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The history and mechanics behind the world's favorite shotgun
If you've ever gone hunting or been to a shooting range, you've likely encountered a pump-action shotgun. Pump-action shotguns are among the most popular types of shotguns, commonly used for hunting, home defense, and sport shooting. These versatile guns have been around for over a century and are preferred by shooters of all skill levels for their reliability, power, and ease of use. But have you ever wondered why they are called 'pump action'? In this article, we will explore the history and mechanics behind this iconic firearm and explain why it is called by its unique name.
What is a pump-action shotgun?
Before delving into the reason behind the name, let's first understand what a pump-action shotgun is. A pump-action shotgun is a type of firearm that loads shells into the chamber manually using a pump. The pump, otherwise known as the forend, is a movable grip located underneath the barrel of the shotgun. When the shooter pulls the pump towards themselves, it will pull back the spent shell in the chamber and simultaneously eject it out of the gun, then elevate and align the next round ready in the magazine with the chamber. When the shooter pushes the pump forward, it will seat the round firmly and securely into the chamber for the next shot, all while cocking the gun's internal hammer.
History of the pump-action shotgun
The first pump-action shotgun was invented by John Browning and was patented in 1893. The shotgun was marketed to hunters and sport shooters and was initially manufactured by Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Its ease of use and efficiency in shooting quickly made it popular among hunters who could fire multiple shots at game in a matter of seconds. The pump-action shotgun proved to be quite useful in combat as well, during World War I and II, it was often issued to American soldiers. They were lighter and more compact when compared to other firearms, making them perfect for close combat encounters like trench warfare. Around that time, the pump-action shotgun was also used by law enforcement to keep the peace, with sheriff's departments, state police organizations and private security agencies in the US getting their own versions of the Winchester 1893 for both force protection and public safety.
Mechanics of a pump-action shotgun
The pump action mechanism is what makes this type of shotgun unique. The shooter manually moves the pump back and forth to load the next round. This movement causes the action to unlock and the bolt carrier group or the breech bolt (in older models) to move rearward, removing the spent shell from the chamber and bringing it back into the magazine tube. Almost simultaneously, the bolt or carrier will remove the spent hull from the barrel’s chamber, cocks the firing pin, and cycles the next shell up from the tube and into the next position in line with the chamber. After this happens, the shooter pushes the pump forward, which chambers the next round, and compresses the magazine spring, locking the action and making it ready to fire again. The whole process takes less than a second to complete, making it a quick and efficient firearm to use.
Why is it called pump-action?
The name pump-action is derived from the fact that the gun's action is cycled by its pump, which is moved back and forth in a pumping motion to load and eject the shells. The mechanics of the pump-action shotgun make it an ideal choice for shooters in various situations. It is easy to use, reliable, and quick to reload, making it popular among hunters, sport shooters, and law enforcement agencies. The pump-action mechanism makes it an excellent choice for self-defense as well, as it is easy to operate and effective in stopping threats at close range.
The pump-action shotgun is a timeless firearm that has stood the test of time. From its humble beginnings as a sporting shotgun, it has become a multipurpose firearm that is favored among hunters, sport shooters, law enforcement, and homeowners alike. The unique name is derived from the action of the forend or pump, which sets it apart from other types of shotguns. Whether you are shooting for sport or need a reliable firearm for defense, the pump-action shotgun is sure to deliver.