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Heritage Mfg. Badlander Shotgun

A New Short-Barrel Scattergun for Western Action Shooting

Heritage Manufacturing is well known for its Rough Rider Single Action .22 RF six-shooters. Recently, the company has branched out into long gun production with a Rough Rider revolver carbine, a Settler .22 RF lever action rifle (plus a Mare’s Leg version), and now they are offering a Turkish-made, side-by-side, double barrel shotgun called the Badlander.

A Most Versatile Firearm

            On the frontier, the shotgun could provide meat for the table, home, and self-protection, plus it was used by lawmen, stage coach and express messengers; they also ended up in the hands of outlaws too. They could be formidable in close-range encounters and often just the sight of the gapping muzzles of a side-by-side 10 or 12 ga. scattergun was intimidating enough to stop a fight before it got started. Short-barrel versions were often referred to as “coach guns” and were certainly just what was needed on a stage, by the man riding “shotgun,” traveling out into the Badlands.

The Heritage Badlander 12 GA Side by Side

            The first thing I noticed about the Heritage Badlander was the short barrels. Most “Coach Guns” sport barrels 20-22” in length; this model has 18.5” barrels, just above the legal limit. It’s also noteworthy that this side-by-side double has tapered cylinder-bore barrels with no choke. Said barrels are fastened together by upper and lower ribs; the upper rib makes for a good sighting plane. At the muzzle is a brass bead front sight. The barrels, receiver and other metal parts are alloy steel and have a non-reflective black chrome coated finish. The pistol-grip butt-stock and forend are checkered and made of Turkish walnut, with a satin finish. On the butt is a rubber recoil pad, and on the toe of the butt-stock, on the right side, is the Heritage “brand.” Wood to metal and metal to metal fit, and overall finish was very good.

The pistol grip butt-stock is made of Turkish walnut, it is checkered, has a recoil pad, and Heritage brand; the author likes the double triggers.

            There are a lot of features I like about the Badlander. It has a basic box-lock action with concealed hammers that are cocked as the barrels are hinged down from the breech for loading. It is unlocked for loading with a standard top-lever latch, that is pushed to the right. On the tang is a manual safety; pulled back is safe, pushed forward is fire. It and the top lever and safety are in a very good place for fast and easy operation. As per Western Action Shooting (WAS) requirements, there is no automatic ejector, just an extractor that lifts the empty shells out about ¼.” It also has double triggers, which I prefer, in case I want to pull them both at once! Markings are few and are laser etchings located on the bottom of the receiver. Nothing gaudy about this smooth-bore at all.

Also of Turkish walnut, the forend is checkered and you can see the latch to remove it; the bottom of the receiver has the only markings on the gun.

            The Badlander is lightweight at 6.4 Lbs. and the length of pull from the front trigger is 14-3/4”. I found that is comes to the shoulder quickly, its balance is just ahead of the trigger guard, with a slight muzzle-heaviness, and the eye lines up with the front bead sight quickly. It has all the attributes of simplicity and durability, plus an old-school design, that fills the bill for WAS. Although the website and catalog list this shotgun only in 12 ga., my test gun was one of the first to be imported in 20 ga. Take-down of an unloaded gun is simple, pull the safety catch back to the safe position. On the bottom of the forend is a latch. The end of the latched is in a hollowed-out circle; using a fingertip, pull down on the latch and simultaneously pull down and forward on the forend for removal. Now, with one hand, grasp the barrels and with the other, push the unlocking lever to the right. Tip the barrels down and back slightly and they will separate from the receiver. That’s all you need to do for cleaning. Re-assembly is in reverse order.

This image shows the Badlanders manual safety catch in the rear/safe position; you can also see the top lever that unlocks the barrels to hinge down for loading.
At the muzzle of the shotgun is a brass bead front sight; note the non-reflective finish on the barrels, which is a black chrome coating.           

   Quickie Range Workout 

            Due to deadline scheduling, I wasn’t able to get the Badlander out to a Western Action Shooting match. I was curious about how the short, cylinder-bore barrels would pattern at a typical distance used for WAS target placement. I chose to shoot patterns at 12 yards. For this exercise, my ammunition was Remington Game Loads, that in 20 ga., have a 2-3/4” length, low brass, a factory velocity of 1225 FPS, and carries 7/8 oz. of #7-1/2 lead shot. The targets I used were Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C B-27 target centers; they are perfect for patterning and the pellet impacts show up with yellow halos on a black background. I fastened two of them side-by-side and affixed a yellow aiming circle in the middle of the two targets. 

            Loading the Badlander, I brought it up to my shoulder and pulled the first trigger, setting off the shell in the left-side barrel. The pattern was fairly dense, but more centered on the right-side target, and slightly high. Replacing the target, I put up another and shot it with the right-side barrel. It was much better centered, still slightly high, but had good pattern density. A compressed, well-centered pattern is good, because in WAS, with the shotgun there are no misses, you shoot until you hit. Targets must be visibly impacted or in the case of falling targets; they must fall.

Western Action Shooting rules dictate that shotguns can only have extractors that lift shells out of the chamber, but don’t eject them; the Badlander qualifies.

            I brought out an 8” steel plate, painted white, mounted on a post-stand. At the same 12-yard distance, I engaged the target several times. The low-brass, #7-1/2 shot loads rocked it pretty good, so I am confident that this shotgun will do the job that need be done for WAS competition. I had no problems or malfunctions during my short evaluation. I do plan to take it out to an actual WAS match in a few days, so we’ll see how the chips fall. The MSRP seems a bit on the high side compared to similar imported shotguns, but we’ll see what the “street price” turns out to be. For more information, go to www.heritagemfg.com

Here you can see the patterns produced by the Badlanders 18-1/2” barrels, that are cylinder bore, with no choke; shooting was done at 12 yards, with Remington shells.

Badlander Specifications 

MECHANISM:             Box-lock, concealed hammer          

CALIBER:                    12 and 20 ga.

CAPACITY:                  2 shotshells   

BARREL:                     18-1/2”         

OA LENGTH:              34-7/8”

EMPTY WEIGHT:       6.4 Lbs.

SIGHTS:                      Brass bead front sight

FINISH:                       Black chrome coating

STOCKS:                      Turkish walnut, checkered

MSRP:                         $893.99

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