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Shotguns in Vietnam

ElMuertoMonkeyElMuertoMonkey Member Posts: 12,898
edited November 2009 in US Military Veteran Forum
This is a bit of a Vietnam and gun question rolled into one: Just wondering how prevalent shotgun usage was in Vietnam as well as what models and whether or not they were effective for that terrain.

The reason I ask is because I know the british had a great deal of success using shotguns (Browning A5's, I believe - could be wrong here) in Malaysia, but I hear very little about their use by our guys in Vietnam.

I'd like to hear y'all's stories if there are any to be shared.

Comments

  • prangleprangle Member Posts: 1,462 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The shotgun was the Pointman's weapon when he wasn't hacking with a machete thru the jungle.We had Winchesters.Only useful in the jungle and village sweeps.
    Also the M-79 Grenade launcher had a canister round(buckshot).

    A-4th=12th-199th Inf Bgde
  • MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member Posts: 9,304 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    in my area they were very much in demand, we had Ithaca m-37's, savage m-67's, win. m-12 & 1200's and even a 97, and my favorite a m-11 rem.
  • dolfandolfan Member Posts: 4,159
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by MIKE WISKEY
    and even a 97 Interesting tidbit. I wonder if this was "government issued" or a trooper's personal weapon?
    I own a nice M-1897, made 1906. I've never shot it, because I was advised by many here on GB that they can be dangerous, something about the hammmer not staying in the cocked position and falling on a round when you pump it.
  • ElMuertoMonkeyElMuertoMonkey Member Posts: 12,898
    edited November -1
    dolfan,

    I've read on a few other forums that the older model of 1897's were capable of slam-firing, a characteristic that gave it such a fearsome reputation in World War One.

    From what I've read, so long as you kept the trigger depressed you could fire as fast as you could pump the action.
  • S. GrundyS. Grundy Member Posts: 67 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    i have no knowledge of the models being used but I have read that fletchette rounds were used. Mainly used against snipers that were in trees or otherwise well hidden. Anyone else come across this info?
  • MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member Posts: 9,304 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    "I own a nice M-1897, made 1906. I've never shot it, because I was advised by many here on GB that they can be dangerous, something about the hammmer not staying in the cocked position and falling on a round when you pump it."... there is no reason not to shoot it if it's in good condition, have a 'smith check it over. Just use the same caution as any 'hammer' type gun. these are very strong but as the other poster said, they will fire if you pump them with the trigger held back (same as a m-12).
  • buddybbuddyb Member Posts: 3,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    We had a few Ithaca 37s.I had never heard the rounds called fletchettes until the last few years.We called them bee hive rounds and they did what thay were intended for at close range.
  • dheffleydheffley Member Posts: 25,000
    edited November -1
    Saw several shotguns, but never carried one.
  • Tiger6Tiger6 Member Posts: 1,707 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    We normally had 2 per team.. Generally Ithaca 37 pumps, However we also had the 12 ga Winchester Liberator (4-barrel), later replaced by the 8-barrel 20 ga Colt Defender. Fletchette or #4 buck were the rounds I remember most. These were secondary weapons for close in (up to 30 yard) work..
  • rovernutrovernut Member Posts: 256 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I ocasionally carried one to clean up spider holes, or village clean up. Ours were Stevens, with a short stock. Ammo was buck-shot and bee-hive rounds. not good very far, but good at poker table range.
  • 101AIRBORNE101AIRBORNE Member Posts: 1,262 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The squad weapon shotgun that we used was the M 79 w/a varity of
    different shells. The fletchette and buck shot were typically
    inserted while on a mission. We never had a point w/ a 79.
    Point *almost always* carried the M 16.
  • freddbear4freddbear4 Member Posts: 154 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Arrived in country 7/65 as a squad leader. 3 fireteams and a grenadier. C.O. decided the squad leader could take over the M-79 and not have to direct the grenadiers fire. So, had a M-79,a 1911 and checked out a Winchester 97 12 ga pump. After a couple of night patrols I longed for my M-14 so I strapped the M-79 to my pack and went back to my M-14. Good move on my part--saved my life.
  • Grunt2Grunt2 Member Posts: 1,593 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I only saw Winchester during my tour. Our point always had a M79 unless we had a dog team as point...he always carried a CAR or an M-16. Buckshot was the norm but many loaded the 40MM with nails (fletchetts)...when back at the FSB...
    Retired LEO
    Combat Vet VN
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    our ship had ithaca 37 riot guns.
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    u.s.army photo.
    stevens model 77.
    bring back any memories for anyone?[:)]
    77.jpg
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • rovernutrovernut Member Posts: 256 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Yea, looks like mine!! Is that a Zippo in his hand??
  • nunnnunn Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 35,117 ******
    edited November -1
    A retired Sgt. who was my boss told me he had a special affection for the Ithaca 37, due to the fact that it has no disconnect. Hold the trigger down and pump and every time the bolt closes, it fires. He said you can shoot a gook three times before he can fall down with an Ithaca.
  • Myra-LouMyra-Lou Member Posts: 641 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I was in the 1/27 Inf (Wolfhounds) in the 25th Inf Div in nam in 65....I carried a Stevens 77E........It was like new and was a piece of junk......the sand and crud jamed it up and the only way you could eject was to slam the butt on the ground while you held onto the pump handle.....but it was better than the M16s of that era.....john
  • golf311golf311 Member Posts: 10 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    My Captain carried a shotgun in the bush...and a .45 strapped on his hip. This guy was huge, big enough to play in the NFL, and ugly, I mean it. What an apparition he was. Tough, but very good to the snuffies.
  • nunnnunn Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 35,117 ******
    edited November -1
    I hope a non-vet can post here.

    A good many years ago, my PD adopted the Ithaca 37 for a patrol shotgun, mainly because of the insistence of the firearms instructor we had at that time. He was a Vietnam vet, Marine, mean as hell.

    I remarked that the Ithaca has no disconnect, and will fire every time you work the pump, as long as you hold the trigger back. He laughed and said, "Yeah, you can shoot a gook three times before he can hit the ground."
  • CapnMidnightCapnMidnight Member Posts: 8,520
    edited November -1
    Some of our point men carried 79s, some carried Winchesters. 79s were handy, could be used for alot of good stuff, but a shot gun was a far supior point weapon, as far as keeping your * alive.
    I own a model 97 win 12ga that was built in 1919. I shoot it with lo base trap loads and have no problems at all. Last year I broke 21 out of 25 and won the oldest gun event.
    HHT 2-1 A Cav. 68-69
  • Lanark SixgunnerLanark Sixgunner Member Posts: 130 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Did any of you carry the Browning A-5, or were the Brits the only ones to?
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    navy had the A5 look-a-likes, remington model 11's.
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • BuffaloGunBuffaloGun Member Posts: 12 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Having been USAF, I never had much call to carry anything other than the .38 Colt revolvers we were issued as air crews, but I met up with a friend from home who was USMC at Na Trang in '71 and he was carring the M97 Winchester. Today I own an original M97 trench gun and a new ChiCom copy and both will slam fire as noted. I consider it more a feature than a defect.
  • lamblouielamblouie Member Posts: 2 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Served on two subs in the gulf of tonkin in 64 and 66 and we had mod 12 winchester pump 12 ga. plus other small arms. Were allowed to have personal wepons, mine was a mod 29 S&W 357 mag. still have it today
  • River RatRiver Rat Member Posts: 9,022
    edited November -1
    This is a question that comes up from time to time, because with the advent of new weaponry the military always wonders if shotguns are no longer needed. Then the grunts find another niche for it. I understand in Iraq today they are used to blow open locks, although I would think that they are unmatched in classic house-to-house urban combat.

    We had a shotgun issued for each of our patrol boats (PBRs). The deal was, if we put a radioman on the "beach" -- ahead of the boat -- as a lookout he was to carry the shotgun with him. During my very brief experience, in 1972, the M-16 had evolved out of the original mistrust due to unsuitable ammo. Our radioman preferred the M16 to a shotgun, and I think most others did also. They were pumps, can't say what make. Have heard of some serviceman in Vietnam buying auto shotguns on their own, and cutting down the barrels.
  • lamblouielamblouie Member Posts: 2 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    We used the 12's to repel boarders, also had thompsons. Only broke them out one time. Next time in port I picked up a case of 9 pellets(9 22cal. shot in each round) better than slugs. Mod 12 holds 5.
  • Belt Fed .50 Cal.Belt Fed .50 Cal. Member Posts: 15 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    We had one man in my unit who carried a Rem. 870 loaded with buckshot. It was the only shotgun we had.
  • SAM-USMCSAM-USMC Member Posts: 31 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The shotguns in our unit were Remington 870's loaded with 00 Buckshot. It was mostly a SGT's weapon. I remember when we'd go out on 6 man night ambushes and the SGT.would say, "When the GOOKS go by, no one opens up until you hear my shotgun blast".
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