From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thor's Hammer (the new name for my Mossberg SSI One)

With the 12 gauge rifle barrel on it anyway!

Yea I know I haven't been around much, but hey I been out hunting. Not just deer either, but that is the subject of this post.

For those of you that read this Blog with any regularity you know I have been touting the Mossberg SSI One.

To Re-cap;

It is a singleshot firearm with interchangable barrels that can be had in 223 & 22-250 heavy barrel configuration and in 223, 22-250, 243, 270, 308, and 30-06 sporter configuration (tapered). There are two 12 gauge barrels available; one with rifling and one designed specifically for Turkey hunting.

I own two of these fine firearms in 30-06 and have the 12 gauge rifled barrel that I use on one of them. I was fortunate to enough to take the 12 gauge rifled barrel on a recent deer hunt and it exceeded my expectations. This firearm will shoot 1 1/2 inch or less groups at 100 yards if I do my part.

Shotguns only

One of the areas I hunt is limited to shotguns and muzzle loaders only. This is not a problem because shots in that area rarely exceed 80 yards anyway. We spent two days hunting and I lucked out about a half hour before the end of legal shooting light on the last day of the regular firearms season.

Having an antlerless only permit I was set up in a cedar tree about 50 yards downwind from a well travelled deer trail. I heard a deer bounding through some pretty thick brush before it came into a small opening. As it entered the opening I shoulder the Mossberg and gave a bleat to stop the deer. When it came to a halt I settled the cross hairs on the right shouldered and fired.

The deer was about forty yards away and never took another step. I approached the downed deer and after ensuring that it had expired I tagged it and began a cursory examination of the wound the slug caused.

I won't get into the gory details of that or the ensuing field dressing autopsy, but it is suffice to say that the 3 inch Remington Copper Solid 12 gauge saboted slug I was using is one of the most devastating rounds I have used in all of my years hunting deer. The slug exited the left side and was not recovered.

I had hoped that this firearm and ammunition would be a good combination for deer and I am entirely satisfied that my hunch was right. I am not exagerating when I say that deer dropped like "a pole axed steer" or that he had been "struck with Thor's Hammer".


The sad news is that Mossberg has discontinued this firearm. There are plenty of "new-in-the-box" and used guns available along with all of the barrels. The Gun Auctions seem to run hot and cold with them. If you are looking for an affordable single shot firearm that has interchangable barrels take a long hard look at the Mossberg SSI One.

I intend to find a few more barrels for the ones I have, and in a recent conversation with the folks at Mossberg, they still work on them if one needs service and they intend to for quite some time.

As a side note:

I have a Bushnell Sportsman 1.5 - 4.5 power shotgun scope mounted on the 12 gauge barrel and I have some issues with it. On the shooting range the optics appeared crisp, clear and it holds a very good zero.

Using this scope in the field however I found that objects, trees, brush and game sort of blended into together making it hard to get on the target well. On the first day in the field I had the opportunity to take a shot at two different deer, but I just could not find them in the scope.

I have not experienced this phenomenon with any other scope I have ever used and Bushnell had no answers over the phone either, except that I send it back to them for testing. I will consider this, and possibly give it some more field testing before looking for another scope.


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