Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why We Should All Have Pumpguns (101)....

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dave McCracken, Oct 14, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,938
    Location:
    MD.
    Someone recently expressed surprise that pumps were still so popular. It seems to them that the plethora of good autos would have chased the trombone action into museums and off the range and out of the field. It hasn't happened and will not in the near future.

    Here's why.

    First, a little History. Semi Auto shotguns showed up in the field almost a century ago. Winchester's Model 1911 and the venerable Browning A-5 and its American made siblings from Savage and Remington were all in the fields before 1920.

    Early autos were called "Jamamatics" by exasperated owners. They were ammo sensitive, dirt sensitive, lube sensitive, and tempermental as a Pop Diva. They had a tendency to lose their charging handles over deep mud and water. And, they were expensive.

    Gradually, the makers came up with better autos, better ammo for them, and owners learned to make their cantankerous shotguns behave.

    New autos are almost as reliable as pumpguns. The difference may be more philosophical than realistic, most can pass the 200 rounds of duty ammo sans glitches test once they are shot in a bit.

    But even with reliability and the gas autos offering recoil reduction, there's still 3 or 4 pumps sold for every auto. Partly that's price, most 870s run less than $500 and many less than $300,new. New autos leave little change from a grand,and some run more.

    Remington's 870 is the most made civilian firearm with over 8 million units sold. That's more than the 98K Mauser, the Garand, the M-14, and some less than the AK.

    Working life of an 870 seems to be roughly 250,000 rounds. That's no misprint.

    Given one can purchase many 870s for around $250, cost per round before the receiver cracks runs $0.001.That's Cost Effective, one can buy a shotgun capable of generations of use for less than a week's pay.

    It's durable and economical, you concede. But how about versatility?

    One 870 here is a parts gun. Its receiver and some other parts first worked at the MD Pen, 954 Forrest Ave, Baltimore Md. With two barrels, a handful of choke tubes,it's capable of doing well on sporting clays, gone 50 straight at trap, taken birds from quail to grouse to geese, shoots slugs into 3" at 50 yards and can serve well for HD. That enough?

    How about ergonomics?

    Many 870 triggers compare favorably with centerfire rifles. Three here are at 4 lbs or less, better than many Savage 110s and newer Winchesters. Heck, the heaviest 870 pull here is about that on my Post 64 Model 94, and it's had a trigger job.

    Few autos have good triggers. Seminole and Angle Port will tweak your 391 trigger to 3 1/2 lbs, but tis costly. Allen Timney has made a good living getting 1100 triggers as good as 870s are from the factory.

    As for fit, no auto is easier to fine tune fit on than an 870. The shim kits that come with Beretta and Benelli autos duplicate the homemade jobs done by trap shooting pump gunners since the 30s. More stocks are available for the 870 in aftermarket goodies than any auto, and one can buy anything from a top folder to marblecake walnut made to your dimensions. Wenig will sell you a roughed out blank to whittle into shape and Boyd's has a Nutmeg grain laminate thumbhole set if you really want one.

    Weight is a mixed blessing in shotguns, as anyone who had touched off a turkey load in a 7 lb shotgun can testify to. Gas autos carry more weight forward due to the gas system under the barrel and run heavier overall for the most part. That extra will not be welcome some eve 3 ridges away from the truck. And the extra weight forward handicaps smaller folks.

    Pumps have a simple MOA, both to learn and to teach. They're easy to make safe after firing, easy to load and unload without chambering live ammo, and do not require 3 hands to do so. And use after a few hundred or thousand rounds verges on being instinctive. 870s are good pointers.

    While I've focussed on the 870 here, all this applies to the other good pumps.

    Questions, comments, donations?....
     
  2. TNT

    TNT Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2003
    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Midwest
    I have 5 pumps and 2 auto's. Pumps are more cost effective and more reliable. Your post is very well written.:)
     
  3. Headless Thompson Gunner

    Headless Thompson Gunner Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,255
    Location:
    North Carolina
    You make a compelling argument for pump shotguns over automatics. But why should I own any shotgun at all? My rifles and pistol seem to serve all of my needs adequately.

    (I'm not trying to be argumentative here. I'm genuinely curious. Think of it as providing a good excuse for me to buy another gun)
     
  4. Nippy

    Nippy Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Kern County, CA
    If your rifles and pistols serve all your needs you dont need a shotgun.

    But if you want to shoot skeet, trap, or hunt birds please get a shotgun!!! Do not fire your rifles and pistols in the air at birds :D If you have friends that like guns you should all go shoot trap. Its fun and another cool thing to do with guns and friends.
     
  5. kudu
    • Contributing Member

    kudu Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,621
    Location:
    north central indiana
    Look at it this way. Most shotguns will do everything your rifles and pistol will do, plus shoot skeet, trap, sporting clays and bird hunt. They are not a superb long range machine that a rifle can be, but many places don't allow rifles for deer hunting. Some shotguns are capable of 2.5" groups at 150yards.

    Ultimately this will give you another excuse to buy another gun. :D

    I have put tens of thousands of rounds through rifles and pistols, but I have put hundreds of thousands of rounds through shotguns. I think shooting little clay disks or birds on the wing much funner than punching holes in paper with a rifle or pistol. There are many action shooting sports that I have never had the opportunity to try that may be funner, but they may end up being more expensive. :)
     
  6. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Messages:
    2,732
    Good post Dave! My collection is split pretty well between pumps and autos, and I shoot both with regularity. For games, I typically choose an auto, but for hunting I tend to prefer a pump.

    Here's why...

    I hit game with them better. If the gun fit is good, the first shot is a toss-up. First round hits are probably the same. However, I find that I often throw the second shot away with the auto. This is especially true when I've just chased an energetic lab a couple hundred yards after a leggy rooster. With a pump-gun, there is a more noticable break between the shots, and that extra time forces me to make a totally different (and better) shot. The auto allows me to throw one bad shot immediately after another. IIRC some guy named Brister had a similar observation.

    I also like the visual certainty of seeing a pump's action open. It's not as readily apparent as an opened O/U or SxS, but it's close. An auto will require a closer look.

    There's also a certain intangible to it, akin to driving a manual transmission over an auto. I feel more a part of the process.

    Also, at the end of the hunt, or while taking a break, it's generally a little easier to unload (assuming you're not shooting Correia's Saiga ;) ).

    Last, but most certainly not least...

    Dad shot a Model 12. :D :D
     
  7. cpileri

    cpileri Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,422
  8. Lupine

    Lupine Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    too far from the coffee machine.
    That's why I just bought an 870 an hour ago! My first shotgun, and the first long gun in my collection that wasn't inheirited but purchased. Now, tomorrow my neighbor's taking me to the range to help me figure out what kind of rifle to get...

    Wheeee!

    (And, oh yeah. None of the boys at the gun counter batted an eye at this city girl shopping for her own personal shotty).
     
  9. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    3,351
    Location:
    Del City, Okla
    I've never really cared for pumps or autos,

    But somehow we have managed to let 4 pumps (but not a single 870) sneak in the house. I blame it on the wife since 3 of them belong to her. But even tho' I don't care for them, I always recomend the 870 for new shooters. I doubt very seriously if there is a more suited weapon for all around use. Eventually I'll have to break down and buy an 870, just so I can say I have one. As far as autos go, the only one I can see myself buying is a nice Sweet 16, but I sure want one of those bad.
     
  10. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    1,477
    Location:
    Lost Angeles
    I've only shot a few semi-auto's and I don't have anything disparaging to say about them. My experience overall is far to limited.

    In terms of track record, aftermarket support, and options available I think the 870 is in a league of it's own. It may not always be the best answer for all occasions, but it will fit into more categories and score well in them then any other shotgun.

    That being said, I have 3 shotguns (all riot guns) and not one 870. I'm looking at a long barrel to shoot skeet with and while a 870 would do nicely, I've been eyeing some Ithaca 37's and a few '97's I've seen at the local shop....:)

    Dave, thanks for another great post.
     
  11. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    16,341
    Location:
    South PA, and a bit West of center!
    Another tour de force Dave!

    I was overall .. re trap and skeet ... O/U oriented. My Hunter was the tops ... and even now I am very fond of my Baikal.

    However ... the pump somehow has a superior place in the shottie scheme of things .... my old Rem 1100 when I had it was nice but .. somehow never something I trusted fully.

    Now, having Mossy, Ted Williams and 870 ... I am way more pump oriented .. as much as anything ... shere reliability.

    Good post Sir! :)
     
  12. sm

    sm member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    28,389
    Location:
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Dave - Great Post!
     
  13. sm

    sm member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    28,389
    Location:
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Congrats! You don't know how happy that makes me feel. :D
     
  14. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    9,037
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO, USA.
    Dave,

    My background is shooting a lot of 3Gun. The most popular shotgun is the Benelli M1S90 with a 20" bbl, capacity 9, autoloader, inertia operated. Unlike gas guns, these run as clean as a pump and are super-reliable as long as you're shooting 1 1/8oz or heavier. I shoot AA127's exclusively and it runs 100%.

    Getting to my point: I see more people with pumps have operator-induced malfunctions due to short-stroking or double-stroking than I see mechanical malfunctions in the M1S90's.

    -z
     
  15. theCZ

    theCZ Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Messages:
    808
    Location:
    Nevada
    Well, my first shotgun was a Winchester 1200 pump that I got used at a gun show. People on the internet told me after I bought it that the series has a problem of breaking or something, but thousands of rounds later, it still gets it done, and smoothly too. Last year I started shooting trap using an 1100 and I really like it. It was made in 1957 and I was the first to shoot it last year (borrowing it from my grandfather).

    So I can't tell you which one I like better. I can tell you which one I'd throw in the mud and then use, or the one that has nice engraving and the better trigger. I've been thinking about getting a skeet barrel for the 1100, but my pump will work for now. I've got a rule that I have to break 25 a few times in either trap or skeet before I go looking for a new shotgun! Happened once a few weeks ago in trap, gonna be a long time in skeet.
     
  16. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,108
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I think, maybe, if I could only own one firearm for the rest of my life, it would probably be an 870. Not ideal for CCW or long-range zombies, but it reliably covers a whole lot of the middle part of the spectrum of potential uses.
     
  17. sm

    sm member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    28,389
    Location:
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    I contend a lot of errors are more of a training problem. Training in use , maintanence for starters. Add the gun fit and really basic - what ammo?

    Kids do not learn how to drive a standard transmisson, they often are not trained to , or trianed / taught change a flat, check the oil...They have "idiot" lights that come on to advise the air pressure is low on a tire, the oil needs changing...

    Back in the day the Skeet shooters used Pump guns in all 4 gauges. Fred Misseldine used the Win 1300 in all 4 gauges. The load was 1 1/8 oz at 3 drs or more.

    When I competed , I used the Pump even for stuff besides the "pump gun fun shoots".

    I still think the Win SX1 is the finest gas gun / semi auto made. The SX2 is close, still not a SX1 tho'

    I saw the transitions ,and the Folks that NEW HOW TO SHOOT - TRAINED TO SHOOT could run a gun, and keep it running. The boys with toys...still had problems.

    The fella that challenged me not long ago , his "brand name gun" would not run the ammo. MY SX1 did, and for damn sure my Pump did.

    For me - I have always had a certain attitude and perpective about shooting. Be it for clay games ,or the Serious Situations I have survived. Just the way I was raised.

    At 49 I have entered another dimension . CRSam and some others and I have discussed it, and understand. I have "fired a few" shot shells downrange....just gimmee some kind of shotgun and if I can see it - it's down.

    I have used and can use a black "T" gun all tricked out that cost too much....But for Gawds sake - if stuff is that serious , someone toss me Blue and Wood 12 ga Pump Please ! Model 97, Model 12 , 870 , Ithaca 37, 1300...I have my druthers...

    That or my SX1 or one like mine.

    I like surviving, I know from training and experince that I "earned" ...not because I plunked down money or some magazine,or some agencey said so and so ...

    Yeah I know my attitude sucks and I'm wrong. I am hard- headed, onery and a PITA. Getting older and this dimension dealie - I don't care. I "earned " the right to be wrong. I have survived tho' when the elephant came calling.
     
  18. loudernhel

    loudernhel Guest

    Dave,

    What do you estimate the service life of a Mossy 500/590?
     
  19. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,938
    Location:
    MD.
    Thanks for the responses, folks, Obviously, lots of us have opinions on this.

    A couple things...

    Lupine,congrats on your purchase. Take care of it and your descendants will thnak you for it. Now go BA/UU/R.

    TR, Brister echoed Rudy Etchen about the pump action being more effective because of that pause. I know I can get off an effective second shot faster than many auto owners.

    Zak," Super reliable as long as you're shooting 1 1/8 oz or heavier"...

    My point exactly. 870s eat the marvelously effective 1 oz and 7/8 oz loads also. Benellis are nice shotguns, but they're limited to a smaller part of the ammo spectrum. That 50 straight, BTW, was with 7/8 oz loads.

    Headless, you really need a reason? Get an 870, learn to shoot it and note all the fun you're having...

    CZ, my misgivings about the 1200 are limited to neglected and abused agency weapons. Given a modicum of care, they hold up well.

    sm, Misseldine could have shot anything, including Perazzis. He shot 1300s and beat lots of folks with "Better" shotguns."It ain't the gun"...

    Loudernhel,my SEG would be 50-100K. Of course, that depends on ammo. Light loads would be more towards 6 figures. While Mossies are not my forte, I think a 590 will hold up longer than a 500.

    And finally, this is not to dump on other shotguns. Shoot what you want to, just be aware of the options.....
     
  20. ruger357

    ruger357 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,585
    Location:
    RI
    Very well put Dave.
     
  21. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Messages:
    8,847
    Location:
    South Carolina
    One aspect touched on but not explored is the famous "Dave McC "chops"". I've found that getting used to one or the other (pump v. auto) is pretty important for me. Having drug Dad's old 1100 out for some skeet after a long period of not shooting it, I like to attempt to pump it after the first shot. Looks pretty funny... :D

    The versatility in ammo is important to me as well. I really like the ability to use bird, buck or slug in the same platform with no adjustments or operating concerns. In my home, that's pretty critical as one 870 is stoked with #2 bird shot and my M37 is stoked with #4 buck - different loads for different engagement zones.
     
  22. Ktulu

    Ktulu Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Messages:
    1,071
    Location:
    Michigan
    Good post Dave. I give you a 3 pump gun salute. While I don't own an 870 (2 1300s, and a 590) I concede that the Remington is a better gun with better availability of accessories.
     
  23. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Messages:
    3,166
    Location:
    Iowa
    Dave, you forgot one very important thing.

    Auto shotguns do not make that great, wonderful CLACK-CLACK sound.

    hillbilly
     
  24. Johnpl

    Johnpl Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    209
    With a 3" magnum receiver, my 870 takes on everything from woodcock to deer, with pheasant, turkey, and clays in between. All it takes is a barrel change-out. No concerns with gas ports or metering and light vs. heavy loads. Cheaper on the wallet than specialized guns for each pursuit.
     
  25. Whole Hog

    Whole Hog Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    211
    Location:
    Las Cruces, New Mexico
    Excellent post Dave.

    Although I own several shotguns, most of my shooting has been with just two - an 870 Wingmaster I bought in 1980 and a Citori Lightning I bought about 10 years ago. I've been using the Citori almost exclusively since I got it, for dove, quail, and sporting clays and I'm completely satisfied with it. But a few months ago, at our monthly Quail Unlimited SC shoot, I was talking with another guy who'd started out with an 870 and we both decided that we'd bring ours out the next month and see how we could do. Long story short, I shot one of my best scores, 40/50, and had a ball. That 870 fits me perfectly (or vice versa), works like a champ, and it's fun hearing someone behind me say "He works that thing pretty fast, don't he?".

    I think maybe I'll be shooting it a little more in the future.

    Scott
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page