Gun Digest
 

Understanding The Semi-Auto Shotgun

There's most likely a great semi-auto shotgun out there for you. You just need to take the time to understand how they work and what best fits you.
There's most likely a great semi-auto shotgun out there for you. You just need to take the time to understand how they work and what best fits you.

Semi-Auto shotgun makes and models abound. Picking one that will enhance your shooting ability and enjoyment means understanding their operating systems and yourself.

The turn of the 20th Century must have been an amazing time to be alive. The advent of the electric light, moving pictures, the internal combustion engine and, of course, the semi-auto shotgun. The mind reels at the technological advancement. Particularly the smoothbore.

Not to take anything away from the horseless carriage and illumination at the flick of a switch, but the autoloading scattergun must have been mind-boggling to the folks of the age. Five shots with little more than the pull of a trigger? The devil you say! Two short decades before 1905, shotguns were exclusively single barrel or side-by-side affairs, complete with external manually cocked hammers. Not exactly the stuff for rapid-fire. Moving to an autoloading system was dang near akin to jumping from ox-and-cart to GTO.

No wonder the semi-auto shotgun dominated much of the past century and only continues to get better with time.

Why A Semi-Auto Shotgun

Avoiding the obligatory Why not a semi-auto shotgun? there are some solid logical reasons to consider this type of smoothbore. The two most significant: firepower and ease of use.

Seriously, who doesn't want a beast such as the Beretta 1301 Tactical. Photo by Robert Sadowski

The first is fairly self-explanatory, in most cases, a semi-auto shotgun is capable of delivering more shot downrange in a shorter period of time than anything else. Competitors understand this, with various semi-auto models—such as the Remington Versa Max Competition Pro—dominating 3-Gun Matches. This advantage translates over to any endeavor you might need to send a mass of pellets on target and quick, from knocking down white wings to protecting hearth and home.

As for ease of use, well that too is pretty simple to get a handle on. Once you know how to load a semi-auto shotgun and chamber a shell, the only thing you concern yourself with—barring a malfunction—is aiming and trigger pull. That’s quite a load off the mind—and muscle memory—allowing you to focus on what’s important—hitting the target.


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