View Full Version : What is the most reliable design for an semi auto shotgun?

April 2, 2009, 09:23 AM
I am curious out of all the designs for semi auto shotguns which one has the best design in terms of reliability and low maintainance?

April 2, 2009, 09:31 AM
well, the browing auto 5 design has been around forever..and the benelli inertia design has got to be up towards the top of the list. i would put those two as 1 and 2. in that order only because the browning has been around that long...forever it seems, lol.

April 2, 2009, 10:25 AM
I would also say the recoil operated A5 design. I have known guys who have never cleaned their A5 or model 11 shotguns that they have had for 30+ years. They just keep going. On gas guns you will get to the point where the gas vents will need to be unclogged.

April 2, 2009, 11:33 AM
Agreed. The Browning A5 is the "standard" for most reliable semiauto shotgun around. The Benelli Inertia action found on Benelli, Franchi and Stoeger shotguns is the new kid on the block, and it seems to be just as reliable as the old standard.

April 2, 2009, 12:15 PM
Most of the complaints we read about are from the newer designs such as the inertia short recoil actions. I have been using the long recoil actions most of my life without any problems at all. The Browning A5, Franchi 48, SKB 900, etc., are the most trouble free and reliable actions to get my vote.

April 2, 2009, 12:36 PM
Don't count out the Saiga 12.

April 2, 2009, 12:49 PM
+1 on the A5. my grampa bought his in the 70's and hunted with it his entire life. Now i hunt with it. by far the best semi that i own.

April 2, 2009, 12:51 PM
Don't count out the Saiga 12.

Yes with the chromed lined barrel and AK pedigree the S12 is a reliable beast. Not always out of the box though and they do sometimes choke on lighter loads. Also with the S12 you need to clean those gas vents out once in a while or it will turn into a single shot. But all in all it is a very low maintenance shotgun.

I have both an S12 and a A5 clone (savage, also grew up hunting with a rem model 11) and my vote still goes with the A5. The Saiga is more fun though.

April 2, 2009, 07:08 PM
^^^ what he said. the saiga 12 has shown a weakness with lighter loads, whereas the model 11 in my closet that is older then me has yet to fail on anything.

April 2, 2009, 07:14 PM
i have had my A-5 jam once. but it was damn cold out (about 39 below if i do remember correctly) and i think the oil on the action and the springs got a lil sticky at that temperature. Other than that its been BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM

April 2, 2009, 07:17 PM
A-5's will work when they are incredibly gunked up.

April 2, 2009, 07:19 PM
about 39 below

i'd malfunction at that temp, never mind my darn guns, lol

April 2, 2009, 07:35 PM
yeah i was ready to go home haha. Walking the trapline that day was even worse cause it was through the fields and it was windy :(

April 3, 2009, 02:59 AM
Another vote for the Browning A5, something to be said about a shotgun that hasn't changed in 100 years. It's a damn shame they quit making them. Proud to say I have one of the last ones.

April 3, 2009, 03:22 AM
is the remington 1100 and 11-87 that bad that no one mentioned them? i havent fired one (yet) but id tend to beleive they are damn fine guns considering how nice 700s and 870s are

April 3, 2009, 07:40 AM
The only semi-auto shotgun I own is an 1100. I would never put it at the top of the list for most reliable. Mine needs to be run wet (lightweight oil) and the o-ring needs to be checked. I decided to buy a bag of generic o-rings (Viton) and replace it everytime I oil the gun.

There are different vintages of 1100, but for the last several years, the parts tend to break and for any serious use, a bag of spares (or a spare gun) is required.


April 3, 2009, 08:35 AM
my 11-87 is about 15 years old. It is a great trap gun. It is a great deer gun.
If i keep it clean it is great for HD.

If I go out and shoot three hundred rounds for trap or five stand it is not cycling smoothly by the end. If I am manually loading I have to push the bolt closed sometimes instead of just letting it fly forward. Running it wet helps a lot, but I don't usually take a gallon of remoil to the range with me. I usually shoot RIO shells which burn a little dirty.

I would not suggest it for a "combat" or survival gun where you may need to run hundreds of rounds through it without cleaning it.

April 3, 2009, 09:48 AM
I would vote for the 870 Competition, I think it was called.

Made from (I think) 1978 to 1983 (or something like that, it is a gas assisted pump. The gas assist did not rechamber an unfired round but relieved recoil.

April 3, 2009, 09:56 AM
+1 for its a shame they stopped making A-5's. i almost cried. maybe i did. dont judge me

April 3, 2009, 12:56 PM
is the remington 1100 and 11-87 that bad that no one mentioned them?Not even in the same class. 200 rounds through an 1100 will slow it down, 2,000 would just plain kill it. On the other hand, 2,000 rounds through an A5 is a good start. Remember, they went to war, and no one complained except the supply folks who had to pay for them.
its a shame they stopped making A-5's. i almost cried. maybe i did. dont judge meI still get a little teary-eyed when I think about it, so I open my safe and fondle my FN-made A5s until I feel better.

April 3, 2009, 01:33 PM
There’s a lot more to reliability than just cleaning, as you’ll find if you shoot a light load in your Browning A5 and it becomes a single shot weapon. For neglect, an A5 is tough to beat and it will function well with slugs and buckshot, but it can become finicky with light loads. Gas guns (like the M4) often handle the lighter loads better with the trade off of increased complexity and maintenance.

Even the mythical AK requires maintenance and no army has discovered the maintenance free weapon yet, so they have requirements of periodic cleaning. If we assume that the weapon should survive a week without maintenance (for discussion lets say that’s 500 shells) then the options increase greatly.

Reliability to me means that the gun will cycle every time I pull the trigger and that means reasonable maintenance, ability to work with a broad spectrum of loads, no sensitivity to OAL shell length or crimp, and a strong extractor. I like the A5, the Benelli M1S90 and M1014, and even my old Mossberg 9200 A1 Jungle Gun, and I’m certain that many more meet the criteria.

April 3, 2009, 02:22 PM
If I can't lay down in a sandbox and fire a gun one thousand times without doing any sort of maintenance that is a reliability problem.

April 3, 2009, 03:35 PM
My 20ga magnum A-5 will cycle a 2 3/4 inch 7/8oz trap load and a 2 3/4 inch 1 1/4oz load and not even flinch. The only time I need to adjust the recoil bushing is when I shoot a 3 inch shell.

April 15, 2009, 04:38 PM
I am a newcomer here
This subject is very subjective, vis a vis Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge etc.
When I started shooting skeet in 1969 a friend had an 1100 which malfunctioned often. We determined that he oiled it weekly.
This was a mistake as told to me by Tom Heffron Sr. (father of Tom Jr. national co-champ in skeet in I think 1966 with a fellow named buntrock)
I swore I would never own one, but I bought one in 1971 that has had probably 3- 4000 rounds thru it mainly when I shot skeet in the 70's and 80s.
I have NEVER oiled it, only cleaned the slide and the rest of the inside with Hoppes about every 3 weeks. Do have to clean the gas ports about every 4 years.
It had when, I got it, an aluminum spring follower on the main spring which deformed and had to be replaced (at no charge) in about 1975.
I also have a 20 ga. (kind of abused when I got it) which Remington refurbished for me about 5 years ago for no charge for labor only parts (I live about 70 miles from Ilion)
So much for praises for the 1100.
I recently picked up a Browning 16 ga. a-5 Ser # x-39512 in very poor condition, having a lightly scorched for-end and a lot of rust.
Is this gun worth salvaging?
I love 16 ga. as my first was a model 37 Ithaca given to me by dad in 1953 for my 16th b day.
So much for my rant.
Any input is appreciated

April 15, 2009, 08:50 PM
the gun is definately worth salvaging. theyll pry my A-5 out of my cold dead fingers (im sure ill pass it to my children before that happens though)

April 15, 2009, 08:57 PM
what about the benelli Super Blacke Eagle 2?

April 15, 2009, 09:32 PM
Benelli. I may have missed something but I can't think of any major LE organization that is still using a Browning A5. Really nice shotguns but technology has moved on. That's not to belittle it - they are darn fine shotguns. But time moves on. The Benelli was originally designed for the Italian army. Breakdown for cleaning takes 30 seconds. The inertia system is very clean and the polished bore makes for fast clean up. It also doesn't care what you feel it. Go from ultralight 2-3/4" target load to 3" magnum 00 buck and it won't hiccup. Heck you can mix and match them in the magazine - try that with most gas operated shotguns. ;)

Add the fact that the inertia system absorbs much of the recoil and the super high rate of fire you have a shotgun that can be double tapped as fast and accurately as a semiauto handgun. FWIW LAPD just authorized privately purchased Benelli M4 shotguns for on-duty use. Personally I like the early H&K imported M1s better.

I'll also take a conventional tube magazine design over a box fed anytime. I don't like running dry before reloading. Tactical reloads should be a continuous business. No having to call for a time-out while you reload. ;)

What you cannot do with an inertia system shotgun is load it down with lights, lasers, saddle shell carriers, and a red dot sight. Pick one and only one. You also can't "limp-wrist" hip shots. But as long as you hold it firmly underhand shots are fine.

April 15, 2009, 09:54 PM
My brother has a Browning A5. He claims it has not been cleaned, other than wiped down and a brush/patch down the bore since 1958 and is used every hunting season.