Sometimes a shotgun is just too much.
For up-close hunting or survival shots, an adapter that lets you shoot smaller cartridges just makes sense. The Short Lane Gun Adapters Pathfinder Series might be the best out there, so we put them to the test.
Imagine you just knocked a squirrel out of the tree with your trusty shotgun. It's still alive but not going anywhere. So, you could shoot it with the shotgun again, but the meat damage would likely be a big problem.
Wish you'd brought along a .22-caliber handgun? That coup de gras would allow a for great meal and not a shredded mess. That's where American-made Short Lane Adapters just might help you out.
After contacting the great guys and gals at Short Lane Gun Adapters they sent us over three adapters to let any hinge-action shotgun fire other cartridges. These are from the Pathfinder Series and sport fully rifled 8-inch barrels. Made of stainless steel, they allow the shooter to fire pistol ammunition.
Supplied were .22 LR, 9mm and .38 Special adapters for the mighty 12-gauge shotgun. These adapters drop right into the chamber and hold firmly into place by two rubber O-rings. Just drop the new-caliber cartridge into the inserted adapter and fire away.
When taking them for a spin, I wondered how well they'd hold up. Also, would the bullets go in the direction of where I pointed the shotgun? Well, something quite remarkable was about to happen.
The next day after, receiving the Short Lane Gun Adapters Pathfinder Series, it was range day. I was very curious how this range trip would go with all three adapters. The shotgun I chose was a vintage Harrington & Richardson Topper 88 in 12-gauge, 3-inch chambering. Would the plain-bead front sight and gritty shotgun trigger on the H&R single-shot allow precise shooting? Would the adapters hold up? These questions ran through my head until I fired the first shots. I took all my shots from 15 yards away at targets my friends at Silverado Arms LTD supplied.
The very first Short Lane Gun Adapters Pathfinder Series I chose to test was the .22 LR model. I placed the chamber side at a 12 o'clock position inside the 12-gauge shotgun. I figured this position would be closest in line with the bead sight. Utilizing Federal 36-grain bulk-packed .22 Long Rifle ammunition, I fired five shots as carefully as I could. The front bead sight was the only sighting instrument, and my eye acted as the rear sight. I managed to achieve a surprising 2-inch group from a smooth-bore shotgun barrel with the Pathfinder adapter.
Now this testing was getting quite interesting. I pulled the .22 LR adapter out and placed the 9mm shotgun adapter in its place. With a fresh target, I used Winchester white box FMJ 9mm ammunition and fired another five shots. Watching the larger holes appear in the center of the target was definitely fulfilling. The group sized at an incredible 1.5 inches overall.
Thoroughly impressed, I decided it was time to test the .38 Special adapter. Could this adapter work as well as the other tested adapters? With five shots of PMC FMJ ammunition, the group was a very nice, tight, 1.75-inch group, which impressed everyone there.
I was surprised how easily the spent casings came out of all the adapters tested. The only problem I ran into is the .38 Special adapter was slightly tighter to remove than the other two tested. With just a cleaning rod and a gentle tap, it was easy to pull it out. Inserting any of the adapters was a snug, but positive fit due to the two O-rings.
After firing multiple rounds from the old shotgun using the Short Lane Gun Adapters Pathfinder Series, I found them to be both accurate and tough. Though a bit on the heavy side for ultra-light packers, these robust gun adapters have their place for survival, prepping, bug-out and hunting uses.
For hunting with a shotgun, the .22 LR adapter would be perfect for dispatching wounded game. For trapping, carry the shotgun with a shotgun shell with bird shot but be ready for dispatching trapped animals in a quick moment.
What would I like Short Lane Gun Adapters Pathfinder Series to include in the future?
An ultra-light adapter in .22 LR would be really nice to tuck away in the hunting bag. Maybe a steel rifled insert in an aluminum housing to keep it all very light? That would be great for backpackers, hunters and survivalists in rough country where ounces quickly add up to pounds.
Short Lane Gun Adapters also offers other length, caliber selections and options. They carry rifled, smooth-bore and black-powder adapters. Check their products out on their website.
Do you like articles about the outdoors? Click here to view more articles by Eric Nestor. You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram. You can view more Nestor Photography photos at Nestor Photography.