By Eric Nestor
Ever wish your 12 gauge shotgun didn’t tear up game when you’re shooting up close? Short Lane Gun Adapters thought about the problem and they believe they have you covered. Their solution: the Short Lane Gunadapters Stack-N-Pack Kit, and we’re pleasantly surprised at how it performed.
When armed with a break action shotgun (single shot or double barrel variety), the big 12 gauge shot shell is sometimes overkill. The ability to fire a 20 gauge or even a .410 bore shell can come in handy depending on what you’re hunting. Different calibers and gauges for your trusty shotgun could really help fill the freezer if you’ve got small game around and only the one gauge, as many of us do.
The shotgun I used for this review is a tried and true H&R Topper Model 88 in 12 gauge that shoots 3″ shells. This type of shotgun can be found just about anywhere and is very affordable. I wanted something simple, without bells and whistles to experiment with the bare-bones approach to transforming the shotgun.
The Short Lane Gun Adapters Stack-N-Pack is a series of three adapters designed to drop into a 12 gauge break action shotgun chamber. The first adapter takes 12 gauge down to 20 gauge. The second goes from 20 gauge to .410 bore/.45 Colt. Finally, the third adapter goes from.410 bore/.45 Colt down to .22 Long Rifle. All are smooth bored. You can use one or all of them together.
The adapters nest inside each other both for easy storage and use, depending on the caliber you’re shooting. It’s a neat, outside the box idea. A small rod serves as an ejector that then sits inside the .22 Long Rifle adapter and it’s all housed in a rubber o-ringed plastic twist top polymer case.
Short lane makes longer eight-inch dedicated adapters that are rifled, but I was particularly interested to see how these short, non-rifled adapters would do shooting a .22LR.
Range day came with targets provided by my friends at Silverado Arms LTD. The .22 Long Rifle ammunition used was Federal bulk pack 36 grain hollow points.
With all inserts nested together in the chamber, I situated the .22 Long Rifle chamber to the 12 o’clock position. The .22LR chamber is situated off-center and Short Lane recommends orienting it at either the 12 o’clock or the 6 o’clock position, whichever is most accurate from your shotgun.
On my first shot I was low at 12 yards. I then rotated the adapter to a 6 o’clock position. That did the trick. I fired five shots that grouped into two inches. Clearly, this isn’t a long-range option, but from a non-rifled adapter through a smoothbore shotgun, that’s not bad at all at short range.
I noticed some tumbling of the rounds and key-holing on the target. To test the energy of the rounds, I fired a few more .22LR cartridges at a 700-page catalogue to test penetration. All rounds fired penetrated the catalogue and kept on going.
The next adapter I tried was the .410 bore/.45 Colt insert. This was tested using Remington Express Long Range 3″ Magnum loads in #6 at 12 yards. Let’s just say, if that target had been a rabbit, it would have had a really bad day.
While the .410 charge patterned well, I was curious of the power and penetration performance. At the same 12 yard distance, I fired a round into a 700-page catalog. The #6 lead shot made it to page 98 before stopping. If you were hunting small game, the #6 lead pellets proved to have more than enough power in this test.
The last test was with the 20 gauge insert. Federal 2.75″, 7/8 ounce, #7.5 lead shot loads were used. This time I backed up 15 yards from the target and fired off a round. The shot covered the target evenly.
All of the cartridges and shot shells I fired using the Short Lane Gun Adapters Stack-N-Pack fired without any problems. While I convinced myself the .22 Long Rifle adapter was good enough to work in a desperate situation, it would really prove itself most useful dispatching trapped animals or as a training tool. Maybe if there was some added rifling within that adapter, it would help increase the accuracy and hold bullet tumble to a minimum.
I expected the shot patterns to be sub par, but the patterns from the adapters were surprisingly good, both on-target and even. The groups were certainly compatible with what you’d expect from a good small game shotgun. The shot shells extracted easily with a simple push of the finger, but the .22 Long Rifle adapter required the use of the supplied ejecting rod.
A quick word of warning: If your break action shotgun has automatic ejectors, you need to be careful. Put your hand behind the Stack-N-Pack shotgun adapter insert(s) before opening your action or watch it fly over your shoulder.
As for use case, the Short Lane Stack-N-Pack is an ideal survival or SHTF tool that lets you adapt one firearm to a variety of uses. The ability to convert a 12 gauge shotgun into something that shoots 20 gauge, .410/.45 Colt and .22 Long Rifle loads would come in extremely handy.
Used as a bug-out tool, you’ve got something that can be easily carried and adjusted to fit your needs depending on the situation. Most importantly, it can be utilized relatively quickly and safely in a jiffy. I want to reiterate how simple and small adjustments were all that was needed to really see the advantage of this thing.
If you’re hunting, using smaller shotshells this is great for up-close small game harvesting. The fact that these adapters can be used individually in other smaller gauge shotguns just makes them even more appealing.
Overall, I feel the Short Lane Gun Adapters Stack-N-Pack is a very useful product for any hunter, prepper, or recreational shooter. Plus, they’ve fun to shoot. Short Lane’s products are made in the US and ship free.
Specifications: Short Lane Stack-N-Pack Kit
Construction: Stainless steel
Calibers: 20 ga, .410, .45 Colt and .22LR
Ratings (out of five stars):
Function: * * * * *
The Stack-N-Pack set works exactly as advertised. It lets you adapt your 12 gauge gun to a variety of other calibers quickly and easily.
Accuracy: * * * *
Better than expected, especially with center fire cartridges. Shot shell patterns were very good. Just don’t expect center fire accuracy out past about 15 yards. Then again, that’s not what the product is intended for.
Ease of Use: * * *
The adapters are well made and nest perfectly. It’s easy enough to drop one or a combination of them in your chamber and get to shooting. The steel rod for ejecting .22LR casings is on the short side and fiddly. You might do better carrying a chopstick. Oh, and watch out if your shotgun has ejectors.
Overall: * * * *
A surprisingly good product for the money. If you’re looking for survival or SHTF versatility this is a worthy, affordable option.