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Old November 7, 2009, 11:43 PM   #1
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What is the proper forend technique before/when firing a pump shotgun?

What is the proper forend technique before/when firing a pump shotgun?
I've only fired a pump shotgun like a bolt action rifle ... one shot ... either the deer is down or gone after that.

I usually pull in more with my stock hand, and just use the front hand to stabilize (holding it up).

I went to shoot sporting clays for the first time and confused myself using my pump shotgun. I know, I know ... get a semi-auto or a side-by-side. I'm sure that's in my future but ...

Should I have considerable tension pulling the forend toward me before firing. Then the gun will fire and the pump action will initiate simultaneously. Or is this risky, possibly not firing the shell at times because the pump action might release first. Should I stick with firing the gun, then pulling back the forend.

I can't help to think that I should know this already. This also has implications using a pump shotgun for home defense.
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Old November 8, 2009, 12:03 AM   #2
Lee Lapin
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There are about as many techniques as there are shooters, and it's hard to say what's 'proper'. I prefer to pull back with the shooting hand while pushing forward on the forearm with the support hand. That puts a certain amount of dynamic tension on the gun and helps control recoil and muzzle rise IMHO.

In some pump shotgun designs the forearm will not unlock to be reciprocated if there is back pressure on it it when the hammer falls. The forearm must move forward a fraction of an inch to unlock the action. The Remington 870 is designed that way.

Others like the Wnchester 1200/1300 do release when the hammer falls and will almost pump themselves to the rear under the recoil of moderate to heavy loads.

Within the limits of safety and efficiency, whatever works best for you is what you should do. Pumping a shotgun should be a reflex action as soon as the shot breaks and follow-through is done. Yes, follow-through is necessary with a shotgun too, if you want to hit with it. Finish the first shot before you worry about getting to the next one... 8^). You just have to learn to take your time in a hurry.


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Old November 8, 2009, 12:11 AM   #3
the rifleer
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I don't know what kind of shotgun you have, but the mossberg 500 is designed in a way that you can pull it into your shoulder as hard as you want and it will not cycle until you release that pressure, even after it has been fired.

This is for when you are shooting slugs or buck shot you can really hold it firm against your shoulder. The problem that i have is that i usually shoot 2 or 3 shots very rapidly, usually in less than 2 seconds when im shooting clays. Therefore, i have learned not to pull it into my shoulder with my forearm, but with my right hand/trigger hand, that way i can pump a lot faster.

Is this the proper way? no, but it works well for me.

If your shotgun doesn't stay locked after you fire, thats ok. if you pull it into your shoulder and when you fire it automatically drives the bolt back, good, you can cycle faster. its not going to hurt anything. The projectile(s) is/are going to be out of the barrel before the bolt unlocks, it just happens so fast you don't notice.
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Old November 8, 2009, 12:29 AM   #4
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I kind of keep a bit of forward or neutral pressure so as not to have it go half shucked since my left hand is not what it was since a crash. I am firing mossberg 500.
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Old November 8, 2009, 12:44 AM   #5
T. O'Heir
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"...get a semi-auto or..." Nope. Dry fire practice cycling the action. Got so I could fire 7(mag extension) aimed shots, at plates and pins, out of my 870, in under 5 seconds. That's slow too. The winners were doing it in under 3 seconds. Cheaters were using target loads. snicker.
Mind you, Sporting Clays isn't a speed shoot. Dry fire practice does make you far more familiar with your shotgun just the same.
"...Should I have considerable tension pulling..." Nope. Firm grip, but not tight and cycle the action under recoil. Takes dry fire practice to get quick. Dry firing will not hurt your shotgun.
" will not cycle until you release that pressure, even after it has been fired..." Nonsense. How hard you pull a 500 into your shoulder with the trigger hand(definitely not the fore hand) has nothing to do with cycling the action.
"...Winchester 1200/1300..." Slightly longer stroke than an 870 too. Had one or the other loaned to me after my 870's barrel split(plain barrel cut to 18 3/8") at a plate shoot. Fortunately, I noticed the split before I shot again. Bang, stroke, nothing. Short stroked it. DOH!
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Old November 8, 2009, 11:23 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info guys.

Thank you for your help. I've search the internet before posting with no luck. The experiences you guys shared is excellent.

I love the "time your time in a hurry" comment.
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Old November 9, 2009, 03:11 PM   #7
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A pump gun isn't my primary gun anymore ....but I still like shooting it once in a while.

My pump gun techinque - in the field, for Skeet, Sporting Clays, etc is always the same. I hold the forend in my palm / with the index finger pointing down the barrel - under the forend. As I pull the trigger - and follow thru - I keep the gun in my shoulder - and my face on the comb - and as I follow thru, then I cycle the pump. Then I shift my eyes ( do not move the gun ) to find the 2nd target - and then move the gun and execute my 2nd shot and follow thru.

It takes a little practice / and confidence ... but make the moves as smooth as you can -- keep your shoulders level with the flight path of the bird ...and don't get in a hurry. You probably have way more time than you think even on a True Pair.
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