The Most Versatile Gun in the World

All it took for me was a spark lit by that first shotgun and I was hooked. Although I love my job as a competitive shooter, what gets me through tough days at the office is my overall love for the outdoors. Competitive shooting is what got me interested in shooting, but hunting is what has kept me interested and made me a lifelong outdoorsman.

When I was 11 years old I broke my hips in a hockey injury and was confined to a wheelchair for 23 months. Being an active kid, it was very difficult for me to sit still with nothing to do, or compete in. For a short time, I was even homeschooled, due to mobility restrictions. I was literally going nuts! Until one day I was watching TV and happened to flip to the outdoor channel, there I saw clay target shooting for the first time. I was instantly hooked and wanted to find a way to get started. Although I had grown up with a respect for guns I had never had the opportunity to actually shoot one. Growing up in a Southern California town, shooting guns wasn’t as common as is for many other kids that grow up in more rural areas. Still being surrounded by a neighborhood filled with police officers and other outdoorsmen, all I had to do was express some interest and the offers to go shooting started to flood in.

After several weeks of trying to convince my mother, she finally cracked and let my dad buy me my first shotgun. It was a $79.99 New England Arms single shot 20 gauge that was bought from Walmart. From the very moment I laid eyes on a shotgun I fell in love with them.

The gun that started it all. New England Arms 20 ga

The New England 20 ga is just about as simple as they come. With a thumb opened action and external, manual hammer, cocked trigger.  The choke is a fixed modified which means you can’t remove. What the gun lacks in frills it makes up for in dependability and versatility. The modified choke allows you to shoot the full range of cartridge choices; from lead clay target and game loads all the way up to steel and slugs. This gun is simple but effective.

Shotgunning has taken me all over the World. I have been a competitive shooter for 12 years and have been on the US National Shotgun team for 8 of them. I have been to 22 countries on 5 continents all because shooting a shotgun took me there. I have become a National Champion, World Cup gold medalist, and World Record Holder all because one day I happened to flip the TV to the right station at the right moment. I have upgraded from the New England 20 ga, but I still own it and shoot it every opening day of Dove season.

Winning Gold at Grand Prix Qatar with my Krieghoff k-80

I started training bird dogs when I was 13 and have always loved wing shooting over a well-trained dog. After my season is over in September, I trade in my Krieghoff for a Benelli or 870 and hunt everything that has a season. I start with dove in September and carry myself right through January snow goose season, hunting everything with fur and feathers in between. Usually with a shotgun at my side.

Limit of California quail with my first bird dog and Benelux Sport.

But, why I really love shotguns is because they are so versatile. Seriously, if you can find me any other gun that you can shoot a quail with at 15 yards and also shoot a whitetail with at 150, I will be very impressed. Not to mention all the different gauges, styles and brands. You have; .410, 28, 16, 20, 12, and 10.  They come in almost every action that you could possibly think of; single shot, pump, side-by-side, over-under, semi-automatic, lever action, and bolt action. Not to mention they are made by almost every brand out there in every price range possible. On the economic side you have CZ, Remington, Mossberg, and Browning and on the high end custom made side you have Krieghoff, Perazzi and Beretta. This is just to name a few. You can choose to spend $80 on one or you can choose to spend $8000. Obviously you get a few more perks as you climb up in the price range, but they all accomplish the same task.

Cross training sporting clays with my Krieghoff.

You can use them to break a 4-inch clay target crossing at 60 yards, and also use them to shoot a 3-inch slug group at 100 yards. They are one class of weapon that literally has an answer to every question asked of them. If you had no other choice, you could use a single shot shotgun to hunt or shoot something every season of the year. You could use the same gun to shoot doves in September, throw a scope on it and hunt big bucks in October.  Obviously, you are going to have to make some gear and ammo changes, but with the correct equipment, a shotgun could be the only gun that you need to own.

The exact same Remington 870 that you can use to hunt ducks, geese and pheasants, can just as easily and effectively be used as a home defense gun. It’s often stated that the sound of a pump action shotgun will clear a house faster than any other noise in a dark house in the middle of the night.

Using my Remington 870 in the goose pit.

Their rugged dependability is what makes them a favorite action for the everyday sportsman. You can drag them through the mud, use them for a boat paddle and as long as you are strong enough, still rack one in the chamber and shoot a green head with his feet out.

With so many variations, styles, and ammunition choices the topic of shotguns and shotgunning can be broad and confusing. In the series that follow, I will be discussing and breaking down the vast World of shotguns.

I will offer tricks and tips on cleaning and care and how to pick the correct ammunition for your day in the field or a day on the range.  We will look at what gauges are most effective for fur and fowl, and just plain and simple what guns are the most fun to shoot.

With a topic as broad reaching and vast as shotgunning, I look forward to diving into every possible crevasse about these interesting, versatile and complex weapons.

***Shop GunsAmerica for your next shotgun***

 

 

 

About the author: Jake Wallace was introduced to the shotgun sports after breaking his hips when he was 11, which forced him into a wheelchair for 23 months. He saw a shooting program on one of the outdoor networks and thought that it was something he could do from a chair. Jake started shooting ATA from a chair and progressed to international when he was able to walk again. He loves being in the outdoors because nothing clears his mind like sitting in the woods or on a boat. Jake was part of Lindenwood University’s history of success having graduated from there in 2012 after being a part of four ACUI National Championships for the Lions from 2009-12. He currently resides in Colorado Springs where he’s a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete. JAKE WALLACE: Hunting for Trap Superiority http://www.usashooting.org/news/usasnews/USAnews-2017-August/?page=22 Competition Highlights • 2018 World Cup Gold Medalist, Mixed Team • 2017 Fall Selection, Silver Medalist • 2017 World Championships Team Member • 2017 Qatar Open, First Place • 2016 Fall Selection Match Champion • 2015 Shotgun Team Selection, Silver Medalist • 2014 USA Shooting National Championships, Gold Medalist • 2014 Championship of the Americas, Silver Medalist – shot a perfect 125 in qualification to tie World Record • 2014 Fall Selection, Silver Medalist • 2014 Spring Selection, Bronze Medalist • 2013 Granada World Cup, Sixth Place • 2013 World Clay Target Championships Team Member • 2013 National Championships, Bronze Medalist • 2013 Spring Selection Match, Bronze Medalist • 2010 World Championships Junior Team, Silver Medalist (w/ M. Gossett) • 2010 World Championships Junior Team Member

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • ejharb August 29, 2018, 9:48 pm

    At the begining of this nation the most common weapon was the musket which was a rather heavy shotgun.you could send a ounce ball to take out a enemy or a bear or load it with shot.

  • Terri August 8, 2018, 1:17 pm

    You continue to amaze me buddy!!
    Great article.

  • JCitizen August 6, 2018, 8:03 pm

    Ah yes!! There is just nothing like a good light weight 20 gauge single shot. At first I was disappointed in my first gun, because I was a steel and wood purist already even as a kid – but I’m all over that after doing my Army duty and falling in love with aluminum and plastic as well!

    That old Sears and Sawbuck aluminum shotgun was just the ticket, and I can’t count the number of ducks, pheasants, quail, and varmints I’ve dispatched with it. I’d have loved to had one like the author did, as those were a lot more anesthetic, even if the trigger guard was made of questionable materials. If I did it again, I’d get one like his, and try to have a custom metal trigger guard made for it. Even better yet get the spare barrel kits that make it possible to change calibers and gauge on shells. It would be the ultimate survival gun for sure!

  • Mark Wynn August 6, 2018, 3:15 pm

    Excellent, useful article … and very well written. Would like to see more from this writer.

    (Photo implies Olympics, with the rings in the background, but the gold medal doesn’t seem to be for the Olympics, but for a “Grand Prix Qatar.” I’m a former newspaper editor and a stickler for clarity and accuracy for the consumer.)

  • Sean August 6, 2018, 9:30 am

    I too love shotguns, though I have rifles and handguns in my collection I find myself always gravitating towards the scatter guns. It’s a perfect tool for almost any job. Good article.

  • Silverbullet August 6, 2018, 7:17 am

    Congratulations my boy , as an old shotgun hunter I too know the love of the sport. I started at about 5 years old following my dad and gran pop through the woods , busting brush for rabbits and quail , pheasants , grouse and deer . But duck hunting was a favorite of mine. At 23 I became paralysed from the neck down. I worked really hard in rehab to get out in time for deer season,, my brother in law bought me a browning A5 32\” magnum 12 gauge while I was in the hospital , that made three of us with the best deer gun and duck guns ever made. Till steel shot became law for ducks . But deer my A5 as taken more deer then I can count in the last forty years. I went in a wheelchair one week out of the hospital deer hunting . My poor pop drug me into the woods and we took up stands . By the next year I was walking with a cane and we got plenty of ducks geese and deer too.
    When I started falling and had worn out my knee and spurs on the hip I had to stop hunting so much. During that time I took two nephews shooting and hunting teaching and preaching safety . Both are family men with kids all hunting and shooting. I went into trap shooting and ended up making the ALL AMERICAN TEAM ON THE PVA SQUAD IN 2004. Back pain stopped my career in 2006 . Now I\’m bed bound in pain but am so happy I pushed myself to do all I could even tho it ended like this , I\’m proud of you as an American should be.

  • Silverbullet August 6, 2018, 7:04 am

    Congratulations my boy , as an old shotgun hunter I too know the love of the sport. I started at about 5 years old following my dad and gran pop through the woods , busting brush for rabbits and quail , pheasants , grouse and deer . But duck hunting was a favorite of mine. At 23 I became paralysed from the neck down. I worked really hard in rehab to get out in time for deer season,, my brother in law bought me a browning A5 32″ magnum 12 gauge while I was in the hospital , that made three of us with the best deer gun and duck guns ever made. Till steel shot became law for ducks . But deer my A5 as taken more deer then I can count in the last forty years. I went in a wheelchair one week out of the hospital deer hunting . My poor pop drug me into the woods and we took up stands . By the next year I was walking with a cane and we got plenty of ducks geese and deer too.
    When I started falling and had worn out my knee and spurs on the hip I had to stop hunting so much. During that time I took two nephews shooting and hunting teaching and preaching safety . Both are family men with kids all hunting and shooting. I went into trap shooting and ended up making the ALL AMERICAN TEAM ON THE PVA SQUAD IN 2004. Back pain stopped my career in 2006 . Now I’m bed bound in pain but am so happy I pushed myself to do all I could even tho it ended like this , I’m proud of you as an American should be.

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