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Old July 10, 2018, 09:50 PM   #1
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semi auto or pump?

I will be buying a 12 gauge shotgun in the near future. I have some issues with my shoulder, so I have been thinking that maybe I should get an auto loader (I am only guessing that it is similar to rifles where semis usually kick less). Is that the case with shotguns too? If so are semi shotguns as reliable? Thanks
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Old July 10, 2018, 11:29 PM   #2
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Semi auto shotguns can be either recoil operated like a Benelli, or gas operated like a Beretta. The gas guns are softer shooting and the recoil guns are a bit more harsh. I own several of each and either one can be pleasant enough depending on what loads you shoot out of them. As far as reliability, semi auto shotguns are extremely reliable. I've shot literally thousands of rounds through my semi auto shotguns with no malfunctions being attributed to the guns. The only caveat is that lack of cleaning can cause a problem. Even at that, my guns will usually run well into the hundreds of rounds without a single hiccup. If you have a bad shoulder a gas gun would offer you about as much relief as you can get.
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Old July 10, 2018, 11:59 PM   #3
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Any semi-auto is a relief compared to a double or pump. I can highly recommend a Benelli M2 Field.
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Old July 11, 2018, 07:10 AM   #4
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I own seven Benelli shotguns and their inertia system isn't nearly as soft as any of my Beretta or Browning gas guns. I shoot thousands of rounds a year at clays and hunting and I've owned both for years. If you have medical problems aggravated by recoil the Benelli is not the best choice. I'm not knocking Benelli, I love the brand. In fact, my first choice for a hunting semi auto is Benelli. However, shooting both side by side it's pretty easy to feel the difference.
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Old July 11, 2018, 08:45 AM   #5
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In my experience the Remington 1100/11-87 series guns are among the softest-recoiling 12 gauge shotguns. The Beretta A400 (with Kick-Off stock) and A300 Outlander also have low felt recoil, but not to the level of the older Remington designs.
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Old July 11, 2018, 08:56 AM   #6
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In my experience the Remington 1100/11-87 series guns are among the softest-recoiling 12 gauge shotguns. The Beretta A400 (with Kick-Off stock) and A300 Outlander also have low felt recoil, but not to the level of the older Remington designs.
Can't argue with that. I have an 1100 I bought thirty years ago, an SA Skeet in 12ga. It's the softest shooting gun I've ever owned. Part of that is that it's all steel, no alloy in the gun. The extra weight soaks up a bunch of the recoil plus the gas system. You don't see them around much anymore, but they were good guns back in the day.
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Old July 11, 2018, 10:29 AM   #7
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A gas operated semi that weighs about 8 lbs will be the most comfortable to shoot. And I'll agree that a Remington 1100 or 11-87 is one of the better options. If kept reasonably clean they are remarkably reliable. They may not be the best option for duck hunters who drag their guns through muddy swamps and in freezing rain. But for most other hunting or shooting sports you can do a lot worse, and spend more.

The offerings from Beretta aren't bad either. This is a moderately priced gun that my brother bought. It has done very well.

The recoil or inertia operated guns will recoil less than a pump. And in my experience rival a pump action for reliability even when dirty. I really like the Benelli M-1 and newer M-2 guns for hunting. But they do recoil more than most clay shooters want for a round of 100 shots. I don't get that many shots during most seasons hunting so I'm willing to deal with a little more recoil for a lighter shotgun.

In theory a pump is more reliable, in practice there is very little difference and semi-autos are probably more reliable in the long run. A pump will take more abuse and filth and still work. But since it is manually operated I see more operator error related jams with pumps than mechanical related jams in semi-auto's.

A pump will cost significantly less. And with one of the newer hi-tech recoil pads recoil isn't nearly as bad. Especially if you choose ammo carefully.
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Old July 11, 2018, 02:38 PM   #8
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Issues with your shoulder pretty much mandates a semi. 12 gauge an absolute necessity? A 20 will do pretty much anything a 12 will do.
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Old July 11, 2018, 02:43 PM   #9
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soft shooter

Like others have noted, a gas recoil system has less felt recoil.

I use Remington G2/1100 and added a Kick-Ezz recoil pad as well.

No problems with my surgically repaired shoulder.
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Old July 11, 2018, 02:47 PM   #10
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Issues with your shoulder pretty much mandates a semi. 12 gauge an absolute necessity? A 20 will do pretty much anything a 12 will do.
And you don't have to shoot heavy 12 ga loads in a 12 ga. Shoot 1oz 12ga and you've got the added weight of the heavier gun plus light loads being shot in it. I shoot 1 oz loads most of the time and I have no trouble shooting AA scores using them.
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Old July 13, 2018, 01:41 AM   #11
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You know it's been said with the autos, it depends more on the gun and the shells. If they're both of good quality then nowadays they can be very reliable, provided proper preventative precautions are performed.

The pumps? Hell for stout reliable with nearly any shell, even when dirty, etc. but they rely on the SHOOTER for proper function. Short shucks are a thing indeed I've seen it happen (and done it, too!!).

Some (like Mas Ayoob) feel autos are the way to go as they take the human factor out of the equation. Others don't feel that way. I'm indifferent. I shoot an 870 because I trust it and enjoy the tons of aftermarket things for it.
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Old July 13, 2018, 06:28 AM   #12
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One bonus to the pump action is that it will work with light loads or reduced recoil rounds.

And if you or a buddy reload, you can load them as light as you want.

You got a trap range nearby? You could probably rent a semiauto and see if it's workable.
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Old July 13, 2018, 11:46 AM   #13
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What is going to alleviate your recoil issue is to shoot the slowest, lightest possible load in the heaviest gun you can handle. My 8# A400 handles my 3/4oz 12 gauge reloads with 2/3 the energy of a 1oz load going the same speed. Be aware that not all semis will handle such light loads. Not all semis reduce the "felt" recoil, aka "kick" equally either. A gas gun, as opposed to inertia (Benelli and others) or long recoil Browning A5 and others) will have the softest feel.

That all said, gun FIT is crucial no matter the action type. Actual recoil is a math calculation where the aforementioned gun weight, payload weight, and payload velocity are the factors.
You might be better off with an O/U that fits shooting light training loads than a semi that only works with heavy/fast loads.
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Old July 14, 2018, 09:13 PM   #14
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A couple more things can be done to make a shotgun feel like it recoils less. Have a good recoil pad installed and have the forcing cone reamed to a long taper instead of the normal short/fast taper. Reaming the forcing cone tempers the feel of recoil when the wad and shot column meet the resistance of the barrel. Makes a real difference IMO. Usually helps the shot pattern too.

BTW I, too, greatly prefer the recoil of SA shotties over pumps. I really like my old Super-X Model 1 although even my Browning A5 is way better than a pump when the recoil ring is set properly.
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Old July 15, 2018, 09:11 PM   #15
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1100 is a good one

What you want is a relatively heavy gas autoloader. I have a CZ 720 and it's heavier than my friends 12 gauge Beretta and doesn't kick very much. It's pretty reliable but has a heavy trigger. The 1100s from the early 70s have a nice finish and are smooth guns. Later ones are all black, look like poop and are rough. A Stoeger 3020 might be ok but has an inertia action that may be a bit harder kicking but not worse than a pumper.
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Old July 16, 2018, 11:37 PM   #16
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OP... Some more info needed. Will you use it for sport / leisure or self defense also what kind of budget your working with. Without putting cash numbers out-- just by telling us what you have been looking at it would be easier to know where your at budget wise. That said Having both Semiauto and pump 12 and 20ga shottys I will say a 20ga pump loaded with buckshot is softer on my shoulder than a semi auto 12ga same ammo be it buckshot or deer slug. And yes a semiauto 12 or 20ga shotgun is softer shooting than its pump action counter part because of the gas being both used and bled off. I STRONGLY urge you to explore shooting a 20ga pump or semiauto if you have shoulder issues as I do. Imo world of diffrence in recoil to 12ga guns. If using for self defense or deer for that matter I doubt a badguy with a hole in his chest will wonder if that was a 1oz or 3/4oz slug that just went thru him. Not trying to start a thread war but... On a personal note.... Maybe cause Ive had picky autoloding shotguns in the past and Im paranoid of hearing a click sound in time of crisis I can not bring myself to have or use a autoloading shotgun as a self defense weapon and keep a Glock or 20ga pump for home defense....Then again I never owned a fancy Benelli or Barretta out of my wallet reach though I hear good thing about them. I will say the times my 12ga autoloaders ran consistant it was with high brass buckshot or slugs. End of Ramble
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Old July 17, 2018, 06:40 AM   #17
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I'd have to say pump. I like the relative simplicity, reliability and ease of takedown for cleaning. We hunt in some real crap weather. Also if I need to jump up and run after a bird after a shot, I preferan empty chamber.
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Old July 17, 2018, 02:35 PM   #18
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The A5 Brn is pleasant on recoil. Some guys don't like it because of the double shuffle type
recoil. I have 1100 too and don't notice one kicking harder than the other. Definite a lot
softer than 870. I have 2, 12g slug guns an A5 & 870. I use the A5 more because it has
iron sights and out shoots the 870. The 870 is scoped and it really raps you with slugs.
I have scope as far forward as possible, scope got me once and that was enough.
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