigger the gun he can handle.

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9. WHY PRICES VARY FOR SAME BRAND GUNS

 

There are about 30 manufacturers in Jammu and a similar number in Monghyr (Bihar). The manufacturers in Jammu have individually installed machines and complete the gun in their own premises and produce guns of uniform quality. The rates of these guns will not vary much from dealer to dealer. The manufacturers of Monghyr are confined to an enclosed premises where all of them have been allotted space inside an old jail whose gates are guarded by an official of the State Government. Many manufacturers do not have sufficient machinery to complete a gun, these in turn sell their unfinished guns to other manufacturers who complete these guns in their premises and in turn sell them in the market. The quality of guns varies from one manufacturer to another even of the same brand and so does the price.

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10. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CARTRIDGES

 

The number L.G, B.B, No:1, No:2, No:3…….. No:8, No:9 etc as written on the cartridges denote the type of lead shots with which the cartridge is filled with. These lead shots are filled by weight and the total weight of lead shots whether they are filled in a L.G, no.1, no.6 or no.8 is the. same which is 1/12 th of a Pound. The only difference is in the size of the shots. In an L.G cartridge the total number of shots is seven or nine, in a B.B the shots are about 70, in no.1 they are about 98, in no.2 cartridge the shots number about 112 and in no.4 they are 148 and so on. As the number written on the cartridge increases the total count of the lead shots also increase, because the weight of the shots has to be the same, so the size of the shots becomes smaller. The bigger number is used for smaller game and for self defense the smaller the number the better it is. L.G cartridge has been banned in India and the only alternative is B.B or no.1 shot for self defense.

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11. HOW TO SHOOT STRAIGHT

 

The most important requisites lies in taking aim on the object at which the person is expected to shoot. Nearly all people close one eye when shooting. With a shotgun a man will learn to take aim much sooner by keeping both eyes naturally open than he will by holding one closed, but it is hard thing for many people to do. Everyone has a tendency to close the open eye when one presses the trigger. With both eyes closed the gun will always deviate from true line of aim. One eye cannot see the full object, since it gives only two-dimensional view of the object and to judge the distance correctly, the object has to be seen with both eyes. When one goes on hunting it is useful to see through both the eyes because one eye sees the target through the open sight and the other eye judges the surroundings. There is less possibility of missing the target or hitting another fast moving object near the target. Distance of the target can only measured if both the eyes are open and corrective measures taken so that the shot always strikes the target. Many people momentarily close their eyes just as they are pulling the trigger which most of the time results in missing the target.

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12. IN WHICH CIRCUMSTANCES CAN A SHOTGUN BE USED


Shot gunner must be aware of his ammunition’s and weapons limitations as well as the shotgun’s strong points. Refusal to be realistic about what a shotgun can and cannot do is a quick way to be killed when the lead starts flying. Shotguns are awkward, they are long and the large cartridge used by a shotgun contributes to the overall awkwardness of the weapon. Another important consideration is the fact that while each shot fired with a shotgun puts out a large number of pellets, the user cannot limit the number of pellets put out with any given shot. The whole lot of shot goes out even if just a few pellets would do the job. Thus while many shot gunners like to compare the number of pellets they put into the air to that of a machinegun. The expanding bullet of a machinegun precisely dumps a large amount of energy into an opponent is impossible with the shotgun. This problem becomes greater as the outside ranges of the shotgun are approached. A shotgun does not give an immobilizing shot as the pellets penetrate a inch or two inside the body which if not hit on a vital part does not immobilize the enemy. The enemy can fire a return shot but ultimately the numerous lead pellets will spread poison in a few days time and prove fatal. In case of a rifle shot, which will immobilize the enemy by delivering all the energy of the bullet, if not hit on a vital part the enemy will recover from the wound. A man with the rifle can place single bullets inside a small circle over several hundred yards. The shotgun can only hit targets with groups of pellets. Shot gunner should remember that any time great precision is needed, a shot gunner should be backed by another shooter with a rifle or even a pistol. The size of shotgun shells are large to accommodate the numerous pellets which the weapon fires. Anyone carrying a shotgun in a battle will have a huge burden of shells to carry. Moreover reloading the gun is clumsy and time consuming. Therefore, when possible the shotgun should be used in a manner, which maximizes the potential of its initial heavy concentration of fire and minimizes the need of reloading the weapon. If a battle is decided by who gets the most projectiles off in the shortest period (in the case of a mob attacks), the shot gunner will usually win. This often is exactly what is needed in ambush or counter-ambush situation where a shotgun is an ideal weapon.

If you use a shotgun in a combat you must realize that an opponent who knows anything about the shotgun will try to change the battle field conditions to his advantage. In an extended battle in order to undermine your use of the shotgun, he may try to stay outside the shotgun’s range and plink away at you. He may try to get behind cover, which will stop the low penetration of shotgun pellets. He may try to extend the time of the battle so that you run out of ammunition. In combat, you must try to quickly end the battle at close range by taking advantage of the shotgun’s strengths, while keeping your opponent from taking the advantage of your weapons weaknesses.

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