Jan 10, 2014
By: Rich Nemitz
In the last article we began the discussion of shotgun actions.
Single shot, side by side, over/under, pump, semi-automatic or…? The best action for you is…the one that fits YOU correctly and that you can hit the target with. (Sound familiar?) Don’t get hung up with the type of action, unless there is a very specific need for a certain configuration. The single most important thing is how the gun fits and shoots for YOU, not the guy in the ad. Most shotguns today are made to fit the average sized man. Yes, there are some specific women’s and youth shotguns, but sticking to the mainstream, most mass produced shotguns come from the factory set up for a 5’ 10” 185 lbs. man.
I’m not one of those guys, you may not be either. Take your time buying a shotgun, try some out if you can, there’s nothing like shooting the model you’re interested in before buying. Your local shotgun range/club may have rental guns or even members, that will let you trial shoot a few different guns while you are looking.
One other limiting factor is your pocketbook. You can spend as much money as you have on a shotgun if you want, but you don’t need to do that to have a gun that shoots great for YOU. Single shot shotguns are great starter guns, especially if there’s a left hander in the mix (by nature they are fairly ambidextrous to use), they also can by great deer guns when equipped with iron sights or a scope. Most are break open actions, easy to operate and modest cost.
Side by sides (SxS’s), ahhh, my first shotgun was a Savage/Fox BSE SxS with a single selectable trigger, vent rib and auto ejector, but that’s another long story.
SxS’s are beautiful and great shooting guns, but not generally in everyone’s hands (including mine).
Their unique handing characteristics require practice and knowledge of how those guns point and shoot. They are usually pretty pricey too.
Over/Unders (O/U’s) are usually among the most desirable by the average shooter due to their good looks and reputations. They can be among the most costly too, although there are some fine, lower cost guns made as well.
Pumps, now we’re talking.
Pump action shotguns have probably killed more game and broken more clays than any other type of shotgun made. They are reliable, versatile, and generally very affordable (and there are usually lots of used one’s available).
With lots of aftermarket parts, including different stock configurations, they are easy to personalize and individually fit because of that.
Finally, semi-automatics (auto loaders).
Fast follow upshots, high magazine capacities, just pulling the trigger, like pumps, a wealth of them to choose from. The biggest question here is gas operated or recoil operated? I personally have leaned to the recoil operated shotguns, but have shot lots of gas operated shotguns with great results. Just keep gas guns clean!
There’s a very basic primer, now have at it!!