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Short Lane Gun Adaptors
Short Lane Gun Adaptors

Writing for, Major Van Harl USAF, Ret. came across Short Lane Chamber Adapters at his LGS. The product gave Major Harl a major you-know-what. Although he didn’t test it – and you know we will – I reckon it’s a solution in search of a problem. Who looks at their 12, 20 or .410-gauge shotty and thinks, hmmm, if only it could get it to shoot .22? And 9mm! And .45 Long Colt! Never mind the extra weight up front, I could be The Lord of the Gun! One long gun to rule them all! Make the jump for the relevant deets and links . . .

Wisconsin –( So, I am in the big box gun store looking in the used long gun section and I spot an H&R single shot 20 gauge with rifle sights.

The tag said $99 and I could not figure out why so cheap a price. Then I opened up the action and found the rifling. People buy these rifled shotguns and then discover that in fact they are really only good for one thing, shooting slugs at extremely accurate long ranges. 

If the shotgun is one where you can remove the rifled barrel and replace it with a smooth bore then that is very handy. If, however, you have a shotgun that is rifled and a replacement barrel is not an option, you are very limited in how you can engage with said long gun.

I have this “thing” for used H&R single shot shotguns and believe if they are in good shape and priced $100 or less you never pass them up. So I bought this little orphaned shotgun and told the wife I was getting it for the daughter.

H&R Single Shot 20 gauge
H&R Single Shot 20 gauge

A big problem with rifled shotguns means slug-only ammo is fired down the tube and slugs are expensive. If you think you are going to buy 50-100 rounds of slug ammo and head to the range to get familiar with your new rifled shotgun, you are in for a costly day of shooting.

If you think you will slip some birdshot rounds of 20 gauge into the mix you will be disappointed. The rifling will basically spin and sling the shoot out of the barrel and it opens up into a very large pattern just feet from the end of your shotgun. You are not going to shoot rabbits or birds at thirty yards with a rifled shotgun.

Now an interesting side note is, if you are looking for an “alley sweeper” at very close range, bird or buck shot fired out of a rifled shotgun barrel can provide that unique and perhaps useful pattern.

Short Lane 12 Gauge To 45 ACP
Short Lane 12 Gauge To 45 ACP

If you want to extend the capabilities of your rifled, break open shotgun (and for that matter you smoothbore), Short Lane Chamber Adapters ( has a great line of adapters that can be inserted into your 12, 20 or 410 gauge shotguns ( ).

The adapters allow you to shoot multiple rim-fire and center-fire pistol rounds of ammunition very accurately from your shotgun. The 20 gauge Pathfinder Kit is a packaged selection of three inserts; 20 gauge to 22LR, 20 gauge to 9mm, and 20 gauge to 410/45Long Colt. The 20 gauge to 22LR adapter should allow you to use the most economic way of shooting your shotgun.

The only problem in this area is just trying to find 22LR ammunition.

Ray Banister the President of Short Lane advised me they consistently get 3-4 inch groups at 50 yards with the 20 gauge to 22LR (rifled) adapter. Now this is depending on your personal shotgun and ability to shoot that firearm. If you add a scope to your shotgun Mr. Banister suggests, you will get even better groupings.

The 20 gauge to 9mm is allowing the shooter to hit a 6 inch metal plate out at 100 yards. Engaging “walkers” at 100 yards with your cheap 9mm ammo is much more efficient in time of crisis than using up your expensive and heavier 20 gauge ammo.

Buffalo Bore Ammo ( has an excellent 9mm standard press SKU 24K/22 ball ammo you could use. Short Lane specifically instructs you not to use Plus-P ammunition in their adapters. In time of crisis you should always engage with your 22LR if at all possible before moving to the large, harder-to-replace center-fire ammo. With the 20 gauge to 410 / 45 Long Colt (not rifled) you can use 410 gauge shotgun ammo in your 20 gauge smooth bore shotgun. Buffalo Bore Ammo makes some great standard pressure 45 Long Colt ammunition.

The 45 LC SKU 3H/20 uses a 225 gr. Barnes XPB lead free bullet, but my favorite is the 45 LC SKU 3I/20 which uses a 225 gr. wadcutter, flat bullet that I find punches great .45 diameter holes in everything. This would be best used on “walker” size targets are 15-20 yards.

For someone who wants to put together a one-firearm, inexpensive, crisis, long gun emergency tool, a smooth bore single shot 20 gauge shotgun with the above Short Lane 20 gauge Pathfinder Kit would nicely fill that requirement.

Being prepared for an emergency or to redirect evil does not always have to be prohibitively expensive. He who has the tools wins, you just have to acquire the tools before you really need them.

Short Lane Pathfinder Kit - 20 Gauge Gun Adaptor Kit
Short Lane Pathfinder Kit – 20 Gauge Gun Adaptor Kit

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    • That’s about right.

      I’ve tried similar adapters over the years, and found several things to be true. Some of the downsides:

      – If your firearm has sights, the adapter-shot ammo never prints anywhere near where they are zeroed for full-power ammo. If you adjust the sights to work with the adapter ammo, you no longer have a good zero with your primary caliber ammo.

      – If your firearm doesn’t have normal iron or optical sights (such as just a bead on a shotgun), even if the adapter/ammo combo is fairly accurate, your gun doesn’t have the means to direct the shot to the target with a decent level of precision at reasonable ranges. If you get within 10-15 yards, with a bit of practice, you might be able to make it work. Farther than that? Good luck.

      – Even if you adjust the sights to match the adapter/ammo point-of-impact, if you remove the adapter and re-install it, it probably won’t shoot to the same POI.

      On the plus side:

      – If you have NO ammo for your firearm in its primary caliber, then ANY ammo, in combination with an adapter, is an improvement. Again, don’t expect a high level of accuracy, and expect to have to shoot enough of the converted caliber ammo to get a new zero or a solid feel for the new POI.

      – A .22 round, or small-caliber centerfire, fired in a long shotgun barrel through a short adapter, makes a different and somewhat unique report/noise, and in many cases, doesn’t sound like a “normal” shot. There may be some usefulness in the muffling and changed character of the shot’s report than can be utilized in certain situations.

      The only useful combo I have tried with sub-caliber adapters is a .22LR in a .223 adapter, in a specially set-up AR-style rifle. This particular AR had an optical sight and see-through mounts so I could still use the iron sights. I zeroed the iron sights for the .22LR ammo in the adapter, and left the optical sights zeroed for the .223/5.56mm ammo. With the adapter chambered and a magazine of centerfire ammo locked into the mag well, I could hunt small game at close range, using the rifle as a .22 single-shot, but if larger game presented itself, I could jerk the charging handle and be back to a semi-auto centerfire in a few seconds.

        • …or aggressive two-legged varmints.

          It’s not a bad setup, and I still keep it handy, although it doesn’t get used often (for either use). The adapter, a short dowel for knocking-out empties, and 20 rounds of .22LR fits in a waterproof bag and stores inside the AR’s pistol grip. Keeps the noise down for hunting, and saves the full-power ammo for more serious uses.

      • For AR, in my opinion, chamber adapters are a waste of time because you can just get a .22 CMMG conversion that replaces the BCG, and gives you all the same things and allows you to shoot .22 in semi-auto from a magazine (with adapters, you need one for every round that you intend to be in the mag, which gets very expensive very quickly).

        Regarding sights, I find that an adjustable rear iron sight works great – windage will be the same for .22 and .223, so you only need to adjust for elevation. I would normally do 50/200 battlesight zero for .223, then figure out how much I need to adjust for .22. For example, with USGI-standard Matech rear sight and 40gr CCI Mini-Mag, I found that after zeroing with .223 as described above, it shoots at POA at 25 yards when the sight is set one click after 300 (on the dividing line).

        One thing that I wish someone would do is make an adjustable rear sight for ARs that would have preset settings 50/200 zero for different kinds of ammo for a 16″ barrel, instead of range adjustments – i.e. a setting for 55gr .223, 55/62gr 5.56, 77gr 5.56, and standard velocity .22.

        • The replacement-AR-bolt-group adapters aren’t really the same as the small chamber-insert single-shot adapters, primarily because you have to take some parts OUT of the gun (and find a safe place to put them) before using the adapter, use/store dedicated rimfire magazines, etc., but…

          If you want semi-auto shooting of .22LR in an AR, I usually recommend a dedicated .22 upper or a whole dedicated gun, for a couple of reasons. First, the slide-in bolt group adapters crud-up the chamber pretty bad if you shoot more than a couple hundred rounds without a GOOD cleaning. If you remove the adapter and try to shoot without deep-cleaning the chamber, you’re almost certainly going to get failures to extract. Second, extended use of these semi-auto adapters will clog the gas tube with firing residue from the rimfire cartridges. Remember seeing all that partially-burned powder and sludge in your dedicated .22 rifle? A bunch of that crud ends up in the gas tube if you shoot lots of .22LR in a centerfire AR. Eventually, the gas tube plugs completely, and the AR becomes a single-shot. The gas tube will NEVER clog if only centerfire ammo is shot through an AR (military armorer/trainer speaking here), and because of this, the gas tube was never designed to be cleaned, just replaced if it was damaged (so forget all those tiny-diameter arm-length gas tube brushes). The single-shot adapters avoid this build-up problem by making it so inconvenient to shoot .22LR that you never get more than handful through the AR, and then, only in an emergency or short training sessions. What little crud that gets in during these short sessions is blown out during the next few centerfire shots. This is NOT true of LARGE amounts of rimfire crud which gathers during long plinking sessions, which will build-up, harden, and block or restrict the tube. Finally, the dedicated uppers are more reliable than the slide-in-bolt-group adapters.

          If you want to shoot semi-auto .22 in your AR, get a dedicated rimfire upper without a gas tube, and then you can just push two pins to swap the uppers. The sights on each upper (iron or optical) stay zeroed for the correct ammo, and you don’t have to worry about functioning problems (now, or later with the centerfire).

        • I’ve heard about gas tube clogging, but the consensus seems to be that you’ll only make it happen if you run a lot (like, several hundred) .22 rounds through the gun without ever shooting .223 out of it. Apparently, shooting 5-6 .223 rounds after the session basically just blows the tube clean again.

          It’s not really a concern for me personally, because the AR that I use it in is Adams Arms – piston-driven and with a gas regulator (not all piston conversions work with CMMG adapter, but AA does – the piston is short and doesn’t stick far enough into the receiver to interfere). So I just set the regulator to off and blast away.

        • In that case, after a good chamber-scrubbing, you are good-to-go.

          I’d not thought of the gas-piston ARs having that advantage. I’ll add it to the list…

          Thanks for mentioning it!

          (I have a Huldra Arms gas-piston upper; I believe they are made by Adams Arms. Nice unit, never had any problems with it, but not all that accurate; 2 MOA off a rest on a good day, far worse if it doesn’t like the bullet/load)

    • Yeah, I’m curious about how extraction is supposed to work. There doesn’t appear to be any on the .22 LR adapter. I’d think the shotgun would partially extract the adapter, but not fully.

      • Can’t say for sure on that exact model, but some other makes have the user knock out the empty with a short stick/dowel rod inserted from the front end of the adapter (means you have to first remove the adapter from the chamber).

  1. Well, I already have a single shot 12 guage, and one of those costs less than many boxes of ammo….

    You know if you were going on a very long hike and you wanted to hunt to reduce your dependence on sent-ahead food, this might be good. Or maybe for preppers this would be a good gun to stash somewhere in one of your caches.

  2. I can see a couple of uses for this:

    1. You live in the UK, Canada, or any other country where purchasing a firearm is prohibatively expensive. Buy one firearm, shoot multiple types of ammunition.

    2. You’re looking for a survival tool for emergency use. Pack one firearm that can use other found ammo.

    3. WROL. Just like above, keep these in case you find dropped ammo.

    None of these are good situations, and it’s not a good solution to any of those situations, but an ugly fix that works beats nothing every day of the week.

    • I’m guilty on this one (love the single-shot shotties!) With sketchy ammo availability at our remote cabin (central Maine), I keep a NEF single-shot 12. Stored in the stock screw-hole are GuageMate adapters for 20 gauge, 410, 22lr, 9mm, and .357.

      It actually patterns very well with the 20 gauge & 410 gauge. .357 POI is a little ‘low’, but easily compensated.

      Personally, I think it’s a pretty awesome, versatile set-up.

  3. The only thing similar I’ve used is a crossno .22lr liner for my .45-70 Shiloh sharps rifle. Finely accurate, and at least used to be cheap. Still an economical way to enjoy that big rifle though, way cheaper than handloading 520 grainers. And no BP fouling to clean up.

  4. I’ve been thinking about getting a 7.62x25mm Tokarev adaptor for my Mosin-Nagant. Same caliber (.311″) bullets, half the size cartridge. My thoughts is it’ll be a really light shooting round for new shooters to try the Mosin, and also I could maybe use it at pistol-only ranges.

    Only thing is 7.62x25mm Tokarev seems to be a little more expensive than 7.62x54mmR surplus.

    • I’ve been thinking the same thing, though I had no idea about the indoor pistol only ranges. That’s brilliant. They also make one in .32 which shoots a handful of different calibers.

  5. Following the two basic principles: “plan for the worst and hope for the best” and “two is one and one is none”, having just one firearm (especially in an emergency) is considered the same as having no firearms…so in that respect, I’m a big fan of having options at my disposal, even if those options are less than perfect or less than ideal, it’s still an option where none might have existed previously. In this instance, it could mean the difference between having a firearm or having a club (or having a club that makes noise).

    On a day to day basis, this probably has a significant amount of novelty and very little utility. In an emergency, if this is all you had, it could be the difference between some amount utility and nothing….and let’s face it, we’ve all spent more money on stuff that is even less useful than this could be…

    Just like the FrankenGlock ( provides several options from one platform (albeit probably much more functional)…this too might have a place in a survival/emergency/bug-out plan, or be able to provide for a low-cost “Plan C”, where none was previously affordable.

    (And for the record, I don’t own any of these but I have been kicking the idea around for a little while, as something else to toss into my “toolbox” of options.)

  6. Following the principles of: “plan for the worst and hope for the best” and “two is one and one is none”, having one firearm (for whatever reason) during an emergency is the same as having none. So, in that respect, I’m a big fan of having options, even if those options are less then perfect or less then ideal. It’s still an option where none might have existed previously. In this instance, it could mean the difference between having a firearm or having a club (or a club that goes bang).

    • I have 12 gauge to 20 gauge, 12 gauge to .40 S&W, and 12 gauge to .38/.357 adapters. They all work well out of my Uplander (double barrel) shotgun. I like them for the SHTF situations too. I only have one other firearm that will shoot 20 gauge, but I have many 20 gauge shells.

  7. This solves a problem that I do not have. In fact, I wonder how most people would find themselves with such a problem. Given the prices of ammo I do not feel inclined to buy calibers that I do not already have a perfectly functional firearm for.

    If I want to shoot .22 I will go and grab my .22 rifle and the same applies to 9mm and .45. The firearms I already own that shoot the ammo made for them will always function better/be more accurate than this setup.

    As for a survival situation, well weight matters so I doubt I would be toting around a bunch of ammo that I could not use in a firearm made for it.

    In a defensive scenario, well I am not fumbling around with this contraption, I have working firearms that will do much better than any single shot shotty.

    If all you want to do is grab a cheap 20 gauge and be able to shoot .22lr too, I can’t imagine buying a cheap .22 rifle would cost much if any more than this setup. It would perform better though.

    I just can’t reasonably come up with a use case for this sort of thing where I would actually use it. It just seems to be the sort of thing I would have to want to use to even bother with.

    • >> As for a survival situation, well weight matters so I doubt I would be toting around a bunch of ammo that I could not use in a firearm made for it.

      You’d still probably have more than one type of ammo, e.g. 12ga for your shotgun and .22 for your rifle. And then it may be advantageous to be able to make the shotgun also be able to fire that .22, at which point it becomes a backup to your primary .22.

        • Even then you’d probably still carry a handgun, and ammo for that handgun – and this would let you use that ammo in the shotgun, as well.

      • Yes weight matters so if you are carrying a 12ga there is only so much ammo you can carry, When or if you run out it’s nice to have the adapters to use other calibers if you can’t find 12 ga.
        My everyday woods gun is a savage 22/20 gauge – would be nice to have a 22mag 410 and or 357 mag adapters if i run out of 20ga

        • My ideal “survival gun” would actually be a .223/12ga drilling, with a .22LR chamber adapter for the .223 barrel, and 20ga + assorted pistol caliber adapters (at least 9mm, .45 ACP, .357 Mag and .44 Mag) for the .12ga barrel.

          I have found that .22-in-.223 adapters are actually accurate enough for practical use, so that set – .22, .223, 12ga – would give pretty much complete coverage for anything, from small game (.22) to deer-sized (.223, esp. with heavier bullets) to birds (12ga), all with efficient storage/weight allocation. Other adapters would be there primarily in case ammo supply runs out, to use whatever one can find.

          The only tricky part with these arrangements is that it also requires an elevation-adjustable sight, otherwise POA diff between .22 and .223 is too large. I’ve actually obtained a .223/12ga Savage 24 for experimentation in that direction, and I’m now pondering whether the best course of action is to mount an easily adjustable optic, or some iron sights.

          It would be really nice if someone made such a thing with everything set up out of the box, and a mounted rear sight that has presets for typical .22, .223 and 12ga loads.

        • @ int19h
          The 223/5.56 over 12 would be a good one.
          To bad Savage discontinued making there over unders, they are getting rare and drillings are expensive.
          CHIAPPA makes a 12ga over 22lr with several adapters called a M6 SURVIVAL RIFLE but the 223 would make it even more versatile.

        • Yeah, no kidding! I paid $1K for my 24F, and that’s the typical price for them on GunBroker.

          Meanwhile, the only new model Savage is still making is .22/.410, which strikes me as rather useless.

        • Think I paid about $200 maybe A little less for my 24C back in late 80s or early 90s.
          I’v had it so long i forget exactly.
          All I do know is it and my H&R model 649 22/22mag goes with me anytime I’m in the woods.
          I am researching adapters now– I want them at least ^” and I have seen some 10″

  8. One thing I don’t understand – normally a bullet needs rifling to put a spin on it and keep it stable after being fired. If I bought a 9mm adapter for my 12ga Baikal breech load single shot wouldn’t the bullet start to tumble? Am I missing something?

    I did see these adapters on, and I thought it was a great idea – but then I thought about rifling…

    • The adapter itself has a rifled barrel. Once the bullet leaves the adapter, it doesn’t touch the walls of the shotgun barrel at all.

      Of course, this means that you’re effectively firing it out of a 3″ (5″, 8″ – depending on adapter size) barrel.


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