I was chewing the fat with Mr. Wizard about survival shotguns since he posted his OP last week. I have been on the hunt for survival shotgun since then. I missed out on the H&R single shot the other day on Armslist. And all the single shotguns at the shop lately have been 20 gauge models. Why do I want a 12 guage? Because of the availability of sleeve inserts for other calibers like these.
•The single barrel (or double if you want to pay more, and carry more weight) is affordable, and they are durable designs. Few moving parts = less stuff that can break.
• The ability to use sleeve inserts allow you to fire multiple calibers including the 12 guage you already have. This is useful if you’re scavenging ammo, have compatibility with your pistol, and gives you the ability to match your ammunition choice to the game you’re hunting.
Since this trend in using a single shot break open shotgun gained steam, the old school American made single shots have gone up in price correspondingly. There are modern versions coming in from Turkey in the $100-$150 range, but they are imported and not as robust as the American classics like H&R and NEF.
Their popularity stemmed from the fact you could pick one up for $40-$75 bucks 4-5 years back. Now they are $150-$250 for a good condition gun. The rise in price takes the fun out of making a cheap survival kit gun. I set my limit at $100, and thanks to Henry at MMP Guns, who found an American classic for me that I knew absolutely nothing about. It is the Ithaca Model 66 Super Single.
This gun was manufactured in 1966 by Ithaca and resembles a lever action rifle. However, it’s a break open single shot 12 gauge, and the lever is the mechanism which performs the function of breaking the gun open for loading. It is an awesome looking gun. It’s hard to find in 12 gauge. It’s chambered for 3” shells, smooth cylinder bore, and comes with a factory 22 inch barrel.
The unique thing about this shotgun is that it comes with rifle sights. I have been able to locate the 12 guage version called a “Buck Buster”, but there is no mention of a 12 guage in that configuration. It is either rare, or someone put rifle sights on it after it left the factory.
I’m glad I don’t have to cut the gun down, and drill and tap for a bead. This project will end up being purchasing items like the sleeve inserts and finding a sling mount for the missing one on the butt stock. It’s nice to know you can still get a quality gun for $100 out the door.
There isn’t an ejector which makes this ideal for use with sleeve inserts. I checked gun broker on these guns and there aren’t that many available. The ones that are on there have high auction prices. $150 to $250. There isn’t any collector value to these guns, but they are in the demand for those who like woods/survival guns.