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how do you reload a tube shotgun quickly?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by silverlance, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. silverlance

    silverlance Well-Known Member

    I have two benelli m1 super 90s. they're very good shotguns. some guy claims that he can get all 8 shells in the air before the first one hits the ground. i don't know about that - but i can certainly get 5 in the air.

    all very well and good, but how do you reload a shotgun quickly? i keep my thumb on my right hand trimmed almost to the quick at all times, but i still can't seem to load quickly. benelli says that you can simply throw a shell into the chamber and slam it shut, but that's only one round.

    is there a certain trick to rapidly reloading a shotgun? ive heard of rapid reload tubes, but i think those are on the gimicky side.. and yes, a saiga 12 would be nice, but it's not an option at the moment..
  2. SDC

    SDC Well-Known Member

    There are a couple of videos floating around that show how some of the better 3-gun shooters do it, but I was never able to get the hang of it and went to speed-loader tubes instead (which put me in Open). A fellow named Taran Butler has an interesting method where he lays 3 or 4 shells in his hand and is able to just thumb them into the loading gate (zip-zip-zip-zip), but he must have had his thumb surgically replaced with some sort of titanium prosthesis, because I ended up with a sore, bloody mess when I tried it.
  3. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Well-Known Member

    I suppose you could try having a shotgun belt and loading one at a time the way the cowboy action shooters do it. (See Video Here)

    Of course you aren't loading up the whole tube but you are back in action pretty fast with practice. (I've tried this with a modern Maverick 88 shotgun, worked pretty well actually).
  4. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    I thought someone had invented a pushrod type reloader. Just a tube that is inserted into the reload port, and then reloader merely pushes the shells from the reload tube into the shotgun's tube. I know I have seen them on TV...action shooting. Were those custom-made, or are they marketed?
  5. SDC

    SDC Well-Known Member

    There are a couple of different outfits that market the "rod"-style reloader tubes (there's a video here of one of them; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz0Q51IUV2M ), but when you use them in competition, it puts you in a different class than when you reload manually. If you can figure out how to reload quickly WITHOUT the tubes, it puts you at a BIG advantage over everyone else in the class. The only real way to get fast is to stock up on band-aids and practice, practice, practice.
  6. walking arsenal

    walking arsenal Well-Known Member

    I own a Browning bps for hunting and a Mossberg 500a for home defense.

    I got the browning as a gift and bought the Mossberg because it had two things in common with my bps.

    Top mounted safety.

    No loading gate.

    I can load two at a time with my bps by turning the gun upside down, placing one shell in the port and using a second to feed in the first. Works pretty fast.

    To load the Moss i just point it skyward with the top of the receiver against my shoulder and thumb them in one at a time. Sometimes i turn it over like the bps. depending on what I'm doing.
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I love the Mossberg on a cold morning in the marsh, no sore thumb or gloves caught in the action. :D That 870 used to REALLY miff me off, especially when it'd bite my thumb, I'd yank it out before the round got all the way in the mag (yelling "ouch" and a few expletives), and the round would shoot back under the shell elevator and jam the works.:cuss: It happened far too frequently when the ducks were flying and I didn't concentrate on the gun and I had to use a pocket knife to clear the jam, which was a PITA.
  8. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    The speedloaders for shotguns have their own issues. In tactical shoot, most people reload on the fly, whenever there's a lull. Yiou don;t shoot your shotgun 'dry'. You fire as required, and stuff rounds in when there's the opportunity. It's much easier to top off a tube feed.
  9. doc2rn

    doc2rn Well-Known Member

    I have seen guys hunting geese with 5 in the tube and 3 between their fingers. I dont recommend it, just have seen it.
  10. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member


    That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! The man in that video is almost as-fast-as me with my side-by-side. Psych! :eek:

    That was some seriously fast firing!

  11. rodregier

    rodregier Well-Known Member

    Armstec shotgun speed loader is one possible answer.


    Capable Of Loading Four, 12-Gauge Rounds In Under Two Seconds

    Rigid, nylon-polymer, speed-loading unit drops onto your shotgun with no gunsmithing. Bracket mounts to the underside of the trigger housing; nylon pouch attaches to your belt and holds the loading tubes for easy access. Each tube holds up to four rounds. For 12 gauge only.

    SPECS: Includes (2) nylon-polymer tubes, (2) nylon-polymer handles, (1) nylon pouch; black, matte finish. For 12 ga. only. Remington - 12" (30.5cm) long. Others will vary. Remington - Fits 870, 1100, 11-87; Mossberg - Fits 500, 590; Winchester - Fits 120, 1200, 1300; Benelli - Fits M1, M3, M4 & M1014.

    $60 retail from Brownells
  12. Hauptmann

    Hauptmann Well-Known Member

    A lot of the speed loading over weight gun range gurus use reloading movements that involve complex muscle skills. It looks super fast and the guy looks like a hoss, but when the SHTF complex motor skills are useless. Those of us that have been in combat, or those who have been in shootings whether they be LEO or civilian can understand exactly what I'm talking about. When you go to a range, you can spot the weekendwarriors and range junkies from the combat vets(police or military) right away.

    Complex muscle movements are motions that involve heavy use of finger movement such as writing, operating safeties switches or other buttons, or loading a shotgun shell into a breech. Fine motor skills involve asemetrical muscle coordination such as shooting from a Weaver stance, or any other motion that is not in symetrical unison with the other half of your body. Gross motor skills are the most basic of motions which involve symetrical muscle movement and large muscle use. Your resting heart rate is approximately 70pbm and when you suddenly encounter a deadly threat situation your heart rate jumps to around 200bpm. This is commonly referred to as combat stress and NO ONE is immune to it. You can compensate for it if you know it's coming, but will still experience a high degree of it. In Vietnam helicopter pilots practiced combat breathing to keep their heart rate down because they needed fine motor skills to fly their birds. This is still used by pilots today. The human body is capable of complex muscle movements as long as your heart rate stays below 115bpm. At 150bpm you lose the ability to use fine motor skills. Anything above 150bpm and you are limited to gross motor skills. This is the reason why in the last 20 years police officers are being trained to operate their weapons with only gross motor skills. Agencies are wanting fewer controls on their firearms to handle combat stress. Usually no safeties and a single trigger condition(DAO). The isosceles triangle shooting stance uses gross motor skills and is the stance of choice for most LEO. In the military, combat stress often subsides after about 5-10minutes of exposure. After that your body has no adrenaline left and your heart rate returns to normal allowing complex and fine motor skills. As a police officer or being involved in a civilian defensive situation, you don't have that kind of time. Expect to only have gross motor skills in such a confrontation and train accordingly. The better your physical condition, the better your body can handle combat stress......so stay in good shape by doing plenty of cardio and weight training.

    So you ask, what is the best method to reload a shotgun under stress? First, find cover and then flip the shotgun over so that the loading breech is upward. You WILL drop shells under stress and this helps to keep you from doing so, and you can visually see the shells being loaded into the magazine tube which adds an extra element of sensory perception. Load from a receiver attached side saddle if available and have the primer end of the shells facing downward so that you can more easily see and grab them with your shotgun flipped over.

    I am a very skilled shooter from pistols to rifles and I can tell you from experience that combat humbles you can scares you into thinking your are never in control. The best tools you have in such a situation is your physical conditioning, your training of using gross motor skills, and using your brain to gain an upper hand or just stay alive.
  13. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    You don't say if you're practicing for defense or 3-gun games. Assuming it's for defense...

    I used to work with some folks who were trainers at one of Ft. Bragg's classified ranges. They used both 870s and Benelli M1S90s in the shotgun portion of their classes, and they always used to joke about how long it always seemed to take to 'cold start' a Benelli. These folks were some of the best in the country at what they did- so don't feel bad.

    I don't shoot an M1S90- have one, but don't use it regularly. I do use 870s a lot. Based on that all I can say is "practice." Learn to load rounds into the magazine smoothly, and speed up the process over time. One of the reasons I like the 870 is because the front of the trigger guard offers a virtual ramp leading right into the loading port. With the shooting hand (assuming a right handed shooter), hold the gun at the shoulder with one hand and let the muzzle droop until the weight seems to come off the gun. Keep your eyes downrange and load by feel without looking at the gun or the shells.

    Holding a shell with the crimp toward the index finger (pointing finger) and the primer toward the little finger (assuming the left hand is the support/loading hand), make sure by feel that you have the shell oriented properly (shotgun shells will load into tubular magazines backwards as readily as they will frontwards). Let the shell rest on the two middle fingers and trap it between the index finger and the little finger so it doesn't go anywhere till you're ready for it to.

    With your trigger finger in the index position, your left hand can find the trigger guard ramp guiding to the loading port easily enough- it's right in front of your trigger finger. Place the rim of the shell on the ramp right in front of your trigger finger, then run the rim along the ramp while guiding the shell into the loading port with your cupped hand. When the crimp end of the shell is safely in the magazine tube, rotate your thumb to the primer of the shell and run it the rest of the way into the magazine.

    Repeat as necessary.

    That's ONE way. It isn't THE ONLY way. Experiment around till you find what works for you, then practice- A LOT.

  14. GunTech

    GunTech Well-Known Member

    Great post Haupmann.

    Now I feel like I have an edge. :) I take a calcium channel blocker that limits my heart rate. It won't go high, no matter what I do.
  15. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Well-Known Member

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=230139&page=1 Pretty good thread on the subject, if I do say so myself.

    The multigun shooters really have the concept of loading a tube-fed shotgun down cold. Probably the best source of information on the subject is to watch guys like Taran Butler, Kurt Miller, and Shawn Carlock, and study their technique.

    One comment here:
    BE CAREFUL doing this. If you grab the barrel of your shotgun after firing a long string, you'll burn the hell out of yourself and probably drop the shotgun as a bonus.

    - Chris
  16. Setzer77

    Setzer77 Well-Known Member

    I prefer to flip mine upside down, holding it in my right hand, dropping shells in with my left and pushing them in (pistol grip only, no stock makes it easier to maneuver). On a Mossberg, there's no loading gate, so they plop right in. I'm pretty slow though, I haven't used or practiced with it as much as I should.

    Chris is absolutely right though, watch that barrel, after only 5 rounds mine is piping hot.
  17. silverlance

    silverlance Well-Known Member

    thanks for the great posts lapin and hauptman.
    I eventually came to the same conclusion, but was hoping that those more experienced than I would have some sort of secret. Well, it appears that there is, but that it may well be useless during combat (and those polymer tubes are not want I want hanging off the underside of my gun.. good for IPSC but bad for benelli semi auto function and bad for resistance to abuse).

    it also appears that the problem is could be worse:
    oh, that's just great.

    ultimately, then, it looks that the solution is simply to practice, practice practice. oh, my poor shoulder... birdshot is the only shell cheap enough to practice heavily enough with, but after about 20 rapid rounds i get all recoil-silly and stagger about for several seconds.

    now, then, this leads me to my next question: at what distances should i practice at? with IC ive found that the shot spreads pretty far even only 15 yards away (#4 buck, 00) birdshot will cover nearly the entire long range NRA target at 25 yards.
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Then they were breaking the law. For as long as I've been hunting waterfowl, about 40 years, it's been illegal to hunt with a shotgun with a capacity in excess of 3 rounds total, one in the chamber, two in the magazine. I don't know what the fine is. I've been checked multiple times by game wardens, once by a federal game warden, always in compliance. I've never had the need for more than three on geese anyway. Usually, even that third shot is just wasting expensive ammo 'cause they're done out of range.

    I agree that when you're fighting for your life, gadgets and techniques that are athletic or require coordination are going to get you killed. It's incredible how much adrenalin messes up your motor skills.
  19. Lucky

    Lucky Well-Known Member

    In other threads smart people insisted it's better to work an AK's bolt with the left hand, because it's a cardinal sin to take the gun out of the ready position. Isn't it completely contradictory to suggest turning a shotgun upside down and take the hands both out of position? Wouldn't the best way to reload be the one that requires the least amount of time to stop in a hurry and start shooting immediately?
  20. Hauptmann

    Hauptmann Well-Known Member

    Using live rounds is good for muscle memory in response to the effects of recoil, but you can suppliment dummy rounds for a lot of training purposes. Practicing your reloads, malfunction clearing, and dry firing are good examples.

    Actual range time isn't as imperative as you might think. It is important to experience the actual feel of shooting, but other than responding to the recoil virtually all of your other training doesn't require live ammo. If you ever go through any advanced firearms training such as in the military or LEO, you'd be suprised how many drills you will perform without using live ammo. For example, I was stationed in Japan for two years back when I was in the service and I ended up only going to the range twice in that time. I got perfect scores in handgun and rifle qualifications even though those range times were about a year apart. The secret?......drilling. Practice your trigger control during dry firing while maintaining your sight picture throughout. Practice your magazine exchanges/reloads using gross motor movements. For example on a handgun, don't slap in a fresh magazine and use the slide release button to close the slide. Instead while pointing your pistol downrange use your off hand to grip the rear of the slide(thumb facing towards chest) to quickly cycle it and return the off hand to a support grip. All gross motor skills and it is actually much faster than using a magazine release button. Plus, it is a universal system which means you can use it on any auto pistol regardless of control locations.

    Birdshot is fine for training purposes. For shot, 15 yards is usually fine. However, fine out where your shotgun maintains about a 1' pattern with your best defensive ammo and practice at that range. That gives you a point of reference of where your maximum engagement range is for best results. For slugs, 25-50 yards is a good training range.

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