Gun Review: The Puma Camper Multi-Gauge Shotgun

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

Travis Pike for TTAG

Impulse buying guns isn’t easy to do with the price most go for. Even “cheap” guns rarely offer enough value for an impulse purchase. However, sometimes a low price and a lot of value gets me in trouble. For example, that time I ran across the Puma Camper.

The Puma Camper — also sometimes advertised as the Howa or Howa-Legacy Camper — is a Turkish made shotgun imported by Legacy Arms. This is a single shot shotgun that comes with three barrels, 12 and 20 gauge as well as a .410 bore tube — all for the low, low price of right around $160.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

I love a fitted case (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I saw this little gun at my local gun store and when the proprietor whipped out the other two barrels, I had to have it.

I don’t necessarily have a purpose for it, but the value of it alone sold me. The price includes all three barrels and a rather lovely carrying case for them. The carrying case has four pockets, one for each barrel and a large pocket for the receiver and stock.

The Puma Camper is a very simple shotgun. It has a front bead sight, sling swivels, and two spacers you can remove to adjust the length of pull. The barrels are all 18.5 inches and the gun folds in half for easy, secure storage. It fits in the bag folded, just barely, but it fits.

The LOP can change from 14.5 at its longest to 12.5 at its shortest. The Camper is super lightweight and is outfitted with ugly, but functional furniture.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

It looks so nice (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The stock has a hollow cavity that allows for secure storage of survival goods, and the gun does float, which is a nice touch.

Bring a Tool

Taking it apart and putting it together is relatively simple. Swapping barrels can be done in under a minute. I would suggest keeping a small multi-tool in the gun’s bag. This makes it easier to swap barrels, change spacers, or access any survival goodies you’ve stashed in the stock. Barrel swaps can be made without the tool, but the pliers and a punch make it easier.

To swap barrels, you have to remove the front sling swivel and the handguard. Pliers come in handy here. From there, the user needs to open the gun up and punch out a large pin. A multi tool’s punch makes that easier, too. The barrels then separate from the receiver.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

You also have to be mindful of the extractor. The gun comes with three identical extractors and a small space pin for each. They remained locked in place until you remove the barrel from the receiver. Installing everything is smooth and is something you can do in the field.

The .410 barrel has a grip adapter to allow the forend to easily fit the much smaller barrel. That adapter will pop off easily, so be mindful of that.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

The extractor (Travis Pike for TTAG)

To change the shotgun’s LOP, you have to remove the long screws, then remove the spacers, then install the included short screws — another problem my multi-tool solved.

Bug-Out Ready

There is a certain appeal this gun will have for those looking for a bug-out weapon. It won’t be a good fighting weapon, but the Puma Camper is a reliable game getter with lots of scavenging potential.

The lightweight folding design make it pretty unobtrusive compared to a traditional shotgun, and the three barrels give you all sorts of ammo options.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

Folds up Nicely (Travis Pike for TTAG)

It’s also pretty hard to mess up a single-barreled shotgun. The designs are so simple that they have very few failure points. The Camper is similarly straightforward to use and is about as brain dead as it gets.

The controls are just a safety and barrel release. The safety is a simple cross-bolt design, and the barrel release is a lever forward of the trigger guard. Once opened, the extractor pushes the shell out for easy removal.

The Three Bears and the Puma Camper

I’d love to tell you that I fired 500 rounds of each caliber, but I didn’t. That’s quite expensive to do, and getting through just 25 rounds per barrel takes some time with a single shot.

I ended up doing 25 rounds of game loads for each barrel, and then ten rounds of buckshot for each caliber. On top of that, I also fired some mini shells in twelve gauge and some slugs for the 410. Twenty gauge ammo is surprisingly tricky to find locally beyond bird and some buckshot loads.

That’s a shame because 20 gauge seems to be the best caliber for the Puma Camper. It’s very much a Goldilocks situation in which the 20 gauge is just right.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The .410 is cute and an excellent small game getter. It makes the gun ultra-lightweight, and with the right load you can even take smaller deer and coyotes. It’s easy to shoot, but the ammo costs as much or even more than 20 gauge loads. Winchester Super X 20 gauge buckshot loads cost about 95 cents per round. The .410 Super X loads are about 1.30 per round.

Twelve gauge, of course, gives you the most extensive ammo selection overall. In a lightweight shotgun like the Camper, most lighter birdshot loads are okay, but a full-powered 2 ¾ load smacks you nice and hard.

If 12 gauge is your goal, invest a slip-on recoil pad because the included one sucks. I’m not a recoil sensitive shooter, but single shots will deliver a nice pounding with full-powered buckshot.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

One significant advantage for the Puma Camper and the 12 gauge barrel is you can use mini shells from Federal, Aguila, and Challenger. Especially the slugs.

These are much lighter recoiling, but still pack more than a .44 Magnum’s worth of power. Out to 35 yards, I made smooth hits on a ten-inch gong target.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

Slugs for Days (Travis Pike for TTAG)

In 20 gauge, I found the recoil to be just right. It’s not painful like the 12 gauge and you get a lot more power than the .410 delivers. Plus, the ammo is either cheaper or at least the same cost as the little .410. The smaller shells also mean lighter carry weight for bug-out situations, as well as the ability to pack more of them.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

Love Shotguns (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Going Bang

The Puma Camper reliably went bang with each and every shell. It never gave me a problem and didn’t produce any weird patterning.

It’s as simple as it gets. The chokes are fixed and I can’t find any information regarding their choke design. I’m assuming cylinder bore due to the performance I got with Olin company buckshot.

Puma Camper shotgun three barrels

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Puma Camper is a neat little gun that offers a lot of value for a meager price. Legacy Arms has zero information on their website about these guns, but they’re out there for sale, so take it for what you will. They’d be an excellent investment as a Christmas gift and a fun firearm that can grow with a shooter.

Specifications: Puma Camper

Caliber: 12, 20 and 410
Barrel Length(s): 18.5 inches
Overall Length:  35.5 inches (Folded Length 18.75 inches)
Weight (varies by barrel): 12 Gauge – 4.65, 20 Gauge – 4.55 pounds, .410 – 4.5 pounds
LOP Length: 12.5 – 13.5 -14.5 depending on spacers
Price: About $160 retail

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * * *
It’s a shotgun that does shotgunny things. I took off one point for lack of interchangeable chokes. That would help shooters extend their range and control their patterns more.

Ergonomics * * * *
Easy, simple controls, an adjustable LOP, and decent enough furniture make this simple gun score high. However, the recoil for 12 gauge buckshot loads can be pretty rough and the included recoil pad is dinky.

Reliability * * * * *
It’s a single-shot shotgun. It doesn’t jam or fail to cycle, etc. It goes bang, and that’s all.

Value * * * * *
Three calibers in one gun for less than $200? Hell yeah, that’s a good value.

Overall * * * * 1/2
As far as cheap guns go, this one offers more value than any other in my perspective. You can hunt nearly anything with it, and anyone of almost any size and experience can use it. If I were Legacy Sports, I’d be trying to sell this gun hard instead of ignoring it.

comments

  1. avatar Kevin says:

    Excellent review, thanks! I like seeing reviews of $160 guns that mere mortals like most of us can afford. I also like to read the reviews of the $3400 rifles. Please keep up the balanced selection! Thanks.

  2. avatar Spectre_USA says:

    Hadn’t heard of these before, and it seems a heckuva deal!

    I have a 13 year old Grandson and Christmas is coming, something he can grow into.

    Thanks for the heads up!

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      .410 now… I started with a .410 single shot at 10. Dang, shotguns are fun. In May/June I wrote an article about changing things up. Went from static range back to shotguns/clays and now shooting is fun again.

  3. avatar jwm says:

    The single shot shotgun is the most basic and likely most useful true survival gun out there. I have several and I still will take one hunting on occasion. Like this Thursday. I will be in an area that allows for real chances at a very mixed bag of game. Quickly swapping out shell types is a good thing there.

  4. avatar Lost Down South says:

    “…is a Turkish made shotgun…”

    OH! What a surprise. Didn’t see that coming. :^/

    It’s really too bad. Lots of neat scatter guns coming out of Turkey…but I can’t (won’t) buy from them.

  5. avatar “shiggs” says:

    Been a fan of single shot hammerless guns since I first laid eyes and hands on the Savage models 219 & 220. Glad we have a modern option.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Hmmmm….sounds like you’re old….like me.

      I always liked the H&R hammerless gun.

      Single shots are my favorite utility gun for around the house.

  6. avatar 007 says:

    Turkish coffee? maybe. Turkish guns? never.

  7. avatar Theguywiththegun says:

    This would be way more appealing (and prolly more expensive) if they nixed the 20 and .410 barrels and just added a 5.56 barrel with an adjustable peep.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      That would compete with the Howa bolt guns so probably not going to happen.

  8. avatar Hoyden says:

    Waiting on 10 gauge/16 gauge/28 gauge combo?

    Can the .410 barrel handle .45LC?

    Signed, NeverSatisfied

    1. avatar bontai Joe says:

      I wasn’t thinking much about the 10 gauge (too much kick and not easily found), but I share your desire for 16 and 28 gauge barrels. A .22 LR barrel would be nice too, maybe a .22 insert for one of the other barrels. My dear departed grandfather always hunted with a single shot shotgun. He’d put two shells in his pocket and come home with two “somethings” he killed for meat. Could have been two birds, one bird and one rabbit, or one rabbit and one squirrel. I still have that gun….. lot of history in it, goes back to my grandfather’s grandfather.

  9. avatar ChoseDeath says:

    Great review and a neat little gun!

  10. avatar mrbadnews says:

    12, 20, & 30-30. Now that’d be a great combo. Perfect first gun setup.

  11. avatar Apollo Creedmoor says:

    I’m waiting for the one that comes with three barrels in Creedmoor, Creedmoor, and Creedmoor.

  12. avatar Montesa_vr says:

    Now that you’ve pointed out that 20 gauge is the sweet spot, I think I’ll just buy a single shot that doesn’t come apart. Cheaper than Dirt has some selection with 18.5″ barrels.

    What’s wrong with an external hammer? Better than a safety.

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