Most Reliable Semi Auto Shotgun?


December 31, 2012, 10:19 PM
I know this has been asked before, and I've read several threads discussing it, but I still seek some fresh input.

I want the most reliable, long lasting, well proven semi auto shotgun around. What is the most popular among frequent clay shooters and tournament participants?

Are there any that are practical for both home defense and hunting?

But my primary question is what the most reliable, long lasting, and durable semi auto shotgun is.

If you enjoyed reading about "Most Reliable Semi Auto Shotgun?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
December 31, 2012, 10:25 PM
/watching from the sidelines, hoping for an honorable mention for the mossberg 930 :)

January 1, 2013, 12:22 AM
What is the most popular semi auto shotgun among tournament participants?
If you're talking 3-gun tournaments, that would be the Benelli M1/M2, FN SLP & Remington 1100/11-87/VersaMax... the first being the 1st, the latter two I'm afraid I don't know which is 2nd and 3rd at present... flip a coin perhaps? The Mossberg 930, in particular the JM Pro, due to it's relatively low price, is making inroads... so there ya' go spotch. :p
And guess what? They all break down occasionally. Why? Because they get heavily modified to load and cycle faster... you push anything to the edge, they tend to trip and fall now and again.

The Saiga and more recent Akdal MKA have their proponents as well.
Are there any that are practical for both home defense and hunting?
As to HD... any of the guns with a 18.5" ~ 24" barrel would be fine. Many prefer a rib to GR or rifle sights for HD, so a 24" gun, like a Benelli M2 24" Field for example would make an excellent all arounder. If the LOP is too long, there are a number of short and tactical LOP stock makers... easy to find in a search.

As to hunting... define "hunting". An 18.5" might be a bit too short for some needs. Personally, although I have dedicated HD, competition and hunting Benellis, a 22" or 24" gun would be about perfect for all my needs. ;)

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013, 12:26 AM
Of current production probably the Benelli M2 for proven reliability and longevity? And yes they make models that could be used for hunting and clays.

You also see a lot of Remington 1100 and Beretta Semi autos in sporting clays. I love my new 930 Rythym by the way and think it is going to be a fine shotgun for 3 gun, but so far the JM model is getting used in 3 gun, and you don't see the 930 among any of the top auto shooters in Sporting.

January 1, 2013, 07:48 AM
The one that is owned by someone who understand his gun, and what is needed to keep it running like a typewriter. I have owned and shot Remington 1100s for 49 years - coming 50 soon now - and they are dead reliable - for me. I have seen way too many others with issues to know who I would, and would not, recommend one to.
I went shooting with a couple of friends not too long ago. By station seven both guns were jamming. A Beretta and a Browning Gold - not exactly junkers. Wasn't busy, so we stepped aside and pulled them apart. Both looked like they had been meticulously lubricated with tar. We borrowed a dirty rag from a groundskeeper and with a little bottle of RemOil or CLP did a quick wipedown and both were fine the rest of the way.
The biggest enemy of any semi is the nut on the back of the stock. There have been some BAD designs - the High Standard Supermatic comes to mind, but most semis will work, especially the ones built today.

January 1, 2013, 09:16 AM
Kept reasonably clean one of the Beretta's will be the favorite choice among those that shoot clay games. The older Remington 1100 is not a bad choice either, but has been surpassed by newer designs. I have no personal experiece, but hear too many good things about the Winchester and Browning to rule them out. They are not as popular, but may well be as good as the Beretta.

For a hunting semi that can handle a little more abuse and likely keep working when dirty the Benelli's have a big advantage with their much simpler design. I don't think they would be the best choice for guys who shoot thousands of rounds at clays each year because of the increased recoil. I've owned Beretta, Remington, and Mossberg 9200. The Benelli is my choice, for my style of shooting.

watching from the sidelines, hoping for an honorable mention for the mossberg 930

The 930 gets a lot of interest on the internet. I'm not convinced yet. There are lots of guns that get high praise on the net that have proven to be pretty bad guns in my experience. Mossberg has had several major league flops with semi's in the past. Maybe they have finally figured out how to make one. No personal experience with the 930, but from what I'm reading it looks promising.

January 1, 2013, 12:14 PM
Benelli M1/M2/M4.

January 1, 2013, 12:47 PM
My stepdad's old Browning Auto still works perfectly, after about 60 years. I hope my new Mossberg 930 is still working as well after that length of time; so far I'm happy with its performance, but it's not a Browning.

January 1, 2013, 12:52 PM
i have been running rem 1100,s and the newer 1187 for all the clay games and only shoot two loads in them and clean them at around 600 rounds, a complete take down cleaning once a year and replace the o-ring them. a new recoil spring every 2-3 years(sooner if needed), i have no jams due to dirt, a few due to my dumbness.i run other shotguns to but they are pumps,o/u and double barrles. eastbank.

January 1, 2013, 12:57 PM
Benelli Inertial or Beretta 390 progeny.

January 1, 2013, 12:59 PM
For clays and hunting...if I wanted to shoot a semi-auto, I prefer the Benelli favorite model is the Super Sport..( synthetic stock, comfort tech system in it, in 12ga or 20ga). They shoot clean...but I still completely strip them down after every range trip ....but its so easy to do, why not ...??

Maintenance is the biggest deal on gas operated semi-autos...if you don't maintain them ...none of them are reliable. If you do maintain them ...most all of the big names are very good guns ( Remington, Beretta, Browning, etc)

If I wanted a tactical shotgun would be the Benelli M-4 a gas operated semi-auto. Nice guns - and very reliable.

AZ Desertrat
January 1, 2013, 12:59 PM
Benelli M2

January 1, 2013, 01:10 PM
My Browning A5s and Benelli M2 and Montefeltro have proven to be as close to 100% as I suspect you can get. People I respect have given good reviews to Mossbergs.

I have watched my hunting partners have continued failure issues with 1100s and Berettas. Just my observation.

January 1, 2013, 02:06 PM
I like the old Remington 11-48 in 28-gauge and .410, but other than the Browning Auto-5 those are the only semi-autos I have used extensively. I am sticking with the platform as I understand how to maintain and use it.

Mikey Idaho
January 1, 2013, 03:34 PM
Not a competition shooter by any means but for the price my Mossberg 930 SPX has been flawless for me and will run the lightest target loads. I have polished the chamber and inside of the piston tube with my dremel btw.

Sent from my Verizon Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 2

January 2, 2013, 05:31 AM
I want the most reliable, long lasting, well proven semi auto shotgun around.

Stay with the big names in shotguns like Beretta, Remington, Browning, etc. etc. IMO look at their mid-tiers

What is the most popular among frequent clay shooters and tournament participants?

Kolar, Krieghoff or Perazzi

January 2, 2013, 06:05 AM
in three life times i might get good enought to need one of those high fuletten big dollar guns,but untill than i,ll use my rems. and all guns will mulfuction if not maintained, right along with good ammo. i,ed say 90 percent of jams i have seen were due to poor maintaince and 10 percent due to bad reloads. with my 1100-1187,s i shot 200 rounds and then cleaned them,then delayed cleaning untill 400 rounds and when they went 600 rounds thats when they get a good cleaning,i do give the action a small spray mist of a good lubricate during the 600 rounds. eastbank.

January 2, 2013, 07:18 AM
My Remington 1100 and the Beretta 1201FP have been reliable since the day I owned them. A little oil now and then and a good wipe down and they are good to go. Have used shot, slugs, and buckshot through each one and have not had any issues.

January 2, 2013, 07:22 AM
What is the most popular among frequent clay shooters and tournament participants?

In this area, Beretta wins, hands down, no one is even close. For sporting clays, approximately 30% shoot a semi; of those folks, 99.5% shoot one of the Beretta models - either the 390, 391, or the newer A400

January 2, 2013, 09:16 AM
I realize it is out of production, for a while now, but I have a Browning B80 I have been shooting in dove fields and duck ponds for ~25 years now. I even dropped it in a pond once. I am not one of those clay guys who shoots thousands of rounds a year, but I get out a fair bit. I don't clean it nearly like I should. However, I bet I could count the number of failures on one hand.


January 2, 2013, 10:33 AM
I have a 1933 built Remington Model 11 built almost identical to the Browning A5, the 11 has a recoiling barrel. Its a 2 3/4" shell only. I have never had a problem with it from birdshot to slugs, its been cut down to about 20' of barrel and I can empty it as fast as it takes to fire a single round of an 870 when I back off the spring coil tension nut, I have had friends tell ne it sounded like it was fully auto when I fired it as fast as I could.

Its an archaic design plus they are getting kind of rare. But I hear the Benelli is the best.

January 2, 2013, 11:02 AM
Benelli M4, gas piston operated, eats light and heavy loads. Some of the inertia driven Benelli may have trouble with light loads, but I have not had a problem with my SBE II.

Master Blaster
January 2, 2013, 02:13 PM
1187, 1100's, and the Beretta 391, are all good durrable and reliable guns. One thing to keep in mind with gas guns is that they do not like to be wet with oil. My 1100 and 1187 I just wipe them with a very lightly oily rag. Slathering oil on them will create mud and will cause them to jam. The Beretta can tollerate a little more oil, but it is not needed. The boyscout camp I volunteer at has 1100's that are 20 years old, and continue to operate reliably summer after summer with target loads, and rough treatment, and little cleaning durring busy camp months. Many scouts have earned their shotgun merit badge using these guns, and for most it is their first time shooting a shotgun.

Funny thing is that even though I have a fancy Beretta 391 gold sport model, my son and I both shoot trap better with the 1100, and the plain jane 1187. The 1187 feels like a toy after shooting the Beretta, but it sure does break those clays on the days when I am missing with the 391.

January 2, 2013, 02:16 PM
Benelli M1/M2/M4.

Yup! :)

January 2, 2013, 10:08 PM
Remington's have a fragile gas o-ring. For that reason alone they should not be considered.

January 2, 2013, 10:25 PM
B.S. on the "fragile" 'O' ring on 1100s and 11-87s. Internet legend. They do not move in service - they are a static seal. 99.9999% of issues are caused by ham handed owners when they dis assemble the gun and cheapskates/don't know betters using hardware store plumbers 'O' rings that are not resistant to petroleum products. I have had 11 different ones, and still have my '63 bought new, and have never had an 'O' ring fail in use. I tore one on the 20 one time when I was talking when I was putting it back together, but it was still working when I changed it. The '63 has had the same one since I changed the metal 'V' ring to an 'O' ring in about 1967 so I wouldn't lose it.

January 2, 2013, 11:44 PM
Call B.S. if you must, but I own a LGS and we replace these o-rings regularly for our customers. The next most common repair is replacing a cracked bolt carrier on these Remington 1100 or 11-87 semis.

They still don't belong on a list of the most reliable semiauto shotguns.

They probably are the most popular, but thats a function of the low cost to own one compared to reliable shotguns.

I have sat in duck blinds with guys who have Remington's and when the o-ring failed they got to watch the rest of us hunt.

It's not B.S. these o-rings break to the point that even Walmart stocks them in the sporting goods department.

January 3, 2013, 03:13 AM
Haven't had an O-ring fail yet, but it sure could. Was taught a while back to put tape around the threads before pulling one off before cleaning, as to not cause any damage to the ring. I guess it works haven't replaced it yet after 15 dove seasons. Think I'll put a new one, after all this talk and tape the old in a baggie to my hunting vest.

January 3, 2013, 06:12 AM
Yes, I must call BS. I sold guns for 25 years myself, and I used to work on them. I do not call myself a gunsmith because I have not one artistic bone in my body and zero ability to speak of with wood. So I am familiar with the number of 'O' ring failures, and as I stated before the failures are owner caused. WalMart should sell 'O' rings, because the likelihood of someone experiencing a failure is high. All you have to do is drive in traffic for 10 minutes to understand why that is. As Gallagher said, we have a high percentage of people who are critically stupid. If we could test owners before we let them buy any semi, the failure rate for all semi would be under 0.1%.
I am not saying that an 1100/11-87 is perfect, or will run as long between cleanings as some newer designs. But in all the hundreds I have looked at I have never seen a cracked bolt carrier. Seen a couple with a broken link and a couple with broken action arms. But, I have seen lots of other guns with stuff broken too.
I cannot abide an inertia action, but I would be the first to defend them when people say they don't work in cold weather. If they don't work, it's because the shooter either used the wrong lube, or they had so many soft thick clothes on that they didn't back up the gun like one requires to function.
I have seen more than one Beretta with carrier issues, but the fix is known. So they should just fix it or shut up IMHO.

Master Blaster
January 3, 2013, 09:38 AM
Another opinion

January 3, 2013, 07:31 PM
From a Remington 1100. I had this happen twice to the same gun. When you order parts from Remington, and if you own an 1100 you certainly will, it's wise to order two spares. You will need them.

January 3, 2013, 09:48 PM
Browning A5

Been going for about a hundred years now.


January 4, 2013, 06:25 AM
I can still say I have never seen one crack, but I guess I will have to admit I have seen a picture of one that did. I would suspect the bolt slot wasn't right on that one for some reason.

January 4, 2013, 06:37 AM
On my Remington Model 11 it has a piece of leather I think to act as a stop in the rear of the receiver, and its held in place with a rivet. Sounds kinda archaic but if the leather gets too hard or breaks off you lose the stop and some high power loads will cause a slam to the rear hard enough to crack it.

Mine GTG after I greased it and softened it up, its probably the same piece put in when the gun was made in 1933, however I am thinking of modifying something more modern like a piece of live rubber or a simple slice of a childs superball, something dense and oil proof. Actually I leftover pieces of sorbothane from a stock job, might try that.

January 4, 2013, 08:25 AM
I would put my FN SLP up against the Benelli M4 . I own both and the FN is much better then the M4 for reliability.

January 4, 2013, 09:16 AM
I ended up buying a winchester super x3 after handling my cousin's x2. I have a 22" barrel on order for home defense. If the x3 is as reliable and long lasting as the x2,
I should be happy with my purchase. My cousin has thousands of rounds through his x2 and he's never cleaned it. No malfunctions.

January 4, 2013, 09:24 AM
Besides O ring failure - I had an 1100 that didn't like those from the factory until I got some Viton ones from the auto store, mine went through firing pin return springs and the piece that held the bolt handle in place way too frequently for me.

As to not liking petroleum products, you are not supposed to use any on the mag tube anyway

January 4, 2013, 09:27 AM
I ended up buying a winchester super x3

This model wasn't mentioned by any of the responses to your question.

January 4, 2013, 01:37 PM
The most reliable semi-auto shotgun I've personally owned is Benelli M-1. It has yet to have a failure to function after several thousand rounds. I've also owned a 20 gauge 1100 and a 12 gauge 11-87. The 1100 has been a good shotgun but not 100% like the Benelli. The 11-87 neither I nor Remington could make reliable enough to be usable in the duck blind. They had three chances at it and put two new trigger groups in it. After the last time it jammed, I cleared it and traded it in on the Benelli. And I keep my shotguns clean and know how to keep an O ring from being damaged in cleaning. I also know how to disassemble and reassemble the shotguns correctly.

January 4, 2013, 01:51 PM
I have a Rem 1100 20 GA and it is a great fun and soft shooting gun, but it is not 100% reliable. It is an old gun from the 60's or 70's. It does not bother me that it is not 100% reliable because I just shoot clays or small game with it.

Look at a newer Beretta. A lot of the dove shooting places in South America claim the Beretta holds up a lot better than any other autoloading shotgun for high volume shooting.

January 28, 2013, 08:58 PM
Me and two friends (one a trap and skeet shooter) have had a bit of bad luck with 1100s. The friends switched to Berettas. Mine couldn't run without hand cycling. Three 'smiths including a factory authorized rep couldn't get it to run, either. Fortunately the gunshop owner took it back and gave me another (like new) 1100 which I promptly traded for a Benelli M1 Super 90. Never looked back...

Good luck


January 28, 2013, 09:09 PM
I've owned a Benelli SBE since the mid-90s and couldn't speak more highly about it. I never had a problem with its recoil, though supposedly the SBE II has addressed that. 2 3/4" skeet loads - 3 1/2" magnum loads without a hitch after a minimal break-in period for the light loads. Simple and effective.

January 29, 2013, 05:43 AM
Skeet B 1100 has untold rounds thru it.Never, ever, had a problem.But, cleaned properly after every 100 or so shots and, no 2 3/4 mags either.Love and care folks, love and care.On the other hand I had a couple of 390's that either didn't like my reloads or were flawed from the factory.They replaced both after shipment to authorized dealer repair.The 1100 never hiccupped with the same reloads.Huh?

January 29, 2013, 07:27 AM
Beretta or Benelli.

January 29, 2013, 10:58 AM
I still have many super reliable semi-auto shotguns: in order of reliability.

1. Browning A5--I can't remember a single jam in several generations of use.
2. Beretta A303--served me well for years of clays and hunting.
3. Browning Gold Hunter 12ga.--has been shot infrequently since my collection has grown--but nary a hiccup. I always clean the gas system after shooting it.
4. Winchester M59 12ga.--it never liked ribbed plastic hulled shells i.e. Remingtons or Peters but with smooth paper hulled shells or smooth hulled Win. SuperXs it ran like a dream. As to why it was that way????

January 29, 2013, 02:18 PM
The old browning A5

January 29, 2013, 03:10 PM
All I can say is that, in 19 years of ownership, my Remington 11-87 has never jammed.

January 30, 2013, 01:36 PM
Switched to Benelli about 10 years agao after breaking my 1 year old 11-87 and have never looked back. I have 3 Benellis now. The only other gun that equals the Benelli is Beretta (IMHO)
Both great guns, both pricey, both well worth it.
Try them both, buy the one that feels/fits best.

January 30, 2013, 01:51 PM
I owned a Benelli M2 for a few years, I shoot clays so quite a lot of shells went through it, maybe 30000. But by that time it had started doing "light strikes", maybe 2 out of every 100 rounds, which wernt good enough. I took it back (it was still under warranty) they claimed to have fixed it but it was exactly the same, so I sold it.

I then bought an old early '80s Remington 1100, which was good fun, and frankly just as reliable as the M2, but in the end it began to fall apart from age, so I traded it in about 6 months ago for another Benelli, a SuperNova.

I'm using this gun all the time now, in an effort partly to save my other gun, a late '70s Wingmaster that I've had for quite a few years as well,, from quite so much use, but all in all these two pump action shotguns never light strike, and if they fail to feed thats user error, not gun error.

In short, in my opinion, if you want longivity, and reliabilty,you buy a pump action.

Oh, and having said that, I once owned a Mossberg 500 that used to drop the second shell straight out of the magazine onto the floor, which would be bad to say the least in a combat situation! However, it was a fault, and once fixed it never went wrong again.

January 31, 2013, 12:03 AM
Excluding home defense my Maxus and SX3 are amazing! From frigid cold Montana blizzards hunting geese to summer trap! They just flat cycle! They also reduce recoil very very very well. I know they all say that but compared to my old Beretta and Franchi they are great! Even my buddy shoots the Explorer, that thing is terrible! My Maxus shoots trap loads littarely like a 22!

However they don't make tacticool stuff for the SX3 and the Maxus doesn't accept an extended tube, obviously.

But for extreme goose hunting they have been a flawless!

In God and Glock we Trust

January 31, 2013, 08:59 AM

February 2, 2013, 10:52 PM
The only semi-auto shotgun that I've personally owned and shot that has not yet had a failure to function is my Benelli M-1 Super 90. It's probably had a couple of thousand rounds through it. Obviously I'm not a competition shooter.

February 3, 2013, 08:07 AM
The semiauto that I've had zero problems with is a Beretta Pintail which is short recoil like a Benelli. It's about the only auto I'll mess with anymore. It has about 3000 rounds through it...not a lot but so far it's been less hassle than the Remington, Browning, or Winchester gas guns I've used.

Personally I find pumps more trustworthy.

February 26, 2013, 04:23 PM
#1: Benelli

#2: Benelli

#3: Benelli

Mat, not doormat
February 27, 2013, 02:12 AM
Auto 5*

*The Auto 5 is more mechanically reliable than any of the gas guns I've used. What it's not, however, is idiotproof. If the user sets it up improperly for the ammo being fired, it will jam. However, being recoil operated instead of gas, it doesn't fill up with fouling and jam.

However, you asked also for most popular in clay games and tournaments, hunting and home defense. The A5 is unlikely to win in any of these categories. It is, after all, 115 years old, and kind of odd. Clay shooters use lots of Berettas and Remington, depending on tax bracket. Berettas hold up better, Remingtons shoot softer. Three-gunners tend to favor Benellis and Remingtons, with similar reasons. Hunters use all kinds of crazy stuff. Lots of guys I know buy whatever had the snazziest ad in Field and Stream. Every year. HD is similar, except for choice of magazines.

February 27, 2013, 02:16 AM
I agree with Boattale. I have had a similar experience with my M1 Super 90.

February 28, 2013, 12:45 AM
My Bakail Mp153 works like a charm, the russians know how to keep a gun running

February 28, 2013, 03:07 AM
I've seen alot of 1100's and 11-87s jam. However, that's probably because it's the most popular semi-auto shotgun for hunting in my area bar none. As many have said, keep it clean and it will run. A-5 is still king in my book though.


February 28, 2013, 04:50 AM
I can't recall a Browning shotgun jamming or breaking. I have owned several and many of my friends shoot Browning shotguns. The only reason I still don't have a Browning is they resell very well and I can shoot a pump just as fast as a semi auto. To me a semi auto is just more weight to carry.

If you enjoyed reading about "Most Reliable Semi Auto Shotgun?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!