Self Loading Shotgun Reliability


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Nightcrawler
December 31, 2002, 04:18 PM
Self Loading shotguns, to many minds, are still considered second rate behind pumpguns for "serious" useage, due to reliability concerns. While many law enforcement agencies are using recoil-operated Benelli autoloaders, those typically won't see hundreds of rounds in one session like a 3-gun shotgun or some such would.

The US Military is buying the Benelli M4 (US XM1014), though I'm not convinced this piece is any better than the Mossberg 590A1s they have now. SWAT didn't give Benelli's first gas gun a stellar review, but that was due mainly to little annoyances with the design. Frankly, from the report, I think with some of those things, an experienced maker like Benelli should've known better.

Anyway, is there something about the design of modern gas-operated shotguns that inhibits reliability? I'm unclear on how they work, exactly. Do they use a gas piston like a FAL or AK rifle? Do they use direct gas like an AR-15? Something else?

The idea that self-loading weapons aren't reliable was the reason that many militaries and police agencies stuck with manually operated long arms and revolvers for decades. While it's true that something you manually operate for each shot will, by nature, probably jam less often than a self loading arm, current technology makes self-loaders reliable enough for combat use. My FAL just doesn't jam, and I've never had a problem with it except for sharp feed lips on new magazines. I'd bet my life that it'd fire a magazine without any problems. (I understand that it could very well malfunction, and routinely practice jam clearing drills, though).

So the question is, are modern autoloading shotguns really unrelaible? What could be done to make them as relaible as comparable self-loading rifles and handguns?

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Will Beararms
December 31, 2002, 04:36 PM
i cannot answer most of your ?'s. What i can tell You is I have hunted around shotguns for a long time with folks that hunt ducks 60 days plus a year. I have seen all of them choke.

Last year I saw both a Mossberg 835 pump and Remington 870 pump hang up so bad the could not be used further in the same day. I have seen Benelli Super Black Eagles, Super 90's and M1's hang up. I have seen more than one Remington 1187 spit an extractor and more than one blow the o ring that seals the gas action.

Bottom line on a semi auto is they must be cleaned frequently and cleaned throroughly with a complete takedwon at least once a year to function.

Another bottom line is pumps and autos will break down if used alot. Where Benelli shines is with the bores. All Benelli Barrels are made by Beretta who owns the majority of Benelli. The barrels are chrome lined and impervious to the elements. Beretta has been making barrels since 1470 and no one can do it better.

Matthew Courtney
December 31, 2002, 04:42 PM
Remington 1100's and 11-87's are 100% reliable if you replace the o-rings and extractors every 3000 rounds and clean them after every outing.

I did have some problems with Fiocchi shells. Went back to the big three and had no problems.

Will Beararms
December 31, 2002, 04:44 PM
The achilles hill of semi autos is the recoil mechanism in the stock. It sweats and corrodes over time----------------all do it. SURE CYCLE makes a high end Stainless Steel replacement unit that resolves this issue. The are available at Mack's Prairie Wings of Stuttgart, AR the undisputed foremost authority in waterfowling equipment. They are on the web but I do not have the url now. I am not a Marine but I duck hunt in flooded timber and we subject shotguns to brutal treatment.

My weapons of choice are: Blind: Beretta Blackwing O/U, Wading in flooded timber: Rem. 870 or Beretta 390 series. I also have access to Rem. 1187's and I like them too and hunted many times with an 1187.

1187's are good but they spit extractors around the 5K round count and the o rings on the gas seal area go bad-------------both easy field fixes.

Will Beararms
December 31, 2002, 04:45 PM
Also, the M4 is a hybrid-------------both gas and recoil operated giving you the best of both worlds. My source? A person from Italy who works for Beretta that I know.

Captain Bligh
December 31, 2002, 05:41 PM
I have a 30 year + Belgium Browning A-5. It's never choked once in all the time I've owned it. I have total faith in its reliability. Of course, the genuises at Browning stopped making it. What a bunch of idiots. Not that I'm still upset about it, mind you. :mad:

HSMITH
December 31, 2002, 06:02 PM
Modern autoloading shotguns are just as reliable as autoloading rifles. Take a Beretta 390 or 391, Winchester SuperX1 or SuperX2, Benelli Montefeltro or similar well built piece and give it an adequate break-in. Shoot 5000 rounds, with a little oil added every thousand rounds. Now do the same with your FAL, your AR-15, your M1 garand, and your M14. Log the failures. It will suprise you when you tally the results.

The round count between failures to cycle on my Winchester SuperX2 3.5" is somewhere in the neighborhood of 7000 rounds with NO maintenance at all except to add a little oil to the bolt carrier rails. I have tested this 3 times on this particular shotgun, it has somewhere around 30K through it now without one single breakage. I simply count cases of ammo through it, so my round count is not exactly to the shell accurate. It is EVERY bit as reliable as my 870, and many many times better than any 11-87 I have ever seen or owned. I have never seen an autoloading anything as reliable as this SuperX2.

TooTaxed
December 31, 2002, 06:02 PM
I used a 12-ga Browning Auto (Ser #263, Ogden, Utah mfg) through the 1970's, with nary a malfunction. In my opinion, as long as the autos are carefully maintained, any functioning problems are likely to originate from the ammunition...and the same can be said of the pump actions. I'm speaking primarily of reloads...problems resulting from bulgy, worn-out hulls or less than perfectly adjusted reloading tools. Regardless, my reloads were completely reliable, and that's mostly what I fired in my trusty Browning... :D

sm
December 31, 2002, 06:06 PM
I can't answer all your questions either. From experiences (mine, observed, and shared).

--All shotguns break, some more often than others.
--#1 area to watch is the chamber, reason for feeding and extraction problems, keeping clean and dry a BIG step in alleviating probs.
--Price, brand name, lube, configuration ...no magic to any of this no warranty semi won't break.
--Me I'm old fuddy duddy, '74 Super X mod 1, I competed with, did everything with. Used to run at least2K a month through it. Cleaned? when thought about it---usually after a downpour, every other month...dunno, it worked.

New ones are fine, but mines been paid for a long long time, Kinda leaning toward the SX2, not a machined pc like the SX1, but fits pretty well--and I'm a bit sentimental. But reports are the SX2's are very very reliable

Better yet I know where 3 SX1's are--and one is a skeet/trap grade with both bbls...;)

Traveler
December 31, 2002, 06:19 PM
One of the major reasons that semi autos are not considered for tactical use is that they often will not cycle unless they are shoulder mounted. The effect of fireing a shotgun that requires a firm mount when it is not so mounted is akin to "limp wristing" an auto loading pistol.

Try it some time. Take your semi auto shotgun and rip off a magazine full from the hip.

Tactical shotguns are required to perform under different conditions than hunting guns.

Matthew Courtney
December 31, 2002, 07:05 PM
One of the major reasons that semi autos are not considered for tactical use is that they often will not cycle unless they are shoulder mounted. The effect of fireing a shotgun that requires a firm mount when it is not so mounted is akin to "limp wristing" an auto loading pistol.

This does not adversely affect the cycling of my 1100 with full power loads, and should not affect any gas operated shotgun. The same gas pressure that is pushing the rings/rails/bolt assembly backwards is pushing the rest of the gun forwards. That is why gas operated shotguns shoot noticably softer than pumps. It still hurts the wrists to shoot like this. Try working your pump over a barricade with one hand.

Ledbetter
December 31, 2002, 08:32 PM
Whever I shoot a gun that is new to me, I hold it away from my face.

That first shot, non-shoulder mounted, is the only time my Rem 1100 failed to cycle in well over 2000 rounds..

Marshall
December 31, 2002, 09:33 PM
I would trust my life to a autoloader shotgun before I would a 1911A1 pistol! I have been using autoloaders since I was 12, am 43 now, never a single jam. Most were A-5's with a Gold Classic, 2 Rem's and a S&W 1000 thown in there. They are cleaned after every use too.

Marshall :neener:

Ps I just had to use that new smiley :)

Gary G23
January 1, 2003, 12:04 PM
I shot a round of sporting clays last month with my Browning Gold and it jammed about twenty times. My Benelli doesn't jam but the recoil is a lot more than the gas guns I've owned.

HSMITH
January 1, 2003, 12:06 PM
ALL of my autoloading shotguns will cycle perfectly when fired from the hip. I routinely shoot a couple skeet targets from the hip just for fun.

The Benelli inertial system is the one that often won't function with the gun soft mounted or fired from the hip. A gas op gun should run fine.

dfariswheel
January 1, 2003, 09:07 PM
A major component in shotgun unreliability is the ammo.
Instead of having a comparatively long, thin, metallic cartridge, the shotshell is a short, stubby, rimmed soft plastic round.

These are more susceptible to off-sized, misshapened, or swollen cases.

I think the fact that shotguns are working at much lower pressures may also have an effect on reliability.

Many of the old recoil-operated shotguns like the famous Browning guns had an unsurpassed reputation for reliability.
During WWII Air Corps gunners were trained with auto shotguns, and these guns went 100's of thousands of rounds with very few jams.

sm
January 1, 2003, 10:06 PM
Ammo good point! Easily overlooked component of any semi firearm. Pays the $ for a semi, and expects performance from "the wrong ammo'. Choose ammo for the job needed, check your gun with it, pattern or sight (shot/slug)accordingly. Each has its 'druthers.

Nero Steptoe
January 2, 2003, 07:47 PM
"Bottom line on a semi auto is they must be cleaned frequently and cleaned throroughly with a complete takedwon at least once a year to function.

Another bottom line is pumps and autos will break down if used alot..."

Per another poster, I shoot a Browning Lt. 12 that's over 40 yrs. old. It's shot thousands of rounds with never a failure. It's only been submitted to a "complete takedown" once in the 42 years that I've shot it, and that was about six or seven years ago.

Will Beararms
January 3, 2003, 02:46 AM
Would that Browning still made the Auto 5. They don't and I found Beretta. I would like to know if that Lt. 20 was drug around via a sling in the flooded timber with the butt stock sticking in the water about half the time or sitting in the pouring rain 25 percent of the time that it was hunted. or handled by some one with wet gloves 30 or 40 days a year.

Under the rugged conditions in which we duck hunt, I will stick with my thesis on cleaning shotguns as earlier eluded to.

Captain Bligh
January 3, 2003, 07:10 AM
I would like to know if that Lt. 20 was drug around via a sling in the flooded timber with the butt stock sticking in the water about half the time or sitting in the pouring rain 25 percent of the time that it was hunted. or handled by some one with wet gloves 30 or 40 days a year.

To be certain, my 30 year old + A-5 didn't have that kind of treatment. It's been wet plenty of times and held with wet gloves plenty of times but probably not as often as you describe. And, while I said it had never failed me in all those years, what I didn't say is that I'm anal retentive and if I carried it in the field, I also probably cleaned it and oiled it that day. I'll bet it never started off a hunting trip dirty.

RJ

Marshall
January 3, 2003, 04:04 PM
Will,

No knock to Beretta's at all, excellent guns! I have just been a Browning fan forever and still am. Matter of fact, I imagine I will be a Beretta owner too, I hope!

As for reliability, my experience has been that if the shotguns are maintained with care constantly, they can withstand an emmense amout of abuse on any hunt. I have had two incidents where my A-5's have been completely submerged during a duck hunt. I drained water, shook the snot of them and kept hunting without failure. A massive cleaning took place once I got home! As long as these things start a trip well cleaned, oiled, etc., they can operate pretty darn reliable when subjected to foul weather and misfortunes. I promise they hold up better than I do whe wet and cold!;)


Marshall :)

Nero Steptoe
January 3, 2003, 06:46 PM
While my Lt. 12 A-5 has not been babied, it certainly hasn't been abused. It has been used for duck, quail and dove hunting. I've always kept the mag tube clean and lubricated and the action as clean as I could get it without disassembly.

It does pound my shoulder pretty good, compared to a gas-operated model, but I sure do love it. I've shot lots of other shotguns over the years, but just enjoy shooting the old A-5 more than any of the others.

I don't depend on a shotgun for self-defense, but if I did, I'd pick my A-5 with it's newfangled 22" Invector barrel over any pumps that I've ever owned. (In addition to shooting pumps where baricades are involved, try working one from a prone position.)

If pumps were the most reliable long guns available, your AR would be a pump.

Will Beararms
January 3, 2003, 09:18 PM
Marshall if I could still get my hands on Auto 5's easily, there would be no Beretta's in the safe my good man. I have it from very reliable sources that even the Duck Commander has asked Browning to bring back the Auto 5 due to his displeasure with the Gold Hunter.

instantkarma
January 4, 2003, 01:49 AM
Remington 1100 with 8 rd tube, no. 4 3 in. buck, more like a
machine gun, and reliable!:neener:

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