Darn! I underslept! This is what comes from going to bed early as opposed to watching infomercials at 3AM in your hotel room. Anyhow, I found the class absolutely fascinating...even as a kid I loved learning new (and occasionally random) stuff, and that wowie-zowie factor is still there even at this late date. I've never understood people who agonized over having "nothing to do."
Gunwise, I'm going to be following up on my last few shotgun posts...I'm mulling over in my head whether, indeed, the "pumps are more reliable" meme is reaching the end of its working life. I clearly haven't been expressing myself as well as I should be (or maybe I'm just not thinking as well as I should be). I think what I mean to be talking about is the huge variability of shotgun ammunition as opposed to the narrower range of handgun and even rifle ammo. Then again, let me think about it some more.
I will say that I agree with the commenters (including the inestimable Frank James) who noted that a SxS is as close to a zero-based gun out here...no quirks, no problems, bang-bang. Worked for stagecoach guards in the Old West, retro Mafioso in Sicily, gamekeepers in England...still works well. I have learned some things about SxS shoguns from shooting them in cowboy action shooting the last year or so, and some of that information transfers to a self-defense context.
The first is that SxS shotguns can have 2 rounds loaded as fast as you can single-load a pump, with a caveat. That being you need some sort of belt or holder that presents the rounds correctly for reloading (true, of course, of any reload). It's a little harder/slower to speed reload an SxS from a bag than simple grabbing a single shell for a pump or semi, or several shells that you're shifting around in your hand and you either drop them into the chamber or reloading the tube.
If I was going to keep only a double as the house gun, I might get a shotgun belt or bandoleer to hold my spare rounds. A bandoleer would be good because you could quickly throw it over a shoulder and you'd have your spare ammo ready to go.
The second thing I've learned is, shock upon shock,you generally get what you pay for. I say "generally" because the old Stevens 311s are tanks, and they're still dirt cheap. The Stoegers are okay, but you do use them up in heavy shooting. I have seen the lugs break off a well used Stoeger as it was cracked open, which resulted in the embarrassing situation of the barrels laying on the ground and the shooter holding the stock and receiver. Funny at a match...less so in the Real World.
If I was going to get a SxS as a dedicated self-defense gun and money was no object, I'd (cover your ears and eyes, classic shotgun fans!) get a Browning BSS, lop the barrels to 22-23 inches, install screw-in chokes for some versatility and get ready to rock.
I wish the Czech company Pioneer made hammerless doubles...forget "tanks;" those guns are built like destroyers.
Saw this quote on Jerry Pournelle's blog and thought it was appropriate these days...'course you all know where it's from:
Don't panic. But it never hurts to know where your towel and cup are.
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