Best Pump Shotgun: Guide to Pump Shotguns & Top 7 Reviews

If you are considering buying a hunting firearm for small game hunting, you should always go for the best pump shotgun before you invest in a hunting rifle.

A small bore gun is always the most desired choice in areas where ranges are short and small game, are the most likely targets. Shotguns are more forgiving when firing against fast-moving targets. However, you have to deal with the bulkiness of ammo and short range shooting.

Normally, a true pump gun is one that has both self-defense and food gathering capabilities. The list of product reviews provides you with reliable buying information.

Features to Consider When Buying A Pump Shotgun


This is one of the most important features to consider. You need a bore or a gauge that will do the job, but also one that is readily available. Double-barreled smoothbore firearms are defined by a gauge system.

Normally, the gauge refers to the number of lead balls of the caliber of the barrel that have a total weight of a single pound. The bigness of the bore is determined by how low the gauge number is for every shotgun. A 12 gauge has a larger caliber barrel when compared to a 20 bore.

Pump Shotgun Gauge

As far as a pump gun is concerned, the choice of ammo is simple. You need the 12 bore piece because it is one of the most readily available gauge, and the most versatile one. You can also find it at reasonable prices when compared to other gauges because there is a high demand and turnover in 12 gauge ammo.

There are other gauges that you can consider, but the most appropriate one apart from the 12 gauge is the 20 gauge. A 20 bore shotgun tends to be a shade lighter, and has less recoil than the equivalent 12 bore designed for the same use.


This refers to a narrowed part of the barrel close to the muzzle that controls the spread of pellets. What a choke does is prevent your shots from scattering too much. Usually, the barrel must decrease in diameter at the muzzle. It also determines the size as well as the density of your shot pattern. There are four major chokes, including: full, modified, cylinder/open, and improved cylinder.

Full choke is the most constricted narrowing. If you are a waterfowl or turkey hunter, the full choke shotgun is the most ideal choice. This is so since the distance is usually forty yards or more.

Pump Shotgun Choke

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Modified choke is ideal for a variety of hunting categories. This is a good option for most pieces that do not have interchangeable choke tubes. The improved cylinder choke is a trivial narrowing of the barrel, which keeps pellets together when compared to open choke.

If your shots do not exceed thirty yards, then you should go for improved cylinder. On the other hand, the cylinder/open choke has no constriction of the barrel. It simply allows your shots to spread quickly as they travel downrange, which is convenient for short-range shooting.


The most basic magazines are tube and the ones built into the receiver. Magazines are where extra shells are held before you fire them. You have to load shells into a magazine before they are moved into the firing chamber by the pump action.

Most shells measure 2-3/4 inches in length, which is the standard length for most gauges. Nonetheless, some pieces can shoot 3 inches or even 3-1/2 inches long shells. Therefore, you must select the appropriate shells that your gun can safely shoot. You should always remember to use the proper length of shells for the shotgun you are using.


A great number of shotguns use an integral tube magazine. Research suggests that tube magazine is not the most reliable way to feed short stout shotgun rounds. What cannot be contended is that tube magazines are slow to load. If you want a sustained high rate of fire, the double barrel model has an advantage.

However, tube magazine pieces are adequate for self-defense and small game hunting. Pump shotguns have a reputation for reliability and dependability. They are mechanically simpler to operate when compared to other shotguns.


Choose a shotgun that will provide you with unsurpassed weather resistance and strength. Go for a piece that has an ergonomic trigger guard and safety for easy blending and functioning. Make sure your gun has grooved grip surface that will offer you unrivaled gripping surface as well as a distinctive look.

Pump Shotgun Ergonomics

In addition, confirm that your model has a removable trigger assembly and gun sock. The gun sock will help keep your shotgun lubricated as well as rust-free, and it will allow your gun to breathe. Also consider a gun that has a push-button shell stop.

Top 7 Pump Shotgun Reviews

Remington 870 Express and Express Super Magnum

Remington 870 Express and Express Super Magnum

Barrel Length: 28 inches

Design Features: 12 gauge; 28-inch barrel length; 48-inch overall length; 3 (3 ½) 4 (2 ¾ & 3) magazine capacity; vent rib rem choke barrel type; single bead sights; 2½-inch hell drop; 1½-inch comb drop; 14-inch length of pull; and matte black non-reflect receiver finish.

Best Use: Small Game Hunting

Description: Express Super Magnum is without a doubt one of the best 12 gauge pump shotgun. It is designed to handle super magnums ranging from 2.75 to 3.50 inches, interchangeably. This piece is worth every penny as far as versatility, resourcefulness, and value are concerned.

It has a matte black non-reflect receiver finish. It is similar to Model 870 Express, but this model has a 28-inch vent rib barrel with 3½-inch chamber, vented recoil pad.

This piece is fully camouflaged with Mossy Oak Duck Blind pattern, twenty-eight-inch vent rib rem choke barrel, padded black sling, front and rear sling swivel studs, fiber optic single bead front sight, and over decoys choke tube.

It comes with a uniquely designed and indestructible stock as well as forend that are highly waterproof. Twin action bars provide you with non-binding, reliable, and smooth action. The receiver is rolled out from solid steel to provide durability and strength. In addition, the unique and compact design offers a legendary accuracy.

Benelli Nova

Benelli Nova

Barrel Length: 28 inches

Design Features: 12-gauge; 28-inch barrel length; 49.5-inch overall length; black synthetic, non-ComforTech finish; standard chokes; rotating bolt head; removable trigger assembly; grooved grip surface; ergonomic trigger guard & safety; push-button shell stop; mid-bead & red bar front sight;

Best Use: Small Game Hunting

Description: Benelli Nova shotgun has a state-of-the-art design. The stock and receiver are molded together in a single piece with metal inserts at stress points. The polymer receiver shell has a metal liner for added strength.

The chamber pressure is controlled by the two-lug rotary locking head that fastens into the barrel extension made of steel. The trigger guard, as well as safety, are highly user-friendly. It has removable trigger assembly, which allows you to easily disengage the assembly by simply driving out a single pin.

The unique grooves offer unrivaled gripping surface along with an amazing appearance. You can make good use of the push-button shell stop. When you press this button, it actuates a shell stop. This action permits a chambered shell to be released effectively without discharging rounds from the mag.

The gun comes with extended special purpose chokes: decoys choke, pass choke, and turkey choke for waterfowl, long-range waterfowl, and throwing turkey loads respectively. You can also ensure your piece is lubricated and free from rust by using the Benelli gun sock.

Related: The Benelli Nova is also available in 20-gauge, and compact 20-gauge.

Mossberg 500

Mossberg 500

Barrel Length: 28 inches

Design Features: 12 gauge; anti-jam elevator; twin action bars; steel lockup; dual extractors; synthetic butt-stock & forearm; vent-ribbed barrel w/ twin bead sights; ambidextrous, top-mounted safety; and easy to field strip.

Best Use: Small Game Hunting

Description: Mossberg 500 is the most productive as well as a reliable shotgun for the money. It is the most reliable and versatile gun platform that has a model suitable for every season. The Mossberg 500 hunting chambered in 12-gauge offers you a number of unique features.

To begin with, it has twin action bars and dual extractors for durability and strength. There is an anti-jam elevator that guarantees smooth operation every time you put it to use. You get less recoil along with quicker second shot recovery because of porting done on the gun.

The top mounted safety is ergonomically designed and positioned for high visibility.

This makes the safety visible and easily accessible to you, whether you are a left or right-handed shooter. It is the most comfortable and accessible position for a safety. Regardless of the finish of the alloyed receiver, this particular piece is in fact very reliable and serviceable.

A variety of specialty stocks along with patterns are available for different hunting requirements. The synthetic stock is installed with a vent-ribbed barrel that has a matte blued finish. This piece will offer you a reliable and rugged shooting machine at a reasonable price.

Remington 887 Nitro Mag

Remington 887 Nitro Mag

Barrel Length: 28 inches

Design Features: 12 gauge; pump action; 4 rounds capacity; standard safety; modified rem coke; ArmorLokt barrel and receiver finish; Hi-Viz/Fiber-Optic sights; 3-1/2-inch chamber; and matte black synthetic stock and forearm finish.

Best Use: Small Game Hunting

Model 887 Nitro mag is a well-known pump gun that uses ArmorLokt (polymer finish). This kind of finishing can withstand harsh weather conditions without the surface rusting or getting scratched.

Therefore, it has a space-age appearance, a feature that makes it absolutely unique. This piece is chambered in 3½-inch magnum shells. If you have used Mossberg 835, you will notice that Model 887 competes with it as far as 3½-inch magnum shells are concerned. As mentioned earlier, a feature unique to this piece is the ArmorLokt finish.

The receiver, as well as the barrel, is covered with a glass-reinforced nylon material, which does effectively safeguards the metallic interior parts of the shotgun. The interior steel is well-known for providing the strength the gun requires when in action.

On the other hand, the ArmorLokt keeps the interior safe from wear and tear, and corrosion. It has solid Hi-Viz front sight along with substitutable light tubes. It also features inbuilt sling swivel studs and Supercell recoil pad.

Moreover, it is dressed in vivid camouflage from butt to bore with extended over decoys rem choke. This specific choke is engineered for waterfowl loads that are non-toxic.

Winchester Super X Pump

Winchester Super X Pump

Barrel Length: 26 inches

Design Features: 12 gauge; 2.5-inch heel drop & 1.5-inch comb drop; 3+ choke tubes; 3-inch chambered; chrome plated back bored barrel; inventor+ choke tube system; composite stock and forend; non-glare barrel and receiver matte finish; right-handed shooter; and 4+1 round capacity.

Best Use: Small Game Hunting

Description: Winchester Super X is a well-made American piece. It is fully packed with unique features. To begin with, the action of the gun is made from heavy-duty aluminum. Then it is finished in eye-catching matte black.

The gun offers maximum performance because firing stress is absorbed by the bolt locking lugs, ensuring that the receiver does feel a minimal strain. This gun utilizes 4 big lugs that are situated on the rotating bolt head.

Usually, the lugs move into place through the cam found in the bolt’s body. The lugs design is amazing because they are fast and easy to lock, requires minimal force to unlock, and they do offer superior strength when you compare them to older versions.

Super X has the best trigger group, which you can effortlessly disengage for inspection as well as cleaning by simply removing a pin. You can properly clean the gun by using light lubrication, and dirt-removing aerosol.

It has a trigger pull of ten pounds, which is certainly heavy, but also convenient. The gun comes with a crossbolt-style safety that is positioned in front of the trigger guard. The safety’s position is not convenient for shooters with short fingers.

The chamber and bore are made of chrome-plated material for smoother extraction. This material is highly resistant to rust as well as corrosion. Moreover, the back-bored barrel is accompanied by invector+ choke tubes.

Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag

Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag

Barrel Length: 24 inches

Design Features: 12 gauge; 6 round capacity; 3.5 chambered; 44.75-inch overall length; mossy oak obsession barrel finish; 14.5 LOP; fixed LOP type; multi-full tube choke; adjustable fiber optic sight; vent rib, ported barrel type; and synthetic stock finish.

Best Use: Small Game Hunting

Description: 835 Ulti-Mag is one of the world’s best 12 gauge pump shotgun. This is a robust and highly reliable gun. It is designed to handle the most demanding hunting activities as well as most powerful shells.

It is equipped with dual extractors and twin action bars for improved reliability and dependability. The anti-jam elevator guarantees smooth operation regardless of the weather conditions. It is fitted with rifle style fiber optic sight, which is adjustable for accurate pattern placement.

It uses a 6-round magazine. Basically, it is a 5-shot tubular magazine in addition to one shell in the chamber.

The gun is fitted with Patented LPA adjustable trigger, which is fitted with a skeletonized blade. You can adjust this trigger from three to seven pounds, and it is also creep-free. The rear sight is fitted with the fiber optic sight that gathers light.

The arrangement of the sights gets you on target. They achieve this by providing you with perfect alignment for better accuracy. You can make adjustments by using the included shims. The safety is ergonomically positioned at the top. Its position makes it highly visible and easily accessible.

Weatherby PA-08

Weatherby PA-08

Barrel Length: 26 inches

Design Features: 20 gauge; 46-inch overall length; 3-inch chamber; 4+1 magazine capacity; 14-inch length of pull; 2¼-inch drop at heel; 1½ drop at comb; brass front sights; composite stock; and improved cylinder, modified full choke.

Best Use: Small Game Hunting

Description: PA-08 is a uniquely designed no-nonsense pump shotgun for the money. It is good looking, and it fitted with a Turkish walnut stock along with gold trigger, ventilated rib, recoil pad, and gloss finish.

The forend is decorated with cut checkering, and the curved pistol grip has two comparable checkered panels. The receiver is engineered from aluminum alloy, and the pistol grip does not have a cap. The action is remarkably rough. You have to be able to hold the un correctly so as to be able to balance it correctly.

When positioning the gun, you have to hold its forearm close to the receiver. The hold should not be close to the long finger grooves.

In Conclusion

Pump shotguns are effective for hunting, defense, and sports shooting. These guns are considered to be safer when compared to other guns. However, they need extra manipulation to be able to fire. They come in a variety of gauges to suit different needs.

Choose your Pump Shotgun

As mentioned earlier and in most of the reviews, the most common calibers are 12-gauge and 20-gauge. The smaller the number of gauge, the greater the firepower will be. The only demerit is the inability to hold lots of ammo.

The magazines carry smaller rounds. Do you think we have missed any important pump guns? If so, let us know in comments?


Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.


  • I own a collection of different guns but I had just one pump shotgun. I sold it to buy something different but came to conclusion that I need to have one in my house as a defense gun. I started looking for a new one but can’t decide which one. It seems to me that all the pump shotguns are the same. As far as my budget is concerned, I don’t want to buy anything fancy.

    • We’d like to hear more about your budget range, but for the meantime, I would recommend the Mossberg 500. It is very ergonomic, well-build and packed with helpful features without breaking the bank.

  • I own a Nova and I use it every day because of my profession. I also use it to hunt duck and turkey. Sometimes I forget it outside or drop it in the snow, but still I have no problems with it. When I was buying it I just wanted to find a gun that will feel right in my hands. All in all, that is the definition of the best gun. Some people say that it rattles, but I don’t mind because all the pump shotguns do that.

    • The “rattle” part is almost always present in any shotgun, you just have to find the level of rattling that will not bother you. The rattle that is felt when using a Nova is something I consider as moderate, but it doesn’t affect the performance it can deliver to effectively hit the target.