This is an entry in our Non-Fiction Writing contest – by Mike
Firearms are like everything else. There is not a single one that can do everything that you want it to. That’s one of the reasons most of us who own firearms have cabinets with more than one. Here in Canada I believe the average number of firearms each licensed owner has is 8 per person. It’s probably higher than that in the United States.
That presents us with a problem. There may be a situation that arises where we have to leave our house and leave it right away. If that weren’t true there wouldn’t be nearly as much emphasis on having bug out bags ready to go. It would be nice to bring a shotgun for hunting birds and other fast moving game, a large calibre rifle for deer and other large game, and a pistol and semi-automatic rifle with a higher capacity magazine for personal defence. But how are you going to get all that ready and carry it with you if you have to leave right now? Let alone carry the ammo you need for all those firearms with all the other gear you’re going to want to have in your bug out bag.
This is something I have thought about. Obviously, if I’m going to grab just one, it’s going to be a compromise, of that there’s no doubt. But what is the best compromise? Is there something out there that can fit most applications? Maybe it won’t fit them perfectly, but will be adequate for almost anything that comes up.
Well, I believe I found it and I’ll describe why I think it would be a great ‘if you can only grab one gun’ firearm. After I’m done I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe even blow a few holes in my arguments, after all, we are all here to learn right?
The gun I’ve chosen is the ASIL Bulldog, in the 12 gauge shotgun calibre.
First, a little bit about the gun itself. It’s a Turkish built shotgun strongly patterned after the Remington 870. It’s a short barrelled shotgun with an 18″ barrel but it takes screw in chokes. It comes with 3 chokes, cylinder, modified and full. However, the chokes are patterned after the Browning Invector style chokes, and I’ve confirmed that by purchasing a Browning Invector style rifled choke that fits the barrel perfectly. The chokes themselves protrude from the end of the barrel and are knurled so you can remove them by hand. The capacity is 6 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber for a total of 7. The stock is, interestingly shaped. It actually feels pretty good and shoulders well and comes with a nicely padded butt. It also has another little surprise which I’ll get into later. Finally, it has a magazine disconnect tab on the left side of the receiver which I’ll also get into later.
So why a 12 gauge shotgun, and in particular, why this one?
Remember, in this situation, we only have time to grab our bug out bags, 1 gun, and the dog. Oh, and the rest of the family if we have time after making sure the dog is safe (don’t lynch me I’m kidding!). If we grab our long barrelled high calibre bolt action hunting rifle that’s great if we’re in the mountains of New Zealand where there’s lots of big meaty tasty animals roaming around but not many humans. But not too many of us are in that situation, so we want something that might not be fantastic at doing one thing but pretty good at doing a lot of things.
My choice in 12 gauge fits the bill. Simply because by changing the load and the choke, you can do many things with this calibre. With the ASIL Bulldog, you have a relatively short barrel for working in confined environments (and the higher capacity helps too). It might be a shorter barrel but you have screw in chokes that can be removed and replaced by hand so you can be ready to go with the right choke and the right load provided you have a few minutes to prepare before you enter the situation.
The Special Stock
I said the stock came with a bit of a surprise. Well, it does. ASIL engineered the butt pad of the stock to come off by simply unscrewing the rear sling holder, as pictured below:
This was designed so that you can swap out the longer butt pad for a shorter one the shotgun comes with to reduce the length of pull from 14 1/4″ to a tad over 13″. Personally I’d like something in between that but I’m keeping the longer one because the short one has no padding (and who wants to shoot buckshot or slugs with no padding right). However, that also gives you the opportunity to keep stuff in the stock for easy access later. To show this, I’ve easily fit the 12 gauge innards of an Otis pull through cleaning kit as well as two chokes as pictured below:
I could easily fit a few more things in there. To me, that’s useful as I can grab the gun and run and I’ll have those gun related things I might not have in my bug out bag but I’m sure we could make use of a cleaning kit and those extra chokes, right?
Availability of Ammo
As I’ve mentioned before, 12 gauge is very versatile ammo. While it’s large and bulky, just about everyone has a 12 gauge shotgun. I mean, it would be nice to be lugging around a .338 Lapua or have a big honking 45-70 government lever gun. But if you’re going to be scavenging in abandoned sporting goods stores, Wal-Marts, and abandoned homes (especially in smaller towns/rural areas), the most common type of ammunition you’re going to probably find is 12 gauge shells. And lucky for me, my ASIL Bulldog is chambered in 12 gauge.
The Magazine Disconnect
So let’s say I’m out in the woods trying to get a deer or a hog or some other big, meaty kind of game. I’ve got 7 rounds of buckshot in my ASIL Bulldog. I’ve been hunting all day and haven’t been having any luck. I startle a pheasant or a quail and it does the forest ground bird thing of flying off the ground and away from me in a straight line and lands back in the foliage about 100 yards away. Now, I want to eat that pheasant but if I try to go after it and manage to tag it with my buckshot I’ll be lucky to be sucking up raw pheasant soup from the forest floor and probably the 3 dozen trees I’ll splatter with bits of the poor bird. I would really like to go stalk that bird with some #6 shot or something but I know I’d have to cycle 7 rounds out of the chamber and my luck I’d shoot the pheasant and a deer would go bolting out of the brush in front of me and I’d have nothing to shoot at it with. What to do?
Luckily the ASIL Bulldog has a magazine disconnect tab. I just flip that tab, unload the shell that’s in the chamber by opening the pump and all the rest of the buckshot shells stays in the magazine. I then pop in my #7 shot shell, walk to where the pheasant landed, startle it up again, shoot it dead in mid-air (because I’m an awesome shot), startle the buck that was hiding in the undergrowth, bring it down with two well placed buckshot loads (after remembering to flip the disconnect switch back) and all of the sudden I’m having a meaty good dinner for the next while because I also remembered how to make campfire jerky. All thanks to the ASIL Bulldog and my amazing shooting skills. Or something like that.
Materials of Gun Construction
We’ve all (probably) carried a shotgun around the woods with a blued steel receiver and wood furniture. It gets really heavy after a while. Ounces become pounds very quickly. The ASIL has an anodized aluminum receiver and polymer furniture. That weight saving material plus having a shorter (lighter) barrel will save your arms and if your arms are less tired you’re more likely to react more quickly to any situation and to be more accurate.
Price vs. Quality
Turkish built shotguns in particular offer a very, VERY strong quality to dollar factor. The ASIL Bulldog is actually the third Turkish shotgun I’ve purchased, as well as the least expensive. I’m not sure if you can buy Chinese made shotguns in the states, but I once bought a Chinese Remington 870 clone, shot it a few times, then sold it. It was a little bit cheaper than an actual Remington but it didn’t come close to the quality of the 870 I already owned. Not so with the Turkish shotguns. They are quite a bit less expensive than their American made counterparts but I would say the quality is at least as good. The ASIL is no exception. I don’t know how it will stand up to the test of time, but it cycled and fired everything I put into it right out of the box (after I cleaned and oiled it of course). If it’s anything like my other Turkish built shotguns I have no doubt this one will also stand up to the test of time.
I paid $239 Canadian for this shotgun. I don’t know what the conversion rate is, but I’m pretty sure $239 Canadian is like, what, $8 American? Anyways, it’s a great price and well worth the testing I’m going to put this gun through.
This shotgun came with a front sight that looked like it should have had a fiber optic rod in it. It did not though. It probably should have came with one but for the price, I’m not complaining. Still, I went to my local gun shop and they actually gave me a tru glo rod for free (threw it in with some other purchases). The other criticism I have is the way the gun aims. The rear, well, I don’t know what to call it. Maybe a half rail? The rear half rail has an indent in the middle that when you sight the gun it looks like you’re supposed to sight it like a rifle by putting the front post in the middle of the indent. Which I found weird because when I shouldered the gun as I would any other shotgun with a rail and a bead the front sight floated above the indent. When I sighted it like a rifle, it would hit low all the time. It turns out that you need to sight the gun like I had it first, and treat the rear sight the same as you would a shotgun with a mid bead. The front sight must be centered above the detent. It definitely take some getting used to but it is accurate when you do.
As well, the stock is pretty funky and it works really well – when you get used to it. It does feel and handle a bit differently.
While I wish I was inspector gadget and could carry an entire arsenal quickly available to expertly handle any situation, that’s just not a reality. I feel that because of the load versatility of a 12 gauge, that’s the one gun you grab when you have to grab one and run with it. I feel that the ASIL’s price, short barrel that accepts screw-in chokes, and all around versatility as I’ve described make this one of the better choices for your emergency grab and go gun.
If there is any flaws in my thinking, I’d love to hear them from you all.
Prizes For This Round (Ends July 29, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…
- Gift certificate for $150 off of Handgun Ammo courtesy of Lucky Gunner.
- WonderMill Electric Grain Mill courtesy of WonderMill.
- 72 Hour 1 Person Kit courtesy of Augason Farms
- WaterBoy Well Bucket and Tripod Kit courtesy of Well WaterBoy Products
- MRE-Star Case of 12 Complete MRE Meals.
- LifeStraw Portable Water Filter.
- One can of Yoders Fully Cooked Canned Bacon
- One Jumbo Roll Toilet Paper / Toilet Tissue – 2000′ all courtesy of CampingSurvival.com.
- Five Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate 16 oz – Beef Kosher courtesy of LPC Survival.
- Ebook copy of The Prepper’s Guide to Surviving TEOTWAWKI.
- Ebook Copy of The Prepared Prepper’s Cookbook.
Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.
The more original and helpful your article is, the deeply and less basic it is, the better the chance, that I will publish it, and you will win. Only non-fiction how-to-do-it type articles, please.