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Thread: H&R 12 gauge Survival shotgun and defense.

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    H&R 12 gauge Survival shotgun and defense.

    Dave Canterbury of "Dual Survivor" recommends the 12 gauge by H&R with chamber adapters. He states that it's a common man's gun and always preforms. I was wondering if anyone has comment about their HR shotgun?
    I also can see the versatility of using the chamber adapters as he talks about in one of his video's. Especially if ammo get hard to find like it was awhile back. I am thinking about adding this gun as a back up. It's vary reasonably priced at around $130 new and with the chamber adapters that range from .22LR to 44 mag I can cover about any ammo i might find.
    Just seen that he has a new line of Rifled adapters. I'll post a link.

    http://www.slickguns.com/product/12-...hfinder-series

  2. #2
    Boolit Man
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    OK, I'll bite

    IMHO,
    1) I'd want something a little better quality and with more than one shot, something mag fed, even if just a 22LR.
    2) Pass on the caliber adapters and invest that money in ammo and mags for whatever you buy.
    3) Practice
    4) Practice
    5) Practice some more
    6) Dont believe what you see on TV

    Cheers, YV

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    1. In my experience, the newer H&R's (since sometime in the late 1970's) are prone to break the linkage on the transfer bar. I have personally seen four out of five of them break, and it is a PITA to replace the five dollar part. I have a soft spot for H&R's; I put about a bazillion rounds through a 1974 vintage .410 when I was a kid, (no transfer bar to break).

    2. If whatever you are shooting is appropriate for a .22, a 12 guage will work just as well.

    3. If I wanted to use a single shot shotgun for a "survival arm", I would get in no particular order: an old H&R without the transfer bar, an Iver Johson Champion, or one of the old Savages. If money were no object a Winchester Model 37.

    Robert

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Mk42gunner, you might try Pawn Shops or Gun Shows... a used NEF or H&R singleshot gun at $50 is better than spending $130'

    I got my H&R 1973 model 20 ga. (no transfer bar, as I have seen broken ones also) for $50. I really like it, better wood and blueing than the new NEF's.

    Inserts are great fun. I can see how they might be useful for small game, good for training, useful for using scrounged ammo.

    Canterbury is a good guy I think. Knows his stuff. Walks the walk.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_f7C4ogORs
    Last edited by Rio Grande; 02-18-2012 at 01:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Don't know about caliber adapters for the H&R, but I love mine. Built like a tank and far more durable than any other I've seen. Has minimal number of parts and is easy to work on. I seem to end up teaching lots of "new to guns" types and I always start out with a H&R 20 ga. I've put lots of game in the freezer with mine.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master tacklebury's Avatar
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    I have the 12 ga. H&R, but went with the Black on black Pardner Turkey model with 3.5" chamber and screw in chokes. I find it much more useful with the variable choke than what Dave recommends. He recently posted a video on U-Tube of the 9mm Pathfinder adapter. I think they are a great option and intend to get the .22 LR one now that it's out. I am also purchasing a .45 Colt & .45 ACP versions of the shorty for now just to have in my kit. Video shows decent performance even with just a bead for accuracy. I'm hoping Shortlane continues to expand their calibers in the longer ones also.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k0Ae...layer_embedded


    http://www.gunadapters.com/12-guage-...ifled-adapter/

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    My bad, guess I misunderstood, thought this was about a 'survival & defence' firearm.

    Since I dont live 50 miles from the nearest paved road, I was thinking surviving and defending against 2 legged vermon.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Hmmmm while I see the merits I would prefer a side by side 12g, over under shotty or a combo gun like the Savage 24.

    IMO when you are hunting for anything to eat I would like to have options, if you see a deer or hog a load of birdshot is useless, while at the same time if you see a flying bird a bullet is useless.

    With a double barrel at least you could have birdshot in one barrel and slug/buckshot in the other barrel and they're not all that much heavier.

    And Dave Canterbury is a good fella to watch I reckon, better than Bear Grylls by a long shot!
    Professionals are predictable, it's the amateurs that are dangerous

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Te Hopo View Post
    Hmmmm while I see the merits I would prefer a side by side 12g, over under shotty or a combo gun like the Savage 24.

    IMO when you are hunting for anything to eat I would like to have options, if you see a deer or hog a load of birdshot is useless, while at the same time if you see a flying bird a bullet is useless.

    With a double barrel at least you could have birdshot in one barrel and slug/buckshot in the other barrel and they're not all that much heavier.

    And Dave Canterbury is a good fella to watch I reckon, better than Bear Grylls by a long shot!
    You're right, options are important.
    With an break-open shotgun you can be ready for anything...just open it quietly and slip in a slug shell or shot, or even a .22 or centerfire pistol shell if you have one in an adapter ready.
    Not as quick as a double, but cheaper $. For the price of any good used double, I can buy 5 good used break-open shotguns. Or a very decent used .22 and 2 good used break-open shotguns.
    There's also options of spreader shot, buck and ball. even flares.

  10. #10
    They're good guns but you better have some good hand eye coordination so you can reload fast. Mine is turned into a bug out gun. Here's a picture of my h&r survivor 12 gauge.Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Dave Canterbury probably got his ideas from this old article by Ed Harris, which is reposted here with his kind permission:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    "People with real-world experience agree that a break-open, single-shot, 12-gauge shotgun the least expensive, most handy and versatile firearm that anyone can own. A subsistence farmer or outdoors-man doesn’t want a heavy duck gun or tactical shotgun. When on foot or out doing chores you aren’t going to carry several hundred 12-gauge shells which only take 9 rounds to weigh a pound. Instead, you take what you need for the day and to get you back home. Typically you will carefully make a box or two of ammo last for as long a time as possible, especially if your ammo re-supply is a great distance away. We are speaking here of a meat getter, predator eliminator and home defense gun. Low cost, safety, simplicity, ruggedness, durability, ease of carry, fast handling and versatility are essential attributes. What other firearm can you get for about $100 used or less than $200 new which does so much?

    The break-open shotgun “always works” and is simplicity itself. Minimal training is needed. You can’t “short-shuck” one, as often happens to novice “pump gun” owners. It keeps going like the Energizer Bunny with only minimal care, despite monsoon rain, desert sand, snow, ice, mud, dust or saltwater exposure and takes apart to fit in your backpack. Nothing much goes wrong or breaks on them unless you are stupid enough to dry-fire them with the action open and slam the action closed, breaking the firing pin.

    A break-open single-shot 12-gauge with rebounding hammer and automatic ejector is the best choice. This is because 12-gauge guns and ammo are the most effective, least expensive, and available everywhere, world-wide. A typical break-open single-shot gun weighs about 6-1/2 pounds. Yes, it’s true that its recoil can be intimidating. So buy low-base “field loads” and “low recoil” law enforcement slugs and buckshot to take the “sting” out of it. Fifty shotgun shells weigh about 5 pounds. This limits how much ammunition you can carry.

    If someone in the family using the gun is recoil shy, a 20-gauge gun may be considered. Its lighter shot load has about 10 yards shorter effective range than a 12-gauge, roughly 35 yards vs. 45 using a full choke barrel on game. Figure five yards less using a modified choke and ten yards less if using a shortened or cylinder bore. Twenty-gauge guns and ammo are less common and more expensive. If you buy a 20-gauge get a 3-inch chamber, which can shoot either standard 2-3/4 inch field or heavier 3-inch Magnum loads. A 3-inch Magnum 20 gauge carries the same shot load as a standard 12-gauge 2-3/4 inch field load.

    Forget shotguns in other than 12-ga. or 20-gauge if cost or convenience is a factor because the ammo is harder to get and more expensive. Some people like .410-bore because of the lower weight and cube of its ammo, but it has VERY limited range, no more than 25 yards. A .410 slug only compares to a .32-20 rifle in energy. Thin patterns make game hits iffy beyond 20 yards, .410 ammo is expensive. The 3-inch 5-pellet 00 buck is an effective defense load within 25 yards and is alot better than no shotgun at all. If you shop carefully you can find single-barrel shotguns factory fitted with an extra rifle barrel chambered for common rifle or pistol cartridges such as the .30-30, .357 or .44 Magnum. Seek out one of these if you already have a handgun or rifle in one of those calibers...

    While a shotgun is no substitute for a rifle, it can place a slug about as accurately as a non-expert can shoot a revolver from an improvised rest at the same distance. Reality is hitting a 6 inch target at 40 or 50 yards. Having rifle sights on your shotgun doesn’t improve its inherent accuracy, but lets you “zero” the gun so that it will “hit where it points,” in case your plain bead-sighted barrel doesn’t.

    The value of short barreled shotguns with rifle sights is over-rated. Rifle-sighted shotguns are usually either improved cylinder choke or full open cylinder bore with barrels 20 to 22 inches long. While they are handier to carry taken apart in a backpack, the shot patterns they produce are thinner and their effective range with birdshot or buckshot is significantly reduced. If accurate slug shooting is that important to you, you should get a rifle instead. Ask yourself if it worth giving up 10 yards (or more) of effective game range, which effectively limits you to 25-30 yards, to get that handy length and rifle sights whose benefit is mostly mental? For most people a 26 inch Modified or 28 inch full choke is best on game and hits well enough with slugs for practical use. If you can do the job with the plain vanilla simple gun you have, learn to love its Long Tom barrel and the virtues of instinctive point shooting.

    Expert shotgun gunners wield a shotgun on moving game as if sweeping a paintbrush. The “non-expert” single shot user makes his one shot count by shooting his shotgun at game the same as if it were a rifle. Typical table game is sitting turkeys or squirrels up in tall trees. By the way, ground sluicing birds when hunting in a survival situation is OK as its taking game out of season. However don’t try and take any wild game out of season and tell the Game officer you were in a survival situation and did not want to waste the left over’s, so you brought them home after you rescued yourself. That bird will not fly.

    You want to simplify your shotgun ammo supply. For initial training and periodic practice buy a case of “dove and quail,” or “trap” loads of No. 8 shot. For general hunting, predator control, big game and home defense buy 100 rounds each of “duck & pheasant loads” loaded with No. 6 shot, and either No. 1 (best choice) or 00 buckshot (OK) and 1-oz. rifled slugs. The “low-recoil” (reduced velocity) buckshot and slug loads made for law enforcement use are less punishing to shoot in a light gun. They give up little in effectiveness and some guns pattern better with them than they do with “high base” loads, so it is worthwhile to seek them out if you can find them. Otherwise learn to hold onto your gun tightly, cut loose and get over it. Remember that the force of gravity is perpetual and that of recoil is brief, so enjoy the virtues of your simple and handy gun.

    Advice for the basic load of 20 gauge ammo load parallels the 12-gauge. Buy a case of 2-3/4 inch 7/8 oz. No. 8 shot “dove and quail loads” for training and practice, then 100 rounds of 1 oz. No. 6 shot “duck & pheasant loads” for general hunting and 100 rounds each of buckshot and slugs for predator control and home defense. The 3-inch Magnum, 18 pellet No. 2 buckshot has better penetration than the 20 pellet No. 3 buck loaded in the 2-3/4 inch shell, so get these if you get a 20-gauge gun with 3-inch chamber.

    You may need a personal weapon while traveling places which prohibit civilians from possessing a handgun or center-fire rifle. If self-defense potential is more important to you than putting meat in the pot, then you want a gun which can be accessibly carried, concealed if necessary, which handles easily and can be quickly grabbed, instinctively pointed and fired instantly. Only a short barrel gun fits these requirements. Harry Archer and I once had to equip a married couple whose assignment normally wouldn’t have required them to be equipped with personal weapons, but the situation on the ground changed, and we had only one afternoon before they left CONUS to train them. We got two H&R Model 158 Toppers and made a quick trip to Ace Hardware store for a tubing cutter, mill file and pipe deburring tool. They didn’t make the short barrel, iron-sighted “Tracker” or “Survivor” models back then. A few minutes with common hardware store tools turned the 28-inch full choke barrels into 18-inch cylinder bores with a slight muzzle constriction induced by the tubing cutter. They patterned 12 pellet “short Magnum” 00 or 16 pellet high base, or 20-pellet "short magnum" No. 1 buckshot wonderfully out to 30 yards. These legal-length sawed-offs stowed in a Fiat 124 between seat and door post and proved successful in thwarting a kidnap attempt, whereas another less fortunate embassy employee was killed a few weeks after our charges returned home.

    Any single-shot gun is a “shoot and scoot” weapon used only to provide an opportunity for escape. If you use a shotgun in combat you must realize that any opponent who knows that you are armed with a shotgun will change the battlefield conditions to his advantage. In an extended gun fight an adversary will undermine your use of the shotgun by staying outside its limited range and just plink away at you. He will get behind substantial cover capable of stopping buckshot, and expose little of himself, being difficult to hit with a slug beyond pistol range. He will rush you while you are reloading or extend the time of battle until you run out of ammunition. If reduced to using a single-barrel shotgun, you must quickly end the fight at close range, exploiting your shotgun’s strengths, by surprising the bad guy who didn’t expect you to be armed, while you escape the killing field before an opponent can take advantage of your weapon’s limitations.

    With practice you can learn to reload and fire more rapidly than most people would expect, especially if you carry spare ammo on an elastic carrier on the butt.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

    Lefty Red's Avatar
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    Ok, I will bite too....

    First thing, they are not as cheap as they were! More like in the $175-$200 range for a new single shot and a little less for a used one. While looking this week, I would have grabbed a Stoger OU 12 or 20 with choke tubes for $300! would have had that over a single shot any day. They were used and had cometic flaws, but locked up strong. Friend had one when we worked at the game preserve running dogs and birds. 22" barrels and it handled like a dream. He was poor and shot slugs out of it too. Killed just as much deers as I did. Plus, you get the option of having two loads on hand.

    I never saw the benefits of adapters for rifle or pistol calibers. No sights on the shotgun per say and you want to take a squirrel at 10 yards with a 22lr adapter and the bead front sight? Good luck. Yes you can practice with it, but if you switch adapters, you have switched your POI. And I have had adapters in the pass, 22lr and 357/38, and their POI changed every time I removed and reloaded the adapter. Now, I do remembering a gentleman that wrote in to Backwoodsman that had a bad NEF single shot drilled and tapped for a scope and used is for his adapter gun. That seemed cool, but once again useless for anything but a range piece since you had to re sight in your adapter ever time you used it. You could just leave it in the gun, but then wouldn't it make sense to just get a 22lr rifle?

    If pushed came to shove, I would like a Tracker 1. Its the H&R/NEF 24" smooth bore with rifle sights. I have seen of a banded front sight made for some plain barrel repeaters that would work as well. Then just get a good FO back sight mounted. Now you have a single shot at its best. Hell, spring for it to be tapped for choke tubes. But I think its not needed. IF I was going to go that route, I would just pick up the cheap OU then add the clamp on Fire Sights to it vet rib and have a way better weapon.

    So a Tracker 1, a reloader, and a 22lr rifle or pistol. That should do it.

    Jerry
    I'll be needing that for squirrels and such.....

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    BTW, Ed Harris is a great writer and I love his writings and think he is spot on on everything.
    Jerry
    I'll be needing that for squirrels and such.....

  14. #14
    Boolit Master nanuk's Avatar
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    I am a fan of single shots

    I have several, and with a bit of practice, you can get aimed shots off almost as fast as a pump.
    I am ONLY responsible for what I Say!
    I am NOT responsible for what You THINK I Said!
    ====
    If numbers killed I'd hunt with a Calculator!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master GoodOlBoy's Avatar
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    my 2 cents.

    I like Dave Cantebury, but remember he is posing scenarios for survival in a survival starved economy that will buy whatever you are selling. It doesn't mean he's wrong, it doesn't mean he's right. It is what it is.

    a 12 gauge, or 20 gauge single shot shotgun is what I would consider the best all around choice for a subsistence or long term pot gun. I prefer a 20, but whatever floats your boat. You can buy shells for just about every occasion, buy some magtech brass hulls, learn to load them with black powder, buy a loading machine, whatever your heart desires. The point is these guns will take anything from a sparrow to a mule deer with the correct load and the correct shot placement. Can you use them to defend yourself? People defended themselves with single shot muzzle loaders LONG before the black gun craze so do the math. The main difference is that there is less to go wrong with it than a pump or semi, and with a fixed choke (I prefer modified over anything else for general work) you don't have to worry about choke tube lube, chokes backing out, did I put the right choke in, etc etc etc. They are simple, and they simply work.

    As for cartridge adapters I would save myself some money and worry about a few more shells, and/or a few more pounds of shot and powder.

    My 2 cents.

    GoodOlBoy
    Yes I can be long winded. Yes I follow rabbit trails. Yes I admit when I am wrong. Your mileage may vary.

    Keep your powder dry. Watch yer Top knot.

    "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Bullwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk42gunner View Post
    1. In my experience, the newer H&R's (since sometime in the late 1970's) are prone to break the linkage on the transfer bar. I have personally seen four out of five of them break, and it is a PITA to replace the five dollar part. I have a soft spot for H&R's; I put about a bazillion rounds through a 1974 vintage .410 when I was a kid, (no transfer bar to break).

    Robert
    What Robert said.

    I love the guns, they are simple and elegant. That being said, my ex wife broke the transfer bar linkage on her H&R 20 gauge, and she really did not shoot it all that often.

    I have another H&R in 12 gauge - vintage date unknown, that has yet to do the same thing to me. However it doesn't really get used much.

    The experience did not help increase my confidence with the platform.

    I have both cheaper, and more expensive over and under shotguns that have seen many many 1000's of shells, with nary a complaint.



    - Bullwolf

  17. #17
    Boolit Man Bazoo's Avatar
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    I have one of the newer NEF pardner single shots. Mine is 20 gauge. I bought it used about 12 years ago. First thing the transfer bar fell out of it. The pin had broken. It was returned to the factory and since then ive had no problems out of it. It is finished better than some of the newer ones i've seen in town. I've shot mine a few thousand rounds at clays and hunting. It tends to rust in the chamber. The local gunsmith said they all have that problem if you dont keep the chamber oiled.

    I have seen them go for 80-150 depending on the seller, caliber, and condition. Normal is around 125 though.

    For a survival arm, say, stranded in the wilderness with 1 gun. Personally, i wouldnt choose a shotgun of any make or caliber. For the simple reason that the ammo is too heavy. Its generally accepted that 22lr is a good survival arm because you can carry several hundred rounds of ammo without much noticeable weight gain. That said, if I had to be stuck with a shotgun, knowing that these have a tendency to break the transfer bar pin, i might choose another model, but i wouldnt be shy about mine, as it's been reliable post being fixed.

    If I had to choose a 22, any 22. I'd take a remington nylon 66 with sling.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I have an old eastern arms crack barreled shotgun. That's what they call single shot shotguns here. Got it for cheap as it had a cracked muzzle. Cut the bbl down to 20" so basically a cylinder bore. Use it occasionally for culling the local snake population when cutting the grass down by the bayou. Little loud but it's in great shape and still tight after all these years. Frank

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    Here's interesting one:




    TRIPLE CROWN, Triple barrel shotgun
    Item Number: 930-031
    12 gauge shotgun, with "Rem-choke" an all three 28" barrels. Capacity: 3x3" Magnum

    Model:TRIPLE CROWN
    Caliber : 3"-12ga or 3"-20ga Type: Three barrel shotgun
    Action : Break open
    Feeding : Manual
    Barrel : 12ga 28" - 20ga 26" chrome lined bore with Rem choke thread; chokes MC-5: SK, IC, M, IM, FULL
    Trigger system : Single mechanical; firing sequence: right, left, top
    Front sight : Fluorescent, fixed
    Safety : Top tang button safety
    Finish : Matt blue barrel and white receiver; checkered walnut stock: LOA 14,5", DAH 2.125", DAC 1.125"
    Weight : 12ga: 8.7 lbs; 20ga: 7.6 lbs
    A break-down soft touch hardcase is included.
    Ref. Description Caliber No. Shots BarrelLength Total Length Weight
    Ref. Description Caliber No. Shots BarrelLength Total Length Weight
    930.031 Triple Crown .12 3 28" 45" 8.7 lbs
    930.032 Triple Threat .12 3 18.5" 35.5" 8.2 lbs
    930.033 Triple Crown .20 3 26" 43" 7.6 lbs
    930.034 Triple Magnum RealTree .12 3 28" 45" 8.6 lbs
    930.035 Triple Magnum .12 3 28" 45" 8.6 lbs
    930.036 Triple Tom .12 3 24" 41" 8.3 lbs

  20. #20
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Well yes and no.

    I have Rem 870 Wingmaster shotguns in 12, 16, and 20 gauge, in almost 40 years I've yet to have a serious failure or malfunction that I didn't cause.
    You feed them, they run. In a true self defense situation, I'll take 5 shots like one long roll of thunder vs 1 with a single shot or 2 with a SxS.

    That being said, if I did not have those pump guns, you bet I'd pick a single shot over almost anything else.

    As to chamber adapters, well I'm playing with a 9mm in a Mossberg .410 just for kicks. Hey if I can get my wife to shoot it and enjoy I'm money ahead of the game as the adapter was only 35$ and I have plenty of 9mm sitting around. I don't need accuracy at this point. I am looking into a mold and brass shells that will hopefully give me a better, faster loading more accurate alternative.

    Inside a house a shotgun rules for self defense. Even 71/2 birdshot at that range just rips flesh apart, shatters bone. I've seen what even a 20 gauge and light bird loads can do to a grouse a bit too close. I believe the term is "Bloody rat hole" at least that is the best I can do to describe it.
    And you don't have to worry about some pistol/rifle bullet or slug going through 2 or 3 walls and killing a wife or kid or stranger in the next room over.

    I am seeing more and more law enforcement carry more and more AR's in their car, but for years the standard was a pump action shotgun for good reason.

    For new shooters, a single shot is the safest possible alternative, and lower cost than most anything else, even today.
    Granted a couple hundred more will buy you a budget pump gun. But it some cases that extra couple hundred is hard to come by.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check