Bushcraft Shotgun

In continuing with our “What to take with you” theme, this time we’re going to look at food gathering.

First and foremost, let me state for the record that we are talking about bushcrafting/survival/bugging out vs a planned hunting or fishing excursion. Laws differ in every state and jurisdiction, and we are NOT talking about a regular season hunt situation.

Like our Mountain Man/Longhunter ancestors, we are looking at providing food at the moment. Let’s start with the quickest & easiest food gathering method. Firearms.

There is no single, perfect firearm or setup in what we do. Needs and resources vary greatly. In our Truck Gun series, we talked about different truck guns for different needs. Same principle here. If simply putting small game or birds on the table is your need, a .22 or .410 shotgun rig may be the perfect thing for you. If larger game is on the menu, you’re going to need something slightly bigger than those options. Whatever you need, in combination with what you have or are willing to get will determine your set-up.

Let’s take a look at what I think is an all around great set-up for Angela and I.

I prefer a single shot break open 12ga shotgun as my base platform for woods running/bushcraft.

Light, durable, easy to use. 12ga shells are among the most prolific and easy to obtain rounds out there. (Current ammo & component shortages not withstanding)

I started with a straight from the factory New England Firearms single shot shotgun (12ga, 3in chamber). I left the original barrel length alone, opting for sight radius accuracy vs canoe gun maneuverability. The one modification I did make was adding rifle sights to the shotgun to aid in aiming slugs or using the sub-caliber adapters.

Angela uses a 12ga SxS. Slightly heavier but definitely capable of the same stuff the NEF is.

Ok. Now that we have a base platform, let’s look at some options.

Having a shotgun in 12ga gives me a huge range of options. Bird shot for birds and small game, buckshot for medium game and defensive use, slugs for large game and defensive use, any number of sub-caliber adapters to bridge any gaps in use coverage. (.22 is my go-to).

Oh, did I mention that there are adapters available to basically turn that SS break open into a muzzle loader? This idea really turns my crank, in so far as that if I for some reason find myself without 12ga rds., I can break out the BP or Pyrodex, some 209 primers and get to work. There are methods for reloading spent shotshells, or you can even get full length brass hulls for modifying to use the 209 primer and BP. With a  supply of BP/Pyrodex and some round ball, I am even able to take on larger game with pretty reasonable accuracy.

With a handful of assorted shells, along with my sub caliber adapter (and a few of those rounds), I can engage in a hunting foray, run a trap line, or flat out scrounge for a few days until I find 12ga rounds to continue the intended use of the shotgun.

Need a bag to carry all this stuff? Check out this one over at Field Supply.

Stick around guys, as next week we’re going to dig into the Cutting Tools aspect of bushcraft.

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