This is the time of year I load up my trusty Mossberg 500 shotgun, put on my mask, and set up a pumpkin course to keep my shotgunning skills razor sharp.


A pumpkin looking stressed out on a 3-foot-high wood pedestal. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

First I drive into town to buy two dozen of the plumpest pumpkins I can find. I bring them to my father's farm where my nephew gets to work carving them, or drawing faces on them with a marker.

While he's busy, I head out to the field behind the house. There are no neighbors for almost a mile in every direction. There I set up six pedestals using cinder blocks and pieces of wood. You want them to be about 3-feet-high and 15-yards apart in somewhat of a straight line.

I then go get Big Red.


1985 Honda 200cc Big Red 3-wheeler. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Big Red is a 1985 Honda 200cc 3-wheeler. It continues to purr like a kitten despite little to no maintenance - a testament to quality. You can buy these fairly cheap because they were banned in 1998 by the federal government for being too dangerous.


Pumpkins placed on pedestals about three feet high and 15-yards apart. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Using Big Red, I get the pumpkins my nephew's prepared and place one on each pedestal. By then it's time to go get my brother who has agreed to be my driver.


My nephew and brother posing for a photo on Big Red. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Since it's Halloween, we have to wear masks to get into the right mood. This year, I got my brother an eyeball mask and myself a Friday the 13th style hockey mask. My brother will steer Big Red at about 20 miles per hour between the pumpkins as I engage them off the back with my shotgun.


My trusty Mossberg 500 SPX Tactical 12-gauge shotgun.  (Photo: Ben Philippi /

For shotgunning like this, my trusty Mossberg 500 is my go-to gun. I've owned it for about eight years and I absolutely love it. It's never let me down and I've put well over 1,000-rounds through it.

I can fit five 2.75-inch rounds in the tube, and one in the chamber. That gives me a good amount of firepower. Reloads are a bit tricky when you're bumping around on the back of Big Red, so we keep the targets to six.


For shooting pumpkins, Winchester's Universal 12-gauge 2 3/4-inch #8 shot is perfect. It's affordable as well. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

Winchester's Universal 12-gauge 2 3/4-inch #8 shot is perfect for shooting pumpkins. It's also affordable. You can pick up a box of 25-rounds for about $10. It's low power, low recoil, and it's got a good spread.

Once we've triple checked the field to be clear of people and animals, my brother puts Big Red into gear, and I jump on the back. He hits the juice and we take off across the field. As the pumpkins come into view, I engage them. It's an absolute blast and challenging as well. The faster you go, the harder it is.


A pumpkin carved by shotgun. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

This is some of the best shotgun practice I've found. I highly recommend it. You can use a pickup truck instead of Big Red. Just make sure you're stable on the back, have comms with the driver, and never break the 180-degree rule.

Happy Halloween.


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