I know that I can be guilty of getting envious when I see some of the newest commercial firearms on the market, but I keep finding myself drawn towards “odd ducks,” including possible variants of current production guns that aren’t being made, or classic guns that aren’t being made anymore.
For example, when Hawke Optics took Townhall editor Katie Pavlich and I deer hunting in Maryland earlier this month, I thoroughly enjoyed the Hawke Endurance 3×9 slug gun scopes that we used. While we didn’t need the 200+ yard slug drop compensation built into the system in this particular hunt (all deer were taken in the woods inside 50 yards), the Edurance scopes lived up to their names by extending practical shooting times both early and late thanks to their light-gathering capabilities.
Because of the success of our hunt (which I’ll be writing about soon) I have an “itch” for a hunting shotgun.
Specifically, I’m interested in a single-shot like the H&R Ultra Slug Hunter that our host Rob Freyer used. He has put down literally tons of deer with his 20-gauge Ultra Slug Hunter over the years, and has fed a lot of families as a result.
Here in central NC the influx of refugees from anti-liberty states and resulting suburban sprawl is making a rifled-barrel slug gun an attractive alternative to the longer-ranged rifles that I already own. It has also added some sport back into what has arguably turned into an arms race where 300+ yard beanfield shots are possible, if not particularly sporting.
As much as I’d love a dedicated slug gun barrel with scope bases mounted to the barrel to hold zero, I’d also like the ability to swap barrels to a smoothbore if I get the occasional urge to go after small game such as rabbits, squirrels, or upland birds. While Harrington & Richardson does make a few combo gun variants where you can swap one caliber or gauge for another, they don’t currently make the “unicorn” that I’d like, which would be a 16-gauge combination with a 24″ 16-gauge rifled slug barrel (with a standard barrel profile of the Ultra Light Slug Hunter to keep the weight down to about 6 pounds), and a 26″ smoothbore barrel with a ventilated-rib and screw in chokes.
Why 16-gauge? Quite frankly, the 16-gauge tends to group shot better in a moving mass, getting the shot to a moving target at the same time, while the 20-gauge tends to string the shot column. At the same time, I don’t need a 12-gauge for much of what I shoot.
Unfortunately, the 16-gauge is declining in popularity, and finding an recent-manufacture 16-gauge single shot–much less one with simple barrel swaps maybe a pipe-dream.
Do any of you yearn for a perfectly serviceable cartridge/platform that isn’t commonly supported anymore?