Hey there, shotgun enthusiasts! Are you tired of not knowing your break-actions from your bolt-actions, or your pump-actions from your semi-automatics? Fear not, my friends, for today we will be going over the different types of shotguns out there, so you can finally sound like a knowledgeable shooter instead of a confused newbie.
Let’s start with the most basic of shotguns – the break-action. This is the type of shotgun that you probably see in old Western movies, where the hero is shucking shells out of a shotgun before entering a saloon. Break-action shotguns come in two flavors – the single-barrel and the double-barrel.
The single-barrel is pretty self-explanatory – it’s a shotgun with a single barrel. The double-barrel, on the other hand, has two barrels side by side, or over and under. The over-and-under is often the choice of those who like to look down their noses at other shooters, while the side-by-side is preferred by those who like to pretend they’re in a period drama.
The advantage of break-action shotguns is their simplicity – they’re easy to load, easy to shoot, and easy to clean. The disadvantage? You only get one or two shots before having to reload, which can be a drag if you’re out there hunting.
Moving on to the pump-action, we have the shotgun that looks like it means business. Pump-actions come in a variety of styles, from the classic Remington 870 to the tactical Mossberg 590.
The pump-action is exactly what it sounds like – you pump the fore-end back and forth to cycle the action. Pump-actions are known for their reliability and ease of use, and are often the go-to choice for law enforcement and home defense.
The disadvantage of pump-actions is that they can be a bit tricky to shoot if you’re not used to them. Pumping the fore-end back and forth takes some getting used to, and can be a little uncomfortable if you’re not used to it.
Now we come to the semi-automatic – the shotgun that does the work for you. Semi-automatics come in a variety of flavors, from the classic Browning Auto-5 to the high-end Benelli M4.
Semi-automatics use the energy from the fired shell to cycle the action, meaning you don’t have to do anything except pull the trigger. They’re known for their reliability and speed, making them a popular choice for competition shooting and hunting.
The disadvantage of semi-automatics is that they can be finicky with the type of shells you use. Some semi-automatics will only cycle with high-brass shells, while others will only work with low-brass. It can be a bit of a trial-and-error process to figure out what works best for your shotgun.
Now we come to the bolt-action – the shotgun that looks like a rifle. Bolt-action shotguns are often used for slug shooting, which is a type of shooting where you fire a single projectile instead of a shotshell.
The advantage of bolt-action shotguns is their accuracy – since they’re designed like rifles, they’re capable of hitting targets at long distances. The disadvantage is that they’re not ideal for quick shooting, since you have to cycle the bolt between each shot.
Moving on to the lever-action – the shotgun that looks like it’s straight out of the Old West. Lever-actions come in a variety of styles, from the classic Winchester Model 1897 to the modern Henry Lever Action Shotgun.
Lever-actions are known for their classic looks and smooth cycling action. They’re often used for cowboy action shooting, where shooters dress up in period costumes and compete in shooting events that mimic those of the Old West.
The disadvantage of lever-actions is that they can be a bit tricky to cycle if you’re not used to them. You have to push the lever down to cycle the action, which can take some practice to do quickly and smoothly.
Now we come to the side-by-side – the shotgun that looks like a work of art. Side-by-sides come in a variety of styles, from the classic English game guns to the modern Italian over-and-unders.
Side-by-sides are often used for upland bird hunting, where the shooter walks through fields and flushes birds out of cover. They’re known for their balance and beauty, and are often passed down as family heirlooms.
The disadvantage of side-by-sides is that they can be expensive – some high-end models can cost tens of thousands of dollars. They’re also not as versatile as other types of shotguns, since they’re primarily designed for upland bird hunting.
Finally, we have the over-and-under – the shotgun that looks like it belongs on a shooting range. Over-and-unders come in a variety of styles, from the classic Browning Citori to the high-end Beretta DT11.
Over-and-unders are often used for competition shooting, where shooters fire at clay targets that are launched into the air. They’re known for their precision and balance, and are often the choice of serious shooters.
The disadvantage of over-and-unders is that they can also be expensive – some high-end models can cost as much as a small car. They’re also not as versatile as other types of shotguns, since they’re primarily designed for competition shooting.
And there you have it – the different types of shotguns. Whether you’re a hunter, a competition shooter, or just someone who likes to shoot for fun, there’s a shotgun out there for you.
So next time you’re at the range and someone asks what kind of shotgun you have, you can confidently say “Why, it’s a pump-action Remington 870, my good sir/ma’am!” And then they’ll know you mean business.
Before we wrap up, let’s take a closer look at some of the features and considerations that are unique to each type of shotgun.
Pump-actions are often the most versatile type of shotgun, and they come with a variety of features to fit different shooting styles. Some models, like the Mossberg 500, have interchangeable barrels that allow you to switch between rifled, smoothbore, and slug barrels. Others, like the Remington 870, have adjustable chokes that allow you to change the spread of the shot.
One thing to keep in mind with pump-actions is that they can be a bit heavy, especially if you’re carrying them all day while hunting. Some shooters also find that the pump action can be a bit slow, although with practice, it can become second nature.
Semi-autos are known for their fast cycling action, which makes them popular for shooting sports like trap and skeet. They come with a variety of features, like adjustable stocks and interchangeable chokes, that make them versatile for different shooting styles.
One thing to keep in mind with semi-autos is that they can be a bit finicky when it comes to ammunition. Some models will only cycle reliably with certain types of shells, so it’s important to test your gun with different loads before heading out to hunt or shoot.
Lever-actions are often considered the cowboy guns of the shotgun world. They have a classic look and feel that harkens back to the Old West, and they’re often used for shooting sports like cowboy action shooting.
One thing to keep in mind with lever-actions is that they can be a bit slow to cycle, especially if you’re not used to them. You also need to be careful when loading them, as it’s easy to short-stroke the action and cause a malfunction.
Side-by-sides are often considered the most beautiful type of shotgun, with their classic English looks and intricate engraving. They’re often used for upland bird hunting, where their balance and pointability make them ideal for shooting fast-flying birds.
One thing to keep in mind with side-by-sides is that they can be expensive, especially if you’re looking for a high-end model. They can also be a bit unforgiving, as they have less recoil reduction than other types of shotguns.
Over-and-unders are known for their precision and balance, and they’re often used for competition shooting. They come with a variety of features, like adjustable stocks and interchangeable chokes, that make them ideal for shooting clay targets.
One thing to keep in mind with over-and-unders is that they can be expensive, especially if you’re looking for a high-end model. They can also be a bit heavy, which can be a concern if you’re carrying them all day on a hunting trip.
In conclusion, the type of shotgun you choose will ultimately depend on your shooting style and personal preferences. Whether you’re hunting, shooting sports, or just having fun at the range, there’s a shotgun out there that’s perfect for you. So go ahead, choose your weapon, and get out there and start shooting!