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WriterInChains
01-29-2007, 08:31 AM
Okay, I've read a bunch of info on the net (& off), but can't find everything I need to be sure a scene isn't full of the WTF factor. My ex had a S&W .38, but no shotguns, & he got all of the gun folks I used to know in the divorce. I appreciate any help the AW gun folks can give me with this. :)

About how much would a sawed-off pump-action shotgun weigh? Ballpark is cool, don't worry about a legal barrel length unless that would significantly change the weight; the character that owns it would care more about making it as small & as scary to potential targets as possible.

Does it sound the same when you pump it if it's not loaded?
Can you even pump it when it's not loaded?

If you had pumped it and not fired, would you have to do anything before it's safe/proper to store it again? (Something like easing the hammer back down for a pistol?)

I don't think it'd be obvious to someone standing 5-10 feet away (or even holding it?) that a shotgun isn't loaded, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Any random thoughts would also be appreciated. Never know when/if they'll come in handy.

Thanks a million! :)
~caren

rugcat
01-29-2007, 08:52 AM
About how much would a sawed-off pump-action shotgun weigh? Ballpark is cool, don't worry about a legal barrel length unless that would significantly change the weight; the character that owns it would care more about making it as small & as scary to potential targets as possible. Never thought about that. I would guess 6-7 lbs, I could be wrong. A larger gauge gun like a 12 gauge would weigh a little more than a smaller one like a 410. You can also put a pistol-grip in place of the stock, which makes it really short and nasty.


Does it sound the same when you pump it if it's not loaded? No, the sound of the round ratcheting in is quite distinctive. Under fear and stress, however, it would be quite possible to miss that.

Can you even pump it when it's not loaded? Yes
If you had pumped it and not fired, would you have to do anything before it's safe/proper to store it again? (Something like easing the hammer back down for a pistol?) You could put on the safety, which would make is safer, not safe. Otherwise, you need to keep pumping it until all the shells are ejected.
I don't think it'd be obvious to someone standing 5-10 feet away (or even holding it?) that a shotgun isn't loaded, but please correct me if I'm wrong. That is correct.


Any random thoughts would also be appreciated. Never know when/if they'll come in handy.

Thanks a million! :)
~carenFor a scene in a book, I once used something called a "snake charmer," a type of light shotgun. It might add some color to your narrative. You can google it and see if it fits the bill.

WriterInChains
01-29-2007, 10:25 AM
Hi Rugcat,

Thanks for responding! :)

I have a follow-up, if you don't mind. (Or if anyone else wants to chime in.)

How different is the sound of an empty shotgun compared to a loaded one? If the guy (target) isn't afraid, would he notice? Maybe the real question is, what level of experience would it take for someone to notice this kind of thing? Could a guy easily miss it because he'd had a couple of beers and a shot of hubris? (The character holding it is a 5'3" woman.)

Is there a type of shotgun where the sound (loaded v. empty) is closer than the others?

Thanks again, I'll check out that "snake charmer"!
~C

Tiger
01-29-2007, 10:45 AM
I've heard them shucked empty and loaded and (to me anyway) there was no difference in the sound--except that with the loaded one, there was a loud explosion afterward :)

The "combat" shotgun I've personally fired was a Remingon 870. That "sha-shuck" sound is quite unmistakeable (and intimidating).

A.M. Wildman
01-29-2007, 10:57 AM
I've heard them shucked empty and loaded and (to me anyway) there was no difference in the sound--except that with the loaded one, there was a loud explosion afterward :)

The "combat" shotgun I've personally fired was a Remingon 870. That "sha-shuck" sound is quite unmistakeable (and intimidating).

Yep, the sound of that pump being worked, empty or not will stop most anyone in their tracks. Simply, because they know what the result of a blast from it will be at close range.

ETA: Nah, a guy would notice even a sawed off shotgun. Although, he might think she won't shoot. If he's been around them, as I said above, cycling the pump should give him pause unless he's either ignorant or has a death wish

greglondon
01-29-2007, 07:20 PM
>How different is the sound of an empty shotgun compared to a loaded one?

Given a range of possible weapons, were someone to pump a shotgun pointed at me, I wouldn't bet my life on my ears picking up the subtle differences. Different models of shotguns will sound different from each other, even if they're all loaded. So telling the difference in sound between models versus empty/loaded would be tough.

> If the guy (target) isn't afraid, would he notice?

He might think he knows its empty, but he could be wrong.

> Maybe the real question is, what level of experience would it take for someone to notice this kind of thing? Could a guy easily miss it because he'd had a couple of beers and a shot of hubris? (The character holding it is a 5'3" woman.)

beer would help. might make a person stupid, too.


more importantly, I think you're missing something here. A sawed off shotgun is usually something like a break-open double barrel shotgun. You can cut it down to a pistol grip and a barrel that's a foot long.

A pump shotgun is going to have a tube going underneath the barrel that holds a big spring that pushes down the extra ammo. So you can't cut the barrel any shorter than that, or you'll cut into the ammo tube. Bad. things stop working.

Current US law says legal minimum barrel length for a shotgun is 18 inches.

WriterInChains
01-29-2007, 08:10 PM
Thanks everyone! This is all great stuff & I really appreciate your help! :)


greg -- Thanks for the tip, I had no idea that most sawed-off shotguns are the break-open kind. The fact that it wouldn't work anymore is much more important than the legal barrel length in this case. But, since a full length pump-action is only about 10 lbs, it's not a problem. I wanted to be sure the character would be able to hold it steady until the guy decides he's more afraid of getting shot than losing face in front of his buddies.

JIMBOS
01-29-2007, 09:04 PM
Ah Ah, I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

Gary
01-30-2007, 05:38 AM
I can only speak for my ancient Stevens Browning 16 ga. pump. It weighed nearly 11 lb empty, but it had a long barrel that added to the weight. Because of its age, it was made of very heavy steel and had a walnut stock and grip to complete the heavy package. It had a 5-shot magazine that was about 15" long, so you could have cut off nearly half the barrel.

I could tell the sound difference pumping it loaded or unloaded, but you'd really have to be familiar with the gun. I wouldn't trust my ears if it was pointed at me.

ritinrider
01-30-2007, 06:45 AM
Caren, I don't know the scenerio you have and I sure can't answer any of your technical questions but I have a couple for you. Will the mc be holding the gun at her hip or aiming it in the proper manner? How familiar is she with the gun she's holding? Does a shotgun have a 'kick', and is she ready for it (assuming, of course, she had a loaded gun)?

I ask these because of a situation I was involved in. There had been a series of break-ins in our area and police just couldn't be effective in protecting us (they were a good 20 min. away). I was instructed what to do if the need arose. Even though I'm a fairly decent shot, I hate guns, and prefer not to mess with them. I was told to take the shotgun, hold it at hip level pointed at the intruders. Reason being, first a frightened woman with a shotgun is a scary thing, nobody knows what she'll do, and at close range, holding the weapon like that she's gonna hit something, and it's gonna hurt. There was another reason, but I've forgotten it now.

I was afraid I wouldn't be able to shot a person. The reply? "You can, if you think those kids are in danger I don't want to be near you." Just thought I'd share, don't know if it helps you or not.

Kentuk
01-30-2007, 07:25 AM
Should point out that the full size shotgun is actually easier to fire. Recoil is a factor in shotguns, the added weight helps, so does having the hands positioned further apart. A shortened shotgun is dificult to aim, and has a drastically reduced effective range. It spreads the blast out, that means if you shoot at a bird its more likely to keep flying or if a man he is more likely to keep charging.

WriterInChains
01-30-2007, 08:03 AM
Jimbos -- That kind of thing is exactly the situation in my scene: Will she shoot? Will he leave? Who'll win the stand-off? Geez, now I want to go rent Dirty Harry! :tongue

Mmmmmmmm, Clint Eastwood, yummy. :LilLove:

Gary -- Thanks! My gut told me nobody would really notice, but shotguns are one thing I have very little experience with. I had to ask about the weight, though, because my ex's snub-nose .38 was WAY heavier than it looked. If a shotgun was too, I'd have to re-think things a little or nobody would believe my MC could to hold it steady enough to scare anyone; she's scrappy, but tiny.

ritinrider -- Thanks for responding. Only a really stupid man would bet his life on my MC not shooting him (cocktail waitress in a biker bar). I thought through your points before I decided to keep the scene (it's one of the kind that come out of nowhere & surprise you :)) -- the biggest surprise to me (& her) was that she wasn't afraid at all until after the guy's "escorted" onto the street by a nicer & much cooler guy. And even then she liked the feel of the gun in her hands. The deciding factor for the jerk was after he laughed and said if she fired it'd knock her on her ass; she said, "It'll do worse to you." (Yes, I realize I need help. If it bugs you, just try to ignore it. :) )

Kentuk -- Thanks for your help! Lucky for everyone involved, she doesn't have to fire it at all.

Tiger
01-30-2007, 12:03 PM
Should point out that the full size shotgun is actually easier to fire. Recoil is a factor in shotguns, the added weight helps, so does having the hands positioned further apart. A shortened shotgun is dificult to aim, and has a drastically reduced effective range. It spreads the blast out, that means if you shoot at a bird its more likely to keep flying or if a man he is more likely to keep charging.

Geez, what would a Kentuckian know about firearms?

A.M. Wildman
01-30-2007, 12:50 PM
A shortened shotgun is dificult to aim, and has a drastically reduced effective range. It spreads the blast out, that means if you shoot at a bird its more likely to keep flying or if a man he is more likely to keep charging.

This would be true at normal hunting ranges, or with a breech-loading gun with the barrels cut very short. However, she's describing what is essentially a Close Quarters Battle (CQB) situation. Most gun fights take place at 10 feet or less. In that situation an 18" barrel, pump gun, preferably loaded with 00 (double-ought) buck, is going to be effective; even in the hands of a non-shooter.

:)

ritinrider
01-30-2007, 06:03 PM
The deciding factor for the jerk was after he laughed and said if she fired it'd knock her on her ass; she said, "It'll do worse to you." (Yes, I realize I need help. If it bugs you, just try to ignore it. :) )



I don't know how much help you do or don't need, but I love the line "It'll do worse to you." It shows so much of her character, I hope you don't cut it when you start editing.

WriterInChains
01-30-2007, 07:57 PM
I don't know how much help you do or don't need, but I love the line "It'll do worse to you." It shows so much of her character, I hope you don't cut it when you start editing.

Thanks! I loved that line too, this chick is a blast to write! I have this scene covered pretty well for now, thanks to all the help I've gotten on this thread. I'm racing through this draft so I can get to editing the one that's sitting & waiting in a few weeks, so I've spent enough time on shotguns for now. :)

Kentuk
01-31-2007, 05:50 AM
Geez, what would a Kentuckian know about firearms?
don't know aint from there

C.bronco
01-31-2007, 05:57 AM
How much a sawed off weighs, um I dunno. I'll tell you this: a 12 gauge is heavy, a 20 gauge medium and a 410 very light.
It takes a 12 gauge shot much longer to fan out than it takes a 410, which makes it better for shooting skeet though your arms get tired faster.
You have to hold any shotgun or rifle very tightly against your shoulder or you'll end up with a black eye.
Pump actions are most fun for no apparent reason.
The further away your target is, the more the shot fans out and the less lethal the impact.
I prefer 20 gauge. That's just me. Skeet shooting is fun. Go try it if you're going to write about shooting shotguns. It doesn't cost much.
Rifles are fun too. More about that some other time. I like Charlton Heston. (Non-sequitor).

JB_Finesse
01-31-2007, 07:39 AM
I agree with using a 20-gauge instead. The difference between 12- and 20-gauge shotgun shells from a sawed-off shotgun (and using the same type of shot) is very little when on the receiving end, but it's a hell of a lot to the guy who fires it. In case you don't know, 12-gauge is bigger than 20-gauge.

As for whether it would work, they manufacture stuff like the Ithaca Stakeout and the Mossberg Compact Cruiser, just to mention a couple. Home-made sawed-off pumps are MUCH harder to make, because they aren't a straightforward "cut the barrel down" job unless they're hunting models with short magazines. With longer tubes they're generally a bad idea unless the guy knows what he's doing.

Tiger
01-31-2007, 11:58 AM
don't know aint from there

Okay... I give up: where'd "Kentuk" come from? Please don't tell me you have a thing for fast food.

JB_Finesse
01-31-2007, 09:29 PM
Or maybe it's a joke that nobody's getting.

johnnysannie
01-31-2007, 11:19 PM
Gary -- Thanks! My gut told me nobody would really notice, but shotguns are one thing I have very little experience with. I had to ask about the weight, though, because my ex's snub-nose .38 was WAY heavier than it looked. If a shotgun was too, I'd have to re-think things a little or nobody would believe my MC could to hold it steady enough to scare anyone; she's scrappy, but tiny.

.


I know you've already written the scene but here's a few cents worth from me - shot gun weights vary. I am a small woman but I own a .410 shotgun, smaller than most because it's a youth version so it's lighter and shorter.

I grew up shooting - my dad began teaching me when I was quite young - and even as a rail thin child under age ten or so, I was never knocked down by the recoil. Everyone always SAYS it will happen but it never has to me, mainly because my dad taught me to tuck the butt into my shoulder. It has hurt, though, but never put me on my rear.

Jamesaritchie
01-31-2007, 11:27 PM
A pump shotgun sounds pretty much the same when you pump it loaded or empty. The action makes all the noise.

If you want to pump it without firing a round there's a safety catch that must be released first. This is NOT the gun safety, it's a slide release that's nearly always located right in front of the trigger guard. Every pump shotgun I've ever seen has this slide release, and I've seen 90% of the models out there.

Pumps can be sawed off to a degree, depending on the model. All the barrel from the end of the slide forward can be sawed off. The stock can also be sawed off right behind the grip, and this is done fairly often. A pump sawed off this way is the most dangerous close range weapon on earth.

WriterInChains
02-01-2007, 12:19 AM
If you want to pump it without firing a round there's a safety catch that must be released first. This is NOT the gun safety, it's a slide release that's nearly always located right in front of the trigger guard. Every pump shotgun I've ever seen has this slide release, and I've seen 90% of the models out there.



OK, this feels like a REALLY dumb question, but if she thinks she'll be firing does she still have to release that catch first? I'm thinking that's another 'yes' but don't want to look like an idiot in a manuscript -- I save that for message boards. :)

Would both this catch AND the gun safety need to be released before she could pump the gun?

Thanks James, & everyone -- every time I get an answer I feel like it raises more questions. If I had time, I'd just head down to the gun club, but I don't know when I'll be able to do that.

WriterInChains
02-01-2007, 12:23 AM
I know you've already written the scene but here's a few cents worth from me - shot gun weights vary. I am a small woman but I own a .410 shotgun, smaller than most because it's a youth version so it's lighter and shorter.

I grew up shooting - my dad began teaching me when I was quite young - and even as a rail thin child under age ten or so, I was never knocked down by the recoil. Everyone always SAYS it will happen but it never has to me, mainly because my dad taught me to tuck the butt into my shoulder. It has hurt, though, but never put me on my rear.


Thanks a million for sharing! That's something I never knew -- none of the guys I've known had ever admitted to even feeling a recoil so it's hard for me to judge that kind of thing. :)

Jamesaritchie
02-01-2007, 01:50 AM
OK, this feels like a REALLY dumb question, but if she thinks she'll be firing does she still have to release that catch first? I'm thinking that's another 'yes' but don't want to look like an idiot in a manuscript -- I save that for message boards. :)

Would both this catch AND the gun safety need to be released before she could pump the gun?

Thanks James, & everyone -- every time I get an answer I feel like it raises more questions. If I had time, I'd just head down to the gun club, but I don't know when I'll be able to do that.

No, when you fire a pump shotgun, the action of firing it automatically releases the slide so another round can be loaded.

The reason that catch is there is twofold. 1. When you have the gun in firing position, you're pulling back on the slide. Or should be. This means it has to have a release, or the slide would come back before you're ready to fire. And when you do fire, the slide release is automatically bypassed, so the pressure you have pulling back on the slide now brings the slide back without a conscious effort on your part. All you have to do is push it forward to load the second shot. 2. This is how you empty a pump shotgun. You press the slide release and hold it down, then slowly pump out all the shells.

You should head for the local gun club, or at least find someone who owns and uses weapons. It's a hundred times easier to show how something is done than it is to tell about it, and a hundred times easier to learn if you're actually standing there with gun owner and weapon.

Actually seeing it done, and then doing it yourself, is far and away the best method of learning.

At any rate, sometimes tis release is located behind the trigger guard, but it's always for the same reason, and is used the same way.

The Remington 870 is one of the most common pump shotguns, and one of the very best. I found a website that actually shows the release on it.
http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/pumpshotgeli.htm

At least this will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

rugcat
02-01-2007, 03:02 AM
Actually seeing it done, and then doing it yourself, is far and away the best method of learning.

This is true.

If you can't, remember that if the slide is closed and the gun is empty, the release catch would need to be pressed in order to cycle the pump. However, it's an unobtrusive action that wouldn't call attention to the fact the gun is empty.

Jamesaritchie
02-01-2007, 03:24 AM
This is true.

If you can't, remember that if the slide is closed and the gun is empty, the release catch would need to be pressed in order to cycle the pump. However, it's an unobtrusive action that wouldn't call attention to the fact the gun is empty.

I really, really need to learn how to say things this simply.

Glen T. Brock
09-17-2007, 07:52 AM
Hello folks,

I own a Mossberg that was manufactured as a sawed off (18-1/4" barrel length). It is definately a scatter gun and it has a bad recoil, tending to rise dramatically when fired.

A 20 gauge shotgun is much smaller than a 12 gauge. The size of the pellets is detirmined by the type of shot rather than the gauge of the gun. A 20 gauge is usually only good for small game whereas the 12 gauge is good for big game and/or self defense.

Glen T. Brock

Richard White
09-17-2007, 07:17 PM
Personally, I don't think the difference between hearing a round getting pumped into a shotogun or hearing a double-barrel side-by-side snapping into place is going to make that much difference to me.

Sorta like going on patrol at night and hearing a charging handle being pulled and released somewhere else in the darkness (or the slide going forward on an automatic pistol)

If the business end is pointed toward me, I'm going to be real damn friendly and agreeable until I can extracate myself from the situation.

Terry L. Sanders
09-20-2007, 07:20 AM
A twenty-gauge with buckshot at point blank range will kill you quite dead enough, I think. And it's a fair bit easier to shoot.

Another factor to consider--is this HER shotgun, or did she grab it (from behind the bar, beside the boyfriend's bed, etc.). If it's a guy's gun, it's probably a 12. If it's her gun, she might have gotten a 20 because she could handle it better...

Terry L. Sanders

GeorgeK
09-20-2007, 09:04 AM
>How different is the sound of an empty shotgun compared to a loaded one?

Given a range of possible weapons, were someone to pump a shotgun pointed at me, I wouldn't bet my life on my ears picking up the subtle differences. Different models of shotguns will sound different from each other, even if they're all loaded. So telling the difference in sound between models versus empty/loaded would be tough.

> If the guy (target) isn't afraid, would he notice?

He might think he knows its empty, but he could be wrong.

> Maybe the real question is, what level of experience would it take for someone to notice this kind of thing? Could a guy easily miss it because he'd had a couple of beers and a shot of hubris? (The character holding it is a 5'3" woman.)

beer would help. might make a person stupid, too.


.

Very true, I'd go a bit further and suggest that unless it was your own shotgun and you shot regularly, you would be probably the only one who could tell the sound difference to be able to guess if it was loaded or not

C.bronco
09-20-2007, 07:19 PM
A shortened shotgun is dificult to aim, and has a drastically reduced effective range. It spreads the blast out, that means if you shoot at a bird its more likely to keep flying or if a man he is more likely to keep charging.
My thoughts exactly. Also, a lightweight shotgun, like a 410, is going to spread faster and therefore have a shorter range. 12 gauge is fairly well heard of, and heavier. It goes farther before spreading out. I had a 20 gauge which was right in between and great for skeet shooting because it wasn't as heavy as the 12, but more accurate than the 410.

WriterInChains
09-20-2007, 07:21 PM
I didn't notice when this thread woke up -- thanks, everyone, for your comments! :)