RANGE FOR FOX WITH SHOT—Will a shotgun with a 40-inch, full choke bored barrel kill game at greater distance than one with a 30-inch, full choked barrel, both being 12 gauge? Do you think that I could get any of the gun-makers to build me a gun with a 30-inch barrel that would kill a fox at 20 rods when using buckshot, the shot loaded in layers with wads between each layer? I think such a gun could be made if the barrel were extra heavy, so that it could be given a harder choke than any other gun.
I do not believe that there would be anything gained by having the barrel over 30 or 32 inches long, although, of course, the longer barrel is supposed to kill at longer range, but I do not believe it will do so. There is a lot of difference in what the different manufacturers call “full choke bore,” and quite a difference in the work their guns will do. No gun maker can make you a shotgun that will kill foxes at 20 rods, with buckshot or any other shot, except on very rare occasions. Of course, the shot will kill such game at that distance if they hit right, buckshot are not good for killing foxes, even at ordinary ranges, and nine out of ten fox would escape unhurt at 100 yards or over. Buckshot could not be expected to shoot closer than fine shot and a gun can scarcely be made to keep the shot inside of a 30-inch circle at 40 yards, and have a choke that will wear a reasonable length of time. You will see by this that 20 rods (110 yards) is entirely out of range of a shotgun, no matter what size shot is used. Even at 50 or 60 yards, I think you would kill more foxes with No. 2 shot than with buckshot, and I would not advise the use of anything coarser than BB. Buckshot will scatter more when loaded the way you mention than when loaded loose.
The U. M. C. “scatter load” is put up this way, expressly to spread the shot over a larger area. My best shooting with buckshot was done by filling up the holes between with very fine, soft shot. The gun makers can give the maximum choke regardless of the weight of barrels, as the choke does not spring out but wears out from the inside. All American guns are machine made and cannot be made heavier than those offered by the makers.
Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.
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