Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

Shotgun Tips: Skeet Shooting With a Pump Action

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

The Gun Nuts
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

February 19, 2013

Shotgun Tips: Skeet Shooting With a Pump Action

By Phil Bourjaily

Shooting a pump gun is like riding a bicycle. Yesterday I shot a round of skeet with a Winchester SXP I just received for testing and I never missed a stroke. These days I only use pumps for turkey hunting and I can’t remember the last time I had to shuck one quickly, but once you learn how, you don’t forget.

My dad was one of those who could never remember to work the slide between shots. I taught myself by loading two shells, having someone pull me a clay, shooting it, then calling for another, shucking out the empty and shooting that one. Then I worked my way up to doubles and after that I could go back and forth between pumps and semiautos without any trouble. I can only remember one time in the field when I was tired out at the end of a long day chasing pheasants, when  I shot, missed, pulled the trigger of my BPS again and wondered why the gun wouldn’t shoot. By the time I remembered to work the slide, the bird was gone.

Shooting a pump at skeet I remembered why it is some people feel they shoot them better than they shoot other actions. Shucking the gun takes you off target for an instant.  You have to reacquire the bird and make a fresh move to it with your second and third shells, increasing the chance you’ll make a good followup shot. While I am not one of those who can empty a pump as fast I as I can empty a semiauto, who cares? It’s usually better to slow down a little anyway. Pumps are kind of out these days – except for home defense models – and semiautos are in, but shooting a pump again for the first time yesterday reminded me why I used to like hunting with them.

Comments (21)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I shot skeet with a pump for a couple of years to better my timing. BUT,

although a pump is indeed faster for the 2nd shell, I prefer an auto.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TopperFanLuke wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I have a Remington 870 pump and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the dove field. It is an absolute blast to shoot whenever you get covered up and you are pumping and firing as fast as you can load it!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I own the SXP and I use it for pheasants, bunnies, ducks, & doves. I love it. Anyhow since I have started shooting I've always had a pump gun and never was interested in a semiauto. The 2011 season a friend allowed me to use his semiauto for the season to try it out because he was unable to hunt. You want to talk about an idiot with a gun that was me! I would try to shuck shells to no avail! By the time I realized I didn't have to I gave it back to him and have never really looked back. The way I see it I'm just as deadly with my pump as a semiauto because with the semiauto I still 90% of the time had to use a 2nd or 3rd shot to get my game which in the end equalled my pump skills. I rather a O/U which I'm saving for than a semiauto. At which time my pump will only be used for ducks and geese.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I switch back and forth from my 870 to Browning A-5 on a daily basis without any difficulty. Only rarely have I been fouled up. And this from a guy who can't remember a phone number from the time he looks it up till dialing it on the phone. Go figure. I usually shoot much better with the 870. Phil is probably right: it's a heavier gun and takes longer to shoot and I think that makes me shoot better. I have switched to the A-5 because it has modified choke and doesn't blow the pheasants up so badly. And I also don't mind handicapping myself a bit. But I will often switch back to the 870 when hunting the federal refuge. The birds are typically very spooky there and I don't get many close shots. Unfortunately, I also have to use steel so the pattern is quite tight.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I started out shooting skeet with my Wingmaster. Took a year or so to get consistent at doubles but it came around. I believe that the forward action of pumping actually brings you back on target a little more quickly than an auto or double gun. I bought a BPS and tried it but didn't like it. I had plenty of double pumps and finally sold it out of frustration and went back to my 870.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from AAM wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I shoot doubles with my mossberg 500. One time I threw a double, broke the first , clipped the second and finished it off with a third shot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I really like a pump for pheasant hunting. A favorite memory is getting into the mother lode of pheasants and shooting a limit with four shots in 10 seconds. The limit was three but I had to shoot one twice! The gun was a Winchester Model 12 16 ga.

MG

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

My first real shotgun was a Model 870 in 16 gauge, which I still own. I also have three Model 12s--two 16 gauges and a 12, and a number of semi-autos, including a Model 50 and Super-X-1 Winchester and an SP-10. I also have a Browning "Sweet Sixteen" that I have owned for more than 40 years. I like both actions, wouldn't part with either one. Being a "low-brow" type, I never have owned a double.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I like most pump guns, mossberg 500 being not one of them. My favorite will always be the Ithaca, though a sight-in session with 12 gauge slugs is no picnic. Being a lefty, I shied away from Winchester model 12 but I like them now, especially the smaller gauges. Bernie, good american made doubles were for every budget at one time. Most of the more modest-means hunters of my youth used them for everything. I also remember some ''high brow'' types sneering at old doubles.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chewylouie wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I just got a pump shotgun 2 days ago. I have only shot it twice so far but I want to shoot it more so bad. I don't shoot skeet, but I have tried pretty much the same thing with water ballon. Next time I do it though, I am going to use dried out crawdad mounds.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

Chewylouie, Your post may be my favorite of the year. Maybe ever. God Bless America!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nelsol wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

Several years ago I traded a set of golf clubs for a Mossberg 500C in 20 gauge. It had the poly choke barrel, and most likely had never been fired. It was years old, and I personally didn't care for the poly choke. So, I contacted Mossberg and purchase a 26" vent rib barrel with choke tubes, and man this shotgun is just a blast to shoot. Nothing fancy, just a good tool for the range or the woods. Great post Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Johnson wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

My first repeater was a pump, Model 12 Win.. After years of using it, I would nearly rip the forearm off a Rem. 1100 trying to pump it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from logan.vandermay wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

Love my 870 and wouldn't ever change.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wiege wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I was given one of those overpriced late model autos and I still prefer to use a pump. The beauty of the pump, it will cycle any ammo, a dud shell doesn't really slow you down. Where autos tend to function depending on the ammo, you have to pay attention to high or low brass, ect... You can't just buy ammo on sale.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

i havent handled very many pump guns, probably can count the times on one hand that i have shot them. most of my shotgunning career has been spent with an over/under in my hands. for the past 2 years though ive been an auto guy and just bought a beretta a400 xplor over the summer. its proving to be an excellent all around 12 gauge from busting clays to shooting geese and carrying it all day hunting pheasant.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

It might take a few shots to get my mind on track when I switch to a pump but after that I can do quite well. It seems to me that it doesn't really matter which gun I use as long as I am in the right mind-frame . I use all of my shotguns at various times just to keep myself familiar with each guns personal trait. When it comes to hunting though I rely on only two of them because they are the ones I am most accurate. If I miss a claybird no great harm is done but if I wound a game animal or liive bird that is an entireely different matter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

My first very own shotgun was a Winchester Model 1200 pump, plain barrel, full choke. If one holds the forearm loosely on the 1200, the bolt will unlock and blow back and eject the shell. All one has to do is close the action.

Now for turkeys and duck I use my Winchester 1897 pump. It is slicker'n you know what and because the bolt comes out of the back of the action, the receiver is shorter. Shooting it is pure bliss.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cb bob wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

My first gun was a Mossberg 500. When my younger brother started hunting, I passed it down to him, and got a BPS. I think the pump forces you to focus a little more on what your shooting. I don't think I shoot it better than a semi-auto, or an O/U, but I think it reminds me concentrate when I do use it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Andrew Sandstrom wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

my first gun was a 870 and she never failed me worth every penny!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim D wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Phil,

Please tell us of the evaluation for the Super X Pump (SXP) by Winchester, I am anxious to learn of your opinions.

I have one as my go-to Turkey gun and am very impressed. After a few shots it got super smooth and easy to enjoy. I am going to get another barrel for it I like it more than my other pumps.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from TopperFanLuke wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I have a Remington 870 pump and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the dove field. It is an absolute blast to shoot whenever you get covered up and you are pumping and firing as fast as you can load it!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I own the SXP and I use it for pheasants, bunnies, ducks, & doves. I love it. Anyhow since I have started shooting I've always had a pump gun and never was interested in a semiauto. The 2011 season a friend allowed me to use his semiauto for the season to try it out because he was unable to hunt. You want to talk about an idiot with a gun that was me! I would try to shuck shells to no avail! By the time I realized I didn't have to I gave it back to him and have never really looked back. The way I see it I'm just as deadly with my pump as a semiauto because with the semiauto I still 90% of the time had to use a 2nd or 3rd shot to get my game which in the end equalled my pump skills. I rather a O/U which I'm saving for than a semiauto. At which time my pump will only be used for ducks and geese.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I started out shooting skeet with my Wingmaster. Took a year or so to get consistent at doubles but it came around. I believe that the forward action of pumping actually brings you back on target a little more quickly than an auto or double gun. I bought a BPS and tried it but didn't like it. I had plenty of double pumps and finally sold it out of frustration and went back to my 870.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I shot skeet with a pump for a couple of years to better my timing. BUT,

although a pump is indeed faster for the 2nd shell, I prefer an auto.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I switch back and forth from my 870 to Browning A-5 on a daily basis without any difficulty. Only rarely have I been fouled up. And this from a guy who can't remember a phone number from the time he looks it up till dialing it on the phone. Go figure. I usually shoot much better with the 870. Phil is probably right: it's a heavier gun and takes longer to shoot and I think that makes me shoot better. I have switched to the A-5 because it has modified choke and doesn't blow the pheasants up so badly. And I also don't mind handicapping myself a bit. But I will often switch back to the 870 when hunting the federal refuge. The birds are typically very spooky there and I don't get many close shots. Unfortunately, I also have to use steel so the pattern is quite tight.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from AAM wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I shoot doubles with my mossberg 500. One time I threw a double, broke the first , clipped the second and finished it off with a third shot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chewylouie wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I just got a pump shotgun 2 days ago. I have only shot it twice so far but I want to shoot it more so bad. I don't shoot skeet, but I have tried pretty much the same thing with water ballon. Next time I do it though, I am going to use dried out crawdad mounds.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from logan.vandermay wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

Love my 870 and wouldn't ever change.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Andrew Sandstrom wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

my first gun was a 870 and she never failed me worth every penny!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I really like a pump for pheasant hunting. A favorite memory is getting into the mother lode of pheasants and shooting a limit with four shots in 10 seconds. The limit was three but I had to shoot one twice! The gun was a Winchester Model 12 16 ga.

MG

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

My first real shotgun was a Model 870 in 16 gauge, which I still own. I also have three Model 12s--two 16 gauges and a 12, and a number of semi-autos, including a Model 50 and Super-X-1 Winchester and an SP-10. I also have a Browning "Sweet Sixteen" that I have owned for more than 40 years. I like both actions, wouldn't part with either one. Being a "low-brow" type, I never have owned a double.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I like most pump guns, mossberg 500 being not one of them. My favorite will always be the Ithaca, though a sight-in session with 12 gauge slugs is no picnic. Being a lefty, I shied away from Winchester model 12 but I like them now, especially the smaller gauges. Bernie, good american made doubles were for every budget at one time. Most of the more modest-means hunters of my youth used them for everything. I also remember some ''high brow'' types sneering at old doubles.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

Chewylouie, Your post may be my favorite of the year. Maybe ever. God Bless America!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nelsol wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

Several years ago I traded a set of golf clubs for a Mossberg 500C in 20 gauge. It had the poly choke barrel, and most likely had never been fired. It was years old, and I personally didn't care for the poly choke. So, I contacted Mossberg and purchase a 26" vent rib barrel with choke tubes, and man this shotgun is just a blast to shoot. Nothing fancy, just a good tool for the range or the woods. Great post Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Johnson wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

My first repeater was a pump, Model 12 Win.. After years of using it, I would nearly rip the forearm off a Rem. 1100 trying to pump it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wiege wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

I was given one of those overpriced late model autos and I still prefer to use a pump. The beauty of the pump, it will cycle any ammo, a dud shell doesn't really slow you down. Where autos tend to function depending on the ammo, you have to pay attention to high or low brass, ect... You can't just buy ammo on sale.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

i havent handled very many pump guns, probably can count the times on one hand that i have shot them. most of my shotgunning career has been spent with an over/under in my hands. for the past 2 years though ive been an auto guy and just bought a beretta a400 xplor over the summer. its proving to be an excellent all around 12 gauge from busting clays to shooting geese and carrying it all day hunting pheasant.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

It might take a few shots to get my mind on track when I switch to a pump but after that I can do quite well. It seems to me that it doesn't really matter which gun I use as long as I am in the right mind-frame . I use all of my shotguns at various times just to keep myself familiar with each guns personal trait. When it comes to hunting though I rely on only two of them because they are the ones I am most accurate. If I miss a claybird no great harm is done but if I wound a game animal or liive bird that is an entireely different matter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

My first very own shotgun was a Winchester Model 1200 pump, plain barrel, full choke. If one holds the forearm loosely on the 1200, the bolt will unlock and blow back and eject the shell. All one has to do is close the action.

Now for turkeys and duck I use my Winchester 1897 pump. It is slicker'n you know what and because the bolt comes out of the back of the action, the receiver is shorter. Shooting it is pure bliss.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cb bob wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

My first gun was a Mossberg 500. When my younger brother started hunting, I passed it down to him, and got a BPS. I think the pump forces you to focus a little more on what your shooting. I don't think I shoot it better than a semi-auto, or an O/U, but I think it reminds me concentrate when I do use it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim D wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

Phil,

Please tell us of the evaluation for the Super X Pump (SXP) by Winchester, I am anxious to learn of your opinions.

I have one as my go-to Turkey gun and am very impressed. After a few shots it got super smooth and easy to enjoy. I am going to get another barrel for it I like it more than my other pumps.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment