PRO TIPS with USAMU - Joshua Richmond

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Joshua Richmond - Choosing Your Shotgun


When it comes to choosing the right shotgun, there are many options to consider before making your decision. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of shooting a semiautomatic, pump action, and break-open shotgun. 



First let’s talk about the pump action shotgun. This is an affordable $300 to $500 shotgun with a three shot capacity. After firing the first shot, you must manual work the action to load the next shell in the chamber. 




This may become a disadvantage when shooting multiple targets, because of the movement made while working the action and the influence it will have on you’re move to the next target.

You can see after I shot the first target, the movement that was caused from sliding the action made it harder to engage the second shot smoothly. This can be overcome with practice, or by simply switching to a semi-automatic shotgun. 



 An average semi-automatic shotgun is in a $500 to $1,000 price range. It has a three shot capacity, along with a gas operated system which automatically feeds the next shell in the chamber, making this a lower recoil, smoother shooting shotgun. 

This system is powered by the recoil of the first shot forcing the slide back and allowing it to close again when a new shell is in the chamber. This makes it easier to shoot multiple targets eliminating the problem we just discussed with the pump shotgun. But along with this great feature comes the possibility of more malfunctions because of more moving parts. It is important to keep this system clean as well as finding ammunition that will cycle efficiently through your shotgun. Overall this is a great shooting shotgun perfect for introducing youth who may be intimidated by the recoil. 




 The last shotgun is the over and under, or break open shotgun. These are both carried in the field, but mostly recognized as a competition gun. O/U guns can range in price from $1,000 to $30,000. A custom fitted stock, interchangeable choke tubes, and a removable trigger plate, are some of the qualities this over and under comes with. 


But with these great features comes one disadvantage - only a two shot capacity, which may be a disadvantage for some of our hunters in the field. Firing the over / under is easy. Simply put two shells in the barrels, close up the action, and push the safety to the off position. Now the gun is ready to fire. After firing both barrels push the top latch to the side ejecting the empty shells making it ready for two new ones.




Whether you’re trying to bag a few extra birds in the field, or add a couple of targets to the end of your score, shooting the right shotgun will make you more successful, and remember stay Army Strong!




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