If you missed part 1, check it out here.
Just as firearms have evolved, so has the concept that we now call the truck gun. Last time we talked about the single shot and side by side shotgun, & how versatile they can be.
Time to jump forward.
Lever action rifles
As I said in the last post, Dad always had at least one rifle in the window rack of his “69 Ford pickup out on the ranch. His go-to was usually a Winchest ‘94 in .30-30, but he sometimes doubled down, bringing his ‘94 in .25-35 (Great Grandpa’s).
The shorter barrel of the ‘94 makes for a good length for a truck gun, and the higher power of the rifle cartridges vs a shotgun load makes for longer shots. It kind of goes without saying, follow-up shots are no issue thanks to the tubular magazine.
My modernized take on this one utilizes a Winchest ‘94 Trapper in .44mag, to go along with a Ruger Super Blackhawk.
I have both of Dad’s ‘94s now, and they occasionally get to go for a ride.
I don’t think any post (especially one of mine) would be complete without mentioning the Marlin 1895.
Absolutely, positively my favorite all around cartridge. Period. My 1895 sees a lot of carry, and gets used whenever possible. Classic design for a classic (still in use) cartridge.
Pump action shotguns
Ah, the old reliable shotgun makes another appearance!
While not as fully versatile as its’ break action brother (sub-caliber inserts a no-go), the pump shotgun definitely has a place as a truck gun. The capability to hold more than the two rounds of a SxS gives plenty of punch when needed. Whether you prefer the classic styling of a Defender style with a larger magazine tube or the modern aesthetics of a Super Nova (3 ½” Mag capable) this gun gives options baby!
Lever action shotguns
Yep. While not nearly as popular as either a pump or even a break action, they exist. I’ve owned several modern reproductions of this 1887 shotgun. Prices can range from about $400 to an arm and a leg lol. Trust me on this one, if you go with the $400 copy, be friends with a gunsmith! I’ve broken mine down & polished everything possible, it now runs great.
Faster than the single shot or SxS, definite “cool factor”, but can be finicky.
Obviously there are limitations to these gun/round combinations. None are as overall versatile as the shotguns mentioned in Part 1, but they fill a different niche.
From food gathering to a limited defensive role, lever & pump guns certainly have a place in or list.
Here’s some stuff to ponder, Part 3 coming soon!
As a kid growing up in Northern New Mexico & Southern Colorado, it was not unusual to see a rifle in the rack of almost every pickup in town.
My dad kept a lever action .30-30 in his truck (usually a shotgun too), and just about every “ranch kid” that brought their truck to school had some kind of rifle in the rack.
Evolution of the truck gun
The “truck gun” or “trunk gun” depending on where you live, is basically the evolution of the canoe gun concept. Traders & trappers preferred a shorter barreled weapon for use in the canoe or on horseback. Shorter barrel, easier to swing into action.
We’re starting this mutli-part post with the single shot and SxS shotguns.
The single shot break action
A single shot 12ga shotgun is just about as “all around useful” as you can get in a modern gun. Not a lot of moving parts, a multitude of available loads that are easily obtained, and very easy to learn. You can even get adapters that will allow you to fire .22, 9mm, .38, etc etc.
While not the ideal weapon for fighting your way out of a sticky situation (it is 1 round at a time lol), it’s perfect for the errant snake, or if you need to leave the vehicle for small game or birds.
The side by side
The next step up for me would be the side by side (SxS) 12ga.
This idea has a lot going for it, aside from the cool factor of being about as Western as you can get!
The SxS has the same potential for usefulness as the single shot, with the added ability for a follow-up shot if needed. I was talking to a good friend about this concept, when he popped out with, “Hell, you could leave the insert in one barrel and use the other for whatever shotgun round you wanted!”
#6 shot, #8 shot, buckshot, slugs, .22, .38, 9mm, .40, .44, .223, etc all out of one gun! From birds all the way up to larger game at close range, this is the most versatile tool in the box (or the trunk) in my opinion.
Be sure to come back for Part 2, as the Truck Gun evolves!
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