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How do you rate reliability in semi-auto shotguns?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by pastprime, Mar 5, 2012.

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  1. pastprime

    pastprime Member

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    I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a 20 gauge semi-auto for home use. I have read a lot of reviews and opinions that say a semi-auto shotgun is not as reliable as a pump. So what does "not as reliable" mean? Do the semi-auto's jam one time out of 25 shots, 50 shots, 100 shots, or what ??

    I know that proper maintenance is a huge part of keeping any firearm working but the "not as reliable" statement makes me wonder about buying a semi-auto.

    Can anyone put some numbers on how many times out of say 1,000 shells a semi-auto would jam..???
     
  2. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    Hard to put a number on it. I know that some nice autos will have trouble cycling the lighter loads.
     
  3. pastprime

    pastprime Member

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    I would probably be using #3 or #4 buckshot in the 2 3/4 shells.
     
  4. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Internet BS is what it is, a semi is just as reliable, and in many cases even more reliable, than a pup - why more? because under stress, it won't short shuck itself - it will function thew same whether out at the club busting clays, or in the dark in the middle of a break in
     
  5. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    How about 500 rounds of heavy field loads and 200 buck and 100 slugs? I never did it in a day but did in five dusty AZ days . That was with a Benelli Super 90 about 15 years ago. The enertia system is pretty dang reliable. A5's well set up really keep on cranking also. The Remington 1100 can run real well for along time too just needing AR type maintainece IMHO. Some people used to laud the Winchester X series or the Brown Gold and Max as going all winter with heavy duck blind use.
     
  6. drsfmd

    drsfmd Member

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    I did testing with a Beretta Xtrema 2... it consistently began to jam around 600 rounds-- that's with no cleaning, no wipedown of the tube, no wide of the piston, etc...
     
  7. NOLAEMT

    NOLAEMT Member

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    It depends on the make and model of the gun.

    for example:
    I would trust a benelli M2 more than a remington 11-87 or mossberg. That is not to say that the remington or mossberg is unreliable, but that I like the benelli's inertia system more, it seems to run well when dirty.

    But like any gun, you need to test it to see what its limits are.
     
  8. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I completely agree...as usual.
     
  9. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Well, you could look at this, http://www.cz-usa.com/tomknapp/ scroll down to the second video, Dove Hunting in Argentina, and they will talk about a few THOUSAND rounds through the CZ-712 shotgun in one day. I will be getting a CZ 712 some time in the next month or so, and I'll see what makes it choke.
     
  10. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Member

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    ^^^I picked up a used 712 a couple weeks ago. I've got 350rds through it without cleaning so far.
     
  11. orphanedcowboy

    orphanedcowboy Member

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    When properly maintained they are as reliable as any other. I went well over 1000 rds in a SX2 without a hiccup or a cleaning. I only cleaned it when it started getting sluggish.
     
  12. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    I think that gun reliability in general is often more than just 'X number of rounds without a failure' - it is 'X number of rounds without failure for all of the SD/HD ammo that I'm likely to run'.

    Some semiauto's will run certain ammo well and other ammo poorly. That's why you often see the SD/HD emphasis on pumps (which are ammo insensitive but shooter sensitive) or on actually wringing out the semiauto (which are ammo sensitive and shooter insensitive) using the buck-n-slug loads that you're likely to want to use....
     
  13. Ranger30-06

    Ranger30-06 Member

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    If there's one thing I've learned, it's that 99% of shotguns are completely reliable with only light loads, or only heavy loads. Out of my direct observation, it usually seems that wingshooting semi's like the light loads, but guns like the Saiga 12, Mossberg 930, and Remington 11-87 like the heavier loads like buckshot and slugs.

    Usually though, gas operated shotguns are 100% reliable with one type of ammo or the other because the gas port is only so big for it's intended loads. Therefore, it's easy to over or under gas these guns causing reliability problems.

    I know that the best way to break in a Mossberg 930 is to throw 200 slugs downrange, then it's supposed to be completely reliable with everything. It just needs a bit of breaking in.

    Another gun that's supposed to work with all loads is (I'm pretty sure) the Benneli inertia operated shotguns, because supposedly the recoil adjusts to work the action or something. If they weren't so darn expensive I'd be telling you for sure! :D
     
  14. pastprime

    pastprime Member

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    I sincerely appreciate all the replies to my question. Thanks for sharing your experiences and opinions. I feel a lot more comfortable looking for a semi-auto that fits me (stature and wallet) than I did a week ago.

    I'll let you know what I choose and how it performs for me.

    Hank
     
  15. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    This is only true if that is the intended mission of the gun, in MY personal case, my shotguns are targets and bird guns, and longevity is the name of the game without a breakdown
     
  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    M1 super 90 go bang long time.
     
  17. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    i clean my 1100,s and 11-87,s at 400-500 rounds,(no FTF or FTE in that amount) and that takes all of 15-20 minutes, why 400-500 rounds? thats about what shoot in a month. i reload with a mec 9000G. eastbank
     
  18. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    Check out the super 90 manual.. "clean when clogged."
    They go bang long time.
     
  19. Odd Job

    Odd Job Member

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    Many years ago I did a two day "tactical" shotgun course in South Africa with a member of the police services. We were using 12 gauge pumps.
    Day one was static shooting, we tried birdshot, buckshot, slugs and even the baton rounds. All was good.
    Day two in the morning we did stoppage drills (the instructor would load a drill round in the shotgun, we would not know where it was in the tube and how many good rouds there were). This was still okay, took some practice but we got that technique learned and we thought we were so frikkin ubah.

    Well, in the afternoon we were taken to a "house" made of tires and in that house there were five rooms and a long passage with an unknown number of stationary targets. One at a time we went in and were told to shoot what we can and observe/retrieve any useful items. He followed behind us, shouting all the time...

    That was when I short cycled it bad. That was as stressful as he could make it and it showed. I missed targets, completely didn't notice artefacts that had been placed in plain view and generally fumbled when clearing the inevitable drill round. How bad it would have been in a real situation, I don't know.

    What I do know is that (for me) the preference for any kind of defensive use of a shotgun would be to have a semi-auto. If I have to abandon light loads that is fine, but I can tell you I did NOT enjoy the feeling of pulling the trigger and hearing the click, all because I tried to pump it too fast and short cycled it.
     
  20. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    I guess that I phrased it wrong - my point is that reliability with one or two types of ammo isn't an adequate measure. Reliability must be measured across all types of ammo expected to be used, with some minimal (say, 600rd) sample size for each type.
     
  21. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Pumps are more likley to shoot a broader range of ammo. If even half way decent ammo is used they have the potential to be equal. The wild card is the operator. After all is said and done a quality auto, with decent ammo will actually be more relible since it is not affected as much by operator error.
     
  22. atomd

    atomd Member

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    I'm in the "depends on the gun and the load" camp. SA guns have become pretty darn reliable although they may require a load that's in the ballpark of what type of shooting the gun was designed for. For instance, I think you're more likely to run into problems say....shooting 12ga target loads under 1oz in an inertia gun with a 3.5" chamber because that isn't what the manufacturer had in mind when they built that gun.

    I trust a semi auto the same as a pump as long as that particular gun has proven itself to work reliably for me. Guns break....you could get a defective shell, you could have a semi that doesn't feed everything reliably and you could short stroke a pump gun. Crap happens. I like both though.
     
  23. zhyla

    zhyla Member

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    Another way to look at it is what are you gaining by buying a semi-auto? I don't view them as necessarily superior to a pump for indoor use. They're far more expensive, heavier, in some cases a lot more parts that can break.
     
  24. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    How reliable are semi-autos?
    I don't know.

    I started out with my first new shotgun, a Remington 878 gas operated semi-auto when I was 15 years old in 1959.
    It was the first Remington gas-operated economy model shotgun with O-rings.
    It was 100% reliable with any shell you could buy, until I foolishly traded it for a worn out Model 12 Winchester pump.
    The pump didn't work right, and was not reliable.
    So I traded it for a Belgium Browning A5 auto in 1960 something.

    To this day, it has never failed to function perfectly with trap loads, heavy hunting loads, Magnums, slugs, and buck-shot.
    Including being under the ice with me in a lake and frozen shut.
    I shot it empty to blow the ice out of the action so I could get in the truck to keep from freezing to death.

    That was followed by a Benelli M1, that only failed once when a leaking shell crimp on a reload put a #6 shot in the trigger group and locked up the hammer from cocking.

    Besides that, it kicked too hard, and I sold it.

    I still have the Browning A5.
    And I wish I still had The Remington 878 I had when I was 16.

    Neither one ever failed me, not even once.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  25. pezo

    pezo Member

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    a semi auto 20 guage with buck shot is a great choice. That said, in regards to short stroking, my 590-a1's action does not feel at all prone to it due to its initial stiffer action on the pull it tends to "slam" back as opposed to a smoother consistant "draw" back that I can see happening on smoother actions. That said I never had a short stroke on the skeet feild either with the 870 wing master. Train to pump, shoot then repump and back on target and your fine. You get the reliability in the pump mostly in regards to them eating all varieties of ammo without a hiccup compared to a auto. If you stick with reliable ammo in your auto for defense you are good to go.
     
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