If you have a difficult time hitting something with a particular model or gauge of shotgun, would you buy one for your son or daughter? Would you recommend that firearm to any other new shooter?
Most of you probably are shaking your head in the negative, and some of you might have uttered an emphatic “No” in answer to those questions. Yet many of us are guilty of doing just that, and it starts with our concern about felt recoil and its potential impact on a new shooter. Because we are worried about recoil, for example, we tend to look at the .410 shotgun as a good starter gun. That, however, might not be a good idea.
“The problem is it’s a professional cartridge. If you’re not a professional shooter, you can’t hit anything with a .410, and I’ve told people that,” said George Woford, a professional shotgun shooter with more than 43 years of experience. “When they come to me at NRA conventions, as an example, and say they want to buy their son or daughter a .410, I ask them, ‘Sir, can you hit anything with a .410?’ They say, ‘No.’ And I say, ‘Why would you buy your son or daughter a .410?’ ”
Inevitably the next question is, “OK then, what are the options?” And Woford takes advantage of the opening to talk about the 28-gauge shotgun.
“The 28-gauge has only a little bit more recoil than the .410, and it has the shot-pattern performance of a 20-gauge. So you’ve got less recoil, and you’re going to hit something when you start shooting at it,” Woford said.
Hitting what you are shooting at is a big plus, and that’s just what I did while test-firing a 28-gauge at the recent Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show media day event. The shotgun was a product of Akkar Sporting Arms, the company for which Woford was acting as spokesman when we talked shotguns.
Akkar is not a household name, but perhaps you remember the name Charles Daly. Akkar is the Turkish company that produced Charles Daly shotguns until the company folded a few years ago. Woford estimates more than 350,000 of their guns with the Charles Daly brand on them are in the United States. Though Akkar produces shotguns in the more common 12- and 20-gauge varieties, Woford said the company is placing significant emphasis on the 28-gauge and has nine models to prove its intent.
Before meeting Woford, I never had fired a 28-gauge, and as a shooter who has carried a 12-gauge afield since my teenage years, I didn’t give the little gun much of a chance. I figured anything close wouldn’t be a problem, but I was unsure about the gun’s ability to break targets at a distance. All I can say now is that I stand corrected.
I test-fired a model 600 with a beautiful walnut stock. The gun was not only pleasant to look at but a pleasure to shoot. It came naturally to my shoulder and settled quickly. I didn’t have to fuss with it and managed to break four of five clay targets with no practice beforehand; two of those were flying high and away.
As we discussed the benefits of the 28-gauge, Woford said, “The ammunition companies can’t tell you why, but the 28-gauge is the best performing of all shotgun shells. The velocity on the three-quarter-ounce load is 1,300 feet per second, which is equivalent to the hottest 12-gauge loads. It provides the perfect pattern.”
The Akkars start at $339 and top out at about $600 retail. For more information, go to akkar-usa.com.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.