Browning A-Bolt 12 Gauge
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Thread: Browning A-Bolt 12 Gauge

  1. #1
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    Browning A-Bolt 12 Gauge

    Thought I would start a discussion thread instead of causing trouble like I usually am up to

    No links necessary, just curious if any of you Nimrods has hands on experience the Browning A-Bolt Shotgun. Internet has the accuracy on par with Savage Bolt Shotgun, but without failure to feed issues suffered by the Savage with the second round.

    In my current State of Residence IL no rifles are allowed for deer hunting. In IL deer hunter can use a Shotgun or a Handgun with .357 and up cartridges, I can ride across the Border into Wisconsin in search of 300+ pound bucks with a rifle, but that is another thread subject.

    By the way the average Illinois Whitetail is pretty darn heavy at least the few that I have seen in person. According to legend they can get pretty porky up here due to the cold weather _____ pounds.

    New A-Bolt in Synthetic price has gone down to where it is more competitive to the synthetic Savage Bolt Gun.

    I once owned an A-Bolt Medallion in 30-06 LH, but that suffered a bad fate when I had to give up my gun collection due to the Mortgage meltdown. That Browning action was very smooth, actually much smoother than my M-70's.

    Prior to the mortgage meltdown I owned 52 shotguns-rifles-handguns, they all went except for a couple. I had 9 Model 70's three of which were Supergrades from New Haven CT.

    For all you long distance experts everyone of my rifles sported VX-1 thru VX-III Leupold scopes and no matter what any internet expert tells you a .300 Remington Ultra Mag 180 grain bullet off the bench in a seven pound rifle (Model 70) without a past shield or muzzle break hurts I succumbed to pressure and bought the Ultra Mag as I thought I needed more speed.

    Even off-hand the .300 Ultra Mag will make me tear up a bit I can choke up and get sentimental just thinking about that pain.
    Last edited by Garboman; 11-26-2016 at 04:55 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Are you considering the A-bolt shotgun because of the percieved accuracy and range typically found in bolt rifles especially in more long range situations? IL has some stupid gun laws especially when it comes to big game hunting. No rifles, no buckshot.. YADA YADA YADA... Although I am not a shotgun slug hunter I still only think that the most effective range and accuracy is just a bit past 150 yards depending on which ammunition you choose. In which case I'd choose the 20 gauge over the 12 but that's another topic and debate for another time.

    I personally do not think that there is any advantage using a bolt gun over, a pump or an auto. Especially with the rifled slug barrels of today. At least you have more options for your shooting platform being able to switch the barrels out for different applications.

    If you have opportunity at longer shots being an experience hunter I'd choose my muzzleloader over a slug gun. My particular rifle can shoot accurately and effectively out past 250 yards. Again we can go da own that path later. Just an option you might want to consider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBig2na View Post
    Are you considering the A-bolt shotgun because of the percieved accuracy and range typically found in bolt rifles especially in more long range situations? IL has some stupid gun laws especially when it comes to big game hunting. No rifles, no buckshot.. YADA YADA YADA... Although I am not a shotgun slug hunter I still only think that the most effective range and accuracy is just a bit past 150 yards depending on which ammunition you choose. In which case I'd choose the 20 gauge over the 12 but that's another topic and debate for another time.

    I personally do not think that there is any advantage using a bolt gun over, a pump or an auto. Especially with the rifled slug barrels of today. At least you have more options for your shooting platform being able to switch the barrels out for different applications.

    If you have opportunity at longer shots being an experience hunter I'd choose my muzzleloader over a slug gun. My particular rifle can shoot accurately and effectively out past 250 yards. Again we can go da own that path later. Just an option you might want to consider.
    Actually I am buying the A-bolt due a perception of better quality than the Savage. I have owned rifle slug 1100's with the cantilevered barrel and the one with the older rifle sights. They do not make the Browning in 20 gauge otherwise that would be my choice. Shotgun shells with sabot 45 caliber bullets seem to be able to push the limits of acceptable hunting ranges for deer. A-bolt is for stand hunting. If I go still hunting it will be with an 1100. Internet references 1.5"-2.5" groups with A-bolt at 100 yards. (Internet has better accuracy though than real life, kind of like all the neophyte Drum fisherman who can cast 8 and bait 150 yards). Back in the 1970's 50 yards was considered the longest acceptable range for a slug gun, they did not have rifled barrels yet.

    I never got into muzzleloaders. Had a few friends long time ago with failure to fire and the thought of extracting a bullet sitting on top of live propellant does not appeal to me. Perhaps it is not an issue with the newer muzzleloaders if you can pull a breach plug, but I am not about stretching the limits for killing game. I took a pass on a 400 yard shot on the largest deer I had ever seen, just because it was a bit windy cross winds with strong gusts, I had a 30 06 with me, and if it were a paper target Deer likely would have been dead.

    I seem to prefer tools like guns or fishing rods for one specific dedicated purpose. Like I have an All Star 1507 with a 1509 Butt that I built just for standing and holding the rod on the beach. Any one of my pier heavers with competition butts will get much better distance than the 1507 but the 1507 is a pleasure to hold.
    Last edited by Garboman; 11-27-2016 at 10:41 AM.

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  6. #4
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    The Browning A-Bolt is a fine gun,yes they are smooth,yes their well made,You can scope them without a problem But they are heavy, like a fence post but that may not be a altogether
    bad thing when it comes to zeroing it at the range.Shooting slugs will beat you up. You will have to try a lot of different slugs till you find the One that your gun shoots the best with.
    With all the different slug loads out there it can be costly. No one wants to drop a hundred or more dollars to experiment to find the One,And by the way the 3'' and 3.5'' group on the average group poorly compared 2 3/4".

    If your pockets are deep skip the Browning and look at a Benelli Super Blackeagle (yes l know it's a 3.5"gun) very soft shooting with 3",You can pup on a smooth bore barrel a wack Ducks , I'm sure you may know a place to do that
    If the pockets are average,the Savage is the ticket ,20ga. shoots better with Sabo slugs

    The Old H&R single shot were a very accurate gun.But the folks at Remington that bought them discontinued H&R all together. The what happens Accountants try and run a gun company.

    The good old Remington 870 with a cantilever slug barrel is another fine choice, But find a older one ,the newer ones have been cheapened up ,That Accountants again.

    I've been in the firearms business on and off most of my life so got some background in this field, Fishing is my safe place but only because I'm armed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jollymon View Post
    The Browning A-Bolt is a fine gun,yes they are smooth,yes their well made,You can scope them without a problem But they are heavy, like a fence post but that may not be a altogether
    bad thing when it comes to zeroing it at the range.Shooting slugs will beat you up. You will have to try a lot of different slugs till you find the One that your gun shoots the best with.
    With all the different slug loads out there it can be costly. No one wants to drop a hundred or more dollars to experiment to find the One,And by the way the 3'' and 3.5'' group on the average group poorly compared 2 3/4".

    If your pockets are deep skip the Browning and look at a Benelli Super Blackeagle (yes l know it's a 3.5"gun) very soft shooting with 3",You can pup on a smooth bore barrel a wack Ducks , I'm sure you may know a place to do that
    If the pockets are average,the Savage is the ticket ,20ga. shoots better with Sabo slugs

    The Old H&R single shot were a very accurate gun.But the folks at Remington that bought them discontinued H&R all together. The what happens Accountants try and run a gun company.

    The good old Remington 870 with a cantilever slug barrel is another fine choice, But find a older one ,the newer ones have been cheapened up ,That Accountants again.

    I've been in the firearms business on and off most of my life so got some background in this field, Fishing is my safe place but only because I'm armed
    I owned a Benelli Super Black Eagle one of the early ones that Heckler and Koch imported, H&K stamped the barrels. I will probably get another Benelli, but not for slugs. I have owned ten or so 870's. They were mostly the old blued Wingmasters. I did own a 3.5" 870, I did not like the look of that 3.5" shell and I was down at Rodanthe Creek with Steve Midget. Steve Midget is 6'5" and goes around 375 pounds. Steve shot it a few times and so I figured it was safe. It actually was not too bad, off hand shooting of course.

    I actually like heavy guns, harder to carry, easier on the shoulder. I had a M70 lightweight in 30 06, after 20 rounds of 180 grains at the bench I was ready to go fishing......

    I just got back from the gym, I am not an animal like 2na but I do my best, I am more a fisherman than a hunter but I enjoy being out in the wilderness and toting a gun is an excuse to stay out there for a few days.
    Last edited by Garboman; 11-27-2016 at 01:06 PM.

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    [QUOTE=Garboman;1001666]I owned a Benelli Super Black Eagle one of the early ones that Heckler and Koch imported, H&K stamped the barrels. I will probably get another Benelli, but not for slugs. I have owned ten or so 870's. They were mostly the old blued Wingmasters. I did own a 3.5" 870, I did not like the look of that 3.5" shell and I was down at Rodanthe Creek with Steve Midget. Steve Midget is 6'5" and goes around 375 pounds. Steve shot it a few times and so I figured it was safe. It actually was not too bad, off hand shooting of course.

    I too have a couple of those HK Benelli's, M1Super90 , had a early SBE also never really used the 3.5" shells much so when made me a offer of a lot more than it was worth,You know where it went. The new SBEII are a big improvement over the first ones,

    Back to the Browning. If the weight won't be a issue by all means go with it, I went through my Big Kicking Mag.days when I lived īn Fairbanks AK. were part of you fishing tackle was a rifle slung over your shoulder.

  9. #7
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    First forgive me if I skip around different thoughts during this reply.

    I think that the Savage is of very good quality although the Browning is prettier and more attractive lines which makes very appealing to the eye. I currently have a Browning Medallion bolt gun as well as a Savage in a muzzleloader. It is a tack driver for being a muzzleloader. I would choose it over having to use a slug gun any day.

    Of all the deer and elk that I have taken in my adult life I've rarely had to make a second follow up shot. That is why I'd choose the muzzleloader over a shotgun based on the laws that you have in IL. Combined with knowing the limitations of each weapon, the hunting conditions as well as making a quick clean ethical shot.

    I don't like the appearance of Savage's bolt design the way it chops off at the back even though it is a proven and reliable design that's been around for decades. It has a bit longer bolt throw than the A-bolt of course. I think their barrels are very well made with deep rifling in their rifle barrels. The first "Brand New" rifle i have ever bought was a Savage 110C still made today. I have owned a few others (savage rifle) since? I did look the two you mentioned both up since the beginning of this thread..

    The pluses with the Savage also is that is available in 20ga. The accu trigger is a definate plus that the Browning does not have. The price difference between the two also makes the Savage attractive as well. Both are drilled and tapped for scope bases and rings of which I would only use a steel one piece base and steel rings proving a more stable platform and more protection for your scope. I'm more finicky over my optics than the brand of the firearm and want FUNCTION over attractiveness when it comes to either.

    If you are truly set on buying a bolt action shotgun I don't think you'd go wrong either way. Both will be dependable and as accurate as the optics and the shooter will allow.
    Last edited by DaBig2na; 11-27-2016 at 05:13 PM.

  10. #8
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    I own and shoot a Savage F220 20ga slug gun. It has DNZ scope mount and a Nikon Slug Hunter 3x9 scope. I have had it for 3 years now and have never had an issue with feeding shells. You do have to be aggressive with it on the cycle. I only shoot 2.75" shells. Remington accu-tips and Hornady SST. Gun is a blast to shoot and is very accurate. I have had several guys who see me shoot this gun at the range of my local gun club and are very impressed with it so much that 3 of them purchased the exact same set up as mine. Now with that being said, I own many Browning guns and love them all. My Savage set up is less than just the cost of the Browning gun. Both are very accurate for being a slug gun. Either way you go you will be happy.

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    My buddy just bought the Savage 20 gauge slug gun. He called prior to buying it. I told him to go shoot a 12 gauge slug gun before buying it. He decided the 20 gauge was for him.

    Darin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finger_Mullet View Post
    My buddy just bought the Savage 20 gauge slug gun. He called prior to buying it. I told him to go shoot a 12 gauge slug gun before buying it. He decided the 20 gauge was for him.

    Darin
    Appreciate all the responses.

    Browning still is only in 12 gauge. The wood stock model has gone down in price from $1200 to $800 online, I think due to a large part barreled action is no longer gloss blued and the bolt has a plastic sleeve on it now for weight reduction.

    Shot a fair amount of 12 Gauge slugs with 870, 1100, and 11 87, mostly at paper. a lot of off hand shooting, mostly iron sights.

    Limbsaver makes a direct fit recoil pad for the Browning. Gun weight in wood or synthetic is listed at 7 pounds. Call it an 8 pound gun after scope and mounts.

    I had a M70 stainless synthetic .338 with an after market Limbsaver recoil pad, which made the .338 shoot quite a bit easier. It felt a lot like a sledgehammer attacking my shoulder with a Limbsaver pad attached.

    May end up when funds available buying both the Browning 12 and the Savage in 20 gauge.

    There is a write-up on the internet where a fella had McMillan build a solid glass custom stock for a Savage 220 20 Gauge and then a machinist worked on the Bolt and made the bolt fluted, fella spent some $$$ likely $1200 plus the $550 for the Savage NIB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garboman View Post
    Appreciate all the responses.

    Browning still is only in 12 gauge. The wood stock model has gone down in price from $1200 to $800 online, I think due to a large part barreled action is no longer gloss blued and the bolt has a plastic sleeve on it now for weight reduction.

    Shot a fair amount of 12 Gauge slugs with 870, 1100, and 11 87, mostly at paper. a lot of off hand shooting, mostly iron sights.

    Limbsaver makes a direct fit recoil pad for the Browning. Gun weight in wood or synthetic is listed at 7 pounds. Call it an 8 pound gun after scope and mounts.

    I had a M70 stainless synthetic .338 with an after market Limbsaver recoil pad, which made the .338 shoot quite a bit easier. It felt a lot like a sledgehammer attacking my shoulder with a Limbsaver pad attached.

    May end up when funds available buying both the Browning 12 and the Savage in 20 gauge.

    There is a write-up on the internet where a fella had McMillan build a solid glass custom stock for a Savage 220 20 Gauge and then a machinist worked on the Bolt and made the bolt fluted, fella spent some $$$ likely $1200 plus the $550 for the Savage NIB.
    Don't care how much you spend, in the end it's a Savage, A expensive Savage, but still a Savage.
    And it will still shoot the same, It's a great slug gun, leave it be,and kill deer with it.

  14. #12
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    Just a thought
    How many Deer Hunting Days in IL during their Gun Season? Maybe 10 total, and of those days how many will you be able to hunt? How many deer are you allowed? Maybe one or two.

    Outside of hunting, in IL where else would you use it? Iowa in January? I doubt NC unless you are close range bear huntin in Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, or Washington Counties. Rest of the time in NC you'll be using a rifle or buckshot in a shotgun. Wisconsin allows rifle hunting.. If I went up there I know what I'd be using

    Is the Browning worth the investment over the long term ?

    It might be better to take the difference and buy a top quality crossbow and scope and get to hunt more days and more deer. Because by the time IL gun season starts the rut is pretty well over.

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    My father bought one of these years ago and it still sits in the safe, sees 1-2 days of hunting per year in the NC sandhills.

    That A-Bolt slug gun is deadly accurate, would shoot around 1" groups at 100 yards for as long as your shoulder could stand shooting it from a bench. Not very long, but the recoil is not prohibitive for deer hunting where clothes are generally heavy, and shots are few.

    Gun is beautiful, smooth, and never had a feed issue. It DID have a firing pin issue that nearly cost pops a deer, but a trip to the gunsmith got that resolved. I never caught what the issue was, probably damaged firing pin from neglect from original owner.

    Were I stuck in a land where I had to use a slug gun instead of a rifle, and I just wanted a nice, good shooting, fine firearm, I would get the A-Bolt no question.

    If it were a question of economy I'd get a Mossberg 835 with a rifled barrel with cantilever mount, then have the smooth barrel for other hunting/shooting pursuits. This would be a good "If you could only have one gun....." solution, but I don't gather that to be the situation here.

    If money's not a big concern handle the Savage and the Browning and see which fits best. I promise though, you won't regret the Browning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jollymon View Post
    Don't care how much you spend, in the end it's a Savage, A expensive Savage, but still a Savage.
    And it will still shoot the same, It's a great slug gun, leave it be,and kill deer with it.
    I bought the 220 20ga ,, yes it's a savage however it's built on its rifle platform with the best trigger bar none stock in shot gun class and it's a flat out tack driver ,, the only shotgun in its class for accuracy is the H&R with the bull barrel
    This is the end of Chuck Hawks review a good read if you want to know more but he sums it up quite nicely

    This is a home run for Savage Arms with little question. It obsoletes both the 12 gauge slug gun and all shotgun platform pseudo rifles in one fell swoop in a smooth handling, soft-shooting platform that is easy to carry and has more accuracy than can be used at typical whitetail hunting ranges. And, it just happens to be a screaming bargain, as well.

    9

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9 rock View Post
    I bought the 220 20ga ,, yes it's a savage however it's built on its rifle platform with the best trigger bar none stock in shot gun class and it's a flat out tack driver ,, the only shotgun in its class for accuracy is the H&R with the bull barrel
    This is the end of Chuck Hawks review a good read if you want to know more but he sums it up quite nicely

    This is a home run for Savage Arms with little question. It obsoletes both the 12 gauge slug gun and all shotgun platform pseudo rifles in one fell swoop in a smooth handling, soft-shooting platform that is easy to carry and has more accuracy than can be used at typical whitetail hunting ranges. And, it just happens to be a screaming bargain, as well.

    9
    It's not the prettiest girl at the dance, But boy she can dance!!!

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    I shoot a Savage F220 20ga slug gun with a Nikon Slug Hunter 3x9 scope. It's fun to shoot and very accurate.

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    I have no experience with bolt action shotguns other than trying to shoot skeet one day with an old bolt action full choke something a guy had at the range. It was fun but near impossible

    The reason I am chiming in on this thread is that I have a Savage 16/116 Weather Warrior in .30-06. Although it is a nice gun and I love the trigger I would trade it for an old A-bolt stalker in a heart beat. The "Nikon" scope that came on it was such junk you couldn't get two shots on the same paper with it. I am not knocking Nikon, I live their optics and cameras, but that scope was JUNK! After I replaced it withe a VX-II 3-9x40 it got better but still could not get

  20. #18
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    My cousin and long time deer hunting partner has been shooting a A Bolt 12 gauge slug gun for 5 or six years now, bought it when they came out with it I think. He loves it and from what
    I have seen he has had zero issues with it. If I didn't own a custom built black powder rifle I would be shooting one as well. I have been a Browning guy since day one and love every one I own, even the Japanese guns. I watched Tom shoot a ground hog with the A Bolt slug gun at 188 yards just last week. Go for it. Great gun.

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