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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Hello All.

So I'm in the market for a single-shot shotgun, preferably a 20ga, that would be fine for squirrel hunting and rabbits but light enough/small enough to take with me on some extended backpacking trips. I've scoured the web and found several different brands, but it's hard to come by any detailed reviews on them. My biggest concern is kick. I've got a Maverick 88 12ga that I can shoot game loads out of all day, but I'm worried a smaller gun will kick like a mule. I'm on a budget so $150 is going to be my max, and I'll be scouring my local gun stores and pawn shops to hopefully find a good deal. Below are some of the ones I've found that have piqued my interest. If you have experience with them please let me know what you thought, or give me a recommendation on what to get!

Midland Backpacker - small length in 12ga, 20ga and .410 bore

Hatfield - $99 and sold in Wal-Mart. Everything I've heard said it kicks like a mule, but maybe a recoil pad would help?

ATI Nomad - It's a brand I've never heard of, but it's less than $90.

Iver Johnson - They've got some new models out there, and it's the only brand that rings a bell when I hear the name.

H&R Shotguns - I've seen these around $100 at gun stores. They're all 20+ years old, but people seem to swear by them.
 
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Don't worry about the kick, just pull it into your should snugly. When you are shooting at game, you won't even feel it. I would make sure of the safety. If it is an outside hammer, make sure the half-cock can't be jarred off. The forearm stock should come off so you can remove the barrel. (makes it easier to pack.)
 

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I have all three sizes of H&R single shots. The 12 absolutely kicked like a mule. I like the 410 the best for squirrel that stay high up out of my flip range. Plenty of power and easy on the shoulder. They even make turkey loads for them now.
 

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Super Moderator
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I just bought an NEF Pardner youth model .410 for my wife. It was a bit ugly, but cleaned up nicely, and is well made and tight. I like the older model singles, and almost any of them are a better value than a new model in the same price range. I paid $100 for mine. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a nice one for < $150.00.
 

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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input! I figured some of you would have first hand experience with these. I've checked some firearm forums but you typically get guys who are adamant that if it's less than $500 it's not worth their time. I get a lot of these are ugly, kick hard, and aren't always great quality. I just need something light and simple to take with me in the woods that will go bang! It's probably something I won't pick up this month, but will hopefully grab it in time for squirrels/rabbits this Fall and maybe early Spring.
 
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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have a Hatfield they shoot good and fold in half.
I'm glad to hear it Ghost! They're probably the most plentiful since they're sold at Wal*Mart. I had heard some negative things (no butt pad, hard to get a cheek weld, heavy trigger) but those can be addressed pretty easily for a little money and effort. Someone warned about lightening the trigger pull, saying they got a misfire with some cheap ammo, but I think he was reviewing slugs and 00 buckshot. I don't think it'd be an issue with lighter loads for small game.
 

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Mr. Mars
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I used to have one found at a garage sale for $50. I can't recall the brand but it was a cute little gun. I ended up trading it for a pump. For me, it really stinks not having a follow up shot. Especially for birds.
As far as kick. It's a none issue. 20cal don't kick that hard but hey, without some kick what good is it.
Just do like SJA said. Pull it in tight. It's a loose hold that kicks. And if it's still too much for you. Put a recoil pad on it. Problem solved.
As far as brand, I probably wouldn't worry about it too much. It's about as simple of a gun as you can get. It's got a barrel, trigger, spring and a hammer. That's about it. Not much to go wrong.
 

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Mr. Mars
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Furthermore, when I say just about anything, that is within reason. Unless you find a friend or aquaintamce in need of cash, your odds of finding a decent shotgun for $150 are slim. I would save a little more cash up and purchase something in the 3 to 450 range. You will be much happier with your purchase. You may find a used gun for that price but most likely it will have someone else's problems.
Now, with that being said, if you want a fantastic little backing firearm "after you come to your senses" :) might I suggest the Henry US Survival 22 rifle. You can pick one up for about $250 or $300 and it is one of the most compact hiking rifles out there.
When broke down, the entire rifle fits in the butt of the rifle and it floats. Plus it's more than enough to take down any rabbit or squirrel out there.
Just my 2¢
 

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If I were buying a new 20 ga single barrel, I would most likely go with the Midland Back Packer with a 22 in barrel. Looks like a very nice knock-around gun and it will fit in a back pack. These are going for around $150.00.

On the subject of recoil, having owned and sold a 4.5 lb single 20 ga, recoil can be savage, and for us older guys, not a lot of fun. :)
 

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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Furthermore, when I say just about anything, that is within reason. Unless you find a friend or aquaintamce in need of cash, your odds of finding a decent shotgun for $150 are slim. I would save a little more cash up and purchase something in the 3 to 450 range. You will be much happier with your purchase. You may find a used gun for that price but most likely it will have someone else's problems.
Now, with that being said, if you want a fantastic little backing firearm "after you come to your senses" :) might I suggest the Henry US Survival 22 rifle. You can pick one up for about $250 or $300 and it is one of the most compact hiking rifles out there.
When broke down, the entire rifle fits in the butt of the rifle and it floats. Plus it's more than enough to take down any rabbit or squirrel out there.
Just my 2¢
I'm familiar with those rifles. They are sweet! I'm leaning shotgun so I can shoot up in trees and not worry to much about what's 1/2-1 mile in the direction I'm shooting. What little public land we have here is surrounded by farms and highways. As much as I'd like a nicer gun, it's not simply a matter of saving up more money. WIth student bills, car repairs, rent, etc. I just can't justify spending that much money in my budget for something I'll only use occasionally. But I've got the itch, and figure I can scratch it with something cheap and ugly for the time being. Hopefully in a few years when finances have sorted themselves out and I'm off in my new career I'll treat myself to something a little more high class (I do love double barrel shotguns). Maybe I'll throw in a nice .22 as well!
 
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Premium Member
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I really like .20, but one point is that ammo options are not as varied/readily available as a .12.

I use an inexpensive Maverick 88...I went that route for how low the price and light the youth is...and the interchangeable chokes...Cab be field changed with a nickel (I use my Victornix).

I recommend modified choke tube(comes with tye gun) and the "Improved" chike tube for slugs.

Ere'body has already gave better answers.
 

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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mike... just a thought. Have you looked at thompson center fire. They make a 410 barrel for those. Might could find a good used one. I don't know about price.
I'll have to check that out! I don't have a deer rifle, so that would be a cool way to get a shotgun and also have a rifled barrel on hand for muzzleloading season.
 

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Mikey, your choice of the 20 is spot on. 20 will take down whitetail up to 100 yds. I use an old Ithica pump 20 that 'll keep every shot on a standard paper plate at that yardage. A 20 shotgun slug packs a good wallop.I'm talking smooth bore here also. A fair small game gun. A break open 12 is a lot more gun but, being so light in build ,it'll kick your butt off. 410 would be fine for small game . They make slugs for them also but, most states say they are too small for deer hunting. For my thoughts, if you'd look around, you should find your single shot for 100 or less. They make rubber butt slide on recoil pads that fit most guns.
 

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Grandpa Pete
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Just keep looking. I used to have a nice single barrel shotgun that I sold at a garage sale for $100. I wouldn't get too hung up on brands as you'll probably have to settle on the first good $150 piece you run across. As to kick, just add a recoil pad, not a hard job or buy a lace on one. I understand why you want a shotgun and not a .22 but I am also a big fan of the Armalite AR-7 survival rifles. I own two of them.

Good luck on your search.

GP
 

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I had a NEF that Pardner that I was very fond of. I bought the youth model in 20 gauge so the length of pull was too short for me on purpose then I fitted an nice cushy recoil pad to bring the length of pull back up to adult length. So the over all length was the same as if I had an adult model with no pad therefore it shouldered properly etc but it had very little felt recoil due to the recoil pad. Hope this makes sense :) Also this model was easy to operate as the hammer and the action release were side by side but felt different enough that you would not pull the wrong one on accident. You did not need to break your firing grip to open the action and I used my left hand to load and then close the piece.
 
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