Pump action or semi-auto?

Leica Amplus 6

Basil H

Well-Known Member
Once upon a time I had a rattley Savage "corn-shucker" as my only gun. I loved it, mostly because it was a 3", but one moves on.
When I could afford several guns I went back to a pump (R.87) but found I had lost the reflex of automatically cycling it on recoil. I have since had others including a Browning 10. I think if you are going to have one you need to use it a lot.
Not sure about extra shots. When I had the Savage and later on a 5-shot Auto 5 I seldom had the magazine full. The advantage was more that you could top up the mag without looking down in a busy corner.

The Grouse

I can speak more from the pump side of things than semi but here are my experiences.

First up, cost. they are cheaper on the whole, Winchester seem to hard to beat cost wise for a pump. That being said, plenty of semi autos for 500 or less now, Hatsan etc.

I use a S2 Benelli Supernova Pump and I run everything from 24g 70mm right through to 63g 3.5" and it's very rare to have an issue. Anything below 70mm seems to cause issues as per the manual. if I do get a feed issue it's generally because I was too light in the effort I was using to load the next shell. As for Subsonics, never had great experiences with them in either 20g or 12g, so tend to avoid using them.

I recently picked up a Hushpower 12g screw in choke moderator. It's modular so you can swap out the rear choked section for another choke to suit your requirements down the line. It has no limitations on the loads that can be put through it, unlike the ATEC. I've put everything from 33g 5 shot through to 63g 2 shot, and some AAA and it really does the job, to our ear it was a quieter than a moderated .243. t does however make the gun somewhat on the long side, with it fitted it's more like a musket than a shotgun and the balance is interesting !

Ease of use
No doubt about it a semi will be easier if you are knocking hordes of pigeons out of the sky and follow up shots are easier when you aren't having to swing and pump the action at the same time. But the pump does the job if you aren't being mobbed.
I also don't find recoil that bad, even with the heaviest loads, the Supernova does have some tech built in that reduces felt recoil, but can't say whether that's the case for other modern pumps.

One thing I really do like about a pump action and especially in the summer when the grass is long and the bushes are in full growth. Not having to go wandering around trying to find spent shells that have been volleyed 15ft into the undergrowth in a wide arc around the hide as they are usually either in the hide or just outside it.


Well-Known Member
I have the supernova but doesn’t get used much nowadays, I use semi auto more. I used to have a Remington 1100 9+1 which was fun but not really a practical pest control tool fully loaded. In reality I think most people won’t find much advantage over a three shot auto or pump. You’re lucky to get more than three good shots off. An exception might be squirrel shooting as they run from the dreys, that’s when a high capacity shotgun can come into its own in my opinion.

Mr. Gain

Well-Known Member
Remington 870 Wingmaster.

I need say no more.
Agreed. I have one and it's so slick anything else feels like it's broken.
Wingmasters aside, I'd recommend a basic semi-auto with an unrestricted -but not extended- magazine, stock shims, interchangeable chokes, and a 24" barrel, the latter being necessary/optimal for mounting a moderator. There are some very nice semi-autos on the market, but only the Turks tend to offer 24" tubes.
Subsonic cartridges do make a difference. The gun won't be "quiet" or "hearing safe" but the sound won't travel as far, and doesn't seem to bother crows as much as the sharper crack of standard-velocity loads. (Pigeons don't seem to spook in the same way.)
I would also run the magazine with just 2 cartridges in it most of the time. If you can't hit the bird with 3 shots then there's no point missing it with more! Only when the quarry absolutely, positively has to go and you'd have to work seriously hard for another chance is it worth bombing-up completely.

shakey jake

Well-Known Member
one thing to consider is you shouldnt be shooting ducks or geese in season with the fac, if its just for pigeons no worries and you wont be using massive shells so recoil should be an issue. ive used both and prefer a decent semi auto, buy a good one. i have alot of faith in the american market wouldnt touch turkish after using an escort

Franchi Matt

Well-Known Member
7+1 is kin heavy on a busy day... then there is the keeping count of how many youve fired... I find a 3 shot semi more than adequate for pigeon shooting. After the first two shots in coming groups are out of range anyway.

Colonel Rimfire

Well-Known Member
The both have pros and cons,

Semi's require a lot of cleaning and can be ammo fussy. Reloading slug for semis can also be troublesome as its quite hard to stuff enough powder in the case to get them cycle properly. With a pump you can tailor your loads

Semis are obviously faster and can be used for clays, a pump on the other hand is a lot slower.

If I was going to get a semi again , I would go for a Saiga 12 they require very little cleaning being an AK variant and with detachable magazines you can choose how much to load, there's even a 25 and 50 round drum mag available!



Well-Known Member
@ Colonel Rimfire have you tried swinging one of those AR / AK variant shotguns? Brickbat springs to mind.

That's the thing I like about the Browning BPS / Ithaca 37 designs is they bottom eject so drop the shells at your feet.


Colonel Rimfire

Well-Known Member
Lol, I handled one but never shot it,

A club member had one and we took it to the Bisley clay ranges. After around 5 minutes there was a crowd around this chap with his Kalash' Shotgun all the Ro's and instructors, where begging to have a go!

I broke clays well I recall, but as you say not the most refined or elegant weapon

brick bat is probably the correct nomenclature!


Well-Known Member
I have a old Mossberg 500 7+1 pump and 2 Hatsan escort semi's just love the Mossberg but would love a box fed semi auto ,I have watched several vids on them , one on a Turkish box fed semi where the guy dropped it into a stream fully immersed for some seconds picked it up and it cycled straight away , the Turks now manufacture for lots of the big named makers, both Italian and Americans.