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Pump action shotgun is not for everyone

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by dekibg, Nov 17, 2022.

  1. dekibg

    dekibg Member

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    I heard that before and after just getting my first one for the heck of it - I agree.
    It was a great range toy where I was able to blow up some soda cans , water jugs, and launch old fire extinguisher 30 feet into the air after hitting it with a 3” deer slug.
    but :
    -shooting any kind of 3” shells, even just the game load ( didn’t have any buck shots) was unpleasant and painful. Left me bruises on my upper biceps ( not sure how - I was expecting them on my shoulder, if any). When I shot that same load from my hip I almost dropped the gun, I was probably not holding it tight enough, also got some temporary wrist pain , which also reminded me of somebody’s statement that shooting it with pistol grips it would be even more painful and they ( pistol grips) are the probably the worst solution for the shotgun bc of the way they transfer recoil to the wrist.
    - the gun has a 20” barrel, too long for home defense maneuvering, and also I would probably be shocked by the blast in confined space ( that is why I am not keeping 357 in bedroom safe either).
    - it is a matter of practice, but I had a few of those famous short strokes at the range, where gun would not go to a full battery after new shell was loaded into the chamber . Someone said that for beginners semi auto shotguns are better , but they also cost more, they are heavier , and more finicky to ammo.
    I have to admit that 2.75 shells are much more pleasant and I can work with them without saying “ouch, this hurts” after each shot.
    Again, I like the gun, (it is a Maverick 88) it is very light , but it is more a range toy than it may be a practical use to me ( I am not a hunter either).
     
  2. KY DAN

    KY DAN Member

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    Be honest with you I think ammo is your issue.

    They make 2.750 shells in birds hit, slug, and buck

    I have only ever hunted game with a shotgun and the game could not tell the difference.

    As always I advocate proper training and proper ammunition.
     
  3. Stefan A

    Stefan A Member

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    I’m with you on this. I don’t enjoy shooting my 12 gauge 870. I know how to hold it, and it just hurts. Slugs or 9shot, doesn’t matter. Not fun. I get it out every now and then to see if my opinion has changed, but it hasn’t. I imagine that if I make myself shoot it more I’d be more used to it. I do have a leather guard which I haven’t tried yet.
     
  4. rust collector

    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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    You don't need a roman candle to get things done. If a 2 3/4" 20 ga round won't down a bird, I just didn't get close enough. The extra velocity or payload makes for good ad copy, but I have somehow learned to do without. Shooting should be fun, not painful. Short barrels are no doubt better for close quarters, but increased noise, flame and recoil are the price paid.

    Proficiency requires practice, and that doesn't happen with death on one end and destruction on the other. A bit of coaching might help your position and less energetic loads may reduce trauma at the back end, but the shotgun is not a magic wand and you will always be better off with something that you are familiar with.
     
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  5. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    I'll add shoot the 2 and 3/4 inch. Field loads are fine for having fun.
     
  6. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I don’t have any problems dove hunting with my 870 or rabbit hunting using 2 3/4” #6 shot . I don’t like patterning it with buckshot , but I don’t like doing that with a semi automatic shotgun either . When I shoot a deer , I hardly noticed the recoil . Short stroking is something training can fix quick . Rack it like you mean it , you are not going to break it .
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2022
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  7. Targa

    Targa Member

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    Most people, to include me are not running 3” shells out of light weight defense shotguns for a fun range session, to do so is an invitation for a whoopin…:D.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2022
  8. Roverguy

    Roverguy Member

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    Fit.

    while 3” 12 ga shells and a fixed breech gun make for a stout load, if you are getting bruised biceps and a great deal of pain, there’s probably a gun fit issue. The gun should mount to your shoulder pocket and if it isn’t, it may be an issue of fit. With even a properly fit gun, a steady diet of 3” heavy loads will not be pleasant, but with proper fit and mount, it should not be painful or deliver bruising.
     
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  9. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    No long gun is made to shoot from the hip, so please stop. Doing so with a semi auto is a good way to have a very bad accident.
     
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  10. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Standard 2 3/4" buckshot loads recoil very similar to 300 WM. Standard 2 3/4" birdshot loads are comparable to 30-06. Some of the really heavy 3" and 3 1/2" turkey loads are comparable to 375 or 458 magnum loads. I've always thought a shotgun was a poor choice for a novice. Most recommend them because they are cheaper and require less skill to use.

    I find a 20" barrel to be a good compromise. 18" is the legal minimum and most manufacturers add another 1/2" just to be safe. The extra 1 1/2" of a 20" barrel is negligible. My go-to shotgun has a 24" barrel.

    But no, I don't consider a shotgun to be ideal INSIDE the home. Inside my home 3-5 yards is as long a shot as is possible. The main advantage of a shotgun is wide pattern making hits on moving targets easier. There isn't any pattern to speak of until you get to 7-10 yards. I'll take a handgun, or even a compact rifle similar to an AR every time indoors.

    Shotguns are best at moderate ranges outdoors. At ranges beyond 30-40 yards the pattern gets too thin, but my shotguns with buckshot would be effective from my home to my property line.
     
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  11. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll second the fit. My first shotgun was a Remington 11-48, and after an afternoon of shooting doves, I was black and blue from my neck to my elbow. After I had about 1.25" cut off the stock, it was pleasant.

    Also, I second the 2.75" load. That's about all my brothers, dad and I used, because of chambering. We killed plenty of ducks, geese, and pheasants, and they didn't seem to notice the difference.

    I don't shoot as much as some here, but I've fired 175-200 rounds in a range session with no bruising, using my Citori and target loads. I'm 73, 5'6" and 140 lbs.
     
  12. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    I concur

    Ammo and gun fit are your problem.

    WINCHESTER Super Speed are your best bet.

    I bought a presentation grade Coach Gun for half price, when the owner bought 3" turkey loads to "try it out".
    Fired 1 round through the gun and sold it.

    I shoot 3 1/2" 12ga and it is no joke. Good gun fit makes it manageable, but you know when you have had a good day and shot a box full.

    Adding some weight into the hollow, plastic buttstock will help, too.
     
  13. irishlad

    irishlad Member

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    I shoot 3" steel shot loads out of Benelli Super Nova without a problem. Same with my 870 before that. I like my pumps for hunting. My 11-87 rarely leaves the safe.
     
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  14. Milkmaster

    Milkmaster Member

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    The first thoughts I have after reading the original post above is lack of experience with shotguns, available ammo, and proper fit. Many of these thoughts are also brought up above by others. With those things brought to light, my advice is to read, research, and learn a great deal more about shotgunning before your next outing. I don't think your experience will be nearly as painful. The same is true whether it is a single shot, double barrel, pump operated, gas operated, or a recoil operated semi auto. Many shooters with experience shoot multiple rounds of ammo without suffering such as you did the first time. Do these things and start with target ammo or dove loads. Many of us shoot 100 shots per day pain free with clay birds, or at least several shots dove hunting. In a self defense situation the recoil will not be your immediate concern. Good luck to you.
     
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  15. jrmiddleton425

    jrmiddleton425 Member

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    Your remedy for all of this is training (from a COMPETENT instructor), practice, and the gun has to fit YOU.

    You might also consider a 20 gauge...that's all I've ever shot, as far as shotguns go. It's not painful at all to shoot 150 rounds or more even with heavy trap loads.
     
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  16. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I usually agree with jmr40 on rifles , but I don’t agree with him on this post .

    Living in a shotgun only county for deer hunting all of my life , kids usually start with a shotgun here and in many other counties . Fifty years ago I saw more pumps than semi automatic shotguns in the field , so I wouldn’t call them a poor choice for a novice . As far as them being cheaper , you can find either one in the same price range . Requires less still to shoot one , try hitting a dove . You have to learn both firearms . I don’t think one is harder than the other at hunting distance . If you are not practicing at 300 yards , you probably shouldn’t take a shot at a animal further than that .

    I find the shotgun to be a good choice for inside the house . If someone comes in my house wanting to harm my family , I want to stop them as fast as I can , with minimally shots . The stopping power of a shotgun is far superior to a pistol or a small caliber rifle at stopping someone with one shot unless you are lucky enough to hit a vital area . Like you mentioned , it’s easier to hit with , especially under stress and being woke in the middle of the night . I’ll take a shotgun every time in my house .

    Patterning a shotgun with different chokes and shot is your friend and you are not doing your part if you don’t do it . It is similar to working up a load on your pistol or rifle .
     
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  17. X62503

    X62503 Member

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    I agree with everything @red rick has said regarding shotgun use. In addition to shooting a gun that fits, I would like to offer that it helps if the shooter has a little (m)ass behind the gun, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
     
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  18. tws3b2

    tws3b2 Member

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    I'm 75. I was a hunter but no longer. I've owned pump shotguns before but not in many years. I bought a Mossberg 500 18.5" barrel 12ga. a year or so ago to keep around the house. I take it to the range now and then. I very seldom shoot from the shoulder. Mostly from the hip. I have several boxes of 3" buckshot shells but I only use 2 3/4". At short rang. Inside my home at say 7yds or less from the hip I'm pretty much just as accurate with it as from the shoulder. And, much faster. Actually I think shooting a 12ga from the hip is easier on my wrist that shooting a 9mm handgun. Maybe just me.
    I don't and don't like shooting 3" , magnum or even +P in shotguns or handguns.
    I tell you. If anybody thinks you can come out a whole heck of lot better getting hit with a 23/4 load of buckshot than you would with a 3". Well, All I can say is, You got brain problems.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2022
  19. Blue Jays

    Blue Jays Member

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    The prevailing issue I see is inadvertently short-stroking the shotgun as if shooters think they will accidentally dent it. One needs to rack purposefully and through the full range. Your 500 or 870 won't be damaged!
     
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  20. dekibg

    dekibg Member

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    Can you please explain why not , I shot my AK and AR from the hip few times - nothing bad happened
     
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  21. entropy

    entropy Member

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    No you don't.

    I will agree with the thread title. They were (and still are) for me, however.
     
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  22. Stefan A

    Stefan A Member

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    Yes I do.
     
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  23. entropy

    entropy Member

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    It certainly shouldn't hurt with Trap loads. If it is, you are are not placing the butt stock in the pocket correctly. Yes, most slugs, buck and hot game loads will hurt more, but correct stance and pocket use will minimize pain.
    When I used AA handicap and Nitro 27 handicap loads, 4 boxes was about all I could shoot out of my SpeedFeed stocked 870 for an evening of Trap. That's 100 shells. I did not get bruises, but I was done after about 4 boxes.

    So I stand by my statement, with this amendment to clarify it. You don't know how to hold it properly.
     
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  24. derek45

    derek45 Member

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    This might be a technique issue.

    If you firmly pull the shotgun into your shoulder pocket, constant rearward pressure, pulling the forearm back, it allows your entire body to soak up the recoil.

    held too softly the shotgun will smack and bruise you.

    pulling rearward also gets the pump action working almost automatically, as the gun fires and recoils.
     
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  25. rust collector

    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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    I wish everyone could enjoy the services of a stock fitter and coach early in their shotgun experience. There are very few bodies that are optimal for a "stock" stock. We come in all shapes and sizes, and most of us just try to adapt to whatever we happen to have. That, together with dominant eye issues and maybe a bit of cheek slap or bruising ensures that we will never be as comfortable or effective as we could easily be with a proper start.

    This is not intended as criticism, as most of us continue to search for something better as we progress. After teaching hunter safety for nigh on to 40 years, I have worked with many young shooters. The process is not intuitive. The tendency when using a gun that is poorly balanced for the particular shooter is to lean back to counterbalance the gun. This is the opposite of leaning into the shot, weighting and pivoting on your forward foot. Shooters also tend to back away from something that jumps around and makes loud noises, so we use a gun that is closer to a good fit and we demonstrate that keeping the butt tight in the pocket reduces shock and motion. There are many more subtle aspects to the science of accurate scattergunning than I know or can relate, but I hope you will not feel defeated. Spectate at some clay target events, talk to successful shooters, and attend training that is put on for high school trap shooters or sporting clays shooters. You will save untold frustration and pain. And when you are shooting at a moving target, recoil sensation will be greatly mitigated by motion. I wish it was as simple as watching a video, but it's not. Here's a taste:
     
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