So which is it? The shotgun or the 22 caliber rifle? I made my case against the shotgun for survival in the previous installment but readers like you have made me reevaluate. So what is the game changer? Shotgun adapters. Shotgun adapters are machined steel cylinders that mimick the shotgun shell but allow the user to fire other rounds of ammunition be it a smaller gauge of shotgun or even centerfire or rimfire ammunition meant for rifles or pistols. But are they practical to use in survival?

Inspired by the readers and commenters in the last installment, I reached out to Short Lane in Miles City, Montana for help. They are makers of fine shotgun adapters in various lengths, gauges, and calibers of the highest quality and they were kind to send a few my way to test. Here is a full review of some of their products.

Shotgun adapters are machined to fit into a shotgun like a shell intended for the gun but is bored, reamed, and sometimes even rifled, to shoot a smaller round. For example, an adapter can be had for a 12 gauge shotgun that fires mild and light .410 gauge ammunition or even .22 LR cartridges. But not all is perfect.

Shotguns are imperfect solutions to imperfect survival and so are adapters . But here is the good news about having adapters in your survival kit.

1) They allow you to carry a variety of ammunition. If you had an adapter that uses 22 LR rounds, you can carry a lot more ammunition to hunt small game. But you can still pack some bird shot and slug shells, just in case.

2) They weigh only a few ounces. This means you can have the ultimate versatility with little trade off. Your ratio of ammunition can be adjusted, if necessary.

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But shotgun adapters have a few downsides too.

1) They are a piece that may be lost. An adapter is another piece to go into the kit and it is another piece that may be lost but the good news is that some models (like some Short Lane models) feature an O-ring that keeps the adapter in the gun until you mean to take it out.

2) They are only accurate at shorter range. The adapters only stabilize the projectiles the length of the adapter itself and therefore won’t have the accuracy of a gun made for that caliber. That does not say that bullets fired from adapters will not reach out with accuracy, but it definitely takes practice and best accuracy is at short range. But small game hunting is usually a short range affair anyway.