The "non-sporting" smoothbore: are high round-count bullpups now the future of fighting shotguns?

Author:Miller, Payton

As a kid I was always fascinated by the riot guns kept by officers of our small PD in their black-and-white cruisers. They were Ithaca Model 37's housed muzzle-up in a dashboard rack. Later, as a summer city employee, I discovered those short, choke-free barrels often doubled as ashtrays for some of the old timers on the force who smoked cigars (to be fair, our little town was more Mayberry than Dodge City).

Those Ithacas were pretty cool, as was a Winchester Model 97 Trench Gun a buddy of mine had. It seemed (and still does) like the coolest, most eye-grabbing specimens somehow fell into the "riotous" category of tactical or combat shotguns.

Several of the most unconventional looking have been 12-gauge bullpups. Specifically, the High Standard Model 10, a defunct 5-shot semi-auto introduced in 1967, the 14-shot pump-action Kel-Tec KSG (introduced 2011) and the most recent, the 16-shot SRM 1216 semi-auto. Obviously, the selling point for the last two is capacity as well as compactness.

The heart of the SRM 1216--aside from its recoil-operated, roller-lock action is a quick-detachable handguard assembly consisting of four 4-round rotating magazine tubes. Each tube can be loaded with varying types of 2-3/4 or 3-inch shotshells--buck, slug or birdshot. Rotating the tube cluster clockwise brings a different pre-loaded tube in line. If the bolt is left locked open, it will automatically chamber the first round from the next tube as it clicks into place. This actually takes longer to explain than to accomplish.

Originally--in keeping with the Buck Rogers aspect of the gun--we'd planned on using an Aimpoint Micro on an SRM 1216, but we lacked a tall enough mount to bring it up sufficiently to use with anything resembling a normal cheekweld (one AR-like drawback to a bullpup's straight-line stock). Fortunately, we had the solution on hand and quickly installed a set of Meprolight flip-up sights on the 1216's Picatinny rail. After some serious cranking on the elevation for the front and a bit of windage tweaking on the rear, we were good to go.

The trigger pull on our test sample was quite rough and heavy and the bolt stop/release-- situated about an inch below the front of the ejection port--required considerable effort to depress (for the most part, we made use of the auto-chambering feature when moving on to the next tube).

We loaded a tube with Federal Tru-Ball slugs to group at 25 yards and one with Winchester Super-X No. 1 Buck to pattern at...

To continue reading