Being able to identify the parts of a pump action shotgun will allow you to have more confidence with your firearm. As any gun owner knows, confidence is key when using and handling a firearm with safety and precision.
Read on as we explore the various components of a pump action shotgun and their purpose.
What Is a Shotgun?
Before we dive right in, let’s back up and give you a quick rundown of what’s a shotgun. Quite simply, a shotgun is the only category of weapon that has the capability of launching multiple projectiles with a single discharge.
It’s a favorite weapon for many because of its versatility. A shotgun works well for hunting or sports such as upland bird, big game, and trap. Shotguns also serve well for uses like home defense and tactical applications.
While there are three different types of shotguns, we are going to focus on the components of a pump action shotgun specifically. Let’s jump right in and explore one of America’s favorite guns!
Identifying the Parts of a Pump Action Shotgun
In the following guide, we will travel from the stock of the gun towards the barrel and cover the basic components of this popular shotgun.
Stock and Comb
This is the rearmost part of the gun that provides three of the four points of contact between weapon and shooter. The butt at the very end rests on the shooter’s shoulder. It will have either a butt plate or a recoil pad that helps to absorb some of the shock as the firearm is discharged.
The comb is where the shooter’s cheek makes contact with the shotgun, known as the weld. This is the second point of contact with the firearm.
The third contact on the stock is the grip. The shooter can either grip high on the stock or perform a pistol grip.
Trigger and Trigger Guard
The trigger is the lever that discharges the shotgun.
The trigger guard is the piece around the trigger, usually made of metal, that is intended to prevent accidental discharge.
The safety is a mechanism that blocks either the trigger action or the hammer. This works to prevent accidental firing. The safety is typically located behind the trigger guard as a button that can be pushed from either side of the firearm.
The shooter needs to push the button into safe mode to enable it. When the gun is in fire mode, it will usually have a red side exposed.
Keep in mind that the safety is merely a mechanism, and it can fail. The best type of safety is common sense, responsible gun handling, andregular maintenance. You canvisit the NRA here for great information ongun safety education.
The chamber of the shotgun is where your ammunition goes. Depending on the style of your gun, this can be accessed from the top or the side.
The chamber size describes the length, and that determines what size shotgun shells can be fired safely.
The magazine tube is where the shotgun shells are held with a pump action shotgun. The tubular magazine runs parallel along the barrel and will vary in length depending on how much ammunition the gun can legally hold.
Action and Action Release
The action is the section of the gun where the ammunition is loaded, fires, and is unloaded.
The action release does exactly what the name implies. It is generally a button that is built into the trigger guard, or right in front of it, that unlocks and gives access to the chamber. Using the action release allows the shooter to load and unload shotgun shells as well as simply see if the gun is empty or not.
The barrel of a shotgun is the long straight tube that extends to the end of the gun. This metal tube allows for the ammunition to be released in a straight path.
Forend, Forestock, or Forearm
These terms are all the same part of a shotgun and are specific to a pump action shotgun. We’re going to refer to it as the forestock.
This part of the firearm is sometimes called a slide. The mechanism slides or pumps forward to load a new shell into the chamber. It slides back to eject a spent shell and cock the action.
The hollow part inside of the barrel is called the bore. The bore determines what gauge the shotgun is. Generally, the gauge of a shotgun is stamped on the barrel. This is incredibly important because you should only ever load your firearm with the matching gauge of shotgun shells.
The muzzle is the very front end of the gun. It’s the open end where the projectile exits after the gun is discharged.
While not part of the physical gun itself, it is beneficial to know the basics of ammunition available for shotguns. As mentioned earlier, shotguns are the only category of firearms that can launch multiple projectiles.
The type of ammunition is selected based on the intended use of the gun. There are three types: birdshot, buckshot, and a slug.
Birdshot is best if you are hunting small game such as waterfowl. These can contain 50 or more small metal beads, which, when fired, create a pattern that expands. This increases your odds of hitting your intended target.
Buckshot is intended for larger game and will contain 9 or more larger metal beads. The larger beads make for better penetration.
A slug is a large, single metal projectile that effectively turns the shotgun into a rifle.
Understanding the parts of a pump action shotgun will help you have more confidence when handling this iconic firearm, be itcleaning your gun or shooting.
For more information and education on your firearm,Gun Cleaning HQ has a number of educational and information articles to help you up your game.