Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If I Only Had One....


It's not my Nova, but mine looks similar. Authentic photos to come...

Believe it or not, I frequent gun-related message boards, sharing and absorbing advice when I can. There are a number of threads asking what you should own if you could only have one firearm. Well, if I could have only one, I would have my Benelli Nova slug gun. (Pictures to come next week. My shotgun isn't available for a photo op right now.) It's a 12 gauge, pump action shotgun with an 18.5" "cylinder" bore barrel. It has basic blade and notch sights (the rear is adjustable, but not easily), and I hit the front blade with my infamous metallic gold paint pen. My Nova can accommodate up to 3 1/2" shells, and now holds 7 rounds of 2 3/4" shells (or 6 of the 3" sort) thanks to a Tac Star +2 magazine extension. It handles very well, is nicely balanced, and the extended pump arm makes it faster to work the action, and easier to support for accurate slug fire.

If you can only afford one firearm for sport, defense, or fun at the range, the Benelli Nova will do it all. For about $300 you can get the base model slug gun, and for a bit more you can get the long-barreled waterfoul/turkey gun. I like the slugger because it is short and handy for defense--but it still breaks clay pigeons like nobody's business! You better get on 'em fast though because the short barrel does not throw a birdshot pattern very far.

With buckshot of any flavor, and certainly with my favorite 12ga. round in the world--Centurion's Multi-Defense, the Nova is very capable of delivering devastating payloads out to 50 yards or so. Slugs can be launched successfully out to 100 yards with accuracy. I recently put up a three shot group at 100 yards that had about a six inch lateral spread and four inch vertical spread, all centered about six inches below my point of aim. The sights came from the factory set dead on at 50 yards, and about six inches low at 100. I used my favorite slugs for the test- Remington Sluggers. They are cheap, plentiful, and knock a .72" hole in whatever you point them at. On a personal rant, there's no real incentive to buy the $5/shot slugs. The cheap ones do just about the same as the expensive ones. In my experience, the Remington Slugger and Brenekke K.O. (back when it was cheap...) fly just as straight as any of the high-dollar slugs I've shot.

Multi-Defense: When a .65" lead ball just isn't enough.

Moving on, as I've written here before, the shotgun is terribly versatile. It is powerful, and generally easy to use. (If you're a newbie, get training from QUALIFIED friends/relatives/paid professionals before firing a gun.) The shotgun can fill a number of roles by simply switching ammunition. Want to knock down deer or coyotes inside 125 yards? Get a $9 15-pack of Remington Sluggers. Want to break clays? Go get a $23 100-pack of birdshot. Want to send burglars on the highway to hell? Buy an (expensive) pack of Centurion Multi-Defense, or a case of 12 pellet 00 buckshot. Heck, steel BB shot will work for those concerned with shoot-through (apartment dwellers/urbanites with close neighbors). With the Nova, switching ammo types in the middle of a range session or a shootout (!) is easy. Lets say you are loaded with buckshot, and you need a slug NOW! The nova has a roughly 1" square button on the bottom of the pump arm. Pressing that button will cut off the magazine as you pump the buckshot round out of the chamber. So you now have an empty chamber and no new round of buckshot was fed into the action. Now you just drop your slug in the ejection port, close the action and you're all set. At first, I thought this feature was a bit of a gimmick, but I find myself using it just about every time I go to the range.

It's versatile, durable, handy, short, and lightweight. Not to mention powerful. So, if I could only have one firearm, it would be my trusty Benelli Nova.

7 comments:

Rorschach said...

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lifewithmonkeys said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. I would love your advice, if you don't mind. I have a Walther PPK my husband gave me because I wanted a gun for protection. I have shot at the range a few times. However, I am now told that a shotgun is the best thing to have for self-defense. I am petite (110 pounds) and want something easy to handle. Do you have any ideas for me?

lifewithmonkeys said...

P.S. What's a Mossberg and should I get one?
P.P.S. Can I hire you to teach me gun things?

DC Houghton, esq. said...

I'm flattered and shocked that people read my blog. I would be glad to dole out gun advice. I am a certified gun-nut ("firearms enthusiast" in mixed company).

Sorry for taking so long to write this--I've been shooting my Benelli all weekend.

I think you could handle a short 12ga shotgun like my Benelli. I had a Mossberg model 500 "persuader" (18.5" barrel) 12 gauge that I sold because I ruined it with a bunch of "tactical" nonsense that just made it harder to use. The Mossberg is a tried-and-true oldschool design. They are less expensive than the Benelli, but equal or nearly so in almost every respect. I *feel* the Benelli handles better and recoils less than the comparable Mossberg. The Benelli Nova slugger is about $60 more expensive than a Mossberg Pursuader, here in Iowa anyway. Most people shoot my Benelli better than a standard Remington 870 or Mossberg 500. (Every man in Iowa has an 870 or 500 chambered for 12ga. I am a transplanted Missouri ruffian, so I have better taste.)

My wife is about 130lbs, and can handle a 12ga just fine. They kick, and they're loud and obnoxious, but you can learn to "roll" with the recoil and use it to your advantage (pump the spent case out on the upswing, close the action on a new round on the downswing). If you find yourself recoil-sensitive, several companies make "controlled-recoil" or "tactical" (I hate that word) buckshot and slugs. If that is still too much, step back to a 20 gauge. Shoot some clay pigeons or badguy silhouettes with a 12 and a 20. Shoot lots of different kinds of rounds. Birdshot kicks less than BB steel shot, which kicks less than slugs.

By the way, my wife wants a PPK too. However, I think I'm going to try to talk her into a Polish milsurp copy called a P-64, which is chambered in the slightly more powerful (and cheaper!) 9x18mm Makarov.

I will add you on Facebook if you want to engage in any further gun-nuttery. I think I saw you on Kyle's facebook friends list.

James said...

My 13 pound tacticool FN TPS is not a Remy/Mossy, and I'm from Iowa! It's also woman-proof what with it's heavy recoil reducing-ness.

I want the tacticool TPS *and* your Benelli, though. Kind of like how I wanted an AR *and* an AUG... that turned out well...

*checks bank account*

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