My fondness for the double barrel shotgun extends beyond its connection to the past. The classic lines, double hammers, blued steel and walnut stocks aside, it is a weapon that still has relevance today. One of which is providing the ability to fire any shell the gun is chambered for. In some cases, shells that would choke up the most reliable of pump guns like the Remington 870 or Mossberg 500, will function fine in a double barrel gun.
The reason for this is the shells do not have to travel from the magazine tube through a lift gate, the chamber, and then fed to the breech. There are many steps along the way of a pump gun from racking to boom, and none of which will tolerate a less than reasonably undamaged shell. The double barrel feeds straight from your hands to the barrels from the breech end, thus it can be malformed as long as the components of the shell are still held together enough to fit.
It’s ability to shoot less that perfect shells allows the shooter to manufacture more potent ammunition from basic bird shot. This is important because shotgun slugs start at around $1.00 per shell. Number 8 bird shot can be had for about twenty three cents a shell, and some times cheaper than that if you want to shop around. With these cheap shot shells, one can manufacture shells that can approach the performance of slugs at closer ranges. While a slug can be effective up to 100-150 yards, depending on the brand and length of one’s barrel, cut shell or wax slug manufactured from the cheap number 8 bird shot can mimic the same ballistics at 50-75 yards. That’s well within self defense, and subsistence hunting in a survival situation.
Is it the perfect solution? No. Is it something you want to do in a non survival situation? No, unless you enjoy doing it. Is it just as good as a $1 slug? Nope. So why bother with double barrels and home made shells when there are plenty of more effective options? Because survival is about increasing your chances by increasing your options. Murphy’s law will be in full effect in survival scenarios. The more options you have, the better your chances of surviving. This is just another option.
I have included 2 links on the process of manufacturing cut and wax shells. This is for educational purposes only. If you choose to attempt to replicate these processes or anything mentioned in this discussion, do so at your own risk. I’m not a professional or a licensed firearms instructor. As you can see, because of its simple construction, one can load basically anything into a shotgun shell. Because of the simplicity of the double barrel’s designs, it will be much more forgiving should the shells you produce turn out less than perfect. One can use cut or wax shells by loading through the ejection port on a pump and semi auto shotgun one at a time, but the process is cumbersome, and negates the purpose of having a pump or semi. If you decide to try these methods, have fun, and be careful. ***Check your local laws. Some jurisdictions do not allow the production of these shells***. As always, if you are not an Armed Citizen, become one. If you already are, arm the rest.
VIdeo credit: testing gun
Video credit: ammohead73