Sunday, December 23, 2012


I have a fascination and interest with old Sears bolt action shotguns, made from sometime after WWII until the 60's or 70's, I believe.

I've got two of these, both family guns. One's a 20 gauge that my uncle famously cut down to be a snake gun, featuring a 19" barrel and a pistol grip. It's several inches over the minimum length overall, and it's really not a bad snake gun at all. It has a large ring attached to the bottom sling loop for attaching a caribiner or rope so that if you've got this gun in a canoe or jonboat and it falls in, you've got it tied to the boat and it's retrieveable.

This 20 gauge ran many trot lines in deep East Texas on the Trinity with my uncle and then many more with me further south on the Trinity and on the San Jacinto River and on Lakes Houston, Livingston and Conroe.

My uncle also had a 16 gauge version which is in unadulterated for, complete with a decent adjustable twist choke. It's the same gun, but in 16 with a 28" barrel and it's just about right for lots of things you might want a shotgun for.

I'd like to find a few more of these in 20 and 16 gauge. There was a a recall over a decade ago of the 12 gauge variety of these guns, and so I'd rather avoid them. They're on a larger frame anyway, and are quite a bit heavier.

I plan to do some rehabbing to my uncle's gun. I think a good parkerizing is called for as would be a cool front fiber optic sight and a nice rear sight with some dots. Maybe even an imitation Eotech type sight. I've seen some cheap ones that work quite well, and I don't want to spend a lot on this gun. The stock is in great shape, and after thirty years of shooting, the cut down pistol grip has worn smooth in all the right places where it was cut and could use a little refinishing.

When I first got my uncle's cut down bolt action shotgun, the pistol grip was well cut but rough around the cuts. I took some varying degrees of sandpaper and wore it pretty smooth, but years of shooting and carrying it with wet or sweaty hands have really worn it to the perfect size and shape.

Some would say too bad it's not a Remington 870 or other kind of pump or semi-auto shotgun, but I do like the old bolt actions. I've been working on them so long, I understand how they function, and that's of interest to me as well.

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