I’m not one to preference good looks over serious performance. But this is getting to be one ugly gun. A couple of years ago, I needed a break action shotgun for a review I was planning. I’d lined up some multicaliber 12 gauge barrel inserts that promised to turn ol’ Betsy (or whatever you’ve named your break-action clunker) into a versatile survival piece capable of firing anything from a .308 to a .22 short. So I picked up this beauty–a rusted out Ithaca Model 66. The old girl locks up tight, and has a clean, shiny bore. She wasn’t much to look at, but she shot straight. And that’s all I needed.
If she wasn’t much to look at before, I surely didn’t help make things better. I tore the gun down, completely, and cleaned everything up. I sanded out all off all of the rust. I cut the barrel down to 18.5 inches. I even Duracoated the whole thing, just to see how well the finish worked. It was all well and good, but missing a front sight. Enter the Truglo TG-H3.
The TG-H3 looks a bit out of place on this beastly shotgun. If I were more vain, it wouldn’t be my first choice for a lever action. But I wasn’t concerned about the aesthetic. If the barrel inserts do come in for review, I’ll need a sight. And the TG-H3 is a bad-ass sight. It is long, and wide. It installs on a 12 gauge barrel fairly easily. There are two holes that need to be drilled into the top of the barrel, and it may be best to have a gunsmith do it, but it can be done at home.
The real appeal of the sight, though, is the fat glowing tube. As we’re talking shotguns here, a wide front sight isn’t a detriment. At seven yards, the glowing dot is still smaller than a birdshot pattern and buckshot pattern. That pretty much covers the defensive end fairly well.
The insert glows well, thanks to the miracle combination of Tritium and fiber optic. The dot is visible even in full darkness. Not that I’d advise shooting anything in full darkness, but it is nice to think you could. And because the business end of the sight’s frame is solid, the glow can’t be seen by anyone (or anything) in front of the gun. The side view is a different story, as the frame is cut to allow ample light transmission. But the tube isn’t visible from the side in the dark, only from the shooter’s perspective. Genius. Truglo calls this TFO (Tritium Fiber Optic) and it is the best of both worlds.
All told, I’m thrilled with the sight. I moved recently, and threw the gun, as you see it here, into the moving truck in a rather unceremonious fashion. The ride was long, and somewhat brutal for the finish on the Ithaca. Yet the sight remained in place, intact, just as I’d suspected. It can take a beating. And I’m hoping it can dish one out, too. I’m looking for a rear sight now, one that will compliment this giant front sight, and one that will make this ridiculous shotgun look even more ludicrous.
And I’m still waiting for the inserts. That’s the reason for this gun’s continued existence. When they arrive, the TG-H3 will get a full on workout, and I’ll post a follow up to this one. Until then, check out the TG-H3. The MSRP on this dude is $114. That’s a lot more than I paid for this Ithaca, but it is worth it. This is just the first of a couple of Truglo reviews we have lined up, so stay tuned.